(Storm clouds build over Havana, Cuba as Gustav approached from the south)
GUSTAV: 10 PM Sunday Analysis. It's a forgone conclusion that landfall as a Category 3 is now just a matter of time. It appears from latest satellite and radar imagery that a slightly discernable northward jog is occuring, which is very troubling. I also notice the Central Dense Overcast seems to be wrapping around a reforming eye. This indicates strengthening and unless the storm slows overnight, we could wake up to an intensifying 3 in the 125-130 mph range about to make landfall. Remember that each mile Gustav nudges east of the official track makes the damage to New Orleans, Lake Ponchartrain and surrounding areas that much worse. A surge of 10-14 feet traveling up the Mississippi River will overwhelm levee areas that were not affected in the same way as in Katrina. Water is again going to surge into the lake, and probably already has. It is at least reassuring to see the highways leading out of the city empty this afternoon, unlike last time. With a slowing of forward speed forecast near and after landfall, the flooding and rainfall impact of this may be worse than Katrina, and over a larger area. I submit that those who claim a westward track is better for New Orleans than Katrina's eastward jog are following wishcasting or don't understand the true nature of water movement under a long duration fetch of wind. This will be catastrophic any way you slice it. Below is my probably the last image of Gustav I will before landfall..as of 10:30 PM 8-31-08.
HANNA: A SURPRISE FOR STUDENTS? Until Monday, the projected path is an easy bet..west toward the Bahamas, then it gets complicated. The high pressure ridge that will build into the Northeast this week is going to influence her direction in the medium range. This in combination with Gustav's outflow may even weaken the storm somewhat. Once Gustav moves into Texas and the ridge in the Northeast moves offshore by Friday, divergent flow created by the departing High may provide Hanna with an "out." Tropical cyclones, just like air, water and school students, like to follow the path of least resistance. What looks more likely now is a recurvature east of Florida, with a landfall in the Carolinas. If Hanna is traveling north or northeast by then, the southern Chesapeake Bay, tidewater Virginia and the DelMarVa peninsula are put into play for secondary landfall by the weekend. Also note by that time, Hanna will be entering the westerlies, and thus forward speed will increase significantly. I've seen before a number of times where a fast moving system on such a track led to Tropical Storm Warnings for the entire Chesapeake Bay. While it may seem premature to say this, that raises the specter of disruption to the school schedule this coming Friday for at least many schools in Eastern North Carolina and even southeast Virginia. A stronger storm at landfall that moves more quickly will impact schools from Washington DC north and east into New Jersey. If history is any guide, many Mid-Atlantic schools closed for similar track storms (though not similar intensity) such as Gloria in 1985, Floyd in 1999, and the new historical indicator storm for Maryland-- Isabel in 2003.