Hurricane Gustav approaching the Gulf of Mexico
Hurricane Gustav is the seventh tropical cyclone, third hurricane and second major hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season.
It formed on the morning of August 25, 2008 about 260 miles (420 km) southeast of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and rapidly strengthened into a tropical storm that afternoon and into a hurricane early on August 26.
Later that day it made landfall near the Haitian town of Jacmel. As of August 31, 88 deaths have been attributed to Gustav in the Caribbean.
On September 1 at 9:30 a.m CDT (1430 UTC) the center of Gustav made landfall in the United States along the Louisiana coast near Cocodrie as a category 2 hurricane.
At 1500 UTC on August 25, 2008, a tropical wave that had previously produced rain and squalls in the Lesser Antilles developed well-defined curved bands and briefly exhibited an upper-level eye feature. The National Hurricane Center designated it Tropical Depression Seven and dispatched a hurricane hunter aircraft to investigate the system.
At the time, the system had a well-defined outflow in all but the southeast and southwest quadrant, and data from the hurricane-hunter aircraft confirmed that the tropical depression had strengthened into a tropical storm, which was soon designated Tropical Storm Gustav.
A brief period of disorganization proved to be temporary as a well-defined eyewall formed that same night. In the early hours of August 26, as the storm approached Haiti’s southwestern peninsula, another hurricane hunter aircraft confirmed what forecasters already suspected—that Gustav had strengthened into a hurricane with winds topping 90 mph (150 km/h).
Before reaching Haiti, its satellite presentation continued to intensify, a central dense overcast became more prominent, and the minimum central pressure fell.
Hurricane Gustav regained a pronounced eye as it made landfall on Haiti, near the town of Jacmel. As the hurricane moved over Haiti’s mountainous terrain its circulation was disrupted and it lost a little strength. Although downgraded to a tropical storm, it still had a pronounced eye in its mid- and upper-level structures.
Its outflow improved throughout the night of August 26, and the system was not very disrupted when it moved back over water into the Gulf of Gonâve. However, the storm’s movement slowed, and continued interaction with nearby Haiti, combined with the incursion of mid-level dry air from the northeast, resulted in further weakening during the day on August 27. The storm began a west-southwesterly movement that brought it closer to Jamaica.
On the morning of August 28 it was found that, overnight, Gustav had either reformed farther to the south or had moved farther to the south than previously thought.
The storm was also found to have restrengthened nearly to hurricane status. It then was upgraded to a hurricane again during the late afternoon of August 29.
At 11:00 a.m EDT (1500 UTC) on August 30, as Gustav neared the west end of Cuba, it was upgraded to a Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, with sustained winds near 125 mph (195 km/h). Gustav continued its rapid deepening trend, and three hours later, it had already reached Category 4 strength. Gustav’s maximum sustained winds had reached 150 mph (240 km/h).
Full resolution images of the Hurricane Gustav can be downloaded at the following links:
Further images will be available in the next hours on the Chelys Rapid Response Catalogue (SRRS) where you can find also the relevant KML projetion files.