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Page 1 of 1Total of 1 messages
Posted by:Sep 2nd 2008, 08:00:32 pm
Fig Tree News Teamhttp://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/09/02/behind-gustav-hanna-ike-and-a-josephine-in-the-making/?ref=us

For New Orleans, the morning after Hurricane Gustav was filled with exhales. For the folks at the National Hurricane Center, it was another day at the office — though a particularly busy day.

Just as it was pushing Gustav off its plate — that storm is now just a tropical depression that can now be left to the regular weather forecasters — the hurricane center began monitoring another storm brewing just off the coast of West Africa. At first it was called Tropical Depression 10, but it took the name Josephine just a few hours later when its winds built to tropical-storm strength.

As for the waning storm that prompted fears of devastation worse than Hurricane Katrina, Gustav’s winds are nothing special any more, but it has not lost its capacity to dump heavy rain and flood northern Louisiana, northeastern Texas and Arkansas, the three states in its path.

While Gustav’s potential wrath was less than fully realized, Mayor C. Ray Nagin of New Orleans does not regret the dire warnings he issued, though in hindsight he says he might have tweaked them a bit. “I would not do a thing differently,” the mayor said today, according to The Associated Press. “I’d probably call Gustav, instead of the mother of all storms, maybe the mother-in-law or the ugly sister of all storms.”

Jeff Masters, a meteorologist and blogger at Wunderground, agreed that it was hard to second-guess the evacuation order because at the time it was made, the severity of the storm was still too close to call. “We got very lucky with Gustav,” he said. “It could have been another Katrina.” He explained (via Weather Nerd):

The computer models that predicted a Category 4 hurricane at landfall could easily have been correct, had the shear been a few knots less when Gustav crossed Cuba.

To borrow the mayor’s phrase, there are two more ugly sisters out in the Atlantic Ocean, heading for the United States. Most pressing is Hanna, which weakened to a tropical storm this morning as it churns over the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Haiti. Its likely track is toward the East Coast, and it is expected to regain hurricane strength again in the coming hours.

Then there is Ike, currently a tropical storm in the middle of the ocean with a 1-in-5 chance to turn into a category 3 hurricane by Sunday. By then it is expected to move over the Bahamas, which face a one-two punch this hurricane season.

And Josephine may yet join the parade.

Update, 11:13 a.m. Josephine has officially joined the parade as a tropical storm, though the wind forecasts say that there’s only a small chance that it would become anything more than a category 1 hurricane this week.

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