Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gustav Moving Quickly, Re-organization Taking Place

Hurricane Gustav is a category 3 hurricane this Sunday morning with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph. The image to the left is what we call a visible satellite image. This is what the storm would look like if you were in outer space and looking down on the earth. The visible satellite always has the best details of cloud formations. The only trick is it can only be seen during the day when the sun is actually out. Once the sun sets, it fades away into black, only to re-appear when the sun rises the next day.

This satellite image below, the one that has different colors, is the infrared satellite, and it shows how cold the cloud tops are. What are cloud tops and what does that mean?
Notice the shadings of yellow and orange and then red. The darker the color, the more intense the showers and storms are around the center of Gustav. These darker colors indicated not only strong convection, but cooler temperatures aloft, meaning these clouds extend some 30-50,000 feet up into the atmosphere.
The one thing you notice from looking at both figures is that the eye is not as well defined as it was yesterday when it was a category 4 storm. Often times, hurricanes go through a re-intensification stage in which they weaken slightly, only to intensify once again. Nevertheless, we expect Gustav to remain a major hurricane through Labor Day before slightly weakening before landfall tomorrow afternoon.
I will be taking part in a couple of conference calls today. If there is any important news or information you should be aware of, I'll make sure to pass that knowledge onto you.