The ability of a hurricane to rapidly increase in intensity never ceases to amaze me. Last night when I went to bed Gustav had a top sustained wind speed of 80 mph. Now, less that 12 hours later it’s 145 mph! The wind, nearly doubled in speed, has almost four times the power. The rule of thumb says it will destroy eight times as much as last night’s storm would.
This radar image is a snapshot in time. Part of the power of the Internet this is an image I never had access to–direct from the Cuban government’s weather bureau¹. Gustav is about to attack the Isle of Youth (formerly the Isle of Pines) and its 100,000 residents.
I expect the storm to weaken as it passes over Western Cuba then strengthen again in the Gulf.
I’ve written about this before and discussed it often with my friend Bob. There is an internal balance necessary for a hurricane to get to 140 mph or more. That speed is almost impossible to maintain for any length of time. Gustav will see its intensity pulse up-and-down once it reestablishes itself in the Gulf. Hopefully, landfall will come as it is diminishing.
¹ – It’s interesting that the Instituto de Meteoologia de la Republica de Cuba–part of a ‘people’s paradise,’ finds it necessary to add: “Copyright © 1997-2008. INSMET ® Todos los derechos reservados ” Am I surprised? Todo-lly.