With the remnants of Tropical Storm Fay still dropping rain in Alabama, and the remnants of Tropical Storm Julio still swirling in the Gulf of California, Hurricane Gustav leapt quickly to life in the Caribbean.
Gustav formed as a tropical storm Monday and reached hurricane strength early Tuesday morning, as it approached landfall in Haiti. Haiti, one of the most impoverished nations on Earth, has been largely deforested, making it particularly vulnerable to flooding and mudslides; past storms have left heavy death tolls.
Hurricane Gustav is expected to retain hurricane strength as it crosses the Caribbean, hitting Cuba on its way to the Gulf of Mexico. Currently a Category 1 storm, it could reach Category 2 strength later today and reach major hurricane status in the coming days. All Gulf states are likely to be on the lookout until forecasters refine their projections for where the storm will turn in the Gulf of Mexico, where not only communities are at risk, but also oil infrastructure that could disrupt supplies and send gas prices soaring.
In the Atlantic, forecasters have predicted an above-average hurricane season.
They predicted 14 to 18 named storms, including seven to 10 hurricanes and as many as six major hurricanes. The Atlantic, including Gustav, has seen seven named storms, and now three hurricanes (Bertha and Dolly preceded Gustav), one of them a major storm (Dolly).
The Atlantic is just entering the peak of its hurricane season, and the activity in the basin demonstrates it. Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center are watching, in addition to Fay and Gustav, three other low-pressure systems that have some (low- to medium-) potential for forming tropical storms.
National Hurricane Center
Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center have predicted that conditions will spawn a below-average storm season in the eastern Pacific, with 11-16 named storms, including five to eight hurricanes, as many as three of them major (Category 3 or greater) storms. Five of the 10 named storms in the eastern Pacific have formed hurricanes so far in 2008.
1. Tropical Storm Arthur formed quickly on May 31 off Belize, lost tropical storm strength in fewer than 24 hours, and brought punishing rains of 10-15 inches to parts of the Yucatán Peninsula, including Mexico and Guatemala.
2. Hurricane Bertha formed as a tropical storm July 3 in the far eastern Atlantic, then debuted as the Atlantic's first hurricane July 7 and quickly grew to major hurricane status. By the time it affected land, July 14 in Bermuda, it was a strong tropical storm, causing rough surf and 3-5 inches of rain. It broke the record for longest-lived July storm and on July 18 reformed into a hurricane.
3. Tropical Storm Cristobal formed on July 19 off the coast of the Carolinas. The first named storm to threaten the U.S. coast, Cristobal threatened 3-5 inches of rain and strong storm surges across South and North Carolina.
4. Hurricane Dolly reached Category 2 strength in the Gulf of Mexico before making landfall near the Texas-Mexico border July 23, 2008. Heavy rains and wind led to at least one death, flooding and damage in Texas and in neighboring states that may exceed $1 billion.
5. Tropical Storm Edouard formed August 3 in the Gulf of Mexico and though forecasters predicted strengthening and it passed by critical oil infrastructure, it was largely welcomed for relieving drought conditions in some parts of Texas and Louisiana.
6. Tropical Storm Fay formed August 15 off the coast of the Dominican Republic and killed 35 people there and in Haiti before making a record five landfalls in Florida, where it killed 11 before moving on as a tropical depression, killing at least one in Georgia.
7. Hurricane Gustav formed August 25 off the coast of Haiti and reached hurricane strength Aug. 26 before making landfall there.
Gustav - Hanna - Ike - Josephine - Kyle - Laura - Marco - Nana - Omar - Paloma - Rene - Sally - Teddy - Vicky - Wilfred
1. Tropical Storm Alma brought heavy rains and winds to the Central American nations of Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala after forming May 29.
2. Hurricane Boris formed near Baja California and headed west into the Pacific, before reaching hurricane strength July 1.
3. Tropical Storm Cristina formed near Hawaii June 29 but dissipated before making landfall.
4. Tropical Storm Douglas formed July 2 and threatened to dump heavy rains on portions of southwest Mexico.
5. Hurricane Elida formed July 12 as a tropical storm and became the season's second Pacific hurricane July 14 when it became a weak Category 1 storm tracking westward from Mexico.
6. Hurricane Fausto formed as a tropical storm July 16 off the coast of Mexico. Like other 2008 Pacific hurricanes, the third of the year did not affect land.
7. Hurricane Genevieve formed in the Pacific Ocean, more than 580 miles off the coast of Mexico, on July 25, 2008. The fourth hurricane in the eastern Pacific, it did not affect land.
8. Hurricane Hernan formed August 6 hundreds of miles from Baja California and reached hurricane strength Aug. 8. On Aug. 9, it reached Category 3 status, the first major hurricane of 2008 in the Pacific. It lost hurricane Strength Aug. 11 and dissipated Aug. 12.
9. Tropical Storm Iselle formed August 13.
10. Tropical Storm Julio formed August 23 and made landfall in Baja California Aug. 24.
Karina - Lowell - Marie - Norbert - Odile - Polo - Rachel - Simon - Trudy - Vance - Winnie - Xavier - Yolanda - Zeke
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.