Saturday, August 30, 2008

News: Gustav hit the Caymans, now he's on Cuba, could New Orleans be next again?

Being that I have friends who live in the Caymans, I have become more interested in storms headed their way. The Cayman Islands seem so small to me in such a large ocean & those storms always seem so big. One of the storms a few years ago (I can't remember the name of it) actually caused one (if not all) of the islands to be submerged for a few moments. I cannot imagine how frightening that would be.

I've never been in a hurricane but I have experienced a few tornadoes. I've never been so close to actually see a funnel cloud but I've certainly seen the destruction & experienced the nervousness of, "will it hit here?" But, even with tornadoes, you aren't certain that it will hit you. It may just pass you by & go somewhere else or fade out all together. It is an isolated attack. However, with hurricanes, it is such a wide spread area that if it is headed your way, you will be it. Not to mention that hurricanes move much slower than tornadoes.

Anyway, back to Gustav. According to Cayman Net News, the storm was a category 1 (Winds 74-95 mph. Storm surge generally 4-5 ft above normal. No real damage to building structures. -- NWS) & left no major damage. The east end of Grand Cayman was said to have reported light damage & power outages were reported all over the island. Cayman Brac had some light poles destroyed and Little Cayman had some docks ruined & 2 people were treated for injuries after being washed off a dock. Tell me, what were they doing out on a dock late at night during a hurricane? That better not have been you, Marsha or Melanie.

Now, Gustave it hitting Cuba as a Cat. 4 (Winds 131-155 mph. Storm surge generally 13-18 ft above normal. More extensive curtainwall failures with some complete roof structure failures on small residences. -- NWS) To put that catergory in perspective, Katrina at on point was a category 5 but hit Lousiana as a category 4 & moving on to New Orleans as a strong category 3 with winds possibly reaching category 4 at times. Katrina then moved on to the Gulf coast of Mississippis as a category 3. (All this according to Wikipedia) So, you can imagine what it is like for Cuba right now. Not to mentiong that Cuban structers are more than likely not as sound as those of America. More than likely, Cuba will sustain major destruction. Although, they are not the "best friends" of America, we should all be praying for them.

After Cuba, Gustav is expected to make it's way to the States. According to the Associated Press, via Yahoo! News, " The hurricane was projected to plow into the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico at full force Sunday, and reach the U.S. coast as early as Monday afternoon. A hurricane watch was issued from Texas east to Florida, an area that includes New Orleans, which Hurricane Katrina devastated in 2005."

According to The Weather Channel, Gustav is expected to maitain his strength if not increase to a catergory 5. This is going to be a big one for sure. We here in Dallas may also be able to expect weather from this storm Tuesday or Wednesday. A little rain for us is always welcome but we hate to be the ones to benefit from tragedy.

New Orleans has apparently learned their lesson with Katrina because they are emptying the city. The mayor has told everyone to leave & there will be now emergency shelter offered this time. Everyone must get out. The interstate exiting New Orleans is packed but they are planning on opening both sides as an escape route in the morning.

So far, 81 people have been reported killed from this storm & meterologists are warning southern Florida about breakoff storms. The keys right now are under severe thunderstorm warnings with the chance of tornadoes. So, Missy & Jennifer, becareful.

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