After crawling across Haiti's southwestern peninsula and almost losing tropical storm status (it weakened to 40kts and 999mb yesterday), Gustav is now back over water, but made a remarkable turn in the last 12 hours or so. Rather than the expected westward track which would have put it along the southern edge of Cuba, it turned southwest and is now east of Jamaica and should end up passing over or SOUTH of Jamaica! From that point, the previous forecast track remains unchanged: clip the extreme western tip of Cuba (or miss it by a little), then enter the central Gulf, then head NW toward Louisiana. The official forecast, which agrees with many models, is for a major landfall on Labor Day in/near Louisiana.
As of 15Z, Gustav was located on the eastern tip of Jamaica, with an intensity of 60kts and 983mb... nearly a hurricane again. It appears to be forming another eye, but the mountains of Jamaica could disrupt that later today.
The HWRF forecast is shown at (surface winds and sea level pressure):
It is forecasting an extremely intense hurricane in the Gulf and at US landfall... reaching it's peak intensity of 894mb and 137kts on Sunday evening. If this verifies, it could rival the infamous Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. As usual, do not focus on the exact track... the 3-5 day range has too many uncertainties, but should be used as a guideline for preparedness. Certainly anyone in coastal LA, MS, AL should at least be preparing for this.
The disturbance that was near 20N 57W yesterday was upgraded to TD8 early this morning, then TS Hanna later this morning. Latest intensity is 35kts and 1002mb and it's located near 20N 59W. it is forecast to gradually intensify to hurricane status and head westward toward the US east coast in a week or so. At its somewhat far north location, it would be easy for it get recurved by a mid-latitude trough though.
And, a new easterly wave has exited Africa (near 18W) and is already quite impressive. It will be watched for further development. The next name on the list is Ike.
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.