Hurricane Gustav rolls on

| 26/08/2008

(CNS):  As predicted Gustav reached hurricane status this morning and could become a Category 2 hurricane later today. Cayman Islands National Weather Service and Hazard Management said it is closely monitoring Gustav and  residents should stay tuned to the media for updates. With a change in Gustav’s original path Cayman is now in its sights.

At 8 a.m. Eastern the National Hurricane Centre in Miami said maximum sustained winds were near 90 miles-per-hour with higher gusts and the hurricane was centred about 75 miles south-southeast of Port-au-Prince and 265 miles Southeast of Guantanamo, Cuba. Gustav was moving toward the northwest near 9 miles-per-hour and the centre noted that interests such as Cayman such closely monitor the path of the hurricane.

Gustav is expected to move in a west to northwest direction and after hitting Haiti later today will head towards Cuba and Jamaica. With plenty of very warm water and low amounts of wind shear, Hurricane Gustav will rapidly intensify into a Category Three storm by the weekend forecasters say.

The seventh storm of the 2008 Atlantic season, Gustav is the third hurricane and comes some ten days after Haiti was hit by Tropical Storm Fay. The Haitian government urged its population to take precautions and appealed for international help to deal with the storm’s aftermath, which left about 47 people dead or missing on the impoverished island.

On Monday, Carnival Cruise Lines diverted one of its ships to a Mexican port instead of Montego Bay, Jamaica, to avoid the storm and other liners are said to be closely tracking its path.

The commander of the Guantanamo military base in Cuba, where the US still holds some 265 men, ordered U.S. military personnel to prepare for a hit late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

Dominican authorities also issued warnings and advised small boats to remain in port, even on the north side of the island of 17 million people.

Meanwhile, the remnants of Fay brought heavy rain and winds from Georgia to Louisiana. Floridians were still mopping up floodwaters from a storm that stuck around for a week and made a historic four landfalls, dumping more than 30 inches of rain along the central Atlantic coast.

 

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