Monday, August 25, 2008

Gustav, and a Fay recap

The next tropical system in the Atlantic was born this morning. Tropical Depression 7 should be upgraded later today to Tropical Storm Gustav, as this is the only Tropical Depression in known memory to already have an eye.

Latest satellite image of pre-Gustav

The models are split right now on the likely path, some taking the storm south of Cuba toward the Yucatan and Gulf of Mexico, others taking it north over Haiti towards south Florida. Both are scary.

As the remnants TS Fay churn away north of Louisiana, it's a good time to remind everyone that the number one cause of death in hurricanes is flooding, not winds. Although Fay never officially reached hurricane status, it caused a lot of flooding - including over half the average annual rainfall in northeast Florida - over 26 inches in 3 days near Melbourne. More people died in Florida (11) than in Haiti (10) as a result of Fay - mostly due to the much longer time Fay spent over Florida, but also due to some people like this guy who don't take tropical storms seriously. Although Haiti had the worst score on my Hurricane Vulnerability Index, Florida was about middle of the road, with places like the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and Cuba scoring much higher.

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