Weather Nerd

Gustav makes landfall in Cuba

Hurricane Gustav has made landfall in Cuba as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph and gusts to 185 mph.

Here’s what it looked like at 5:45 PM EDT, as it came ashore:

Visible satellite (current loop).

“Rainbow” infrared satellite (current loop).

It appears to be weakening somewhat over land now, as you’d expect; the eye is starting to look ragged. But Gustav’s passage over the narrow stretch of western Cuba will be relatively brief — it’s expected to be back over open water by midnight — and the winds probably will not decrease by more than 20 mph or so. There is energy in southern Gulf to make up that lost ground, and then some. Tomorrow, we may well see Gustav ramp up to Category 5 strength, in what will feel almost like a rerun of a terrifying Sunday almost exactly three years ago, when a hurricane named Katrina with 175 mph winds was bearing down on Louisiana.