Topper's Blog: Hurricane Gustav, 2008 Gustav. Irene 2011

9:41 PM, Aug 28, 2013   |    comments
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Irene departed on this date in 2011 and also on this date back in 2008 we were tracking another hurricane: Gustav. The storm was south of Cuba on this date, then by the 29th the hurricane intensified becoming a category two. Gustav moved through the Caymans as a category two on August 30th. The hurricane went through rapid intensification that day eventually becoming a category four. Western Cuba was hammered with winds of 150 mph and over ten inches of rain. Any wind speed over 155 mph is a category five so Gustav became a monster as August ended.

Fortunately the storm weakened after hitting Cuba and as it traversed the Gulf of Mexico. On the first of September Gustav made landfall in western Louisiana as a tropical storm. Winds were now not the problem but rather the heavy rains and storm surge. Gustav, even as a tropical storm, generated surges of twelve to thirteen feet along the Mississippi Delta. The water did climb over the some levees and floodwalls in parts of New Orleans but there was no widespread damage. Gustav did produce a lot of small tornadoes. Forty one were recorded in total with twenty one in Mississippi alone. He caused over four billion dollars in damage in the US.

On this date in 1959 Lt. Colonel William Rankin bailed out of his plane at 45,000' into a violent T-storm and lived to tell about the 45 minute journey, normally a 13 minute trip. He described it as most bizarre and painful experiences imaginable.

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