All eyes on Ike

Just days after residents of the Cayman Islands dusted themselves off from Hurricane Gustav, two new systems formed in the Atlantic basin.

cyclone activity

Tracking storms. Photo: NOAA

Tropical Storm Ike formed as Tropical Depression 9 on Monday and quickly became a named storm.

The official forecast track for Ike by the National Hurricane Centre in Miami has always predicted the storm would pass north of the Caribbean. However, the forecast track shifted southward since Monday, and two major computer models showed the storm entering the Caribbean and passing between Cuba and Jamaica early next week.

In addition to Ike, Tropical Depression 10 formed south of the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of western Africa on Tuesday and quickly became Tropical Storm Josephine. Although most computer models have the storm heading northwest out to sea, some had it heading westward where it could threaten the Caribbean.

Josephine became the 10th named storm of the 2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season, meaning that every tropical depression that has formed so far this year has intensified to at least tropical storm strength. Four of those storms – Bertha, Dolly, Gustav and Hanna – reached hurricane strength at some point.

The two new storms come at the same time two other named storms were still impacting weather elsewhere. Hurricane Gustav weakened to a tropical depression yesterday after making landfall in Louisiana Monday.

Hurricane Hanna weakened to a tropical storm near the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday, but was expected to re-intensify before eventually making landfall somewhere along the US southeast coast Friday or Saturday

Gustav wrap-up

Data from the National Hurricane Center in Miami and supplied to the Cayman Islands National Weather Service indicated Hurricane Gustav passed within 63 miles of Grand Cayman.

Maximum sustained winds measured at automatic weather stations were 59mph in East End and 47mph at the Airport. The National Weather Service measured 2.71 inches of rain associated with Gustav at Owen Roberts International Airport.

Gustav passed within 12 miles of Little Cayman, according to data from the National Hurricane Center. Maximum expected sustained winds were 82mph with gusting up to 102 mph. Storm surge on Little Cayman was estimated at two to four feet and the gauge at the Central Caribbean Marine Institute measured 6.25 inches of rain.

The NHC estimated Gustav passed within 24 miles of Cayman Brac with expected maximum sustained wind speeds of 76 mph, gusting to 95mph. The automatic weather station on the Brac measured a maximum sustained wind speed of 63mph and 9.42 inches of rain associated with the storm.

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