Monday, September 01, 2008

Hurricane Gustav hits US as category 2

Hurricane Gustav has failed to bring the massive destruction predicted in some of the worst case scenarios. After sweeping across the Gulf of Mexico, hurricane Gustav reduced from a category 4 to a category 2 by the time it hit the US coast. Over 2 million people had heeded Mayor Ray Nagin’s warnings and evacuated from New Orleans and the surrounding area. Flooding has been much reduced despite the heavy rain and storm surges. This has been partly due to the flood prevention put in place following the devastation of hurricane Katrina 3 years ago. The wind damage has also been less but there have been some high winds with speeds topping 168 Km/h and gusts of up to 210 Km/h. As the hurricane made landfall at Cocodrie television reporters broadcast live from the coast though few were blown off their feet. CNN did have several technical problems as they broadcast from New Orleans. But the news coverage failed to provide the dramatic pictures some might have expected to the relief of millions of residents of the city of New Orleans.
As the storm subsides there remains the high risk of tornadoes and violent thunderstorms. There remains a watch on another hurricane which is currently developing. Meteorologists reported that Tropical Storm Hanna was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane as it passed through the Bahamas on Monday. The National Hurricane Center has said Hanna could make landfall Friday near the Georgia/South Carolina border. Cuba was badly hit by Gustav though there were no deaths or injuries reported. But across the Caribbean more than 80 died, 50 from Haiti alone [CNN / BBC / Sky News].

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