The AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center reported that Ike remains a Category 4 hurricane this morning just east of Great Inagua Island, with sustained winds near 135 mph. All interests in Florida and along the Gulf Coast should be monitoring the movement of this potentially devastating storm.
The track of Ike will be influenced by the strength and position of an area of high pressure to the north of the storm. Today, Ike will pummel the islands of the northern Caribbean through with torrential rainfall and storm surge up to 18 feet.
On Monday, outer bands of wind and rain, strong surf and rip currents will reach the Southeast coast. Ike is forecast to weaken to Category 2 strength after making landfall on Monday over the northern coast of Cuba.
After battering Cuba, Ike is forecast to move through the Straits of Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico. This is not the news Gulf Coast residents and officials want to hear after dealing with Hurricane Gustav.
"It looks like Ike will pass south of the keys over the north coast of Cuba or in between Cuba and Keys making a northwest turn which will put it into the Gulf," AccuWeather.com meteorologist Dan Kottloswki said, "It's early to say where Ike might make landfall, but once it's in the Gulf it's is obviously going to hit somewhere. The warm, deep waters will give Ike the chance to restrengthen so everyone from Pensacola, Florida to Corpus Christi, Texas should be prepared."
Kottlowski explained that even though we are reaching the end of the warm weather, we are at the very height of the hurricane season for the Atlantic Basin. "The hurricane season is the most active from the last week of august to third week of September. The main reason is water temperatures lag versus air temps--it takes more time to heat water and it cools down slower. So, even though our days are getting shorter and temperatures are coming down, the water is at its warmest."
Reported by Accuweather.com