Right now a hurricane is heading for the US – and is picking up speed in the Gulf of Mexico after passing through Cuba. Hurricane Gustav is now a category 4 hurricane, i.e. with winds 210-249 km/hr and storm surge generally 13-18 ft above normal. At Category 5, the highest in the scale, winds are even faster and storm surges higher. The last Category 5 hurricane to make landfall was Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Hurricane Katrina had weakened to Category 3 when she hit the US Gulf Coast.
New Orleans has begun mandatory evacuations – “Mayor Ray Nagin called Gustav “the mother of all storms,” and says anyone ignoring calls to leave would be on their own. Mandatory evacuations have also started in parts of southeast Texas, and are set to continue through midday across a three-county region stretching to the Louisiana state line, with the last mandatory evacuation starting at noon in Beaumont.” [CBS News].
OS X users who want to monitor the hurricane’s progress can use the WeatherBug Hurricane Watcher dashboard widget. But at this heightened state, simple googling will reveal relevant resources immediately, like the U.S. National Hurricane Center.