Category 4 Hurricane Ike pummeled the Turks and Caicos Islands Saturday night and Sunday morning with dangerous winds, sea surge and rain as it continues its trek west. At 3:00am MDT the storm was 215 miles east-northeast of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba moving west-southwest at 15 mph.
The National Hurricane Center has described this storm as “extremely dangerous” so all countries and interests in the area are keeping a vary close eye on the storm. On its current track the storm will move over the southeastern Bahamas this morning and then onto or near eastern Cuba Sunday night. Latest measurements had the storm with 135 mph and some strengthening is indeed possible before it strikes Cuba. Whether it holds that strength as it passes Cuba will depend on how long it interacts with land. Current models showing it going directly over the island and weaking a bit but it is expected to regain strength as it enters the southeastern Gulf of Mexico.
South Florida and those in the Florida Keys need to watch Ike very closely. Vistors to the Keys were already being asked to leave in anticipation of the storm hitting the islands. Florida Governor Charlie Crist said Saturday, “We continue to watch with much concern the track of Hurricane Ike. Ike has grown rapidly into a dangerous storm that continues to move … toward Florida.”
It is still much too early to tell what the storm will do once it hits the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday. Models indicate a potential strike anywhere between Texas and Alabama later in the week. Much can and most likely will change between now and then.
For the latest on the storm’s location, please visit the ThorntonWeather.com Hurricane Tracker.