Hurricane Gustav was the seventh named storm, third hurricane, and first major hurricane the 1990 Atlantic hurricane season. Gustav was the season's only major hurricane, attaining Category 3 status in the open Atlantic Ocean well away from land. Gustav developed on August 24 to the east of the Leeward Islands. Initially, it was forecast to pose a threat to the northern Leeward Islands, but it turned away before impacting those islands. Gustav dissipated on September 3.
Gustav caused no damage and no deaths.
|Formation||August 24, 1990|
|Dissipation||September 3, 1990|
|Highest winds||120 mph|
|Lowest pressure||956 mbar|
|Part of the||1990 Atlantic hurricane season|
Gustav had its origins within a tropical wave that emerged from the coast of Africa on August 18. The wave showed signs of organization, but was eventually absorbed into the ITCZ as it moved westward across the Atlantic Ocean. The wave did not begin to organize until late on August 23 and early on August 24. By 0600 UTC August 24, the wave was sufficiently organized to be classified as Tropical Depression Eight while located near Barbados. The depression moved west-northwest and became Tropical Storm Gustav about 620 miles east of Barbados at 0000 UTC August 25. Gustav continued moving west-northwest due to weak ridging to the north. Initially, it appeared as though an upper-level low northwest of the cyclone would prevent significant strengthening for the next day or so. However, the upper low did little to affect Gustav, and the storm attained hurricane status about 240 miles east-northeast of Barbados near 1200 UTC August 26. At this point, Gustav began to approach the northern Leeward Islands, but because the ridge to the north was eroding, the hurricane turned to the northwest, and then north, passing about 180 miles east of the Lesser Antilles. Gustav attained a minimum central pressure of 965 mb near the beginning of its northward turn while located about 265 miles east of Antigua at 1800 UTC August 27. Shortly thereafter, Gustav weakened a bit due to strong shearing winds aloft. At this point, some computer models predicted that another ridge would establish itself north of Gustav, and impart a northwesterly component of motion to the hurricane, which would ultimately pose a threat to Bermuda. This did not occur, but rather, an upper-level trough to the west and a ridge to the east kept the hurricane moving northward.
During the next three days, as Gustav was moving northward, Tropical Storm Hortense was approaching Gustav from the east. By 0600 UTC August 31, Gustav and Hortense were only 400 miles away from each other. It was during this time that data from a reconnaissance aircraft indicated that Gustav had attained its peak intensity of 120 mph, along with a minimum central pressure of 956 mb while located about 390 miles east-southeast of Bermuda. Later on August 31, the aforementioned upper-level trough west of the cyclone caused Gustav to turn to the northeast, and as a result of this motion, Gustav's upper-level outflow created shearing conditions over Hortense, which ultimately dissipated the cyclone. On September 1, Gustav began merging and interacting with a frontal zone to the north, which caused the storm to begin to weaken. On September 2, the ridge to the east of Gustav strengthened, which caused the hurricane to take a jog to the north-northeast just southeast of the Grand Banks. During this time, ship reports indicated that tropical storm force winds extended outward up to at least 200 nautical miles northwest of the circulation center. Gustav was accelerated northeastward by a trough moving eastward across the Canadian Maritimes, and Gustav became extratropical at 0600 UTC September 3. Gustav's extratropical remnants eventually passed less than 200 miles south of Iceland.
As Gustav approached the northern Leeward Islands, Hurricane Watches and warnings were issued for the islands. However, these turned out to be unnecessary, and the Lesser Antilles were over warned, as Gustav veered off to the north away from the islands, a sharp turn which was not anticipated by global models nor the National Hurricane Center.
Lack of Retirement
Because it caused no damage, the name Gustav was not retired in the Spring of 1991 by the World Meteorological Organization. Gustav was used again during 1996 2002, and 2008, and is pending retirement.