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September 2, 2008

'Conga Line' of storms across the Atlantic

Posted: 01:30 PM ET

Just like the dance-hall Conga Lines of the 1950's and earlier, tropical systems are lining up across the Atlantic and headed this way. Let's take a look one-by-one.

As Gustav fades, Hanna, Ike, and Josephine line up to potentially take aim at the US or Caribbean.

As Gustav fades, Hanna, Ike, and Josephine line up to potentially take aim at the US or Caribbean.

Gustav roared through the Gulf Coast, missing a worst-case scenario in New Orleans but causing plenty of damage elsewhere: coastal damage is spread all through Cajun country, and the Mississippi Coast. Heavy rains will continue, and many Louisianans may be without electric power for a week or more.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin tagged the approaching Gustav as the "Mother of All Storms." Nagin, roundly criticized during Katrina as were his state and federal counterparts, effectively frightened his city into a successful evacuation.  In fact, emergency managers on all levels erred on the side of caution rather than repeat the sad blunders of Katrina. And, of course, the levees didn't fail. The bottom line was a measure of reassurance for New Orleans. Whether it was well-placed is another matter.

It's important to bear in mind that neither Gustav nor Katrina brought full fury to New Orleans. Katrina was a Category Three storm when it passed to the east of the city, forcing a wall of water into New Orleans and the Mississippi Coast. Gustav was a Cat Two when it passed far to the west of the city, which was barely on the fringe of hurricane-force winds. Tide gauges measured about a five-foot surge in Lake Ponchartrain yesterday. So the real bottom line may be that a bigger test still awaits the engineers, leaders, and people of New Orleans.

Next up is Hanna, forecast to be a weak hurricane making a U.S landfall Friday, possibly at or near Savannah, Georgia. It's been 110 years since Savannah took a direct hit, the longest lucky streak of any major coastal U.S. city in the hurricane zone. Hanna is now bringing heavy rain to Haiti (as of midday Tuesday).

After that, Ike. While it's too soon to give any definitive forecast for the tropical storm, it could be headed to the Gulf of Mexico, according to several long-range models.

Today the National Hurricane Center named a new one: Josephine, forming as a tropical storm off the African coast, could cross the ocean to threaten in 7 to 10 days.

Peter Dykstra Executive Producer CNN Science, Tech & Weather

Filed under: hurricanes • Weather

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Franko   September 2nd, 2008 1:45 pm ET

What a prediction problem. Ike going to catch slow dancing Hanna ?Josephine, the other female, getting jelous of prediction attention ?

Not only the sea and land, but how the Hurricanes interact

Franko   September 2nd, 2008 2:17 pm ET


CNN, with all your influence, please ask NOAA, combine all the above into one.

Joe, Hell, MI   September 2nd, 2008 2:18 pm ET

Oh Ray Nagin, I guess that it is better to be Chicken Little and call for the Mutha of all Storms every time a cloud passes overhead and have the busses idling.

It is better than scraping the egg off your face after a big oops and not bussing people out when you had the opportunity to help.

Kevin   September 2nd, 2008 2:31 pm ET

It's Hanna that is currently raining on Haiti, not Ike.
You are absolutely right and I should know better. Will fix. Thanks.

Brandi   September 2nd, 2008 3:35 pm ET

awww man, guess i should stay in northern MS instead of going home. 🙁

Tim   September 2nd, 2008 6:00 pm ET

80% of all construction litigation directly involves an issue regarding a building's roofing system. Furthermore, 80% of all roofing failures are directly related to the perimeter of the roof (the roof edge) failing during high wind uplift pressures. And finally, 80% of all sheet metal roof edge products are produced by roofing contractors or local "shops" with little or no concern for the roof performing up to current building code standards, or the longevity of the building owners investment. The fact is...if this country wishes to virtually eliminate catastrophic roofing failures due to high winds or hurricane force winds such as those produced this week by hurricane Gastav, and protect the lives and properties of hundreds of thousands of people in the United States, building code officials need to start NOW and get off their hands and start enforcing the IBC-2003/2006 (The International Building Code currently adopted by each and every state of this country). The cost of a tested perimeter roof edge termination (the leading edge of the buildings roofing performance resistance) is on average .01% of the cost of the overall building structure. Yet it is directly related to 80% of all lawsuits and insurance claims after storm damage. Why? Because of money....simply put, greed. The ANSI/SPRI ES-1 roof edge standard has been developed and is currently in place in EVERY state of this country. Yet it is not being enforced! Building Code officials have the scientific tool at their disposal to protect people of this country and their properties from hurricanes of the likes of Gustav, or Hanna, or Ike, or even Josephine all coming this way, but they are simply not seeing it through. If we have the means to protect our citizens from these storms, why are we not using it? Further information can be read supplied to readers by going to and reading a copy of the ANSI/SPRI ES-1 Roof Edge Standard developed by the American National Standards Institute and the Single Ply Roofing Industry to put an end to roofing failures. It’s a scientific fact that if the edge of a roof stays on, the whole roof stays on. If the roof edge goes, the roof blows off. Simply put. People are displaced, millions if not billions of dollars of property damage occurs, and lives are sometimes changed forever. All over the negligence of lazy building code officials who are paid to know better. The testing and ability to comply enforce it for all of us.

S Callahan   September 2nd, 2008 7:17 pm ET

Wow, that was good info Tim.

One wonders if the folks of New Orleans and nearby areas should stay put before Ike visits.....or consider the first outing a trial run for the real event headed...
What is the chance one storm can connect with the other?
Don't say I told you so, but God has a message to deliver . ( had to say it). By the way, it was wonderful to hear the CNN achors allowing others , on air, to ask for God's mercy with Gustav...he heard...

Michael Dereskewicz   September 2nd, 2008 11:56 pm ET

A 5 second interview of a man with a two week old infant said he had no way to feed his baby. He was at an evacuee center. I'm sorry I didn't hear which center or where it was. No need to post or respond. I just don't know another way to communicate this dire situation. Please pass it on so anyone with special needs can be identified and helped, especially at the large centers. 9-2-08 11:55 PM EST

Franko   September 3rd, 2008 1:37 am ET

Was a number 4 around Cuba. Evacuation, seemed a good idea, at the time
One in 6, Hurricane Roulette. Don't like the odds.

Bangladesh style cyclone shelters, run to safety very quickly.
Pump big sand hills, reinforced with steel and concrete, all around.
Safety is cheap, but requires free smarts.

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