National News

Hurricane Gustav hits Haiti en route to Gulf

Posted August 26, 2008 1:58 p.m. EDT
Updated August 26, 2008 5:14 p.m. EDT

— Forecasters say Hurricane Gustav has made landfall on Haiti's southwest peninsula. The Category 1 hurricane roared over Haiti at about 1 p.m. EDT Tuesday with top sustained winds of near 90 mph. The storm is moving northwest at about 10 mph, and the center is located about 40 miles from Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The fast-forming storm is sending global oil prices soaring on fears it could become "extremely dangerous" as it approaches the Gulf of Mexico.

At 5 p.m. Gustav was located about 60 miles west-southwest of Port Au Prince, Haiti and about 160 miles southeast of Guantanamo, Cuba. The hurricane’s sustained winds decreased to near 75 mph.

The hurricane was moving northwest near 10 mph.

Long-term predictions show the storm affecting either Cuba or Jamaica later this week.

WRAL meteorologist Nathan Johnson said models show Gustav gaining strength over the Gulf of Mexico to become a Category 3 storm by the weekend.

Gustav poses no threat to the Carolinas, Johnson said, but communities along the Gulf should be on alert.

"Realistically, (Gustav could make landfall) anywhere from Northern Mexicon to the panhandle of Florida, with the Houston to Mobile, Ala., corridor at the most direct risk," Johnson said.

The hurricane comes after Tropical Storm Fay killed 23 people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic earlier this month.