Goodbye Gustav

Gustav has shown up on the Atlantic hurricane name list for the final time. Since Hurricane Gustav turned out to be a destructive storm, the name has been retired by the National Hurricane Center.
Gustav, a Swedish name meaning "staff of god," made its meteorological debut in 1984, when Tropical Storm Gustav hovered over Bermuda but caused no major damage. In 1990, Hurricane Gustav threatened the Lesser Antilles but turned away before getting close. In 1996, Tropical Storm Gustav formed west of Africa but fell apart soon after. In 2002, Hurricane Gustav came close to Cape Hatteras, N.C., before turning away.

The name Hanna, which means "happiness" in Arabic, showed up as a hurricane in 1959 and again in 2002 as a tropical storm that made landfall in the U.S. with little impact. Hanna was added to the name list in 1996, when Hortense was retired. The name Ike, used twice for typhoons in the Pacific and once by the National Hurricane Center in the Atlantic, is a recent addition to the list. Ike replaced Isidore, a Category 3 hurricane that hit Mexico in 2002.

Josephine, a derivative of Joseph that means "he will enlarge" in Hebrew, appeared on the 1984 storm list as a brief Category 1 hurricane near the Bahamas. Its second appearance was in 1996 as a tropical storm that dumped rain from Texas to Virginia.

Since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms have been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane Center. Six lists are used in rotation (the 2008 list will be used again in 2014).

With Tropical Storm Hanna storm churning through the Bahamas and headed for the southeastern U.S. coast later in the week, Tropical Depression Gustav still dumping rain over the Gulf Coast, Tropical Storm Ike lurking in the mid-Atlantic and Tropical Storm Josephine on the move off Africa's eastern coast, it's a busy time in the Atlantic hurricane season.

The season traditionally peaks on Sept. 10, according to the National Hurricane Center. That day usually marks the busiest in terms of storm activity.

Gustav pummeled Cuba over the weekend and earlier had killed 94 people by triggering floods and landslides in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.

Grand Cayman was spared the brunt of Gustav; the Sister Islands of Little Cayman and Cayman Brac reported damage from wind and rain but no casualties. The airport in George Town, Grand Cayman reopened over the weekend.

Jamaica's airports in Montego Bay and Kingston reopened as well. Power remained out on some parts of the island, and damage to the road infrastructure alone was estimated to be at least $41 million, according to Mike Henry, minister of transport and works.

In the U.S., New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin urged residents to stay put and not return until Thursday. Although the city was spared major damage, power is out, roads are blocked and the airport has not yet reopened.

Numerous flights to the Gulf Coast were canceled over Labor Day weekend because of Gustav. AirTran canceled 23, Delta 21, Continental 28 and Southwest 65.

Meanwhile, Hanna hovered over the Turks and Caicos on Monday as a Category 1 hurricane, battering the island chain with 80 mph winds, heavy surf and up to 12 inches of rain.

Downgraded to a strong tropical storm on Tuesday, Hanna lurked over the Out Islands of the Bahamas on a track that could take it over the coasts of northern Florida, Georgia or the Carolinas later this week.

NASA delayed the planned move of the space shuttle Atlantis from an assembly building at Florida's Kennedy Space Center to the launch. The move had been planned for Tuesday in preparation for an October mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.

Ike on Tuesday morning was more than 1,000 miles from the Leeward Islands, moving at 15 mph with 50 mph winds. Forecasters said the projected track could take it north of the Dominican Republic later this week.


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