Hurricane Gustav has roared through Cuba, with winds of up to 340 kilometres per hour, damaging buildings, bringing down trees and devastating banana plantations – but so far no fatalities have been recorded.
Now a ferocious Category 4 hurricane, Gustav has moved into the Gulf of Mexico where the warm waters that fuel tropical cyclones could take it up to a maximum Category 5. The death toll from Gustav’s rampage through the Carribean is close to 100.
It now risks causing major damage to the Gulf oil fields and the 4,000 platforms that produce a quarter of US crude. Energy companies have shut down 75 percent of production.
Even as the post-Gustav clear-up begins in Cuba, they are already bracing themselves for the next one. Tropical Storm Hanna, currently in the Atlantic, risks following the same route.