very close with sustained winds just below 155 mph - the cat 5 boundary.
His central pressure is down to 915mb, as recorded by a plane.
I agree completely with the track depicted by the central line of the
cone. Unless there's a wobble, actual eye landfall should be just north of
Belize, but hurricane force winds extend out to 60 miles and they will
feel those. The path across the Yucatan Peninsula and the Gulf on the
other also looks good.
H. Dean might not reach cat 5 before landfall tonight because it has
started to interact with land which might be enough to counter the
extremely warm waters (one can hope, right?). If he does, it will be for a
very short time. Either way, the winds are enormous, and if the forward
speed of 20 mph is maintained, he will have crossed the peninsula in a few
hours (maybe 6). This won't be enough to knock all the steam out of such a
powerful system, and he might still be in the cat 1 or 2 range on the
other side. In the Gulf, the surface temperatures are warm, but the waters
along the track he will take are not warm with depth, so he won't
intensify too much.
Quite a few folks have asked me yesterday and today about the two areas of
convection just north and east of the Leeward Islands. The mass to the
north (~22N, 60W) has dwindled during the day. The mass a bit farther
south (~14N, 60W) is still there and but is not organized. There is a
little bit of circulation, but not enough to call it a tropical
depression. No need to worry about either of these yet.
P.S. I don't know why the August 19th blog entry is not on the blog
website. But I didn't have much to say yesterday anyway (for a change :)),
so if you are reading these from there you didn't miss much.
These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not
the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an
evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the
National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather
Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away,
run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.
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