Thursday, August 16, 2007

[Jyo_hurricane] Hurricane Dean: August 16, Update B

Oh dear, this is going to be an multiple-update day I see.

According to the satellite wind estimates, and also a NOAA buoy, the
hurricane center thinks the winds in Dean are now somewhere in the
89-92mph (77-80 kt) range, and possibly higher. This makes Dean a strong
cat 1 (cat 1: 74-95 mph; 64-82 kt), and almost a cat 2 (96-110mph; 83-95
kt). He is still heading in the west-northwestward direction, and if
those numbers are correct, there is no reason for him not to be a cat 2
before entering the Caribbean. The NHC will be sending a plane into the
storm later today and we'll know more after that.

Regarding the forecast track: the current forecast has him over the
Yucatan in about 5 days. Assuming the atmosphere doesn't change, from an
ocean point of view this is the 2nd worst possible track I could draw
for him in terms of allowing him to intensify. The center of the storm
does not go over any land, but does go over some very warm water, and
some very deep warm water. The worst possible track at the moment is
more-or-less the forecast track, but he goes through the Yucatan
Straits instead of over the peninsula. Having said that, I am not ruling
out the possibility that he will actually take a more northerly track
once he's entered the Caribbean because there has been a 'point of
weakness' in the high pressure (that has so far been responsible for his
westward path): there has been a low over the Bahamas area for the past
couple of days. The question is, is it still there and how much of the
high has it eroded (is it enough to divert the storm?). I am waiting for
the latest maps. My ideal scenario at this point is that he does take a
more northerly track once he enters the Caribbean, for two reasons. He
will interact more with Haiti/DR and/or Cuba which will keep the
intensity low, but he will also not be passing over the really deep warm
water, which will also help in keeping a low intensity.

My handy hint for today is for my friends going on a week-long Caribbean
cruise starting this weekend: don't forget your motion sickness pills
(you can carry the extra supply in lieu of sunscreen). :)

More later.

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.

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