Oh crap! It’s now a Category 3 and still headed straight for Jamaica. There’s nothing new on Joe’s website about the group from UAB. The center of the storm has passed St. Lucia, Martinique, and Dominica, although they are still being lashed with heavy wind and rain.
Dean will cross the eastern Caribbean south of Jamaica before heading to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and the Gulf of Mexico, according to the U.S. center.
“Dean won’t directly be hitting any more islands for several days,” [hurricane specialist Hugh] Cobb said. “The next island in its crosshairs is going to be Jamaica. Puerto Rico and Haiti will also see high winds and rains, but won’t be hit.”
Dean is expected to intensify to Category 4 level on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale by the time it crosses the Yucatan Peninsula on Aug. 20 or 21, forecasters predict. Dean is on a path to be in the Gulf of Mexico by Aug. 22 at Category 4 strength or higher.
“I wouldn’t rule out Dean could hit the Texas Coast as a Category 5,” said Cobb. “It’s still a long ways out to predict, but given the ocean’s warmer waters and low wind shear, conditions are ideal for it to strengthen.”
Let’s hope it dissipates instead.