Tonight, the Hurricane Center deemed Hurricane Dean’s winds to be sustained at 100 mph. Sure, why not?
I actually don’t think they’re blowing that fast. I’m basing my estimate on the look of the satellite imagery, surface observations and the Martinique radar.
The chain of islands Dean is approaching, the Antilles, will be quickly passed. Though Dean might damage them, they won’t slow Dean much at all. That seems unfair.
The next two days will probably see significant strengthening of this storm as it enters the Caribbean. On TV, meteorologists and others will point out Dean’s well defined and circular eye. We can’t do that quite yet.
The official pronouncement from the Hurricane Center calls for a period of Category 4 winds. There’s no certainty, but that seems a reasonable call. Dean is entering an area primed to be hurricane fuel.
Jamaica, the Caymans and the Yucatan Peninsula are all under attack if Hurricane Dean follows the computer guidance (amazingly in agreement with each other right now). All three areas are quite vulnerable.
After Katrina, some people were left with a false impression. There aren’t many places that can flood like New Orleans. Certainly none of the places I just mentioned floods that way.
The major damage from Dean will be related to strong, destructive winds. If you want the Katrina analogy, that’s the kind of damage produced on the Mississippi Coast.
A less sexy story, Mississippi a whole lot less news coverage than New Orleans. The damage was nonetheless catastrophic. Let’s hope I’m wrong.