***Dean continues as a strong Category 4 hurricane***
At 4:00pm CDT –
– The center of Category 4 Hurricane Dean was located 455 miles east-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica. Movement is towards the west-northwest at 18mph and this motion is expected to continue for the next 24 hours. Maximum sustained winds are measured at 150mph and some fluctuations in intensity are likely. Minimum surface pressure has been measured at 930mb.
– Hurricane force winds extend outward to 70 miles and tropical storm force winds to 230 miles.
– Dean appears headed for southern Texas/northern Mexico.
Dean continues to be a very powerful hurricane and is in a very favorable environment. Warm SSTs ahead of Dean and low mid-level shear will provide a favorable environment for Dean to reach Category 5 status. This may occur at any point, but is more likely once Dean gets west of Jamaica and over the really warm SSTs. Jamaica continues to be a real bad place to be as Dean should skirt the southern edge of the island. At this point there is little to no reason for Dean to weaken until it reaches the Yucatan. Some weakening is likely as it passes over the Yucatan. Dean should restrengthen after passing over the Yucatan, but limited time over water may limit how strong it can get. If Dean ends up missing the Yucatan, than it will likely remain at least a Cat 4 hurricane.
The track of Dean will be much tougher than the intensity forecast and will dictate much of what happens with said forecast. The forecast reasoning remains the same with the track models tightly clustered over northern Mexico. However, the GFDL is north of the track near Corpus. This cannot be ignored as the GFDL is a reliable track model. The general pattern remains the same, a deep layer 594dm ridge is to the north of Dean. Heights along the Texas coast are 592dm and up, this should be sufficient to keep Dean south. However, a weak easterly wave is progged to move ahead of Dean across southern Texas. This could produce a weakness in the ridge and allow Dean to turn into said weakness. For now the threat area appears to be Corpus and south around late Wednesday into early Thursday. Houston and surrounding areas appear to be clear, but it is still way too early to call.
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