Monday, August 20, 2007
Hurricane Dean is increasing in intensity with the eye registering a minimum pressure of 918 millibars, the lowest pressure measured yet. Given that it is over the warmest waters of the Caribbean and the wind shear is low, it will probably intensify to Category 5 before the end of the day.
The National Hurricane Center is reporting communications difficulties with USAF recon aircraft but have enough data to declare the intensity of the winds at 130 knots (150 mph/241 kmh).
It continues on a westerly heading toward the Yucatan Peninsula at a speed of 17 knots (20 mph/31 kmh) with landfall expected somewhere near Chetumal, Mexico somewhere between midnight and 2 a.m., Chetumal local time.
Dean has also started to develop a second eye wall which would weaken it slightly, although there is not enough time anticipated between the last reported position and projected landfall to see it drop wind speed to any significantly lower level.
Dean is expected to tear across the Yucatan quickly and re-emerge, 12 hours or less later, at at least Category 2 and then re-strengthen before making its second landfall.
The tracks of the computer models show Dean emerging into the Pacific. The forecast from the National Hurricane Center however, does not anticipate any significant circulation beyond 72 hours.
NEW INFORMATION HERE. Dean is now Category 5.