Hurricane Dean is really starting to look like a monster on the satellite imagery. Dean has made that classic eyewall in its center and it is a tell tale sign that this monster is just getting his act together. If you look a the image of Dean, you will notice how symmetrical this storm looks. It basically looks like a textbook hurricane and will likely be studied by meteorologists for years to come. The outflow is amazing. I would love to know what is going on down there on the water below that storm.
Here is the latest. Hurricane Dean is now a Category 4 hurricane with maximum winds of 145 mph. Gusts are up to 180 mph. The lowest pressure is now at 937 mb, down from this morning when it was in the 965-975 mb range. When the pressure drops suddenly like that, watch out, it will strengthen and strengthen fast.
The track of this storm is still pretty much unknown past its pass with the Yucatan. We pretty much know that it will come extremely close to Jamaica now as a Category 5 storm with max winds possibly in the 155-160 mph range with gusts projected to near 200 mph by some computer models.
Rainfall will be a big deal too, but one good thing with Dean is that it is moving along at a good rate, around 20 mph, good for rain to move on. You will not see rainfall amounts of 20"+ as you would see with slower storms.
After the Yucatan there is an upper level low center off the east coast of Florida right now and if Dean keeps moving faster than 18-20 mph, as it is, Dean and the upper level low will likely "link" up and this could mean disaster for the US. This upper level low would bring Dean more north after passing by the Yucatan and likely bring the storm into somewhere from Galveston-Houston-or somewhere on the Texas coast, likely sparing coastal Mexico. This will be very interesting to see in the coming days to see if the computer models start to pick up on this. Some have, but the GFS has not yet. Stay tuned for the latest updates, this is really starting to get interesting.
Just a side note, our weather will probably become second priority, rightfully so, so check for weather updates probably once every other day or so...Dean will be getting most of the attention on this site for the next several days at least.