Dean continues on a beeline square for the Yucatan Peninsula, reminiscent of the forecast track from the middle of last week. The high pressure ridge building in the Southeast will keep the track lower (in terms of latitude), which continues to remove the continental U.S. from the equation.
Talk about your million dollar views...here is Dean's eye from the space shuttle. Well, I guess it's just as million dollar a view as what the actual Hurricane Hunters see as they criss-cross the storm through the eye itself getting their recon data. What a ride that must be, especially with Dean's being a Cat 4 and flirting with Cat 5 status today, Monday...
And so the Cayman Islands are getting whipped now...the eye will pass well south of there, but it puts them in the northern/northeastern quadrant which is oftentimes the worst part of the hurricane to be on...which is why Jamaica's damage should be extensive with the eye having raked the southern coastline.
The Yucatan will take a hit head on as Dean's path will be perpendicular to the coastline, but just south of Cancun and Cozumel and north of Belize...in a unique (1.3 million acres!) area called the Sian Ka'an Biosphere which was to be a center for eco-tourism. It could do so at a projected Cat 5 strength, which would do mondo damage early Tuesday morning, to say the least.
So, the ol' southeastern high keeps Dean out of south Texas' hair...it also keeps rain out of our forecast (except for the piddly 20% chance for isolated PM convection). We will continue to bake and get drier this week, sadly. Here is the most recent map from the U.S. Drought Monitor:
Tropical systems are somewhat counted on to provide good rains in the late summer and fall months in the Southeast. Last year's relatively calm and peaceful 2006 Atlantic hurricane season cheated the region of said waters, and we're only adding to that through this year. Much of the Chattahoochee River valley and Alabama are in dire straits, and the oppressive heat we've had (and will continue to have this week) is not helping matters.
So far the past 19 days of August, 2007, the average high temperatures in NC have been sweltering far above average: