Sunday, August 19, 2007
THREAT TO U.S. COAST GREATLY DIMINISHED, BUT NO CHANCES BEING TAKEN
As you can see from the forecast track bubble above, the threat from Hurricane Dean to the U.S. coast is reduced greatly. It seems as though the combination of a mid-to-upper level system shifting ahead west of Dean and a deep level high pressure system taking hold over the Southeastern U.S. will keep the powerful Catagory 4 storm (still predicted to reach Catagory 5 before reaching the Yucatan) well south.
The forecast track and bubble, which takes into consideration the National Hurricane Centre's margin of error, only shows a small possibility of the centre of Dean making landfall on the coast near Brownsville, Texas. The higher likelihood is that after clipping the Yucatan Penisula, the hurricane will make final landfall over the northeast Mexican coast.
That's not stopping the folks at NASA's Mission Control from bringing Space Shuttle Endeavor home a day early, on Tuesday instead of the original return date Wednesday. Mission Control, located at the Johnson Space Centre in southeast Houston near Galveston Bay, made the decision so that should Dean change course and become a threat, it would allow personnel --- many of whom live in the neighbouring suburban communities such as Clear Lake City and Webster --- time to shut down and possibly evacuate. Having lived in the area some time ago, I know that one reality of the area is that drainage is not the best. Even a decent afternoon thundershower during summer can cause water to reach bumpers in many areas, and with all the flooding they have had in much of south Texas they certainly don't need a Catagory 4 or 5 hurricane dropping a whole bunch of additional water.