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Dangerous Ivan Intensifies, threatens Gulf Coast

Jason Samenow @ 12:05 AM

Overview: Hurricane Ivan became a Category 5 storm yesterday, with maximum sustained winds of 165mph. His pressure dropped to 910mb, making him the sixth most intense storm to develop in the Atlantic basin on record. On his current path, he will likely cause extensive damage over the Cayman Islands. Ivan has already been responsible for 56 deaths in the Caribbean and significant destruction.

Track forecast: After staying on a westward course longer than expected, Ivan may finally be starting to turn a bit more to the north. As of now, it would appear the Florida panhandle seems like the most likely location for landfall (Tuesday into Wednesday), from Cedar Key to Pensacola (Apalachicola may be under the gun). So I've shifted my forecast a bit again and I wouldn't be surprised if I need to tweak it again tomorrow. Bottom line is that anyone from south Florida to New Orleans needs to continue watching this, but the panhandle seems most at risk. See also: Tropical Prediction Center Track Forecast

Intensity forecast:Clearly the storm is very intense and should hold its own for the next 48 hours...probably fluctuating between Category 4 and Category 5 strength. After that, he may encounter some shearing which would bring his intensity down a bit before landfall. However, given the Gulf of Mexico's warm water, the weakening may be modest -- so landfall intensity of Category 4 is possible.

DC Impact: There is a possibility of rains from Ivan's remnants in our area late in the week, and perhaps another round of severe weather. I have to be vague given how far away the possibility is.

Resources: WxNation's Blog (The Drudge Report of Weather) really does a nice job outlining links to storm coverage. The Sunday, Washington Post provides the following couple of stories:
- Ivan's Shift Gives Hope to Florida Keys
- Jamaica Spared Direct Hit by Hurricane Ivan

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