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Dennis may be devastating...

Jason Samenow @ 10:15 AM

Dangerous Hurricane Dennis deepened rapidly yesterday, intensifying into a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 135mph. 11:15am update: Maximum winds now at about 140mph, minimum pressure is 930mb. Current track guidance brings Dennis ashore near Mobile, Alabama (early in the afternoon ) -- which is where I've been forecasting landfall for the past 48 hours. Of course, a slight wobble west could bring landfall closer to Gulfport, Mississippi, or a wobble east closer to Pensacola, Fl. 11:15am update: Eastward wobble occurred overnight--landfall looks to be near Pensacola in about four hours.

Hurricane Center guidance puts the probability of a New Orleans landfall at about 15%. If such an outlier scenario were to verify, it would be potentially catastrophic as New Orleans has not evacuated and its vulnerability to flooding from a major hurricane is well-documented. 11:15am update: Looks like New Orleans has largely dodged the bullet.

The satellite image shows a text book major hurricane -- very symmetric, with a well defined eye, central dense overcast and excellent outflow. This is a powerful storm, that is likely to produce extensive damage.

Here's what to expect:
  • Maximum storm surge of 10-15 feet, just east of the storm's center
  • 5-10" of rain, isolated higher amounts
  • Tornadoes on the east side of the track (state of Florida)
  • Top sustained winds of 100-135 mph or so near the eye, isolated gusts to 150mph
  • Hurricane force winds within 40 miles of the eye
  • Tropical storm force winds within 200 miles of the eye
Here are some more useful resources on Dennis:As far as Dennis and DC, while its remnants may eventually get here Wednesday or Thursday, it will be a shell of its former self (disorganized, perhaps with no defined center) and is unlikely to do anything except increase humidity levels and the odds of showers/storms. I think its impact on our area will be less than that of Cindy's remnants -- although as its potential influence is many days away, confidence is low.

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