Sunday, August 19, 2007

Dean is on its way

If you're been praying for rain in West Texas, next weekend is likely to have you dancing in the fields. The National Hurricane Center's most recent 5-day guestament of the storms track has it coming in at landfall sometime after 2:00 pm Wednesday on the northeaster coast of Mexico, below Brownsville.

Before zeroing in on the Mexican mainland, Dean is expected to deliver a devastating blow to the Yucatan early Tuesday, causing it to weaken to a category 3 or 4 before gaining strength again in its progress westward over the warm southern Gulf. If it continues at its current quickened pace, Dean will not have time to recover to a category 5 hurricane.

If this one does what most hurricanes do, after landfall in eastern Mexico on Wednesday afternoon, it will turn northward as it begins to weaken, rolling up central Mexico through the mountains and into the American desert Southwest. As it whirls its wings counterclockwise like a great water mill, it is expected to dip the moisture rising from the warm Gulf waters and wheel it northwestward into West Texas.

A storm of this magnitude is bad news for Mexico, of course, and locals will be working furiously this coming week to prepare. People along the Mexican coast who have American relatives can be expected to communicate with family members in Texas to make arrangements for their safe evacuation -- suggesting a coming problem for anal-retentive border security officials. Anyone living in low-lying areas subject to flooding is especially at risk. "Gonzo" is praying for the people of the Yucatan as I write.

Dean is currently speeding toward Jamaica after passing south of the Dominican Republic, causing damage there.

The economic impact to the States may be varied due to drought conditions in the American Southwest. The Chicago agricultural futures market will go into a dizzy state of "cognitive dissonance" trying to figure out what this means for the affected "slices" of produce yield in the region. Of course, the price of oil will be going up -- rigs in the Gulf are at high risk at the moment.

For those interested in tracking the storm via video, follow this link to YouTube, which now has video uploads pouring in at an incredible rate.

My advice for citizens: this may be a good time for a "vacation," especially if you are into volunteerism. Otherwise get out your umbrellas.

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