Monthly Archives: August 2007

NASA Orders Shuttle Endeavour Home Early Due to Hurricane Dean

The shuttle will leave the station on Sunday for a Tuesday landing:

NASA worried the hurricane might veer toward Houston, the home of Mission Control, forcing an emergency relocation of flight controllers to Cape Canaveral. The makeshift control center there would not be nearly as good or big as the Houston operation, and that’s why managers wanted to bring Endeavour back to Earth early.

Hurricane Dean, a fierce Category 4 storm, was headed toward Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and the Gulf of Mexico. It was uncertain whether the storm might strike the Texas coastline late in the week; that uncertainty made NASA’s decision so many days in advance all the harder.

LeRoy Cain, who headed Saturday’s mission management team meeting, acknowledged that the hurricane’s predicted path was shifting southward and farther from Houston. But he said it would have been irresponsible for NASA not to cut the mission short, considering most everything had already been accomplished in orbit.

“I would defy just about anybody to tell me at this point that there’s zero or even extremely low probability or possibility that the storm is going to come here,” Cain said.

LeRoy is absolutely right. The models are moving Southward, which is a good sign for Houston, but Hurricanes often defy forecast models.

Bloggers in Jamaica, Haiti, and Cayman Islands Post Hurricane Dean Updates

Cregnebaa updates from Grand Cayman:

Just under a Hurricane Watch now in Grand Cayman.

Thoughts at the moment tothose folks in Jamaca and Haiti. Busy packing as much as I can. Dean still heading at us the NHC 11am advisory path will be 13 miles from the airport

For those who don’t know Grand Cayman is mostly around 10ffet or less above sea level, and although rain water flodding is not a problem, a direct hit, pretty much puts the island underwater from Storm Surge.

2004 Ivan hit as a Cat 5 directly and even though our buildings are build to Florida standards, 80% were damaged or destroyed. Total damage estimated at around $90,000 per person, the most ever recorded. No Power or running water for 8 weeks, no TV for 5 months(which was nice).

Sustained winds from Ivan were recorded at 160mph in Grand Cayman, and some gusts of 200mph were unofficially recorded.

Dean could potentially be worse that that hell,we will see. Still to decide where to sit it out, in the meantime securing and sandbagging brothers house, as he is off island. My house was a shell after Ivan so trying to pack as much as I can

Anyway thanks everyone for their emails I will try and keep every updated on things on the ground here.

Andre Marriott-Blake writes from Jamaica:

As Mega Hurricane Dean churns towards Jamaica, preparations for its arrival are in high gear. Unfortunately all models seem to think that it will definately come over us. The truth is we cannot manage a category 4 or 5 hurricane… the only thing we can do now is pray ad call out to our saviour for protection. passing over the causeway this morning the sea is tranquil and the birds have vanished – an ominous sign of what is to come. My eyes have been glued to the weather channel waiting to hear that it has wobbled further noth our south ( which has been the norm for pass hurricanes nearing Jamaica) but so far nothing… I am really concerned about the possible storm surge that may acompany this system for many of Jamaica’s populated communites e.g Greater Portmore are below sea level and are very close to the sea. If Dean is to bring a 3 storey wave ( which it triggered over the Carribean sea lastnight) onshore Jamaica i realy fear a Jamaican Katrina scenario. This may be my last post prior to the storm.. and if it does hit, more than likely we wont have electricity for weeks…I’l try to post before ‘D’ day if possible. As usual if i can give u any assistance email me a sean134 at msn.com. Your prayers are truly needed and appreciated now. God be with you all and God be with Jamaica– in him we put all our trust.. “thy will be done…”

I rode out a category 1 hurricane on a small, low-lying, island once and it was not pleasant. I had a tough multi-story concrete and steel building to take refuge in but looking out and seeing nothing but ocean, and no land whatsoever, was not fun. I can’t imagine what they’re facing on some of these islands.

Bloggers in the Path of Dean:
Haiti | Cayman Islands | Jamaica | Dominican Republic

Post-Dean Updates:
Dominica | St. Lucia

Hurricane Dean Morning Update – Models Shift Southward

Great news for Houston as all the models have shifted South. We are no longer in the cone of uncertainty:

The initial motion is 275/15…again slightly slower than before. Dean continues to be steered by a ridge over the western Atlantic which should build westward during the next 72-96 hr as an upper-level low over South Florida moves westward. In the short term…the guidance is in good agreement on a west-northwestward track toward Jamaica. The official forecast will follow this…with the track down the left side of the guidance envelope due to the initial motion. After that…UKMET…GFS…and consensus models call for a motion toward the northern Yucatan Peninsula and northeastern Mexico. The GFDL calls for a motion through the Yucatan Channel to the Texas coast…while the ECMWF and NOGAPS call for a more westerly motion through the central Yucatan and the Bay of Campeche into Mainland Mexico. The track forecast is nudged a little south of the previous forecast in best agreement with the consensus models.

This storm still has a long way to go and anything can happen. Everyone on the Gulf Coast should be preparing for this storm and the storms that will follow. These models have all shown considerable fluctuation the past few days and this storm still hasn’t hit the Gulf of Mexico. Do not neglect to complete your basic safety preparations based on this forecast. Folks on South Padre should be especially concerned at this point.