Back-Up Emergency Co-Blogger Will Collier can’t blog right now, but he was able to email me this link:
Dennis is now the most intense June or July hurricane on record, beating out Hurricane Audrey of June 1957, which was a Category 4 storm with 145 mph winds and a central pressure of 946 mb at its peak. Audrey killed 390 people in Texas and Louisiana when it came ashore, making it the sixth most deadly U.S. hurricane on record.
Today will be the worst day in Cuba’s modern history. Dennis is a worst-case hurricane following a worst-case path for the island. The storm is already punishing Cuba as it moves parallel to the island, subjecting much of the island to hurricane force winds and rainfall totals of 10 – 15 inches, and destroying much of the rich sugar cane fields and other crops. The situation will get much worse tonight when the storm makes landfall, pushing a storm surge of 20 feet or higher onto a long section of the coast. Dennis will pass near Havana, the most heavily populated part of the island. Although loss of life will be low thanks to Cuba’s excellent civil defense system, the destruction of buildings will probably be the worst in Cuba’s history. Building collapses are common in Cuba without having hurricane winds battering the cities. Dennis will damage or destroy hundreds of thousands of buildings, leaving a large percentage of Cuba’s population homeless. Lack of fresh water and electricity will be serious problems, and Cuba’s political stability could well be threatened by the scope of what is likely to be its greatest disaster in modern history.
Florida’s poorer Panhandle communities are in trouble, too.