A direct hit on New Orleans, the worst-case scenario for Hurricane Dennis, now appears extremely unlikely. Thank God. The new worst-case scenario — not an apocalyptic scenario like a New Orelans landfall, but still quite bad — would be a landfall just to the west of Mobile Bay.
Currently, the forecast calls for landfall just east of Mobile Bay (much like Ivan), but a slightly westward wobble would bring the right-front quadrant of Dennis’s eyewall, and thus the worst of the storm surge, right up the bay, which would cause tremendous flooding and very severe damage to downtown Mobile.
If Dennis makes landfall just to the west of Mobile [as a Category 4], there will be severe damage in Mobile Bay from the tidal surge of 14-18 feet. With a CAT 5 storm, which is not totally out of reach, a tidal surge of 20-22 ft is possible.
Hopefully Dennis will keep following its predicted track (as it has been doing very faithfully thus far) and will stay east of Mobile. Of course, unfortunately that also means that the very same areas that were battered by Ivan in September will get hit again by an even stronger hurricane just 10 months later.
Wherever Dennis hits, it’s going to be bad. Over on Foot’s Forecast, here’s a rather dramatic discussion of the deadly threat that this storm poses:
By the time we wake up on this soon-to-be fateful Sunday July 10, we may be looking at a Category 5 or nearly so. The destruction and havoc to be wreaked on this date will give new meaning to the numbers “7-11″ for the people of Pensacola and the surrounding areas, including Mobile and its bay. When they wake up on Monday, July 11, it will look and feel to them they just went through their own 9/11.