People are walking out of the low-lying San Juan area adjacent to San
Pedro Town proper, carrying belongings. Others have moved out using
vehicles. We are looking at some water buildup from the main storm,
made worse on the low-lying west side of the island by increasing
westerly winds.

San Pedro has put on an 8 p.m. curfew except for people who have
business, but people are still driving, riding, walking. People are
nuts. Except those needing to move to higher ground, that is.

Conditions are, obviously, still in the moderate range, for people to
be able to do all that, but the gusts are getting heavier and more
frequent. Not really destructive yet, but heavier and more frequent.

Now, I've been a Keith fan ever since he was an obscure little cell
off Honduras-Nicaragua. Now he's amazing weather professionals by his
ability to drop his central pressure rapidly and strengthen even
though he's so close to land a quarter or more of his circulation is
already over land. His max sustained winds are between 115 and 120 --
being called a Category 3, or major, hurricane in some quarters now --
with intensification still predicted, and his central pressure's being
estimated at 28.35 inches, which is not only low but a quick drop
from 28.53 inches three hours ago.

Still, his movement continues slowly westward much more than anything
else. He's now 80 miles east-southeast of Chetumal.

Placing him due east of Chetumal in the last Nexxxt post was an error
of mine, not National Hurricane Center's. He is making some northing,
but very little -- a tenth of a degree in the past three hours, which
could even be within the range of variability in definition or
estimation of his center. Still, our winds remain primarily from the
west, which indicates a center position slightly north of San Pedro
Town -- just confirmed by stepping out on the front porch, which is on
the lee side of the house, and checking the palm tree indicators.
Still not losing palm tree fronds, by the way, though I hear a few
crackling a little. You lose those in regular tropical squalls.

Now that Keith has a visible eye, you can see he's westing on the
satellite shot, barely tell he's northing. You can also tell why our
gusts are picking up-- we're in a heavy part of his circulation.
Should abate a bit as they swing around some. Then the question will
be, how close the eye wall passes.

I should make note that one of the worst things Keith is doing is
dousing the upper elevations on the mainland with torrential rainfall.
Some people are talking about eighteen to twenty inches in places. The
National Weather Service is not quantifying, but talking about bad
floods and mudslides. A really heavy storm passed along the
Honduras-Nicaraguan border. Also likely to be affected are inland
Belize, Guatemala, and the Mexican Yucatan.

The other part of the formula is for lowlanders on islands and along
the coast, with six to eight foot storm tides and battering waves atop
them in places -- principally north of the center. Remember, our own
winds will be blowing hard against those, mitigating their effect, as
long as they remain from the west or thereabouts. And then there's the
good old reef.

John Lankford