Can Jamaica pray away Hurricane Dean? The official forecast and nearly all of the computer models have put Jamaica in the bulls-eye for several days now. But hurricanes have a funny way of taking 11th-hour wobbles that spare the island a direct hit. Witness the remarkable turn Hurricane Ivan took in 2004, as it headed directly for the island with 145 mph winds. Ivan took a sudden turn 35 miles from the island, traced out an exact outline of the island's coast 35 miles offshore, then resumed its previous track. In the Jamaica Observer, Custos of Kingston, Reverend Carmen Stewart, contends that it was not the first time that prayers had influenced the turn of events when disaster faced Jamaica. "It has happened time and time again," Reverend Stewart says. "I know people have been praying and I don't see any other reason why it (the hurricane) would make such a drastic turn.... God hears prayer."
Figure 1. Hurricane Ivan as it miraculously skirted the island of Jamaica. Image credit: jamaicancaves.org.
Category 5 Hurricane Allen took an odd wobble around the island, too, but Hurricane Gilbert of 1988 did not. Can Jamaicans pray away Hurricane Dean? Well, the recent motion of Dean has been more due west, which may bring the storm just south of the island. Keep praying, Jamaica!