Tuesday, August 21, 2007

[Jyo_hurricane] Hurricane Dean: August 21, Update A

As you may have heard, Hurricane Dean hit the Costa Maya (Majahual) area
of the Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 5 (165 mph sustained winds) storm
this morning. Fortunately the worst of the H. Dean winds seem to have
been in a sparsely populated area. I'm sure we'll get a better idea of
the damage tonight and tomorrow. A cat 5 landfall is quite an infrequent
occurrence because the storms usually get downgraded prior to landfall
as they begin to interact with land. The last time an Atlantic hurricane
made landfall as a cat 5 was in 1992 - Hurricane Andrew (which was
initially thought to be a cat 4 direct hit, but got upgraded afterwards).

Hurricane Dean has emerged from the Yucatan Peninsula and is now in the
Bay of Campeche as a mid-sized cat 1 storm with winds of about 80-85 mph
(70-74 kt) (Cat 1: 74-95 mph, 64-82 kt). He is a lot more disorganized
than earlier today (thank goodness), especially on the northern side of
the storm, and is going to be crossing waters of ~28-31 deg C but they
are just warm near the surface, not with depth. At the most he might
regain a weak-to-mid cat 2 status before landfall again near the Tampico
region (Mexico). This 2nd Mexican landfall will be in less than 24 hours
unless he slows down, but even then, the track is unlikely to change
much. I agree with the forecast track. As for his intensity, he is
heading into a region of moderate wind shear, and now that he is weaker
it might have some impact. Also, the southern side of the storm will
continue to interact with land (poor Mexico!) so that should also slow
down intensification. We'll know in the next few hours how strong the
relative effects of the atmosphere, land and sea surface temperature
were on this storm.

It is all relative isn't it? A few days ago a cat 2 at the next landfall
would have been big news (and I'm sure it is to those who are in its
path), but after the rare cat 5 at landfall we saw this morning, its a
relief that he will 'only' be a cat 1 or cat 2 hurricane!

The convection in the Atlantic (north of Puerto Rico now) that I
mentioned yesterday continues to show very little sign of development,
but those who do this professionally are watching it like a hawk...I'm
just watching it like a er... humming bird :) ... and there's not enough
yet for me to get concerned about. I mention this because a few people
have asked me about it again today.

I don't see anything else out there right now either.

Ciao for now,

These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not
the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an
evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the
National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather
Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away,
run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.

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