Hurricane Dean--9th strongest hurricane on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:46 PM GMT on August 21, 2007

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Hurricane Dean powered ashore in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula this morning as a Category 5 hurricane with 165 mph winds. The pressure of 906 mb measured by the Hurricane Hunters shortly before landfall at 4:30am EDT makes Dean the ninth strongest hurricane on record in the Atlantic. This is the third lowest pressure at landfall behind the 1935 Labor Day hurricane in the Florida Keys and Hurricane Gilbert of 1988 in Cancun Mexico. Dean is also the first Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in the Atlantic Basin since Andrew of 1992.


Figure 1. Dean at landfall, as seen by the Cancun radar. Image credit: Meteorological Service of Mexico.

Radar images at landfall (Figure 1) show that Dean came ashore just north of Chetumal, Mexico, a city of 130,000 people. Dean's center passed about 15 miles north of the city, and Chetumal missed the strongest Category 5 winds of the storm. The strongest winds from Dean were in the right front quadrant on the northern side, since the forward speed of the storm adds to the rotational speed of the winds there. It appears Chetumal was just at the edge of the southern eyewall, and probably experienced sustained winds of Category 3 strength, 115 mph. We don't know, since the weather station stopped reporting data long before the storm arrived. However, a wind analysis done by NOAA's Hurricane Research Division (Figure 2) supports this estimate. The coastal area north of Chetumal where Dean's greatest fury was unleashed has a cruise ship port and a stretch of beach front development, and this region probably suffered near-total destruction.


Figure 2. Dean's winds one hour before landfall. Winds are in knots, multiply by 1.15 to convert to mph. Locations of Chetumal and the Costa Maya Cruise Ship Port are marked. Winds of Category 1 strength (65 kt) are colored yellow, and winds of minimal Category 3 strength (100 knots) are colored pink. Image credit: NOAA/Hurricane Research Division.

Further north, it appears that Cozumel probably got sustained winds near tropical storm force, 39 mph. The weather station there stopped transmitting data before the storm arrived. Cancun's winds topped out at 29 mph, gusting to 54 mph. To the south, Belize City has had top winds of 23 mph, gusting to 35 mph, so far this morning. On the western side of the Yucatan Peninsula, the winds are starting to rise at Campeche. Dean's center will pass south of Campeche, and bring tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane-force winds to the city.

Dean is powerful enough to survive the crossing of the Yucatan as a hurricane, and I expect it will be a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds when it pops out into the Gulf of Mexico later today. Hurricane Janet of 1955, which hit near Chetumal as a Category 5 storm with 170 mph winds, weakened to a Category 2 storm with 105 mph winds when it popped out into the Gulf of Mexico south of Campeche. Janet was moving at about the same speed Dean is, so I expect Dean will behave similarly. Once out over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Dean has time to intensify by perhaps 15 mph before it makes a second landfall near Poza Rica. Dean will finally dissipate in the mountains about 100 miles north of Mexico City, and could bring heavy rains to the Mexican capital. No hurricane has ever survived the crossing from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific over the wide, mountainous portion of Mexico.

Links to follow today:
Campeche, Mexico observations.
Radar from Cancun, Mexico.
Belize City observations.
Morphed microwave animation.

Disturbance 92L
An area of disturbed weather associated with a tropical wave, 92L, is a few hundred miles north of Puerto Rico. This disturbance is less organized than yesterday, despite some rather favorable upper-level winds. There is some dry air to the north that may be interfering with organization, and there is probably not enough turning motion available from this tropical wave to get 92L spinning. I don't expect significant development today given its current state of disorganization, but 92L deserves close scrutiny over the next few days. None of the reliable computer models develop the system.

My live appearance tonight on Internet Partnership Radio
I'll be the guest tonight on the Internet Partnership Radio (http://www.ipr365.com). Tonight's show is called "Center of Circulation", and consists of global severe, winter, and tropical weather news/topics with up to the minute advisories, watches and warnings, safety & preparedness info, and periodic special guests. The host is Charlie Wilson. I hope you can listen in!

I may do a short update this afternoon, and the next full update will be Wednesday morning around 10am EDT.

Jeff Masters

Dean 2007 (nickmini)
A roof dumped atop another house
Dean 2007

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668. Stoopid1
11:42 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
DOOM would be a funny name...

Lol, I could see it now; Hurricane Doom makes landfall in Florida as the first Category 6 storm in history. A BFG(Big freaking gust) of 291 mph was recorded and all hell literally broke loose...
Member Since: August 6, 2007 Posts: 24 Comments: 2757
667. Bobbyweather
7:44 PM EDT on August 21, 2007
000
WTNT34 KNHC 212339
TCPAT4
BULLETIN
HURRICANE DEAN INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 35A
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL042007
700 PM CDT TUE AUG 21 2007

...DEAN OVER THE BAY OF CAMPECHE...AIR FORCE PLANE APPROACHING...

A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT ALONG THE GULF COAST OF MEXICO
FROM SOUTH OF PROGRESO WESTWARD TO TAMPICO. THE HURRICANE WARNING
FOR PORTIONS OF NORTHERN YUCATAN WILL BE GRADUALLY DISCONTINUED
LATER TONIGHT. PREPARATIONS IN THE WESTERN PORTION OF THE HURRICANE
WARNING AREA SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM NORTH OF TAMPICO TO
LA PESCA.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE
INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED
BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.

AT 700 PM CDT...0000Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE DEAN WAS LOCATED
NEAR LATITUDE 19.7 NORTH...LONGITUDE 92.2 WEST OR ABOUT 110 MILES...
175 KM...WEST OF CAMPECHE MEXICO AND ABOUT 345 MILES...555
KM...EAST OF TUXPAN MEXICO.

DEAN IS MOVING BETWEEN THE WEST AND WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 20 MPH...32
KM/HR...AND THIS GENERAL MOTION IS EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 24
HOURS. ON THE FORECAST TRACK...DEAN IS EXPECTED TO BE VERY NEAR
THE COAST OF CENTRAL MEXICO DURING THE DAY WEDNESDAY.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS REMAIN NEAR 80 MPH...130 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS. DEAN IS A CATEGORY ONE HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON
SCALE. AN AIR FORCE PLANE IS CURRENTLY APPROACHING DEAN. SOME
RE-STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 35 MILES...55 KM...FROM
THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 140
MILES...220 KM.

ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 970 MB...28.64 INCHES.

STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 6 TO 8 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS IS
POSSIBLE...ALONG WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES...ALONG
THE COAST OF MEXICO WITHIN THE HURRICANE WARNING AREA.

DEAN IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE STORM TOTAL RAINFALL OF 5 TO 10 INCHES
OVER PARTS OF SOUTHERN AND CENTRAL MEXICO...AND GUATEMALA...WITH
MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF UP TO 20 INCHES. THESE RAINS COULD CAUSE
LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND MUDSLIDES. STORM TOTAL RAINFALL
OF 1 TO 2 INCHES IS POSSIBLE OVER PORTIONS OF SOUTH TEXAS.

REPEATING THE 700 PM CDT POSITION...19.7 N...92.2 W. MOVEMENT
TOWARD...WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 20 MPH. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...80
MPH. MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...970 MB.

THE NEXT ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER AT
1000 PM CDT.

$$
FORECASTER AVILA
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665. NWWNCAVL
11:43 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
Posted By: NaturalDisaster at 11:43 PM GMT on August 21, 2007.

Hello all, Hows 92L looking?


Like a thunder storm.
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663. HurricaneMyles
11:41 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
wederwatcher555...Using 2006 as the only year in comparision isn't correct. 2006 probably isn't even a good analog year. El Nino squashed the end of the season last year and this year it's going to be neutral or La Nina. I wouldn't expect this season to just die out after Sept like last year did.
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662. DoverDan
11:43 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
Posted By: nash28 at 10:43 PM GMT on August 21, 2007.Whether or not someone is degreed in meteorology is beside the point.
A piece of paper stating that you passed tests is all fine and good, but putting the knowledge to use is another story.
I know plenty of people (including myself) who are not degreed, but know a thing or two about the tropics.


With all due respect, Nash, that piece of paper is the thing that really counts for the layman like me. Meteorology is all about someone predicting the future and me making decisions based on those predictions. Bottom line is, who do I trust? I come to this blog and I see a hundred different people saying a hundred different things; most of them obviously uninformed. Even assuming that there are people here that have a clue, how would anyone know? There's real data that can be evaluated about how well the NHC has predicted past events and I can use that to determine how much faith I should put into their current/future forcasts. The decisions that people make based on weather forcasts can be trivial, can involve financial risk or be life or death. For these I'll look to the NWS or NHC, not a bunch of weatherman wannabes. And, by the way, it seems that you were all so fixated on Dean that you lost sight of Erin. Something like 20 lives lost to Erin so far. You guys are doing a heck of a job.
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659. NaturalDisaster
11:42 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
Hello all, Hows 92L looking?
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658. Stoopid1
11:40 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
Season is still above average right now. Right now, 3 to 4 TS's, 1 Hurricane is about average. ACE wise, we are a little above average, as well. Don't count the season out yet, still plenty of time and fairly good conditions ahead.
Member Since: August 6, 2007 Posts: 24 Comments: 2757
657. StormJunkie
11:41 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
JJ, I was worried about the surge down there. The angle of approach looked bad for many areas.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16970
656. NWWNCAVL
11:41 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
DOOM would be a funny name...
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655. franck
11:40 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
If you mean predictions doomed...then yes.
No serious wind event in US.
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654. Jamaicajane
6:41 PM EST on August 21, 2007
I meant, more serious than Ivan.
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653. StormJunkie
11:41 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
Evening SW, Great to see ya!
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16970
652. Jamaicajane
6:40 PM EST on August 21, 2007
btw, Dean was not a major rain event. Mainly wind and storm surge damage. Storm surges more significant than Dean. Should have some data soon.
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651. Bobbyweather
7:40 PM EDT on August 21, 2007
centex, it is on 20N
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646. Bobbyweather
7:39 PM EDT on August 21, 2007
2007 will be doomed. At least more doomed than 2006.
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645. wederwatcher555
11:36 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
using 2006 as a model we should see about 4 more hurricanes in september but thats about it for the season. they could be big like dean and maybe even hit the U.S. or they could be weak fish storms. forecasters get it wrong again. that pre-season garbage should be stopped. i mean havent they heard of the boy who cried wolf.
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644. centex
11:36 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
Bobbyweather, than it's a threat to be outside the one day cone.
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643. Cajun27
11:37 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
2007 doom
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642. Stoopid1
11:28 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
I find it kinda funny that when we do have some systems in the Atlantic, the blog is slower, but when there are only waves, the place is ver y active. I don't know if that's how it is normally, but just saying.
Member Since: August 6, 2007 Posts: 24 Comments: 2757
641. StormJunkie
11:34 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
JJ, welcome and glad you came through safe! Thoughts go out to y'all and I hope the recovery is quick!
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16970
640. sceerdycat
11:36 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
We need the rain, 92L. Hope that's all you bring!
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639. Bobbyweather
7:34 PM EDT on August 21, 2007
centex, it did reach 20n.
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638. HurricaneMyles
11:33 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
That's a bit of an overstatement. Many storms have optimal conditions and never get that strong. But either way, its 1 TS and 1 major hurricane so far in Aug.
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637. NWWNCAVL
11:32 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
Jamaicajane, Thats good to hear ya'll are ok. Good luck getting back to normal.
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635. wederwatcher555
11:33 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
lets put it this way...the forecasters will probably end being wrong once again on the number of storms that they thought would form this season.
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634. centex
11:32 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
Has Dean already reached 20N or I'm I seeing things?
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633. wederwatcher555
11:31 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
yeah and ernesto would have been a cat 5 if it went into the gulf instead of killing itself over cuba. im talking from a numbers standpoint
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632. HurricaneMyles
11:32 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
fldude99...He's not serious.
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631. NOTSTLN
11:31 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
Posted By: wederwatcher555 at 11:29 PM GMT on August 21, 2007.

this season is exactly like 2006. up to the letter 'E' with 1 hurricane and 1 TS in august.



Naa... did '06 have a cat 5?
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630. HurricaneMyles
11:30 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
Yea, the only difference is the hurricane this year was a Cat 5 monster that's going to landfall twice.
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629. Jamaicajane
6:31 PM EST on August 21, 2007
We came out unscathed although there is a lot of damage in our neighborhood, in Red Hills, a hilly suburban/semi-rural area to the north-west of Kingston. Main problem is no light and water, probably for a few weeks. The storm was fierce though and I have to wonder what a direct hit by a category 4 or 5 really feels like. It must be apocalyptic! Kingston is mixed, uptown only moderate damage but more sever in the waterfront areas and in the slums, where structures are weak. Much damage in East of Island, from St Thomas to Boston Bay in Portland -- hubby is doing damage assessments there today and just called. Also along South Coast from St Catherine to Westmoreland, the areas also worst hit by Ivan and still recovering in some instances. Hope this is the last for the season but the region suddenly looks scarily active.
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628. Bobbyweather
7:30 PM EDT on August 21, 2007
wederwatcher555, but Dean was a CAT5!.
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627. IAmRooot
6:30 PM CDT on August 21, 2007
KRL...google paleotempestology or paleohurricanes for a geological history. but as far as ancient civilizations documenting hurricanes, i remember learning about a civilization that would record weather events on the pottery they made. since i've slept ALOT since then, the time and place escapes me. i'll see if i can find it.
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626. fldude99
11:27 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
Posted By: NOTSTLN at 11:25 PM GMT on August 21, 2007.
(cont'd)
During that time, strong thunderstorms will break free from the ITCZ and form a depression in the next following days.

Low wind shear, combined with favorable environment for the next week ahead means our next hurricane is imminent.


Are you for real?
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625. wederwatcher555
11:27 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
this season is exactly like 2006. up to the letter 'E' with 1 hurricane and 1 TS in august.
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623. centex
11:23 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
If Dean tracks more NW it also will have more time to intensify and storms that were CAT 5 act differently.
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622. StormJunkie
11:20 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
EWR, I have learned something about mets over the years...

There are two types...
The ones that want more folks to be informed and are happy that there is so much information available on the web and then there are ones that are irritated because they have a degree and think that the information that is available to help folks learn should only come from either them or a degreed program.

That said, let me make this clear, I am no expert and I am not planning on becoming one, but I have learned an enormous amount here from the folks that are either mets, or folks that have taken the time to learn from the wealth of free information that is available.

Just my two cents!
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16970
621. GRDRATNAVARRE
11:23 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
Rlennon, thought I'd brake it down, in simple terms, simple answer is yeah, you're right.
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620. NWWNCAVL
11:23 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
Posted By: NOTSTLN at 11:22 PM GMT on August 21, 2007.

Updates? Yeah. Local stations are reporting that 92L with rapidly intensify tonight and cross florida and enter the GOM and possibly become the season's 2nd CAT 5 storm


why do some people have to be so obnoxious.
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618. 1million
11:23 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
Updates? Yeah. Local stations are reporting that 92L with rapidly intensify tonight and cross florida and enter the GOM and possibly become the season's 2nd CAT 5 storm.

WHAT? LOL!

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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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