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Hurricane Dean--9th strongest hurricane on record

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

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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517. MTJax
9:12 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
The 18Z tropical SFC ANALYSIS downgraded 92L to a Tropical Wave from a LOW BUT also upgraded the clouds at 10/52 to a Tropical wave.

18Z SCF ANALY
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515. sporteguy03
9:04 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
Taz,
Snow coming soon?
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514. Twinkster
9:03 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
you can't say the Hurricane season is over once the first cold front comes down because wilma came with a cold front across florida. After the storm passed we had 55 degree temperatures with winds still at 40 mph. That was the coldest i have ever felt in florida
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512. StormHype
8:49 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
Where are all the pics of the """"catastrophic"" damage in mex that a cat 5 does?? Jim Cantore is chillin and is having a hard time finding disaster there..??


First, Cantore was way too far north. Just like Sidel was way too far north in Jamaica. TWC does that on purpose. Their talent are not desperate storm chasers willing to die to see the eye of a Cat5, and with all their gear, they are not that mobile in a split second.

Secondly, Cantore made the mistake of showing viewers a Mayan structure made of mexican hard wood beams and a roof of thatched palm fronds thinking it would come apart like a house of cards hit with a leaf blower. Wrong! The Mayans are smarter than he is obviously. They've been dealing with this weather for 1000s of years. Their structures hold up better to hurricanes than any ignorant gringo would guess. Why? Because they flex and let air and surge pass through. They model palm trees (bio-mimicry) and if you've ever been to a Cat5 aftermath site, you'll notice palm trees usually survive hurricanes just fine.
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511. txmassage
8:13 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
Comparing storm-centered satellite image of Dean 2pmEDT 8-21-07 to Nexrad radar of LivingstonTX: can the rain we experienced today w/ more to come be "splatter" from Dean? Not the usual Aug./afternoon rain w/ lightening & thunder. Any other explanation?
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510. Weather456
5:00 PM AST on August 21, 2007
A very well define upper level low/trough indeed
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509. skibrian95
8:56 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
yeah --- will be hard for 92L to organize...there is that interesting rotation...i agree. i honestly don't know how something can come from this...but there is spin, and some more active convection south of where they are spotting the actual low.

anyone out there that can expand for me and icepilot?

i don't see 92L as dead yet...but it does look like it won't organize till past florida if it does...just not enough time...
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508. snowboy
8:50 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
Ivan passed 30 km south of Grand Cayman..
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507. icepilot
2:49 PM CST on August 21, 2007
JFLORIDA

Thanks, I saw the wind fields too and figure the reef took alot of the energy out of the surge, so am hopping for best - I have a friend down there and have been through the area myself - the locals don't have much to start with and I'd hate for them to loose what little they have...
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506. BahaHurican
4:36 PM EDT on August 21, 2007
guygee,

I love these maps you have been making . . . they are great!
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505. Weather456
8:33 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
Tropical Wave Update

A tropical wave is estimated to be near 20N/69W 28N/63W based on satellite imagery and surface observations. This disturbance is becoming more associated with a broad uppper level low near 20N/72W and this is suggested by the orientation of the cloud tops on visible images. The latest Quikscat pass still showed an open wave but a highly amplified one. Wind shear remains 5-10 knots due to its relative position to the low and SSTs are well above 26C. However microwave data from early and satellite imagery continue to show a very disorganize system that is not getting any better due to decreaseing convergence and low level vorticity.

Elsewhere across the Atlnatic, a few showers is along the ITCZ/NECZ/African Monsoon trough but no low level spin is evident in any.

A recent tropical wave left africa and is embedded in the oceanic part of the African monsoon trough and could be something to watch in the next few days. More updates from this wave as ROABS (upper air data) from Dakar becomes availabe.

by W456
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504. Starwoman
10:45 PM CEST on August 21, 2007
Hey Patrap!

Welcome back !!
Hope everything is allright...
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503. aspectre
8:49 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
While I don't see anything happening with 92L where the computer models are placing it, there does seem to be cyclonic movement centered between Haiti, Cuba, and Jamaica -- which is really HOT water inregard to energy content -- in the satellite loop.

No central clouds as yet, but can a tropical depression form from cyclonic movement alone?
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502. CaptnDan142
8:46 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
we evacuated to cancun yesterday and spent the night in cocstos parking lot. well, megasas costco kicked us out.

I can't express my feelings about that without getting banned...

Glad to hear from someone in the area. Thanks.
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501. Stormy2day
4:43 PM EDT on August 21, 2007
Isn't Cantore in Cozumel? Dr. Master's post states that Cozumel received only TS strength storms. I guess Cantore followed the wrong model when he picked his spot.
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499. HurrMichaelOrl
8:43 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
What were the highest sustained winds reported in Mexico with Dean? Wasn't it 114 in Jamaica?
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497. KnowYourRole
4:41 PM EDT on August 21, 2007
Posted By: BahaHurican at 4:36 PM EDT on August 21, 2007.
Posted By: Cregnebaa at 12:46 PM EDT on August 21, 2007.

"Dean is also the first Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in the Atlantic Basin since Andrew of 1992."

What about Ivan in Grand Cayman in 2004?
Cat 5 sustained winds were recorded

I thought Ivan was going through a Cat 4 moment when he went through the Caymans . . ..


I don't believe Ivan made landfall on Grand Cayman. I thought it passed to it's south.
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496. icepilot
2:22 PM CST on August 21, 2007
Posted By: AEApresident at 11:47 AM CST on August 21, 2007.

any news on the storm surge in the Chetumal area?


Did anyone answer this? Has anyonew any info about it?
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493. Bootsie1
3:31 PM CDT on August 21, 2007
Is anything going to develop in the gulf, in the next week or so?
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491. volcanopele
1:37 PM MST on August 21, 2007
I REALLY need to stop looking at the GFDL model animation on this site... The 12Z run has Dean going up the Gulf of California, reaching Cat. 3 in strength :-O I am VERY happy I moved to a third-story apartment here in Tucson, Arizona from the room I rented that flood every time we had a major rain storm and no one close the storm gates in front of our driveway.
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489. Bobbyweather
4:35 PM EDT on August 21, 2007
Dean has winds of 80mph. it will restrengthen and become a Cat2.
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488. WxKIDD
8:27 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
Posted By: guygee

Thank you for coming here and sharing that very informative post with us. Please do come back and tell us more about yourself sometime.


no problem. penn state meteorologist with a grad degree in earth science where i studied some disaster management. with just a quick reference to katrina, i'll say every single organization gets a big fat F for the way it handled the storm, from the feds to state, local, and lots of the people in lousiana with two notable exceptions...the coast guard and the louisiana wildlife and fisheries services...both of whom cut through their red tape to save lives, which of course, is the bottom line.

basic disaster mitigation was not followed from top to bottom in my estimation and people died because of it.

ok back to our regularly scheduled tunnel building exercises!
Member Since: December 9, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 63
487. HurrMichaelOrl
8:29 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
I'm really surprised they were so seemingly certain about the development of 92L, yesterday it was the worst looking invest I've seen. Our local meteorologist Tom Terry, who is very good and never hypes things, seemed insistent on it developing last night despite how bad it looked. He even eluded to "some wind" in the forcast which he doesn't do unless there is a real chance. Not that I was wishcasting but we sure could use a rainy tropical storm, it's sooo dry here. Let's hope this at least enhances the rain chances. Anyone still think it could get its act together to become at least a td?
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486. tropicalmiami
8:35 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
hey can anyone please post a link for a long satellite loop of Dean? i need one that goes back about a week and shows its evolution...someone posted one not too long ago but i can't find it.

thanks in advance!
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484. fldude99
8:36 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
jflorida..i'm up in the panhandle..i look forward to that first cool front..that usually means we're out of the woods..at least up this way
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483. BahaHurican
4:30 PM EDT on August 21, 2007
Posted By: Cregnebaa at 12:46 PM EDT on August 21, 2007.

"Dean is also the first Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in the Atlantic Basin since Andrew of 1992."

What about Ivan in Grand Cayman in 2004?
Cat 5 sustained winds were recorded


I thought Ivan was going through a Cat 4 moment when he went through the Caymans . . ..
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481. MTJax
8:34 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
...INVERTED TROF/TROPICAL WAVE APPROACHING FLORIDA...

THE 12Z NAM AND GFS OVERALL SHOW FAIRLY GOOD CONTINUITY WITH THE
ENERGY ATTM APPROACHING THE BAHAMAS AND MOVING WWD TWD THE FL
PENINSULA.


...HURRICANE DEAN...

OVER THE LAST 12 TO 24 HRS THE NAM HAS EXHIBITED A GENERALLY SWD
TREND WITH THE TRACK OF DEAN...HOWEVER THE LATEST 12Z RUN SHOWS A
SMALL NWD ADJUSTMENT AND A FASTER TREND BETWEEN 24 AND 36 HRS AS
IT MAKES A SECOND LANDFALL IN MEXICO. THE 12Z AND 06Z RUNS OF THE
GFS REFLECT A TRACK A LITTLE SOUTH OF THE 00Z RUN AS IT CROSSES
THE BAY OF CAMPECHE.


...INVERTED TROF/TROPICAL WAVE APPROACHING FLORIDA...

THE 12Z NAM IS A STG OUTLIER WITH THE INVERTED UPR TROF AND SFC
LOW THAT MOVES WWD TWD S FL BY FHR 48. THE 00Z ECMWF/12Z GFS/12Z
GEM GLOB AND UKMET SOLNS ALL SUPPORT A WAVE THAT IS MORE MODEST BY
COMPARISON AND SO HPC WILL LEAN TWD THE WEAKER CONSENSUS.

...HURRICANE DEAN...

THE 12Z NAM AGAIN CONTINUES TO BE WELL NORTH OF THE 12Z GFS LED
CONSENSUS...INCLUDING TRACKS OF THE 12Z UKMET...12Z GEM GLOB AND
THE 00Z ECMWF. MOST OF THE 06Z GEFS MEMBERS SUPPORT THE FARTHER
SOUTH TRACK OF THE GFS AND GIVEN THE STRENGTH OF THE DEEP LYR
SUBTROPICAL RIDGE OVER THE GULF COAST STATES AND SOUTHEAST...A
TRACK FARTHER SOUTH LIKE THE GFS SEEMS VERY REASONABLE. PLS SEE
THE NHC FOR THE LATEST DISC AND DETAILS ON HURCN DEAN.

ORRISON

MODEL BIASES AT WWW.HPC.NCEP.NOAA.GOV
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480. westoftheashley
4:30 PM EDT on August 21, 2007
Okay Taz, Have to ask what snow snow snow?
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479. emagirl
8:33 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
Snow?? where
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476. BahaHurican
4:29 PM EDT on August 21, 2007
Posted By: jamnkats at 12:11 PM EDT on August 21, 2007.

for anyone reading who lives in PaaMul we evacuated to cancun yesterday and spent the night in cocstos parking lot. well, megasas costco kicked us out. we are heading back to paamul as soon as the gusts die down. it was a wild and wooly night up here in cancun, i sure feel sorry for those in matuhaul. we will probably head down there later this week and bring food. ill take pictures and post when we get back to paamul but i think the damage will be slight.


We sure are glad to hear u guys are ok. And aren't you glad u didn't go SOUTH to Chetumal the way u were thinking about at first? :o)
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474. BahaHurican
4:21 PM EDT on August 21, 2007
Afternoon everybody,

I stayed up until the landfall last night, reading about the LA levee system and listening to Belize radio coverage of the storm.

Then I really slept very late today . Plus I had to go out.

Watching Dean go ashore on the satellite was something else - no impression received that Dean realized he was running out of water [g]. I saved the frames from 1st touch of land by the eye to the eye being completely onshore.
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473. fire831rescue
8:28 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
I'm outta here for a while. Ya'll take it easy. Let me know if something comes up later...
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472. Barkeep1967
8:25 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
Not sure what implications it will have quite yet but the ridge in the SE is supposed to breakdown by this weekend. Rain and much cooler temps all the way to the deep south. At least this rain will get away from me.
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471. ncleclerc
8:25 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
I am just a luker also, but sure have missed you Patrap! Wish for you to have a fast recover.
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470. fldude99
8:26 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
Posted By: JFLORIDA at 8:19 PM GMT on August 21, 2007.

That cool air coming down has me concerned, errr.... overjoyed! I think the season could end fast if it makes its way down and more is behind it.


What cool air Jflorida? where are you?
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469. taistelutipu
8:24 PM GMT on August 21, 2007
Posted By: PascagoulaGal at 8:20 PM GMT on August 21, 2007.
Plz can someone click on fsu model and choose 850 vort at 90 hours out. Doesnt it show something forming?

http://moe.met.fsu.edu/tcgengifs/


Newbie goes and tries out :-)
Graphic

But I'll leave the interpretation of the graphic to those who've been hanging out here longer than me. Just one question: could the red spot over Baja California be the remnants of Dean?
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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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