The aftermath of Dean

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:20 PM GMT on August 23, 2007

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Dean's rampage across the Caribbean is history. Dean made its final landfall yesterday as a 100-mph Category 2 hurricane near the tourism and fishing town of Tecolutla, Mexico. A slogan one could have used throughout Dean's tour of the Caribbean is, "it could have been much worse". The storm hit halfway between the most populous cities in the region--Tampico, population 300,000, and Veracruz, population 444,000. The region Dean hit is known as Mexico's Emerald coast, and is dotted by villages, cattle ranches, and uncrowded beaches. The storm weakened rapidly as it moved inland, and passed about 75 miles north of Mexico city, dropping heavy rains along its path. The remains of Dean are expected to make it to the Pacific ocean this weekend, then get pulled northwards in to Arizona, potentially bringing extra rainfall there, but not flooding. Wunderblogger Randy Bynon has a blog with some great photos of his flight into Dean with the Hurricane Hunters yesterday.

Insured damage from Dean to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula was estimated at $400 million by one insurance company. Using the the usual rule of thumb that total damage is double the insured damage, the Yucatan suffered $800 million in damage. The total bill to Mexico from Dean will likely exceed $1 billion, when the damages from the storm's second landfall is factored in. Dean fortunately did little damage to the oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico that provide about one third of Mexico's cash.

Once again, Mexico came out of a major hurricane will no deaths reported. I am very impressed with how well Mexico's civil defense system has performed during the past three hurricanes. Mexico also had no deaths from Hurricane Emily, which hit the country twice--once as a Category 4 storm near Cozumel, then as a Category 3 hurricane south of the Texas border. Hurricane Wilma, which clobbered Cancun and the northern tip of the Yucatan for three days as a Category 4 hurricane, killed only four people. The low loss of life from these three major hurricanes is something Mexicans can be truly proud of.

Figure 1. Flooding on the island of Dominica from Hurricane Dean. Image credit: Mike Theiss.

How some of the other countries on Dean's list fared:

About 5% of the buildings in northern Belize were damaged, and there was some destruction to the papaya crop. Electricity is nearly restored, and water was never lost.

It could have been very, very much worse on Jamaica. Dean missed the island, bringing Category 1 and 2 hurricane conditions to just the southern portion of Jamaica. According to articles in the Jamaica Observer and Jamaica Gleaner, Jamaica is making progress in the wake of the estimated $1.5 - $3 billion in damage left by Dean--the second most expensive hurricane in Jamaican history, next to the $4 billion in damage wrought by Hurricane Gilbert. Hurricane Dean cut water to 80% of the island, but by Wednesday, 48 hours after storm, water had been restored to 45% of the island. Half of the 248 roads blocked by the storm had been cleared, by Wednesday, and another 89 roads wad been opened for one lane traffic. Cruise ships had returned to the mostly undamaged northern part of the island. All of the hotels on the island are open except one. Most of the island is still without power, but 50% of Jamaica should have power by the weekend. There is significant damage on the South Coast 69 Kv transmission line and severe damage to the power transmission infrastructure in the east and south, and it may be many weeks before power is restored to the entire island. Cell phone communication is available on 70% of the island.

Only three deaths were reported on Jamaica, which is far fewer than the 17 deaths suffered during Hurricane Ivan and the 45 deaths from Hurricane Gilbert. Better building codes and better hurricane awareness and planning are to credit for this low death toll. Jamaica has done a great job preparing for and recovering from this storm.

There were media reports of a 114 mph sustained wind measured in Kingston during Dean, which I though sounded unreasonably high. The Kingston airport measured top sustained winds of 81 mph. I asked Jeff Meeks, who weathered the storm in Kingston, about this. He said his suburb of Kingston--Barbican--had sustained winds of 30 mph, gusting to 63 mph, with 5.24 inches of rain. He further commented,

There was no possibility of 114mph sustained winds in any part of Kingston. The damage is just not there. Further I have another friend who also had a high gust of just 65mph. He is also located on the outskirts of Kingston. Norman Manley International is at the southern most extent of Kingston and would have been closest to the nearest approach of Dean and may have had higher winds but the damage there is also minimal. In truth Ivan from 2004 gave Kingston much more damage.

Haiti suffered the highest death toll from Dean, eleven. Several hundred houses were damaged or destroyed on the south coast, and there was some moderate damage to agriculture. It could have been much worse. Haiti was lucky Dean moved by so quickly, and was not able to dump devastating amounts of rain on the country.

Lesser Antilles
The tourist industry in the Lesser Antilles was not significantly affected by Dean. All of the hotels on the affected islands are now open, and little damage occurred to the hotels. However, agriculture suffered tremendously. The banana crop was wiped out on St. Lucia, Martinique, and Dominica, and was 80% destroyed on Guadaloupe. The hardest hit island, Martinique, is estimating storm costs of $270 million. Phone service was knocked out to 50% of the island, and was still out to 35% of the island on Wednesday. St.Lucia is reporting $18 million in total damage, and Dominica is reporting $98 million in damage to infrastructure (agricultural damage may be another $100 million).

Wunderground Ultimate Chase blogger Mike Theiss was in Dominica for Hurricane Dean, and he's written a detailed account of what is was like to go through he hurricane, complete with some great photos.

After Dean, what next?
An area of disturbed area has developed just west of Jamaica in the western Caribbean, associated with a tropical wave moving west-northwest at 15-20 mph. The wave is under 20 knots of wind shear, and I don't expect any development to occur. None of the reliable hurricane forecast models are calling for anything to develop in the next seven days.

I'll have a new blog Friday morning.

Jeff Masters

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393. ulixes
3:03 AM GMT on August 29, 2007
what about torino hurricane?
392. Hernando44
6:33 PM GMT on August 24, 2007

Looks like convection building in area of 9N/48w. This mean anything?
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 133
389. Wariac
12:50 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
I'm new at this but..Is there any reason why the tropics are so quite?
Member Since: August 7, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 134
388. catastropheadjuster
12:50 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
Hello all. I was just wondering do you all think it will stay this quite for the rest of the Hurricane Season? I don't think it's been this quite in the middle of August in along time other than last year. Or I may be wrong. Just wondering.
Member Since: August 24, 2006 Posts: 21 Comments: 3684
387. Bobbyweather
12:45 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
hello ev'ry 1! It looks like almost "nothing" is in the tropics... sigh.
But cheer up... 93E is still 'ere. it has 30mph winds and pressure of 1004 mb.
Member Since: September 7, 2006 Posts: 91 Comments: 2708
386. mgreen91
12:44 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
Another sotrm will hit Chicago later today.
Member Since: August 4, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 291
385. mgreen91
12:43 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
It was awful yesterday here in Chicago.
Member Since: August 4, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 291
384. weathermanwannabe
12:43 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
Thanks JP; we will see...
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 11409
382. putintang3
12:39 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
yes Seflgamma, Andrew was a cat 3 when it came through here. the eye hit just 55 mile west of me. I had not been through a hurricane since Betsy, it was so scary.
We faired pretty well. The low lying bayou area to the east received a hugh surge. I remember when we saw the Pictures on TV about the damage to Homestead. It was just unbelievable. and oh lord just the though of it, an evacuation was never called for this area. they really didn't start pushing evacuatons until Katrina. We stayed in a little upstairs apartment. The walls we breathing. I didn't think the front door was gonna hold. Yep it was scary.
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 311
380. tornadofan
12:40 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
Posted By: LLJ at 11:34 AM GMT on August 24, 2007.
155 PM CDT WED AUG 22 2007


Never heard of such a thing before. Thanks LLJ and Bonedog for posting about it. Learn something new everyday.
Member Since: April 5, 2007 Posts: 83 Comments: 12345
379. Cavin Rawlins
12:39 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
Today's Tropical Summary

A surface ridge covers most north of 20N from 20W to Texas. The high is being disrupted by an non tropical low near 39N/41W. The flow around this high is light to moderate with the strongest flow near in the Southwest Caribbean and the Bay of Campeche. This is due to a tighter pressure gradient between the subtropical ridge and the Colombian Low and low pressure over the Bay of Campeche.

In the upper layer, A large ridge has its axis extending from Nova Scotia along the US East Coast, into the Gulf and ending over Mexico. It incorporates the area from 130W to 60W. Meanwhile, a weakening upper low in the Eastern Gulf and the Tropical Upper Tropospheric Trough (TUTT) is just to the northeast of the Leeward Islands.

Significant shower activity is confine to over the Tehuantepec Peninsula associated with a broad area of low pressure and the remnants of Dean. Showers are also over NW Colombia/East Panama associated with the Colombian Low. Widely Scattered showers over Cuba, The Bahamas, South Fl and adjacent waters associated with a tropical wave interacting with the weakening upper level low over the Gulf. Lastly, significant showers and thunderstorms over the West African Mainland. Associated with possible tropical waves or west African cyclones. More updates on this area.

Water vapour imagery show relatively dry air over the Tropical Atlantic thereby deep convection remains absent. Even the ITCZ have calm down a bit.

by W456
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
378. weathermanwannabe
12:39 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
So theoretically, with what I beleive to be mild La Nina conditions at present, we should see an active late season this year?
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 11409
376. weathermanwannabe
12:37 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
Yeah JP.....What I've learned from participating in this Blob for the last two years is that in spite of the science and theories of it all, the tropics can be very unpredictable in any given season...
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 11409
374. weathermanwannabe
12:34 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
Wondering, if we might be seeing the beginning of the more "quiet" cycle in the tropical Atlantic that they say alternates (between active and quiet) about every 20 years or so...Of course, this thought goes out the window if this season, and the next few ramp up again........Perhaps too soon to tell...
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 11409
372. seflagamma
12:30 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
yes, I watched Hugo on TV as much as possible.. heck I've been watching these storms on TV for 28 years. So glad now we have this site so we don't have to depend on TV for coverage and information like the "old" days LOL!

I have some family in that area that were affected by Hugo.
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 306 Comments: 41069
371. emagirl
12:30 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
good morning the tropics are feeling a little toooo quiet for this time of year....maybe the calm before the storm...kind a scary
370. seflagamma
12:29 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
you in LA? I know it went into gulf and hit Louisanna a couple of days later. Wasn't it a 2 or 3 when it hit your area?

none of us have any idea what happened after it went thru out area because we had no power or tv and was cut off from rest of the world!
and I really didn't have any damage because I was in Broward. but we didn't have power.
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 306 Comments: 41069
369. nash28
12:28 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
Good morning all. Today marks the 15th anniversary of when Hurricane Andrew struck Homestead.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
368. StormJunkie
12:27 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
No problem jp, and morning to ya ☺

Morning gamma, yep we got woke up three years prior to that. Hugo. My dad went down and helped the administrators in the area down in Homestead after Andrew. I think he stayed down there three to four weeks. He was a city admin up here during Hugo so he had been through the routine. Said it was some of the worst damage he had seen. Pretty sobering when comparing it to what Hugo did which was no cake walk.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 17122
367. putintang3
12:25 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
yep, seflagamma and then two days later it paid us a visit.
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 311
364. Bonedog
12:21 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
jp can you link the 35 model run? I cant find it.
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
363. seflagamma
12:20 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
Good morning everyone.

Do you all know today is the 15th Anniversary of Hurricane Andrew hitting South Florida?

That is the storm that woke us all up after so many years of nothing.
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 306 Comments: 41069
361. Bonedog
12:18 PM GMT on August 24, 2007

CPE site Jp
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
360. weathermanwannabe
12:17 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
Good Morning...As for the tropics...errr...well quiet....But, nice and clear and relatively cool this morning in the Big Bend of Florida...
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 11409
359. StormJunkie
12:16 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
Morning y'all, I see it is nice an quite out there!

jp, the phase evolution page, along with most of the other model pages can be found here.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 17122
358. putintang3
12:15 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
now, don't anyone think I am wish casting, because I really don't want hrricanes, I am not actually in a area to make such wishes.
although I am a little bored with the season.
I do like tracking them.
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 311
356. F1or1d1an
12:10 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
JP -

Models are good at highlighting features, but I don't think that any have demonstrated much accuracy at cyclogenesis this year. CMC spins up anything, GFS wants to forecast calm waters and all the others in between.

CMC has picked up on several "features" that it computed to become storms, but they simply didn't develop as it forecasted. GFS, on the other hand has refused to initialize almost anything until after it's apparent.

So, maybe there will be something in the SW/NW Caribbean, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if it turned out to be nothing...
354. Bonedog
12:08 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
jp I checked the CPE site and they only call for a cold core Low from that front. #70 on the CMC, #84 on the GFS

Thats about it for that one. I did notice the Carib Low show up on the 3 on that site also they do show it as warm core but shallow.
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
353. F1or1d1an
12:06 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
No doubt, putin, with all the indicators swinging positive. I think we can expect this fall to give us more than some good football...
351. putintang3
12:05 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
and it rained to whole month of june and july here. we had planted a spring garden, my tomatoes drowned
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 311
350. putintang3
12:04 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
Yea I was cutting grass upto the end of july, I usually have to hire someone by then, I can
not cut it in the heat. I just hired someone
this August.
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 311
348. putintang3
12:00 PM GMT on August 24, 2007
What is that spinning in the Gulf, a ULL

Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 311
346. putintang3
11:58 AM GMT on August 24, 2007
I think the season may run a a little late
We had a late winter, a late spring, and summer just starting kicking in july. yea maybe a late season. Could see a couple of late storms.
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 311
345. F1or1d1an
11:55 AM GMT on August 24, 2007
Mornin' All...

Cooling of at all over there, Ike?

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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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