The aftermath of Dean

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

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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143. Bobbyweather
4:31 PM EDT on August 23, 2007
probability of 93E is 1%
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141. extreme236
8:29 PM GMT on August 23, 2007
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139. icepilot
2:18 PM CST on August 23, 2007
The distance per degree of longitude changes as the latitude changes - Max distance at equator, 0 distance at poles

The navigational standard is one NM per minute of LATITUDE - 60 minutes of lat = 1 Degree or 60 NM... There is a small change from 0 deg to 90 Deg of lat but it's not worth quibbiling over.
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138. extreme236
8:27 PM GMT on August 23, 2007
Well we should definatly watch the wave coming off africa. this wave could get out of shear in a couple days and should be watched closely. SSD maps, as i said earlier, picks up a circulation with the wave
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137. Caymanite
8:26 PM GMT on August 23, 2007
Yea Storm w no damage at all thank God. Was a really close call however and not letting down our guard just yet.
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133. LuvsStorms
8:18 PM GMT on August 23, 2007
yes, that was the link I was talking about Baha, made for great reading..thanks again!
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130. extreme236
8:16 PM GMT on August 23, 2007
A part of the NHC's discussion on Dean from last night:

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129. icepilot
2:16 PM CST on August 23, 2007
1200 nw west of CV Islands, 900NM east of Ant.
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128. weathers4me
8:16 PM GMT on August 23, 2007
cayman: Could not open the pics.
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127. Caymanite
8:07 PM GMT on August 23, 2007
Some photos of damage in Jamaica at Http// Was Mean/
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126. extreme236
8:08 PM GMT on August 23, 2007
its kinda funny because what might happen is that it will be quiet now, until in like a week or two, we will have a huge burst of activity lol. just my guess lol. the tropics are funny like that.
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125. extreme236
8:06 PM GMT on August 23, 2007
I was looking at the SSD circulation map and it shows a circulation off the african coast...and there seems to be some scattered moderate convection. something to watch if it persists
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124. Weather456
7:52 PM GMT on August 23, 2007

A tropical wave is estimated to be near 86W-87W south of 23N moving west near 15 Knots. the wave continues to interact with an upper low entering the southeast Gulf of Mexico to produce scattered showers over the Northwestern Caribbean with the most intense between the Cayman Islands and Cuba. There are no indications of a surface low or surface circulation and pressure in the vicinity remains constant according to 24 hr pressure tendency out of the Caymans and Buoy 42056.

Except for a few showers from a tropical wave over Puerto Rico and the ITCZ near Venezuela and Trinidad/Tobago, fine weather dominates. The trades are light to moderate this afternoon and have return to a more easterly component over much of the Caribbean.

by W456
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123. KRL
7:52 PM GMT on August 23, 2007
Posted By: dean2007 at 7:36 PM GMT on August 23, 2007.
I have a question everyone. Does anyone know how far the Mid Atlantic Ridge is from the Cape Verde Islands or the Lesser Antilles islands. If no one knows what the ridge is I will post a link if needed. Just come to my blog and help me figure it out. Google doesn't answer the question. I appreciate it thank you.

Each degree of longitude is about 69 miles. So figure 20 x 69 roughly 1,500 miles.
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122. BahaHurican
3:49 PM EDT on August 23, 2007
Do you need something exact? If not, a rough measure can be taken from the map.
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121. littlefish
7:52 PM GMT on August 23, 2007
Still wondering about the low level COCs we see but no convection in the last few days. Guygee mentioned shear but that still doesn't explain the absence of convection. It would explain convection getting blown off, but the system sitting off Fla has no convection and yet shows circulation. I think it is the 2nd or 3rd surface low with rotation and basically no convection. Seems weird with the HP and SSTs. Maybe the pressure are too high to draw in moisture?
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119. weathers4me
7:48 PM GMT on August 23, 2007
So is it safe to say that there are no tropical storms/systems anywhere in the world right now at this given point in time???
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118. BahaHurican
3:48 PM EDT on August 23, 2007
Come on up, 456!
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117. dean2007
7:48 PM GMT on August 23, 2007
Thanks for the map Baha, but I need to know the distance in either miles or meters from the Cape Verde Islands to the ridge, I know what the ridge is.
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116. Weather456
7:19 PM GMT on August 23, 2007
Gulf of Mexico and Southwest North Atlantic

A persistent ridge of high pressure continues to be stationed over the Central and Southern sections of the Eastern US. This ridge continues to be associated with a relative dry airmass extending from the Tennessee Valley southward over much of the Gulf of Mexico. Fair to partly cloudy skies and very warm weather with light to moderate anticyclonic flow is over the area. Afternoon showers develop under the diffluent flow of the ridge over South Carolina and Georgia last evening, now weakening over southeastern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.

The remnants of Dean over Central Mexico with extensive scattered clouds with possible showers from 10N to 20N west of 95W.

An upper low is now entering the Southeastern Gulf of Mexico accompanied by widely scattered showers spreading over the area from the Yucatan to Southern Florida. More on this feature in the Caribbean section.

A tall ridge of high of pressure continues to be the predominate weather maker in the Southwest Atlantic with exceptionally fair/dry weather everywhere. Makes me want to take a cruise to the Bahamas or Bermuda.

by W456
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115. BahaHurican
3:45 PM EDT on August 23, 2007
Also look at Mid ATL map.
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114. BahaHurican
3:39 PM EDT on August 23, 2007
Praia is the capital of the Cape Verdes.

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113. BahaHurican
3:36 PM EDT on August 23, 2007
Bangladesh is the most densely populated country of the world with a density of 2,200 people per square mile, and most of the people are very poor.

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112. Bobbyweather
3:35 PM EDT on August 23, 2007
There is 90W 91W 92W and 93E right now. 93E are the remnants of CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE DEAN.
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111. BahaHurican
3:23 PM EDT on August 23, 2007
BTW, Bangladesh, which basically IS a flood plain (it's the delta of the Ganges) has much of the same problems as Louisiana. However, it's population is anywhere from 5 - 10 times as great, if I remember correctly. They have really horrible storm surge there when hurricanes hit (the land formation acts like a funnel for tides), and hurricane death tolls which are similar to Katrina's are actually considered light! The worst hurricane disaster in known history took place there in 1970, when more than 300,000 people were killed - by a cat 2 hurricane (I do believe it was a large and slow-moving one).

Nevertheless,people continue to live there on islands much like the barrier islands and swamp lands of SE Louisiana. I think they grow rice there.
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110. dean2007
7:34 PM GMT on August 23, 2007
I have a question everyone. Does anyone know how far the Mid Atlantic Ridge is from the Cape Verde Islands or the Lesser Antilles islands. If no one knows what the ridge is I will post a link if needed. Just come to my blog and help me figure it out. Google doesn't answer the question. I appreciate it thank you.
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109. Bamawatcher
2:21 PM CDT on August 23, 2007
Yeah I know what you mean, sounds like we are on the same side of the fence with all of that...

I also must agree it has got to be the calm before the storm that we are going through right now...
With the drought and heat that is going on in this area right now, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if we are in for a bumpy ride for the rest of the season...
And also wouldn't be surprised if by the end of the year we make up for most of the deficits in rainfall and so forth by several tropical systems weather it be TD's, TS's, or hurricanes....
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107. lickitysplit
7:30 PM GMT on August 23, 2007
What is that Weather456?
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106. JLPR
7:26 PM GMT on Agosto 23, 2007
looks like we could see some action if that last wave in Africa mantains convection when it gets to water
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104. BahaHurican
3:18 PM EDT on August 23, 2007
Posted By: LuvsStorms at 3:12 PM EDT on August 23, 2007.

I know you posted the link quite a while ago Baha hurricane, but I really enjoyed the link regarding louisiana hurricane history.

Did u mean this one? Some more LA hurricane history for you.

I got curious about the LA hurricane record and came across that. Google is a wonderful tool . . .

Glad I have something to contribute.
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103. JLPR
7:20 PM GMT on Agosto 23, 2007
wow there is nothing in all of the basins wow and its august!!!!
this is amazing
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102. groundman
4:06 PM GMT on August 23, 2007
Ship Island S of Gulfport was cut in half by Camille, if I remember what the lady on the Ferry said correctly it was inhabited previously, she lived on it as a girl. The only thing left is the fort but they have started to rebuild, I did some GREAT body surfing there one afternoon in the spring of 06, CRYSTAL clear water, saw a stingray being CHASED by a group of catfish later in May. The park ranger I talked to on the last trip out said the rangers didn't take their stuff out of their little houses on the island because they had had to evacuate several times before Katrina and just didn't believe it would hit there and that hard. No sign of houses, much less any belongings which were just things they kept with them like photos, games books clothes etc. but still........Katrina went up over the fort and took some of the bricks down and a little earth on top but the damage wasn't great to the fort I don't think. Just everything outside of it was GONE and I think the channel between the two islands was wider?
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101. Bobbyweather
3:18 PM EDT on August 23, 2007
93E is what's left of Dean, did anyone notice? But it will not be named Dean, since it became a remnant low. It will be named Gil.
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100. BahaHurican
3:12 PM EDT on August 23, 2007
Yeah the governments response was great, but the peoples response was better....
You know what makes me laugh is No one in Mexico is standing around saying the government needs to take care of me.....Yeah the government has a certain responsibility but it is not to wipe everyones rear end...

Bama, it's not like the government there didn't have to move people and so on; it's more like people had a better idea of what their needs and capabilities actually are. Same seemed true in Belize. People who needed help seemed to have sought it in a timely fashion.

And there were still people who figured they could ride it out and hid from the police when it was time to evacuate. I did note, however, that the police / army didn't make any "heroic" efforts to go rescue those people when their houses fell down at the height of the storm. Either you rode it out, or you made your own way to shelter. I'm sure this sounds callous, but I don't have much respect for people who put themselves in harm's way, then expect other people to come rescue them when things get tough.
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99. sunnyandshear
7:17 PM GMT on August 23, 2007
Nash says "With 98 days left, I feel pretty confident that we will have 8-10 more named storms before it winds down.""

How about if there were only 69 days left, (as in the end of Ocober), would you still have as much hope? I know the official dates, but not that many Hurricanes around Holloween.
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98. Weather456
7:09 PM GMT on August 23, 2007
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97. BahaHurican
3:05 PM EDT on August 23, 2007

I got the impression from reporting of the Erin deaths that many many of them happened because people assumed a TS was not harmful.

This being swept away by torrential rains, especially after a summer like the one the Midwest and TX have been having, just seems illogical to me. I mean, after having record rainfalls all over the place, people can't figure out "turn around, don't drown"?? Where are u going that is so important? After all, if you are dead, you aren't going to get there, anyway.

Sometimes it seems people's understanding of what happens in storms is still on the same level as 1853, when almost 200 people died on a barrier island in LA.
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96. LuvsStorms
6:42 PM GMT on August 23, 2007
I know you posted the link quite a while ago Baha hurricane, but I really enjoyed the link regarding louisiana hurricane history. THAT is the reason I keep coming here even though the "tone" of the blog has changed in the last's still a great place for information. Thanks!!
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95. NRAamy
12:10 PM PDT on August 23, 2007
Posted By: jphurricane2006 at 11:39 AM PDT on August 23, 2007.

it was my mistake Amy, my bad

Thank you, jp...
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94. franck
7:05 PM GMT on August 23, 2007
Yes, the convection off southern Cuba could blow up, but that's just it..the shear is there to disperse it. Still, the waters are so hot, it could flare up some this evening and become tropical in spite of shear conditions.
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93. BahaHurican
2:44 PM EDT on August 23, 2007
Posted By: StormJunkie at 2:08 PM EDT on August 23, 2007.

Yep, the Atl is eerily quiet for this time of year.

I don't know about u guys but this feels very strongly like the calm before the storm. Usually this time of year we get at least a wave or something going through so we can have a heavy tropical downpour in time for the kids to go back to school . . .
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