has intensified into the first Category 5 storm in the Atlantic since Hurricane Wilma of 2005. The latest Hurricane Hunter fix at 8:34pm EDT found 185 mph winds at their flight level of 10,000 feet, which corresponds to surface winds of 160 mph. The pressure had dropped to 914 mb, and I expect Dean will strengthen right up until landfall. Landfall is expected near Chetumal
, Mexico, just after midnight local time. Dean will be a tremendously destructive storm for southern Mexico. Dean is powerful enough to be able to survive the crossing of the Yucatan as a Category 2 hurricane, and hurricane advisories have been posted for cities on the western coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. The only hurricanes on record that survived crossing this portion of the Yucatan and maintaining hurricane intensity were Hurricane Roxanne of 1995
, which hit just south of Cozumel as a Category 3, and emerged near Campeche as a Category 1; and Hurricane Janet of 1955
, which hit near Chetumal as a Category 5 storm, then weakened to a Category 2 storm when it popped out into the Gulf of Mexico south of Campeche. We can expect Dean will carve out a path of great destruction all the way across the Yucatan Peninsula, then potentially re-intensify before hitting Mexico again along the Gulf Coast in the Bay of Campeche.Figure 1.
Current satellite image of Dean.Links to follow today:Radar from Cancun, Mexico.Chetumal, Mexico observations.Cozumel, Mexico observations.Belize City observations.Campeche, Mexico observations.Morphed microwave animation
I'll have a full update Tuesday morning at about 10am EDT.