is hours away from its final landfall--a strike as a Category 1 or 2 hurricane along Mexico's Gulf Coast, near Tuxpan
. Dean lost its eyewall and became rather disorganized from its passage over the Yucatan Peninsula, and is only now beginning to increase its winds. With only a few hours left before landfall, Mexico is fortunate that Dean is moving so quickly--20 mph--and does not have time to organize further.Figure 1.
Dean over the Yucatan Peninsula at 3:05pm EDT 8/21/07. Image credit: NASA.
The Mexican coast near the landfall point is the most densely populated area Dean will affect, and damage there will probably exceed $1 billion. Risk Management Solutions has estimated the insured damage to the Yucatan was between $750 million and $1.5 billion. Total damage is typically double the insured damage, so the price tag for Dean will be very steep for Mexico. Oakland Calif.-based EQECAT, Inc. issued a preliminary assessment of the insured losses from Hurricane Dean of between $1.5 and $3 billion. The estimate covers damages incurred by the hurricane's passage through the Lesser Antilles as far as Jamaica.
Dean's core passed just north of Chetumal, Mexico during its landfall as a Category 5 hurricane yesterday, and that city of 150,000 suffered mostly Category 1 and 2 hurricane damage. Power has already been restored, and the governor of the province estimated that the city would be back to normal in two weeks--except for the 3-6 months needed to repair some of the roads washed out. Farther north, about a third of the hotels and cabins in Tulum, and strip of coastal development just south of Cozumel, received damage. Beach erosion was significant all along the Yucatan. The worst damage was reported in Majahual, on the coast 30 miles northeast of Chetumal, where the full Category 5 strength of the storm was felt. According to the Associated Press
, "Hundreds of homes were collapsed in Majahual when Dean's eye passed almost directly overhead, crumpling steel girders, splintering wooden structures and washing away about half of the immense concrete dock that transformed the sleepy fishing village into Mexico's second-busiest cruise ship destination on the peninsula. The storm surge covered almost the entire town in waist-deep sea water." For those interested in tracking the effects of the storm, the Hurricane Dean wikipedia page
is an excellent source of information.
Once inland, Dean poses a threat to Mexico City due to flooding rains. However, Dean is moving quickly enough that I don't forsee a major flooding disaster, such as occurred in Mexico after Hurricane Gilbert made its final landfall in 1988. Gilbert stalled over the Mexican mountains after landfall, dumping huge quantities of rain that triggered flash floods, killing over 200 Mexicans.Links to follow today:Tuxpan, Mexico observationsRadar from Alvarado, Mexico.Morphed microwave animation
Flooding on Dominica captured by storm chaser Mike Theiss Chasing Dean in the Lesser Antilles
Wunderground Ultimate Chase blogger
Mike Theiss has just returned from a trip to the Lesser Antilles, where he encountered the fury of Hurricane Dean as it blasted through the islands as a strengthening Category 2 hurricane. He's written a detailed chase account
on his experience, complete with some amazing photos.Elsewhere in the tropics
An area of disturbed weather associated with a tropical wave, 92L
, is moving through the Bahama Islands. The upper-level winds over it are not hostile, but this system shows little organization and is not a threat to develop before moving inland over Florida on Thursday. Elsewhere, the tropics are quiet, and none of the reliable computer models show anything developing in the next week.
I'll have an update Thursday morning.