In other Democracy-related news, the USofA’s Democratic National Committee’s Rules & Bylaws Committe has voted that millions of Florida Democrats’ ballots will be thrown out if they are cast on January 29 as decreed by Florida’s Republican-dominated legislature, rather than on February 5 (or later) as required by DNC Rules.
(Note: The foregoing paragraph is actually a massively-oversimplified distortion of a complex & important election-Law-vs.-party-Rules story; but what can I tell ya, I’m just feeling Fox-Newsy today. :)
We’re getting into the climatological heart of the Atlantic hurricane season, when you’d expect the tropics to be teeming with activity if, as virtually everyone has predicted, this is going to end up being an above-average year for hurricanes. Tropical activity historically increases throughout late August and early September, peaking on September 10:
At the moment, however, it’s eerily quiet. Dean was the third-strongest landfalling Atlantic-basin hurricane in recorded history, but now it’s like the calm after the storm. The last six consecutive Tropical Weather Outlooks have said the exact same thing:
FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC…CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO…
TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.
It’s still not a “slow season” yet, but if this keeps up for the next couple weeks, it will be.
P.S. Alan Sullivan “continue[s] to expect a subnormal season.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Jeff Masters offers a wrap-up of Dean’s aftermath.
Hurricane Dean’s death toll stands at 20:
No deaths have been reported in Mexico, even though the storm hit the Yucatan as a Category 5 behemoth with 165 mph winds and was still a powerful Category 2 hurricane when it arrived here. The death toll in the Caribbean, though, rose Wednesday to 20 with the discovery of seven bodies in Haiti, where 3,000 were killed during Tropical Storm Jeanne in 2004. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Dean was expected to dissipate over Mexico’s central mountains by early Thursday.
Meanwhile, the considerably less sexy weather story of the week — heavy rain in the Midwest and Great Plains states, some of it caused by the remnants of Tropical Storm Erin — is proving to be more deadly than the third-strongest hurricane ever to make landfall:
More than 1,000 people were flooded out of their homes Thursday after heavy rain that swamped communities across the Midwest sent Ohio’s rivers spilling over their banks, the governor said. The storm’s death toll also rose when three people were electrocuted by lightning at a bus stop.
“This is a major, major disaster,” Gov. Ted Strickland told CBS’s “The Early Show” Thursday. …
With the flooding and more storms moving through, the death toll across the Upper Midwest and from the remnants of Tropical Storm Erin that swept Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri over the past week also rose to at least 26.
TROPICAL STORM DEAN has been changed to TROPICAL DEPRESSION DEAN.
Visit the NHC website for the latest.
HURRICANE DEAN has been changed to TROPICAL STORM DEAN.
Visit the NHC website for the latest.
A NHC special statement reports Dean’s second landfall:
THE CENTER OF HURRICANE DEAN MADE LANDFALL IN MEXICO NEAR THE TOWN OF TECOLUTLA…JUST EAST OF GUTIERREZ ZAMORA AND ABOUT 40 MILES SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF TUXPAN AT ABOUT 1130 AM CDT…1630 UTC. THE ESTIMATED INTENSITY OF DEAN AT LANDFALL WAS 100 MPH…160 KPH….CATEGORY TWO ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON HURRICANE SCALE.
The NHC’s 11 am EDT discussion talks about the hurricane’s development after emerging back over water:
RECENT OBSERVATIONS ARE SHOWING A CONTRACTION OF THE INNER CORE WIND FIELD … THE ADVISORY INTENSITY IS INCREASED TO 85 KT…MAKING DEAN A CATEGORY TWO HURRICANE. FORTUNATELY…THESE CHANGES IN THE CORE STRUCTURE ARE OCCURRING TOO CLOSE TO LANDFALL TO ALLOW FOR MUCH FURTHER INTENSIFICATION.
The NHC’s 11 am EDT advisory talks about current warnings and forecast conditions along the Mexican coast:
A HURRICANE WARNING IS NOW IN EFFECT ALONG THE GULF COAST OF MEXICO FROM COATZACOALCOS NORTHWARD TO LA CRUZ … DEAN IS EXPECTED TO REACH THE COAST OF MEXICO NEAR TUXPAN EARLY THIS AFTERNOON. STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 6 TO 8 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS IS POSSIBLE… ALONG WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES… NEAR AND TO THE NORTH OF WHERE THE CENTER MAKES LANDFALL. DEAN IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE STORM TOTAL RAINFALL OF 5 TO 10 INCHES OVER PARTS OF SOUTHERN AND CENTRAL MEXICO… WITH MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF UP TO 20 INCHES. THESE RAINS COULD CAUSE LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND MUDSLIDES … MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…100MPH. MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…979 MB.
Dr. Jeff Masters discusses early damage estimates:
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. 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. Dean also did an estimated $3 billion in damage to Jamaica, and $270 million to Martinique.
Hurricane Dean re-emerged over water in the Bay of Campeche shortly before 5:00 PM EDT yesterday, and is now heading toward central Mexico. Its winds are 80 mph, and according to the 11:00 PM discussion, “DEAN IS FORECAST TO RESTRENGTHEN BEFORE LANDFALL BUT IS RUNNING OUT OF TIME TO BECOME A MAJOR HURRICANE.” Landfall is expected to occur sometime this afternoon.
I feel like I keep saying this, but: I’m afraid I won’t be able to blog much, if anything, about Dean today. I’m back from the seminar in Nashville, but Becky and I have a ton of work to get done around the house, and other miscellaneous tasks to accomplish, in the next two days, and I think I’m going to have to pretty much go on a blog-hiatus to get everything done.
I am going to assume Mr. Brendan Loy is asleep, so as a guest blogger I will post this for him, from the 5 AM EDT National Hurricane Center discussion on Dean:
DEAN MADE LANDFALL ON THE EAST COAST OF THE YUCATAN PENINSULA NEAR THE CRUISE SHIP PORT OF COSTA MAYA AROUND 0830 UTC [4:30 AM EDT]…AND THE EYE IS NOW JUST INLAND. OBSERVATIONS FROM AN AIR FORCE HURRICANE HUNTER PLANE INDICATE THAT THE HURRICANE WAS INTENSIFYING RIGHT UP TO LANDFALL. A PEAK FLIGHT-LEVEL WIND OF 165 KT [190 MPH] WAS MEASURED JUST NORTH OF THE EYE. MAXIMUM SURFACE WINDS FROM THE SFMR WERE 124 KT [143 MPH]…BUT IT IS HIGHLY LIKELY THAT THE MAXIMUM SURFACE WIND SPEED WAS NOT REPORTED BY THE SFMR INSTRUMENT. A GPS DROPSONDE IN THE NORTHERN EYEWALL MEASURED A WIND SPEED OF 178 KT [205 MPH] AVERAGED OVER THE LOWEST 150 METERS OF THE SOUNDING. BASED ON THE DROPSONDE AND THE FLIGHT-LEVEL WINDS…THE INTENSITY IS SET AT 145 KT [165 MPH]. A DROPSONDE IN THE EYE MEASURED A CENTRAL PRESSURE OF 906 MB JUST PRIOR TO LANDFALL.
SOME HISTORIC NOTES ARE IN ORDER HERE. THE 906 MB CENTRAL PRESSURE IS THE NINTH LOWEST ON RECORD FOR AN ATLANTIC BASIN HURRICANE…AND THE THIRD LOWEST 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 FIVE HURRICANE TO MAKE LANDFALL IN THE ATLANTIC BASIN SINCE ANDREW OF 1992.
You can find more resources here on this site or on mine, WX-Man.com.
UPDATE BY BRENDAN, 7:37 AM: Thanks, Brian. Here’s a satellite image of Dean at landfall:
Here’s what Dean looks like now, at sunrise:
ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s only one way for a hurricane to come ashore at this intensity: it must be approaching the coast quickly at a right angle. If it comes more slowly or more obliquely, land interaction begins before the eye is ashore, and the intensity starts to drop. This happened with Wilma at Cancun. Landfall was painfully slow. Though weakening, the storm was much more prolonged owing to its slow movement, and damage was probably just as severe as it would have been with a Dean.
Fortunately Dean has hit a much less developed area. Costa Maya, mentioned in the report, must have been completely devastated. Though some distance up its estuary, I suspect the city of Chetumal has been hard-hit as well. We will probably hear some sad stories from there. But Chetumal was smashed twice during the 1940Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s and again in 1955. The locals build with concrete now.
Moving rapidly, Dean should be still a hurricane when it emerges on the southern Gulf. It may or may not intensify there, depending on the condition of the core. The steering flow is expected to remain strong, so Dean will not have much time to regenerate before its final landfall. After that it will hit mountains Ã¢â‚¬â€ the corderillas of Mexico. Only clusters of thunderstorms will remain as the pulse of moisture and energy crosses to the Pacific.
Eric Berger has more. And here’s the Wikipedia page on Costa Maya. As Sullivan says, it must have been devastated, especially because it got hit not just by a Cat. 5, but by an intensifying Cat. 5 — the worst-case scenario, as I mentioned before. Those 205 mph winds measured by the dropsonde just above the surface give you an idea of why — those are especially likely, in an intensifying system, to come to the surface in gusts. Yikes.
The echoes are sparse, but you can see Dean’s eye on the Cancun radar.
Just making a brief pit stop at the hotel after my awesome Shuttle/ISS sighting (photos later), and wanted to post this satellite image of Hurricane Dean, now officially a Category Five:
Say a prayer for everyone in that monster’s path tonight. Yeah, it could have been worse, but it’s going to be very bad where it does hit.
Dr. Jeff Masters has more. I’m off to 2nd Avenue.
A special 8:35 pm Eastern update from the NHC:
DATA FROM THE AIR FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT CURRENTLY
INVESTIGATING HURRICANE DEAN INDICATE THAT MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS
HAVE INCREASED TO 160 MPH…MAKING DEAN A POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC
CATEGORY FIVE HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON HURRICANE SCALE.
At least we can stop saying that Dean is expected to reach Category 5 in the next 24 hours …
As of 8:00 PM, Dean’s maximum sustained winds are now at 155 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. That puts him 1 mph short of Category 5. Minimum central pressure is 915 mb.
I know I said I’d be blogging Dean’s approach to the Yucatan tonight, but then it occurred to me: I have a free night in Nashville, courtesy of the great state of Tennessee. Is sitting in my room, watching The Weather Channel and surfing the Internet, really the best way to spend my time? I think not. I’m a weather nerd, but I’m not that much of a weather nerd. :) I’m in Nashville; I ought to go out and do something… Nashville-ish. So I’m going to head over to the Parthenon and try to get a photo of the Shuttle and ISS flying over it. Then I think I’ll sample a bit of Nashville’s legendary nightlife. Don’t worry, Becky: I won’t stay out too late, or drink too much. :) I have a seminar to attend in the morning, after all. But I could deal with a little bit of honky-tonk tonight!
Anyway, further updates on Dean will most likely be via cell phone, or by guestbloggers, at least till I get back to the hotel.
As I looked for some different views on Hurricane Dean, I saw Eric Berger’s post asking “Has Hurricane Dean been overhyped?” I think it is a very interesting question because I started to wonder that myself from all the news stories I have seen… One of the stories I saw made the comment about “Dean heading straight for Cancun!” Really? To me the forecast track looks considerably to the south of both Cancun and Cozumel. Also Eric, highlights in his post this concern from Texas Lt. Gov David Dewhurst because two models still bring Dean into the state. He points out that these two models, the CLP5 and the LBAR, do not have the track record and in fact the CLP5 is not really a model.
In my opinion, as I see all the stories, reports, watch cable news where CNN has the edge of the screen showing the recent NHC report on Dean and the satellite image there. The promos on FOX News on how they are “Your Official source on Hurricane Dean.” So I asked myself, What would the coverage be like if Dean was actually going to HIT the United States. If this is the standard set for all Hurricanes the rest of the season, it will definitely be interesting.
I also have to ask, does Dean want to be a Category 5? I mean how many days are we going to report, “Dean is forecasted to become a category 5 in the next 24 to 36 hours.” Like I mentioned on my Weather Blog, I understand why we all forecast Dean to reach Category 5 strength, all the conditions are favorable for category 5 strength. It just doesn’t seem like Dean wants to take advantage of it. I am still going to agree with the current forecast, I just won’t be surprised if it stays a category 4.
Over at Dr. Jeff Master’s blog, it looks like he too is watching the potential proto-Felix.
An area of disturbed weather associated with a tropical wave a few hundred miles northeast of the Lesser Antilles Islands, “Invest 92L”, has changed little in organization today. Wind shear is about 5-10 knots in this region, and an upper-level anticyclone has formed over 92L. This is a very favorable environment for intensification, should 92L start to get organized. The disturbance has the potential to develop into a tropical depression by Wednesday. It is moving west to west-northwest at 15-20 mph, and will be near the central Bahamas by Wednesday, and the east coast of Florida by Friday. It does not appear that any troughs strong enough to recurve 92L will swing by until Saturday at the earliest.
Brendan, hope your seminar is going well