Invest 94L – Eastern Atlantic

Invest 94L is chugging along in the Eastern Atlantic today, and while it has been looking a bit raggedy of late, it is starting to show signs of convection. Most of the major models do not show this system reaching Tropical Storm status, however, several meteorologists think there is a 30% chance of development (meaning 70% that it will not “spin up”)

If it did, it would follow a track slightly to the north of Dean, and based on the ridging, would likely be a FL/GoM system.

Elsewhere, the Atlantic Basin does not have and real “hot spots”.

Tropics are Settling Down

With the exception of the 2nd blow from Hurricane Dean into Mexico, the tropics are fairly quiet. Invest 92L has fizzled for the time being, and the wave off of the coast of Africa has several hurdles to overcome before getting that tropical “ummph”.

There is an area near the Bahamas that would have an outside chance of threatening Florida, but if it was to develop, it would need to do so “rikity tik”. It does not have time to do much more than make some rain before impacting Florida.

Damage and casualty reports are still coming in from Dean, but with his speed and landfall in a relatively unpopulated area, it is looking like it is nowhere near as bad as it could have been. At the time of this writing, no fatalities have been reported. Cancun and Cozmel appeared to have fared very well in this system. The following are a couple of shots as Dean moved in:

Former Major Hurricane Dean is about to be gone. He will crash into Mexico once again. Belize should be okay, they will experience Tropical Storm conditions, and heavy rain. Surge should not be a problem, but flooding and mudslides could become an issue.

Dean has the potential to intensify before the second landfall in Mexico, and could emerge in the Pacific as a tropical system. From a scientific aspect, it would be interesting to see an African storm traverse two oceans.

However, that is pretty much impossible as while the Bay of Campeche will allow some growth of the storm, it is almost out of running room (roughly 375 miles).

El gobierno de Mejico descontinuo el aviso de huracan desde Progresso hasta Campeche.Se mantiene el aviso de huracan desde la costa del golfo de Mejico desde el sur de Campeche hacia el oeste hasta Tampico.El gobierno de Mejico extiende el aviso de tormenta tropical hacia el norte de Tampico hasta bahia de algodones.

In no way am I making light of this system, but for recreation, the surfers should be finding good swells in south Texas. 13 foot waves.

Category FIVE – Dean

Major Hurricane Dean has attained Category Five status with sustained winds at 160mph, and is expected to strengthen further before making landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Conditions have rapidly deteriorated, and this system could become one of the strongest landfalling storms on record at the point of landfall. The Buoy at is reporting 35 foot waves, much higher than a typical single tsunami event.

To put this in perspective, lets review a deadly F3 tornado’s impact:

Severe tornado
158-206 mph
Roof and some walls torn off well constructed houses; trains overturned; most trees in forest uprooted

Now, most tornados last around 30 seconds. Imagine this impact for over 3 hours, up to 12+ hours. While you have that firmly in mind, add a massive, unrelenting push of water, ultimately raising the water levels by up to 20+ feet. Once you have that firmly in mind, add spin off tornados, while all the rest is going on. One more to add, think about all of that then drop 20 inches of rain per hour.

It is a truly devastating scenario.

Elsewhere in the tropics, Invest 92L continues to look disorganized, but conditions are favorable for some slow development. This system has more potential to pose a threat to the United States than Major Hurricane Dean, however, the intensity of this system should be much less. At the time of this writing, whatever Invest 92L becomes, it appears to be aiming for the United States.

Dean Still Moving

Most models agree that Dean will reach Cat 5 before slamming Mexico twice. While Texas is not entirely out of the woods yet, odds are that Dean (unless he slips past the ULL and ridge) will not be a threat to the United States.

There is the possibility of a “homegrown” storm by the middle of next week, and a vigorous wave off of Africa (which remains disorganized) could play the role of “Dean..Part Deux”.

Dean has not entered the gulf yet, and if he stays south, may not enter at all. However, he is at a point to where his forecast path could be completely different from what we expect. So, in short, not an “ALL CLEAR”, but more of a “Mexico, get ready.”

Dean – Category Three

Dean is now Cat 3, despite the light brush on Barbados, St. Lucie island is reporting 1 fatality, extensive roof damage and flooding. Dean appears to be in a Rapid Intensification cycle, and should attain Cat 4 status this evening or tonight.

The eyewall is in an ERC, and roughly 17 miles on the inner eye and 35 miles on the outer, meaning that this storm is growing in size much like Ivan or Katrina and less like Wilma, Rita, or Dennis.

Jamaica is on deck for a devasting hit. The low associated with Erin and the ULL over Florida are not behaving as expected, making modelling extremely difficult.

People in TX and LA should really watch this, as models are slowly trending eastward. GFDL has this approaching New Orleans.

Dean Visits Barbados

Reports from the island of Barbados indicate minimal damage and conditions have already improved. Gust near the airport were around 39 kts, with isolated reports of tropical storm and hurricane force winds during the overnight hours.

The pressure has fallen by 5 millibars in roughly 2 hours, which appears to indicate that Dean is entering a Rapid Intensification cycle. Dean is still tracking west, and if the ULL (Upper Level Low) over Florida moves west with him, then west it will be. If the ULL stays put, then Dean will curve north and east, bringing the threat to the west/north central gulf coast.

The next update and model run is scheduled for 11:30am EDT. As Dean enters the warm, deep waters of the Carribean, expect to see intensification if not explosive development.

Lastly, Dean remains a small storm with a small windfield, let’s hope that part stays the same.

Dean – Category Two

Dean has become a Catagory Two hurricane and is rapidly marching WNW. He should become a Cat 3 storm over the next several hours, possibly before morning.

The models are slowly trending more to the north, placing Texas under the gun and Lousiana residents definately want to eyeball this system.
Most of the models are still holding for a Mexico landfall, however, the GFDL is acting like the bespeckled nerd sitting in the back of the class who, as grown ups, we tend to call “boss”.
That model is hinting at a breakdown of the ridge over Florida and targeting areas closer to and including Louisiana. I think we will see more models swing that way.
The NHC has slightly adjusted their model as well in defernce to this.
Dean is probably going to be upgraded to a Catagory 2 tonight and a Cat 3 tommorrow. Once it gets near to the Yukitan Peninsula and we have the high altitude data in (by tonight) we should have much better models. (Probably the 0z run) I think these models will surprise a lot of people. For now, Mexico looks to be facing a one/two punch, with Dean aiming at the Yukitan, then recurving slightly for a hit near the TX/MX border. Whether that plays out and Dean goes along with the crowd or goes with the smart little nerd remains to be seen.
We should havea firm grip on the impact cone of this system by Saturday. If there are significant changes, I will update again tonight, otherwise look for the next update around mid morning.

Hurricane Dean – Category One

Hurricane Dean is looking impressive this morning as a solid Catagory One storm. It should continue to intensify and become a Cat 2 system later today.

Modelling is keeping Dean on a westerly path. If the current models verify, then we would be looking at a hit near the Yukitan Peninsula then across the southern Gulf of Mexico and making a second landfall into Texas/Mexico. This scenario is based on a strong ridge over Florida that is expected to prevent Hurricane Dean from recurving to the north.

Having said that, any models past 5 days or so are about as effective as a 4 year old with a map and a box of crayons. Most likely the storm will follow a more western track, but at this point, no one in the Gulf of Mexico is out of the woods.

The Lesser Antilles are under the gun, and their conditions should start deteriorating over the next 12-24 hours. Elsewhere the GFS is showing up to two more tropical systems forming in the Atlantic Basin over the next two weeks.