05 July 2005

Cindy and Dennis form in a very active early season...

On the afternoon of July 3, aircraft recon investigated a broad area of 
disturbed weather just off the eastern Yucatan coast and located a 
closed low-level circulation, warranting an upgrade to TD3.  It tracked 
right over the Yucatan peninsula, limiting any chance for immediate 
development.  By the morning of the 4th, it had entered the southern 
Gulf of Mexico and by the morning of the 5th (today) was upgraded to TS 

Cindy is not very well organized, and most of the deep convection and 
banding are on the eastern half.  As of 15Z, the storm was located at 
27.0N 90.4W and tracking N at 12kts.  Intensity is 45kts and 1002mb. 
 No significant changes in intensity are forecast before it makes 
landfall on southern Louisiana (near the Mississippi River delta) later 
tonight.  Although it's a weak storm, southern LA is extremely 
flood-prone because much of it is at or below sea level.  This track 
would actually be tragic for New Orleans if this were a major hurricane.  
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from Intracoastal City, LA 
eastward to Destin, FL.

At 03Z today, a strong tropical wave in the eastern Caribbean Sea was 
upgraded to TD4.  At 15Z it was upgraded to TS Dennis, and the satellite 
presentation continues to improve.  This is extremely rare for three 
reasons: 1) this is the forth named storm and it's only July 5, 2) all 
four named storms have had purely tropical origins, and 3) the central 
Caribbean is climatologically hostile for development in July.  All 
signs point to Dennis becoming a hurricane within about 24 hours... 
very warm SSTs, low shear, and a robust circulation already in place.

As of 15Z, Dennis was located at 13.3N 66.6W and tracking WNW at 16kts.  
Yes, 16kts is very fast motion, but the easterlies are deep, so the 
vertical shear is still kept at a minimum.  The maximum sustained winds 
are 35kts and the MSLP is 1006mb.  The forecast track takes it between 
Cuba and Jamaica, then over western Cuba, then into the Gulf by early 
this weekend.  All residents of the northern Gulf coast (LA, MS, AL, FL 
panhandle) should be watching this very closely... landfall as a 
hurricane is quite possible on Sunday/Monday.
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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