06 July 2005

Cindy makes landfall, Dennis nearly a hurricane...

Cindy made landfall near Grand Isle, LA as a strong tropical storm (60kt 
sustained winds) at about 03Z this morning.  As is typically the case 
with tropical storm landfalls, the winds were not the problem, or the 
storm surge, but the very heavy rain.  Up to 10" of rain has occurred 
or is expected in parts of LA, MS, AL, and further north along the 
track of the decaying tropical storm.  So far only minimal damage has 
been reported, all due to flooding.

Dennis continues to get better organized and is just shy of becoming 
the first hurricane of the season.  As of 21Z today, intensity was 
measured by aircraft to be 55kts and 987mb.  Motion is WNW at 12kts.  
It was located at 16.0N 72.5W... south of Haiti.  Environmental 
conditions are still very favorable, so further strengthening is 

The forecast is for further strengthening, probably reaching CAT3 status 
within the next 2-3 days before entering the Gulf.  Reiterating what I 
said yesterday, people along the northern Gulf coast (LA, MS, AL, FL) 
should be watching Dennis very closely and be prepared for a possible 
major hurricane on Sunday/Monday.  It's also seems reasonable that the 
FL Keys could begin optional evacuations soon due to Dennis' proximity 
in 72 hours.  The latest track forecast has a direct landfall as a major 
hurricane on Mobile, AL, but the error on the 5-day forecast is still 
quite large.  Currently, Hurricane Warnings are in effect for southern 
Haiti and all of Jamaica; Hurricane Watches are in effect for eastern 
Cuba and the Cayman Islands.  The forecast track is remarkably similar 
to that of Ivan 2004.

Dennis is of course the fourth named storm of the season, and set a new 
Atlantic record for the earliest to have four named storms (July 5).  
Not only is Africa generating more tropical waves than climatology would 
predict for this time of year, but the conditions in the deep tropics 
are abnormally favorable for those waves to develop due to the Bermuda 
High being further east and a bit weaker than normal.
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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