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 expected. 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.
06 July 2005
Cindy makes landfall, Dennis nearly a hurricane...
Posted by at 4:54 PM