24 July 2005

More New Atlantic Records

From Gary Padgett:
Well, the formation of TS Gert in the Bay of Campeche very early
on 24 July sets two more new records:
(1) Earliest date for the 7th storm of the season
(2) First July on record to spawn 5 named storms
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

21 July 2005

TD6 forms near the Bahamas...

In an already record-breaking June/July, it seems the action is not over yet.  A strong tropical wave that exited the African coast on July 10 has finaly achieved a low-level circulation.  As of 21Z, TD6's intensity  as measured by aircraft was 30kts and 1009mb.  It was located at 25.3N 75.4W and tracking WNW at 11kts.

The forecast track is an interesting one... with a lack of steering flow, it should drift northwest and fester north of the Bahamas.  It is also expected to gradually strengthen, perhaps reaching hurricane strength by early next week.  Once named, this will be TS Franklin.

Elsewhere, there's a very large and impressive mid-level circulation in the far west Caribbean that is showing signs of organization.  It should generally move WNW or NW toward the Yucatan then the western Gulf coast (like Emily).  This would become TD7 or TS Gert if named.

Shear and SSTs for both systems are favorable for further development.
I apologize in advance for sending an attachement with this message, but it's quite remarkable.  It's an enhanced infrared image of the western Atlantic showing TD6 near the Bahamas and pre-TD7 south of Cuba.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

20 July 2005

New Atlantic Records This Season

From Gary Padgett:
Here's all the new records I can come up with set so far
this season by Atlantic TCs:
(1) Earliest date for the fourth TS of the season (Dennis - 5 July)
(2) Earliest date for the fifth TS of the season (Emily - 12 July)
(3) First July Cat. 4 hurricane on record (Dennis)
(4) Most intense July hurricane on record (first set by Dennis, then broken by Emily)
(5) First July hurricane to make two major hurricane landfalls in Mexico (Emily)
And another new record which has a good chance of being set is
the first season to produce 6 TS before 1 August.
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

Emily makes its final landfall...

At around 11Z today, Emily slowly came ashore as a major hurricane, 
creeping along at just over 5kts.  It hit a very unpopulated area on the 
northern Mexico coast, so that will be a welcome relief to Mexico, after 
the country experienced the previous major landfall from Emily on Sunday 
night.  It is now weakening rapidly and drifting westward over the 
mountainous terrain of north central MX.  As of 21Z, Emily had weakened 
to a tropical storm, with sustained winds of 60kts and a central 
pressure of 975mb.  

Elsewhere, there is an interesting disturbance north of Hispaniola.  
Although it currently doesn't look too organized, it's worth watching 
closely for development.  It would track generally northwestward toward 
the Bahamas and eastern FL.
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

19 July 2005

Emily rapidly intensifying before final landfall...

Mexico is bracing for its second major hurricane landfall in three days.  
As you recall, the Yucatan Peninsula was hit on Sunday night by CAT4 
Emily, and now, the northern coast of Mexico, just south of Texas, is 
about to get hit by Emily again.  Of great civic concern and academic 
interest is the rapid intensification phase the hurricane is experience 
just hours prior to landfall.  The central pressure fell 24mb in the 
past 12 hours, and 16mb in the past 6 hours.

At 21Z, CAT2 Hurricane Emily was located at 24.3N 95.6W and moving WNW 
at 10kts... about 150 miles from the coast.  This puts landfall in the 
early morning hours on Wednesday.  Latest intensity is 85kts and 956mb, 
and definitely on a strengthening trend.  It could possibly quickly 
reach CAT4 status again in the next 12 hours.  Even Brownsville, TX will 
feel some strong effects from the storm, possibly hurricane-force winds 
and a respectable storm surge.  Oddly, of the 5 named storms this season, 
all 5 have made landfall.
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

18 July 2005

Emily hits Mexico hard...

At about 0630Z today, Emily made landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula as a 
strong CAT4 storm.  The resort island of Cozumel experienced the right 
eyewall directly, then the center passed very near Tulum on the mainland. 
The hurricane weakened to a CAT1 shortly after its encounter with the 
peninsula, and has now entered the warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico 
(29-30C), so it is expected to reintensify to a CAT3 storm by the time 
it makes its next and final landfall.

As of 21Z today, the intensity was down to 65kts and 983mb: a pressure 
rise of 35mb in the past 24 hours.  It is located at 22.3N 91.0W and 
tracking WNW at 14kts.  This motion is forecast to continue, but the 
intensity is forecast to increase.  Landfall will occur on the northern 
Mexico coast, just south of the US border, on late Tuesday night into 
early Wednesday morning.  The intensity is a difficult problem, as it 
depends immensely on how rapidly the surface vortex can re-organize 
after its trip over the Yucatan Peninsula.  Right now, it's lacking deep 
convection near the inner core.

The NTC for the season thus far is a whopping 58.2%, smashing the old 
record of 42.6% set in 1966. As a side note, the entire 1997 season had 
an NTC of about 52%, so we've surpassed that... and by August 1!
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

16 July 2005

Emily almost a CAT5 storm...

Since yesterday, Emily has once again rapidly intensified, this time from a meager CAT2 to nearly a CAT5.  In the past 12 hours, the pressure has fallen 13mb, and 32mb in the past 24 hours.  Any nudge upward in intensity will make Emily a CAT5 hurricane, following Mitch 1998, Isabel 2003, and Ivan 2004 in recent years.

The satellite presentation is nearly flawless, and Jamaica is experiencing just the outer rainbands as I write this... they will luckily escape a direct landfall.  The intensity as of 21Z today is 135kts and 937mb, or a very strong CAT4 storm.  Motion is WNW at 16kts.  Hurricane Warnings are in effect for Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, and a Hurricane Watch is in effect for the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.

The forecast is for Emily to maintain current intensity up to landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula, near Cozumel.  Of course, minor (+/- 15kts) intensity fluctuations are inevitable during eyewall replacement cycles.   Its first landfall there is expected on Sunday evening.  After crossing the peninsula, it will be a bit weaker, but should regain strength as it tracks over the steamy western Gulf of Mexico.  The next and final landfall is expected to occur between Tampico and Brownsville on Tuesday night as a major hurricane.  So, Mexico could suffer two major hurricane landfalls within 48 hours.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

15 July 2005

Emily weakens north of Venezuela...

Emily has undergone some major changes in the past 24 hours, both up and 
down.  Since yesterday's update, it reached a peak intensity of 115kts 
and 952mb (CAT4), and is now down to 90kts and 969mb (CAT2).  This 
weakening is seemingly due to a combination of two primary ingredients: 
encountering a region of dry mid-level air while undergoing an eyewall 
replacement cycle.  Hurricanes are quite vulnerable while an eyewall 
replacement is occurring (think of a hermit crab when it moves from a 
small shell to a larger shell!), and as such, disruptions in atmospheric 
conditions can make a big impact.  That said, it should recover within 
12 hours or so and reintensify to a CAT3-4 for landfall on the Yucatan.

At 21Z today, Hurricane Emily was located at 14.7N 72.8W and tracking W 
at 17kts.  Intensity is 90kts and 969mb as mentioned earlier.  Hurricane 
Warnings are posted for Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.  It is forecast 
to hit the Yucatan Peninsula on Sunday afternoon as a major hurricane, 
then travel across the VERY WARM Gulf for a couple days before hitting 
near the US/Mexico border on Tuesday night, also most likely as a major 
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

14 July 2005

Emily now a major hurricane...

Based on aircraft recon data, Emily was upgraded to the second hurricane 
of the season at 03Z today.  During the late afternoon yesterday through 
this morning, the storm experienced a period of rapid intensification.  
In the past 12 hours, the central pressure has fallen 23mb, and in the 
past 24 hours it has fallen 35mb.  It is now the second major hurricane 
of the season.

At 21Z today, Emily was located at 13.3N 65.9W and tracking WNW at 18kts.  
Maximum sustained winds are up to 100kts, and the central pressure is 
968mb.  Jamaica has just issued a Hurricane Watch, and Tropical Storm 
Warnings are in effect for the southern coast of Hispaniola and the 
northern coast of Venezuela.

Conditions ahead of Emily are not just favorable for further development, 
but extraordinary.  The SSTs are at least 29C and are quite deep in her 
forecast track, and the wind shear should remain fairly low over the 
next few days... the first impediment will come at landfall on the 
Yucatan Peninsula on Sunday evening.  The second landfall is still 
likely for the area around Brownsville mid-week (Wednesday or so).  
This could very well be another major hurricane at both landfalls.

2005 has now set the all-time record in the Atlantic for the highest NTC 
by August 1 (and we're still adding onto it!).  Recall from a previous 
post that NTC is an index that utilizes actual and climatological values 
for number of storms, intensities, and longevity.  At 21Z, this season 
reached 44.1%, and the previous record was set in 1966 at 42.6%.  A 
complete "average" season would be 100%.

The tropical wave behind Emily is still there, now at about 17N 42W.  It 
could still develop, but it's been very slow to do so thus far.  Since 
yesterday at this time, it has a bit more deep convection associated 
with it.
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

13 July 2005

Emily hitting the Windward Islands...

Emily has not gotten organized as quickly as forecast, and is still a 
tropical storm.  However, the past few hours have seen explosive 
convection over the center, and that could be the trigger to 
intensifying into the second hurricane of the season.

TS Emily is presently very near Tobago, and headed for Grenada.  A 
Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Windward Islands, Tobago, 
Trinidad, and parts of the eastern Venezuela coast.  Intensity as 
measured by aircraft is 50kts and 1003mb.  It's tracking W at 16kts.

The long-term forecast takes the storm south of Jamaica and into the 
Yucatan Peninsula by early next week as a major hurricane.  This means 
that in about one week from now, it could be making landfall somewhere 
in the Tampico to Houston area.  People in the region should be watching 
the progress of Emily very closely.

The strong tropical wave behind Emily that I've been mentioning remains 
poorly organized, and is not immediately targeted for formation.  The 
wave is located at about 15N 35W.  If it does "go", it will become TD6.
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

12 July 2005

TD5 becomes TS Emily...

At 03Z today, TD5 showed sufficient signs of organization to be upgraded 
to TS Emily, the fifth named storm of the season.  Conditions are 
favorable for gradual intensification, and as time goes on, they will 
favor more rapid intensification.  Emily is located about 500 miles east 
of Barbados and cruising W at 17kts.  Satellite estimated intensity as 
of 15Z is 45kts and 1000mb.  A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Barbados 
and the Windward Islands.  (You can find a reference map of the 
Caribbean Sea at http://www.mcwar.org/tropics/caribbean_map.pdf)

The appearance certainly suggests that Emily is on an intensification 
trend, with very healthy outflow aloft, robust banding features, and 
persistent deep convection over the center.  SSTs in its immediate 
future are 28 - 28.5C, and vertical shear is basically non-existent.

The latest forecast track takes Emily over the Windward Islands, and 
through the central Caribbean, south of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola 
(notice this is shifted south a bit from yesterday's forecast track).  
As far as intensity goes, this is likely to become a hurricane in the 
next 12-18 hours, and a major hurricane (CAT3) by Friday.  Given this 
track through the central Caribbean, it seems inevitable that it will 
enter the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in yet another US or Mexico landfall 
in about a week from now.

There is a very nice time series of Emily's evolution from the coast of 
Africa to the present at 

As I mentioned yesterday, there's another active tropical wave just 
behind Emily at about 14N 30W.  It's moving W at 10kts and already has a 
1010mb Low embedded within it.
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

11 July 2005

TD5 still heading toward Lesser Antilles...

First, some more wrap-up on Dennis.  Cuba and Haiti certainly suffered 
the most from this hurricane, with over 30 deaths between the two 
countries.  Cuba lost much of its infrastructure, and some places 
observed over 25" of rain in one day.  The US has just 4 indirect 
deaths (preliminary) associated with the storm, and just over 9" of 
rain as the peak.

TD5 is a small system with several low-level centers.  It remains to be 
seen which will become the dominant one.  Satellite intensity estimates 
show 30kts and 1008mb, and a rough center at 10.6N 46.0W.  Environmental 
conditions are favorable for gradual intensification, and this is 
expected to become TS Emily within the next 24 hours, and Hurricane 
Emily by Thursday afternoon.  The forecast track takes it through the 
central Lesser Antilles, south of Puerto Rico, then over Hispaniola.

Elsewhere, yet another potent tropical wave is tagging behind TD5 at 
about 7N 35W.  Although this is rather far south, it has been sporting 
persistent deep convection and a broad mid-level circulation.
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

10 July 2005

Dennis makes US landfall, TD5 forms in deep tropics...

At about 1930Z today, Dennis made landfall very near Pensacola, FL as a 
CAT3 storm, having weakened from a strong CAT4 just hours prior to 
landfall.  So far, no US deaths are attrbuted to Dennis, but 32 have 
occurred in Haiti and Cuba.  There have been 7 tornadoes reported in 
association with Dennis, and more are likely tomorrow.  For the latest 
watches and warnings, visit http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/wwa/

As of 03Z on 7/11, TS Dennis was located inland over central Alabama at 
32.3N 87.8W and tracking NNW at 14kts.  The central pressure is up to 
980mb and the maximum sustained winds are 55kts.  Further weakening is 
expected as time goes on, but the threat for flash flooding and 
tornadoes still exists from the southeast US all the way up through the 
Ohio River Valley.  Steering flow is forecast to become very weak in the 
coming days, so the moisture associated with Dennis could linger and 
cause significant flooding.

Going back a few days to July 6, a very potent tropical wave exited the 
African coast (the same one I referred to in my 7/7 Tropical Update). 
It was just upgraded to TD5 based on satellite presentation.  It's at 
10.8N 42.9W... about 1300 miles east of the Lesser Antilles... and 
tracking W at 10kts.  Estimated intensity is 25kts and 1010mb.  Gradual 
intensification is forecast, reaching the Lesser Antilles by Thursday or 
so.  If this becomes a Tropical Storm, its name will be Emily.
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

09 July 2005

Dennis strengthening as it heads toward US coast...

Dennis spent several hours over Cuba, causing tremendous damage to the island, but also to the storm.  The intensity had dropped to 80kts and 972mb upon exiting, but since making an appearance over the Gulf of Mexico, is now back up to 100kts and 947mb.  Location is 25.7N 84.6W and motion is NW at 12kts.

The appearance on satellite is VERY impressive now (arguably the most impressive thus far), with a warm open eye, and symmetric cold cloud tops over the eyewall.  Dennis is forecast to re-intensify to a CAT4 hurricane by the time it makes US landfall.  US landfall is still expected on Sunday afternoon between Pensacola and Mobile as a CAT4. Short term intensity fluctuations are always possible, and the damaging wind and rain will affect a much larger area than just the landfall point.

You can track the progress of the storm via radar at http://weather.gov/radar/latest/DS.p20-r/si.kevx.shtml or via infrared satellite at http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/TROP/DATA/RT/FLOAT2/IR4/20.jpg

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

08 July 2005

Dennis halfway across Cuba...

At about 18Z today, Category 4 Dennis made landfall on Cuba, near 
Cienfuegos.  At 22Z, the center was about halfway across the island, 
and still at 115kts, so the low terrain is having little effect on 
weakening the storm.  Wind gusts to 130kts (150mph) have been reported 
on Cuba, and preliminary reports also indicate a nearly total power and 
communication failure on the island.  I suspect that upon exiting Cuba 
later tonight, the winds will have dropped by about 15-20kts, but that 
should be regained once over the bathtub-like Gulf of Mexico.

At 21Z today, the center of Hurricane Dennis was at 22.6N 81.1W and 
tracking NW at 15kts.  The maximum sustained winds are still 115kts and 
the MSLP is up a little to 949mb.  This is the strongest hurricane ever 
to form in the Atlantic so early in the season.

You'll be able to track the progress and location of the storm via radar 
at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/radar/latest/DS.p20-r/si.kbyx.shtml.  It will 
get VERY close to Key West early tomorrow, perhaps even hitting it with 
the eastern eyewall.  A Hurricane Watch is now in effect for the 
northern Gulf coast, from MS over through AL, and all of the FL 
panhandle.  The most likely solution for direct landfall is still near 
Pensacola, FL as a very powerful CAT 3 or 4 hurricane on Sunday 
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

Dennis strengthens to Category 4...

At 00Z today, Dennis was upgraded to 115kts, making it a CAT4 hurricane.  
Since then, it had leveled off at 115kts as it scrapes the southern Cuba 
coast.  It nipped Cabo Cruz, Cuba last night as a CAT4.  At 15Z this 
morning, it was upgraded further to 130kts and 938mb based on aircraft 
recon data.  In the past 24 hours, the central pressure has fallen 30mb 
and the winds have increased by 40kts.  The latest position is 21.4N 
79.9W and motion is NW at 13kts.  It is only 6kts from being the first 
Atlantic July CAT5 in recorded history.

Hurricane Warnings are in place for most of Cuba and the Florida Keys, 
and the northern Gulf coast is still very much in danger of a major 
landfall late Sunday into early Monday.  As the time draws near and the 
track forecast errors are slimmed down, the strip between New Orleans 
and Apalachicola still looks like the target, with even higher 
likelihood between Mobile and Pensacola.  If you're in these areas, you 
should certainly be moving along with plans to evacuate and protect your 
house (a Hurricane Watch should be issued later today for you).  
Likewise in the Florida Keys... although you may not experience a direct 
hit, the eyewall or near-eyewall could reach that area Saturday morning 
and cause significant damage.

The forecast takes Dennis over western Cuba as a CAT4, weakening a bit 
as it crosses the island, then reintensifying as it makes its way across 
the Gulf toward the US.  This has the potential to hit the same area 
that Ivan hit last year, but perhaps even stronger.

As an aside, the NTC (Net Tropical Cyclone activity) for 2005 is already 
24.1%.  According to Phil Klotzbach here at CSU, this is only behind the 
seasons of 1996 (28.9%) and 1966 (42.6%) for June-July activity.  So 
although this season is freakishly active so early, it is not 
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

07 July 2005

Dennis now a Category 3 hurricane...

The eyewall of the storm avoided Jamaica, and is passing just to the 
north of the island, and also just south of Cuba.  It could hit the 
southeast Cuba coast later tonight.  The intensity as of 21Z today was 
increased to 100kts and 957mb, making Dennis the first major hurricane
of the year ("major" being defined as CAT3+).

Hurricane Warnings are now in effect for almost all of Cuba, the Cayman 
Islands, and the Florida Keys.  The forecast is for further 
strengthening in the northern Caribbean (perhaps reaching CAT4 
intensity), then some weakening as it passes over Cuba, then 
strenghtening again once back over the Gulf of Mexico.

US landfall is still expected late Sunday into early Monday as a 
CAT 2-3 hurricane, somewhere in the stretch between New Orleans to 
Apalachicola.  Coastal locations in that stretch should be preparing 
now for a major hurricane landfall within 84 hours.  Although seeming 
unlikely right now, IF the track deviates just slightly to the east of 
the forecast, all of the western FL peninsula will be threatened with a 
direct landfall.

For some interesting trivia... a major hurricane making US landfall in 
July is not unprecedented.  It happened three times since record-keeping 
began: in 1909, 1916, and 1936.  Perhaps 2005 will be added to the 
short list by the end of the weekend.
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

Dennis now a Category 2 hurricane...

In the past 24 hours, Dennis' sustained winds have increased by 30kts 
and the central pressure has dropped 23mb.  Now a CAT2 storm, it is 
heading toward Jamaica and as of this update is just 70 miles from it.  
At 15Z, Dennis was located at 18.0N 75.6W and tracking NW at 11kts.  
Intensity as measured by aircraft is 90kts and 968mb.  A Hurricane Watch 
is in effect for the Florida Keys and extreme western Cuba.  Hurricane 
Warnings are in place for southern Haiti, all of Jamaica, the Cayman 
Islands, and the remainder of Cuba.

The forecast track takes Dennis between Jamaica and eastern Cuba, then 
over western Cuba, into the Gulf of Mexico by late Friday night, then 
possibly making landfall late Sunday or early Monday on the northern 
Gulf coast.  The computer models and the official forecast have 
consistently shown the area around Mobile, AL to Pensacola, FL as the 
most likely target for landfall, but remember that a) forecast errors do 
exist and b) the storm will affect a much larger area than where the 
exact center of the eye passes over.  Intensity is of course also 
important, and all skilled models and forecasters expect that landfall 
will occur as a major hurricane... Category 3 or 4.  What this means to 
coastal residents in eastern LA, MS, AL, and the FL panhandle is that 
now is the time to begin preparing your house and yourself for evacuation.

Elsewhere, a very large and impressive tropical wave exited the African 
coast a couple days ago and continues to show signs of an organizing 
broad circulation.  There's a 1014mb Low embedded within the wave, and 
it's moving west at about 12kts.  Several computer models do favor 
development of this wave.  It would be TD5, or TS Emily if named 
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

06 July 2005

Dennis becomes first hurricane...

Shortly before 22Z today, an aircraft recon mission into Dennis 
warranted upgrading it to a hurricane, the first of the season.  
Maximum sustained winds are 70kts and MSLP is 985mb.

The satellite presentation is improving hour by hour, so further 
intensification is certainly to be expected.  Hurricane Dennis will be 
affecting Jamaica tomorrow morning, then western Cuba on Friday 
afternoon.  The trek across the Gulf will take a couple days, so the 
northern Gulf coast residents should still be prepared for Sunday/Monday 
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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.

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.