21 August 2007

Dean hits Mexico as a CAT5 storm...

At around 09Z this morning, Dean hit the Yucatan Peninsula near the town of Mahahual as a Category 5 hurricane with 145kt sustained winds.  The minimum central pressure was 906mb, and the eye was 15 nautical miles across.  To put that in perspective, if you were floating (passively) in the eyewall, you'd make a full trip around the eye in just 17 minutes!!  There's a radar loop of landfall available here:
This is the most intense hurricane in the Atlantic since Wilma 2005 (which coincidentally also hit Yucatan).

Fortunately, coastal residents had been evacuated, and the storm passed through a rather unpopulated section of the peninsula, and as of this writing, no casualties have been reported in Mexico.

The buoy that I mentioned yesterday to the north of Dean's track recorded a peak significant wave height of 37 feet!  By definition, "significant wave height" is the average height of the highest 1/3 of the waves... NOT the highest wave height reached.

Dean will exit the peninsula in a few hours and enter the Bay of Campeche, then make a second Mexican landfall in central Veracruz tomorrow morning as a CAT2-3 hurricane.  As of 15Z, the intensity is 90kts and 950mb, and continuing to weaken as it traverses the land.

The easterly wave I pointed out yesterday has been tracking WNW, and is now east of the Bahamas and north of Dominican Republic (~26N 67W).  It is still not very well organized, but most statistical models and a few dynamical models develop it and bring it NW toward the US, so it will be watched over the coming days.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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