Wednesday, September 5, 2007

dadlak's Storm Tracker, September 5 - Felix Downgraded to Tropical Depression - In Honduras Heading for El Salvador

September 5, 4 a.m. CDT - Felix has been downgraded to a Tropical Depression and is heading west across Honduras toward El Salvador. Good news for Belizeans and Mexicans who suffered Hurricane Dean. This may be the last update on this storm, other than news on the human toll in Central America. So far only three deaths have been attributed to Felix. There is still great concern about heavy rains causing mudslides.

September 4, 4 p.m. CDT - With winds slowed to 75 mph, Felix has been downgraded to a Category 1 storm as it reaches the Nicaragua/Honduras border. The forecast shows it weakening further to a tropical depression by midday tomorrow and losing even that status before it reaches Mexico. Torrential rains (up to 25") and mudslides appear to be the main threats to life in the mountains of Central American countries Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala. The capitals of both Honduras and Guatemala include shantytowns build on hillsides.

Pacific Hurricane Henriette made landfall on Baja California on Wednesday as well, the first time in recorded history that two hurricanes reached land on the same day. Henriette came ashore as a Category 1 storm with winds of 85 mph.

September 4, 8 a.m. -
Felix made landfall this morning in northeast Nicaragua as a potentially catastropic Category 5 storm. Felix is the second Category 5 hurricane to strike Central America in 14 days. This is the first season since hurricane tracking began in the 19th century that two Category 5 storms have made landfall in the same year. Top winds are 160 mph. The storm is tracking W at 16 mph.

The forecasted track shows Felix remaining at hurricane strength across Nicaragua, crossing Honduras as a tropical storm, and then entering Guatemala as a tropical depression, staying so on the rest of its trip through extreme southern Mexico. This is a 150-mile adjustment south from last night's forecasted track. We pray for a repeat of the minimal loss of life that resulted from Hurricane Dean.

Here's a map the 8 a.m. EDT projection.

September 3 - You leave town for a few days and what happens? A new hurricane develops off the coast of South America, quickly strengthens to Category 5 and races across the southern Caribbean with landfall expected near the Nicaragua/Honduras border as a Category 3 or 4 on Tuesday, September 4. The storm is then projected to cut across both Honduras and Guatemala before tracing the rainy path of Dean through Mexico.

Here's the 11 p.m. EDT projection.

August 23 - Dean Downgraded! As of 10 p.m. CDT on August 22, Hurricane Dean was downgraded to a tropical depression as it dissipated over a mountainous area in central Mexico. The NHC issued no further advisories or forecasts after that time. The Atlantic Basin looks reasonably calm. Hopefully we can get well into September or later before having to track another tropical storm.

August 22, 10 a.m. Hurricane Dean made its way across the Yucatan yesterday. No deaths were reported, but communication with small and remote Mayan villages is difficult, so more news may be forthcoming. Dean passed through the Bay of Campeche overnight, battering oil and gas rigs along the way, and made landfall this morning near Tecolutla, Mexico in state of Veracruz as a Category 2 storm with maximum winds of 100 mph. By Thursday morning, Dean should weaken back to a Tropical Depression. At first landfall on the Yucatan, Dean recorded the third lowest barometric pressure of any Atlantic basin storm, 906 mb.

August 21, 7 a.m. CDT - Dean made landfall as a Category 5 hurricane with maximum winds of 165 mph at 4:30 a.m. in a relative unpopulated and well-evacuated area of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. The storm, which has been downgraded to Category 3, is racing across the Yucatan to the WNW at 20 mph. It's expected to exit the peninsula as a Category 1 storm and reenter Mexico south of Tampico as a Category 3 with winds of 120 mph.

So far no deaths have been reported. CNN is reporting only seven total deaths related to the storm. MSNBC puts the death toll at "at least 12." CNN expects impact on the oil and gas industry to be minimal as rigs in the Bay of Campeche have already been evacuated. The Weather Channel's assessment of this issue was more threatening. The oil and gas rigs in the Bay are owned by PEMEX, the state oil company of Mexico. I haven't seen or heard any reports from Belize. The Weather Channel says specifically that they have no information from Belize.

10 p.m.CDT Now a Category 5 storm with 160 mph winds, Hurricane Dean churns to within 150 miles of the Yucatan coast. The eye will make landfall sometime overnight near the Mexico/Belize border. According to the NHC, after passing through the Yucatan, the storm should stay in the Bay of Campeche before reentering Mexico on Wednesday morning. Dean's death toll in the Caribbean has been revised downward to 12.

5 p.m. Dean continues to bear down on the Yucatan with 150 mph winds. As it continues west rather than northwest, the small country of Belize is more at risk. We vacationed there in 2003. It is a beautiful, laid-back place that's not built to withstand a Category 4 or 5 storm. I hope Dean stays far enough to the north so that Belize gets the "back side" impact.

August 20, 8 a.m. - Dean's current death toll in Jamaica is nine, bringing the storm's total to 17. The Jamaica toll seems low given the general lack of response to governmental pleas for citizens to evacuate to shelters. The storm is now west of Jamaica at 17.8 N and 81.5 W heading W at 21 mph with maximum wind speed up to 150 mph. The entire Yucatan peninsula is under either a hurricane warning (east side) or watch (west side). The Belizean coast has a tropical storm warning. The 5-day cone for Dean's next landfall is now well within Mexico's boundaries, with the northern edge about 150 miles south of Brownsville, TX.

11 p.m. - The eye of Dean has passed Jamaica. Winds are holding at 145 mph. The storm is moving WNW at 18 mph toward the Yucatan, which has been issued a hurricane warning. Landfall is expected early Tuesday. The Cayman Islands will apparently get a glancing blow, but still with up to 12" of rain. So far there's been no report of impact on Jamaica. The NHC says Dean will reach Category Five (160 mph winds) before striking the Yucatan on Tuesday.

August 19, 2 p.m. EDT - Winds holding at 145 mph. Eye coordinates are 17.1 N and 76.0 W, just off SE coast of Jamaica. 145 mph winds and 20 inches of rain are predicted for the Caribbean island. Residents are heading for high country. The 5-day cone is now almost entirely in Mexico.

1 p.m. EDT - Winds "down" to 145 mph. At least the strengthening pattern has been broken. Coordinates are 16.2 N and 71.7 W. Movement is W at 17 mph. The eye path now brushes the south coast of Jamaica rather than going over the center of the island, but it's not a very big island. It needs to miss by more than 10 miles. The 5-day cone is about 80% in Mexico and 20% in south Texas--at best, more rain is coming to an already soggy area (especially after Tropical Storm Erin drenched the region)

8 p.m. EDT - Winds still at 150 mph. Track back to W at 17 mph. Coordinates are 16.0 N and 71.0 W. The southern coast of Jamaica is at about 17.5 N. Eastern end of Jamaica is at 76 W. I'm praying that Dean holds a dead westerly track. If it could reach Jamaica's longitude while its center is at 16.5 N or less, then Jamaica would receive more of Category 1 storm than a Category 4. Hurricane winds extend out 70 miles. One degree of latitude is about 140 miles. The landing point in Mexico keeps moving south--good news for Texans and Louisianans, as long as Dean behaves itself once it hits the Yucatan.

1 a.m. - Dean's winds are holding at 150 mph. Direction now WNW at 17 mph. Coordinates are 15.7 N and 68.6 W. Jamaica has been upgraded to a hurricane warning. Cayman Islands have a hurricane watch.

August 18, 8 a.m. Update - Dean is at 15.4 N and 67.9 W heading W at 17 mph. Top wind speed is 150 mph, just under Category 5. All storm warnings and watches that were in place last night remain.

1 p.m Update - Dean is packing 145 mph winds. Hurricane warning extends for entire southern coast of Haiti. Coordinates are 14.9 N and 65.9 W. Movement is W at 18 mph. Landfall in northern Mexico predicted for 2 a.m. on Thursday, August 23.

8 p.m. Update - Dean is now a Category 4 hurricane with top wind speed at 135 mph. Storm coordinates are 14.9 N and 65 W. Movement is W at 19 mph. Hurricane watch has been issued for southermost Hispaniola. Tropical storm watch has been issued for southern Cuba coast. Projected landfall locations haven't moved since the last update.

5 p.m. Update - A hurricane watch has been posted for Jamaica. The storm coordinates are 15.0 N and 64.5 W. Top wind speed is 125 mph. Movement is W at 21 mph. Ultimate landfall projection seems to have shifted slightly south into Mexico.

You can see the location and size of Hurricane Dean in this radar shot of the Atlantic Ocean. I hope that orange area off the west coast of Africa doesn't organize into another storm.

Below this is a closer radar view of the Caribbean with Dean looming in the east.

Here's a link for the radar pictures

More Storm Info at 3 p.m. - According to MSNBC, the projected track shown below is a composite of four models. Three of the models show the eye going ashore in northern Mexico. The other predicts a northward turn and landfall in Louisiana (yikes!)

3 p.m. Update - Max winds are now 125 mph--Category 3. Projected path is a little further north with the eye just clipping the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. Hurricane force winds (74+ mph) extend 25 miles from the eye. Tropical storm force winds (39 - 73 mph) extend 185 miles from the eye. One fatality was reported on St. Lucia when a 62-year old man was killed while trying to retrieve a cow. Martinique appears to have suffered significant damage. Other Caribbean islands have had lesser damage.

August 17, 8 a.m. Update - Hurricane Dean passed through the Lesser Antilles this morning. The eye passed between the islands of Martinique and St. Lucia.

At 8 am EDT today, the center of the storm was located at 14.4 N and 61.7 W, just W of these islands. Top storm winds are 100 mph, making Dean a Category 2 storm. Forward movement of the storm is W at 23 mph.

Various storm warnings and watches are in place for Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the southern coast of Hispaniola (Dominican Rep. and Haiti). Jamaica also appears to be in the path, likely on Sunday.

Landfall on the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula is forecasted for early a.m. on Tuesday, August 21. Once the storm clears the Yucatan, forecasters think it will still be a hurricane on a northwesterly track toward the south Texas coast.

If the storm maintains its direction so far, it will hit further south on the Yucatan and threathen Mexico rather than Texas.

Dean's path looks eerily similar to that of Hurricane Gilbert in September 1988, which devastated the Yucatan and inland Mexico, killing more than 300 people. Gilbert hit Jamaica as a Category 4 storm and came ashore on the Yucatan as a Category 5 and again on the Mexican Gulf Coast as a Category 4. It had the second lowest atmospheric pressure ever recorded for an Atlantic hurricane and its wind speeds peaked at 185 mph.

Hurricane Allen took much the same path in 1980, but slipped between the Yucatan and Cuba to make landfall as a Category 3 at Brownsville, TX.

Hurricane Ivan took a similar path in September 2004, passing between the Yucatan and Cuba, then turning north to hit the Florida Panhandle.

Hurricane Wilma of 2005, brewed in the southern Caribbean, struck the tip of the Yucatan as a Category 5 and bounced northeastward toward Florida, then travelled off the Atlantic coast for the rest of its path.

The devastating 2005 storms, Katrina and Rita, entered the Gulf between Cuba and south Florida before heading to the Mississippi and Louisiana coasts respectively.

The website has great information on the current storm and on past storms.

Above is the latest NHC map of Dean.

August 16 1 p.m. Update - Dean became a Category 1 hurricane at 8 a.m. this morning. At 1 p.m. max wind speeds are up to 90 mph--still a Category 1 storm, but approaching Category 2.

The islands of Dominica and St. Lucia are under a hurricane warning. Other islands in the same region are under tropical storm warnings.

Movement is still West at a brisk 23 mph. Position of center is 13.7 N 54.3 W.

Projection is for storm to clip the Yucatan Peninsula on August 21, though Jamaica is clearly in the path of the storm. The next update will begin to show how forecasters think the storm will emerge from the Yucatan. If the storm shifts more to the NW, it stands a better chance of reaching the US Gulf rather than raining itself out over Central America or Mexico.

Here's the NHC's report and 5-day projection for Tropical Storm Dean. Current position is 13.1 N and 50.2 W. Max winds are at 70 mph, just under hurricane velocity. Dean is no more than 12 hours from becoming a hurricane. It's moving West at a brisk 23 mph. A hurricane watch has been posted for the first set of islands in the storm's path. Dean's projected path is relatively unchanged, heading along the south coast of Jamaica toward the Yucatan Peninsula.

Tropical Storm Erin is poised to strike the South Texas coast Thursday (8/16) morning, but top winds are only 40 mph and impact is expected to be light.

More details from the National Hurricane Center can be found at

As of 5 a.m. EDT, Dean continues to move dead west. Forecasters have pushed its projected path a little further south--now steaming toward Jamaica and arriving there on August 20. Maximum winds are up to 50 mph. Forward speed is 18 mph. Location is 12.2 N 44.2 W.

Dean's path didn't change much between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. EDT on August 14, though Hispanola (Haiti/Dominican Republic) has come more into the path with the storm drifting ever so slightly south (now at 11.6 N and 41.0 W). Maximum winds remain at 40 mph. The storm is moving west at 21 mph. A more northerly track would be better for us in Louisiana.

Tropical Depression Four has a new name--Tropical Storm Dean, as it reached 40 mph maximum sustained winds at the August 14, 11 a.m. EDT update by the National Hurricane Center. It is centered at 11.7 N and 39.4 W, moving W at 23 mph.

This is the projected storm track of Tropical Depression Four as of 5 a.m. EDT on August 14.

The first tropical storm of 2007 with a chance to threaten the continental US has formed in the Atlantic as Tropical Depression Four.

As of 5 am EDT on August 14, it was located at 12.0 N 36.6 W, with maximum winds of 35 mph, moving W at 21 mph. When maximum sustained winds reach 39 mph, the depression will become Tropical Storm Dean.

Projections by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) show the storm moving west and then WNW over the next few days, reaching Puerto Rico as a hurricane by Sunday, August 19. It's still to early to tell whether the storm will stay in the Atlantic or enter the Caribbean and perhaps the Gulf of Mexico.

Above is a map of the 5-day storm track projection from the NHC.


Ali said...

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dadlak said...

Ali, thanks for your kind comment. I'm glad you enjoy the site.