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Dean Strengthens Further, As Strong As Camille

UPDATE 3:26AM EDT: An older VORTEX message just replaced the one I updated below, issued at 2:02AM EDT. This is what the NHC issued that special alert based upon. I do not know what happened to the other message which had Dean at 907mb, as these messages are not archived by NHC.

UPDATE 3:21AM EDT: The latest VORTEX message from the Hurricane Hunter was issued roughly half an hour ago and lists Hurricane Dean at 907mb which puts him at a higher intensity for landfall than Hurricane Camille discussed below. Both Camille and Mitch bottomed out at 905mb, so if he pulls past them, he'll become the seventh strongest Atlantic Hurricane ever.

The National Hurricane Center issued a special alert because USAF Hurricane Hunter aircraft currently in Hurricane Dean found a central pressure of 909mb with a dropsonde. This is a very low number, making Dean the 9th strongest hurricane in Atlantic Basin history and as strong as Hurricane Camille when she made landfall in 1969.

I'm not old enough to remember Camille but I've read quite a bit about her and she sure did pack a wallop. From Wikipedia:

Camille strengthened further over the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall with a pressure of 909 mbar (hPa), estimated sustained winds of 190 mph (305 km/h), and a peak storm surge of 24 feet (7.3 m); by maximum sustained wind speeds, Camille was the strongest landfalling tropical cyclone recorded worldwide, and one of only four tropical cyclones worldwide ever to achieve wind speeds of 190 mph. The hurricane flattened nearly everything along the coast of the U.S. state of Mississippi, and caused additional flooding and deaths inland while crossing the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. In total, Camille killed 259 people and caused $1.42 billion (1969 USD, $9.14 billion 2005 USD) [2] in damages.

Now, Dean currently is listed as having winds of 160mph, but this could easily go up before landfall. Central pressure changes more quickly with strengthening than windspeed does, so do not be surprised to see the windspeed go up over the next several hours because of this drop in pressure.

There is nothing to indicate a large-scale change to Dean before landfall, so Mexico and Belize are in for a very rough time. Below are the current Cancun radar which has been made available after not being so for the past day at least, and a recent water vapor shot which clearly shows the eye and a very well-developed storm making landfall.

Water Vapor Image

Cancun, Mexico Radar

Dean is current tracking directly across the Yucatan and should remain a hurricane the entire time. Following his re-entry into the Gulf, he should re-strengthen and strike Old Mexico with quite a lot of fight left in him.

Model Guidance

Posted by Jordan Golson | Permalink