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Erin nearing Texas, Dean approaching hurricane strength

The Atlantic is certainly busy today with two different storms churning along.

Tropical Storm Dean seems to be getting his act together and is undergoing a period of organization and intensification. Dean has been steadily intensifying and is now just short of hurricane strength with winds of 70 mph. Any further intensification will result in Dean being classified as a hurricane. Dean is a very small and compact storm, which should limit the lateral extent of the damage but also will allow for much more rapid intensification.

Interests in the Caribbean should pay close attention to Dean as he is likely to become a very dangerous hurricane heading their way. Microwave satellite scans are continuing to reveal a partial eyewall structure near Dean's center. If this eyewall manages to close off, Dean will almost certainly reach hurricane strength and continue to grow.

Since Dean is rapidly approaching the Caribbean, Hurricane Watches have been issued for much of the eastern Caribbean. See the map below for details.

As a fair warning, the models have been showing surprisingly strong agreement in forecast Dean to progress to the west and steadily intensify to a major hurricane. Shear has been limiting the systems development but is lifting and will continue to do so. I am forecasting Dean to steadily strengthen into a major hurricane as it moves toward the Caribbean.

Below are the model forecast charts which will automatically update:

While Dean is a serious, but distance threat to the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Erin is currently approaching the southern Texas shore. Convection has become steady and strong around a weak circulation in the Gulf, so advisories have been issued. While close to land, Erin remains a weak tropical storm and is still poorly organized.

Erin is over a very favorable area for strengthening, however, it is unlikely to have time to reach its full potential. For a weak storm to really reach hurricane strength, it needs more time to solidify and develop its supporting circulation. Regardless of a lack of time, a Tropical Storm Warning has already been issued for much of south Texas. Landfall is expected during the afternoon Thursday.

Below are computer model forecasts for TS Erin which will update automatically:

Posted by Bryan Woods | Permalink