Friday, July 8, 2005


Dennis 2

I go away from the TV for 2 hours this morning, and Dennis goes from low Category 3 to nearly a Category 5! Absolutely unbelievable. This storm continues to bewilder forecasters with it's abilty to surprise at every turn. Concern is now directed at Havana, because it would appear the storm will make a direct hit from southwest to northeast later tonight. On Tuesday, the NHC predicted that by day 5, the winds would be perhaps 80 mph, but they did indicate this was likely a conservative estimate and long range intensity forecasts are notoriously problematic. But did anyone ever imagine that this thing would knock on the door of Cat 5? In fact, 155 mph+ winds HAVE been observed in the northeast quadrant, but the TPC did not accept the wind speed as valid because the pressure would suggest a slightly lower wind. Now that is it nearly certain a U.S. landfall will occur, some questions remain:

1. How will interaction with the mountains of Cuba weaken the storm? Will frictional effects cause Dennis to meander along the coastline, as Isidore did along the Yucatan in September 2002, weakening it from a 3 to a 1. Will we luck out and have a Cat 4 reemerge as a Cat 1?

2. If Dennis reemerges as a Cat 4 in the Gulf, would it be able to maintain that strength as it approaches the coast? In all of meteorological records, a Category 4 storm HAS NEVER struck the U.S. in July. And there's no evidence of Global Warming? As if.

3. How serious will the population of New Orleans take an evacuation order? Will memories of Cindy be enough to make most people leave? Or will the grazing they received from Ivan be a cause for overconfidence because it is so unlikely for New Orleans to get a southeast direct hit? It would seem city officials are crossing their fingers that luck is on their side again. Escambia County in the Florida panhandle is not counting luck on their side, and has issued an evacuation order to take effect starting at 5:45 PM today, the earliest they say this has been done. If any of these cities were to wait for the TPC for a Hurricane Watch, it would be too late.

4. How will the aftermath of this storm and those the rest of this season affect homeowner policies for those owning waterfront in hurricane alley? Can you imagine the angst and heartache of people in Pensacola who have not even returned to their homes. What about all the debris not still picked up from Ivan?

5. Will the tropical wave that may become Emily follow a similar path? Take a look at the East Atlantic satellite loop and see that this wave is holding together and may develop once reaching the Caribbean by Monday or Tuesday.

Regarding the website format, for some reason the site will only allow one post to view at a time. Otherwise the links get dumped to the bottom of the posts, and it is very annoying to have to scroll down and find a link when it should be right up top. This means if you want to view previous posts, you'll have to go to the July archives.

On a planning note, the family and I are leaving for vacation Sunday, and won't be back until probably Saturday the 16th. I cannot guarantee I will be able to post during this time. Hopefully it will be a quiet period in the tropics, and Lord knows it will be the start of a long road of recovery for those who have or will have faced Dennis by then.

I will continue posting on Saturday, and do a pre-landfall overview of estimated damage, and a final post Sunday morning. Feel free to continue commenting throughout the period I'm away. It will make for interesting reading of everyone's thoughts when this is all over. I know the folks in Pensacola wished all this mess had never started in the first place


Terpboy said...

Mr. F

What does ECMWF say about the path? I get (normally) the freebie site, and today its says that's it's 1 March, 2004, and they're off to upgrade(??).

Pressure is up to 941 from 937 at 1100 (hitting Cuba?).


Foot's Forecast said...

Model mayhem:

UKMET shows a mouth of Miss landfall, disaster for New Orleans

ECMWF shows landfall just west of Pensacola, into Mobile Bay. Ugh.

GFS shows similar track as ECMWF

BAMM ran at 2PM EDT and shows similiar path as GFS. GFDL same. So the concensus is north central Gulf. God I feel terrible for those people. Even I-10 is still only 1 lane because of Ivan.

TPC expects returning to Gulf as Cat 3, and back to Cat 4 shortly thereafter. Will interact with land again allow weakening, or is it possible this thing will come onshore as Cat 4? Remember winds from even 25 - 50 feet above ground level are stronger, so even if it is Cat3 around 130 mph landfall, buildings higher than 50 feet will experience Cat4 winds with gusts well over Cat5. If you thought the pics of devastation in Pensacola from Ivan were bad, just think what it will be like when all that debris still sitting around gets tossed like paper. It is just absolutely inconceivable.

Foot's Forecast said...

As for what I think about landfall, I believe the Atlantic ridge will be strong enough to keep Dennis leaning on a more NW track, and after the disruption from the Cuban coastline, the storm will aim for the warmest waters it can find. the UKMET has been rock solid it it's insistence the storm is heading for the Miss delta, and the GFDL has been drifting west all day long.

I would be having a sinking feeling about this if I were in New Orleans. Of course, I wouldn't be, because I would have ALREADY LEFT!

Terpboy said...


We all need to say our prayers.

Two pictures worth looking at:

To all: don't forget that a Cat 3 storm will have a surge of 9-12 feet..NOT counting the wind, rain, waves, or any tornadic activity. It is just past New Moon, so the astronomical effects won't be as bad as they could have been.

High tide at Pensacola is 1352 Sunday, CDT.

Keep watching...