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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Dean was the 3rd most intense hurricane

(Breitbart) Hurricane Dean was the 3rd most intense hurricane to make landfall since record keeping began in the mid 1800's. When Dean came ashore on the central Yucatan peninsula, he had sustained winds of 160 MPH and gusts as high as 200 MPH. The storm had been building in strength as it crossed onto land. This is the exact opposite of what was seen during the monster storms of 2005 where Katrina, Rita and Wilma all dropped in intensity right before making landfall. Remember, when Katrina hit she was actually only a Cat 3 storm. Imagine that damage that would have resulted had Katrina sustained at teh Cat 5 level that she was at in the gulf.

Pressure readings from the center of the storm recorded a central pressure of only 906 millibars. Only Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 and the 1935 storm had lower pressures - and as a result, higher windspeeds.

Windspeed causes the destruction that we observe around us when storms pass so that is what we associate with the strength of these storms. The central storm pressure is probably a more scientifically "correct" (I really don't like that word but I cannot think of a better one right now) way to determine a storms intensity. The low pressure at the center of a storm causes the high winds as the air rushes in from the higher pressure surrounding the storm to replace the void created by the low pressure. The wind spirals in the same way that air will rush in to fill a vacuum - from high pressure to low pressure. The lower the pressure, the greater the windspeed.

Sorry for the lack of reporting as the storm crossed into the Yucatan. My day job takes way to much time and since I cannot read Spanish, I am limited in the sources for fresh information. I continue to strive to find sources for information beyond the main stream media since we all have access to the majors but access to foreign or scientific sources may not be as readily available to many.

Current storm update - Dean crossed the Yucatan and has re-entered into the bay of Campeche as a Category 1 storm. Still a hurricane but without the catastrophic winds. The concern now is flash floods and excessive flooding from the heavy rain. Central Mexico is fairly mountainous and flooding due to runoff is a real concern.

The models show that the storm track will take the rain across Mexico and trhen north into California and Arizona. Beware of flooding and heavy rain. Here in Texas we have an ad campaign that I urge everyone to follow -

Turn Around - Don't Drown!

Never drive into a stream that has flooded and is crossing a road. A surprisingly small amount of water can lift a vehicle enought for the driver to lose control. Flood waters can rush up very quickly submerging a vehicle. Many people here have drowned because the crossed a flooded roadway and learned too late that the water was deeper and faster moving than they thought.

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