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July 09, 2005

Explanation of Dennis' explosive strengthening

I thought I'd thought I'd take a shot at explaining the extreme intensification of Hurricane Dennis. Yes, meteorologists often try to figure out why they are wrong. That way they can find excuses to make it not sound so bad! As you can see below, Hurricane Dennis is currently crossing a band of very warm ocean water (about 90 deg. F).
As we saw from Ivan, north of this there is a band of swallow and cooler water. This storm is already more powerful than Ivan but I do not expect the strengthening trend to continue much longer. However, the winds have not yet caught up to the pressure drop.
Soon we should see the beginning of an eyewall replacement cycle and an entrance into the nighttime convective pattern. During the night the cloud tops start to warm but this is not a sign of weakening! In an eyewall replacement cycle, the eye will become ragged, break down, and redevelop even larger. After the development of the new eye the winds will be weaker (conservation of angular momentum) until the eye begins to shrink. Once the eye has shrunk winds will be even more powerful than before.
Tracking God's Fury:
ATLANTIC
Tropical Storm Maria
Tropical Storm Nate
Hurricane Ophelia
EASTERN PACIFIC
  • None
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    Ask Bryan:
    What steers hurricanes?
    What is eyewall replacement?
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    Contributors:
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    Bryan Woods
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