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July 07, 2005

Hurricane Dennis almost category 3, Keys evacuation ordered

Hurricane Dennis has again strengthened to 110 mph and 962 mb. Jamaica has again dodged the bullet on this one but Cuba looks to take a direct hit. However, Cuba has an extremely efficient civil defense system and will likely suffer little loss of life. The UKMET continues to bring Hurricane Dennis directly at New Orleans but the rest of the models bring Dennis towards Florida. Because of this, evacuations have been ordered for all of the Florida Keys, as it can take 3 days to fully evacuate the islands. Having driven from Fort Lauderdale to Key West, I can tell you that nothing in the Keys has the elevation required to survive through a major hurricane. Hurricane Dennis' eye continues to struggle to stay intact and until it does so, we will only see gradual strengthening. Right now Dennis actually seems to be undergoing an eyewall replacement cycle so look for the winds to possible drop even though the storm may be strengthening (watch the pressure to be sure)! Regardless of the speed of the strengthening, I expect to see Hurricane Dennis to reach category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson scale later on today. This would make Dennis a major hurricane. Accordingly, NOAA will be flying two G-IV recon missions per day starting tomorrow. This are large and very expensive missions designed to collect very complete data about Hurricane Dennis. They will be used to fully intiate future model runs and analyze the storm. Due to the very high cost of the missions, they are usually not flown until a major hurricane posing an iminent threat to the U.S. coast.

Here are some local links regarding the hurricane:
More information on Hurricane Dennis from the National Weather Service (NWS) in Key West (EYW).
Video update from NWS EYW regarding storm details and the evacuations.

To give you an idea of the size of the storm, here is an old satellite shot:
Tracking God's Fury:
Tropical Storm Maria
Tropical Storm Nate
Hurricane Ophelia
  • None
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    Ask Bryan:
    What steers hurricanes?
    What is eyewall replacement?
    Jordan Golson
    Bryan Woods