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July 06, 2005

Hurricane Dennis update - 11:00 pm EDT

The latest advisory from NHC has Hurricane Dennis listed with winds up to 85 mph and pressure down to 980 mb. This does represent a further strengthening of the storm. On the IR satellite images, Hurricane Dennis clearly has a closed eye but it still remains dirty. Satellite and recon indicates that the closed eye has already developed at mid levels and is still forming at the surface. To me this indicated that it is almost time to start considering eyewall replacement cycles when you view changes in the windspeed of Hurricane Dennis as it strengthens. As a reminder, central pressure is the true judge of the strength of a hurricane as wind speed varies based on the phase of the eyewall replacement cycle. Interests in Jamaica should be prepared to deal with a category 2 hurricane tomorrow.

Right now the models are still taking two separate solutions with the track after passing over Cuba. The MM5 out of Florida State takes the hurricane over Panama City while forming another tropical depression that travels from Houston south towards Mexico. After seeing this, I consider this to be the outlier but will monitor it. The NOGAPS and GFDL both take a track similar to Ivan and head up towards Pensacola and Mobile. However, the UKMET, BAM, and GFS all take Hurricane Dennis directly at New Orleans. I suspect that we will not see consensus in these models until at least when Hurricane Dennis clears Cuba. Right now the two models are likely handling the muddleheaded upper level currents and interactions with Cuba differently. NHC's current forecast track is playing it safe and splitting the difference.

In short, if there is significant ridging over the center over the Great Lakes and Plains this weekend (bring warmer weather there) watch on in New Orleans. If there is less ridging there and more troughing over the West (bringing cooler weather to places like Seattle), Florida is going to get a visit from a hurricane... again. Another big factor will be interactions with land. If Hurricane Dennis slams Jamaica, he could be significantly weakened. However, it he pulls a "Crazy Ivan" and misses, Cuba and the Cayman Islands could be in for a lot more trouble.

The model suite:

The MM5 from FSU:
Tracking God's Fury:
Tropical Storm Maria
Tropical Storm Nate
Hurricane Ophelia
  • None
  • --
    Ask Bryan:
    What steers hurricanes?
    What is eyewall replacement?
    Jordan Golson
    Bryan Woods