Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Hurricane Dean slammed into the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 5 hurricane packing 143 knot/165 mph/265 kmh winds at 2:30 a.m. CST.
There are no clear damage reports although, thankfully the most populous areas of the Yucatan were spared a direct hit. Belize experienced storm force winds and heavy rain, but they were in one of the safer quadrants of the cyclone.
The cruise ship port of Costa Maya is probably gone. Dean's eye, with maximum surface winds and an internal pressure of 906 millibars made landfall right on the port.
If there is anything favourable about Dean's track it is that the forecast track across the Yucatan is through a sparsely populated area and there has been sufficient warning of its arrival.
Dean is now weakening as it crosses the Yucatan. Estimated winds are now 90 knots/104 mph/167 kmh. The storm is tracking West-Northwest at 17 knots. The core is deteriorating and the eye is filling, however Dean is expected to egress the Yucatan south of the Bay of Campeche in the next 3 to 5 hours as a hurricane. It will have approximately 18 hours to regain strength before making landfall on the Mexican mainland probably between Tuxpan and Vera Cruz.
There are no firm damage assessments yet from Jamaica, although they have postponed 27 August elections. To Jamaica's credit, despite a serious sideswipe by Category 3/4 winds along its southern coast including Kingston, preparations made in advance of Dean's arrival kept the loss of life to a minimum with only two deaths reported.
Click on images to enlarge.
NEW INFORMATION HERE. Dean emerges into the Gulf of Mexico.