Dennis Becoming Hurricane Menace

July 6, 2005

Tropical storm Dennis, the fourth named storm of the season, is currently in the process of consolidation. The latest bulletin from the National Hurricane Center in Miami puts the center of the storm about 310 miles (500 kms.) South-southeast of Port au Prince Haiti and about 495 miles (800 kms.), East-southeast of Kingston Jamaica.

Dennis is moving toward the West-northwest at around 15 mph (24 km/hr.), “and this general motion is expected to continue during the next 24 hours,” said the NHC. The storm’s maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph (85 km/hr) with higher gusts, but the NHC warned that “additional strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours, and Dennis could become a hurricane later today.” Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 kms.) from the center. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1000 mb (29.53) Dennis is already a large tropical cyclone, and looks set to become the first hurricane force storm of the season.

The NHC’s 3-day projected storm track shows Dennis reaching Western Cuba by 8:00 p.m. Friday, July 7. The 5-day forecast puts it well into the Gulf of Mexico off the Western coast of Florida by Sunday night, July 10.

The NHC reported that the Cuban government has issued a hurricane watch for Eastern Cuba for the provinces of Las Tunas, Granma, Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo and Holguin. A hurricane watch is in effect for Jamaica and all of the Cayman Islands. A tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch are in effect for the southwestern peninsula of Haiti from the Dominican Republic border and Port-au-Prince westward. A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Southern coast of the Dominican Republic from Barahona westward to the Dominican Republic-Haiti border.

The NHC also said: “Dennis is expected to produce storm total rain accumulations of 4 to 6 inches [6 to 9 cms.) over much of Hispaniola with isolated maximum amounts of 10 inches [15 cms.] possible over mountainous terrain. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.”

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