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Minor flooding reported near McDonalds
If you tracked the progress of Dennis using links provided in previous entries you already know the peak sustained winds and gusts associated with landfall:
Eglin AFB: 48 knots sustained, gust 72 knots - estimated
Navy Pensacola: 39 knots sustained, gust 52 knots
Crestview Florida peak gust 50 knots
Panama City, Florida 30 knots sustained, gust 48 knots
Mobile Alabama peak gust 42 knots
Station 42039 - PENSACOLA - 115NM East Southeast of Pensacola, FL sustained: 47 knots, gust 58 knots
Station PCLF1 - 8729840 - Pensacola sustained 35 knots gust 51 knots at 3PM CDT (no further reports)
Weather channel video from:
(Update: Original footage in the linked stories showed various reporters discussing how weak the storm was, but have since been replaced.) We may yet see some damage photos from storm surge or wind, but thus far it looks like Dennis was Tropical Storm strength at landfall.
The Pensacola News/Journal: Dennis spares Pensacola Bay Area from Ivan-scale damage
While formidable, Hurricane Dennis did not pack the punch that was expected, and certainly did not deliver the damage dealt by Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.Mudville earlier today:
Reports from the field:
Downtown roads are passable for the most part, with scattered debris mostly from trees.
Aragon Court is flooded up to the curb but has not reached the houses.
Bayfront Parkway is clear of debris and water has not breeched the road.
Pensacola Bay Bridge is passable and has no damage; residents are crossing the bridge.
The fishing pier appears not to have sustained any additional damage. Water levels do not appear to be that high.
There is minimal damage entering Gulf Breeze from Pensacola. Some signs are down; trees are relatively intact. There is minor flooding near the McDonald's. Gulf Breeze residents already are out and driving around.
You'll rarely (as in never) hear accurate media reports on actual hurricane wind strength. Although local reporters in hurricane country often do fine work, at the national level reporters don't fact check actual reports from observing sites. Instead they typically report the National Hurricane Center forecast of maximum winds expected as if it were an actual occurrence. Thus you end up with bizarre and sensational stories...National coverage:
MOBILE, Alabama (CNN) -- Hurricane Dennis pushed ashore with 120 mph winds Sunday afternoon, triggering tornado warnings across the western Florida Panhandle as it moved northward.Reuters: UPDATE 5-Hurricane Dennis slams into storm-scarred US coast
Despite a 15-mph dip in sustained wind speeds, Dennis remained a major Category 3 hurricane, the National Hurricane Center reported.
PENSACOLA, Fla., July 10 (Reuters) - Hurricane Dennis slammed into the Gulf Coast on Sunday with ferocious winds and waves that threatened huge destruction in an area still bearing scars from last year's storms.But the AP topped them all, and really had a go with those rubes in NY City, reporting this in the NY Times:
The storm had weakened slightly since morning but still carried top winds of 120 mph (192 kph).
The hurricane's eyewall, the intense part of the storm around its center, swept ashore around mid-afternoon just east of Pensacola in northwest Florida, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
After killing 32 people in Cuba and Haiti, Dennis roared northward into the Gulf of Mexico with powerful winds and a 10- to 15-foot (3-metre to 4.6-metre) storm surge that could swamp towns.
As it came ashore, Dennis was a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, a hurricane with winds of up to 130 mph (208 kph) capable of causing serious damage.
This made it as strong as Hurricane Ivan, which killed 25 people, caused $14 billion in damages and destroyed or damaged 13 oil drilling platforms in the Gulf in September. Earlier Sunday, Dennis was a stronger Category 4 storm.
PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) -- Hurricane Dennis came ashore on the Florida Panhandle and Alabama coast Sunday with a 120-mph fury of blinding squalls and crashing waves that followed in the ruinous footprints of Ivan just 10 months ago.This in the wake of the utterly ridiculous reports from Guantanamo.
The storm crossed land near the same state-line spot where Ivan arrived, pounding beachfronts already painfully exposed by denuded dunes, flattened neighborhoods and piles of rubble that threatened to turn into deadly missiles.
White-capped waves spewed four-story geysers over sea walls. Sideways, blinding rain blew in sheets, toppling roadside signs for hotels and gas stations. Sheriff's deputies were only responding to ''life and death'' 911 calls because it was too dangerous to be out on the streets.
Gov. Jeb Bush filled out the necessary paperwork on Sunday, July 10, asking the federal government to declare the state a major disaster area.According to that same report a portable weather observation station near Navarre measured a 121 mph gust at 3:11 p.m. Update: An updated CNN story includes a quote from a Navarre resident:
Eugene Simmons, an amateur radio operator in the mainland town of Navarre, said the storm knocked out power about 10 minutes before making landfall and knocked down tree limbs as it passed. But he said little damage was visible, and his own home was undamaged.Most tragically, "Dennis" has caused two deaths in the Florida panhandle:
"I was surprised how long power lasted," he said.
An elderly man seeking shelter from Hurricane Dennis was found dead at the Pensacola Civic Center about 1:45 a.m. today, Escambia County Sheriff Ron McNesby said.We hope wherever you are the weather is fine.
The 77-year-old man, whose name has not been released, was found in a restroom, according to sheriff's reports.
Initial indications are that he died of a heart attack. Family members were at the shelter with him.
Also, Florida officials reported the first fatality tied to Hurricane Dennis was a 3-year-old boy who died Friday in Walton County.
The child fell out of a van during evacuation preparations. Florida Highway Patrol Col. Chris Knight said he had no further details.
Update: Previous and additional coverage on the main page. A key point should be stressed here: Sensational type reporting - and exaggeration of minor storms into major stories - contributes to the lack of response on the part of many to a major storm when one does come along. People who erroneously believe they've survived a cat 3-4 storm will be in for a rude surprise when a real one moves in.
I think the winds were a bit over tropical storm force.
Here's an eyewitness report (via phone from a parent of a blogger)
Sounds a bit over tropical storm force to me. High category 1 winds at very least, and probably gusts into category 2. (We got that range from Charley and saw the same sort of damage.)
(btw, your spam software doesn't like the dash in my site URL)
The eye went between two ground sensors spaced about 20 miles apart. One sensor read 45 mph max the other read 56 mph max -- on the eastside. There was one gust report at 82 mph -- nothing larger.
Dennis was an overhyped dud. It went right by our house after cuba exit and it was a nothing storm. Charlie was far far worse. The overhype comes from two places, trying to tie the increased hurricane frequency to global warming, and compensation for the missed call by the NWS with Charlie.
The news coverage is way over the top, and will ultimately do more harm than good. Since they are pumping up the storms to a category they do not achieve in real life, when a real CAT 4 comes along people will say no big deal, I survived the last CAT 4 -- big mistake.Posted by bill at July 11, 2005 12:48 AM
Another symptom of the need for cable news to fill time 24/7. Gosh I'm sick of those doing doing standups in the wind and rain. Do the producers expect us to go, OOH! look at that wind and rain! Look at the bright side; we can return our full concentration to the Aruba story tomorrow.Posted by Jim O'Sullivan at July 11, 2005 01:17 AM
Last year I got a big kick out of one reporter who wore a hat for their on-location hurricane reporting, then went on about how many of their hats that they had lost to this uber-extreme wind (when the hurricane entirely missed us, except that some palm fronds got blown off, and some of the flimsier signs got messed up). Of course, when there's not a hurricane around, you never see them wearing a hat, much less having 10 hats in the camera van just so that they'll have another one to put on when the current hat gets blown off.Posted by Rich at July 11, 2005 02:33 AM
What are you talking about bill? At several points in time, Dennis was a true Category 4 hurricane. All you need to do to prove that is look at where Dennis madelandfall in Cuba. It caused enormous damage and suffering. If Dennis had hit at that strength in the United States, damage would have been catastrophic.
After going through Cuba, Dennis again reached true category 4 strength during mid-morning on Sunday. After reaching 145 mph peak winds, it began an eyewall replacement cycle. If it hadn't begun this, it likely would have remained a true category 4 hurricane until landfall.Posted by Will at July 11, 2005 02:46 AM
Will said, "All you need to do to prove that is look at where Dennis madelandfall in Cuba. It caused enormous damage and suffering."
Sorry Will, but we can't go look in Cuba. AFAIK it's still illegal under federal law for Americans to travel there. But, both of my friend's parents are from Cuba. She tells me that news reports she sees about Cuba are usually quite rediculous and sensational, especially when involving storms or hurricanes. She said she has seen some that were completely made up.Posted by Busy at July 11, 2005 03:03 AM
I was watching the radar up close using Google Earth and Intellicast radar and the real story is this:
The eye passed just east of Pensacola, and some of the fringes of the city felt the weaker western edge of the wall. Most of those correspondents were in Pensacola and so missed the the real storm (and strangely didn't know the storm was missing them).
The brunt of any hurricane is the north-eastern wall, where the momentum of the storm is added to the rotational force - both wind and storm surge. This north-east brunt threaded the needle between the built up areas of Pensacola and Ft Walton beach. The barrier island at that point is barely built upon and inland is very low density. The eye passed over Pensacola Bay and so there were few witnesses to that.
It was a bad storm, but Florida dodged a bullet on this one.Posted by equitus at July 11, 2005 03:33 AM
Did anyone else notice that, once again, St. Pete, Clearwater and Madeira Beach have been magically moved by the press to Tampa?Posted by Cathy at July 11, 2005 04:21 AM
I agree with equitus. Dennis hit right at the Gulf Shores National Seashore. There's nothing there to hit, and when I was at Pensacola Beach in May, there wasn't much there left to hit. Just inland from Santa Rosa Island is the west end of Eglin Air Force Base which has basically nothing there, either. We drove around Pensacola Bay, as it happens, and were suprised at how little builtup the Eastern side of the bay was. And there isn't much of anything in that part of Alabama either to hit outside of Flomaton.Posted by David at July 11, 2005 04:54 AM
Yes, but did any Korans get wet? Maybe (gasp) dropped in the mud? If so, we might be able to hold off the Aruba story for a few more days....
Quick, find out what the bug-eyed runaway bride thinks about this!
Or no, wait, do hurricanes hurt sharks? Will Dennis cause an increase or decrease in shark attacks? On our balanced panel today, someone from MoveOn.org, who will explain that the hurricane and resultant increase in shark attacks are Bush's fault, and someone from the Ford Foundation who will explain that the hurricane and the resultant increase in shark attacks are Bush's fault, but for a different reason.Posted by arminius at July 11, 2005 02:15 PM
So when is the "hyp" just right? If "hyp" means hyperbole, then we don't need ANY!
That said, the one was a huge relief. The Sunday NWS 4 am report was VERY scary - the rapid lessening of strength was a blessing for all - except the MSM. You do have to pity the poor on-camera guy - what's he going to say? "The boss just blew another $10k having us chase another non-story! Go watch "Lucy' reruns on cable and ignore me."Posted by Whitehall at July 11, 2005 03:15 PM
arminius said "Or no, wait, do hurricanes hurt sharks? Will Dennis cause an increase or decrease in shark attacks?"
You thought you were kidding, right? I actually heard a cable anchor yesterday (on FNC, I believe) ask an "expert" if there is a realtionship between increased shark / hurricane activity in the region. Ridiculous.Posted by Suzanne at July 11, 2005 03:38 PM
The area of the western Eglin ranges you describe with nothing there is actually a pine forest. Which, although lacking man-made structures has no shortage of trees, and those would reflect hurricane damage rather obviously.
Whether Dennis was a strong tropical storm or a weak hurricane is debatable. (Note that strong tropical storms do cause damage - that isn't the point of the discussion.) What's incresingly obvious is that at and before landfall it wasn't a cat 3 hurricane. And what's unfortunate is that the scientists who should learn from whatever went wrong with the intensity forecast in order to do better next time will instead insist they were exactly right.
On a positive note, the direction of movement and location of landfall were predicted exceptionally well - although some forecasts from Friday were a bit slow (calling for landfall on Monday) that's a reasonable error, and it was corrected in later forecasts.Posted by Greyhawk at July 11, 2005 06:09 PM
Seems you are a little off with your figures (see http://flhurricane.com/) for this info [The person talking has a degree in meterology, do you?]:
"Here are some data points of interest:
1516Z: maximum flight level winds of 127 knots - translates to about 114 knots at the surface = Cat IV
1745Z: max flight level winds of 89 knots - translates to 80 knots at the surface = Cat I. This is the report that a lot of folks disregarded, but in fact it was when the original eyewall had collapsed.
1800Z: flight level winds rebound to 105 knots - or 95 knots at the surface = Cat II. The new eyewall begins to form.
1818Z: flight level max now reported at 118 knots - or about 103 knots at the surface = Cat III
1925Z: landfall near Navarre - one tower report of a sustained wind of 99mph (Cat II) at a location just east of the eyewall. Aircraft microwave measurements of 102-105 knots = Cat III
1930Z: aircraft max flight level wind report of 117 knots - about 105 knots at the surface = Cat III
Given the above, it seems likely that Dennis made landfall as a mid-strength Cat III Hurricane. Although the overall system was large, the core and eye were small and the Cat III winds would have only extended over a very narrow area west of Navarre."Posted by David at July 11, 2005 07:23 PM
"Which, although lacking man-made structures has no shortage of trees, and those would reflect hurricane damage rather obviously."
No, not so obviously.
1) Southern pines are very sturdy and somewhat "aerodynamic" in that they don't have large leaves to catch the wind. A Cat 5 might have knocked a bunch down, a Cat 4 probably not as many, and a Cat 3 not too likely.
2) These reporters saying there is no damage have likely not ventured into these forests.
But we'll see.Posted by equitus at July 11, 2005 09:15 PM
I guess I should reiterate why I'm adamant on this point:
The thread was about how the media overhyped David. The contention was that they were exaggerating its strength, possibly for ratings or to get people exciting, and were "found out."
I'm contending that this was indeed a storm to worry about, but we were very fortunate that circumstances worked out in the last hour so that damage was remarkably (miraculously?) minimal.
Here's an angle you might hear in the next days or weeks: Christian evangelicals claiming the power of prayer saved those poor souls who had already suffered from Ivan last year.Posted by equitus at July 11, 2005 09:19 PM
Winds aloft aren't the same as winds at the surface. You have 100mph winds somewhere above your house several days a year.