Hurricane Dean Makes Landfall
Season's second hurricane headed for Gulf Coast
Before Hurricane Dean hit full force, two teens made their way to safety in Kingston, Jamaica. (Photo: ©Andres Leighton/AP Images)
August 20—Hurricane Dean, the second hurricane of the 2007 season, uprooted trees and tore roofs from homes as its eye passed over the southern coast of Jamaica on Sunday. The category 4 storm blew sustained winds of 150 miles per hour and dumped up to 20 inches of rain along its path.
Dean could reach the highest level, Category 5, with winds greater than 155 mph later Monday, as it travels south of the Cayman Islands. Authorities on the islands are taking every precaution, evacuating residents and tourists and providing storm shelters for those who don't have a safe place to go.
Dean's Projected Path
Hurricane Dean is traveling westward toward Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, where it is projected to make landfall early Tuesday. The storm should weaken as it crosses the Yucatán, but it could regain major hurricane strength before making a second landfall in northern Mexico.
The outer rain bands will likely reach south Texas on Wednesday. Residents there are preparing for flooding because the ground is still soaked from a recent tropical storm. Texas Governor Rick Perry has mobilized the National Guard and sent aircraft to Cameron County, in case any critically ill patients need to be evacuated. Hundreds of buses are also on standby for possible evacuations.
Dean is the fourth named Atlantic/Caribbean storm of the 2007 season, which officially began on June 1. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) expects a busy 2007, predicting as many as five major hurricanes before the season ends on November 30.
“The conditions are ripe for an above-normal season,” says Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center in Camp Springs, Maryland.
In trying to piece together their outlook for this year‚ Bell and his colleagues considered several factors, including warmer-than-normal sea-surface temperatures.
Americans won’t soon forget the devastating toll Hurricane Katrina took on parts of the Gulf Coast in 2005. Yet a recent study revealed that the majority of residents living near or on the Gulf Coast do not have a hurricane preparedness plan.
With a plan firmly in place, your family will be prepared—not panicked—the next time a hurricane strikes your community. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Ask your parents to make sure your family has enough water, food, and medicine to last at least a week.
- Ask them to designate a safe room in your house.
- Ask them to choose escape routes and a place to meet, in the event that you are forced to evacuate your home.
Ask them to educate family members about the dangers hurricanes pose: storm surge, flooding, and wind damage.
For more information on hurricanes and to track storms during the 2007 season, check out our Weather Watch special report.
Critical Thinking Question
Read today's news story, and then answer the following question.
What steps can you take to prepare for hurricane season?
Karen Fanning is a contributing writer for Scholastic News Online.