First hurricane of 2007 season forms in Atlantic

Tropical Storm Dean strengthened into the 2007 Atlantic storm season's first hurricane on Thursday as it revved up over warm waters and raced toward the Caribbean, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

First hurricane of 2007 season forms in Atlantic
Tropical Storm Dean strengthened into the 2007 Atlantic storm season's first hurricane on Thursday as it revved up over warm waters and raced toward the Caribbean, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

The hurricane, with top sustained winds of 80 miles per hour (130 kph) by 8 a.m EDT, was expected to strengthen further in the next few days and could pass to the south of Jamaica on its way to Mexico's Yucatan peninsula as a powerful and dangerous Category 4 storm.

Category 3 to 5 hurricanes on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, such as Katrina, Rita and Wilma in the devastating 2005 Atlantic storm season, are generally the most destructive storms.

Dean was expected to pass the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe as it entered the Caribbean, the Miami-based hurricane center said.

Hurricane warnings were posted for the islands of Dominica and St. Lucia by their governments, and hurricane watches were set for Martinique and Guadeloupe. A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions can be expected within 36 hours and a warning means hurricane conditions are possible in 24 hours.

Barbados was put under a tropical storm warning, the hurricane center said and Montserrat, Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis, Barbuda, St. Vincent and St. Maarten under tropical storm watches.

At 8 a.m. EDT, Dean's center was about 415 miles

east of Barbados and about 510 miles east of Martinique. The hurricane was moving west at about 24 mph (39 kph).

MORE RAIN FOR TEXAS

Meanwhile another weather system, Tropical Storm Erin, weakened into a depression as it washed ashore in Texas about 25 miles northeast of Corpus Christi, spooking oil markets. It threatened to bring more rain than wind.

The hurricane center lifted a tropical storm warning along the Texas coast.

The storm's top sustained winds had slipped to 35 mph (55 kph), but it could still bring 3 to 6 inches of rain across much of southern and central Texas, which has already been soaked by rain this summer, forecasters said.

With a large amount of U.S. oil and gas production centered in the Texas Gulf Coast, energy markets have been on edge since the 2004 and 2005 Atlantic hurricane seasons, when powerful hurricanes, including Ivan, Katrina and Rita, ravaged the region.

Roughly one-third of U.S. domestic oil and gas production comes from the Gulf of Mexico.

Forecasters have predicted that the six-month hurricane season, which officially begins June 1, would be more active than average with up to 16 named storms. An average year historically has between 10 to 11 storms, of which six strengthen into hurricanes.

None of the storms that had formed this year -- Andrea, Barry or Chantal -- posed a serious threat.

Atlantic hurricanes shot into the public consciousness after the devastation of 2004 when four storms in a row crossed Florida and again in 2005, when Katrina swamped New Orleans.

In 2005, Hurricane Rita also slammed into the Texas coast near New Orleans and Wilma became for a while the most powerful hurricane ever recorded.

Reuters
Last Mod: 17 Ağustos 2007, 11:06
Add Comment