Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hurricane Dean Hitting Mexican Mainland

Right now, Dean is hitting the most densely populated area on its trajectory. The people there are experiencing 100 mph winds. More here.

Dr. Jeff Masters has damage estimates:

The Mexican coast near the landfall point is the most densely populated area Dean will affect, and damage there will probably exceed $1 billion. Risk Management Solutions has estimated the insured damage to the Yucatan was between $750 million and $1.5 billion. Total damage is typically double the insured damage, so the price tag for Dean will be very steep for Mexico. Dean also did an estimated $3 billion in damage to Jamaica, and $270 million to Martinique.

Dean's core passed just north of Chetumal, Mexico during its landfall as a Category 5 hurricane yesterday, and that city of 150,000 suffered mostly Category 1 and 2 hurricane damage. Power has already been restored, and the governor of the province estimated that the city would be back to normal in two weeks--except for the 3-6 months needed to repair some of the roads washed out. Farther north, about a third of the hotels and cabins in Tulum, and strip of coastal development just south of Cozumel, received damage. Beach erosion was significant all along the Yucatan. The worst damage was reported in Majahual, on the coast 30 miles northeast of Chetumal, where the full Category 5 strength of the storm was felt. According to the Associated Press, "Hundreds of homes were collapsed in Majahual when Dean's eye passed almost directly overhead, crumpling steel girders, splintering wooden structures and washing away about half of the immense concrete dock that transformed the sleepy fishing village into Mexico's second-busiest cruise ship destination on the peninsula. The storm surge covered almost the entire town in waist-deep sea water." For those interested in tracking the effects of the storm, the Hurricane Dean wikipedia page is an excellent source of information.
This is a big, bad storm and it continues its destruction. So far, though, there hasn't been nearly as many lives lost as thought likely.