Hurricane Dennis (1981) - Meteorological History

Meteorological History

Hurricane Dennis formed from a tropical system that was well organized after entering the Atlantic Ocean from Africa on August 5. The system quickly intensified and became a tropical depression on August 7 as it headed westward. The depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Dennis about 12 hours later. Dennis continued westward as a tropical storm for three days before entering an area of wind shear, which weakened the system. Dennis was downgraded to a tropical depression on August 11, and after entering the Caribbean Sea, weakening into a tropical wave. The wave continued westward, passing to the south of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands before turning to the northeast towards Cuba. The wave made landfall in Jamaica before stalling near Cuba.

While it was stationary, the tropical wave began to come back together, strengthening into Tropical Depression Dennis on August 15. The system quickly re-attained tropical storm status and crossed over Cuba. Slower, yet constant strengthening occurred, and Dennis began to form an eye on satellite photos. Dennis made landfall near Key West on August 18 and crossed across the state. During the day and the day after, Dennis crossed Florida and headed up the east coast. On August 21, Dennis turned away from the coast and strengthened into a hurricane, peaking at 80 mph (130 kilometres) that day. Dennis moved over colder waters and became extratropical on August 22.

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