DEAN back to tropical storm strength; may become hurricane, but no threat to land

Monday, August 27th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MIAMI (AP) _ Four days after weakening into a tropical depression, Tropical Storm Dean came back to life on Monday in the north Atlantic, and forecasters said it could become a hurricane.

Dean, which posed no immediate threat to land, drenched Puerto Rico last week, knocking out power, water and phones to thousands in the northeastern Caribbean.

Tropical storms have winds of at least 39 mph and become hurricanes when their top sustained winds hit 74 mph. By 11 a.m. Monday, Dean had top winds of near 65 mph, according to Richard Pasch of the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

It could reach hurricane strength by Monday night, forecasters said.

``It has regenerated over the North Atlantic. The water is still just warm enough to allow it to redevelop,'' Pasch said early Monday.

Dean is only a threat to maritime traffic, not to any land, he said.

At 11 a.m. EDT, Dean was centered about 530 miles south of Cape Race, Newfoundland. It was heading northeast at near 18 mph, and was expected to keep that course and forward speed through the day, gradually crossing into colder waters that will begin sapping its strength.

A tropical wave, which is weaker than a depression, also was detected approaching the Lesser Antilles early Monday, accompanied by showers and a few thunderstorms.

Pasch said no strengthening was expected in the wave.

``It's not any threat. It'll just bring some spotty shower activity to the Lesser Antilles,'' he said, ``but there's no development foreseen here on this one.''

Dean surprised forecasters last Wednesday, emerging quickly from a tropical wave with sustained winds that reached 60 mph. The next day, the system weakened to a tropical depression.