Hurricane reaching Pacific Ocean

While watching the tracking of Hurricane Dean we saw it pop up to Category 5 and then drop back to Category 3 when it hit the beach in Mexico. I looked at the NOAA site and saw that a few hurricanes over the years have managed to cross over into the Pacific.
Is it possible for a hurricane that made the successful transition to the Pacific to regain any of its strength? I am talking about according to our current climate, not some future global warming climate.

The only places where that would be likely to occur is if the hurricane crossed the Central American isthmus at one of the three routes of sufficiently low elevation to not break it up completely:

  1. The Isthmus of Tehuantepec, where the Mexican states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Tabasco, and Veracruz meet.

  2. Panama, especially near the canal (duh!)

  3. Southern Nicaragua

Of these, only southern Nicaragua is oriented east-west, and so is the only likely candidate for such an event. It is the longest distance of the three options, however, so it would have to be a particularly fast-moving and large hurricane – one like Dean, actually.

I’ll leave it to someone else to look up if this has actually ever been documented as occurring. I’d be surpised if it didn’t happen at least once a century or so.

According to NOAA there have been a few from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s that made it to the Pacific. I’m just wondering if it is possible for them to regain their strength, essentially build back up from a 3 to a 5.

From meteorolgist and former hurricane hunter Dr. Jeff Masters’ blog on Weather Underground:

(My emphasis)

But that doesn’t say anything about crossing in the flatter parts of Mexico, or in other regions of Central America.

It is possible for a hurricane to cross from the Atlantic into the Pacific and regain its strength, or become stronger than it was. Looking on Wikipedia, here is an example from 1996. You may also check the list of Atlantic-Pacific crossover storms.

Yucatan is the flattest part of Mexico. If you cross the Gulf & keep going West, you will encounter mountains.

And that same rocky spine continues south through Central America.

Well, it has its flatter sections – see my first post above.

Indeed, severus’ first linked example from the post immediately above yours, shows Hurrican Cesar (a.k.a. Douglas), which follows the exact route I had predicted: across southern Nicaragua.