Tropical Storm Agatha one of the top ten deadliest Eastern Pacific storms on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:56 PM GMT on May 31, 2010

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The Eastern Pacific hurricane season of 2010 is off to a bad start. The mounting death toll from Central America's Tropical Storm Agatha has made that storm one of the top ten deadliest Eastern Pacific tropical cyclones on record. Agatha was a tropical storm for just 12 hours, making landfall Saturday on the Pacific coast of Guatemala as a 45 mph tropical storm. However, the storm brought huge amounts of moisture inland that continue to be wrung out as heavy rains by the high mountains of Guatemala and the surrounding nations of Central America. So far, flooding and landslides have killed at least 83 people in Guatemala, 13 in neighboring El Salvador, and one in Honduras. Guatemala is also suffering from the Pacaya volcano in Guatemala, which began erupting four days ago. At least three people have been killed by the volcano, located about 25 miles south of the capital, Guatemala City. The volcano has destroyed 800 homes with lava and brought moderate ash falls to the capital.


Figure 1. Flood damage in Zunil, Quetzaltenango, in Guatemala on May 29, 2010, after heavy rains from Tropical Storm Agatha. Image credit: Sergio Huertas, climaya.com

Agatha is the deadliest flooding disaster in Guatemala since Hurricane Stan of 2005, which killed 1,513. In a bizarre coincidence, that storm also featured a major volcanic eruption at the same time, when El Salvador's Santa Ana volcano blew its top during the height of Stan's rains in in that country on October 1. The eruption killed two and injured dozens, and worsened the mud flow damage from Stan's rains. The deadliest Eastern Pacific tropical cyclone on record for Guatemala was Hurricane Paul of 1982, which made landfall in Guatemala as a tropical depression. Flooding from Paul's rains killed 620 people in Guatemala.


Figure 2. Two-day rainfall totals for Central America as estimated by satellite, for the period 7pm EDT Friday May 28 - 7pm EDT Sunday May 30, 2010. Rainfall amounts of 350 mm (14 inches, orange colors) were indicated for portions of Guatemala. The Guatemala government reported that rainfall exceeded 36 inches in some regions. Image credit: Navy Research Lab, Monterey.

Oil spill update
Light onshore winds out of the south to southwest are expected to blow over the northern Gulf of Mexico all week, resulting increased threats of oil to the Alabama and Mississippi barrier islands, according to the latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA. These persistent southwesterly winds will likely bring oil very close to the Florida Panhandle by next weekend.

Oil spill resources
My post, What a hurricane would do the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
My post Wednesday with answers to some of the common questions I get about the spill
My post on the Southwest Florida "Forbidden Zone" where surface oil will rarely go
My post on what oil might do to a hurricane
Gulf Oil Blog from the UGA Department of Marine Sciences
NOAA trajectory forecasts
Deepwater Horizon Unified Command web site
Oil Spill Academic Task Force
University of South Florida Ocean Circulation Group oil spill forecasts
ROFFS Deepwater Horizon page
Surface current forecasts from NOAA's HYCOM model
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery from the University of Miami
The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and its Aftermath
What You Need to Know about Mercury in Fish and Shellfish

Jeff Masters

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1600. xcool
GFS WRONG AGAIN ON THE WEEKEND.. SAME OLD PROBLEM

By putting too much emphasis on front running short waves, the model is constantly displaying its feedback problems. I wonder sometimes if our synoptic classes in the universities show this and explain its a problem with the model physics. So one more time, I will go to the well and hammer the GFS. The jumping on the front running short Friday over the northeast forces too far south the actual system that will finally, 10 days late, bring the cool air into the northeast, though just for a few days ( June 7-10) Obviously the memorial day weekend was not cool, and it wont be cool all this week. But here we go again.. The 90 hour has the 570 dm height line running from Boston to Toledo to Chicago to Pierre SD. By lowering heights too much over the northeast, it forces the baroclinic zone further south. The European has it running from Portland Maine to Saulte Ste Marie to Pierre S Dakota, much further north. A very Different look. This means that though some thunderstorms occur Thursday in the east, the air mass over the Ohio valley and into the east is NOT COOLER THAN NORMAL FRIDAY OR SATURDAY. However, it also means that the final deepening of the trough over the weekend means it will turn cooler over the lakes Sunday and into the northeast Monday, and there could be one heck of a severe weather outbreak, not a cool overrunning rain, as implied by the GFS, over the midwest into the east on the weekend!

by joe
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15670
1599. Levi32
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Do you have a Facebook page Levi?


I do. But don't tell JFV that.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647
1598. MahFL
The Isreal's stormed the ship (irrespective of wether it was right or wrong )and the people on the ship decided it was a good idea to use clubs against Isreali special forces, the forces of course shot many dead to protect themselves.
If anyone knows anything about Isrealis they ALWAYS will use max force against their enemies.
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Hey Everyone,
Well I'm back from my storm chasing or should I say the lack there of...LOL
Anyway it did drive over 3200 miles from Mobile AL to Joplin Mo then down to Killeen TX and over to Houston TX.... Thats a lot of driving but well worth the trip....

I had my chance on Monday a week ago and then on Tuesday but was just off a few miles.... Well maybe next year. I have plans in the works already for 2 weeks not just one. So I should get a lot more action next year....

Now I have to tell you "Always Respect the Weather" because she will turn on you very quickly if you are not keeping a close eye on her thats for sure....

Taco :o)
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Quoting IKE:
SYNOPSIS FOR CARIBBEAN SEA AND TROPICAL N ATLC FROM 07N TO 22N
BETWEEN 55W AND 65W
530 PM EDT MON MAY 31 2010

.SYNOPSIS...ELONGATED LOW PRES TROUGH ACROSS THE FAR W CARIB JUST
OFF THE E COAST OF THE YUCATAN PENINSULA AND BELIZE...ASSOCIATED
WITH THE MIDDLE LEVEL REMNANTS OF AGATHA...WILL DRIFT N THROUGH TUE
NIGHT...THEN TURN NW WED AND MOVE INLAND ACROSS THE YUCATAN AND
DISSIPATE WED NIGHT. ELY TRADES WILL RETURN TUE THROUGH FRI AND
STRENGTHEN SOME AS ATLC RIDGE REBUILDS N OF AREA.



Well that's what I said all morning and afternoon. I should just work there! :)
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1689
Quoting BahaHurican:
Until Andrew in '92, the Bahamas hadn't been hit by a really bad one since Donna or Betsy (which one was later? I forget) and the years of multiple bad hits and years in a row of bad hits had passed in the '30s. We've had to make some adjustments here since '92. However, we still haven't had a cat 3, 4, or 5 pass over New Providence since the early 60. I dread the thought of that, because so many Nassuvians "think" they know what a hurricane is like....


Exactly right. People around here think that because they went through francis jeanne and wilma that they know what its like to go through a major hurricane. The truth is that francis and jeanne did not even produce hurricane force winds in palm beach county. Wilma's maximum sustained winds were i think around 86 miles per hour. This despite the incredible damage that occured here. Brings to mind the words from the national hurricane center that say, "A category 4 hurricane would...usually be expected to cause 100 times the damage of the category 1 storm."
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Do you have a Facebook page Levi?
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Well t-minues 30 minutes on the East Coast, vut techinically it is already cane season in AST.
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1590. Levi32
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
My ? was for Levi if he is still on.


You are likely correct. I don't expect any significant precipitation event for Florida with Agatha's remnants. There will be very little dynamics to support widespread heavy precip as her remnants enter the subtropical jet over the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647
1589. xcool


Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15670
My ? was for Levi if he is still on.
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There has been a lot of squawk today about the Israeli attack on the Palastinian relief boats, but Pacaya and Agatha are really creating a serious disaster caused by no one in particular. Dunno if it will get the coverage it deserves becaused there are no political under or over tones....

Anyway, I'm out for the night. See u guys in the a.m......
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1585. MahFL
Re BP....I am not sure what pipes are inside the riser pipe still. My understanding is they will cut the riser off, and use the cap to "contain the oil". Also didn't they say they may somehow attach a new BOP, but I don't understand how a BOP can be bolted to the old BOP with a cut pipe attatched.
Its a mess no matter what is planned.
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
A voice of reason. Is my post post a few pages correct?

1467. GeoffreyWPB 10:14 PM EDT on May 31, 2010
Poof...I don't even see how this (Remants of Agatha) will bring any rain to Florida. Here in south Fla., our rain this week will come from storms forming inland and moving towards the east coast. Bascally a sea breeze scenario

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1583. xcool


Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15670
Severe flooding and landslides have occurred across much of the middle of Central America - and in Guatemala, ash-laden roofs have collapsed due to the weight of the ash and water mix. Pacaya is still erupting, adding more ash to the mess.
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---

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1580. Patrap
1577. mikatnight

Were hoping for a miracle,,but BP punched a hole in Hades septic tank..and cant stop it.

If we lose the marsh,,we can Lose the Nursery for the GOM.

BP should read back to History what happened to the British here in the early 19th Century.

Specifically Andrew Jackson's Role and that Lil Squabble.
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1579. Levi32
Quoting Levi32:
I can assure everyone that nothing tropical is occurring near Puerto Rico. The thunderstorm blow-up is a combination of orographic lift due to the island and upper divergence aloft. The northerly flow around the east side of the upper ridge over the western Caribbean is pulling away from the subtropical jet, which is flowing towards the ENE. This is called a diffluent flow, with the air streams separating from each other and parting ways. This creates a void in the upper atmosphere, and air from below rushes upward to replace it. This upward motion forms thunderstorms.



In addition, the tail-end of a frontal boundary and a surface trough is lying across the island, aiding in surface convergence.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647
Quoting mikatnight:


Yes. Too true. Before 1950 palm beach county got struck by major hurricanes relatively frequently. As it stands now the last 1 was 1949. Over 60 years ago.
Until Andrew in '92, the Bahamas hadn't been hit by a really bad one since Donna or Betsy (which one was later? I forget) and the years of multiple bad hits and years in a row of bad hits had passed in the '30s. We've had to make some adjustments here since '92. However, we still haven't had a cat 3, 4, or 5 pass over New Providence since the early 60. I dread the thought of that, because so many Nassuvians "think" they know what a hurricane is like....
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Thanks Pat (#1562). Have to tell my wife to check her facts. Hopefully the brown pelican won't be reinstated on the ESL after this mess is over. If there ever is an end.
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1576. Relix
PR:

http://www.goes.noaa.gov/HURRLOOPS/huirloop.html



Lot's of convection building right over us. Seems like the huge band of rain moving south to north can be seen in the convection there.
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1574. Levi32
I can assure everyone that nothing tropical is occurring near Puerto Rico. The thunderstorm blow-up is a combination of orographic lift due to the island and upper divergence aloft. The northerly flow around the east side of the upper ridge over the western Caribbean is pulling away from the subtropical jet, which is flowing towards the ENE. This is called a diffluent flow, with the air streams separating from each other and parting ways. This creates a void in the upper atmosphere, and air from below rushes upward to replace it. This upward motion forms thunderstorms.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647
Quoting weathersp:
4° Latitude Tall, 9° Longitude wide.

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Ossgss what were you saying? Im quite curious...
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1571. pottery
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
new surface map 00Z


That bears no relationship to the previously shown one, Re: the ITCZ.
What's up with that, then?
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1570. xcool
hey
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15670
1569. Ossqss
Minutes from the formal season,

Here ya go. Be ready for it!

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new surface map 00Z

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1567. pottery
Quoting Seastep:
Absolutely appalled if what ossqss is saying is true.

I agree.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
u weren't the only ones - and we got hit! Cat 2 winds in Nassau toppled large trees like kingpins. Abaco got the worst of it. But it could have been much worse; that monster could have kept on coming west....


Yes. Too true. Before 1950 palm beach county got struck by major hurricanes relatively frequently. As it stands now the last 1 was 1949. Over 60 years ago.
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So, I don't know if you know this or saw me post last season, but I love Google Earth for combining information, when a hurricane is in the carrbean I will post hurricane hunter info, satelight and radar overlays all in one image. Its pretty cool, and I like doing it, showing it off is just extra for me..

So I whipped this up quickly.. The Yellow Line is 400 miles long and the white line is 327 miles long. and if you must know the SHIP is reporting West winds at 22 kts and a 85.5°F water temperature The bouys are not responding.

Member Since: January 14, 2007 Posts: 17 Comments: 4140
Hmmm.... something suspicous is going on over Puerto Rico.
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1563. pottery
Quoting hydrus:
Puerto Rico is being creamed by a weird freak storm and the radar is down. Sux, it would be cool if we could see whats happening in that area.

See post 1554.
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1562. Patrap
The state bird of Louisiana is unique among the world's seven species of pelicans.



The brown pelican is found along the ocean shores and not on inland lakes. It is the only dark pelican, and also the only one that plunges from the air into the water to catch its food.

Pesticide use caused Pelicans to stop nesting along the Louisiana coast in 1961, and they completely disappeared by 1966. Louisiana began attempting to re-populate its coastline by transporting Florida fledglings into the state. The US Fish and Wildlife Service listed the Brown Pelican as an endangered species in 1970, but the Federal Government declared the Brown Pelican "recovered" in Louisiana in 1995 . About 40,000 Brown Pelicans call "The Pelican State" their home today.
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1561. Seastep
Absolutely appalled if what ossqss is saying is true.
Member Since: September 9, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 3414
1560. pottery
Quoting mikatnight:


Right that's always the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions her. Really great pair of...elbows.

heheheheheh
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Quoting mikatnight:


Ah, Floyd. We were really lucky that baby turned north.
u weren't the only ones - and we got hit! Cat 2 winds in Nassau toppled large trees like kingpins. Abaco got the worst of it. But it could have been much worse; that monster could have kept on coming west....
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I don't see any named systems in the Atlantic basin for the first half of June.
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Quoting Patrap:
Rescuing birds

Rescuing birds
Added by Matthew Hinton, The Times-Picayune on May 31, 2010 at 8:10 PM

MATTHEW HINTON / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE A darker possibly oil covered pelican takes off near the South Pass of the Mississippi River by the Gulf of Mexico Monday May 31, 2010. U.S. Fish and Wildlife officers pilot their boats by rigs and other structures to make the birds fly away. If the birds don't fly they are likely to be covered with oil and have trouble flying. But even if visibly covered with oil and the birds still fly away then the officers will still let the birds go because of the difficulty to catch them.


Hi Pat,
I heard that the brown pelican just got taken off the endangered species list only 6 months ago.
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1556. Patrap
Rescuing birds

Rescuing birds
Added by Matthew Hinton, The Times-Picayune on May 31, 2010 at 8:10 PM

MATTHEW HINTON / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE U.S. Fish and Wildlife officers pilot their boats by rigs and other structures to make the birds fly away. If the birds don't fly they are likely to be covered with oil and have trouble flying. But even if visibly covered with oil and the birds still fly away then the officers will still let the birds go because of the difficulty to catch them. Here pelicans fly from an oil rigging near the South Pass of the Mississippi River with the Gulf of Mexico Monday May 31, 2010.
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Isn't the size of a tropical cyclone meaasured by the closed isobars?
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1554. Relix
By the way for those in PR crazy to look for info regarding the heavy rains, check this link:

http://www.wapa.tv/tiempo.php?cam=doppler

Local news Doppler radar. Shows a very nasty batch coming our way. There are flooding reports and the two biggest rivers are near flooding levels.
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There are some severe thunderstorms near the Oklahoma-Texas panhandle border, including an S-pattern in the infrared cloud tops suggesting tornadic potential.
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1552. hydrus
Quoting pottery:

Yeah, strange.
They must have a good reason, it's too obvious!!
Puerto Rico is being creamed by a weird freak storm and the radar is down. Sux, it would be cool if we could see whats happening in that area.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21193
1551. pottery
Quoting Relix:


Well I love in the north, a few miles west of San Juan. I can tell you that the last downpour lasted well over a constant 5 hours in the area I live, and I mean lots and lots of rain. Right now there's just some light rain but I expect some heavier one soon. I am also sure the whole island is covered in thunder storms. The lightning I've been seeing tonight is one of the most impressive I've witnessed in my life. It calmed down a bit now but it sure did grab me by surprise. Didn't expect so much rain today honestly. Some local roads are flooded but because the drainage system couldn't keep up with the food. Just outside my house the road is under water but maybe by half an inch or less. News still haven't reported major flooding though, which is surprising.

With that kind of rain, would not be suprised to hear some problems, tomorrow.
Keep safe there.
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1550. Patrap
Rescuing birds

Rescuing birds
Added by Matthew Hinton, The Times-Picayune on May 31, 2010 at 8:09 PM

MATTHEW HINTON / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist Michael Sealy tries to net a oiled gull near Venice at the mouth of the Mississippi River with the Gulf of Mexico while boat captain Herman DeMoll, Jr. and U.S. Fish and Wildlife firefighter John Hawkins look on Monday May 31, 2010.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.