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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Quoting Levi32:


It's now a TD...likely to steadily strengthen as it heads towards India.



Is that REALLY a solid burst of convection 7 lat/lon degrees in diameter?!
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BTW, thanks for the update, HGW.
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Quoting mikatnight:
Evening folks,
Looks like everyone's bored outta their minds, so let's see if anyone has any predictions. No, not the number of storms, that's been and will be done to death. Let's try something different like:

How many store names do you think will be retired this year?

And,

What will be the first storm name to be retired?


Sorry i was watching Pamela Anderson on Ellen. back now. lol
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Quoting weathersp:


Oh gawd we just went over this.. see post # 1447-1449. It has already started.


I wasn't around.

My dearest apologies, my good ole bud sir!
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3 minute sustained winds near the center is 25 knots with a central pressure of 999 hPa. The state of the sea is rough to very rough around the system's center.

Anybody have a conversion chart for 3-minute to 1-minute winds?
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Quoting weathersp:


Wha? There is a large cyclone in the Indian Ocean and a small invest wayyy off in the E-PAC. I also don't think the waters off France are tropical, or France would be a very diffrent place... LOL!


I mean on the 1985-2005 map. Extratropical storms sometimes do make it to Northern Europe at hurricane strength.
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1494. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Levi "35 knots" is a tropical storm. =P

The Joint Typhoon Warning center don't give warnings until the system is at least 35 knots in the Indian Ocean.
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Quoting mikatnight:
Evening folks,
Looks like everyone's bored outta their minds, so let's see if anyone has any predictions. No, not the number of storms, that's been and will be done to death. Let's try something different like:

How many store names do you think will be retired this year?

And,

What will be the first storm name to be retired?



4 will get retired this season.
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Quoting SevereHurricane:
Less than 3 hours(2 eastern time) until Hurricane Season! Get the champagne ready!


Oh gawd we just went over this.. see post # 1447-1449. It has already started.
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:
Don't you wish sometimes that you could "-" a blatantly cacaphonious post, show it, "-" it again, then show it again, "-" it again and again and again...
LOL ... u betcha.... LOL

I do also sometimes which pple wouldn't quote the pple whose posts are hidden as a result...
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1490. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
India Meteorological Department
Tropical Cyclone Advisory Number THREE
DEPRESSION ARB02-2010
23:30 PM IST May 31 2010
=======================================

At 18:00 PM UTC, Depression ARB02-2010 over east central and adjoining west central Arabian Sea remained practically stationary and lays centered near 15.5N 63.5E, or about 1050 kms southwest of Mumbai, 1050 kms south southwest of Naliya (Gujarat), and 1120 kms south southwest of Karachi, Pakistan.

3 minute sustained winds near the center is 25 knots with a central pressure of 999 hPa. The state of the sea is rough to very rough around the system's center.

Satellite imagery indicates gradual organization of convection during past 12 hours. The Dvorak intensity of the system is T1.5. Associated broken intense to very intense convection observed over area betwen 10.0 to 18.0N and 57.5 to 67.0E. The lowest cloud top temperature due to convection is around -75C in association with the system.

Vertical wind shear of horizontal wind over the region is low to moderate (10-20 knots). The system lies to the south of tropospheric ridge, which roughly runs along 17.0N. Sea surface temperature is 30-32C, Depth of 26C Isotherm (more than 100 M) and ocean heat content (more than 100 kj/cm2) over the region are favorable for intensification. The relatively vorticity at 850 HPA level and upper level divergence are also favorable for intensification, as they increased during past 12 hours.

The system would continue to move northwestward for some more time and the recurvature is expected after 48 hours under the influence of the approaching trough. In mid latitude westerlies at 500 HPA level.

Considering all the above and numerical weather prediction model guidance, the system is likely to intensify gradually into a cyclonic storm and continue to move northwesterly during the next 48 hours and then recurve northeastward towards Gujarat and adjoining Pakistan coast.
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Well…look at it this way. His presence here generates a lot of posts. Potential advertisers love blogs with high traffic. After what he pulled over the weekend, and only receiving a slap on the wrist, to me, speaks volumes.
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1487. Levi32
Quoting BahaHurican:
Evening all. I only read the last 70+ comments, so I'm not sure what all the fun was about this evening. Am I correct in assuming, since nobody's talking about it anymore, that ex-Agatha went "poof"? And what's the latest update on the Arabian Sea area invest?


It's now a TD...likely to steadily strengthen as it heads towards India.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26659
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


Which one is that cat. 1 extratropical storm moving towards France?


Wha? There is a large cyclone in the Indian Ocean and a small invest wayyy off in the E-PAC. I also don't think the waters off France are tropical, or France would be a very diffrent place... LOL!
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Don't you wish sometimes that you could "-" a blatantly cacaphonious post, show it, "-" it again, then show it again, "-" it again and again and again...
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Evening all. I only read the last 70+ comments, so I'm not sure what all the fun was about this evening. Am I correct in assuming, since nobody's talking about it anymore, that ex-Agatha went "poof"? And what's the lastest update on the Arabian Sea area invest?
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Less than 3 hours(2 eastern time) until Hurricane Season! Get the champagne ready!
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Evening folks,
Looks like everyone's bored outta their minds, so let's see if anyone has any predictions. No, not the number of storms, that's been and will be done to death. Let's try something different like:

How many storm names do you think will be retired this year?

And,

What will be the first storm name to be retired?

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Quoting Ossqss:


Yes it is! and thank you! Seems some folks still have real guts.

I fear for our future.... out>
I AGREE WITH POST 1427 ALSO. it is shameful the way people disrespect our troops and our nation. if you don't like this country and what we stand for then you shouldn't be here. as my grandpa used to say "don't let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya!" god bless our troops, our country, and our misguided citizens.
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Quoting P451:
48HR IR Loop.... of the nothing to be for the Atlantic basin side.



Notice how the El Salvador convection eventually degraded into a chain of moisture that fed into the burst of convection off Belize. The GFS was actually expecting it to develop as a burst of convection, then die out but redevelop near Florida.
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Quoting P451:






Your my hero.
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1476. Ossqss
Quoting JFLORIDA:


I dont see how you can say that - how can you even tell it was misused? And it could be about something else anyway - at least I would hope so.

This is an international site too.


I run more than one PC at a time with different connections. One is not afflicted with the very potent cookies from this site and not attached to the root interface. I think you understand..

Not surprisingly, things do change when folks understand what is going on. As exemplified with tonight's activities!

L8R over and out>>

Thank you folks that understand. Not everyone knows the impact of the plus and minus in the box on the right, but we learn as we go :)

You made a difference as to who could see things, you really did in a short period of time. Thank you for that on behalf of those who gave their life for our opportunity to have the freedom we enjoy!
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
A Nightmare on Elm Street. I must be dreaming.


I love that movie.
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Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:


Which one is that cat. 1 extratropical storm moving towards France?
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A Nightmare on Elm Street. I must be dreaming.
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Quoting FIU2010:
good evening, all!!!!!!!!! I'm back, what's going on, guys and gals? did aggy's remains develop?


What did you do to her body JFV? She was a good help to the blog... I even liked her little aligator head avatar.. *Sniff*
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Quoting LemieT:
This is completely against the run of play and totally unscientific but there is simply TOO MUCH HEAT in the atmosphere. Nighttime feels like the average summer day and daytime, well... Something has to give...


It happened in the Southern Hemisphere where hot air building up over stalled ocean currents flooded over the continental interiors, and this time it's happening in the North as well.
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Poof...I don't even see how this 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.

Link
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1464. Levi32
Quoting Ocean24:
levi, do you think that CFS forecast is accurate?


Nope.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26659
Quoting extreme236:


Haha no problem. Didn't mean to be technical but I get kinda OCD about that kinda stuff sometimes.


I think all of us on here have it a little bit, I am not afraid to admit it myself!
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Quoting AussieStorm:
I wonder if this is JFV sister.
Link


LOL!
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
It was 5am in the EPAC.


Thats on EPAC time (3 hours sooner than our time...which would be 8am here)
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
It was 5am in the EPAC.


Per the NHC website:

During hurricane season, Tropical Weather Outlooks are issued four times a day. Atlantic outlooks are issued at 2:00 AM EDT, 8:00 AM EDT, 2:00 PM EDT, and 8:00 PM EDT. They are transmitted under WMO header ABNT20 KNHC and AWIPS header MIATWOAT.
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Good night all, God bless!
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting extreme236:


Haha no problem. Didn't mean to be technical but I get kinda OCD about that kinda stuff sometimes.
LOL.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting weathersp:


Oh the technicalities are killing us tonight!!!!

LOL! TY 236..


Haha no problem. Didn't mean to be technical but I get kinda OCD about that kinda stuff sometimes.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
Quoting extreme236:


2 am actually


Oh the technicalities are killing us tonight!!!!

LOL! TY 236..
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Quoting extreme236:


2 am actually
It was 5am in the EPAC.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194

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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.

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