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 extreme236:


2 am actually
It was 5am in the EPAC.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Quoting weathersp:


Doesn't matter what local time you are at... all NOAA times exept for WFO's are in Zulu time (also called GMT) 12:00 AM June 1, 2010 Zulu was at 8:00 PM EDT. So we are already in Hurricane offically, the first TWO (Tropical Weather Outlook) will be out at 5 AM.


2 am actually
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
Quoting weathersp:


Doesn't matter what local time you are at... all NOAA times exept for WFO's are in Zulu time (also called GMT) 12:00 AM June 1, 2010 Zulu was at 8:00 PM EDT. So we are already in Hurricane offically, the first TWO (Tropical Weather Outlook) will be out at 5 AM.
Correct!
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Quoting AllStar17:


I am talking about Eastern Daylight Time.


Doesn't matter what local time you are at... all NOAA times exept for WFO's are in Zulu time (also called GMT) 12:00 AM June 1, 2010 Zulu was at 8:00 PM EDT. So we are already in Hurricane offically, the first TWO (Tropical Weather Outlook) will be out at 5 AM.
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Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:


Ah.
No actually you're right!
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
1445. Ossqss
Quoting AussieStorm:

That is really sad.


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

I fear for our future.... out>
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1443. help4u
Agree 100% on post 1427!!
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Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:
Tropical Storm One formed in July though
No it was June 1st. It was written wrong on Wikipedia.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
1441. wxhatt
wow blow up of convection around PR.

Photobucket
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Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:




It was a 65 m/h storm :)
Also Hurricane Abby in 1968. 1919 and 1968 were the only seasons to have a named storm on June 1st.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Everyone have a good evening/morning. Got an early morning tomorrow so I'm outta here.
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Quoting weathersp:


It began at 0z... which was 1 hr 50 min ago.
Quoting AussieStorm:

It's already started here. 11Hours and 50minutes ago.


I am talking about Eastern Daylight Time.
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1435. Levi32
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


That's weird, the CPC is predicting below-normal temps across the Midwest.


They've been doing that along with the CFS for the summer....just won't happen. The CFS skill-scores this year will be one of the lowest on record.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647
JFV???????????
Link
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Quoting Levi32:
This is pretty insane...and reminiscent of what most of the summer will be like for the central-eastern US. All that heat is boiling the gulf too.



That's weird, the CPC is predicting below-normal temps across the Midwest.
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Quoting Ossqss:
Wow, unbelievably, my post on the tribute to the American Troops gained so many negatives, it has been blanked out for non members. What type of site is this/>??????????? Wow, is all I can say. Where do you live folks? Who got you there? How shameful of you that placed a negative on the post! Your fathers would tell you so......

You that see this need to think about what you have in play...... Simply a Wow to those who reject the folks who earned respect for this holiday in America. Those that did reject it , do not deserve to live here. Think about it!

That is really sad.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


LMAO
LMAO!
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
1428. Levi32
This is pretty insane...and reminiscent of what most of the summer will be like for the central-eastern US. All that heat is boiling the gulf too.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647
1427. Ossqss
Wow, unbelievably, my post on the tribute to the American Troops gained so many negatives, it has been blanked out for non members. What type of site is this/>??????????? Wow, is all I can say. Where do you live folks? Who got you there? How shameful of you that placed a negative on the post! Your fathers would tell you so......

You that see this need to think about what you have in play...... Simply a Wow to those who reject the folks who earned respect for this holiday in America. Those that did reject it , do not deserve to live here. Think about it!

On memorial day no less!
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Quoting AllStar17:
2 hours, 13 minutes until the Atlantic Season officially begins.

It's already started here. 11Hours and 50minutes ago.
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


My bad then. You confused quite a few people on the last page there lol.

By looking at unisys weather though, there are apparently 19 storms minus depressions which still comes out to be a very slightly below average year.


So I see. Though, I thought it was obvious what I was referring to, given the context.

My bad.
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Puerto Rico



BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
FLASH FLOOD WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN JUAN PR
927 PM AST MON MAY 31 2010

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SAN JUAN HAS ISSUED A

* FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR...
THE FOLLOWING MUNICIPALITIES

IN PUERTO RICO
COROZAL
MOROVIS
TOA ALTA
VEGA ALTA
DORADO
VEGA BAJA
TOA BAJA

* UNTIL 315 AM AST

* ....DANGEROUS FLOODING SITUATION IN VEGA ALTA AND VEGA BAJA DUE TO
RAPID RISES ON THE CIBUCO RIVER. MODERATE TO POSSIBLY MAJOR
FLOODING EXPECTED ON THE CIBUCO RIVER TONIGHT.

AT 922 PM AST...USGS SENSORS INDICATED THAT THE RIVER WAS RISING
VERY RAPIDLY AND COULD POSSIBLY REACH MAJOR FLOOD STAGE. AN EXTREME
SURGE IS COMING DOWN THE RIVER AND WILL FLOOD ROUTE 2 IN VEGA BAJA
AND VEGA ALTA. THIS FLOODING COULD BE WORSE THAN THE ONE JUST
EXPERIENCED SATURDAY NIGHT MAY 29 2010.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

BE ESPECIALLY CAUTIOUS AT NIGHT WHEN IT IS HARDER TO RECOGNIZE THE
DANGERS OF FLOODING. IF FLASH FLOODING IS OBSERVED ACT QUICKLY. MOVE
UP TO HIGHER GROUND TO ESCAPE FLOOD WATERS. DO NOT STAY IN AREAS
SUBJECT TO FLOODING WHEN WATER BEGINS RISING.

A FLASH FLOOD WARNING MEANS THAT FLOODING IS IMMINENT OR OCCURRING.
IF YOU ARE IN THE WARNING AREA MOVE TO HIGHER GROUND IMMEDIATELY.
RESIDENTS LIVING ALONG STREAMS AND CREEKS SHOULD TAKE IMMEDIATE
PRECAUTIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CROSS
SWIFTLY FLOWING WATERS OR WATERS OF UNKNOWN DEPTH BY FOOT OR BY
AUTOMOBILE.

&&

LAT...LON 1825 6634 1833 6644 1851 6643 1855 6640
1850 6620 1834 6621 1834 6628 1827 6630

$$

ROSA
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.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
Quoting AllStar17:
2 hours, 13 minutes until the Atlantic Season officially begins.


It began at 0z... which was 1 hr 50 min ago.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


I was talking about the Pacific.


My bad then. You confused quite a few people on the last page there lol.

By looking at unisys weather though, there are apparently 19 storms minus depressions which still comes out to be a very slightly below average year.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Quoting AussieStorm:
I wonder if this is JFV sister.
Link


LMAO
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1418. scott39
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Tropical Storm 1 in 1919.
thanks
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Quoting AussieStorm:








Wow, that central burst of convection is the size of West Virginia.
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2 hours, 13 minutes until the Atlantic Season officially begins.
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Quoting scott39:
Do you know of any Atlantic storms that were named on June 1st?
Tropical Storm 1 in 1919.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
1414. 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...
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I wonder if this is JFV sister.
Link
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Quoting AussieStorm:




Those Indians and Pakistanis are going to put aside their differences PDQ..
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Quoting scott39:
Do you know of any Atlantic storms that were named on June 1st?


Barry, though it became a tropical depression on May 31.
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


1. Barry wasn't actually named until June.
2. 15 named storms isn't one of the quietest years on record.


I was talking about the Pacific.
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1408. scott39
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
I'll have a response within 10 minutes, I have to do my research.
ok
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Quoting KoritheMan:


2007 had two named storms in May, and we had a ridiculously strong La Nina that year. That season turned out to be one of the quietest on record.


1. Barry wasn't actually named until June.
2. 15 named storms isn't one of the quietest years on record.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
.
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1405. trey33
JFV is out now putting his storm shutters up - again....you know how he is about that.
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Quoting scott39:
Do you know of any Atlantic storms that were named on June 1st?
I'll have a response within 10 minutes, I have to do my research.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
1403. scott39
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


ORLY??





You missed we were talking about Epac season.
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1402. wxhatt
MJO is showing another upward pulse in June for SW Atllantic basin.
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:
Cyclone Three has really exploded in the past few hours. I can see this being a major threat to the Indus Delta-Gujarat-Karachi region.






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Quoting KoritheMan:


2007 had two named storms in June, and we had a ridiculously strong La Nina that year. That season turned out to be one of the quietest on record.


ORLY??





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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.