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 StormW:


Jimmy Hoffa!


LMAO

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I think that sink hole was created to throw BP and its executives right it...its deep enough.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1097. viman
Quoting Relix:
Horrible t-storms and rain here in PR. Wow.


Send some over to St. Thomas...

Radar will be down until Wednesday I think, so no way to check and see if anything is headed this way...
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 382
1096. xcool
i justing need cmc
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Quoting StormW:


Jimmy Hoffa!
OMG LOL Storm!
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


LOL Levi...Seems like I missed quite a weekend on the blog!
You sure had missed a hell of a weekend.
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1092. Dakster
Quoting Weather456:


I'm not sure what's at the bottom.


I am not even 100% sure there is a bottom - going by the aerial photo...
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10796
Quoting Levi32:


Dang Geoff....I pressed the "end" key and saw your post without the handle and was like....what the heck?


LOL Levi...Seems like I missed quite a weekend on the blog!
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Do these waves look to be south Fla. trekkers? :)
Oh jeeze LOL! good one
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Quoting Weather456:
Tracking two waves over Africa...the one nearest to the coast can be traced back to Central Africa around May 28.

The one furthest east is particularly strong and expected to emerge around next Monday.



Also, someone asked him what else was out there because the old lady (agatha) died. He's just answering the question
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Quoting xcool:



so GFS AND NGP SHOW STORMS


wow so it now NAM,NGP and GFS forecasting a storm down in the SW Caribbean
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Quoting Levi32:


I've been tracking the one over the Central African Republic for a few days now. If it holds together it may be an interesting feature to track once it emerges in the Atlantic.
I agree looks pretty potent and it will be mid june by the time it gets to the west atlantic/caribbean so this wave needs to be watched.
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1086. Levi32
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Do these waves look to be south Fla. trekkers? :)


Dang Geoff....I pressed the "end" key and saw your post without the handle and was like....what the heck?
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
1085. IKE
View of the oil
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Quoting Weather456:


Wait? Where in my post did I mentioned any potential for development? Let me let you in on a little secret....as a tropical weather forecaster I monitor everywhere even Africa regardless of likelihood of formation. Why? Becuz that tropical wave emerging on June 7 could become a full fledge storm in the WCARIB on June 15.

And besides, my June outlook only discussed the W Atl, so I would be contradicting my forecast if you two were correct.


Do these waves look to be south Fla. trekkers? :)
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1083. Levi32
Quoting kuppenskup:


Way too early for even any potential development in this area sir!


I've been tracking the one over the Central African Republic for a few days now. If it holds together it may be an interesting feature to track once it emerges in the Atlantic, and could potentially pose a problem in the Caribbean in the long-run.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting 92Andrew:
WEATHER456

Is that water at the bottom of the sink hole? What's down there?


I'm not sure what's at the bottom.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1081. xcool
HEY
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1080. xcool
alex
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Quoting MyrtleCanes:


isnt it a little early to worry about cape verde storms?
Quoting kuppenskup:


Way too early for even any potential development in this area sir!


Wait? Where in my post did I mentioned any potential for development? Let me let you in on a little secret....as a tropical weather forecaster I monitor everywhere even Africa regardless of likelihood of formation. Why? Becuz that tropical wave emerging on June 7 could become a full fledge storm in the WCARIB on June 15.

And besides, my June outlook only discussed the W Atl, so I would be contradicting my forecast if you two were correct.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting Weather456:
Tracking two waves oveSAr Africa...the one nearest to the coast can be traced back to Central Africa around May 28.

The one furthest east is particularly strong and expected to emerge around next Monday.




cape storm this early i dont see possible!
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Quoting beell:


So who's worried? Watching waves is part of the seasonal duties. Whether they develop or not.


maybe worry was the wrong choice of words, I was referring to the fact the Cape Verde season is at least 6 weeks off. Sure I guess its possible but doubtful. Would be cool to see and African wave make it across this early
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Quoting xcool:



so GFS AND NGP SHOW STORMS
Hey scott!
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1073. xcool



so GFS AND NGP SHOW STORMS
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1071. beell
Quoting MyrtleCanes:


isnt it a little early to worry about cape verde storms?


So who's worried? Watching waves is part of the seasonal duties. Whether they develop or not.
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 145 Comments: 16923
Quoting 92Andrew:
WEATHER456

Is that water at the bottom of the sink hole? What's down there?
LOL sorry
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1069. Seastep
Quoting spathy:
#1052
Cenotes.




Link


Good stuff. Thanks.
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1068. Relix
Horrible t-storms and rain here in PR. Wow.
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WEATHER456

Is that water at the bottom of the sink hole? What's down there?
Member Since: July 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 96
1066. xcool



new





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Good evening everyone! hows everyone doing this memorial day?
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ok i think you've seen it
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Quoting Weather456:
Tracking two waves over Africa...the one nearest to the coast can be traced back to Central Africa around May 28.

The one furthest east is particularly strong and expected to emerge around next Monday.





isnt it a little early to worry about cape verde storms?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1062. beell
Quoting Weather456:
Tracking two waves over Africa...the one nearest to the coast can be traced back to Central Africa around May 28.

The one furthest east is particularly strong and expected to emerge around next Monday.





Thanks.
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 145 Comments: 16923
Quoting Weather456:
Tracking two waves over Africa...the one nearest to the coast can be traced back to Central Africa around May 28.

The one furthest east is particularly strong and expected to emerge around next Monday.





Way too early for even any potential development in this area sir!
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good lord, have you guys seen this picture?

http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/05/31/honduras.storm.emergency/index.html?hpt=T1

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1059. DEKRE
Quoting wadedanielsmith:
1030:

The sink holes might be related to ancient, sub-surface lava tubes.

It's possible they got flooded and eroded from below over time.



The underground in Guatemala is limestone with caverns.

There was an earlier case in 1977
Member Since: April 27, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 306
Tracking two waves over Africa...the one nearest to the coast can be traced back to Central Africa around May 28.

The one furthest east is particularly strong and expected to emerge around next Monday.



Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1056. xcool
;)!~!!
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1055. xcool
masonsnana lmaooo
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Quoting xcool:
Agatha aka old lady not dead
watch it with the old lady jokes LOL
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Agatha is dead, you never know if her twin brother Alex will rear his head at her funeral.
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1051. xcool
1048. kuppenskup
lmao good one..
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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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