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 JFLORIDA:


That isnt showing the current Canadian and Alaskan situation - right??


Warm Alaska. Love it.
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Quoting Dakster:
Thanks W456!

How freakin' deep is that sucker? Looks 100's of feet deep.


You kidding me...that is frightening....I got nervous just looking at it..WTH?
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting Weather456:
My God

I bet JFV dug that to protect himself from all the hurricanes he's "forecasting" to hit Miami. LOL.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Weather456:
My God




i wounder if its big too a point to where we can put JFV in there
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thanks W456!

How freakin' deep is that sucker? Looks 100's of feet deep.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10808
Quoting CycloneOz:


You greenie liberals are going to bankrupt the U.S.

Make sure that Civic stays up and running! We'll be like Cuba shortly! :)


Sure...sure...cling to that. Alternative energy...maybe we can lead the world in something again other than oil spills.
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Quoting CycloneOz:


Who asked you?
You know what, just wumail me some of your info and a picture of you and I will have a wiki page of you up by Wednesday.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
My God

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
oh wants a MUD BATH
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Quoting CycloneOz:


I don't believe it.


Yeah because climate change is a hoax meant to destroy capitalism...those dumb old scientists. All that schooling and no knowledge. LOL!
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Fast upper winds over the Gulf region...cloud tops are being blown away.

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
June 1 starts in around 50 minutes or so...

Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10808
Quoting Ocean24:
whose planing on staying on here until midnight, to officially usher in our super anticipated 2010 atlantic hurricane season?
well i guess you and maybe 15 other screen names will be here
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Quoting CycloneOz:


You're a Wiki editor?

I need a "Brian Osburn" page! :)
No problem, I'm just going to need some info (birth date, birth place, etc...) Latest numbers:

146 direct, 64 missing
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting CycloneOz:
Can anyone recall the post of what brought it on? :D


Any of them. Business as usual...The plagiarized forecast posted in his blog may have been the capper. I thought that would have earned a real long one but alas, it was not to be...
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Quoting Dakster:


What about the brown snow? I hear that tastes like chocolate.


YUCK!!!!
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Quoting CycloneOz:


I don't believe it.


You don't believe the sea ice extent graphs?!


Quoting Levi32:


Just look at the Pacific. You remember that NOAA forecast I put up a couple months ago of a warm winter for me here in Alaska next year? Well *cough* look at it now....oh yay they caught on.



The PDO going cold this year (you can see its signature in the north Pacific already) cools most of the North American continent, and most of the arctic along with it. Even our precious CFS supports global cooling this winter. Compare June to November.



Sustained +2C anomalies for Pine Island Bay...uh oh.


Quoting CycloneOz:


You're a Wiki editor?

I need a "Brian Osburn" page! :)


Request denied.
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2836
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Quoting JFLORIDA:


That isnt showing the current Canadian and Alaskan situation - right??


Current? Look at June of course they are warm. Then look at the following trend here in Alaska/Canada.

Does anyone look at these? Japanese seasonal forecasts:

June-July-August:



Dec-Feb....

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926. DEKRE
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


The whole country was 4C above normal while the US was hit by snowstorms and cold waves. This upside-down pattern will exist this summer as well, as the American Midwest will be cooler than normal (and at increased risk of a major flood) while Southern Canada will be above normal in temperatures. If the winter trend continues for Canada, who knows, maybe by 2100 we'll be getting winters in Southern Ontario where the average January daytime temperature is 11C, and during heat waves it gets up to 23C in January!


Good thing with my geothermal heating system, cooling comes basically free of charge
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Look at the size of this crater Agatha left behind:


http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/WORLD/americas/05/31/honduras.storm.emergency/t1larg.sinkhole.afp

I can't seem to post the picture though...
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10808
I'm about to post the latest numbers on wikipedia within 10 minutes.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting DEKRE:


in the eastern canadian arctic, the temperarure was 7°C above normal this winter


The whole country was 4C above normal while the US was hit by snowstorms and cold waves. This upside-down pattern will exist this summer as well, as the American Midwest will be cooler than normal (and at increased risk of a major flood) while Southern Canada will be above normal in temperatures. If the winter trend continues for Canada, who knows, maybe by 2100 we'll be getting winters in Southern Ontario where the average January daytime temperature is 11C, and during heat waves it gets up to 23C in January!
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2836
Quoting CycloneOz:


You were in a fatality count race?

Do we have people on the ground in these locations? ;)
LOL, no I gather articles and add up the numbers and post them on Wikipedia.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


Let me guess...Joe Bastardi?


Cold PDO wasn't invented by Bastardi.
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Quoting JFLORIDA:


And you have a mechanism for this spectacular increase?


Just look at the Pacific. You remember that NOAA forecast I put up a couple months ago of a warm winter for me here in Alaska next year? Well *cough* look at it now....oh yay they caught on.



The PDO going cold this year (you can see its signature in the north Pacific already) cools most of the North American continent, and most of the arctic along with it. Even our precious CFS supports global cooling this winter. Compare June to November.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CycloneOz:


Would make for one helluva golf course!

Use the yellow balls...but never eat the yellow snow!


What about the brown snow? I hear that tastes like chocolate.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10808
№ 872

Somewhat off-topic here, I know but...that graph is not a direct measurement of ice volume, but merely a model based on sea-ice-age proxies for thickness. Estimates based on the Navy's PIPS sea-ice thickness model seem to contradict the recent decreases shown by the PIOMAS in particular:

Arctic Ice Volume Has Increased 25% Since May 2008

Navy PIPS data concerning sea-ice thickness shown below:



Images sources below:
http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/pips2/archive/pips2_thick/2008/pips2_thick.2008052700.gif
http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/pips2/archive/pips2_thick/2010/pips2_thick.2010052700.gif
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Quoting JFLORIDA:


And you have a mechanism for this spectacular increase?


Let me guess...Joe Bastardi?
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2836
Quoting JFLORIDA:


Yea its a dismal year - Canada and Alaska are experiencing record warm whether.


I heard the history channel changed the name of Ice Road Truckers, to Boat Captains in the Artic...

Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10808
Quoting JFLORIDA:


Yea its a dismal year - Canada and Alaska are experiencing record warm whether.


Three-month outlook:

Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2836
908. DEKRE
Quoting JFLORIDA:


Yea its a dismal year - Canada and Alaska are experiencing record warm whether.


in the eastern canadian arctic, the temperarure was 7°C above normal this winter
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Quoting Levi32:


Watch it soar above normal in 2011.


And WAY below normal by summer of 2012. :P
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2836
Quoting ElConando:


Quite Sobering this is likely the most destructive TS in the recorded history of the EPAC and ATL basins combined.


???
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2836
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
it will be pretty ice free by sept 2010


Watch it soar above normal in 2011.
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893: Well then for the time being, why don't you do some learning while on the blog?
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2836
901. DEKRE
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


Probably not ice-free, but I expect the new minimum will be around 3.7 million sq km.


Could be quite a bit less since the thickness has gone down substantially but I am not aware of any real data
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
it will be pretty ice free by sept 2010


That is really sad... No wonder it feels like an oven outside. IF the Arctic is warm, the tropics are boiling.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10808

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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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