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

Join the "Hurricane Haven" with Dr. Jeff Masters: a new Internet radio show
Tomorrow, I'll be experimenting with a live 1-hour Internet radio show called "Hurricane Haven." The show will be aired at 4pm EDT on Tuesdays, with the first show June 1. Listeners will be able to call in and ask questions. Some topics I'll cover on the first show:

1) What's going on in the tropics right now
2) Preview of the coming hurricane season
3) How a hurricane might affect the oil spill
4) How the oil spill might affect a hurricane
5) New advancements in hurricane science presented at this month's AMS Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology
6) Haiti's vulnerability to a hurricane this season

I hope you can tune in to the broadcast, which will be at http://www.wunderground.com/wxradio/wubroadcast.h tml. If not, the show will be recorded and stored as a podcast.

I'll be back Tuesday with my first outlook for hurricane season.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting atmoaggie:

Sorry, but everything about that ob site looks suspicious...
Lol, I agree.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Hmmmm...
It's also right under the COC

76750
lat: 18.48
lon: -88.30

Elevation: 30 ff
Chetumal, Q. Roo
Temperature: 76 �F
Dew Point: 75 �F
Humidity: 97%
Wind: ENE at 2mph
Pressure: 29.56in
Precipitation: -in
Daily Precip.: -in


Not right under but close the LLC is at 87.3W
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29714
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Hmmmm...
It's also right under the COC

76750
lat: 18.48
lon: -88.30

Elevation: 30 ff
Chetumal, Q. Roo
Temperature: 76 �F
Dew Point: 75 �F
Humidity: 97%
Wind: ENE at 2mph
Pressure: 29.56in
Precipitation: -in
Daily Precip.: -in


That converts to 1001 mb which is tropical storm strength. Something is wrong with that reading.
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Quoting Ocean24:
Hii, Hurricane23! Boy, the basin looks on fire on that pic. That's probably a bad omen for the season that awaits us.


Yea some crazy anomalies for sure. I'am expecting some wet weather across south florida as what ever is left from ex-agatha comes this way. Again conditions across the most of the gulf are quite hostile.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13597
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
This is a graph from Chetumal, Mexico. Notice the drastic drop in barometric pressure around 7:00AM:


Sorry, but everything about that ob site looks suspicious...
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sheer in the GOM is dropping and could drop as low as20kts in the SE portion over the next 24-48hrs
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what ever happened to the satellite that was launched to cover the Goes?
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I could see the coc over Mexico last night on the RGB loop. The coc became weak and small be never gave up.
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Morning folks, I see ex-Agatha is possibly up to some mischief

but no invest yet
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Hmmmm...
It's also right under the COC

76750
lat: 18.48
lon: -88.30

Elevation: 30 ff
Chetumal, Q. Roo
Temperature: 76 �F
Dew Point: 75 �F
Humidity: 97%
Wind: ENE at 2mph
Pressure: 29.56in
Precipitation: -in
Daily Precip.: -in
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thanks Kman I knew you couldn't get anything without a pressure drop but was wondering if the high building was indicative of favorable overhead condition developing. So I take it not necessarily then. Thanks again.
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Pressure will be dropping soon
I posted the pressure is at 29.56 in.
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Drak, those waters in the GOM is there a chance that those waters are being warmed by either the oil or the dispersant?
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Quoting kmanislander:
With a little luck the Ascat pass in a couple of hours may catch some or all of that area and show what is going on in that area.
Let's hope so.
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Quoting kmanislander:


Rising pressure at the surface is not the same as a high building overhead. One would expect to see falling pressures if development was on the increase at the surface.


Pressure will be dropping soon
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With a little luck the Ascat pass in a couple of hours may catch some or all of that area and show what is going on there.
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Quoting hurricane23:
No worries with ex-agatha...Very small window for development before it gets ripped to shreads once it enters the gulf.

Updated anomaly map.



Look at those waters in the GOM
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29714
I believe I was the first to point out aggies low along belizes' coast yestereday on radar,and some doubted it!!!****pats self on back,steps off soapbox****;)
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Quoting Levi32:


Yet, I must stress, will die in the GOM.
I agree:

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Drak, 23, what happens if it becomes stationary?
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Quoting TampaSpin:


YEPPPERS......i was saying the same StormW....problemes could be coming to many unexpected.....the Shear has relaxed and is continuing to relax for a small Window for this to take off into a small system IMO into the GOM would be the track also!


Yet, I must stress, will die in the GOM.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26460
Hmmmm...
It's also right under the COC

76750
lat: 18.48
lon: -88.30
Elevation: 30 ft

Chetumal, Q. Roo
Temperature: 76 F
Dew Point: 75 F
Humidity: 97%
Wind: ENE at 2mph
Pressure: 29.56in
Precipitation: -in
Daily Precip.: -in
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
That tornado in Niles, Ohio on May 31, 1985, was an EF-5, I could the top of that thundercell from my front yard, and I live up by the Lake!
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This is a graph from Chetumal, Mexico. Notice the drastic drop in barometric pressure around 7:00AM:

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hmmmm iwas thinking ene
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No worries with ex-agatha...Very small window for development before it gets ripped to shreads once it enters the gulf.

Updated anomaly map.

Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13597
Quoting gordydunnot:
Kman in the short term I was wondering if a increase in pressure is a bad thing as that would imply a high building over this disturbance. Or anyone that may want to answer.


Rising pressure at the surface is not the same as a high building overhead. One would expect to see falling pressures if development was on the increase at the surface.
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Quoting kmanhurricaneman:
boy u guys are slow i posted this hours ago. actually 1hr


LOL you are way behind the 8ball...
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Belize / Phillip Goldston Intl. Airport
Temperature: 82 °F
Dew Point: 78 °F
Humidity: 86%
Wind: N at 5mph
Pressure: 29.92in
Precipitation: -in
Daily Precip.: -in
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Just remember the smaller the system the less it takes to get going.....Just saying!!!!!
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Quoting StormW:
Recent CIMSS map update shows both Lower convergence and upper divergence has improved over our suspect area.

CONVERGENCE


DIVERGENCE



YEPPPERS......i was saying the same StormW....problemes could be coming to many unexpected.....the Shear has relaxed and is continuing to relax for a small Window for this to take off into a small system IMO into the GOM would be the track also!
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Good morning all.

Tropical Tidbit for Monday, May 31st
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26460
Quoting plywoodstatenative:
Drak and that means what for the future of the storm, with the amount of dry air to the north and shear values in the area.


Just monitoring it not expect much at the moment.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29714
Quoting kmanhurricaneman:
now the only thing i got figure out is direction?
NE/NNE it seems on RGB.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
The city closest to the supposed LLC is this one, and it supports what you're saying:

Chetumal, MX (Airport)
Updated: 24 min 48 sec ago
Mostly Cloudy
81 F
Mostly Cloudy
Humidity: 89%
Dew Point: 77 F
Wind: Calm
Pressure: 29.87 in (Rising)

Heat Index: 87 F
Visibility: 7.0 miles
UV: 5 out of 16
Clouds:
Mostly Cloudy 1500 ft
Mostly Cloudy 8000 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 39 ft

The 15 knot ob to the NE is suggestive of a circulation, but also in the same general flow direction. Need another ob, not calm, do be sure.

EDIT: oops, image:

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now the only thing i got figure out is direction?
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Perth has its coldest May in 15 years


Perth has just had its coldest May since 1995, and the wettest May in five years, according to weatherzone.com.au.

The minimum temperature for Perth in the last month averaged just nine degrees, two below the long-term average for May. This was the lowest average minimum in a decade.

Maximum temperatures weren’t as notable, averaging 22 degrees, very close to the long-term average for May. This came despite nine days in the month where the mercury stayed below 20 degrees, a feat which hasn’t happened in three years.

“There were a few intense low pressure systems that crossed the west coast of Western Australian this month,” said Samuel Terry, meteorologist for weatherzone.com.au. “These brought widespread cloud and rain, dropping day-time temperatures. As well as this, cooler winds and clear skies behind these systems brought cooler nights, making it Perth’s coldest May in 15 years.”

The Lower West district fared well in terms of rainfall this May. Many locations received between 80 and 100 percent of their long-term average. However, inland areas, such as Dwellingup and Karnet, didn’t do quite so well.

Perth managed to collect 89 millimetres of rain this month. This made it the wettest May in five years. There were also some heavy falls. The morning of Thursday the 13th saw nine millimetres fall in just five minutes, enough to cause localised flooding.

“On average Perth gets about 12 days of rain each May,” said Terry. “This year Perth only had seven rain days, but average rain, which tells us that the falls were heavier than usual.”

“Another low pressure cell is a chance to reach the west coast by the weekend. This could bring 20 to 40 millimetres more, along with gale-force winds.”

© Weatherzone 2010
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Kman in the short term I was wondering if a increase in pressure is a bad thing as that would imply a high building over this disturbance. Or anyone that may want to answer.
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Quoting wadedanielsmith:
At least Jamaica is in the way, and is likely to get hit first. At least they got arms and legs and can swim...
hey harry what ya doing
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drak, and the last system we had out there with a small circulation, did what to texas?
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It's a very small circulation
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29714
boy u guys are slow i posted this hours ago. actually 1hr
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"Fronts" on the floater show a low offshore.
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Quoting StormW:


It's easier to look at i this way...the brighter the color, the better chance at development.

That's what I thought, but why the strange scale?
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Quoting wadedanielsmith:
At least Jamaica is in the way, and is likely to get hit first. At least they got arms and legs and can swim...
it wont get to jamaica
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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.