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 CaneWarning:
Does anyone know where I can find the hurricane evacuation maps for Palm Beach County? I have a friend moving to that from up north and I'd like to give him a copy.


Palm Beach Post has a good map page. Link.
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1899. eddye
is that blob moving towards florida
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Quoting Drakoen:
It's under 10-20 knots of wind shear so upper level winds are marginally conducive for development.


Add 28c water underneath and then we get the current convective explosion which began around 5 am this morning. If it can sustain that convection and then sit still we will have something to consider. But where could it go and not face 40+shear if it came North? Any word on how long the Jet stream branch will hang in the gulf?
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1897. hercj
Good morning Storm
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The blob looks pretty nice this morning. I'm not sure if there is any organization, but it sure is symmetrical.
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Quoting squallcat:
Hi folks. Rain forcast for today in Nova Scotia (we need it!)

The ex Agatha blob on Dvorak shows a cc rotation
Link.
But on visible it looks clockwise. Why is that?


Hey! Someone from my neck of the woods :) I am in the suburbs of Halifax.
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1894. Drakoen
It's under 10-20 knots of wind shear so upper level winds are marginally conducive for development.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29886
Hi Everyone, longtime lurker and very occassional poster just dropping by to say hi and that I'll be lurking as I normally do on this the first day of hurricane season.

btw that is the fiercest cottonball I've ever seen!
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1892. Skyepony (Mod)
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37342
Quoting squallcat:
Hi folks. Rain forcast for today in Nova Scotia (we need it!)

The ex Agatha blob on Dvorak shows a cc rotation
Link.
But on visible it looks clockwise. Why is that?


The Dvorak loop shows counter clockwise rotation suggesting a mid to surface circulation formed and the visible clockwise suggests that an upper level high is still stacked on top of ex-Agatha. That combo allows venting and helps limit shear effects on a developing tc. Best watch how the convection survives to have a guess on the life span of this proto storm.
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Something but not much..

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Grothar as usual, is the voice of reason.
As for my predictions of any and all future storm paths...I leave that to those more knowledgeable. My forte is with the past and the lessons they hold; the specifics of the future are always a mystery to me.
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Quoting CycloneOz:


Palmer did better with ASIA.



Wow...you really believe that? ASIA was more of a top 40 band...LOL

Too "bubble gummy"...give me "Karn Evil 9" over "Heat of the Moment" anyday
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1887. myway
Quoting CaneWarning:
Does anyone know where I can find the hurricane evacuation maps for Palm Beach County? I have a friend moving to that from up north and I'd like to give him a copy.


Palm beach county emergency management web site
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1886. Drakoen
Quoting StormW:


Yea...you and me both, Drak! Good morning!


Good morning
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29886
1885. Drakoen
Quoting 900MB:

That's the blob that won't quit! Sitting in very warm waters (30c). I know the shear to the north is a killer, but are you seeing any rotation?

Who has the best radar link for that blob?


Radar

I don't see much rotation at the moment. There is indications of some low level inflow.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29886
1882. 900MB
Quoting Drakoen:
Didn't expect to wake up to see this lol:


That's the blob that won't quit! Sitting in very warm waters (30c). I know the shear to the north is a killer, but are you seeing any rotation?

Who has the best radar link for that blob?
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1881. Buhdog
Th Dry slot in SW FL this morning is spectacular! Clouds seem to be rolling up to around Naples... That blob sure looks ominous....may not be, but still funky.
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Does anyone know where I can find the hurricane evacuation maps for Palm Beach County? I have a friend moving to that from up north and I'd like to give him a copy.
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Hi folks. Rain forcast for today in Nova Scotia (we need it!)

The ex Agatha blob on Dvorak shows a cc rotation
Link.
But on visible it looks clockwise. Why is that?
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


The "following table" is on the NHC site


Oh wow! Thanks a lot!
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Quoting wadedanielsmith:
But yeah, considering what persecutions they have against Christians, if India counts as an "Ally", I'd hate to see my enemies.


You are on the wrong blog.
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Could you please post that "following table"?
Also, is there a such thing for other basins? (namely the Northeast Pacific)


The "following table" is on the NHC site
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 10875
Happy Hurricane Season!
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1872. Drakoen
Didn't expect to wake up to see this lol:

Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29886
1871. RENONV
Quoting Grothar:
Many people who live in hurricane-prone areas do not leave; educated or not. I live on the islands in Ft. Lauderdale and I do not leave unless it it a Cat #3 or higher. Even now with the new evacuation maps Dade and Broward counties, (Miami & Ft. Lauderdale) they advise not to evacuate if we feel our homes are sturdy enough or unless we are in an area of a storm surge event, such at the beach. Those areas are mandatory evacuation. Florida does not have that many roads capable of moving millions of people as was evidenced in Andrew, where it took 15 hours to go less than 100 miles. While the devastation in New Orleans was unprecendented, it wasn't the winds that did the destruction but the enormous storm surge which ultimately lead to the failure of the levy system. It was the failure of many factors, from the city planners up, which lead to the tremendous loss of live and property. There are simply people with little or no means of evacuating. If we are not one of these people, we should count or blessings and do what we can to help them. ......That's what friends for!

Now how is ex-Agatha doing?


What about the tornados? I have traveled around and seen the wind fields after every hurricane for the past 15 years. I have seen where the tornados touch down in those wind fields and the damage they cause to structures. Every hurricane literally generates 100’s of tornados within its wind field and they cannot be predicted where they hit with over 200mph winds. If I lived in an area where a hurricane was predicted to make landfall it would be the potential for a tornado hitting where I’m at than the hurricane force winds that would make me leave.
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Quoting Chicklit:
Agree, Grothar. I'm better equipped staying right where I am.
Regarding unpleasantness in the morning, my ex-husband used to wake up angry.
I call it "day pollution."
One of the precious things about living is every 24 hours you can wake up in the morning with an open mind and fresh attitude...or not.


Good one.
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1869. Grothar
Quoting masonsnana:
Just STOP!! This is not the place for this!


You are correct. This is not the correct forum for this. It was just in response to his joy of India and Pakistan getting punished for a storm. I made a one line comment to him. This should never be a political blog and those who know me know I do not engage in this. I apologize, any remarks I have to make in response to this shall be made off-blog. I just don't think anyone should think someone is being punished if they are the victims of a disaster.
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1867. 900MB
Quoting IKE:
1775....you know what? I've had enough of you. Congrats! First of the season!

***POOF!***

I went poof on that one last year :)
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1866. MahFL
The blob is venting nicely on the left side.
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Could you please post that "following table"?
Also, is there a such thing for other basins? (namely the Northeast Pacific)


Repost. Why is it so hard to find this table lately? The one in my bookmarks was some sort of imageshack link and it was removed. Should've saved it.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
1864. MahFL
"Its a long climb ahead for what is going to be a active season."

A forcast active season, we will have to wait to see how it pans out.
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Quoting wadedanielsmith:
Grothar:

Do you know the difference between political and military alliances and someone actually "caring"?


There is HUGE persecution i.e. MURDER AND RAPE, against Christians in both India and Pakistan, and often as a matter of POLICY, not just random acts.

They are no more our "ally" than there is a man on the moon right now.


Because the way the real world works is everyone's got their own agenda and they form these political alliances for their own benefit, and both sides are wondering who's gonna betray one another first.

Just like we are "allied" with Iraq and Afghanistan, yet the general populace did nothing to free themselves before we showed up.

Dictators only remain in power as long as the people allow them to be in power. Saddam did not support a million man army with nobody agreeing to it. It takes roughly 7 non-combatants to support every one soldier in a modern military. These things were not done in a corner, but openly, and with popular support, both by the people in Iraq, and by the Taliban in Afghanistan. The same can be said for the majority of WWII era Germany.
Just STOP!! This is not the place for this!
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Quoting StormTop5000:


1974 live album by progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, originally released as a three-disk vinyl album...


Wasn't that on Brain Salad Surgery?
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1860. Grothar
Quoting mikatnight:


Now there's a breath of fresh air! I'm good my friend. I trust you are as well? Back in Fla?


Hey, Mik. nice seeing you are back blogging. Nice day to start, June 1. I hope we all fare well this. I am back in Florida for a while. I think you, of all people on here, know I am always somewhere trying to help people less fortunate than I. (sarcasm) Hope you and your family are well, what do you think we can expect from the Ex-Agatha remnants? Wet for our area?
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1858. scott39
Does Ex-Agathas blob "look" like its moving SW today compared to yesterdays movin N?
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Quoting StormTop5000:


1974 live album by progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, originally released as a three-disk vinyl album...


Palmer did better with ASIA.

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Mabye this will clear it up...

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1855. Grothar
Quoting wadedanielsmith:
Awesome.

India and Pakistan are gonna eat it.

That's what they get for condemning Israel.

"I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you..."


India and Israel have a long established relationship, economically and militarily. They are trememdous trading partners.

India and Pakistan have had a long feud and wars since they separated in the late 1940's. Pakistanis are mostly Muslim, while the Indians are predominately Hindus. Two totally divergent religions. India is a strong ally of the U.S. If you are going to hate someone, at least find out who, or why you are hating them. It helps.
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Agree, Grothar. I'm better equipped staying right where I am.
Regarding unpleasantness in the morning, my ex-husband used to wake up angry.
I call it "day pollution."
One of the precious things about living is every 24 hours you can wake up in the morning with an open mind and fresh attitude...or not.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Portlight:
"Welcome back, my friends...to the show that never ends..."


1974 live album by progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, originally released as a three-disk vinyl album...
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Quoting scott39:
Does anybody know how many hours this current blob has been bursting with convection?


Still don't see any significant pressure falls in that area and those westerlies just to its north are still blowing pretty good. Nice moisture surge into sfl though.
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Looking SE (from the neighbor's yard across the street - we're on the poor side). Promises to be a rainy day. Good thing. We need it. Taken about 5 minutes ago...

img src="Photobucket" alt="" />
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"Welcome back, my friends...to the show that never ends..."
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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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