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 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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Quoting kmanislander:
I don't see any surface obs supporting a surface low in that area. Winds calm and pressure relatively high.
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
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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.
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Quoting Ocean24:
guys, in order for it to turn into 91L it would have to sustain convection for at least 12 hours.

And talk the STJ into moving out of the way...or whatever spins up will last about that long.
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AOI OF IMMEDIATE CONCERN COMING INTO GOM
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Quoting alexhurricane1991:
Wow drakoen is right i see a surface circulation as well could get 91L in a couple of hours just need to maintain that convection.
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I don't see any surface obs supporting a surface low in that area. Winds calm and pressure relatively high.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15687
Quoting StormW:

How does that map work, 0.2% - 0.4% and only goes up to 12%.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15893
Quoting atmoaggie:

It isn't moving ESE...about the only direction that shear will not kill it.

I think you quoted the wrong person. I never said she was moving ESE in that post, lol.
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Wow drakoen is right i see a surface circulation as well could get 91L in a couple of hours just need to maintain that convection.
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Quoting IKE:
I see the COC now.


Yep its already there.....LOOK at the 850mb Vorticity



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It looks like Agatha has one more gasp of breath left in her, and that gasp looks to make this blog crazy.
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Quoting tramp96:

How? I am stretched and Levi's blog is one word sentences.


Click on the compatibility button just to the left of the refresh button at the top of the page. It shows a page torn in half
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15687
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
I agree, anything is possible. But you have to remember that the only thing out there associated with the remnants of Agatha is a MLC, until that circulation can work itself to the lower levels and become evident you're not going to get anything out of her, and remember the for a MLC to become a LLC it takes long hours not just 5 minutes. Plus do you think this worthy of anything on satellite right now:


It isn't moving ESE...about the only direction that shear would not kill it.

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Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29864
80. IKE
I see the COC now.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting Drakoen:
I see a surface low pressure center has developed near 18.2N 88.3W with some deep convection. System appears to be drifting to the northeast
I see it on RGB, how could I miss that? Well, looks to be drifting NE/NNE.
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Quoting Drakoen:
Radar imagery shows a low pressure center has formed along the surface trough axis:



you are right, the convection is wrapping around it..
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Quoting gordydunnot:
Aussie what's up with the volcanic activity over there on your side of the planet.

I think it's all over the world that is active.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15893
Radar imagery shows a low pressure center has formed along the surface trough axis:

Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29864
COC is directly east of sandhill now apparent on radar (specifically on the later images)

http://www.hydromet.gov.bz/Radar%20Loop%20250km.htm

movement NNE at a very very slow pace
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
I agree, anything is possible. But you have to remember that the only thing out there associated with the remnants of Agatha is a MLC, until that circulation can work itself to the lower levels and become evident you're not going to get anything out of her, and remember the for a MLC to become a LLC it takes long hours not just 5 minutes. Plus do you think this worthy of anything on satellite right now:

Exactly right good morning miamihurricanes09
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I see a surface low pressure center has developed near 18.2N 87.3W with some deep convection. System appears to be drifting to the northeast
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29864
Quoting leo305:


anything can change quickly..
I agree, anything is possible. But you have to remember that the only thing out there associated with the remnants of Agatha is a MLC, until that circulation can work itself to the lower levels and become evident you're not going to get anything out of her, and remember the for a MLC to become a LLC it takes long hours not just 5 minutes. Plus do you think this worthy of anything on satellite right now:

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Quoting superweatherman:
So Alex by tonight? What y'all think? I think it going to happen!
No not going to be Alex.
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67. IKE
Does appear to be drifting north to NE.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Aussie what's up with the volcanic activity over there on your side of the planet.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
I think you're exaggerating tremendously. These remnants of Agatha have yet to acquire a surface circulation, that I've heard of or seen on satellite. Other than that pressures in the city of Belize are rising and satellite presentation is very "ehhh". Unless it can get a strong surface circulation and much better satellite presentation I wouldn't expect more then invest status out of her.


anything can change quickly..
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Quoting superweatherman:
So Alex by tonight? What y'all think? I think it going to happen!
I think you're exaggerating tremendously. These remnants of Agatha have yet to acquire a surface circulation, that I've heard of or seen on satellite. Other than that pressures in the city of Belize are rising and satellite presentation is very "ehhh". Unless it can get a strong surface circulation and much better satellite presentation I wouldn't expect more then invest status out of her.
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May 31, 1985
The United States-Canadian tornado outbreak was a major tornado outbreak that occurred in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario. Forty-three tornadoes were counted including 13 in Ontario. It is the largest and most intense tornado outbreak ever to hit this region. Fatalities: 88

Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15893
Funky MJO forecast octet plot from GFS...

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Thanks Ike I believe that forecast is spot on.
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So Alex by tonight? What y'all think? I think it going to happen!
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55. IKE
From Accuweather....


Watching the Tropics: Western Caribbean, Southeastern Gulf

By Alex Sosnowski, Expert Senior Meteorologist
May 31, 2010; 8:40 AM ET

While Eastern Pacific Tropical Storm Agatha slammed Guatemala, El Salvador and southeastern Mexico with heavy rain, deadly flooding and mudslides over the weekend, part of its old circulation and rainfall will reach U.S. concerns this week.

A cluster of showers and thunderstorms along the coast of Belize and the eastern shores of Yucatan, Mexico indicate there is still life in Agatha.

Agatha was downgraded from tropical storm status over the weekend, after tangling with the rugged mountains of Central America. The tropical rainstorm unloaded 20 to 30 inches of rain in the process.

This area of disturbed weather with its drenching downpours is forecast by AccuWeather.com meteorologists to drift northeastward this week, grazing the southeastern Gulf of Mexico and western Cuba, and then the Florida Keys and the southern part of the Florida Peninsula.

While it appears there will be too much wind shear for this system to become very strong, interests along this path should expect a period of torrential rain and locally gusty thunderstorms to shift from southwest to northeast through the first half of the week.

Since this system, renamed or unnamed, will likely never develop a strong circulation, it is not expected to steer the oil slick toward Florida waters. Winds over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico are expected to be mainly unidirectional; from the south and southeast.

If the system is named "Alex" it is not likely to get past tropical storm stage.

As AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski discussed over the weekend, Floridians can expect some heavier-than-usual thunderstorms during the Tuesday-to-Wednesday period. The downpours, capable of dropping 3 to 6 inches of rain, can slow travel for a time and could lead to flooding.

Keep in mind the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and the southwestern Atlantic are typically a hotbed for tropical development in the early days of hurricane season, which officially begins June 1. Other concerns may suddenly arise close to home in coming weeks.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting kmanislander:


Thanks. I adjusted my computer and it is fine now.

How? I am stretched and Levi's blog is one word sentences.
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Quoting kmanislander:
Who stretched the blog ??


Shrek!
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A volcano exploded in the Mariana Islands today. It was 1,000 feet below sea level. Sent cloud as high as 40,000 ft. into the air.Looks like the whole planet is warming up.Wondering if Mayans were off by a couple years.
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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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