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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"Welcome back, my friends...to the show that never ends..."
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1849. scott39
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?
Bravo
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1848. peejodo
Quoting HyDrO420:
What does MJO mean? please

http://www.weatherdictionary.com/
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Quoting emagirl:
well first official day of hurricane season...what are everyones thoughts


Quoting StormW:



Uuuugggghhhh!


I echo that StormW!

Its a long climb ahead for what is going to be a active season.

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1846. 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?
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1845. peejodo
Quoting HyDrO420:
Good moening all

Could someone tell me what a MJO pulse?
I hear (read) you talk about it all the time and wish i knew what it was or is.
TIA
Quoting HyDrO420:
What does MJO mean? please

Try this link. I use it all the time.
http://www.weatherdictionary.com/Link
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Quoting emagirl:
well first official day of hurricane season...what are everyones thoughts


Nothing really down the pike. Agatha's remnants should keep sfl wet the next few days.
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:


Worth repeating:

The following table shows the dates when events would normally occur in an average hurricane season.

For example, the first named storm in an average year would form on July 11. The first hurricane would form on Aug. 14 and the first major hurricane would form on Sep. 4. In that same average year, the second named storm would be expected to form on Aug. 8.


However, this might not turn out to be an "average" year so these historical time tables might shift a little bit this year...


Could you please post that "following table"?
Also, is there a such thing for other basins? (namely the Northeast Pacific)
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If you guys want a real cyclone to track, this guy in the Indian Ocean takes up the size of West Virginia!

ALL IMAGES ARE CLICK TO ENLARGE! :) Enjoy!

(P.S) Its also note worthy that windspeeds in the Indian Ocean are measured and forcasted in 3-minute averages instead of the Atlantic normal of 1-Minute average.




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Quoting emagirl:
well first official day of hurricane season...what are everyones thoughts


I AM IRON MAN!
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The First Day of my Hurricane Season
I woke up.
Checked the radar on wunderground.
Made a cup of coffee.
Placed certain members on ignore.
Nothing has changed.
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Quoting MiamiStorm95:
Did anyone hear that song "back in the cone"?
That song is the BEST tune in Weather, EVER! I loved the song so much. the other songs are pretty good too (non weather related) so i ended up buying the whole CD album. Back in the Cone is the Greatest Hurricane Song Ever Written. IT ROCKS!


Uh...it's a country tune.

(not that there's anything wrong with that.)
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Quoting emagirl:
well first official day of hurricane season...what are everyones thoughts


Worth repeating:

The following table shows the dates when events would normally occur in an average hurricane season.

For example, the first named storm in an average year would form on July 11. The first hurricane would form on Aug. 14 and the first major hurricane would form on Sep. 4. In that same average year, the second named storm would be expected to form on Aug. 8.


However, this might not turn out to be an "average" year so these historical time tables might shift a little bit this year...
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9234


Vorticity has weakened slightly but is now moving closer off the coast of Belize. Also, the anticyclone is back by the SA coast but has inched west nearer to Columbia.
Seems like conditions are playing cat and mouse with us.

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1835. scott39
Does anybody know how many hours this current blob has been bursting with convection?
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Welcome to the ShoW...
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Looks like a wash out for the miami area today. And I believe ex-Agatha's moisture is the culprit.
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1829. emagirl
well first official day of hurricane season...what are everyones thoughts
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well HyDrO420 it is short hand for Madden Julian Oscillation
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12157
Quoting weathersp:


Madden Julian Oscillation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madden%E2%80%93Julian_oscillation


Ty much i will go read about it
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Quoting wadedanielsmith:
1785:

Again, I went through Katrina, so It's not as if I'm not talking from experience.


It's not as if I'm somebody from Wyoming or something not knowing anything about the weather or the local culture.

I live in SELA, so I've got a right to talk about it from experience, which is more than can be said from many of you.
" Boing "
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Quoting HyDrO420:
What does MJO mean? please


Madden Julian Oscillation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madden%E2%80%93Julian_oscillation
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1823. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)

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1822. jpsb
Quoting mikatnight:


Touché! Please accept my apologies. And…’Nuff Said.
Of Course! This is going to be an exciting season for me. Almost fully recovered from Ike, I definitely do not need another hurricane! I'm also worried about the oil spill, hoping the oil will not make it into Galveston Bay. What a mess and two more moths of 20,000 bbls per day! Ugck.
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Quoting kmanhurricaneman:
any body got the latest shear chart?

Image and LINK for future refrence.
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Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12157
1818. scott39
I wunder how much more gas Ex-Agatha has before she moves on to the TC afterlife?
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What does MJO mean? please
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gotta go to work, later guys!
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Quoting scott39:
Since NHC gives it a 10% chance, does this warrant an Invest?

Good Morning WUBloggers!

Not usually with a probability that low. If it was closer to the US it might but not with this, especially with the shear of doom its heading towards. 10% is more of a "Yeah, we see it"
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Quoting jpsb:
And your comment is not as hateful because .....?


Touché! Please accept my apologies. And…’Nuff Said.
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First ignore of season. You got to love that button.
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1812. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting scott39:
Since NHC gives it a 10% chance, does this warrant an Invest?
no this thing should do exact as yesterday a fade away in the day time heat
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1806...the heat is ON.
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Did anyone hear that song "back in the cone"?
That song is the BEST tune in Weather, EVER! I loved the song so much. the other songs are pretty good too (non weather related) so i ended up buying the whole CD album. Back in the Cone is the Greatest Hurricane Song Ever Written. IT ROCKS!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1809. jpsb
Quoting mikatnight:


I was thinkin' Drain-O. Racist hate-mongers would be better served on Palin's blog.
And your comment is not as hateful because .....?
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1808. scott39
Since NHC gives it a 10% chance, does this warrant an Invest?
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1806. IKE
From the Houston,TX. morning discussion...

"IN THE WAKE OF THIS TROUGH STRONG UPPER LEVEL RIDGING DEVELOPS
ACROSS THE SOUTHWESTERN UNITED STATES DURING THE LATTER HALF OF
THE WEEK. THIS WILL LEAD TO DRIER WEATHER AND MUCH WARMER
TEMPERATURES FOR THE WEEKEND. MOST SITES WILL SEE AFTERNOON HIGH
TEMPERATURES IN THE UPPER 90S WITH HEAT INDEX VALUES IN THE LOW
100S. A FEW SITES MAY SEE HIGH TEMPERATURES REACH THE CENTURY MARK
FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS SEASON ON SATURDAY. TEMPERATURES WILL DROP
OFF SLIGHTLY INTO NEXT WEEK AS THE SHIFTS SLIGHTLY WESTWARD."
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting Grothar:


Interesting pie graph. Looks like we are on an upswing. The 50's were bad. I barely remember the 1920's though. LOL. How are you Mike?


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


I'm not a met (or even close), but that sounds exactly right. Persistance.
niether am i, its just a hobby for me plus i love tracking hurricanes
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Good moening all

Could someone tell me what a MJO pulse?
I hear (read) you talk about it all the time and wish i knew what it was or is.
TIA
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Quoting caribbeantracker01:
maybe because of persistance


I'm not a met (or even close), but that sounds exactly right. Persistance.
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any body got the latest shear chart?
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1800. Grothar
Quoting mikatnight:


Interesting pie graph. Looks like we are on an upswing. The 50's were bad. I barely remember the 1920's though. LOL. How are you Mike?
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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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