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 MississippiBoy:
Sounds like a good syfi movie go to Guatemala city go a mile or two down in the hole,start tunneling our way North under the Gulf of Mexico until we find the leak and cap it off.

I saw this on the science channel with michio Kaku .... mini black holes!!!!!! stupid large hadron colliders!
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Ike has the honor of posting the first TWO of the season! Set your alarm Ike!
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GulfCoastDweller (#1643), it's good that you point it out. If there were 50 storms this year and none affected your area, one might say no big deal. But if you're among the unfortunate that do get hit, then they could be in for a triple whammy.
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Sounds like a good syfi movie go to Guatemala city go a mile or two down in the hole,start tunneling our way North under the Gulf of Mexico until we find the leak and cap it off.
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Quoting gulfcoastdweller:


I know more ppl now than in 2005 who are living from paycheck to paycheck, ppl who are struggling to keep the lights on, hurricane supplies are the last thing on their minds. I don't make alot of money but I can afford an extra 20 a month to buy supplies, I have been doing that since Dec. I figure what we don't use, we can eat in Nov.....lol

No one on this blog has spoke about that issue yet, how the down turn in the economy has left many more ppl broke than in 2005.

Lets say a storm hits the Grand Isle area, besides the oil issue there, those ppl are NOT working and are just making it. It's hard to say, " I'm sure those ppl don't have any supplies"...those ppl are born and breed there, they know all about hurricane seasons, but do you think some of them can afford to stock up on supplies? They have no money coming in.

It won't be long untill that same oil issue occurs here in Ms, or Al. Say good-bye to all the tourists. The ppl who work in hotels, casinos and restaurants will be layed off. Do you think they will be worried about if they have hurricane supplies are not? Sadly, the answer is no. Many of them won't be able to afford to evac out.

here in Ms, we have busses that will pick you up and take you North to a shelter, but how many ppl will go to a shelter?

Thanks BP, you don't even know the damage you are fixn' to cause


Amen!
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Hurricane Season of 2010 has officially started (sorry for being 20 min.'s late)!!!!!!!!
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A sinkhole that swallowed a three-storey building in Guatemala City has been blamed on a combination of Tropical Storm Agatha and poor drainage systems

OK. Now my mind is completely blown.
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1641. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
not deep bad shaker
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
1640. xcool
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1639. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting mikatnight:
Depth...18 miles. Is that considered deep?

Holy Moly...A volcano, a cyclone, and an earthquake? Too much.
thats nothing yet by
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Depth...18 miles. Is that considered deep?

Holy Moly...A volcano, a cyclone, and an earthquake? Too much.
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1637. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting Orcasystems:


Tropical Storm Agatha blows a hole in Guatemala City
all the water had to go somewhere
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
1636. xcool









new ngp
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Seems to me they need to get more agencies involved don't care what combination they get.I was thinking if we had another storm in the Gulf with a bad storm surge we would have about 10 miles of inland covered up in oil. That would be a bigger disaster than Katria ever was.
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Quoting Levi32:


As sad as it is for the coastline, hurricanes are nature's way of efficiently cleaning up oil messes. They greatly speed up the re-absorption of the oil by mixing it into the ocean.


That is true, however Levi there are some things you need to understand about this situation. First off, any kind of storm surge at minimum would bring Oil(several meters deep in some area's) into Lake Pontchartrain. This would completely ruin the ecosystem of Lake Pontchartrain and adjacent Marshes in Lake Maurepas. Whats sad is that we just finished cleaning Lake Pontchartrain to where the water is swim able again. The effort to complete that took 10-20 years and the storm surge of a Tropical Storm would ruin that whole effort. In addition, if we see a storm surge even half the height of Katrina we are talking about a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. Can you imagine a storm surge full of oil breaching the levees? Chalmette, La is a perfect example of this except on a much larger scale. What I just said is just the tip of the ice burg. I could go on forever on the damages that this has the potential of doing.

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1632. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting mikatnight:
How perfect!

Keeper Kicks Off the Hurricane Season

at exactly 12am

(with a Pink Floyd YouTube video no less)

I bet he's been planning this for months...
Actually i was listen to pink and updating my blog check iot out the time stamp is the same and all at same time funny how things work out some times
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
1631. xcool




2010 Atlantic hurricane season has arrived yayyy
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1630. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
6.1
Date-Time Tuesday, June 01, 2010 at 03:26:18 UTC
Monday, May 31, 2010 at 09:26:18 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location 9.350°N, 84.281°W
Depth 29.3 km (18.2 miles)
Region COSTA RICA
Distances 70 km (40 miles) SSW of SAN JOSE, Costa Rica
90 km (55 miles) SE of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
145 km (90 miles) WNW of Golfito, Costa Rica
155 km (95 miles) WSW of Limon, Costa Rica

Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 7.5 km (4.7 miles); depth +/- 10.9 km (6.8 miles)
Parameters NST=226, Nph=226, Dmin=488.7 km, Rmss=1.17 sec, Gp=144°,
M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=7
Source USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)


Event ID us2010wzae
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting SevereHurricane:


I don't know what to do at this point. The price for my precious Gulf sea food is going up and I fear it won't be around for much longer. I can't see myself eating Chinese crawfish. What really annoys me is that every now and then the fumes will reach NOLA and the smell really irritates me. I am appalled that it might take another 2 months to get this fixed. A bad hurricane would be a nail in the coffin for us. Our wetlands are disappearing before our eyes. Katrina created 10 years worth of erosion in 1 day and there is no telling how much wetland this will kill. I am not happy with BP and the Federal Gov atm.


The problem is that Gulf Seafood for you is a choice. For larger sea life that lives in the Gulf, it is a necessity.

The oil spill can disrupt a single link in the food chain and cause the whole thing to collapse. The whole Gulf won't be affected and sea life will eventually recover, but it will take a long time. I actually hope 1-2 small hurricanes traverse that oil covered area this summer to help disperse the oil. It won't be great for people on land, but a few hurricanes in the gulf might work wonders to rejuvenate the water.
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How perfect!

Keeper Kicks Off the Hurricane Season

at exactly 12am

(with a Pink Floyd YouTube video no less)

I bet he's been planning this for months...
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Major announcement
Link
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Happy New Season!

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1624. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting winter123:
Conditions may be "perfect this season" but right now Atlantic is a barren wasteland. I don't see anything developing in June and models support that. Not sure how much I'll be here till then.


June just started and you are already saying you dont see development in June? And you are using the models to back you up?

Did I miss something?
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Quoting Levi32:


As sad as it is for the coastline, hurricanes are nature's way of efficiently cleaning up oil messes. They greatly speed up the re-absorption of the oil by mixing it into the ocean.


There's talk of burning the grass once the fear of more oil washing up is over. Other instances where this occurred caused relative rapid recovery. However, I believe this may impact much farther and deeper than our precious shorelines and priceless estuaries.
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1621. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
1620. Levi32
Quoting winter123:
Conditions may be "perfect this season" but right now Atlantic is a barren wasteland. I don't see anything developing in June and models support that. Not sure how much I'll be here till then.


Last time I checked numerical models only go out to 15 days at maximum, and that's only the GFS. You can't say the models support no tropical development in the entire month of June. There is also no way to know, outside of MJO pulses, whether atmospheric conditions will be favorable for tropical development. If we look at the overall pattern, in general the western Caribbean will likely be the most favorable, but then there is no way to know whether there will be tropical disturbances to take advantage of that.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
1619. Motttt
looks likes there doing some cuting on the bop tonite
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Conditions may be "perfect this season" but right now Atlantic is a barren wasteland. I don't see anything developing in June and models support that. Not sure how much I'll be here till then.
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1617. xcool
hurricanes season kicks off in few mins
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Quoting gulfcoastdweller:


I am fully prepared. I need some last minute stuff but it's not an issue. When I go grocery shopping, I have been picking up extra jars of peanut butter, potted meat, bottled water and the such because I know I will come across someone who has nothing, someone who has not prepared or maybe can't afford to prepare


You just made my day. God bless ya.
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1615. Levi32
Quoting SevereHurricane:


I don't know what to do at this point. The price for my precious Gulf sea food is going up and I fear it won't be around for much longer. I can't see myself eating Chinese crawfish. What really annoys me is that every now and then the fumes will reach NOLA and the smell really irritates me. I am appalled that it might take another 2 months to get this fixed. A bad hurricane would be a nail in the coffin for us. Our wetlands are disappearing before our eyes. Katrina created 10 years worth of erosion in 1 day and there is no telling how much wetland this will kill. I am not happy with BP and the Federal Gov atm.


As sad as it is for the coastline, hurricanes are nature's way of efficiently cleaning up oil messes. They greatly speed up the re-absorption of the oil by mixing it into the ocean.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
Quoting MississippiBoy:
It's kinda funny we can send a man to the moon over 200 thousand miles and back but can't send a man down one mile under water to fix a leaky pipe.I know it isn't that simple but could the oil companies get with an agency like NASA who has experience in exploration and find a away?


I don't know what to do at this point. The price for my precious Gulf sea food is going up and I fear it won't be around for much longer. I can't see myself eating Chinese crawfish. What really annoys me is that every now and then the fumes will reach NOLA and the smell really irritates me. I am appalled that it might take another 2 months to get this fixed. A bad hurricane would be a nail in the coffin for us. Our wetlands are disappearing before our eyes. Katrina created 10 years worth of erosion in 1 day and there is no telling how much wetland this will kill. I am not happy with BP and the Federal Gov atm.
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1613. xcool



new 00z
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Quoting MississippiBoy:
It's kinda funny we can send a man to the moon over 200 thousand miles and back but can't send a man down one mile under water to fix a leaky pipe.I know it isn't that simple but could the oil companies get with an agency like NASA who has experience in exploration and find a away?


Nasa doesn't have to deal with the same kind of pressure that is underneath the ocean.
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Quoting Levi32:


They are. Its size was also likely a part of its undoing. The lack of upper-level dynamics didn't help either, and thus the convection was not able to be sustained.


Kinda figured that. Well, at least it made a run to become something and gave us something to talk about. If something like that happens later in the season, heck in 2 weeks, it could easily become a threat.
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It's kinda funny we can send a man to the moon over 200 thousand miles and back but can't send a man down one mile under water to fix a leaky pipe.I know it isn't that simple but could the oil companies get with an agency like NASA who has experience in exploration and find a away?
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1608. Levi32
Quoting SevereHurricane:


Well it was weak, I suppose weaker systems are more susceptible to shear.


They are. Its size was also likely a part of its undoing. The lack of upper-level dynamics didn't help either, and thus the convection was not able to be sustained.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
Quoting Patrap:
1577. mikatnight

Were hoping for a miracle,,but BP punched a hole in Hades septic tank..and cant stop it.

If we lose the marsh,,we can Lose the Nursery for the GOM.

BP should read back to History what happened to the British here in the early 19th Century.

Specifically Andrew Jackson's Role and that Lil Squabble.


American Lion (Jon Meacham) and His Life and Times (H.W. Brands) are in my library. He was one tough dude.
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Quoting Levi32:


Apparently the upper flow was strong enough to decouple it after all. Oh well.


Well it was weak, I suppose weaker systems are more susceptible to shear.
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Quoting Drakoen:
Looks like what's left of the disturbance is heading up into the gradient between the upper level ridge and the subtropical jet


Yea, its already pretty much gone. Might enhance rainfall in your area tomorrow; I'm sure you are already on top of that though. lol
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1603. Levi32
Quoting Drakoen:
Looks like what's left of the disturbance is heading up into the gradient between the upper level ridge and the subtropical jet


Apparently the upper flow was strong enough to decouple it after all. Oh well.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
1602. Drakoen
Looks like what's left of the disturbance is heading up into the gradient between the upper level ridge and the subtropical jet
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29886
1601. viman
Quoting Levi32:
I can assure everyone that nothing tropical is occurring near Puerto Rico. The thunderstorm blow-up is a combination of orographic lift due to the island and upper divergence aloft. The northerly flow around the east side of the upper ridge over the western Caribbean is pulling away from the subtropical jet, which is flowing towards the ENE. This is called a diffluent flow, with the air streams separating from each other and parting ways. This creates a void in the upper atmosphere, and air from below rushes upward to replace it. This upward motion forms thunderstorms.



Exactly correct, thats why St. Thomas thats exactly 50 miles to the east has not seen a drop. Hot as hell, (guessing that the developing t-storms have something to do with how hot it is) but our mountains are not as high or wide so the effects are not noticed here.
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1600. xcool
GFS WRONG AGAIN ON THE WEEKEND.. SAME OLD PROBLEM

By putting too much emphasis on front running short waves, the model is constantly displaying its feedback problems. I wonder sometimes if our synoptic classes in the universities show this and explain its a problem with the model physics. So one more time, I will go to the well and hammer the GFS. The jumping on the front running short Friday over the northeast forces too far south the actual system that will finally, 10 days late, bring the cool air into the northeast, though just for a few days ( June 7-10) Obviously the memorial day weekend was not cool, and it wont be cool all this week. But here we go again.. The 90 hour has the 570 dm height line running from Boston to Toledo to Chicago to Pierre SD. By lowering heights too much over the northeast, it forces the baroclinic zone further south. The European has it running from Portland Maine to Saulte Ste Marie to Pierre S Dakota, much further north. A very Different look. This means that though some thunderstorms occur Thursday in the east, the air mass over the Ohio valley and into the east is NOT COOLER THAN NORMAL FRIDAY OR SATURDAY. However, it also means that the final deepening of the trough over the weekend means it will turn cooler over the lakes Sunday and into the northeast Monday, and there could be one heck of a severe weather outbreak, not a cool overrunning rain, as implied by the GFS, over the midwest into the east on the weekend!

by joe
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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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