Richard hits Belize, weakens to a tropical storm

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:38 PM GMT on October 25, 2010

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Hurricane Richard hit central Belize last night at approximately 8:45pm EDT as a Category 1 hurricane with 90 mph winds. The hurricane made landfall about 20 miles south of Belize's largest city, Belize City (population approximately 100,000--1/3 of Belize's population.) Richard's northern eyewall passed just south of the airport, which measured top winds of 37 mph, gusting to 62mph, at 8pm CST. The airport picked up 3.66" of rain. Richard was a small hurricane, and hurricane-force winds affected a region of coast of no more than 20 - 30 miles wide, just to the south of Belize City. As Richard made landfall, the eye grew tighter and more defined, subjecting a smaller portion of the country to the extreme winds of the eyewall. This contraction of the eye was probably caused by frictional convergence--as the winds spiraling into the center of Richard passed from ocean to land, the increased friction caused the winds to slow down as they reached the eyewall. This made the inflowing air pile up near the eyewall, and this piled-up air was forced upwards into more violent updrafts, intensifying the thunderstorms in the eyewall and causing eye to contract. This intensification lasted only an hour or two, before the inland motion of the center removed Richard from its main energy source, the warm waters of the Western Caribbean.


Figure 1. Visible MODIS satellite image of Hurricane Richard taken at 12:45pm EDT 10/24/10 by NASA's Aqua satellite. A the time, Richard was a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph winds. Image credit: NASA.

The top winds measured at any station in Belize occurred at a personal weather station on the offshore island of Caya Caulker, which had sustained winds of 54 mph yesterday afternoon at 3:55pm CST local time. Despite the relatively small portion of Belize that was subjected to strong winds from Richard, the storm was able to knock out power to the entire nation for a period of many hours. There are no reports of deaths or injuries, but preliminary media reports indicate major wind and flooding damage in regions near where the center came ashore.

Richard was a hurricane for 18 hours, and was the 10th hurricane of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season. This year's ten hurricanes ties it for sixth place for most hurricanes in an Atlantic hurricane season. Our seventeen named storms this year also ranks as the 6th most in history. Atlantic hurricane season records go back to 1851.


Figure 2. Zoom radar image of Hurricane Richard at landfall, 8:53pm EDT 10/24/10. Belize City was just north of the northern eyewall, and did not receive tropical storm force winds, according to the hourly observations taken at the airport. However, Belmopan, the capital of Belize, experienced the northern eyewall of Richard. Image credit: Belize Meteorological Service.

Forecast for Richard
Richard has weakened to a tropical storm with 45 mph winds, as it moves west-northwest over the Yucatan Peninsula. Richard's small size and relatively slow forward speed of 5 - 10 mph will lead to continued weakening today as it crosses the Yucatan Peninsula. The storm will probably be a tropical depression when it emerges over the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday--if it survives the crossing. If Richard does survive the crossing, moderate wind shear and dry air over the southern Gulf of Mexico should keep the storm from intensifying. Richard should dissipate by Wednesday, before affecting any other land areas.

Invest 90L
A low pressure system (Invest 90L) centered near 23N 42W in the middle Atlantic Ocean, has developed a broad circulation. A band of heavy thunderstorms has developed in an arc to the north and east of the storm, well removed from the center, suggesting that 90L is a hybrid subtropical system. Wind shear is a high 20 - 25 knots, but is predicted to drop to the moderate range, 10 - 20 knots, this afternoon through Wednesday. This may give 90L the opportunity to develop, though water temperatures are marginal for development, just 26.5 - 27°C (26.5°C is usually the limiting SST that a tropical storm can develop at.) The NOGAPS model is calling for 90L to develop into a depression by Friday, when the storm will be near Bermuda. NHC is giving 90L a 10% of developing into a tropical depression by Wednesday.

Next update
I'll have an update on Tuesday. I'm not sure when that update will be, as I am catching a flight to Miami in the morning. I've been invited to spend the week at the National Hurricane Center as part of their visiting scientist program, and will be shadowing NHC forecasters on the evening shift Tuesday - Friday to learn more about their operations. I'll be writing a post later this week about what a shift is like at the Hurricane Center. I also have meetings planned with scientists at NOAA's Hurricane Research Division, and plan to write about some of the research missions performed during this year's hurricane season.

Our weather extremes expert Christopher C. Burt has a very interesting post today on the hottest temperatures ever measured on Earth.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting pilotguy1:


You are a rude person who should be kicked off this blog for being a dishonest jerk.


PG, does this person remind you of someone who was, "gone", recently?
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


all the documents ya need



Nice, KOTG. Appropos.
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KOG, are you really going to let him goad you into a 24 hour penalty?
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
<
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I'm wondering if richard will make it to the western gulf. Looks like whatever is left of him is fixing to get sucked up to the northeast!
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G'nite all, going to watch Dallas likely lose to the giants.
Tropical Update From Texas! Richard Slams Belize; Shary And Tomas Possible; With Video!
Check out my new update for October 25, 2010...
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
A lot of energy associated with the jet stream coming in off the Pacific. This set up should produce a massive storm for the Great Lakes, and a powerful squall line..
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Quoting JFLORIDA:


You are lucky to be there. I always to visit. My grandmothers family on my fathers side was from Sweden


No, I live in Florida now. I figured if Global warming were to be true, I might as well get a head start and see what it will be like. (chuckle) I lived back and forth between Europe, Florida and Long Island most of my life.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26037
Quoting SuperTyphoonLionrock:
Does Maddow's adam's apple grow when you water her chia pet?


LMAO
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Quoting JFLORIDA:
yipes the front passed without a drop of rain.

Fla is in for some serious fire problems if this continues till after the first freeze.


What front?

Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
A LARGE AREA OF SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS LOCATED OVER THE EASTERN
ATLANTIC IS ASSOCIATED WITH AN UPPER-LEVEL LOW AND A WEAK SURFACE
LOW PRESSURE AREA LOCATED ABOUT 1075 MILES WEST-NORTHWEST
OF THE CAPE VERDE ISLANDS. UPPER-LEVEL WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO
BECOME A LITTLE MORE CONDUCIVE FOR DEVELOPMENT ON TUESDAY...BUT
ARE FORECAST TO BECOME LESS FAVORABLE IN A COUPLE OF DAYS. THERE
IS A LOW CHANCE...20 PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A SUBTROPICAL
CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS AS IT MOVES NORTHWESTWARD AT 10
MPH.
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Nice breeze. Tropical showers passing through. Lifes good!!!
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
Tropical Update From Texas! Richard Slams Belize; Shary And Tomas Possible; With Video!
Check out my new update for October 25, 2010...


Do you think future Tomas is a threat to the States? And what happen to the audio?
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
Quoting Orcasystems:


I think he is here to try and rip the Blog apart... I must admit.. he is doing a pretty good job so far.

There are 3 or 4 people here intentionally trying to start a war...

So far I have a few of them on ignore.. but obviously I am going to have to add one or two more.
I've mostly not been reading them, I admit freely. I just really noted the shift in tone - wasn't Kerry the one who posted a lot of good stuff about the oil spill and other interesting things earlier this year? Seems sad to see a good blogger go down.... :o(

Anyway it looks like not much is being said about the potential for further development this week, nor about effects of the two big cat 4s we had last week.... so I might just -s- out for a few hours..... maybe catch the night shift rather than the evening bickerers... "Evening Bickerers".... sounds like some kind of esoteric think tank...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21938
Quoting Orcasystems:


Worked for me :)


Man, my opinion of the blog just increased exponentially, and I don't know why!!

Also, we (the blog) need a distraction. So, see how many of last decade's hurricanes we remember: Link

I got them all :P
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
I'm talking about ALL of you. Those closed minds of yours aren't open to discussion - just argument.
Member Since: September 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 22
Quoting JFLORIDA:


The advancing ones are tricky because it is not actually indicative of "growth" in every instance.

Higher elevation ones do sometimes really advance with more precipitation.


Of course, they do. There has been a joke for many year in the Scandinavian countries, that we shall have to change our games in the Winter Olympics from Skiing and ice-skating to swimming and diving if we want to stay competitive. LOL The glacial areas have declined remarkably since I was a young boy in Norway. Even the growth line has advanced higher in the fjord regions as well. I guess it will be nice to grow oranges in Norway.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26037
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
500. Orcasystems
11:33 PM GMT on October 25, 2010
Quoting hurristat:


time for the poofing to begin :P


Worked for me :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
498. hurristat
11:31 PM GMT on October 25, 2010
Quoting Orcasystems:
Problem solved... the Blog is a lot cleaner now.

Deleted the trouble makers.
the blog looks happy again :)


time for the poofing to begin :P
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
497. hurristat
11:30 PM GMT on October 25, 2010
I was drawn to the blog way back in 05, when it was first starting up. I joined three years later, but after that first wave of AGW, I decided that I didn't really like the community during the winter and spring. So, every summer, I come back, hoping that the infighting that happens during the winter has vanished. And every year, a bit more of this vitriol has slipped into the hurricane season. Right now is a prime example -- all of you guys are talking about AGW, while there is an active storm and an AOI. So if you guys could just save it for December 1st, it'd be greatly appreciated. This is a hurricane blog, not a "I'm insecure and so I'm going to go try and trash someone" blog. So please keep it on topic, and if you don't, at least keep it civil.
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
494. Orcasystems
11:29 PM GMT on October 25, 2010
Problem solved... the Blog is a lot cleaner now.

Deleted the trouble makers.
the blog looks happy again :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
493. PGIgirl
11:29 PM GMT on October 25, 2010
Just proves the old sayin "The wronger they are the louder they yell".
Member Since: September 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 22

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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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