Heaviest rains in Colombia's history trigger deadly landslide; 145 dead or missing

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:07 PM GMT on December 06, 2010

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Colombia's heaviest rains in history triggered a landslide in the poor hillside community of Bello on Sunday, killing at least 20 people and leaving 125 missing. This year's unprecedented rainy season had already killed 176 people prior to Sunday, making it one of the deadliest flooding years in Colombia's history, according to the director of Colombia's national disaster management office, Luz Armanda Pulido. In 2009, 110 people died in flooding disasters, and 48 were killed in 2008, according to Colombian Red Cross director of national relief operations Carlos Ivan Marquez. This year's rains are the heaviest in the 42 years since Colombia's weather service was created and began taking data, agency director Ricardo Lozano said. The resulting flooding has destroyed or damaged the homes of 1.6 million people. Colombia's president Juan Manuel Santos said the number of homeless from the flooding could reach 2 million, and said "the tragedy the country is going through has no precedents in our history." Neighboring Venezuela has also been hard-hit by this year's severe rainy season--at least 30 people are dead from floods and mudslides, and tens of thousands homeless. More rain is in the forecast--the latest forecast from the GFS model (Figure 2)--calls for an additional 4 - 6 inches (100 - 150 mm) across much of western and northern Colombia in the coming week.


Figure 1. Satellite-observed rainfall over Colombia during the past two weeks shows a region of 100 - 200 mm (4 - 8 inches) has fallen near Medellin, close to where Sunday's landslide in Bello occurred. Image credit: Navy Research Lab, Monterey.

Colombia's rainy season usually peaks in October, then gradually wanes in November and December. The heavy rains are due to the presence of the Intertropical Convergence Zone, the area encircling the earth near the Equator where winds originating in the northern and southern hemispheres come together. When these great wind belts come together (or "converge", thus the name "Convergence Zone"), the converging air is forced upwards, since it has nowhere else to go. The rising air fuels strong thunderstorm updrafts, creating a band of very heavy storms capable of causing heavy flooding rains. This year is a La Niña year, which means there is a large region of colder than average water off the Pacific coast of Colombia. Colder than average water off the Pacific coast enhances rainfall over Colombia, and this year's La Niña, which is at the borderline between the "moderate" and "strong" categories, is largely to blame for Colombia's deadly rainy season.


Figure 2. Rainfall forecast from today's run of the GFS model predicts that region to the north and west of Bogota, Colombia may see another 100 - 150 mm (4 - 6 inches) during the coming week (red colors.) Image credit: NOAA/CPC.

See also my November 22 post, Colombia rainy season floods kill 136.

I'll have a new post on Wednesday.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Chicklit:
Daytona Beach Area: Wind Chill Advisory in effect from 11 PM this evening to 9 am EST Tuesday...Freeze warning in effect from 3 am to 9 am EST Tuesday... Freeze watch in effect from late Tuesday night through Wednesday morning... Tonight
Clear. Lows in the mid 20s...except in the near 30 along the coast. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph. Lowest wind chill readings 15 to 18 after midnight
Yikes!

thursday night my loc will see -15c with chills -20c maybe -25c which is 12f with chills of -2f to -4f depending on the winds storm coming up from central se us over the spine up the coast will draw even colder air yet to come winter is in full force grt lakes should see first acc snow storm friday
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Quoting atmoaggie:
The anti-science bit is so very tired...



Consider the source. That's what I do.
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For my area..

By Tuesday night...our attention will turn to a shortwave diving
southeast out of the intermountain west and arriving on our doorstep
by 12z Wednesday. The European model (ecmwf)/GFS are in excellent agreement on depicting
some robust synoptic lift and deep moisture from 700 mb and above.
The Fly in the ointment for any significant precipitation will be the dry
airmass present in the lowest 5000 feet. A look at area forecast
soundings...partial thicknesses...and surface wet bulb temperatures indicate the
the predominate p-type would be snow for much of the area. Given the
strong upper level forcing prognosticated by guidance...will mention a
chance of snow flurries for all areas north of the immediate coast
early Wednesday morning. If future model runs show more saturation in the
low levels...we may have to add a chance of light snow to the
forecast. In either case...this looks to be a very minor event with
no accumulations. We did go a few degrees above MOS for Wednesday morning
lows given the transition to mostly cloudy skies after 06z which will
impede radiational cooling for the rest of the night.


The shortwave passes through the area by midday Wednesday with more
dry and cold weather in store. An abundance of middle level clouds
persist through much of Wednesday which will keep highs only in the
upper 40s to lower 50s. The center of surface high pressure moves into
the southern Appalachians Wednesday night...but ridging will extend all the
way into eastern Louisiana...giving US a good chance of decoupling
overnight. Another very cold night with lows in the low to middle 20s.

Long term (thursday through monday)...a brief return to clear skies
and very dry conditions Thursday and Friday as surface high pressure and
weak anti-cyclonic flow aloft move east across the forecast area. As the
surface high begins to slide east of the region on Friday...return flow
will allow temperatures to moderate slightly. Another storm system
will be developing well to our west by Friday...with associated
frontal boundary moving toward and across the forecast area by late
Saturday night. Isentropic lift will be sufficient to produce some
isolated showers by Friday night...especially over western zones.
Then better lift along the frontal boundary will result in the
potential for scattered showers Saturday into early Sunday. Included
a mention of thunderstorms Saturday night ahead of the frontal system
as models...especially the European model (ecmwf)...is showing MLCAPES approaching 500
j/kg. Temperatures near or slightly above normal on Saturday but are
expected to drop back to well below normals Sunday into Monday in the
wake of the strong front. Highs will likely struggle to climb out of
the 40s by next Monday with below freezing nighttime lows returning.
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
Quoting Neapolitan:

Read the article in question, Doug; even an ardent anti-science person such as yourself would have to admit that Big Energy is the one pushing the "money-driven" agenda.
The anti-science bit is so very tired...
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Quoting doorman79:


It has snowed here the last 2 years, and 2005. Growing up that was a 10 year event (same as my parents), dunno what the deal is with it. Maybe it is time to move in with Pottery lol!
And more than just once in each of the last 2 years. Really odd, given the 10 year usual recurrence...

(wait, wasn't there snow during 2004 Christmas, too? But, I don't remember a 2005 event.)
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Quoting PensacolaDoug:

Just further proof that our government is pushing a money-driven AGW agenda.

Read the article in question, Doug; even an ardent anti-science person such as yourself would have to admit that Big Energy is the one pushing the "money-driven" agenda. ;-)
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Quoting cornchucker:
For the record....how can Dr. Masters say in one gulp that the rains in Colombia are the worst in the history of the country...he then goes on to say since the inception of the weather service less than 50 years ago. Sensationalizing of weather events that kill so many people is immoral and deplorable and it's getting old. As a scientist, you would think that Dr. Masters would stick to factual accounts of weather related events.

You may want to read the article again: "Colombia's president Juan Manuel Santos said the number of homeless from the flooding could reach 2 million, and said 'the tragedy the country is going through has no precedents in our history.'" Did you get that? That was a quote; Colombia's president said the floods were the worst in the nation's history, not Dr. Masters. Dr. Masters only mentioned that the rains were the heaviest since the weather service there was established. Now, if you wish to charge Santos with sensationalism, feel free to do so--though I think you're wrong since he is, you know, the leader of that country and thus may just know more about the situation there than you do--but don't be upset with Dr. Masters for having the audacity to tell the truth.

As with GW: stating unbiased scientific facts is not sensationalism. It never has been, and it never will be. Or to use your words: "Hiding the tuth behind weather events that kill so many people is immoral and deplorable and it's getting old."
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Not for me. Heat with humidity is miserable, always, though I'm a native...

Cold? Okay, I can put enough on to survive it. Much better than hot, IMO. Heat? Taking enough off isn't possible,



LOL!. Agreed. I have winter garb.
Member Since: July 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414
106. JRRP
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Quoting doorman79:


That's what makes it hard. If you are born and raised in the cold then its normal, same for the heat. When it hits the other extreme then you are miserable!
Not for me. Heat with humidity is miserable, always, though I'm a native...

Cold? Okay, I can put enough on to survive it. Much better than hot, IMO. Heat? Taking enough off isn't possible,
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Daytona Beach Area: Wind Chill Advisory in effect from 11 PM this evening to 9 am EST Tuesday...Freeze warning in effect from 3 am to 9 am EST Tuesday... Freeze watch in effect from late Tuesday night through Wednesday morning... Tonight
Clear. Lows in the mid 20s...except in the near 30 along the coast. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph. Lowest wind chill readings 15 to 18 after midnight
Yikes!
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Quoting Neapolitan:

Yeah, we talked about it yesterday here. Just further proof--as if any were needed--that Big Energy will stop at nothing to stack the deck in its favor. How sad...



Just further proof that our government is pushing a money-driven AGW agenda.
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gotta run.

Peace!
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Quoting cornchucker:
For the record....how can Dr. Masters say in one gulp that the rains in Colombia are the worst in the history of the country...he then goes on to say since the inception of the weather service less than 50 years ago. Sensationalizing of weather events that kill so many people is immoral and deplorable and it's getting old. As a scientist, you would think that Dr. Masters would stick to factual accounts of weather related events.
What Dr. Masters said is factual. Yes, there is the possibility that there have been heaver rain events in the past, but it does not mean what he posted is not factual."Colombia's president Juan Manuel Santos said the number of homeless from the flooding could reach 2 million, and said "the tragedy the country is going through has no precedents in our history." which certainly gives the Dr,s statement credence.
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Quoting doorman79:


I'm packing my bags!!! Which island are you on lol.

Er, um, Jamaica!
Yeah, that's right, Jamaica.
See you tomorrow...

heheheheh
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Quoting pottery:

Oh, Absolutely!


I'm packing my bags!!! Which island are you on lol.
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It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

Wind Chill Advisory, Freeze Warning, Freeze Watch Statement as of 3:15 PM EST on December 06, 2010

... Wind Chill Advisory in effect from 11 PM this evening to 9 am EST Tuesday...

The National Weather Service in Melbourne has issued a Wind Chill Advisory... which is in effect from 11 PM this evening to 9 am EST
Tuesday.

Cold air and gusty northwest winds will continue across east central Florida tonight. Temperatures are expected to drop into the upper 20s across most of the area... with temperatures in the low 30s within Metro Orlando and the immediate Brevard and Treasure Coast.

The combination of cold temperatures and winds will create wind chills as low as the upper teens for most locations... with values in the lower 20s expected along the immediate coast.

Remember to dress warmly overnight and early tomorrow morning if venturing outdoors for extended periods. Also... pets can be susceptible to the cold weather. If they must stay outside make sure they have warm and dry shelter.

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

A Wind Chill Advisory means that cold air and strong winds will combine to generate low wind chills. If you must venture outdoors... .dress warmly in layers and make sure you wear a hat and gloves.

Fires in residences pose the greatest threat to life during Florida cold weather outbreaks. Keep flammable materials such as newspapers or clothing away from portable heaters. Ensure smoke and Carbon monoxide detectors are working properly... especially when sleeping.
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Quoting doorman79:


As long as "ladies" stays plural!

Oh, Absolutely!
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Quoting pottery:

LOL, but you missed the part about 'preference given to Ladies...'


As long as "ladies" stays plural!
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Quoting doorman79:


Print reads:

Monthly rent

$500 or $500 bottle of wine! :)

LOL, but you missed the part about 'preference given to Ladies...'
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Quoting Jeff9641:
Eventhough the Seminoles lost Saturday I have high hopes for next year as EJ Manual looks pretty good even with the loss. FLPandhandleJG


Yeah I have high hopes for next year.. We r getting the recruits and improving.. R defense was suspect against Vtech.. They kept attacking our weakness with the same plays but we try to hang in there, but turnovers, miscues, and miss tackles wont help you out if u want to win.. But I like our future tho.. Glad we beat the gaytors and canes in the same year tho.. Been awhile since that has been done..
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
Quoting pottery:

Plenty room here.
But the fine-print needs careful scrutiny.
heheheheh


Print reads:

Monthly rent

$500 or $500 bottle of wine! :)
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Quoting cornchucker:
For the record....how can Dr. Masters say in one gulp that the rains in..... As a scientist, you would think that Dr. Masters would stick to factual accounts of weather related events.

I am sure that Dr. Masters is mortified that you have found him out.
Surely, there is some other site that is more 'factual' than this one, that you would be more comfortable in ?
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Quoting Jeff9641:


I think the Panhandle may have a slight chance. The penisula should get a pretty robust squall line as this front approaches Sunday. By the way I'm doing great and I hope you are doing good as well.


I'm doing good and thx.. Yeah with all the cold, wish it would snow or something.. Never get the luck here.. Also I might ask for too much if i'm not careful, and that would be dangerous for us Floridians. But anything is possible
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
Quoting cornchucker:
For the record....how can Dr. Masters say in one gulp that the rains in Colombia are the worst in the history of the country...he then goes on to say since the inception of the weather service less than 50 years ago. Sensationalizing of weather events that kill so many people is immoral and deplorable and it's getting old. As a scientist, you would think that Dr. Masters would stick to factual accounts of weather related events.


Did you hit the rock right before you posted that?
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Quoting Jeff9641:


LOL! Let's go! Pottery you got room? LOL

Plenty room here.
But the fine-print needs careful scrutiny.
heheheheh
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
For the record....how can Dr. Masters say in one gulp that the rains in Colombia are the worst in the history of the country...he then goes on to say since the inception of the weather service less than 50 years ago. Sensationalizing of weather events that kill so many people is immoral and deplorable and it's getting old. As a scientist, you would think that Dr. Masters would stick to factual accounts of weather related events.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Jeff9641:


Pottery you won't believe how cold it is in FL mind you it was 87 last Tuesday now 41 at 9:10pm here in Orlando.


Hey Jeff.. how u doing sir?? do u think FL from the panhandle and into central/north FL will get a better chance of snow by the 13th or 14th??
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
Quoting TomTaylor:
Speaking of flooding, has anybody seen whats going on in Albania? Don't know how Jeff missed this, but anyway...

BBC Article:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11923596


AQUA Satellite Image:
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=15852

Was looking at that earlier.
Flooding is terrible.
Cold flooding must be doubly horrible....
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:
Isn't Nea usually flashing this map around? or does he only do it on weeks where it proves his theory?

Records:

Snowfall: 328
High Temperatures: 119
Low Temperatures: 177
Lowest Max Temperatures: 144
Highest Min Temperatures: 75

I show it all the time. It's not my fault if record highs have outnumbered record lows by such a huge margin for almost the entire year (you can blame ExxonMobil for that).
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Quoting Jeff9641:
I would not be surprised if Orlando see's light sleet or snow Wed Night. The models seem to be going more potent with this gulf disturbance. LA residents will definitely get some snow.


It has snowed here the last 2 years, and 2005. Growing up that was a 10 year event (same as my parents), dunno what the deal is with it. Maybe it is time to move in with Pottery lol!
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Speaking of flooding, has anybody seen whats going on in Albania? Don't know how Jeff missed this, but anyway...

BBC Article:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11923596

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Quoting Jeff9641:


Pottery you won't believe how cold it is in FL mind you it was 87 last Tuesday now 41 at 9:10pm here in Orlando.

Well, it's 79 here, and cloudy! 10:15pm.
You guys are going to have a really cold December/January.
Going to play havoc with the food-crops, citrus etc?
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Quoting TheThinker:
Wow, did anyone see this? Wiki leak re: climate?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/dec/03/wikileaks-us-manipulated-climate-accord

Yeah, we talked about it yesterday here. Just further proof--as if any were needed--that Big Energy will stop at nothing to stack the deck in its favor. How sad...
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Quoting doorman79:


That's what makes it hard. If you are born and raised in the cold then its normal, same for the heat. When it hits the other extreme then you are miserable!

True!
I can deal with the cold, for short periods.
But after a week, I start getting the urge to get out of my mind....
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Quoting pottery:

That's not good, for your internal thermostat...
LOL, I hope you got to have some anti-freeze when you got home!


Of course!
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Quoting pottery:

Spoke to my daughter in Bournemouth, south coast of England, earlier.
They got to minus 2c today.
And that was THE MAX temp!!!
They are having a rough one.
Poor thing, she is a Tropical Flower, and feeling the cold....


That's what makes it hard. If you are born and raised in the cold then its normal, same for the heat. When it hits the other extreme then you are miserable!
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Quoting doorman79:

That's not good, for your internal thermostat...
LOL, I hope you got to have some anti-freeze when you got home!
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Quoting doorman79:
I will say though, working in the snow isn't any worse than a cold rain. Still miserable, but it is pretty!

Spoke to my daughter in Bournemouth, south coast of England, earlier.
They got to minus 2c today.
And that was THE MAX temp!!!
They are having a rough one.
Poor thing, she is a Tropical Flower, and feeling the cold....
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Quoting pottery:

Ah! The 'threshold' between cold and warmth.
You gonna have to wear socks with your flip-flops, man.

LOL, we changed a door today in a nickel coating plant that had heaters. was sweating inside the building up near the roof and had to but the jacket back on when we came down. Doorway was facing north too with a breeze coming straight to us.
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Quoting doorman79:


Just north of I-12 in La

gotcha
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
Quoting doorman79:


Was good until Drak said snow! Being in the doorway just pi$$es you off lol.

Ah! The 'threshold' between cold and warmth.
You gonna have to wear socks with your flip-flops, man.
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I will say though, working in the snow isn't any worse than a cold rain. Still miserable, but it is pretty!
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Quoting FLPandhandleJG:


Where u live?


Just north of I-12 in La
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Quoting doorman79:


Was good until Drak said snow! Being in the doorway just pi$$es you off lol.


Where u live?
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
Quoting pottery:

All is well!
And you?


Was good until Drak said snow! Being in the doorway just pi$$es you off lol.
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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.