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 FLPandhandleJG:


Am I the only one still up.. lol


Apparently. More tunes?
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Area forecast discussion...update
National Weather Service Mobile Alabama
1135 PM CST Tuesday Dec 7 2010


Aviation update for 08/06z...expect VFR conditions through
Wednesday...but will be some middle level ceilings(aoa 8k) late tonight
and possibly some light rain oe even flurries over the northern
sections. Low level air mass is dry so may be just virga that falls.
/11


******************************previous************************8


Short term [tonight through Thursday night]...closed upper level
low pressure moving southeast over western Oklahoma will move over
northern Louisiana by late tonight...and then as an open wave across
the forecast area on Wednesday. Surface high pressure axis extending
from Iowa into the northern Gulf of Mexico will lift northeast
through Wednesday afternoon.


The cold air mass will remain in place across the region ahead of
this next system...with lows tonight expected to fall into the
middle/upper 20s...except lower 30s along the immediate coast. Moisture
in the middle and upper levels will increase overnight through
Wednesday afternoon...with a sub-cloud dry level below 850 mb
remaining intact through Wednesday afternoon. Still expect some very
light frozen precipitation to pass through the sub-cloud dry level
late tonight across our northern zones...and primarily north of a
line from Wiggins, MS to Andalusia, Alabama Wednesday morning. A few rain
sprinkles or very light rain showers are possible south of this line
late Wednesday morning as temperatures rise above freezing.


Surface low pressure associated with the upper system will form over
the western Gulf late tonight and move across the southern Gulf on
Wednesday...followed by strong dry surface high pressure building
across the region through Thursday night. High temperatures
Wednesday afternoon will only manage to range from 43 degrees north
to 49 degrees south due to the cloud cover and cold air advection.
Colder temperatures are forecast for Wednesday night...with lows in
the lower 20s north of I-10 and middle/upper 20s to the south.
Temperatures will begin to moderate on Thursday. /22


Long term [friday through tuesday]...a surface low develops over
the Western Plains on Friday and deepens while advances eastward
through Saturday night. There are fairly significant position
differences on this feature between the ECMWF/GFS/Gem...with a blend
of the European model (ecmwf)/Gem favoring the system moving to near the Great Lakes
Saturday night. Regardless...there is fair agreement on a trailing
front associated with this system moving through the forecast area
Saturday night. A return flow ahead of this system allows for
temperatures to return to near seasonable levels on Friday. This
return flow strengthens on Saturday...with both the GFS/European model (ecmwf)
showing a southwest 850 mb flow of 40-50 knots over the forecast
area Saturday afternoon into Saturday night prior to the frontal
passage. This results in very high shear values with 0-1 km
helicities of 250-400 m2/s2. Instability is very limited
however...with 0-3 km MUCAPES generally less than 100 j/kg over the
area per GFS/European model (ecmwf) except for slightly higher values near the
coast. Based on this...am not expecting severe storm development
but will need to continue to closely monitor this for potentially
higher instability. Temperatures return to well below seasonable
levels in the wake of the front.
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133


Am I the only one still up.. lol
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
Here is one of my friends on the next cold snap thats coming of what he had to say..

The reason the next one is so cold is that it takes part of the cold vortex lobe moving in tandem w/ the southern stream and stalls it near the lakes, then completely merges it with the srn stream, causing one very large vortex. All that is blocked from the rising heights in Greenland, so the expansive cold thats in southern Canada and the Lakes gets sling-shotted due south, so whats in Michigan is about the same as what arrives in NC and GA just slightly modified. At one point during the middle of the day, the 2m temps are 32 or less right down to the Ga, Fl border (if I recall its 18z Monday or Tues). That would be stunningly cold for Tallahassee and Valdosta.
The 510 height contour engulfs all of NC for a time, another rare treat. Thats only happened in a few outbreaks I can think of 83 , '85, '89 with 850's around -16 or lower for a good time.

Beyond that, the vortex in the northeast remains mostly stationary and a southern stream system may take the low road. Usually, models are too slow with moisture coming east, but they also tend to hold the 50/50 in place too long erroneously. Either way, we've got some interesting options around days 9 or 10 on this run. One final note, the ridging in high latitudes works west to cover Canada. This acts as a split flow, and we'll have a limited supply of cold air, but normally that 5H looks is pretty good for southern Winter events of some type because the westerlies and storm track is displaced very far south.

Thats pretty understandable that I would say..
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
Uriah Heep - Circus

Link

Link
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Im up to the wunderground Upstairs myself...,

...maybe we will see some sleet come 6:30am drive time.
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Quoting Patrap:


Evening.

I told the person who ran otta gas and called me a while ago.

E aint fer enough sport.

Itsa cold out dere too.


LOL.
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Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
GFS Ensemble shot the Low way south. Tracked it from southern Arkansas, through Northern Mississippi & Alabama, then through north Georgia. To me just depends how much moisture this puppy is going to have.. But that is from what i can tell.. Unless someone has any more to add or differ?
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
Quoting Grecojdw:
I'm off to bed folks...hopefully I wake up early enough for a flake or two just in case.

hopefully we get something this winter.. have a goodnight .. probably b on here sometime tomorrow as well. take it ez
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Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:


Nice. Good evening, Pat.


Evening.

I told the person who ran otta gas and called me a while ago.

E aint fer enough sport.

Itsa cold out dere too.
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I'm off to bed folks...hopefully I wake up early enough for a flake or two just in case.
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Prospect Creek was declared the coldest place in the United States at -80°F on January 23, 1971.

The coldest temperature on record for Montana is also the coldest temperature for the entire continental U.S. On January 20, 1954, −70 °F (−57 °C) was recorded at a gold mining camp near Rogers Pass.
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Quoting Grecojdw:


Me and FloridaPanhandleJG live ten miles from each other in the Northwest Florida Panhandle of Florida between Pensacola and Panama City Florida very close to the Alabama border.

yeppers.. time will tell.. b/c in the morning temps are going to rise.. wonder if we get any frozen precipitation in that time frame.. or even make it to us or don't dissipate..
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
Extremes

Lhoknga, (pronouncation "Loc-na", alternative names Lho'nga, Lho-nga, Lhok Nga), is a town in the subdistrict of Aceh Besar, Aceh, Indonesia, located on the western side of the island of Sumatra, 13 km southwest of Banda Aceh. It was completely flattened and destroyed by the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, where its population dwindled from 7500 to 400[1]. Tsunami runups following eyewitness accounts of waves were recorded being 35 m in height (waves hitting land at the height of 35 m or 105 ft.) [2], the highest known tsunami wave known to date.
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Quoting Grecojdw:


Its gonna be real close or us panhandle. I notice that the TWC site has it struggling to get out of the 30s in our area for a high on Monday.


Yeah but it changes everyday until a day or 2.. just depends how fast the front comes through and if there is any moisture behind it.. How far south it will go and so on.. Just a lot of questions at this point.. so we know it will be probably cold monday.. and just depends how big this system gets.. If we r expecting big winds from this system on sunday and monday then this system could be strong and we won't know how strong until we get more details leading up to the day..
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Quoting DoverWxwatchter:
Where is that?

Quoting DoverWxwatchter:
Where is that?



Me and FloridaPanhandleJG live ten miles from each other in the Northwest Florida Panhandle of Florida between Pensacola and Panama City Florida very close to the Alabama border.
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Quoting DoverWxwatchter:
There are reports of it snowing at Freeport in the Bahamas in Jan 1977 when Miami got its snowflurries. 

During the 1899 arctic outbreak there were newspaper reports at the time of snow in Cuba, but nothing I found in any official record.

Never snowed in the Yucatan, but in Feb 1895 it did snow as far south as Tampico on the coast in Mexico.

And it has gotten very close to freezing in Merida, down to 34.

Snow has fallen at Pico Durarte in the Dominican Republic above 9,000 feet on several occasions.



I was just messing.. Lol I was just paraphrasing the phrase of the show .. I love Lucy.. lol
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Actually, it has snowed in the Bahamas before.


The climate of the Bahamas is subtropical to tropical, and is moderated significantly by the waters of the Gulf Stream, particularly in winter.[19] Conversely, this often proves very dangerous in the summer and autumn, when hurricanes pass near or through the islands. Hurricane Andrew hit the northern islands during the 1992 Atlantic hurricane season, and Hurricane Floyd hit most of the islands during the 1999 Atlantic hurricane season.

While there has never been a freeze reported in the Bahamas, the temperature can fall as low as 2 C (35.6-37.4 F) during Arctic outbreaks that affect nearby Florida. Snow was reported to have mixed with rain in Freeport in January 1977, the same time that it snowed in the Miami area.[20] The temperature was about 4.5 C (40.1 F) at the time.[21]
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Quoting FLPandhandleJG:


Its gonna be real close or us panhandle. I notice that the TWC site has it struggling to get out of the 30s in our area for a high on Monday.
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
I know KoritheMan but what about the other places


I'd imagine it could be possible across at least Cuba, since that nation is mountainous. The others would be pretty remarkable, though.
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Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
Quoting Quadrantid:
Just had a thought, which some of you more savvy types might be able to answer...

I was wondering what kind of set-up would be the worst for the SSTs and coming hurricane season?

I seem to remember people linking the record high SSTs in the Atlantic this summer to the long period the NAO spent negative last winter/spring, which resulted in lower winds in that region, and thence less cooling.

If I remember right, the severe cold weather in the UK and northern Europe started up in mid-to-late December, or so, and lasted to early/mid-Feb -- all driven by the NAO going and staying negative. This year, things have hit them hard, earlier -- and seem to be locked in again (I'm now out in Australia, so not as in tune with the UK's weather as I was last year when I was being hit by it :D).

So -- the question is, if the NAO holds negative like it did last winter (which seems feasible, given the low sea-ice measurements, and the lock-in of the jet-stream) -- will that contribute to reduced cooling in the MDR in the atlantic (again, reduced surface winds etc.), and therefore mean that we'll go into the next hurricane season with potentially higher SSTs, and to a greater depth, than we saw this year?

Would that, coupled to a La Nina trending back toward neutral, tend to set the scene for a pretty intense season next year? Particularly if the peculiar blocking setup that led to the Russian heatwave and Pakistini floods doesn't set up this coming season.

Am I missing something in my logic here? I'm not a meteorologist, but the pieces seem to hang together reasonably from what I've learnt on here over the last couple of years -- would be really interested to have those in the know tell me why I'm wrong :) I know, of course, that this is a form of future-guess-casting (given the NAO might revert to normal in a fortnight, and stay there for the rest of the autumn and winter), so please don't level the "We don't know how the NAO will behave" cannon at me -- I'm aware this is a hypothetical at the moment, but would be interested to know if my logic holds :)


Hmmn -- no-one's biting. Ah well! Would have been interested to see what people thought!

Another thing that occurs -- how much effect does snow cover have in extending cold snaps? Obviously, when a significant area of ground is snow/ice covered, it will reflect a significantly greater amount of solar radiation straight back out, preventing the land from heating up. Does that mean that you could essentially get a situation where the north of Europe, say, covers itself in a cold-air blanket, self-extending the cold snap, and hence feeding back to help ensure the NAO stays negative longer? I know that this cold blanket effect helps to create the record lows, but does it also help raise surface pressures (since cold air sinks), and enhance the strength of the high-pressure over the cold area, making it harder for frontal systems to approach and crack the cold?
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
hey by the way I just wanted to know from you guys what you think if it snowed over the yucatan cuba cayman and bahamas (besides that it is improbable)

If it happen.. then somebody has some explaining to do!
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I know KoritheMan but what about the other places
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
hey by the way I just wanted to know from you guys what you think if it snowed over the yucatan cuba cayman and bahamas (besides that it is improbable)


Actually, it has snowed in the Bahamas before.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Without 2 going in opposite directions, no, I wouldn't live in Gonzales or Zachary or Walker and commute to BR. I'd take another hour of sleep and another hour with my kids in the evening over anything that does for me.

I do live in Covington, but work in Slidell. And my wife goes to Hammond. If my wife didn't need to go to Hammond, I'd live in, or very close to, Slidell.

G'Nite, all.


Yeah, that's a fair point.

Good night.
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hey by the way I just wanted to know from you guys what you think if it snowed over the yucatan cuba cayman and bahamas (besides that it is improbable)
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Quoting DoverWxwatchter:
Snow?!  In the South?!  NEVER!






haha
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
Quoting KoritheMan:


It's not really a decision for most of them though, is it? I mean, a lot of people in the local area have jobs in the capital city.
Without 2 going in opposite directions, no, I wouldn't live in Gonzales or Zachary or Walker and commute to BR. I'd take another hour of sleep and another hour with my kids in the evening over anything that does for me.

I do live in Covington, but work in Slidell. And my wife goes to Hammond. If my wife didn't need to go to Hammond, I'd live in, or very close to, Slidell.

G'Nite, all.
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Quoting sunlinepr:
The Tungurahua volcano spews ashes during an explosion in Pelileo, Ecuador, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010. The Tungurahua volcano is billowing ash into the sky





Great images, sunline! Thank you.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
I feel for the folks that commute into BR everyday, just a little (hey, they made that decision).


It's not really a decision for most of them though, is it? I mean, a lot of people in the local area have jobs in the capital city.
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Quoting Grothar:


Only on the side streets. Obviously you've never been to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale.


They do that here as well. The 35 MPH sign is to be laughed at, apparently, by most.
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Accuweather

What they think could happen b4 christmas or up to chrimas..
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
same here (cooler and dry) but may not be as cool as you but cooler than norm

today I was at work us guys forecasting and observing this jumble of cold fronts that has started and forecasted to start goin to be interesting to see what happens
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Quoting KoritheMan:


The feature in question is an upper low.
The rest of that sounds "pretty strange" to me. Just sayin
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Quoting Grothar:


Only on the side streets. Obviously you've never been to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale.
I have. No one goes 60 on the highway (impossible). And no one goes under 60 on any road with driveways and stop lights.
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The Tungurahua volcano spews ashes during an explosion in Pelileo, Ecuador, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010. The Tungurahua volcano is billowing ash into the sky


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Quoting KoritheMan:


I don't travel I10 often, that's how. I do most of my shopping/errands in neighboring Gonzales.
I feel for the folks that commute into BR everyday, just a little (hey, they made that decision).
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Quoting KerryInNOLA:
The local TV weatherman said this cold snap is frigid but not quite bone cold. He said we should protect our junk and not let anyone frisk us during this cold spell. He said a "feature" was moving towards Shreveport and could bring some snow. He did not explain what he meant by a "feature" but it sounds pretty strange. I wish I knew what this was. Any suggestions?


The feature in question is an upper low.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
If they #$%!<~ get around to *@#$!$% finishing that stretch of $#&%ing I-10 construction, that sure would be easier to contemplate. How do you stand it?


I don't travel I10 often, that's how. I do most of my shopping/errands in neighboring Gonzales.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


You should visit me next time. ;)
If they #$%!<~ get around to *@#$!$% finishing that stretch of $#&%ing I-10 construction, that sure would be easier to contemplate. How do you stand it?
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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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