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 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?
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting Patrap:
People drive 60 somewhere?

It aint here.

LOL


Only on the side streets. Obviously you've never been to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale.
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
hey guys how ya doin how is the winter season 2010/2011 treating ya all


Cold and dry. How about you?
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Won't embed. 



Member Since: October 30, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 707
Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:


I drive defensively: Defend thy place in traffic. Winks.


lol
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
Quoting Patrap:
People drive 60 somewhere?

It aint here.

LOL
True. Around here, we have to put up cable barriers between the 2 highway directions...even if we have a football field sized bit of forest or a bayou already in between.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting atmoaggie:
LOL. Nose' Joway.

Though, here is a real picture from Covington 2 years ago:



And another:



Looks like Summer in Norway.
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hey guys how ya doin how is the winter season 2010/2011 treating ya all
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Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:


I drive defensively: Defend thy place in traffic. Winks.


lol
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Quoting Patrap:
People drive 60 somewhere?

It aint here.

LOL


Nice. Good evening, Pat.
Member Since: July 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414
Quoting atmoaggie:
Dang. That's a toughie.

Like being close to family here...and the 45 feet above sea level but only 6 miles from decent red fishing.
Liked 4 actual seasons in VA.
Liked the smaller, easier to do everything, and low cost of living in Bryan/College Station.
BRLA has a lot going for it...plus all of the friends/family that are there (we make the 1 hour drive about once per month to visit someone)

I don't think I've ever considered your question...and cannot come up with a single all around fav.


You should visit me next time. ;)
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I drive defensively: Defend thy place in traffic. Winks.
Member Since: July 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414
People drive 60 somewhere?

It aint here.

LOL
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Quoting Grothar:


You're going to get snow whether you like it or not. Here is a projected picture of Covington December 8th

LOL. Nose' Joway.

Though, here is a real picture from Covington 2 years ago:



And another:

Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Cold Weather / Hot news

North Korea fires artillery in its waters, rattles markets
By Paul Eckert
SEOUL | Tue Dec 7, 2010 9:37pm EST

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea fired artillery into its west coast waters on Wednesday briefly pushing down nervous South Korean financial markets but they quickly recovered after media reports said it was only a military drill.
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Quoting Grothar:


Precise, are we? Don't tell me you drive at 60.23 miles per hour now. Still 45 here.



LOL. The digital age, oh Ancient One.
Member Since: July 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414
Quoting DoverWxwatchter:
What does "fair" mean in an ob versus "clear" anyway?  A few patchy clouds?


Fair- describes weather in which there is less than 4/10ths of opaque cloud cover, no precipitation, and there is no extreme visibility, wind or temperature conditions.

Clear- Sky condition of less than 1/10 cloud coverage.

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Noun 1. fair weatherfair weather - moderate weather; suitable for outdoor activities

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Quoting KoritheMan:


Which of these (including Covington) was your favorite locale in which to live?
Dang. That's a toughie.

Like being close to family here...and the 45 feet above sea level but only 6 miles from decent red fishing.
Liked 4 actual seasons in VA.
Liked the smaller, easier to do everything, and low cost of living in Bryan/College Station.
BRLA has a lot going for it...plus all of the friends/family that are there (we make the 1 hour drive about once per month to visit someone)

I don't think I've ever considered your question...and cannot come up with a single all around fav.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting DoverWxwatchter:
What does "fair" mean in an ob versus "clear" anyway?  A few patchy clouds?


That's what I've always thought.
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Dere be Sleet out dere...


NEXRAD Radar
Fort Polk, Base Reflectivity 0.50 Degree Elevation Range 124 NMI

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What does "fair" mean in an ob versus "clear" anyway?  A few patchy clouds?
Member Since: October 30, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 707
Quoting atmoaggie:
I don't see any real difference in winds reported at the warmer stations, right, now either. But, I didn't check them all... (who has time for that?)


You're going to get snow whether you like it or not. Here is a projected picture of Covington December 8th

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Well I'll be darned Rudolph,..




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Interesting..
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
Quoting DoverWxwatchter:
Slidell current ob says "fair" which is vague.  However could be clear enough to radiate better than places to the north.  Of course the Jackson ob says "fair" as well.  So I don't know.
I don't see any real difference in winds reported at the warmer stations, right, now either. But, I didn't check them all... (who has time for that?)
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:



A slight departure from the "it's flippin' cold" thread.

BTW, it is now 42.1, Fahrenheit.


Precise, are we? Don't tell me you drive at 60.23 miles per hour now. Still 45 here.
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Special Weather Statement



Baton Rouge


Statement as of 10:00 PM CST on December 07, 2010

... Snow flurries expected late tonight into Wednesday morning...

A wintry mixed of precipitation and snow flurries are expected to
develop across extreme southwest and south central Mississippi and
the Florida parishes of Louisiana after midnight through Wednesday
morning. Areas possibly affected are Baton Rouge... Woodville...
Liberty... McComb... Franklinton... indepedence... New Roads...
Kentwood... Tylertown and other neighboring cities. Areas immediately
north... west and especially south of Lake Pontchartrain will
experience a cold rain Wednesday morning.

No snow accumulations is expected. However... motorists are urged to
remain alert and pay attention to driving in these areas. The
precipitation will likely push east of the area by early Wednesday
afternoon.
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Dewpoints in Jackson and Slidell are the same.  Both 25.  Jackson is 39, so the air is warmer and drier.  I would think that precipitation would have an easier time making it to the ground in Slidell.
Member Since: October 30, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 707
Quoting atmoaggie:
Newport News, VA for a year, College Station for 5 years, BRLA before that.

(Perkins/Siegen area...fairly close to you)


Which of these (including Covington) was your favorite locale in which to live?
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Quoting Patrap:
With the Huge Omega Block Upstairs in Place,,,Im betting on Sneaux again.


Ain?
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Quoting Grothar:


Magical!



A slight departure from the "it's flippin' cold" thread.

BTW, it is now 42.1, Fahrenheit.
Member Since: July 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414
Quoting DoverWxwatchter:
Is Slidell clear now while places to the north cloud up?

good thought!

but, there doesn't seem to be an appreciable difference between Slidell and central and southern mississippi here:
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
From Dec 3rd



Weather Journal: The Cold Is Here to Stay


Right now the atmosphere is set up in what meteorologists call an Omega Block, a pattern in which the jet stream position stabilizes in a shape that resembles the Greek letter Omega. This pattern can last for up to ten days or more, which seems like what we may be in for in this particular instance.
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Slidell current ob says "fair" which is vague.  However could be clear enough to radiate better than places to the north.  Of course the Jackson ob says "fair" as well.  So I don't know.
Member Since: October 30, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 707
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Just crossed that freezing line, here:

Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
With the Huge Omega Block Upstairs in Place,,,Im betting on Sneaux again.
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Is Slidell clear now while places to the north cloud up?
Quoting atmoaggie:
Huh. Slidell is a cold spot again. Interesting.

Colder than many more inland places to the north.


(Numbers really only visible at full size...click!)

Member Since: October 30, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 707
Quoting KoritheMan:


Only your fourth? Where did you live prior to Covington, if I may?
Newport News, VA for a year, College Station for 5 years, BRLA before that.

(Perkins/Siegen area...fairly close to you)
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
NEXRAD Radar
New Orleans, Composite Reflectivity Range 124 NMI

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Quoting Patrap:
Not as of late..one can say.

Sneaux Xmas day 04,,Dec 8,08,..and again last year.

We had 6 inches in McComb,Miss last Jan.


I'm curious to see when this streak will end. As the old adage goes "All good things must come to an end".
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Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:

Something off topic, for a special few. Hehehe.





Magical!
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Huh. Slidell is a cold spot again. Interesting.

Colder than many more inland places to the north.


(Numbers really only visible at full size...click!)
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting atmoaggie:
Northerly winds a day and a half and then calm after midnight is what did it. With any appreciable wind, we would have stayed at or above 30 F, probably.

But, we have had whole winters with only a slight freeze (the mosquitoes love this) and we have had teens...and this is only my 4th winter here.


Only your fourth? Where did you live prior to Covington, if I may?
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Extract from the latest Jackson MS wx discussion

LATEST THINKING IS THAT THE CHANCE OF ONE-INCH SNOWFALL TOTALS HAS
INCREASED FOR NORTHEAST LOUISIANA...EXTREME SOUTHEAST ARKANSAS...AND
ISSAQUENA...WARREN...CLAIBORNE...AND JEFFERSON COUNTIES IN
MISSISSIPPI. A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IS BEING POSTED IN THIS
REGION...IN EFFECT FROM 3 AM TO 9 AM. IN THE ADVISORY AREA...MODELS
DEPICT A PROMINENT LAYER OF SATURATED GEOSTROPHIC POTENTIAL
VORTICITY AROUND -0.75 PVU IN THE 500-400-MB LAYER ONCE THE
SHORTWAVE ARRIVES...SUGGESTING THE PRESENCE OF CONDITIONAL SYMMETRIC
INSTABILITY...WITH THE POTENTIAL FOR SLANTWISE CONVECTION GIVEN THE
INTENSE ASCENT. AS SUCH...LATEST HIGH-RES WRF GUIDANCE IS DEPICTING
A FEW BANDS OF ENHANCED SNOWFALL TOTALS IN THE AFOREMENTIONED
REGION...WHERE GLOBAL/REGIONAL MODEL CONSENSUS IS FOR 0.08-0.12-INCH
QPF AMOUNTS TO FALL. GIVEN EXPECTED SNOW:LIQUID RATIOS OF AROUND
9:1...LOCAL AREAS WITHIN THE BANDS WILL LIKELY PICK UP A QUICK INCH
OF SNOW AS THE SYSTEM PASSES THROUGH...ESPECIALLY IN ANY AREAS OF
MODERATE SNOWFALL ASSOCIATED WITH SLANTWISE CONVECTION. THE PRIMARY
LIMITING FACTOR FOR EVEN GREATER SNOWFALL TOTALS WILL BE THE FAST
SYSTEM MOTION. GIVEN THAT MOST OF THE SNOW WILL FALL IN THE 3-9 AM
TIME FRAME...WHICH WILL PROVIDE AN IMPACT TO THE MORNING
COMMUTE...AND GIVEN THE SUBFREEZING SURFACE TEMPERATURES
ANTICIPATED...THE AFOREMENTIONED ADVISORY IS BEING POSTED. THE
AFOREMENTIONED UPWARD TREND IN THE SNOWFALL FORECAST IN THE ADVISORY
AREA IS ALSO SUBSTANTIATED BY THE INCREASED SNOWFALL AMOUNTS PROGGED
BY THE 08/2100 UTC SREF. ELSEWHERE...LESSER AMOUNTS OF CONDITIONAL
SYMMETRIC INSTABILITY AND MOISTURE WILL KEEP SNOWFALL TOTALS
GENERALLY AT OR LESS THAN ONE-HALF INCH. A SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
IS BEING POSTED FOR THESE AREAS.

IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT THE HIGHER SNOWFALL TOTALS WILL BE
RESTRICTED TO THE LOCALIZED BANDS. WHILE THE EXACT LOCATIONS OF THE
BANDS AND CORRESPONDING POTENTIAL FOR ONE-INCH SNOWFALL TOTALS
REMAIN HIGHLY UNCERTAIN...MOST OF THE ADVISORY AREA IS EXPECTED TO
RECEIVE AT LEAST ONE-HALF INCH OF SNOW.

CHANCES FOR SNOW TONIGHT HAVE BEEN INCREASED IN THE ADVISORY AREA TO
THE LIKELY CATEGORY...WITH NO MAJOR CHANGES MADE TO THE TIMING OF
THE SNOW. HOURLY TEMPERATURE/DEWPOINT FORECASTS HAVE BEEN UPDATED TO
ACCOUNT FOR THE LATEST OBSERVATIONAL TRENDS. NO ADDITIONAL CHANGES
HAVE BEEN MADE TO THE GOING FORECAST. SECTIONS OF THE PREVIOUS
DISCUSSION FOLLOW. /COHEN/

Member Since: October 30, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 707
Not as of late..one can say.

Sneaux Xmas day 04,,Dec 8,08,..and again last year.

We had 6 inches in McComb,Miss last Jan.
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gotta feeling that this weekend and into monday is going to be crazy..
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
Quoting KoritheMan:


I guess such readings along the north shore aren't that unusual in light of the northerly winds experienced last night.

Enjoy this while you can though, as the GFS hints at a more typical La Nina pattern for us after the next major arctic outbreak.
Northerly winds a day and a half and then calm after midnight is what did it. With any appreciable wind, we would have stayed at or above 30 F, probably.

But, we have had whole winters with only a slight freeze (the mosquitoes love this) and we have had teens...and this is only my 4th winter here.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting Patrap:
Dicey and Icey somewhere come dawn..





Current Conditions

Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Airport)

Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Airport)

Updated: 14 min 10 sec ago

Clear
36 °F
Clear
Humidity: 82%
Dew Point: 31 °F
Wind: Calm
Pressure: 30.20 in (Rising)
Visibility: 10.0 miles


You know you like it, Pat. Snow is a rare sight down here. ;)
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Quoting Grothar:


You've done quite well yourself on many occasions.



Thank you, my friend.
Member Since: July 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414

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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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