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 doorman79:


88?

We been freezing our high knees off up here!

Evening all!


No, it really is cold. I forget where you are door?
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26815
Quoting caneswatch:


I got 39 over here in RPB. I have a pair of socks on and my feet are still cold.


Actually it is a little cold here. I had to bring in my vertubenblubens and and gernockens in before they froze. (P.S. I drive just fine, just don't know why everyone else drives on the wrong side of the road on I-95.)
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26815
412. MTWX
Down to 32 here already! Man that temp drops as sooon as the sun goes down!
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411. DDR
Nice blob of rain of PR
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Right now 45 at mi casa.


I got 39 over here in RPB. I have a pair of socks on and my feet are still cold.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
forecast for swfl tomorrow night,lows in mid 30's inland with 20% chance of rain,i bet a few wet flakes might mix in somewhere east of the tampa area!!!
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Right now 45 at mi casa.
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407. DDR
Quoting FLPandhandleJG:

o okay.. I'm doing pretty good.. about to go out and get something to eat.. brb.. hope ur doing good other than all that rain..

doing fine,thank you
Rain has been a minor inconvenience for me
other areas,quiet the opposite.
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Quoting IKE:
From Birmingham,AL. afternoon discussion....

AS WE GET CLOSER TO THE WEEKEND...THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE NEXT
SYSTEM IS BECOMING MORE APPARENT. THE COLDER...CROSS POLAR
AIR...BEHIND THE SYSTEM...ALONG WITH THE THREAT OF SOME SNOWFALL
COMING SUNDAY. HAD ORIGINALLY THOUGHT ABOUT SOME POTENTIAL FOR
CONVECTION ON SATURDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT...HOWEVER...IT APPEARS
AS IF WE WILL NOT GAIN THE DEEP LAYER MOISTURE AND SURFACE BASED
INSTABILITIES REQUIRED FOR SEVERE...AND IN FACT...WITH THIS ROUND
HAVE DECIDED TO REMOVE THE THUNDER WORDING ALTOGETHER. AFTER THE
FROPA...THE FUN WILL REALLY BEGIN WITH THE TIGHTENING PRESSURE
GRADIENT...WRAP AROUND MOISTURE...AND THE INBOUND ARCTIC AIRMASS.
THE GFS AND MOST ENSEMBLE MEMBERS CONTINUE TO FAVOR A MORE
SOUTHERN SOLUTION SUGGESTING THAT THE WRAP AROUND MOISTURE COULD
PRODUCE SOME ACCUMULATING SNOWFALL ACROSS NORTHERN PORTIONS OF THE
CWA AND ESPECIALLY IN THE HIGHER ELEVATIONS OF THE NORTHEAST. THE
WIND GRADIENT WILL ALSO BE OVERLY IMPRESSIVE WITH WINDS AT AROUND
30 MPH SUSTAINED WITH GUSTS TO 40 OR MORE. PROBABLY THE MOST
CRITICAL WILL BE THE TEMPERATURES AS HIGHS ON MONDAY AND TUESDAY
WILL STRUGGLE INTO THE LOWER 30S...IF THAT HIGH...AND LOWS WILL
LIKELY REACH HARD FREEZE CRITERIA. NOW MAY BE THE TIME TO BEGIN
THINKING ABOUT PROTECTING LIFE AND PROPERTY THAT WOULD BE
SUSCEPTIBLE TO HARD FREEZE OR TEMPERATURES IN THE LOWER TEENS.
TEMPERATURES COMBINED WITH THE AFOREMENTIONED WINDS WILL HAVE THE
POSSIBILITY OF REACHING THE 0 MARK OR AT LEAST IN THE LOWER SINGLE
DIGITS WITH RESPECT TO WIND CHILLS.



Oh boy. Wonder what will happen down here.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Looking at other places in Scotland to check out the chill.
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well brb peeps.. going to get my grub on..
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


You can always spot Grothar driving. A poof ball and a square dance flag on his antenna.


Haha, i've seen him around a lot lately.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Quoting DDR:


Hey how are you?
Trinidad,T&T.

o okay.. I'm doing pretty good.. about to go out and get something to eat.. brb.. hope ur doing good other than all that rain..
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
Quoting Grothar:


88 deg down here is Ft. Lauderdale. That is what you get for living up North.


88?

We been freezing our high knees off up here!

Evening all!
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Quoting Grecojdw:


I'm not very good at reading those maps. Can you explain the implications for are area?


I'm no expert but I pretty much understand whats going on tho.. But I will give couple of examples..

This image below has that thick blue line across the map.. Well thats the rain/snow line of where the rain/snow line could be.. But its too early of what could happen b/c these models runs have to stay consistent and the system has to develop like this model is trying to predict..



Well with this image below me.. It has the Blue thick line aka the rain/snow below us.. So a potential of snow if it pans out to be. Like I mention above on the other image.. That these model runs from this point out arent reliable, but if they stay consistent then something could happen.. But thats if the system develops or not.. We will see if all the ingredients come into place..




Hope this helps..
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
I also found the all time record low for Port Of Spain, Trinidad to be 15.6  C (60.1 F) when pottery was being asked about that.
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Quoting calusakat:
I attended a Catechism class where the Jesuit priest told us that we would be better off thinking of the Bible as a Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe.

He asked us often how warnings not to eat certain types of meat because of the worms possibly growing in it like those found in sheep and pigs would work in a world where such little things were unseen. What better way than some sort of a text with those warnings.

Even the Ten Commandments are really quite logical once you get past any bias one way or the other.


Excuse me for bringing it up, but I hope that Jesuit priest was not allowed to be with children unsupervised.
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397. DDR
Dover
Are you experiencing record cold temperatures in your country?
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396. DDR
Quoting FLPandhandleJG:


where u at?


Hey how are you?
Trinidad,T&T.
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Since it is now December 8th in Scotland I'm putting up the weather history for Edinburgh airport for that date.  We'll see if the temp falls below -17.4 C
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Record low on Dec. 8 for West Palm is 43. Going to be smashed tomorrow morning.


88 deg down here is Ft. Lauderdale. That is what you get for living up North.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26815
393. xcool
brb
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
392. xcool


snow time for me
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting FLPandhandleJG:


I'm not very good at reading those maps. Can you explain the implications for are area?
Member Since: January 6, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 339
Quoting DDR:
2.67 inches of rain today
more rain in the forecast.


where u at?
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389. DDR
2.67 inches of rain today
more rain in the forecast.
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Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
387. DDR
Piarco inter. Trinidad
24 °C
Scattered Clouds
Humidity: 95%
Dew Point: 23 °C
Wind: Calm
Wind Gust: -
Pressure: 1011 hPa
Visibility: 22.0 kilometers
Clouds:
Few 480 m
Mostly Cloudy 2400 m
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Record low on Dec. 8 for West Palm is 43. Going to be smashed tomorrow morning.


Tampa had it lowest December temp in 5 years and will blow it away tomorrow morning. Looks like even colder next week.
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1pm Sunday



7PM sunday



NOAA graphical forecast Sunday 1PM, and 7PM shows good wrap around snow on the back of this storm snow all the way to southern Alabama and Central Georgia.
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
Dropping quick down on the bayou!
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 591
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 591
With clear skies, a deep snowcover, dead calm winds, and 9 1/2 hours to go until the sun rises, I don't see why Edinburgh Scotland won't break their all-time cold record.  We'll see.
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Quoting DoverWxwatchter:
Edinburgh Scotland has plunged to -16 C (3.2F) tonight as of the latest reading 11:20 pm local time.  The all time record low there is -17.4 C (0.7F)

Will they make it?


just depends on much of there temp has been dropping in the hour.. its possible..
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
Edinburgh Scotland has plunged to -16 C (3.2F) tonight as of the latest reading 11:20 pm local time.  The all time record low there is -17.4 C (0.7F)

Will they make it?
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Quoting hcubed:


Well, for the last few years, there had been a trend of commercial enterprise going towards the "green-cap" tubes....


Good info about CFLs and LEDs

You can recycle the CFLs at Home Depot or Ikea.

The real question is what provokes such apparently irrational responses as some of the earlier posts on CFLs?

Pretty simple...

Too much government control.

In a market economy CFLs are a no-brainer. Less mercury pollution. Significant costs savings. All this independent of AGW.

Whale oil lamps dissappeared overnight, and incandescant bulbs would have gone quickly also.

But no, the government had to decree "Thou shalt not buy CFLs".

So Barton is screaming now that this law sent jobs overseas and wants to overthrow it (?!).

This insanity (I don't know what else to call it) is provoked simply by the overarching nanny state that assumes folks are idiots (well, given the study on the state of American education that came out today, this is sad where we are in math and science in the world).

Education, education, education. The nanny state approach to conservation measures will not work.

Hey, save money! Save the environment!

And a relative of Ike spoke at the ANWR 50'th anniversary! I like Ike :).

Lastly, from the above link since there was this naive and lame mercury argument:

"Mercury and CFLs

"Mercury is a toxic metal associated with contamination of water, fish, and food supplies, and can lead to adverse health affects. A CFL bulb generally contains an average of 5 mg of mercury (about one-fifth of that found in the average watch battery, and less than 1/100th of the mercury found in an amalgam dental filling). A power plant will emit 10mg of mercury to produce the electricity to run an incandescent bulb compared to only 2.4mg of mercury to run a CFL for the same time. The net benefit of using the more energy efficient lamp is positive, and this is especially true if the mercury in the fluorescent lamp is kept out of the waste stream when the lamp expires.

"All fluorescent lamps do not contain the same amount of mercury. (…) Alto Lamp Technology, for instance, contain less mercury than conventional fluorescent lamps… at less than 3.8 mg per bulb."
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Quoting hydrus:
I find it interesting when religion surfaces on a science blog(which does happen here quite a bit). One of the reasons we split from England is because of the lack of religious freedom. Even in modern times there are religious sects imposing there views of morality on us, and try to tell us how everything around us came to be, on how to reach heaven or nirvana by following a set of rules, by living our lives on a certain path, or how our actions during our existence on the Earth have an effect on our souls salvation or damnation after we die. I find it all fascinating to say the least. I am grateful that I was brought up to keep an open mind to all views and faiths and not put to much thought in doctrinal disputes. Religion is the source of animosity for many people in the world. Laws in most countries are made or adjusted to that countries religious beliefs, even when it is an established fact that some of texts they base there laws on are myths. We know America is the proverbial melting pot when it comes to religious denominations. With most being founded on the death and resurrection of Christ. But there is even a dispute on how his life and eventual crucifixion really took place. Arianism would not even accept the divinity of Christ. Monophysitism denied that Christ was even human. Donatism states that any sacraments given by a sinful clergy are invalid.(lol). And then there is Palegianism, which stated that belief in a God or divinity of some kind is unmerited, that grace or salvation is found within. I can see why some people are bitter towards religion when so much that happens here on Earth would look poor on a supreme beings resume. I would like nothing more then to believe that there was a man that walked the Earth, healing the sick and dying, even bringing the dead back to life, Feeding starving masses of people, and bringing joy to the sad beings of the Earth, or that there is a living spiritual power presiding over us..Maybe there is. Me myself, when something bad happens, I blame it on Gods evil opposite( kinda like for everything that is holy, there is something un-holy).I can see why some people are bitter towards religion when so much that happens here on Earth would look poor on a supreme beings resume. It was written "God is an intelligible sphere who,s center is everywhere and circumference nowhere". Suffice it to say, I do believe in God, and if The Ten Commandments are the laws to live by, then so be it. They always appeared to be logical anyway.
I attended a Catechism class where the Jesuit priest told us that we would be better off thinking of the Bible as a Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe.

He asked us often how warnings not to eat certain types of meat because of the worms possibly growing in it like those found in sheep and pigs would work in a world where such little things were unseen. What better way than some sort of a text with those warnings.

Even the Ten Commandments are really quite logical once you get past any bias one way or the other.


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Quoting MTWX:

I hear ya. Our windchill here tonight is going to be in the teens. Perfect weather for working on the radars!


ah i c.. but I'm looking at the models and checking about this weekend towards monday could get interesting.. some models have the gulfcoast states to get snow.. the others to get rain.. I guess just depends how big this system will be then..
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
375. MTWX
Quoting FLPandhandleJG:


starting to drop pretty good now.. brrr!

hopefully the moisture will make it to the fl panhandle..

I hear ya. Our windchill here tonight is going to be in the teens. Perfect weather for working on the radars!
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Record low on Dec. 8 for West Palm is 43. Going to be smashed tomorrow morning.


28 °F (2006) thats my record low for my area.. but forecast to reach 27 °F on dec 8th.. so we will c..
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starting to drop pretty good now.. brrr!

hopefully the moisture will make it to the fl panhandle..
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
Record low on Dec. 8 for West Palm is 43. Going to be smashed tomorrow morning.
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371. MTWX
Evening all! Lets see of our snow for tonight stays in the picture!! Current temp in Columbus, MS 40 degrees
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wow.. i remember there used to be some life even if it was winter.. wow
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I see while I worked hard today stimulating the economy many aimlessly argued about AGW. Warmth is good for the Earth. The Earth has many self healing mechanisms. When CO2 goes up plants grow better and remove it and release O2. It's a good thing.
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For West Palm Beach

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Quoting caneswatch:


Good. Drove through there to get back home today, and I don't know who's more worse, the cops blocking traffic with their unnecessary 4-squad car pullovers or the slow old drivers? I think it's time for Grothar to stop driving through there LOL


You can always spot Grothar driving. A poof ball and a square dance flag on his antenna.
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364. IKE
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

well let the games begin


Cold air plunging well into the peninsula of Florida....@ 162 hours on the 18Z GFS...

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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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