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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364. IKE
10:47 PM GMT on December 07, 2010
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

well let the games begin


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

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
363. FLPandhandleJG
10:47 PM GMT on December 07, 2010
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


hmmm.. interesting..
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
362. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
10:44 PM GMT on December 07, 2010
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
361. FLPandhandleJG
10:44 PM GMT on December 07, 2010
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

well let the games begin


lol.. seriously.. one thing or another is about to happen.. we will find out soon..
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
360. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
10:41 PM GMT on December 07, 2010
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.


well let the games begin
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
359. caneswatch
10:40 PM GMT on December 07, 2010
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Not lately. My best friend use to live up there, but he moved.


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
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
358. IKE
10:36 PM GMT on December 07, 2010
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.

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
357. Jedkins01
10:27 PM GMT on December 07, 2010
Quoting Jeff9641:
It looks as if C FL will go from cold to warm with highs near 80 Saturday to A squall line with some storms embedded in this line severe with damaging winds then very cold and windy next Monday. Very interested in the wording from Norman tomorrow morning in regards to this severe threat as it is appearing we will have one nasty squall line charging in from the Gulf Sunday Morning or Afternoon.



I doubt we will see 80 though at all on Saturday, not only will it still be the leftovers of this winter air mass, but water temp is only 54 degrees off the coast here in Pinellas County, it will probably only hit about 70 to 72 at best
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 7288
356. GeoffreyWPB
10:24 PM GMT on December 07, 2010
Quoting caneswatch:


Looks like more 20's on the way. Hey Geoff, been to Palm Beach Gardens lately?


Not lately. My best friend use to live up there, but he moved.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10992
353. DontAnnoyMe
10:13 PM GMT on December 07, 2010
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
How sad. Elizabeth Edwards passed away today.


Sad indeed, she was a wonderful health care advocate. Te local news here was reporting yesterday that she was "gravely ill".

Link
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
351. caneswatch
10:06 PM GMT on December 07, 2010
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
How sad. Elizabeth Edwards passed away today.


WPTV just reported on it. Poor woman, she had to go through so much while having cancer. May she RIP.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
White Christmas Probability Maps
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10992
349. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
India Meteorological Department
Tropical Cyclone Bulletin #4
DEPRESSION BOB06-2010
23:30 PM IST December 7 2010
=====================================

At 18:00 PM UTC, Depression BOB06-2010 over west central Bay of Bengal further moved northwestwards and lays centered near 15.5N 81.0E, or about 100 km east of Ongole, 80 km south of Machillipatnam and 350 km southwest of Vishakhapatnam.

It would move northwestwards and cross south Andhra Pradesh coast between Ongole and Machillipatnam tomorrow morning (December 8th).

Sea conditions will be rough to very rough.
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How sad. Elizabeth Edwards passed away today.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10992
Quoting alfabob:
Near record high summer temperatures followed by below average winter temps are a bad sign IMO. Think we may be hitting a minimum in polar ice over 2011; stronger horizontal temperature gradients seem to induce more mixing of the polar air masses.
That is a very well stated concern, and one I share.
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interestin article about the cold weather and snow leading up to christmas..

Read-Me
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
Daily Downpour LIVE on wunderground radio.
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Good Afternoon *sneezes*
It's so cold and rainy here *sneezes again*
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Wind farms and effects on radar:

NOAA Radar Operations Center
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
wow someone just showed on the accuweather forum a model with the crazy idea that the snow was going to reach all the way down to the central gulf coast with heavier accumulations along the coast from Mobile to Panama City. Yeah right. That reminds me of all the super hurricane models that kept hitting NO all this year and last year:o
Member Since: January 6, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 339
The lake effect bands are very easy to pick out. They stream directly off of the lakes, and are usually long and narrow. Prominent bands run N of E or SE off of Lake Erie into wNY. The nastiest band has dumped 40" into Cattaraugus County so far.
They typically run S of E along the Lake Ontario shoreline until it swings northward near Oswego. Then you'll see E or N of E bands as well. Those are the ones that hit the Tug Hill plateau, which is famous for big lake effect events.
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338. Jax82
I'd say it was cold last night...EVERYWHERE!

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Quoting SouthDadeFish:
ECMWF is showing quite the arctic blast for the south early next week. Very impressive.
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I see the ectended weather forecast for the East Coast, specifically, the DC area changes daily. Why is the forecast for FL and areas in the South more accurate 10 days out than that region? Anyone.
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334. beell
Quoting echucker:
I live is western NY less than an hour northeast of those echoes in question. It's a windfarm. You'll see the same echo during clear weather, summer or winter.
Wind Farm


Awesome, echucker. Thanks.
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Quoting beell:
Found this ridge, Skye. Looks about right? East of Hamburg, NY. About 250 meters higher than the radar site/lakeshore. Elevation exaggeration set to "3" on google earth (Tools>Options).

Right around 42.6N -78.7W

Photobucket
awesome!! spot on :)

EDIT!! -i am spot off :(
just read echucker's post after seeing beell's... ha!
Thanks for sharing the info echucker ^_^
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332. xcool



ENSEMBLE TEMPERATURE.i brb
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15624
Quoting SouthDadeFish:
ECMWF is showing quite the arctic blast for the south early next week. Very impressive.


I heard much colder than this one we're having now. And as for snow, I wouldn't be surprised to see it dip way south.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
I live is western NY less than an hour northeast of those echoes in question. It's a windfarm. You'll see the same echo during clear weather, summer or winter.
Wind Farm
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Quoting SouthDadeFish:
ECMWF is showing quite the arctic blast for the south early next week. Very impressive.


If the models keep trending colder it looks like we may get some snow in the deep south. We all must get together and cross our fingers!

For me in Macon, GA, we have a slight chance of flurries tomorrow evening and a 20% chance of snow Sunday night. Many places farther west in Al and MS have up to a 50% chance.
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328. beell
Found this ridge, Skye. Looks about right? East of Hamburg, NY. About 250 meters higher than the radar site/lakeshore. Elevation exaggeration set to "3" on google earth (Tools>Options).

Right around 42.6N -78.7W

Photobucket
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


Here comes our short wave!
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 553
326. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
India Meteorological Department
Tropical Cyclone Bulletin #3
DEPRESSION BOB 06-2010
17:30 PM IST December 7 2010
======================================

At 12:00 PM UTC, Depression BOB06-2010 over west central Bay of Bengal moved northwestward and lays centered near 15.0N 81.5E, or about 150 km east-southeast of Ongole, 150 km south southeast of Machillipatnam, and 350 km south southwest of Vishakapatnam. The depression is expected to cross south Andhra Pradesh coast between Ongole and Machillipatnam tomorrow morning.

3 minute sustained winds near the center is 25 knots with gusts of 35 knots. The central pressure is 1000 hPa. The state of the sea is rough to very rough around the system's center.

Satellite imagery indicates that the system is shear pattern. Dvorak intensity of the system is T1.5. Associated broken intense to very intense convection is seen over west central Bay of Bengal between 13.0N and 17.0N west of 83.0E. The lowest cloud top temperature due to convection is around -70C.

Vertical wind shear of horizontal wind over the region is moderate to high. 24 hour tendency of vertical wind shear is negative north of the system. Sea surface temperature over west central Bay of Bengal is 27-29C. Ocean heat content over west central Bay of Bengal is 40-50 kj/cm2, which is unfavorable for intensification. The system lies to the north of tropospheric ridge, which roughly runs along 14.0N at 200 HPA level.
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325. Skyepony (Mod)
I was checking out the odd return on Wundermap..turn on the radar, terrain..nothing stands out compared to the surrondings. Too bad noone around Sheldon has a PWS, webcam or anything.
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324. eddye
south dade fish how cold does it show it geting in miami
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ECMWF is showing quite the arctic blast for the south early next week. Very impressive.
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Quoting Neapolitan:

I come from a family and a background of fundamentalism, and am keenly aware of and steeped in the fear they feel, so I agree in part with most of the things you say. However, I do take issue with a few areas, namely the part where you wrote "fundamentalist creationists FEAR secularism and science because they don't acknowledge god." That may be part of it--but I know they also fear science simply because they don't understand it. It's like showing a high-intensity flashlight for the first time to some tribe deep in the jungle that has only known fire. If the members of that tribe understood electricity, they'd think nothing of the flashlight; instead, however, it becomes something evil, something of a darker world, something to be demonized and banished.

You did write one thing with which I completely agree: "...the harder we all push to criticize fundamentalists, the more devout they will become." Absolutely true; after all, look what's happening in Afghanistan and Pakistan. :-\
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.
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Quoting Grothar:


YO


Yo. I'll be back on in a half-hour, headed back home.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Quoting caneswatch:


It was bound to happen. My class was a huge help in getting the school its only A. The kids they let in after us were pretty much unmotivated to do anything but stay out of school.


YO
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25371
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:




Its gotta be topography, you can see a smaller one south of hamburg on this TDude its very interesting as there is no movement.


Looking at GoogleMap, there's a river there with bluffs that could be catching some lake-effect snow. That would show a strong return.
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Quoting tornadodude:


that sucks man..


It was bound to happen. My class was a huge help in getting the school its only A. The kids they let in after us were pretty much unmotivated to do anything but stay out of school.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Quoting Grecojdw:


Hey panhandle. NOAA currently has a slight chance for flurries in its forecast for Crestview. Hopefully it close to all of us in Okaloosa County. Soooo close. Also, its funny how the chance for widespread snow is developing on the GFS for all of our area yet the Accuweather long range has it quite warm. I though Frank Strait swears by the GFS? I don't see a way to get NOAA's long range though, it only goes out to the weekend for our area.


Yeah I know about crestview.. But there iffy on if they want to extend it or not.. B/c they dont know how much moisture would actually make it or if any.. But it might not accumulate b/c of a very low dew point.. But it is possible.. Ive seen it happen.. Never last too long tho..

Yes GFS has been getting us with some here and there but other models have been showing dry or just rain conditions.. possibly cold rain/freezing rain..

On for the weekend.. They said they need to wait a day or 2 c how big this next system is for the weekend into monday.. if it is pretty big or the temps are colder with extra moisture to play with.. Then i can c possible chances for some snow, if that.. But there is a lot of ifs..

Early Wednesday.. We will c what will happen.. and this system develops.. But most models have cut down by mobile,AL and never make it to us..
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2133
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:




Its gotta be topography, you can see a smaller one south of hamburg on this TDude its very interesting as there is no movement.
the Rapid City, SD radar quite often picks up some local topography, but the strength of the return is similar to the local noise. what surprises me about this one is the strength of the return. can't help but think there is legitimate precipitation being squeezed out there, due to the type of airmass causing the lake effect snowfall. i know so little to state it any better, plus these are best guesses anyhow.
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Quoting tornadodude:
what causes a return like that?





Its gotta be topography, you can see a smaller one south of hamburg on this TDude its very interesting as there is no movement.
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Quoting caneswatch:


College is ok, but I know my high school won't be lasting much longer, and I think it won't see another year in existence.


that sucks man..
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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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