Beta hits Nicaragua

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:11 PM GMT on October 30, 2005

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Hurricane Beta smashed ashore on the central coast of Nicaragua at 7 am EST this morning as a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph winds. Beta put on an impressive burst of intensification last night and had 115 mph winds for about six hours before weakening substantially just prior to landfall. This brief burst of intensification made Beta the seventh major hurricane of the 2005 season. This is one hurricane shy of the record of eight major hurricanes seen in 1950.

Beta probably brought a 15-foot storm surge to the coast, plus 100 mph plus winds in a small area up to 15 miles from the center. The east coast of Nicaragua is sparsely populated, and these winds and the storm surge probably only affected a small number of people. However, Beta's rains will cause serious flooding and mudslides over Nicaragua and Honduras the next two days as the storm moves over the mountains of western Nicaragua and dissipates. Beta may end up being Nicaragua's fourth worst hurricane of all time, behind Hurricane Joan of October 1988, the great 1605 hurricane that killed over 1300, and Hurricane Mitch of 1998. Joan killed 148 people in Nicaragua, with the large death toll blamed in part on the residents' resistance in the coastal town of Bluefield to evacuation.

Honduras will also suffer Beta's wrath, but is missing the core of Beta's moisture and will very likely avoid the kind of serious flooding that killed thousands during Hurricane Mitch of 1998. Tune into wunderblogger Helen's blog from Roatan Island, Honduras, to follow the storm. Roatan is on the central coast of Honduras--the area Hurricane Mitch hit hardest.

Beta is probably too small to emerge out over the Pacific and re-intensify into a tropical storm. Hurricane Joan did successfully make the crossing, to be reborn as Hurricane Miriam in eastern Pacific. However, Joan was a large and fast-moving Category 4 hurricane. Beta's remains should bring no more than 3-6 inches of rain to El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Guatemala over the next few days.

Elsewhere in the tropics
The large tropical disturbance in the central Caribbean that was interfering with Beta's circulation yesterday has weakened and has been partially absorbed by Beta. This disturbance is not expected to develop.

A large tropical wave located about 200 miles east of the Lesser Antilles has not become better organized today but has some potential for further development over the next few days as it moves west or west-northwest at 15 mph. This area of disturbed weather will bring heavy rain and gusty winds to the northern Leeward Islands today. If a tropical storm does develop from this wave, it could threaten Hispanolia, Cuba, Jamaica, and the Bahamas later in the week. Wind shear over the Caribbean is expected to remain low the next week, favoring tropical storm develoment of any tropical waves that traverse the region.

I'll be back with an update Monday morning.

Jeff Masters

Downtown Fort Lauderdale
Wilma
WILMA'S KEY WEST VISIT (digitalIsland)
Beautiful Floating Home is thrashed during Wilma. One of only a few boats to go down despite an enormous surge of 6 + feet in the Garrison Bight Marina
WILMA'S KEY WEST VISIT

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24. gbreezegirl
2:21 PM GMT on October 31, 2005
Good morning all and Happy Halloween! It is an absolutely beautiful sunny morning here on the Gulf coast.
Member Since: September 7, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 274
23. thelmores
2:13 PM GMT on October 31, 2005
ya'll have to check this out..... a must read!

"Thunderbolts on demand

What would a military strategist gain in having an "on-switch" to the weather?

Clearly, it offers the ability to degrade the effectiveness of enemy forces. That could come from flooding an opponent’s encampment or airfield to generating downright downpours that disrupt enemy troop comfort levels. On the flipside, sparking a drought that cuts off fresh water can stir up morale problems for warfighting foes.

Even fooling around with fog and clouds can deny or create concealment – whichever weather manipulation does the needed job.

In this regard, nanotechnology could be utilized to create clouds of tiny smart particles. Atmospherically buoyant, these ultra-small computer particles could navigate themselves to block optical sensors. Alternatively, they might be used to provide an atmospheric electrical potential difference -- a way to precisely aim and time lightning strikes over the enemy’s head – thereby concoct thunderbolts on demand.

Perhaps that’s too far out for some. But some blue sky thinkers have already looked into these and other scenarios in "Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025" – a research paper written by a seven person team of military officers and presented in 1996 as part of a larger study dubbed Air Force 2025."

"Pulling it all together

The report on weather-altering ideas underscored the capacity to harness such power in the not too distant future.

"Assuming that in 2025 our national security strategy includes weather-modification, its use in our national military strategy will naturally follow. Besides the significant benefits an operational capability would provide, another motivation to pursue weather-modification is to deter and counter potential adversaries," the report stated. "The technology is there, waiting for us to pull it all together," the authors noted.

In 2025, the report summarized, U.S. aerospace forces can "own the weather" by capitalizing on emerging technologies and focusing development of those technologies to war-fighting applications.

"Such a capability offers the war fighter tools to shape the battlespace in ways never before possible. It provides opportunities to impact operations across the full spectrum of conflict and is pertinent to all possible futures," the report concluded.

But if whipping up weather can be part of a warfighter’s tool kit, couldn’t those talents be utilized to retarget or neutralize life, limb and property-destroying storms?"

I dont know about ya'll, but this concerns me..... what are the adverse effects of "messing with mother nature".... and could this be used to create storms (tropical?) as weapons???

lot's to ponder! ;)
Member Since: September 8, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3805
22. billsfaninsofla
3:23 AM GMT on October 31, 2005
Matilda....do you believe they are trying to pass Wilma off as a Cat 1??? I'm just west of you a bit..... that southern eyewall...... oh my.....still now power here...
Member Since: September 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5533
21. tornadoty
2:59 AM GMT on October 31, 2005
No no, thank you Stellar for spreading the word!
20. StellarCyclone
2:52 AM GMT on October 31, 2005
The NW Caribbean looks uncomfortably interesting ...

Tornadoty's list of records is a must read - thanks!

Thanks to Dr. Jeff too and everyone's contributions!
19. tornadoty
2:24 AM GMT on October 31, 2005
I updated my blog with a list of records for this hurricane season. Feel free to visit and add records to the comments list. I will add them to the list after checking for accuracy.
18. Dawgfan
2:03 AM GMT on October 31, 2005
Jupiter - Congrats on your Gators victory. They played a great 1st quarter and the Dawgs played a terrible 1st quarter. Both teams looked pretty bad the rest of the game. I hope that Shockley is back for Auburn in 2 weeks.

Hope that these lower Sea Surface Temps result in an end to major hurricanes reaching the US for this season. Seems like we used to have more tropical storms making landfall in the US than hurricanes, but not the last two seasons. I guess that's because of the warmer SS Temps. If these trends continue for major landfalling hurricanes in highly populated areas of the US for the future, the insurance rates will go out of sight. Maybe we have seen the worst of it. I sure hope so.
17. 8888888889gg
1:32 AM GMT on October 31, 2005
winds at cape blanco reached 150 mph with gusts to 179 in or and wa and that was from The "Big Blow" of Columbus Day 1962 and oh say that we can not have hurricane over her any one have ? on this?
15. JupiterFL
11:41 PM GMT on October 30, 2005
Dawgfan,
First off let me say sorry about the game yesterday. Not Really. You got it right on the cold front. The local weather guys here were saying that the cold front filtered into the backside of the storm about halfway across the state. They said that because cold air finds its way to the surface much quicker that it filled in the backside of the eye really quick. Thus the strong second half we all experienced here. If you look at the radar images you will see that back half fill in really quickly once it merges with the cold front.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 2146
14. matilda101
11:24 PM GMT on October 30, 2005
thats WIlma not wilda shes my neigbor
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 301
13. matilda101
11:24 PM GMT on October 30, 2005
Fort Lauderdale Beach. We went thru Katrina with 80 MPH with gusts to 95 MPH Wilda seemed 10 times worst. When the back side of the eye came thru between 11am -12pm The visabilities was down to zero. A very large canvas that was attached to the building next door came off during the first part of the storm. It was nudged between the two buildings. I saw with my own two eyes the wind pick it up and lift it 30 feet into the air stuck on a power pole and moments later thrown 1/3 block into a pickup where it came to rest. Most of the trees were shreded or partially deleafed. We had two retail concrete buildings gutted when the shutters failed, roofs collapsed nearby. I guess the most impressive thing for Fort Lauderdale will be the lack of foliage. From my condo I see roofs of homes where before there were trees. From my standpoint we had to be at or near 115 mph for several minutes. The damage says it all.
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 301
12. Hydrocvl
11:00 PM GMT on October 30, 2005
Glad you are safe Matilda and no building damage; where are you at that received cat 3 forces?

billsfaninsofla, seems beta is going west/south, to the pacific after bouncing of well defined ridge. It may also dissipate, currently best guess is 60MPH and still not reaching the high mountain 3,000 ft plus, crossing at middle of nicaragua.
11. matilda101
10:40 PM GMT on October 30, 2005
Well I got my power back on Thursday PM. The backside of Wilma was far more fierce than the frontside. Our building didn't suffer any damage, or window breakage. We did get a little water through the windows, due to the seal on the bottom of the single hung windows. A couple of towels did the trick. The Condo high rises suffered quite a lot broken windows and caused extensive damage. Almost all trees took a beating. Wilma was more a Cat 3 storm as she pounded as than the Cat 2 storm NHC. The only thing left for me is Direct TV coming in Monday AM and then off to work I go for the first time since Wilma slammed us.
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 301
10. billsfaninsofla
10:05 PM GMT on October 30, 2005
Skye... thank you for the sites..
Member Since: September 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5533
9. Dawgfan
8:21 PM GMT on October 30, 2005
FSU, I won't attempt to answer your question as an expert, but I will say that as Wilma was passing through Southern Florida there was a strong cold front moving in that direction and we were having strong gusts out of the north here at the Florida/Georgia state line. Perhaps the energy of this front helped speed up the backside of the counterclockwise spin. The front would also have drier air associated with it. That's just a guess on my part.
8. Skyepony (Mod)
8:08 PM GMT on October 30, 2005
early model track to PR blob.

Many of the models show the blob affecting even to bahamas, 2 kiss fl. Then it turns NE, because beta rements to verying degrees of organization~ fly through fl. Some models in panhandle out Ga, Tampa to Jacksonville(probibly most popular), central or south fl. Looks like atleast a bit of rain~ 84hrs or so out. Model links: navy, fsu ~ an easy one mrf
~perhaps not time to call it end of season
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 164 Comments: 37853
7. billsfaninsofla
7:54 PM GMT on October 30, 2005

Accuweather has twice made mention of a Beta remnant ending up near Florida by the end of this week. Anyone else have an opinion on that? Normally I wouldn't be so paranoid, but with 2/3 of my roof tore off by Wilma and on the 7th day of no power (and not knowing when to expect it) I am a bit edgy right now. Thanks!

FSU.. you may want to email Dr. Masters directly with your question, I'm interested in the response as well. That south side of the storm was nasty.
Member Since: September 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5533
6. FSUstormnut
7:15 PM GMT on October 30, 2005
Dr. Masters,

I have a question for you. I live in the West Boynton Bech area which is just south west of WPB. I live about 2.5 miles from a middle school (Christa McCulla) that locked a wind gust of 118mph.

I would like to know why the back part of the storm, or the southern eyewall seemed to be very dry. I found that interesting because the winds seemed to have been stronger, but for about 30-45 mins during the southern eyewall, it didn't rain. Is that normal during a hurricane?

please post a reply if you can. Thanks

PK
Member Since: June 10, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 323
5. hurigo
5:38 PM GMT on October 30, 2005
Oops hit post too soon, meant to also say these were Cape Verde systems, not what we would expect to encounter this time of year
Member Since: October 9, 2005 Posts: 100 Comments: 6729
4. hurigo
5:37 PM GMT on October 30, 2005
Dr. Jeff, I have heard a metorologist mention a rule of thumb that if a storm is above lon X and west of lat x it is most likely to continue north and east away from the U.S. (Of course, we know storms do not abide by rule books). Do you know what I am talking about and if so, what is the lon/lat? Thank you.
Member Since: October 9, 2005 Posts: 100 Comments: 6729
3. 147257
4:49 PM GMT on October 30, 2005
maybe its nice to make a list with all the records broken this year

thnx for the update
Member Since: August 2, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 68
2. code1
4:43 PM GMT on October 30, 2005
Thank you for the update.
Member Since: September 18, 2005 Posts: 66 Comments: 13872
1. Trouper415
4:19 PM GMT on October 30, 2005
Morning
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 637

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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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