Mexico's Katrina

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:22 PM GMT on November 06, 2007

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While Hurricane Noel's deadly rampage through the Caribbean was making headlines last week, Mexico experienced one of the worst flooding disasters in its history. Rescue crews are still at work plucking thousands of stranded residents off of rooftops in the state of Tabasco. Over 80% of Tabasco was underwater, and flood waters reached up to residents' rooftops in the capital city of Villahermosa. Up to 900,000 people are homeless in the disaster, which Mexicans are calling their Hurricane Katrina. The number of people dead or missing now stands at 26, due to a new mudslide yesterday that overwhelmed a small village near Villahermosa.

The floods were spawned by heavy rains that fell from a cold front that stalled over the Gulf of Mexico between October 28 and November 1. Satellite estimates of the rainfall show that no more than 7 inches of rain fell over the region during the period, which seems like too little rain to cause the massive flooding observed. It is possible these satellite estimates are flawed. The official rain gauge in Villahermosa reported 2, 81, 7, 0, and 2 inches of rain during the days October 28-November 1, respectively. Presumably, the 81 inches of rain reported October 29 is due to floodwaters inundating the rain gauge. Villahermosa averages 13 inches of rain in a typical October. No new rains have fallen since November 1, and the flood waters are gradually receding.


Figure 1. Thick clouds cover Mexico's Tobasco state on October 29, 2007, due a cold front that stalled over the region. The area received up to 7 inches of rain over a 5-day period. Image credit: NASA.

Disturbance 92L in far eastern Atlantic not a threat
A non-tropical "cut-off" low pressure system near 31N 37W, a few hundred miles southwest of the Azores Islands, is showing signs of becoming more tropical. This system was designated "92L" by NHC this morning. Phase space diagrams from Bob Hart at Florida State University show that 92L started off as a classic extratropical storm that was asymmetrical with a cold core, but the storm has gotten more symmetrical and the core has warmed. Satellite loops show only limited thunderstorm activity near the center of circulation at present, though. Sea Surface Temperatures are about 24° C under 92L, and are considerably cooler than the 26.5° usually needed to get a tropical cyclone going. Wind shear is 30-40 knots, and is expected to stay above 30 knots for the next two days. These factors should keep the storm from developing. The system is expected to turn northeast and move through the Azores Islands Friday or Saturday.

Jeff Masters

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152. 786
7:21 PM GMT on November 06, 2007
Lake, Flood thx as well. Yeah the NHC TWD mentioned that it is currently moving S.

I have experienced Nor'Easters (now that you have all been kind enough to explain its symptoms) in Canada, some pretty bad blizzards there. This is my first Nor'Easter season in the Caribbean so thankfully no snow. But very windy and constantly, its been 4 days of pure wind and gusts.
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151. Bonedog
2:23 PM EST on November 06, 2007
awww lake your getting the slush fall now :( That stuff makes a mess of everything but at least it means it should be coming to an end due to the warm air filtering in.
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
150. Orcasystems
7:15 PM GMT on November 06, 2007
I'll be darned.. worked first time
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
149. LakeShadow
7:19 PM GMT on November 06, 2007
and now the patented thick and heavy slushlike lake effect snow is falling. Chunky snow. wet... its light right now. lots of it brings branches and power lines down...its been a while old friend...
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148. Bonedog
2:19 PM EST on November 06, 2007
786 in Ottowa you probably experienced Alberta Clippers more so then a true Nor'Easter. Both will cause the same conditions though. The only diffrence is the Nor'Easter will have its COC over the Atlantic waters which adds to its fuel where as Clippers stay overland and tap atmospheric moisture more so then Atlantic moisture.
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
147. Floodman
1:17 PM CST on November 06, 2007
Orca, the avatar is cool!

786, as for the system at 42W, it's currently moving off to the SE...I'm guessing at some point in the next 12 hours or so it will start to move in a more NE direction and end up moving away pretty quickly
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
146. Bonedog
2:16 PM EST on November 06, 2007
also Nor'Easters can be slow movers where as a hurricane can last several hours sometimes, depending on steering currents, Nor'Easters can lash the same areas for several days with conditions staying the same and not abaiting
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
145. 786
7:16 PM GMT on November 06, 2007
Ahh I see, thx a lot Bonedog, I lived in Ottawa for a few years so I prob. experienced some of the snow and ice, I remember that one day it was -52 celcius with the wind chill. brrrrrrr the thought makes me cringe.
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144. LakeShadow
7:13 PM GMT on November 06, 2007
sure thing, BD!!

For the most part Nor'easters have the rainy side and the snowy side. Oftentimes there are blizzard conditions...white outs and large snowdrifts. makes it impossible to travel and most nor'easter storm deaths are traffic related or are from people freezing to death after power fails. the rain and wind damage are significant but that other componant makes it very dangerous in a very different way.
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143. Bonedog
2:10 PM EST on November 06, 2007
786 the Nor'Easters have a 3 fold destructive potential.

One: They can grow to hurricane force with sustaiined winds in the 70mph range with higher gusts and tidal surge along the coasts

Two: Hevay rains, not tropical in nature but long period sustained rains over a large area brought in by the onshore flow

Three: Heavy snowfalls in interior sections. Snowfall totals can exceed 2 feet in a large narrow band sometimes.

Ice can also be a factor along the rain snow line.

Some of the most distructive storms in New England have been and contiue to be Nor'Easters. Also spring time storms can cause widespread flood events as was seen in the April 2007 storm which dumped over a foot of rain from NJ to CT and caused 3 to 4 days of floods
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142. Orcasystems
7:14 PM GMT on November 06, 2007
Hmm lets see if this works
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
141. Floodman
1:09 PM CST on November 06, 2007
137. SamTeam 1:08 PM CST on November 06, 2007
Well I needed a good laugh today Flood & you delivered.



You're welcome! LOL
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
140. 786
6:52 PM GMT on November 06, 2007
Hello,

It has gotten significantly cooler in Cayman, and very windy. I am suprised that there have been no thunderstorms considering how warm the air was right before the front started sweeping through.

IKE I have to say (and this is all I will) that I agree with your post on the WMD's the troops are supported but are unfortunatley risking their lives for an agenda none of the American people really need, I don't see the mission bringing better health care and education to the nation, not such thing anymore of "by the people for the people"...it is def. an illusionary democracy, the g'ment is now there "to preserve democracy not to practice it".

OK OK that is it. Why is there no link in Wunderground for 92L and does anyone think the system at about 42W? could develop into anything?

Last question, Nor'easters can at most get to cat. 1 hurricane status or can they be more destructive?
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139. Bonedog
2:07 PM EST on November 06, 2007
Lake you better let me in on that blog posting it will add another dynamic to my forcast matrix.

Everyone look for a new blog from me in the coming days. I will have two possibly. One for this fridays possible Nor'Easter then one for a detailed winter forcast
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138. Floodman
1:07 PM CST on November 06, 2007

We get on average 90 inches of snow a season.


*green with envy*

I always did like the NE
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137. SamTeam
1:07 PM CST on November 06, 2007
Well I needed a good laugh today Flood & you delivered.
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136. LakeShadow
7:03 PM GMT on November 06, 2007
cool for me, bd. bad for the northeastern coast, though!
zoomiami,
We get on average 90 inches of snow a season.
alot of that is within a few realy big snowfalls with totals exceeding 24" in a three-hour to three day period. We get about 30-40 snows a year...I have a way to predict the number of snows, I'll write up an explaination on a blog in the future...stay posted.
Dirty hippo pit! LOL!
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135. Floodman
1:05 PM CST on November 06, 2007
133. SamTeam 1:04 PM CST on November 06, 2007
Who cares if the writers go on strike....y'all are much more entertaining...we're only missing Baha & Tigger!

Flood, you're quick! Thanks for the good belly laughs. I'm not sure which was better, the staleness or the witless :) :)



Thanks, Sam...anytime...I've always found that the best way to deflect willful stupidity is to laugh at it...and friends, I love to laugh
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
133. SamTeam
1:00 PM CST on November 06, 2007
Who cares if the writers go on strike....y'all are much more entertaining...we're only missing Baha & Tigger!

Flood, you're quick! Thanks for the good belly laughs. I'm not sure which was better, the staleness or the witless :) :)
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130. zoomiami
7:02 PM GMT on November 06, 2007
Lake - how much snow do you get where you live?
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129. zoomiami
6:50 PM GMT on November 06, 2007
Ah - so dirty hippo pits are what happens in off season? lol
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128. Bonedog
1:57 PM EST on November 06, 2007
Ok Lake then look for it to end tonight as the winds shift more south.
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
127. LakeShadow
6:57 PM GMT on November 06, 2007
freezing rain now...35F winds picking up gusts around 30mph out of SSW.
Link
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126. Floodman
12:57 PM CST on November 06, 2007
well when those dirty hippie pits get too smelly Lake, you can always put on some um "speed stick



Hmmm...Thai-stick might work just as well LOL
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
125. groundswell
6:54 PM GMT on November 06, 2007
weather.gov
National Weather Service

Marine Interpretation Message
SW N ATLC...

LIGHT WINDS
PREVAIL FRI AS SECONDARY LOW DEVELOPMENT TAKES PLACE WELL OFF
THE CAROLINAS/MID ATLC. MODELS DIFFER ON WHERE THIS DEVELOPMENT
TAKES PLACE HOWEVER A CONSENSUS OF THE GFS/UKMET AND CMC MODELS
SUGGESTS INTENSIFICATION IS FURTHER OFFSHORE NEAR 33N66W BY LATE
SAT WHICH WILL KEEP STRONGER N TO NW WINDS...20-25 KT AT THIS
TIME CONFINED TO THE NE PORTION OF THE AREA INTO SUN. SHOULD THE
LOW PRES SYSTEM DEVELOP FURTHER SOUTH AND BE STRONGER ALONG THE
LINES OF THE ECMWF...WE MAY BE LOOKING AT NEAR GALE FORCE NW
WINDS OVER THE FAR N PORTION OF THE AREA. THE PICTURE HOPEFULLY
BECOMES CLEARER WITH THE ARRIVAL OF LATER MODEL RUNS.

More waves to ride....
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124. Floodman
12:53 PM CST on November 06, 2007
*bows*

I'm honored, ma'am!
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
123. LakeShadow
6:51 PM GMT on November 06, 2007
No honor in getting into a battle of wits with the unarmed

ha! So true! I declare the blog quote of the day!
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122. LakeShadow
6:49 PM GMT on November 06, 2007
well when those dirty hippie pits get too smelly Lake, you can always put on some um "speed stick
LOL
potchoully, my friend... keeps the stink at bay! ..whether it be body odor, or something else thats nice and stinky :)
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121. LakeShadow
6:47 PM GMT on November 06, 2007
Depending where you are looks like Central erie and Western Genesee counties today then shift south again and take over southern erie and wyoming counties.
yeah...central Erie co. is where I am.
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120. ricderr
6:47 PM GMT on November 06, 2007
respect guy....respect...i thought that was the word of the day less than a week ago...LOL
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119. LakeShadow
6:46 PM GMT on November 06, 2007
Dirty hippie pits...you really are too cool for words...LOL
you know it!
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118. LakeShadow
6:33 PM GMT on November 06, 2007
hail/rain mix right now. good brisk windgusts from the SW around 20mph.
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116. Bonedog
1:36 PM EST on November 06, 2007
Lake as per your email the upper air soundings at 12Z show wids out of the west in the lower levels then a shift to southwest in the upper levels. Looking at the Lows track winds should stay that way till tomorrow then the will shift to the out of the N the NW again. Depending where you are looks like Central erie and Western Genesee counties today then shift south again and take over southern erie and wyoming counties.
If your off Lake Ontario looks like North of Jefferson county is the mess today then tonight it will be Tug Hill.
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
112. Floodman
12:37 PM CST on November 06, 2007
besides i like to dance in the dirty hippie pits at shows... really the kyndest folk!
:)


They really are the best folks to hang with...not too terribly judgemental, always willing to listen to opposing points of view and always willing to be helpful...
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109. Floodman
12:31 PM CST on November 06, 2007
Lake, still hailing/sleeting??
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
108. Bonedog
1:22 PM EST on November 06, 2007
yea me too. Still early in the season for me though so I should have plenty of oppertunities. Would have been good because its the first tropical / extratropical system to come this close in a while
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
107. Floodman
12:21 PM CST on November 06, 2007
I'm doing well...sorry you didn't get to run Noel like you wanted; I was looking forward to reading your exploits!
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
106. Bonedog
1:20 PM EST on November 06, 2007
good Flood and yourself
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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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