Major flooding disaster in Central America possible; severe weather outbreak today

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:08 PM GMT on May 29, 2008

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Tropical Depression 1-E, in the Eastern Pacific off the coast of Costa Rica, is steadily organizing and appears likely to develop into Tropical Storm Alma later today or tomorrow. Satellite loops show that the low has developed a very large and expanding circulation. This circulation is likely to expand across Central America into the Western Caribbean, allowing the storm to tap moisture from the Atlantic and Pacific. Storms that are able to tap the moisture sources of both oceans can be extremely dangerous rainmakers, even if they are weak tropical depressions. Already, TD 1-E is generating very heavy rains in excess of six inches per day near its center. So far, satellite estimates of rainfall (Figure 1) indicate that 3-6 inches of rain has fallen over portions of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and rainfall will continue to increase in these nations through Saturday. All of Central America is at risk of flash flooding that will create dangerous mud slides over the next three days, and TD 1-E has the potential to be a major disaster for Central America. Nicaragua, in particular, is at high risk of experiencing flash flooding and mud slides capable of causing heavy loss of life, due to its high mountainous terrain that will receive rains up to 20 inches.

Since TD 1-E now dominates the circulation pattern of the region, none of the computer models are predicting that a tropical depression will form in the Western Caribbean in the coming week. It is possible that TD 1-E could cross Central America and pop out in the Western Caribbean near the Yucatan Peninsula, or in the Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche. However, the crossing of Central America will severely disrupt the storm, and the odds of the storm becoming a depression in the Atlantic basin are low. I am not expecting moisture from the storm to reach the U.S., although I expect Jamaica and western Cuba will get heavy downpours from the system over the next three days.


Figure 2. Observed precipitation for the 24 hours ending at 06Z (2am EDT) Thursday May 29, 2008. Rainfall amounts in excess of 150mm (six inches, green colors) occurred near the coast of Costa Rica. Image credit: U.S. Navy Monterey.

Major severe weather outbreak today in the Plains
The Storm Prediction Center is calling for a "High" risk of severe weather across Iowa and Nebraska this afternoon--the highest level of severe weather alert. Expect another significant tornado outbreak today in the Plains. The Weather Underground Severe Weather page and Tornado page are good places to go to follow the severe weather. Also, tune in to the chase accounts and awesome storm photos from Wunderblogger Mike Theiss. Mike is in Tornado Alley this week, performing his annual chase efforts.

I'll have an update Friday morning, or tonight if there's major tornado action to talk about.

Jeff Masters

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345. cybergrump
5:55 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
We sure do have a spin on the Jamaican Blob....
Member Since: September 17, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 434
344. kingy
5:20 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
cchsweatherman 5:09 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
Thanks for the complement, but I have to disagree. It may appear that I know much about weather, but the reason for that appearance is due to my easy-to-understand explanations. Yes, I have been studying weather for about eight years now through reading university papers, published books, and these blogs, but what I think impresses you, Ivansrvivr, about me is that I can digest that information and explain it in such a way that makes a complex thing simple.

I agree CCHS, your gift is in the way you communicate even the jargon clearly.... in a way the less experienced can understand. Having said that, your knowledge also gives you the status of a senior forecaster, so you have the knowledge AND the communication ability. Most specialists (in whatever profession, law, medicine, realty...you name it) use so much jargon that they alienate the average reader.
The science of weather is now preaching to a wider audience than ever, yet most forecasters either over simplify things or over complicate things.
CCHS, if you can keep your communicative style and keep things well pitched, you will have a great future in this field.
343. 7544
5:13 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
HI QUESTION IF THE JAMICA BLOB does form will it also go north thanks
Member Since: May 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6874
342. cchsweatherman
5:09 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
333. Ivansrvivr 5:05 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
Stormkat, CC knows more about weather than alot of the rest of us combined. He knows more about weather than Channel 12wpec crew combined too.


Thanks for the complement, but I have to disagree. It may appear that I know much about weather, but the reason for that appearance is due to my easy-to-understand explanations. Yes, I have been studying weather for about eight years now through reading university papers, published books, and these blogs, but what I think impresses you, Ivansrvivr, about me is that I can digest that information and explain it in such a way that makes a complex thing simple.

Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
341. Ivansrvivr
5:08 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
335, CC cant see you anymore so leave it alone please.
I am out of here. buy 1 get 1 free troll chum sale on. gotta go stock up!
340. TheCaneWhisperer
5:08 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
Just remember the Western Caribb is in the NHC cone of doom.
339. DebrisRemoval
5:07 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
I stay quiet and just read. I have had StormKat blocked since last year. Now I remember why.
338. IpswichWeatherCenter
5:06 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
NEW BLOG!
Member Since: April 27, 2008 Posts: 29 Comments: 2097
337. Michfan
5:06 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
Great view 456. You can clearly see a mid level rotation in the Jamaica blob with that.
Member Since: September 7, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1747
336. franck
5:06 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
Disturbed weather near Jamaica appears to be advection associated with Alma. Alma also appears falling under influence of land interaction.
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1150
335. stormkat
5:05 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
cch i was talking about the llc s of jamaica...i didnt say anything about i didnt care for the people of nicaraugua....so i think you should chill out..i think you owe me and apology here....stormkat
Member Since: May 9, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 335
334. Michfan
5:05 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
LOL Press
Member Since: September 7, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1747
333. Ivansrvivr
5:05 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
Stormkat, CC knows more about weather than alot of the rest of us combined. He knows more about weather than Channel 12wpec crew combined too.
332. scottsvb
5:05 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
OK peeps lets talk weather and not try to gang up 1 on person.
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1723
331. groundswell
5:04 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
The blob south of Jamaica has evolved into phase 2-a dangling cycloparticiple...phase 3 is an invest, so get ready for Alma's cousin.
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 381
330. presslord
5:03 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
"...I have observed the words "you", "were", and "wrong" put together..."

tomorrow is my 20th wedding anniversary...you just described the last two decades of my life.....
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
329. IpswichWeatherCenter
5:03 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
325.
9s are fun (=

Anyway... How long till Advisory 4a?
Member Since: April 27, 2008 Posts: 29 Comments: 2097
328. cchsweatherman
5:03 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
319. stormkat 4:58 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
cch you havent been reading my posts...i said they were in for copious amounts of rain and mudslides....what else do you want me to say...dont get mad at me because you were wrong in this being a hurricane...the reason the storm moved to the ne was a strong weakness in the ridge if you wanted to know....stormkat


Read this post where I admit that it won't become a hurricane now.

250. cchsweatherman 4:24 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
Don't know if anyone has noticed this, but it appears that Alma has started to race northeastward over the past hour. Maybe it won't reach hurricane status if it continues this movement, which may or may not be a wobble in the track. Nonetheless, I must agree with Bamatracker; I hope that everyone has prepared and BEEN PROPERLY WARNED by their local officials about this potential natural disaster in the making.


Now, to explain why I got mad, when lives are on the line, nobody should ever say that its "nothin to worry about". Im sure you wouldn't be saying that if you were in their shoes. Can't believe that you made that insensible comment.

By the way, just wanted to know. Why do you sign your name after each comment? We can all see who its from.



Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
327. IpswichWeatherCenter
5:02 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
319. stormkat 4:58 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
cch you havent been reading my posts...i said they were in for copious amounts of rain and mudslides....what else do you want me to say...dont get mad at me because you were wrong in this being a hurricane...the reason the storm moved to the ne was a strong weakness in the ridge if you wanted to know....stormkat


*laughs*

He was No way Wrong and too be honest I think that you are well out of order.

If i was god I would have invented the world so it only rained over crops! or the sea or Resevoirs!
Member Since: April 27, 2008 Posts: 29 Comments: 2097
326. Cavin Rawlins
5:02 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
Here's another loop of the NW Caribbean with Alma and the Jamaica "blob" on both ends...the view is sort of skewed so it looks somehat 3D in nature.

http://www.goes.noaa.gov/GSSLOOPS/se4vs.html
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
325. Ivansrvivr
5:02 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
320, just ban them for 0 and it is permanent. unless you enjoyed the 9s
324. FLWeatherFreak91
5:02 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
It really makes no difference where Alma makes landfall bc it will ride up the coast awhile bringing equal conditions to many places.
Member Since: December 1, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 3634
323. Ivansrvivr
5:01 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
Stormkat, often I have observed the words "you", "were", and "wrong" put together on the blog and it led to nothing but problems. Just some friendly advice.
322. Michfan
5:00 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
319. stormkat 11:58 AM CDT on May 29, 2008 Hide this comment.

the reason the storm moved to the ne was a strong weakness in the ridge if you wanted to know....stormkat


He actually had already determined that himself earlier.
Member Since: September 7, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1747
321. IpswichWeatherCenter
4:59 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
Come on Alma... Go west!
Member Since: April 27, 2008 Posts: 29 Comments: 2097
320. IpswichWeatherCenter
4:58 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
Its so nice to have banned Stormkat for 99999999 hours off my blog (=
Member Since: April 27, 2008 Posts: 29 Comments: 2097
319. stormkat
4:58 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
cch you havent been reading my posts...i said they were in for copious amounts of rain and mudslides....what else do you want me to say...dont get mad at me because you were wrong in this being a hurricane...the reason the storm moved to the ne was a strong weakness in the ridge if you wanted to know....stormkat
Member Since: May 9, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 335
318. Michfan
4:58 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
Latest visible shows that its right on the cusp of making landfall.
Member Since: September 7, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1747
317. kmanislander
4:57 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
brushing the coast but not there yet
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
316. Ivansrvivr
4:57 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
I call it the "easy button" and I have an easy time using it when necessary.
315. Cavin Rawlins
4:56 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
It appears to me Alma is right along the coast.

Authorities issued hurricane warnings for the coasts of Nicaragua and Honduras. Heavy rains caused flooding in Managua.

Costa Rican authorities evacuated low-lying areas and set up more than 160 storm shelters after Alma dumped rain over the country for 24 hours. A few highways were blocked by landslides.


http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5g7SrJEtIusy1CL9hZksX8nIEbRIAD90VDM0O5
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
314. cchsweatherman
4:56 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
307. Michfan 4:54 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
CC don't feed into it. Just ignore it.


That word just reminded me. Thus far, I have never used the "Ignore User" function, but I will be using it on stormkat.

Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
313. presslord
4:56 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
Michfan "Just ignore it."

Yup...it's the little button at the bottom....
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
312. FLWeatherFreak91
4:55 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
Ok Ipswich.... we got it.
Member Since: December 1, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 3634
311. smmcdavid
4:55 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
Maybe the admins should set up a way for a majority of the bloggers to vote someone out...? Has this been brought up before?
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 31 Comments: 2309
310. IpswichWeatherCenter
4:55 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
LANDFALL!

ALMA'S EYE HAS MADE LAND!

ALMA'S EYE HAS MADE LAND!

WE HAVE A LANDFALL
Member Since: April 27, 2008 Posts: 29 Comments: 2097
309. kmanislander
4:54 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
Out until later. Alma looks as if it will come ashore by late afternoon/ early evening. What happens after that opens up a new dialogue.

CU all later

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
308. NoNamePub
4:54 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
cchs....relax - not what he meant!
Member Since: July 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 530
307. Michfan
4:54 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
CC don't feed into it. Just ignore it.
Member Since: September 7, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1747
306. cchsweatherman
4:53 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
299. stormkat 4:50 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
j fla i agree it does have an uppper circulation but thats common its has to get down to the surface and the hostile conditions are not going to let it....it will cause some rain nothing to worry about unless it persists for 4 days and the shear slackens....stormkat


You try telling that to the people in Central America who are about to lose their homes, their lifestyle, and even their lives from this torrential rainfall you ignorant person. HOW DARE YOU SAY ITS NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT!!!

Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
305. presslord
4:53 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
AP - May29,2008

Costa Rican authorities evacuated low-lying areas and set up more than 160 storm shelters after Alma dumped rain over the country for 24 hours. A few highways were blocked by landslides
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
304. MasterForecaster
4:52 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
Hey everyone!

I've been selling yearbooks all day so I haven't been able to keep up with whats going on...any one care to give me the update? I see we finally have Alma and damn is she FINE.
303. IpswichWeatherCenter
4:52 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
299.

I would say it has a Mid and High Circulation...

I mean it could be that the circulation is tilted to created a Mid/High Circulation.
Member Since: April 27, 2008 Posts: 29 Comments: 2097
302. Ivansrvivr
4:52 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
The ULL has moved westward into GOM, has been northwest of convection for entire lifespan. That is mid-level circ in Caribbean and topography of Belize/Honduras with 90 degree turn promotes cyclonic turning of wind due to seabreeze interaction. that makes it very easy for mid and upper level systems to make it to the surface in the W Caribbean before tradewinds take over and after tradewinds die out (basically June and October)
301. tillou
4:51 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
Jamaican blob as been persistent for the past 12+ hours.

Be intrasting to see what happens with it. Especially if Alma dies off.
Member Since: August 19, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 198
300. Michfan
4:50 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
291 sometimes that does happen and it was something that the models were predicting this week. If the stronger of the two circulations begins to weaken rapidly then the 2nd circulation could strengthen, therefore tapping into the leftover energy from the 1st. Its always a possibility. We just have to continue to see how quickly Alma weakens. She makes or breaks anything else happening atm.
Member Since: September 7, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1747
299. stormkat
4:50 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
j fla i agree it does have an uppper circulation but thats common its has to get down to the surface and the hostile conditions are not going to let it....it will cause some rain nothing to worry about unless it persists for 4 days and the shear slackens....stormkat
Member Since: May 9, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 335
298. FLWeatherFreak91
4:50 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
The Caribbean is RIPE right now- we have to start watching very closely especially after Alma discontinues it effect on the area.
Member Since: December 1, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 3634
297. NoNamePub
4:49 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
Knots to MPH 1.16
Member Since: July 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 530
296. Cavin Rawlins
4:49 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
250. cchsweatherman 12:24 PM AST on May 29, 2008
Don't know if anyone has noticed this, but it appears that Alma has started to race northeastward over the past hour. Maybe it won't reach hurricane status if it continues this movement, which may or may not be a wobble in the track. Nonetheless, I must agree with Bamatracker; I hope that everyone has prepared and BEEN PROPERLY WARNED by their local officials aout this potential natural disaster in the making.

This is why Alma has the potential to be a dangerous system:

History has also taught us, that despite our efforts throughout time, there are still inadequacies in preparation and response to hurricanes, and a great example would be the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Despite the National Hurricane center’s efforts to get the word out there, there are still communities across the Caribbean that lack this information and this manifested in 2005 with Hurricane Stan and 2007 along the Mosquito Coast with Hurricane Felix. Furthermore, impoverish nations such as Haiti; still suffer large losses in life till this day. Most recently, Hurricane Noel of last year and Hurricane Jeanne in 2004 caused great loss in life. There should be some system in place in these nations to better get the word out to isolated communities. However, due to a lack of finance, these nations may continue to suffer the brunt of these storms.

Source:
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076

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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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