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Arthur claims the season's first victims

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 12:28 AM GMT on June 03, 2008

Reports coming in from Belize indicate that Tropical Storm Arthur hit that country hard. Rainfall totals of about six inches were measured at the airport, and up to 11 inches in the Corozal Town area. The resulting flooding has claimed the first lives of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season--at least four people are confirmed dead, and another two are missing. Arthur's rains forced some rivers higher than was observed during devastating Hurricane Mitch of 1998. According to one government official, "We have been accustomed to flooding but no one expected a flood of this magnitude. Certainly we had no warning because these floods are beyond anything we have experienced in the last thirty to forty years and so that is one of the quirks of nature." If the minister quoted is correct, Arthur's flooding is the worst since Category 4 Hurricane Hattie hit the country in 1961, killing at least 275 people.

Figure 1. Upper left: An aerial view of the flooding in Dangriga Town. Upper right: Section of the Hummingbird Highway near Middlesex Village in Southern Belize washed away, making the roadway impassable.
Lower left: Kendall Bridge, Southern Belize, Washed Away by Flooding Waters. Lower right: Flooding in Sarawee Village, Southern Belize has left many homes under water. Image credit: Belize National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO).

The heavy rains from Arthur ended at about 10am EDT Monday June 2. One resident of Ambergris Caye wrote me to say she thought a supercell thunderstorm hit her island at 4:30am June 2, during the height of the rain. She heard the roar one hears from a tornado, she thought. Given the prodigious amount of rain that fell from the very intense thunderstorms over Belize at that time, I wouldn't be surprised if a supercell thunderstorm with a tornado did hit the island.

There has been no heavy rain over Belize for the 24 hours since Monday morning, but additional rains of 1-2 inches could fall over the next day or so, in association with the remains of Arthur.

Satellite estimated rainfall for the 24 hours ending at 8am EDT 6/02/08. The red bullseye marks where up to 11 inches of rain fell in just 24 hours, triggering serious flooding. Image credit: Navy Research Lab, Monterey.

Jeff Masters

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

wow,if the bloggers here are any indication,the US birthrate is doing just fine thank you!!!

100% Agree...

Were getting to the time of the Durnal max and convection is building.. Wait 12 hours for Min.. If it doesnt look like much now wiat till 11PM-2 AM this morning.
Its not a very impressive wave and don't expect it to do much,but it has a nice swirl.
Checkout the video below.

Lets hope this doesent happen again.
National Hurricane Center - Miami, Florida
Tropical Cyclone Outlook (East Pacific)
18:00 UTC June 3 2008

A small area of low pressure is centered near the pacific coast of extreme southeastern Mexico near the Gulf of Tehuantepec. Due to its proximity to land, further development of this system appears less likely.

Regardless of any more development, locally heavy rains are expected to continue over portions of Guatamala and southeastern Mexico. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides..especially in mountainous terrain.

Tropical Cyclone Development Potential
LOW (<25%)
only thing i notice is all the dry air in atlantic is disappearing fast may see something soon
seen that before but I thought it read gusts up to 200 MPH the one I saw.
I havnt read back, but since we are talking about kids. I got to hear the heart beat for the first time today.
OMG please stop talking about babies. Unless they are baby canes. and I'm not talking about future miami U students either
Ok, back and catching up. My wonderful wife has given me two beautiful boys, ages 10 and 3 months! The swirl in the central atlantic is interesting. I like how we can call it a swirl straight off instead of a blob! I agree that we'll have to see how the convection does tonight. This just adds to the fact I think this is going to be a wild year.
Wow that's a lot of moisture still pouring into southern Mexico. I hate to think about the stories we might hear about tomorrow if it keeps raining over that same area all night. They have effectively had 3 weak rain producing tropical systems for days now, not good considering the terrain there.
514. 786
Yay back to weather blogging as oppose to discussing Stormkats multiple personality disorder.

Congrats to all the births (in the midst of all the deaths that have been on the news) I am conjuring up the courage to conceive but it sounds tough to say the least - scary but not pain no gain I guess. I will be taking opiates during.

This season is starting off very interesting indeed, there are 3 waves showing in the Atlantic, they will however all have to contend with the high amounts of shear between the Lesser Antilles and Caribbean which is where their best chance of development usually is.
Sea breeze a little more active today, yay! TS's boofin' up nicely.