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Fernand's Rains Kill 13 in Mexico

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 1:51 PM GMT on August 27, 2013

Tropical Storm Fernand's life as a tropical storm was brief, lasting just 15 hours at tropical storm strength on Sunday evening and Monday morning. But heavy rains from Fernand have caused the greatest death toll from a 2013 Atlantic named storm yet: thirteen people. The victims all died in in flash floods in Mexico's mountainous terrain west of Veracruz, due to landslides that came down upon houses. Fernand hit Veracruz at 12:45 am EDT Monday morning as a tropical storm with 50 mph winds, and dissipated on Monday evening. The other deaths from this year's named storms include three people killed from floods due to Tropical Storm Barry (two in Mexico and one in El Salvador), and one person killed (in the Dominican Republic) due to flooding rains from Tropical Storm Chantal.

Figure 1. Twenty four-hour rainfall amounts over Mexico ending at 8 am Monday August 26, 2013. Tropical Fernand dumped more than 150 mm (5.90") over a few isolated regions. Image credit: Conagua.

Figure 2. A man is seen outside his home, flooded by the heavy rains of tropical storm Fernand in the city of Veracruz, Veracruz State, on August 26, 2013. Mudslides crashed through several homes in eastern Mexico on Monday, killing at least 13 people. Photo credit: KORAL CARBALLO/AFP/Getty Images.

A tropical wave off the coast of Africa with potential to develop
A tropical wave that came off the coast of Africa on Sunday is located about 300 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. This disturbance is moving westward at about 15 mph, has a modest amount of spin, but is relatively thin on heavy thunderstorm activity. It has not yet earned status as an area of interest ("Invest") by NHC, but they are giving the wave a 30% chance of developing by Sunday. WInd shear is a moderate 10 - 20 knots over the disturbance, but there is an area of dry air and dust from the Saharan Air Layer (SAL) to the north that will likely interfere with development. On Wednesday, the wave will begin encountering upward-moving air from a Convectively-Coupled Kelvin Wave (CCKW) that is moving eastwards across the Atlantic at 25 - 35 mph, which may aid development. The UKMET, ECMWF, and NAVGEM model all show some support for this disturbance developing in the next 4 - 7 days, and the wave could spread heavy rains and gusty winds to the northern Lesser Antilles Islands as early as Sunday. There will be a trough of low pressure off the U.S. East Coast at the end of the week that will be capable of causing the wave to recurve and miss the Lesser Antilles, but if the disturbance stays relatively weak, it could stay on a more southerly track and impact the islands.

A tropical wave expected to emerge from the coast of Africa on Friday and track over the Cape Verde Islands is developed by the GFS and NAVGEM models. This wave would appear to have a high chance of recurvature, though, according to the latest run of the GFS model.

Jeff Masters


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