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Honduras, Yemen struggle to recover from tropical cyclones; tropics remain quiet

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 1:51 PM GMT on October 29, 2008

Rains have increased in northern Honduras over the past day, with 1-2 inches falling. Additional sporadic heavy rains of 1-2 inches per day are likely over the northern portion of the country through Saturday, as the tail end of a strong cold front interacts with the tropical moisture of the Caribbean. Tropical storm development is not likely in this area due to high wind shear.

The UKMET, NOGAPS, and ECMWF have all been pointing to the possible development of a tropical depression in the south central Caribbean Sea 6-7 days from now, off the coast of Nicaragua. I give a 40% chance that we will see a tropical depression form in the Caribbean 5-10 days from now--the upper level environment looks conducive for tropical cyclone development next week. A tropical wave, currently about 500 miles east of the Lesser Antilles Islands, is under high wind shear and is not a threat to develop.

Honduras struggles to recover from October floods
The situation in Honduras continues to be bad, due to ten days of heavy rains earlier this month from Tropical Depression 16 and a tropical disturbance. The flooding has left 33 dead, 16 missing, 40,000 homeless, and at least $150 million in damage in this impoverished nation of seven million people. The heavy rains this month have also killed seven in Costa Rica, five in Belize, six in Guatemala, four in Nicaragua, and four in El Salvador, for a total of 75 dead or missing.

Figure 1. Total rainfall from Tropical Cyclone 03B. Image credit: NASA TRMM.

Yemen cleans up after Cyclone 03B
In the Middle East, the nation of Yemen continues to recover from Cyclone 03B, which moved ashore October 23 as a tropical depression. Cyclone 03B dumped up to eight inches of rain (Figure 1) on the desert nation, which typically receives only a few inches of rain per year. The deluge from Cyclone 03B created destructive flooding that resulted in at least 180 deaths. The depression had an unusual amount of electrical activity, and nine deaths were due to lightning strikes. The Yemen cyclone is the fourth deadliest tropical cyclone of 2008. The three deadliest were Cyclone Nargis, which killed at least 146,000 people in Myanmar in May; Typhoon Fengshen, which capsized a ferry and killed approximately 1400 people in the Philippines June 19-21; and Hurricane Hanna, which killed 537 people, mostly on Haiti.

October summary of portlight.org Hurricane Ike relief efforts
Beginning balance on October 1, 2008: $11,000
Donations received: $3,800
Total available: $14,900

Icepilot: $365 (fuel)

Software: $385 (Windows software to better facilitate communication with donors)

Scholarship: $950 to a wheelchair-bound Galveston college student who lost her job at a hotel in Galveston due to the destruction. The scholarship enabled her to finish the semester, which she otherwise would not have been able to do.

Last week's trip: $,(fuel, insurance, crew meals, and lodging enroute (they stayed with and were fed by EmmyRose while there), pizza and drinks for the Saturday meal on the Bolivar Peninsula. This mission delivered over $200,000 in donated supplies.

Supplies: $2,200 (this includes some last minute materials which had been requested but which we couldn't get donated, as well as all the supplies needed to repatriate BillyBadBird to his home place on the Bolivar Peninsula).

Ramps: $1,750 (building materials for reconstruction of ramps at over a dozen disability service organizations)

Salary for Stormjunkie: $1,800. He has put in four 60 hour weeks on this project, plus made two trips to the area. This project couldn't have been done without his hard work.

Total spent in October: $11,350

Remaining balance: $3,550

Escrow: beginning balance: $8,950
Expenditures: $1,500 Legal fees
Remaining funds: $7,450

Support the Portlight Christmas for Gulf Coast Kids Honor Walk
Portlight is sponsoring a new nationwide grassroots event to raise funds for and awareness of their ongoing efforts, specifically to provide Christmas presents (and maybe a big party) for kids and families in devastated Gulf coast areas. Paul Timmons (Presslord) of Portlight has pulled out all the stops in an effort to promote this effort, to the point of posing in woman's clothing. I am supposed to threaten to leave up this truly frightening photo until y'all cough up enough donations to give the people of the hurricane zone a proper Christmas.

Alternatively, committing to a monthly donation--no matter how large or small--will help them build a dependable revenue source, enabling continued operations in the most efficient and effective manner possible. 

I'll have an update Friday (or Thursday, if there's a major development to report). Happy Halloween!

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.