Category Archives: Flooding

# 14 IS HERE! A DELUGE IN NICARAGUA!

Some ten days ago, around September 26 or 27, a couple of disturbed weather cells formed in the southeastern Caribbean to the east of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, just as we were monitoring tropical cyclones KIRK and LESLIE in the Atlantic basin.

Satellite image (NOAA) of 27 September showing disturbed weather cells in the Caribbean including the seed for what today became Tropical Depression #14

Although relatively small, these disturbances caught my attention mainly because of their location and a surrounding favorable ocean-atmosphere environment in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the East Pacific waters off Central America. On that basis I tagged  this cells for further monitoring.

Satellite image (NOAA) of 5 October showing interacting disturbed weather systems on the east Pacific and the Caribbean causing a deluge of torrential rain over Nicaragua and other countries in the region

Sure enough, these disturbances in the Caribbean congealed into a large stormy weather cell just as a disturbance over the east Pacific also grew. The interaction of these systems generated heavy rains in Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua, and eventually over an entire region from northern Colombia to southern Mexico.

In Nicaragua’s Pacific coast region it has rained daily for the last ten days. In Managua, the capital city, and other areas they have had up to 100 mm (4″) on rain per day for the past 3 – 4 days. Widespread flooding has taken place throughout the country. Civil Defense authorities issued a Red Alert for several municipalities. In some areas the ground was so saturated that water was coming into houses from the ground up through the floor. Reports of heavy damage and at least eight dead are evidence of a potential disaster in the making. Other countries in the region, especially El Salvador and western Honduras have suffered similar impacts.

The storm system off the coast of Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico

Collaterally with the deluge over Nicaragua and devastation over the entire region, the tropical disturbance in the Caribbean has continued to grow and get better organized as it  moved generally northward near the coast of Nicaragua, Honduras, and Belize.

Satellite image (NOAA) of 7 October, taken with water-vapor filter, showing Tropical depression # 14 in the northwestern Caribbean

Today, Sunday 7 October, this system if off the coast of the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, in the Yucatan Peninsula, and has been classified as tropical depression #14 of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season. The storm is rather large, generating torrential rain over a wide region of the northwestern Caribbean, and it is showing strong cyclonic tendencies as it progresses toward the Gulf of Mexico where surface water are rather warm at around 30 Celsius.

Satellite image (NOAA) showing rather warm surface waters in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of the path of TD #14

Given these aspects and the favorable environment around and ahead of the storm, it is highly probable it could become a tropical storm within the next 12 – 24 hours, and entirely possible that it may reach hurricane strength once in the Gulf.

Projected track for Tropical depression #14 as of 7 October 2018 (Courtesy of the U.S. Navy Naval Research Laboratory)

The storm’s current projected track, which takes into account numerous factors over a wide region that will influence it, has the storm starting to turn toward the northeast once it reaches the south-central Gulf. This means Florida is within the projected track and needs to monitor this system closely starting now, especially along the central-northern Gulf coast and the Panhandle.

While the priority now is Tropical Depression #14, we also need to monitor several tropical waves and stormy cells currently moving westward along ‘hurricane alley’ and to the north of Puerto Rico. as well as others over Equatorial Africa.

Satellite image (NOAA) of 7 October showing several tropical waves and potential ‘seeds’ for potential cyclonic activity

There is plenty of hurricane season still left in 2018 in the Atlantic basin and elsewhere. Hurricane SERGIO is forecast to turn northeastward toward the Baja California peninsula for a repeat impact on Northwestern Mexico and the Southwestern USA, which were hammered with wind and torrential rain from ROSA just a few days ago.

Remain alert. Be prepared. MITIGATE!

FLORENCE AND COMPANY ARE ON THE MOVE!

Satellite image (NOAA) of the northern Atlantic basin showing plenty of tropical cyclone activity this Wednesday 12 September 2018

What a spectacle we are having as the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane season has entered its peak phase right on target, based on the historical record.  Three named tropical cyclones, FLORENCE, HELENE, and ISAAC,  plus two other potentially cyclonic systems are all active in the northern Atlantic basin this Wednesday 12 September 2018 while the tropical-wave assembly line over Equatorial Africa keeps churning new cyclonic seeds, sending them westward toward the Cape Verde Islands region and ‘Hurricane Alley’ beyond.

Satellite image (NOAA GOES) taken in visible light the afternoon of Tuesday 11 September 2018, shows a well shaped clear-eyed Hurricane FLORENCE as it moved toward mainland USA over Atlantic waters

A still strengthening Hurricane FLORENCE is the most dangerous of these systems as it continues to move toward the Carolinas and a potential landfall projected somewhere south of the Cape Hatteras region. Florence, which is already some 700 km in diameter, is slowing down as it approaches land and growing more dangerous, as it grows in size, generates more rain, and pushes a increasingly larger mound of water toward what could be record amounts of storm surge along the coastal region.

Projected track of Hurricane FLORENCE as of 12 September 2018

A massive evacuation effort from the coastal regions of South and North Carolina, as well as parts of Virginia, in underway already to protect life. Projected massive levels of storm surge, extreme rain, and  wind, will affect a large region well inland of the coastline from Georgia to New Jersey and points beyond. The potential for damage to property and infrastructure, and risk to human life and the environment is quite large as this dangerous storm comes over land this week.

Projected rainfall from Hurricane FLORENCE over the next few days illustrates the potential for extreme rain, and potential flooding

HELENE, a weakening hurricane is making a turn toward the north and eventually the northeast over open waters posing no risk to land. An also weakening Tropical Storm ISAAC continues to move toward the Windward Islands and the Caribbean where it may generate heavy rains and possible flooding. Isaac warrants close monitoring as it enters the warn waters and favorable Caribbean environment.

The disturbed weather system over the southern Gulf of Mexico, just off the Yucatan peninsula is generating heavy rain and thunderstorms over a vast region from Northern Nicaragua and the Gulf of Honduras to the central Gulf of Mexico. All interests around the Gulf need to monitor this one closely for potential further development in the next day or so.

With so much current cyclonic activity over the entire north Atlantic basin, and plenty of fuel for additional cyclonic activity coming from weather systems and tropical waves over Equatorial Africa we must all remain alert. Be prepared. MITIGATE!