Tag Archives: Caribbean sea

June 12, 2015: It is Carlos, the Caribbean, the Gulf, and floods in Nicaragua!

There is plenty of disturbed weather near our neck-of-the woods here if our Florida paradise!

Infrared GOEST-EAST satellie [NOAA] image of 12 June showing Tropical Storm CARLOS almost stationary and strengthening to the southwest of Acapulco, Mexico
Infrared GOEST-EAST satellite [NOAA] image of 12 June showing Tropical Storm CARLOS almost stationary and strengthening to the southwest of Acapulco, Mexico

Today, Friday 12 June 2015, marks the first four weeks of the ‘official’ 2015 East Pacific Hurricane Season, which is off to a fast start with three named storm already. The latest of these storms, Tropical Storm CARLOS is almost stationary some 200 kilometers southwest of Acapulco, Mexico over an area of warm surface waters and a favorable ocean-atmosphere environment that may  lead to further strengthening of this tropical cyclone.

Tropical storm CARLOS tracks as of 12 June [courtesy of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory]
Tropical storm CARLOS tracks as of 12 June [courtesy of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory]

Opposite T.S. Carlos off the eastern coast of the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico  on the Yucatan peninsula, there is an area of low pressure and an active cell of stormy weather over the northwestern Caribbean.

Infrared GOEST-EAST Satellite image [NOAA} showing various weather disturbances over the Gulf of Mexico, the northwestern Caribbean, the offshore Pacific waters off Central America, and northern South America, and 'Hurricane alley'
Infrared GOEST-EAST Satellite image [NOAA} showing various weather disturbances over the Gulf of Mexico, the northwestern Caribbean, the offshore Pacific waters off Central America, and northern South America, and ‘Hurricane alley’

Just to the north of that disturbance, over the central Gulf of Mexico, there is a large ‘glob’ of stormy weather that is already generating copious rain over a wide area.

Looking south, over Central America, the off-shore waters of the Eastern Pacific, the central Caribbean, and the northern regions of South America over Colombia, Venezuela and Guyana, there are plenty of systems that have prevailed for some time now, fueling rainy and stormy weather over a large area.

The aggregation of all of these elements of weather has already  had adverse consequences over the region extending from central/southern Mexico, through Central America and Panama, to northern South America.

This prevailing and current weather pattern over this region [Caribbean and Gulf activity], which is really a continuation, a repeat if you will, of what we have seen in recent years and most especially in 2014 when the East Pacific hurricane season generated  20 named tropical cyclones, surpassing the 18 generated in 2013, has had particularly damaging consequences in Nicaragua where extreme rain events over most of the country including over Managua, the capital city, where more than 200 mm of rain fell there yesterday over a period of 6 hours, leading to numerous instances of flash floods, some death by drowning, and extensive damage to homes and infrastructure. Emergency management authorities have declared an emergency  and have evacuated hundreds of families in Managua and in other communities.

Photo showing flood waters rushing down a causeway in Managua, Nicaragua after 200 mm of rain fell in less than six hours between 11 and 12 June 2015
Photo showing flood waters rushing down a causeway in Managua, Nicaragua after 200 mm of rain fell in less than six hours between 11 and 12 June 2015

There is no question, but that all interests in the region will need to watch unfolding events closely,  but as El Niño continues to develop off the Pacific coast of Peru and Ecuador prevailing wind currents are causing tropical waves along ‘Hurricane Alley’ to traverse over northern South America and Panama into the Eastern Pacific where they are fueling the kinds of disturbed weather we have seen over the past few weeks, and potentially future cyclonic activity as well.

It is clear that there may be plenty of  this kind of activity in the  northern tropics over coming months, consequently all interests in Nicaragua, or Mexico, or in the rest of Central America, and in the Caribbean and especially here in Florida must remain alert, be prepared and continue to mitigate!

ATLANTIC vs PACIFIC 2014

Today is Thursday the 21st day of August 2014 and out there at the western end of ‘Hurricane Alley,’ NOAA’s National Hurricane Center [NHC] continues to monitor an elongated array of  storms that is showing signs of getting better organized, and a medium potential for cyclonic development as it moves NNW toward the Caribbean Sea.

Satellite image [NOAA} for the aviation industry shows the cell of disturbed weather being monitored by the NHC as it moved toward the Caribbean late on 20 August 2014
Satellite image [NOAA} for the aviation industry shows the cell of disturbed weather being monitored by the NHC as it moved toward the Caribbean late on 20 August 2014

It’s been a slow season so far in the Atlantic basin. More than two and a half months into the 2014 season, which officially started on 1 June, we have had  only two-named tropical cyclones in the basin, Arthur (1 July) and Bertha (31 July). The system we are now monitoring could become the third-named tropical cyclone of the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane season, Cristobal, should development continue as it moves into the warmer waters of the Caribbean.

Satellite image [NOAA] of 20 August 2014 showing the eastern half of 'Hurricane Alley' and Equatorial Africa
Satellite image [NOAA] of 20 August 2014 showing the eastern half of ‘Hurricane Alley’ and Equatorial Africa

Farther to the east near the Cape Verde Islands and over Equatorial Africa the ‘tropical wave assembly line’ has slowed down somewhat in recent days so we do not see much traffic feeding into ‘hurricane alley, off the coast of Africa, at least for the next couple of days.

Composite mosaic of satellite images using the water vapor filter showing the 'belt of tropical activity' connecting the Eastern Pacific with the Western Pacific on 21 August 2014
Composite mosaic of satellite images using the water vapor filter showing the ‘belt of tropical activity’ connecting the Eastern Pacific with the Western Pacific on 21 August 2014

Over in the Pacific ocean  it has been a totally different story, specially over the Eastern Pacific where we have basically had one tropical cyclone per week since Amanda generated on 21 May barely one week into the 2014 season that officially started  on 15 May. Currently two tropical storms, number 11 Karina and Lowell the 12th of the season, are moving off the coast of Mexico. At the same time the region from the Gulf of Panama to the waters off southern Mexico, which has been a veritable tropical cyclone nursery, continues to be populated by numerous tropical waves, cells of disturbed weather and plenty of rain and thunderstorms.

Satellite image [NOAA] of 21 August 2014 showing Tropical storm KARINA and tropical storm LOWELL as they move off the coast of Mexico over the East Pacific basin
Satellite image [NOAA] of 21 August 2014 showing Tropical storm KARINA and tropical storm LOWELL as they move off the coast of Mexico over the East Pacific basin

This northern hemisphere East Pacific basin continues to be connected via a ‘belt of tropical activity’  with the West Pacific basin over the Philippines Sea and beyond, more than 15,000 kilometers from the coasts of Central America to the Philippines, where we have seen a total of twelve-named tropical cyclones including a couple of super-typhoons since Lingling spawned in mid January 2014 to the birth of tropical cyclones Nakri generated a couple of weeks ago on 4 August.

The 2014 Atlantic season is entering its historical peak, which takes place in September, as it reaches toward its mid-point at the end of August. The East Pacific basin just passed it mid-point mark last week, and it is ahead by a count of 12 to 2 versus the Atlantic basin in terms of the number of tropical cyclones generated so far in 2014.

But this is not about keeping score, for in the end what really counts is how much damage and human suffering these natural phenomena we know as tropical cyclones may cause. In this regard it is critically important to keep in mind that all it takes is just one hit on a populated coastal region, and we may see plenty of damage.

So we must all pay attention, remain alert, be prepared and always engage in the practice of mitigation!