Tag Archives: Caribbean

# 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!

In the aftermath of Harvey the tropical north Atlantic is agitated!

A bit more than two weeks ago one more tropical wave emerged from equatorial Africa over the waters of the eastern Atlantic, south of the Cape Verde Islands. By August 18th if was morphing into a tropical storm over the eastern Caribbean aiming for the area of Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, Eventually it made landfall and traversed the Yucatan to then emerge over the Bay of Campeche in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico where it reorganized, gained strength and became Hurricane HARVEY!

While we were commemorating the 25th anniversary of Cat 5 Hurricane ANDREW (1992), and remembering all the devastation and lessons learned, HARVEY continued to strengthen as it approached the Texas coastline and a vast region of very warm surface waters in the northern Gulf. We all know what happened next, Harvey intensified rapidly near the coast reaching category 4 strength as it made its second landfall. We all know the rest of the story, in fact we are all watching the story develop as Harvey is pouring a veritable deluge, one for the record books, over a vast region of Texas.

Keeping an eye of Harvey should not detract us from also looking at the rest of the Atlantic basin, which is quite agitated on this Sunday 27 August 2017. The tropical wave that was in the eastern Gulf near Florida, has caused abundant rain over central and southern Florida while traversing the state and emerging over the Atlantic where it is now off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina, getting organized and looking poised for possible cyclonic development.

Infrared GOES satellite view of 27 August 2017 showing Harvey over Texas, and a few tropical waves and other potential future tropical cyclones over the northern Atlantic basin

Beyond this potential new threat of cyclonic impact to our coastline, we see yet another tropical wave over the eastern Gulf, and a few more from the neighborhood of Puerto Rico to the eastern Atlantic near the Cape Verde Islands. In fact that still far away tropical wave off the African coast is already showing some cyclonic tendencies that warrant close monitoring in coming days.

So, the entire Atlantic basin appears agitated and populated by ‘seeds’ for potential cyclogenesis in coming days, just as we approach what historically has been the peak of the annual Atlantic hurricane season. Food for thought. All interest in the Caribbean, Gulf, Florida and the Atlantic seaboard of the U.S. must remain alert. Be prepared. MITIGATE!