Tag Archives: Colombia

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!

The Eastern North Pacific: It is boiling out there!

The Sun above will soon reach the limit of the northern tropics marking the advent of summer 2012 in the northern hemisphere, and the ocean-atmosphere below are already showing the results of all the additional solar energy being absorbed by way of large areas of disturbed weather, storms, increased rain, warmer sea surface waters, and other signs that the heat exchange process is actively underway.

Three ocean basins in particular, have been showing increased signs of weather instability as we approach the change in seasons, the central/northeastern Indian Ocean, the Northwestern Pacific, and of more interest to us in Florida because of its proximity: the Easter North Pacific basin.

In a pattern that has become prevalent over the past 2-3 years, the region ranging from northern South America, mainly Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador to Panama, Central America, Southern Mexico and a vast expanse of the eastern Pacific Ocean adjacent to these coastlines, has seen a nearly continuous transit of tropical waves coming in from the Atlantic, and the generation of tropical waves and cells of disturbed weather over Pacific Ocean waters offshore Central America and southern Mexico. In 2012 this pattern of tropical activity became noticeable toward the end of March and even more so in April and May, and it has already generated tropical storm Aletta that was active from 14 May through the 19th, and major hurricane Cat. 3 Bud from 21 May through the 26th of the  same month.

Satellite image of 26 May 2012 showing some of the tropical activity that has been prevalent in the Eastern North Pacific sub-basin over the past couple of months and for the last 3+ years around this time of the year
Another satellite image of the same region shown on the image to the left except 17 days later on 11 June 2012 showing a couple of tropical waves with potential for further development

So far during the month of June 2012 the Eastern North Pacific basin appears to have entered a new phase of even higher activity. Sea surface waters in some areas of the basin have been above 30 degrees Celsius, tropical wave generation has been abundant leading to numerous instances of extreme rain and thunderstorms events in Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Southern Mexico, with some flash flooding events as well. As of 11 June there were two areas of disturbed weather to the west of Nicaragua and Guatemala that exhibited some potentially cyclonic characteristics warranting close monitoring.

Map of sea surface temperatures based on satellite observations on 5 June 2012 showing a large region of waters at or above 30 Celsius off the coast Sea surface temperature,Typhoon Guchol, Philippines,Taiwan,Asia monsoon,Tropical storm Alberto, Tropical storm Beryl,Caribbean,Tropical wave assembly line,Hurricane alley,CAPE of southern Mexico and Central America

Elsewhere in the northern tropics, tropical storm GUCHOL in the northwestern Pacific is moving west by northwest in the general direction of the Philippines and Taiwan, and the Indian ocean, the Indian subcontinent and southeast Asia have been experiencing large amounts of rain as the onset of the Asia Monsoon takes hold of that vast region.

Satellite image of 12 June 2012 showing the Eastern Atlantic sub-basin and the western part of Equatorial Africa where some minor disturbances and tropical waves are active

The Atlantic basin has been a different story in 2012. On the one hand the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season got an early start when trow tropical storm Alberto and Beryl developed to the west of central Florida and southeast of Georgia, with Beryl actually moving westward and coming over land before veering northward and eventually making a full 180 degree turn toward the northeast. Since then the overall basin has been rather quiet with respect to tropical cyclone activity, although the Gulf and the northern Caribbean have seen plenty of disturbed, stormy weather over the course of several weeks. Looking farther east toward the eastern Atlantic and equatorial Africa the combined tropical wave assembly line – hurricane alley have remain mostly quiet despite sporadic flare-ups of storm cells overland and along the ‘alley’.  It should be noted that the northern Atlantic’s surface waters remain much cooler than in previous years at this time, with a rather large region extending well south of the Cape Verde Islands where sea surface temperatures are in the low to mid 20 Celsius; this can be observed in the image below:

Satellite image based map of sea surface temperatures for the north Atlantic on 11 June 2012 showing much cooler temperatures than in previous years around the same dates

 

13 June 2012: Latest News

GOES satellite image for the aviation industry in the morning of 14 June 2012 showing Tropical Storm CARLOTA near the coast of Southern Mexico

Quite interesting! Just as I was about to publish this brief post the National Hurricane Center issued an advisory for this sub-basin indicating tropical storm CARLOTTA, the 3rd named storm of the eastern Pacific 2012 hurricane season, has developed near the coast of southern Mexico. There are now two active tropical cyclones in the larger Pacific Ocean basin!

Mosaic of satellite images showing the North Pacific Ocean basin on 14 June 2012 where two tropical cyclones GUCHOL and CARLOTA are currently active

Also in the Eastern North Pacific sub-basin, there is an area of low pressure to the west of Tropical Storm CARLOTTA’s current location that may warrant close monitoring as it exhibits some characteristics that might lead to further development.

15 June 2012: Latest News

GOES satellite image of tropical storm CARLOTTA as it neared hurricane strength in the early morning hours of 15 June 2012 off the Pacific coast of southern Mexico

CARLOTTA is now a category 1 hurricane moving northwest with maximum sustained winds of 130 kph near the Pacific coast of Mexico. Per the latest discussion emanating from the National Hurricane Center a Hurricane Hunter airplane was in route to get a fix on the latest intensity and tracking data, but based on previous advisories CARLOTTA appears to be continuing to intensify, while its track has shifted closer to the Mexican coast where it might make landfall some time in the morning of Saturday 16 June. Various atmospheric features are at play to the north and west of the system’s current location, which may alter its course over the next 24-36 hours. This is definitely one to monitor closely by all communities along the Mexican Pacific coastal region.