Tag Archives: Northern South America

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!

Tropical Storm ALETTA Launches 2012 Hurricane Season in Eastern North Pacific!

Color-enhanced infrared satellite image of 14 May 2012 showing Tropical Storm ALETTA in the eastern North Pacific Ocean

The 2012 Eastern North Pacific Hurricane Season got an early start when Tropical Storm ALETTA generated in the early evening hours on Monday 14 May from a tropical depression. Aletta is moving just north of west at 20 kph with maximum sustained winds of 65 kph. AS the system moves over a generally favorable environment it may strengthen some more over the next 24-36 hours before it reaches a region of cooler surface waters and strong wind shear, which may weaken it.

Five-day track forecast for Tropical Storm ALETTA issued by the National Hurricane Center at 20:00 on Monday 14 May 2012

The region to the east of Aletta, west of Central America and Mexico has been quite active in recent days.  While tropical storm Aletta continues tracking westward, there are a couple of large cells of disturbed weather off the mainland over an area that has developed quite warm surface waters over the past two weeks, with sea surface temperatures exceeding 30 Celsius over a large region. Even farther to the east by southeast near Panama and northern South America several large waves of stormy weather can be seen in satellite imagery today.

Color-enhanced infrared satellite image of 14 May 2012 showing Central America, Panama, northern South America and the Caribbean where numerous cells of stormy weather are clearly seen

Farther to the east, all the way over the eastern Atlantic and western Equatorial Africa the tropical wave assembly line is showing some activity, which may soon translate into tropical activity along hurricane alley. It is clear the northern tropics in the western hemisphere are reaching a state that could foster additional cyclogenesis in the near term. The images that follow illustrate these current conditions.

Composite global mosaic of satellite images of 14 May 2012 showing the northern tropical regions of the western hemisphere

Full Earth disk satellite image of 14 May 2012 showing the eastern Pacific Ocean with Tropical Storm ALETTA identified by the yellow outline
Full Earth disk satellite image of 14 May 2012 showing the western hemisphere with Tropical Storm ALETTA identified by the yellow outline

So it is! The 2012 Hurricane Season if off in the eastern North Pacific Ocean. Interests in Panama, central America and western Mexico need to closely monitor the eastern Pacific region reaching from southern Mexico to northern South America as it is showing the same large areas of disturbed weather, with rain cells and thunderstorms, that have been prevalent for long periods over the past 2 -3 years.

While we follow these developments in the Pacific, we must turn our attention eastward to Equatorial Africa, the eastern Atlantic, ‘hurricane alley’ and the Caribbean to monitor how the many factors that contribute to cyclogenesis might start to coincide, or not, in days and weeks to come. Along these lines it is interesting to see that the system we have been following over the past two days over the open waters of the Atlantic hit the Azores Islands of Portugal, and while it did not reach cyclonic status it may have caused some problems in those volcanic islands where the combination of steep topography and heavy rains is often conducive to flash flooding events.

Coincidentally with these hydro-meteorological activities, the 26th Annual Governor’s Hurricane Conference got underway in Fort Lauderdale, Florida today. I am sure there will be plenty of discussion and debate about what the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season may bring to those in and around the basin. Relative to this, it is critically important to keep in mind that it is not about how many tropical cyclones the season will generate, but about the need to pay attention, to be prepared and to always practice mitigation, as one single hit by a hurricane may be enough to cause a disaster, with plenty of damage and human suffering!