Tropical Storm Agatha, Pacaya volcano kill 15 in Guatemala; oil spill update

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:39 PM GMT on May 30, 2010

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Tropical Storm Agatha, the first Eastern Pacific named storm of 2010, was short lived but deadly. Agatha was a tropical storm for just 12 hours, making landfall Saturday on the Pacific coast of Guatemala as a 45 mph tropical storm. However, the storm brought huge amounts of moisture inland that continue to be wrung out as heavy rains by the high mountains of Guatemala and the surrounding nations of Central America. So far, flooding and landslides have killed twelve people in Guatemala, and one person in neighboring El Salvador. According to the excellent Guatemala weather site, climaya.com, rainfall amounts of up to 152 mm (six inches) in 24 hours have occurred in some regions of Guatemala. The National Hurricane Center is warning that rainfall amounts of up to 30 inches may fall the next few days in some mountainous regions near where the storm has dissipated. Adding to the mayhem is fallout from the Pacaya volcano in Guatemala, which began erupting three days ago. At least three people have been killed by the volcano, located about 25 miles south of the capital, Guatemala City. The volcano has destroyed 800 homes with lava and brought moderate ash falls to the capital.


Figure 1. Visible satellite image of Tropical Storm Agatha at landfall. The storm was intensifying right up until landfall, and had an impressive "hot tower" of building cumulonimbus clouds near its center that brought heavy rains to Guatemala.


Figure 2. Flooding in Quetzaltenango, Zone 2, in Guatemala on May 29, 2010, after heavy rains from Tropical Storm Agatha. Image credit: Carlos Diaz, climaya.com

Oil spill update
Light onshore winds out of the south are expected to blow over the northern Gulf of Mexico today through Tuesday, resulting increased threats of oil to the Alabama and Mississippi barrier islands, according to the latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA. Winds are expected to shift to southwesterly on Wednesday and continue through Friday, increasing in force to 10 - 20 knots late in the week as a cold front approaches the Gulf. These persistent and strengthening southwesterly winds will likely bring oil very close to shore from Mississippi to the Florida Panhandle by next weekend.

Oil spill resources
My post, What a hurricane would do the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
My post Wednesday with answers to some of the common questions I get about the spill
My post on the Southwest Florida "Forbidden Zone" where surface oil will rarely go
My post on what oil might do to a hurricane
NOAA trajectory forecasts
Deepwater Horizon Unified Command web site
Oil Spill Academic Task Force
University of South Florida Ocean Circulation Group oil spill forecasts
ROFFS Deepwater Horizon page
Surface current forecasts from NOAA's HYCOM model
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery from the University of Miami

Join the "Hurricane Haven" with Dr. Jeff Masters: a new Internet radio show
Beginning next week, I'll be experimenting with a live 1-hour Internet radio show called "Hurricane Haven." The show will be aired at 4pm EDT on Tuesdays, with the first show June 1. Listeners will be able to call in and ask questions. Some topics I'll cover on the first show:

1) What's going on in the tropics right now
2) Preview of the coming hurricane season
3) How a hurricane might affect the oil spill
4) How the oil spill might affect a hurricane
5) New advancements in hurricane science presented at this month's AMS Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology
6) Haiti's vulnerability to a hurricane this season

I hope you can tune in to the broadcast, which will be at http://www.wunderground.com/wxradio/wubroadcast.h tml. If not, the show will be recorded and stored as a podcast.

I'll probably be back Monday with a quick update. Have a great holiday weekend!

Jeff Masters

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1140. JLPR
Quoting bappit:


Diffluence from the anticyclone. It is still on the Pacific side.


Actually its overland
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I have a strong suspicion that our sub-bridge dweller has set up more than one persona here and feeds himself when the rest of us wouldn't. A sad case actually.
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1138. JLPR
Quoting Bordonaro:

And the Sub-tropical Jet over the GOM:


I guess that's a reminder that we are still in May, once we get to mid, late June, the Subtropical jet is supposed to move on up.
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Quoting leo305:
Shear is expected to drop a bit over the gulf too..

by how much Leo
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Quoting Chicklit:
Actually looks like Agatha is restrengthening offshore in EPAC.


I was thinking the same thing when I saw that loop and found it interesting that it defied the models. Then I saw the swirl in Belize and realized "something" had made it across the mountains. It's like Agatha hit the mountains, some of her continued across into Belize, the rest bounced back into the Pacific where there is enormous energy.
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1134. bappit
Quoting JLPR:


Looks interesting

But there isn't much vorticity there, so just convection


Diffluence from the anticyclone. It is still on the Pacific side.
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1133. leo305
Shear is expected to drop a bit over the gulf too..

Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
Quoting JLPR:


ah! I see.
That''s why I love this site, someone always knows the answer ^^

And the Sub-tropical Jet over the GOM:
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1130. leo305
Vortocity is going up "significantly"

http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/tropic/real-time/atlantic/winds/wg8vor4.html
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
levi, i hope your right cause that little front we had a few weeks back blew every boom all over the place so just the slightest current, wave action or anything will effect this big time....it's just going to be a long summer i'm affraid...
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1128. leo305
http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/tropic/real-time/atlantic/winds/wg8shr.html

anti cyclone is positioning itself over agatha
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
1126. JLPR
Quoting leo305:


the inter tropical convergence zone has been dragged up with TS agatha, and the flow is being pushed towards the mountains, causing an upsurge in convection.. it's also barely feeding the low over belize or just off shore of belize.


ah! I see.
That''s why I love this site, someone always knows the answer ^^
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1125. Levi32
Quoting Nolehead:
ok guys so if this thing does get into GOM which more than likely it is...what effect will it do in pushing more oil towards the beach...this is not what we need now...but got a feeling that it's going to happen alot this year.....


No significant winds are expected with Agatha's remnants outside of the large-scale SW flow which will be blowing over the eastern gulf. This will probably look like nothing at all when it eventually moves into the gulf.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26686
1123. JLPR
Quoting clwstmchasr:
From the AP, death toll up to 83.

By JUAN CARLOS LLORCA, Associated Press
Writer Juan Carlos Llorca, Associated Press Writer – 23 mins ago

GUATEMALA CITY – The death toll in Central America from landslides and flooding triggered by the year's first tropical storm surged to 83 on Sunday, as authorities struggled to clear roads of debris and reach cut-off communities.


Horrible!
I guess Agatha is a candidate for retirement
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ok guys so if this thing does get into GOM which more than likely it is...what effect will it do in pushing more oil towards the beach...this is not what we need now...but got a feeling that it's going to happen alot this year.....
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1121. JLPR
Quoting Bordonaro:
1086 JLPR, what is causing the outrageous shear in the GOM? Is it the Sub-tropical Jet??


yes, I think so, I'm obviously no expert here
but the way it looks on this one, like a band, I would say it is the the Subtropical jet.


But shear seems to be relaxing in the central GOM
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Quoting Bordonaro:

There must be a mid-level through, I gather the "Panama Low" that is causing the increased shower and thunderstorm activity in the E PAC??
Yeah, there's a mid level low over the Belize city.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Levi32:


He was a great source of entertainment for me, personally, lol.
LOL.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
could agatha split one part remain on epac and the other move over land and into carrib/atl hmmmm!
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Me too.

There must be a mid-level through, I gather the "Panama Low" that is causing the increased shower and thunderstorm activity in the E PAC??
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Quoting altesticstorm10:
the CIMSS shear map overestimates shear


How so?
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Quoting PcolaDan:


Thanks, didn't mean for that to sound so harsh.
No problem, I see how it could of sounded offensive and I'm really sorry.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting FloridaTigers:
This is where permanent IP bans are necessary. JFV is all fun to laugh about, but it got old a long time ago. The fact that he's passing off blog posts as his own is real sad. You cant just ban the account because he'll make a new one. You need to IP ban him. When the season heats us, people aren't going to want to read bloggers arguing about JFV. Successful trolls are successful because they get people to talk about them when they stir things up. I say from this moment on,we all simply ignore JFV. It's as easy as 1-2-3. Just use the ignore feature and he'll go away. Don't say "hello JFV" or even acknowledge him. Now please, lets return to the tropics.


Agreed 100%
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


yup word for word and no source cited

Plagiarism in its most blatant form, flagged and reported; he will be gone again soon


Don't forget copyright infringement.
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1106. leo305
Quoting JLPR:


Looks interesting

But there isn't much vorticity there, so just convection


the inter tropical convergence zone has been dragged up with TS agatha, and the flow is being pushed towards the mountains, causing an upsurge in convection.. it's also barely feeding the low over belize or just off shore of belize.
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
I didn't type the one about the down syndrome. Something's up, well either way I removed it, sorry about any inconvenience.


Thanks, didn't mean for that to sound so harsh.
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1104. Levi32
Quoting aquak9:
sorry, altestic, stormtop was not a troll.


He was a great source of entertainment for me, personally, lol.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26686
Quoting Bordonaro:

I am surprised that the remains of Agatha actually held together as well as they have. The Mid-level circulation remains near the coast of Belize. However, wind shear in the GOM is 60kts and that will spell its final demise.
Me too.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
This is where permanent IP bans are necessary. JFV is all fun to laugh about, but it got old a long time ago. The fact that he's passing off blog posts as his own is real sad. You cant just ban the account because he'll make a new one. You need to IP ban him. When the season heats us, people aren't going to want to read bloggers arguing about JFV. Successful trolls are successful because they get people to talk about them when they stir things up. I say from this moment on,we all simply ignore JFV. It's as easy as 1-2-3. Just use the ignore feature and he'll go away. Don't say "hello JFV" or even acknowledge him. Now please, lets return to the tropics.
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Quoting FIU2010:


your bugging, you idiot, i was never that aanda figure.


Ah, so you're admitting you're avoiding a ban.

HEY ADMIN!
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1098. JLPR
Quoting Chicklit:
Actually looks like Agatha is strengthening offshore in EPAC.


Looks interesting

But there isn't much vorticity there, so just convection
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1097. aquak9
sorry, altestic, stormtop was not a troll.
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OK...time out guys!! Let's let JFV go back to his day job.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NW5agkwJ53w

Seriously people, just simply ignore him. Not worth the aggravation.
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1086 JLPR, what is causing the outrageous shear in the GOM? Is it the Sub-tropical Jet??
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Quoting FIU2010:
levi, plz, im not a troll.
THEN WOULD YOU PLEASE TELL EVERYONE WHO YOU ARE AND STOP THE NONSENSE.
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.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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