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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Quoting Levi32:
This tropical wave approaching Trinidad will be moving mostly inland over South America, but has potential to possibly stir up some trouble north of Panama in 3-5 days as it interacts with a re-forming monsoon trough, which has become ill-defined over the past couple days.

In fact, despite the upward motion pulse of the MJO over the area, the Caribbean is very barren of convection right now due to almost no surface convergence, as the deep-layer trough to the north has temporarily reversed the trade winds.



In fact, NOGAPS 96 hours has a low in the southern Caribbean.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26661
WOW!We have got some thunder boomers round here!


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Quoting Levi32:


Watch me....I do it all the time.

;)
LOL!
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yea lots of rain here in Southern MS the last couple of days. See a nice CB just to my north as we speak. I am sure in about an hour we will see some boomers.
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I've had 3.45in. of rain in the entire month of May.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting FIU2010:


thanks, drak. the voice of reason has spoken. now, i dare someone attempt to defy him. it ain't happening, :).


Watch me....I do it all the time.

;)
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26661
Just east of Belize
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Quoting Drakoen:
Agatha's remnants have not run into the subtropical jet. It is still within the ridge axis of an upper level anticyclone over Honduras.


I didn't say it was under the jet axis. That's still to the north, but it already has 20+ knots of shear over the center and the upper anticyclone over it is being distorted by the subtropical jet. That means it is already starting to run into it and feel the effects rather strongly.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26661
630. IKE
Quoting aquak9:


Quit braggin' or they're gonna recall that rain gauge. Had less than 1.50 here for the month.

ike-STER.


LOL. Rain gauge came in handy. I wonder if it'll hold up in a cat 2 or 3?
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This tropical wave approaching Trinidad will be moving mostly inland over South America, but has potential to possibly stir up some trouble north of Panama in 3-5 days as it interacts with a re-forming monsoon trough, which has become ill-defined over the past couple days.

In fact, despite the upward motion pulse of the MJO over the area, the Caribbean is very barren of convection right now due to almost no surface convergence, as the deep-layer trough to the north has temporarily reversed the trade winds.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26661
Quoting IKE:
ULL in northern Mississippi is bringing abundant rain to the SE USA.


That vortex over Mississippi has stalled, and GFS apparently expects it to rain around that system in 29 states for 7 days and 7 nights.
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Agatha's remnants have not run into the subtropical jet. It is still within the ridge axis of an upper level anticyclone over Honduras.
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evening everyone...looks like whatever it is will be going into oil-vill, this is not what we need at all...sure hope it's just a rain maker with no wind....last thing we need right now is any type of surge with this sludge..
Member Since: June 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1932
Remember Barry, I think it was that formed in 30-40 kts of shear in the GOM. It was one that Dr. Masters said wouldn't develop. I know it seems un-likely but, I never discount anything, especially in the tropics. Seems Aggie has a mean streak in her.
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624. IKE
ULL in northern Mississippi is bringing abundant rain to the SE USA.

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A lake (max. depth 109 m; 312 ft) created by a landslide in northern Pakistan in January, is likely to burst in the coming days. When it bursts the water is expected to create a river tsunami 18 meters (60 ft) high downstream. In the future, events like this will become more common as glacial melt spurrs more landslides, and increased melting fills up new lakes faster. Link
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Quoting IKE:
I've had over an inch of rain again today...bringing my total to approaching 8 inches for May.



Quit braggin' or they're gonna recall that rain gauge. Had less than 1.50 here for the month.

ike-STER.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 169 Comments: 26126
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194


parece que otro ull se cambia a golfo occidental de México

sorry left translator on
it appears that another ull moves into western gulf of mexico
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618. IKE
GFS is aiming it for the SE GOM. Looks headed through the Yucatan channel.
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Quoting reedzone:
The anticyclone will most likely start breaking apart do to the Subtropical jet to the north, a VERY slim chance for development near Belize, wind shear is currently marginal, just one step north, it hits high wind shear.
Is there anytime a storm can survive wind shear?
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614. IKE
I've had over an inch of rain again today...bringing my total to approaching 8 inches for May.

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The anticyclone will most likely start breaking apart do to the Subtropical jet to the north, a VERY slim chance for development near Belize, wind shear is currently marginal, just one step north, it hits high wind shear.
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Quoting Weather456:


It eventually will
And gets creamed by shear.
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Quoting Weather456:


That's basically asking the same thing.
Ohhhh, I see what you mean, lol.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Snowlover123:


Weather is extremely tricky, it seems. There is convection still associated with the low pressure that used to be Agatha. The question is, does it go into the GOM?


It eventually will
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"Wind shear might not even be that bad. This sounding from Belize at 12z shows 30 knots winds at 200mb and 15-20 knots winds near 850mb. 10 to 15 knots of wind shear."



Source(s): Drakoen - Post 503.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
608. IKE
GFS 18 hour keeps Agatha about where she is now...

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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Not really over sea, it has plenty of time over sea, the question is, how long before it runs into the subtropical jet.


That's basically asking the same thing.
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The red circle indicates where I think the current dominating MLC is located.

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Quoting Levi32:


It's going into the gulf no question about it, but it has no chance of developing there.
Yeah just a lot of moisture streaming towards florida come mid week.
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Good afternoon everyone i see that ex agatha has a very Very slim chance of organizing into a tropical system but im not seeing it in fact im not seeing anything until mid june at the earliest.
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Quoting FIU2010:
levi, could the ghost of aggy be a SF threater?


No, stop asking that question. You knew the answer before asking me.
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Quoting Snowlover123:


Weather is extremely tricky, it seems. There is convection still associated with the low pressure that used to be Agatha. The question is, does it go into the GOM?


It's going into the gulf no question about it, but it has no chance of developing there.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26661
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Not really over sea, it has plenty of time over sea, the question is, how long before it runs into the subtropical jet.


It already is. You can tell because the upper anticyclone over it is getting disrupted by the jet, causing it to elongate SW to NE. Vertical shear is 20-30 knots east of Belize, and although that number will be going down over the next 3 days, it won't be in time for ex-Agatha.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26661
Quoting louisianaboy444:
Even if it does regenerate it won't become our first named Storm maybe a TD at best
That seems a little much. Ex-Agatha still needs to develop a LLC and that could take up to 30 hours, plus it needs better satellite presentation. I doubt it will become a TD but an invest isn't out of the question, yet.
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Quoting Weather456:


It will eventually touch the Caribbean Sea, based on its trajectory, no surprise there really. It now comes down, how much time it remains over the sea?


Weather is extremely tricky, it seems. There is convection still associated with the low pressure that used to be Agatha. The question is, does it go into the GOM?
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Quoting louisianaboy444:
Even if it does regenerate it won't become our first named Storm maybe a TD at best


Agree
Member Since: March 19, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1421
Even if it does regenerate it won't become our first named Storm maybe a TD at best
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Quoting Weather456:


It will eventually touch the Caribbean Sea, based on its trajectory, no surprise there really. It now comes down, how much time it remains over the sea?
Not really over sea, it has plenty of time over sea, the question is, how long before it runs into the subtropical jet.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Snowlover123:


So, it's heading for the Carribean?


It will eventually touch the Caribbean Sea, based on its trajectory, no surprise there really. It now comes down to, how much time it remains over the sea?
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Quoting IKE:
Ex-Agatha looks headed for the Yucatan...NE part of...maybe the GFS is correct on track.
For track, I'm leaning towards the BAMD.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Weather456:


I don't give percentages because they are to exact and weather is not an exact science. A low chance.


Bravo. I hate statistical probabilities.
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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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