Monday, May 31, 2010

Tropical Storm Agatha: May 31, 2010 - a potential Pacific Interloper!

Beep beep beep, the sirens have gone off: we have a Pacific interloper in the Caribbean! I don't think this one counts for Atlantic storms (yet), but I'll mention it anyway.

A system looks like it might be re-developing just off the coast of Belize, in the Caribbean. Tropical Storm Agatha was the first tropical storm of the Eastern Pacific hurricane season, lasted for about 12 hours, hit Guatamala yesterday(ish) and resulted in numerous deaths (from heavy rains etc).

The Guatamalans have had a busy week as far as natural disasters. The Pacaya Volcano erupted on May 27 covering the capital, Guatamala City, with something like 8cm of ash, resulting in some loss of life, and shutting down airspace. Also, whilst I'm rambling about rumblings, less than a day later the Tungurahua Volcano in Ecuador also erupted, spewing out rocks and ash and stuff (that's technical jargon for er... stuff). Both have calmed down a bit now (I think). Back to tropical storms (these other pesky natural disasters just keep getting in the way!).

So, Tropical Storm Agatha - although there is some circulation, she doesn't look too healthy because the whole system is still interacting with the central American landmass. But there is considerable convection developing over the portion of the system that is over the rather warm (30 deg C and higher) Caribbean waters.

Storms that cross from one basin to another are called... (drum-roll please)... "crossover storms" (are you surprised? ;-)). There have been about 8 or 9 that have sneaked into the Atlantic from the Eastern Pacific, and 12 or so from the Atlantic to the Eastern Pacific (the most recent in 2008). Those numbers aren't definite because many of them were before we had good observations. If a storm retains it's structure as it crosses, it keeps its name. But if it falls apart during the crossing and then re-develops in the other basin, it gets re-named to the next storm in the new basin.

I won't mention Agatha again unless she decides she wants to completely cross-over and become Alex (first name for the Atlantic system). :-)

I'll send out a proper 'welcome to the Atlantic Hurricane Season' message tomorrow. It might be entertaining. It might not. ;-)

Hasta Manana!

These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I was there and planning to "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.

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