Hurricane Catarina

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Hurricane Catarina
Category 2 hurricane (SSHWS)
Catarina 27 mar 2004 1630Z.jpg
Hurricane Catarina approaching Brazil on March 27
FormedMarch 24, 2004 (2004-03-24)
DissipatedMarch 28, 2004 (2004-03-28)
Highest winds 1-minute sustained:155 km/h (100 mph)
Lowest pressure972 hPa (mbar); 28.7 inHg
(Record low in the South Atlantic [1] )
Fatalities3–11 direct
Damage$350 million (2004 USD)
Areas affected Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, Southern Brazil
Part of the 2003–04 South Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Catarina (Portuguese pronunciation:  [kataˈɾinɐ] ) was an extremely rare South Atlantic tropical cyclone that hit Southern Brazil in late March 2004. The storm developed out of a stationary cold-core upper-level trough on March 12. Almost a week later, on March 19, a disturbance developed along the trough and traveled towards the east-southeast until March 22 when a ridge stopped the forward motion of the disturbance. The disturbance was in an unusually favorable environment with a slightly below-average wind shear and above-average sea surface temperatures. The combination of the two led to a slow transition from an extratropical cyclone to a subtropical cyclone by March 24. The storm continued to obtain tropical characteristics and became a tropical storm the next day while the winds steadily increased. The storm attained wind speeds of 75 mph (120 km/h)—equivalent to a low-end Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson scale—on March 26. At that time, it was unofficially named Catarina and was also the first hurricane-strength tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Southern Atlantic Ocean. Unusually favorable conditions persisted and Catarina continued to intensify, and was estimated to have peaked with 1-minute sustained winds of 100 mph (155 km/h) on March 28. The center of the storm made landfall later that between the cities of Passo de Torres and Balneário Gaivota, Santa Catarina. Catarina rapidly weakened upon landfall and dissipated later that day.

South Atlantic tropical cyclone unusual weather event originating in the South Atlantic Ocean

South Atlantic tropical cyclones are unusual weather events that occur in the Southern Hemisphere. Strong wind shear, which disrupts the formation of cyclones, as well as a lack of weather disturbances favorable for development in the South Atlantic Ocean make any strong tropical system extremely rare, and Hurricane Catarina in 2004 is the only recorded South Atlantic hurricane in history. South Atlantic storms have developed year-round, with activity peaking during the months from November through May in this basin. Since 2011, the Brazilian Navy Hydrographic Center has assigned names to tropical and subtropical systems in the western side of the basin, near Brazil, when they have sustained wind speeds of at least 65 km/h (40 mph), the generally accepted minimum sustained wind speed for a disturbance to be designated as a tropical storm in the North Atlantic basin. Below is a list of notable South Atlantic tropical and subtropical cyclones.

Brazil Federal republic in South America

Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers and with over 208 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the fifth most populous. Its capital is Brasília, and its most populated city is São Paulo. The federation is composed of the union of the 26 states, the Federal District, and the 5,570 municipalities. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas; it is also one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse nations, due to over a century of mass immigration from around the world.

Surface weather analysis

Surface weather analysis is a special type of weather map that provides a view of weather elements over a geographical area at a specified time based on information from ground-based weather stations.

Contents

Since Catarina was the first tropical cyclone to make landfall in Brazil since the beginning of reliable records, and hence infrastructure and the population were not specifically prepared for it, the damage was quite severe. Although the storm was an unprecedented event, Brazilian officials took the appropriate actions and warned the public about the approaching storm. Residents heeded the warnings and prepared for the storm by either evacuating or by riding it out in their homes. Catarina ended up destroying 1,500 homes and damaging around 40,000 others. Agricultural products were severely damaged: 85% of the banana crops and 40% of the rice crops were lost in the storm. Three people were confirmed to have perished in the storm and 185 others were injured. Damages from the storm amounted to US$350 million (value in 2004).

Meteorological history

Map plotting the track and the intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir-Simpson scale Catarina 2004 track.png
Map plotting the track and the intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale

On March 12, a cold-core stationary upper-level trough became established offshore of southern Brazil. A disturbance formed within the trough on the 19th, and moved east-southeastward until the 22nd, when a ridge to its southeast kept it stationary. With exceptionally favorable upper level winds and slightly below average, [2] if marginally warm, water temperatures from 24 to 26  °C (75 to 79 °F), it gradually developed, resembling a subtropical storm by the 24th. Located 630 mi (1,015 km) east-southeast of Florianópolis, it headed slowly westward, and appeared to become a tropical storm on March 25. [3]

Cold-core low cyclone aloft which has an associated cold pool of air residing at high altitude within the Earths troposphere

A cold-core low, also known as an upper level low or cold-core cyclone, is a cyclone aloft which has an associated cold pool of air residing at high altitude within the Earth's troposphere. It is a low pressure system that strengthens with height in accordance with the thermal wind relationship. If a weak surface circulation forms in response to such a feature at subtropical latitudes of the eastern north Pacific or north Indian oceans, it is called a subtropical cyclone. Cloud cover and rainfall mainly occurs with these systems during the day. Severe weather, such as tornadoes, can occur near the center of cold-core lows. Cold lows can help spawn cyclones with significant weather impacts, such as polar lows, and Kármán vortices. Cold lows can lead directly to the development of tropical cyclones, owing to their associated cold pool of air aloft or by acting as additional outflow channels to aid in further development.

Trough (meteorology) elongated region of low atmospheric pressure

A trough is an elongated (extended) region of relatively low atmospheric pressure, often associated with fronts. Troughs may be at the surface, or aloft, or both under various conditions. Most troughs bring clouds, showers, and a wind shift, particularly following the passage of the trough. This results from convergence or "squeezing" which forces lifting of moist air behind the trough line.

Florianópolis Municipality in South, Brazil

Florianópolis is the capital and second largest city of the state of Santa Catarina, in the South region of Brazil. The city encompasses Santa Catarina Island and surrounding small islands, as well as part of the mainland. It has a population of 477,798, according to the 2016 IBGE population estimate, the second most populous city in the state, and the 47th in Brazil. The metropolitan area has an estimated population of 1,111,702, the 21st largest in the country. The city is known for having the country's third highest Human Development Index score among all Brazilian cities (0.847). The city is considered safe by Brazilian standards. In 2014, Florianópolis had the second-lowest incidence of murders of Brazilian capitals.

A compact storm, it continued westward while steadily intensifying. The structure of the storm continued to improve and due to a definite eye feature showing on satellites, the storm was determined to have become a hurricane-equivalent cyclone on March 26. [4] A Brazilian newspaper had a headline "Furacão Catarina" (i.e. "hurricane [threatening the state of Santa] Catarina"). Partly because of this headline, the storm was unofficially named Catarina. It continued to encounter favorable conditions and reached its peak intensity on early March 28, with a minimum central pressure of 972 millibars (28.7 inHg) and estimated 1-minute sustained winds of 100 mph (155 km/h), which made the storm the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale. Gusts peaked at around 120 mph (195 km/h). The hurricane made landfall on the southern coast of Santa Catarina and northeastern Rio Grande do Sul, with winds up to 195 km/h overnight. After making landfall, Catarina rapidly weakened over land, in the normal manner of a tropical cyclone, dissipating later that day. [3]

Eye (cyclone) region of mostly calm weather at the center of strong tropical cyclones

The eye is a region of mostly calm weather at the center of strong tropical cyclones. The eye of a storm is a roughly circular area, typically 30–65 km (20–40 miles) in diameter. It is surrounded by the eyewall, a ring of towering thunderstorms where the most severe weather and highest winds occur. The cyclone's lowest barometric pressure occurs in the eye and can be as much as 15 percent lower than the pressure outside the storm.

Santa Catarina (state) State of Brazil

Santa Catarina is a state in the southern region of Brazil. According to the Index of Economic Well-Being calculated between 2002 and 2008, Santa Catarina was the Brazilian state that consistently showed the highest economic well-being in relation to any other state in Brazil.

Rio Grande do Sul State of Brazil

Rio Grande do Sul is a state located in the southern region of Brazil. It is the fifth most populous state and the ninth largest by area. Located in the southernmost part of the country, Rio Grande do Sul is bordered clockwise by Santa Catarina to the north and northeast, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Uruguayan departments of Rocha, Treinta y Tres, Cerro Largo, Rivera and Artigas to the south and southwest, and the Argentine provinces of Corrientes and Misiones to the west and northwest. The capital and largest city is Porto Alegre. The state has the highest life expectancy in Brazil, and the crime rate is considered to be low.

Naming

Hurricane Catarina as seen from the International Space Station on March 26, 2004 Cyclone Catarina from the ISS on March 26 2004.JPG
Hurricane Catarina as seen from the International Space Station on March 26, 2004

Brazilian meteorologists named the storm Catarina for its proximity to (and eventual landfall near) the state of Santa Catarina, although government forecasters initially denied that the storm, which clearly had an open eye and various other tropical morphologies, was a hurricane at all. More than a year after the storm made landfall, Brazilian meteorologists finally classified the storm as a tropical cyclone. [5]

Tropical cyclone Is a rotating storm system

A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain. Depending on its location and strength, a tropical cyclone is referred to by different names, including hurricane, typhoon, tropical storm, cyclonic storm, tropical depression, and simply cyclone. A hurricane is a tropical cyclone that occurs in the Atlantic Ocean and northeastern Pacific Ocean, and a typhoon occurs in the northwestern Pacific Ocean; in the south Pacific or Indian Ocean, comparable storms are referred to simply as "tropical cyclones" or "severe cyclonic storms".

North American forecasters, however surprised as they were, considered this storm a hurricane immediately upon reviewing the satellite-derived evidence. Since Catarina had a clear eyewall structure bounded by deep convective, dense central overcast, well-defined spiral outer bands and outflow structure, warm water temperatures of 79 °F (26 °C), little shear, a warm core low, overall tropical characteristics, and occurred in March (equivalent to September in the Northern Hemisphere, the peak of hurricane season), it was considered to be a hurricane by the National Hurricane Center in the United States. [6]

National Hurricane Center Division of the United States National Weather Service

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is the division of the United States' National Weather Service responsible for tracking and predicting tropical weather systems between the Prime Meridian and the 140th meridian west poleward to the 30th parallel north in the northeast Pacific Ocean and the 31st parallel north in the northern Atlantic Ocean. The agency, which is co-located with the Miami branch of the National Weather Service, is situated on the campus of Florida International University in University Park, Florida.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Though it is most commonly known as Catarina, all names for this storm are "unofficial," in that no World Meteorological Organization-affiliated meteorological agency that monitors hurricanes named it. (Tropical cyclone names are predetermined by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization.) [7] It has also been unofficially called "Aldonça", [8] and the advisory names for it were "01T-ALPHA" from the United Kingdom's Met Office, and "50L-NONAME" from the United States' National Hurricane Center, which keeps it well outside normal designation, which start at 01L for named storms and use 90L to 99L for invests. [3]

World Meteorological Organization Specialised agency of the United Nations

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is an intergovernmental organization with a membership of 192 Member States and Territories. Its current Secretary-General is Petteri Taalas and the President of the World Meteorological Congress, its supreme body, is David Grimes. The Organization is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom (UK), officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

Met Office United Kingdoms national weather service

The Met Office is the United Kingdom's national weather service. It is an executive agency and trading fund of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy led by CEO, Penelope Endersby, who took on the role as Chief Executive in December 2018, the first woman to do so. The Met Office makes meteorological predictions across all timescales from weather forecasts to climate change.

Rare formation

Typically, tropical cyclones do not form in the South Atlantic Ocean, due to strong upper level shear, cool water temperatures, and the lack of a convergence zone of convection. Occasionally though, as seen in 1991 and early 2004, conditions can become slightly more favorable. For Catarina, it was a combination of climatic and atmospheric anomalies. Water temperatures on Catarina's path ranged from 24 to 25 °C (75 to 77 °F), slightly less than the 26.5 °C (79.7 °F) temperature of a normal tropical cyclone, but sufficient for a storm of baroclinic origin. [4]

To this day, Catarina is the only hurricane strength tropical cyclone ever observed in the South Atlantic Ocean since 1970. Other systems have been observed in this region; however, none have reached hurricane strength, and no eyes were seen on satellite imagery or radar. [9] While Catarina formed in an unusual area, its relation to global warming or any other type of global climatic change is still up for debate. The Brazilian Society of Meteorology  [ pt ] attributed it to "climatic changes and atmospheric anomalies," [5] while other researchers have indicated that it could be the result of the Southern Annular Mode or other seasonal variations in weather within the Southern Hemisphere, again linked to global changes in climate. [10] However, more research in the area is still needed to make a conclusion. [10]

Impact

Hurricane Catarina at landfall Cyclone Catarina landfall2004.jpg
Hurricane Catarina at landfall
NOAA satellite loop of Hurricane Catarina Tropical cyclone Catarina.gif
NOAA satellite loop of Hurricane Catarina

Like normal tropical cyclones, Catarina brought heavy flooding with it. Despite the uncertainty in the future of the storm, Brazilian officials took the appropriate actions to ensure the safety of the residents who lived along the coastline. A successful evacuation was executed for numerous residents along the coast, though some people decided to ride out the storm in their own homes. [4] The storm damaged around 40,000 homes and destroyed 1,500; 40% of the rice crop were also lost. Total damages were estimated at $350 million (2004 USD). It also killed at least three and injured at least 75. At least 2,000 people were left homeless following the storm. [11]

At Passo de Torres, many shipyards were destroyed, as they were not designed to withstand the pressure differentials caused by Catarina's winds; widespread roof damage was reported at this municipality as well. [12] Near the Mampituba River, a house was blown about 50 m (160 ft) upstream, literally landing in another state: it originally was built in the Torres municipality of Rio Grande do Sul, yet it ended up in Passo de Torres, within Santa Catarina. In rural areas, the corn, banana, and rice fields received the most damage, although rice farmers were able to partially recoup their losses, as they had harvested before Catarina made landfall. [12]

Overall, almost 36,000 residences were damaged as a result of Catarina's onslaught; of those, 993 collapsed completely. The commercial sector fared slightly better, as only 2,274 buildings were damaged and 472 collapsed. Finally, 397 public buildings were damaged and three were destroyed. These account for 26% of the total buildings in the region, which amounted to property damage of US$25.6 million (value in 2004). Four-fifths of the damaged houses had some sort of roof failure or collapse. Most of the damage was blamed on the low quality of the construction; brick residences typically lacked plaster, beams, or columns, for example. The areas affected the most were those inhabited by low-income families, usually with annual family salaries of less than US$400. [12]

See also

Related Research Articles

Cyclone large scale air mass that rotates around a strong center of low pressure

In meteorology, a cyclone is a large scale air mass that rotates around a strong center of low atmospheric pressure. Cyclones are characterized by inward spiraling winds that rotate about a zone of low pressure. The largest low-pressure systems are polar vortices and extratropical cyclones of the largest scale. Warm-core cyclones such as tropical cyclones and subtropical cyclones also lie within the synoptic scale. Mesocyclones, tornadoes and dust devils lie within smaller mesoscale. Upper level cyclones can exist without the presence of a surface low, and can pinch off from the base of the tropical upper tropospheric trough during the summer months in the Northern Hemisphere. Cyclones have also been seen on extraterrestrial planets, such as Mars and Neptune. Cyclogenesis is the process of cyclone formation and intensification. Extratropical cyclones begin as waves in large regions of enhanced mid-latitude temperature contrasts called baroclinic zones. These zones contract and form weather fronts as the cyclonic circulation closes and intensifies. Later in their life cycle, extratropical cyclones occlude as cold air masses undercut the warmer air and become cold core systems. A cyclone's track is guided over the course of its 2 to 6 day life cycle by the steering flow of the subtropical jet stream.

Subtropical cyclone

A subtropical cyclone is a weather system that has some characteristics of a tropical and an extratropical cyclone.

Tropical cyclones and subtropical cyclones are named by various warning centers to provide ease of communication between forecasters and the general public regarding forecasts, watches, and warnings. The names are intended to reduce confusion in the event of concurrent storms in the same basin. Generally once storms produce sustained wind speeds of more than 33 knots, names are assigned in order from predetermined lists depending on which basin they originate. However, standards vary from basin to basin: some tropical depressions are named in the Western Pacific, while tropical cyclones must have a significant amount of gale-force winds occurring around the centre before they are named in the Southern Hemisphere.

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The 2000 Atlantic hurricane season was the first Atlantic hurricane season without a tropical cyclone in the month of July since 1993. The hurricane season officially began on June 1, and ended on November 30. It was slightly above average due to a La Niña weather pattern although most of the storms were weak. The first cyclone, Tropical Depression One, developed in the southern Gulf of Mexico on June 7 and dissipated after an uneventful duration. However, it would be almost two months before the first named storm, Alberto, formed near Cape Verde; Alberto also dissipated with no effects on land. Several other tropical cyclones—Tropical Depression Two, Tropical Depression Four, Chris, Ernesto, Nadine, and an unnamed subtropical storm—did not impact land. Five additional storms—Tropical Depression Nine, Florence, Isaac, Joyce, and Leslie—minimally affected land areas.

1975 Atlantic hurricane season hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1975 Atlantic hurricane season featured the first tropical storm to be upgraded to a hurricane based solely on satellite imagery – Hurricane Doris. The season officially began on June 1 and lasted until November 30. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. The season was near average, with nine tropical storms forming, of which six became hurricanes. Three of those six became major hurricanes, which are Category 3 or higher on the Saffir–Simpson scale. The first system, Tropical Depression One, developed on June 24. Tropical Storm Amy in July caused minor beach erosion and coastal flooding from North Carolina to New Jersey, and killed one person when a ship capsized offshore North Carolina. Hurricane Blanche brought strong winds to portions of Atlantic Canada, leaving about $6.2 million (1975 USD) in damage. Hurricane Caroline brought high tides and flooding to northeastern Mexico and Texas, with two drownings in the latter.

1982 Atlantic hurricane season hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1982 Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 1, 1982, and lasted until November 30, 1982, and was a well below average season. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. Only six storms formed during this hurricane season: five named storms and an unnamed subtropical storm. The season only produced two hurricanes one of which reached major hurricane status. The season started early with Hurricane Alberto forming on the first day of the season. Alberto threatened the Southwestern Florida coast as a tropical storm, causing twenty-three fatalities in Cuba. The next storm, a subtropical storm, formed in June and affected the same area as Alberto, causing $10 million in damage.

1983 Atlantic hurricane season Summary of the relevant tropical storms

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2005 Atlantic hurricane season Summary of the relevant tropical storms

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2007 Atlantic hurricane season Summary of the relevant tropical storms

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References

  1. McTaggart-Cowan, R., Bosart, L. F., Davis, C. A., Atallah, E. H., Gyakum, J. R., and Emanuel, K. A. (November 2006). "Analysis of Hurricane Catarina (2004)". Monthly Weather Review . 134 (11): 3029–53. Bibcode:2006MWRv..134.3029M. doi:10.1175/MWR3330.1.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. OSDPD, NOAA. "NOAA/NESDIS 50 KM GLOBAL ANALYSIS: SST — Climatology (C), 3/23/2004". The Office of Satellite Data Processing and Distribution. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  3. 1 2 3 Gary Padgett (2004). "March 2004 Tropical Cyclone Summary". Thomas R. Metcalf (Australian Severe Weather). Retrieved 2008-10-23.
  4. 1 2 3 Bob Henson (2005). "What was Catarina?". UCAR Communications. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
  5. 1 2 "Phenomenon Catarina in Debate". Informativo. Sociedade Brasileira de Meteorologia. July 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-07-01. Retrieved 2006-12-24.
  6. "Tropical Weather Discussion". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2012-12-03.
  7. "Worldwide Tropical Cyclone Names". National Hurricane Center. Archived from the original on 2010-12-07. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
  8. NLMRY (March 2004). "Hurricane Catarina/Aldonca — Rare South Atlantic Hurricane". Phil Smith. Archived from the original on 2008-09-22. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
  9. Department of Meteorology, e-Education Institute. "Upper-Level Lows". Meteorology 241: Fundamentals of Tropical Forecasting. Pennsylvania State University. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2006-10-24.
  10. 1 2 Pessa, Alexandre B.; Ian Simmonds (April 2006). "Catarina: The First South Atlantic Hurricane and its Association with Vertical Wind Shear and High Latitude Blocking" (PDF). 8th International Conference on Southern Hemisphere Meteorology and Oceanography. University of Melbourne. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 16, 2007. Retrieved 2006-12-24.
  11. Jefferson Bernardes (March 30, 2004). "First South Atlantic hurricane hits Brazil". USA Today. Retrieved February 23, 2009.
  12. 1 2 3 Marcelino, Emerson Vieira; Isabela Pena Viana de Oliveira Marcelino; Frederico de Moraes Rudorff (2004). "Cyclone Catarina: Damage and Vulnerability Assessment" (PDF). Santa Catarina Federal University. Retrieved December 24, 2006.

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