|Category 5 major hurricane (SSHWS/NWS)|
|Formed||October 22, 1998|
|Dissipated||November 9, 1998|
|( Extratropical after November 5)|
|Highest winds|| 1-minute sustained:180 mph (285 km/h)|
|Lowest pressure||905 mbar (hPa); 26.72 inHg|
|Fatalities||≥ 15,000 total|
(Second-deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record)
|Damage||$6.08 billion (1998 USD)|
|Areas affected||Central America (particularly Honduras and Nicaragua), Yucatán Peninsula, South Florida, Jamaica, Ireland, United Kingdom|
|Part of the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season|
Hurricane Mitch was the second-deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record, causing over 11,000 fatalities in Central America, with over 7,000 occurring in Honduras alone due to the catastrophic flooding it wrought, due to the slow motion of the storm. It was the deadliest hurricane in Central America, surpassing Hurricane Fifi–Orlene, which killed slightly fewer people there in 1974. The thirteenth named storm, ninth hurricane, and third major hurricane of the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season, Mitch formed in the western Caribbean Sea on October 22, and after drifting through extremely favorable conditions, it rapidly strengthened to peak at Category 5 status, the highest possible rating on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale. After drifting southwestward and weakening, the hurricane hit Honduras as a minimal hurricane. Mitch drifted through Central America, regenerated in the Bay of Campeche, and ultimately struck Florida as a strong tropical storm. It then became extratropical and accelerated northeastward across the North Atlantic, before dissipating on November 9. At the time, Mitch was the strongest Atlantic hurricane observed in the month of October, though it has since been surpassed by Hurricane Wilma of the 2005 season. In addition, Mitch is the eighth-most intense Atlantic hurricane on record.
An Atlantic hurricane or tropical storm is a tropical cyclone that forms in the Atlantic Ocean, usually between the months of June and November. A hurricane differs from a cyclone or typhoon only on the basis of location. A hurricane is a storm that occurs in the Atlantic Ocean and northeastern Pacific Ocean, a typhoon occurs in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, and a cyclone occurs in the south Pacific or Indian Ocean.
Central America is located on the southern tip of North America, or is sometimes defined as a subcontinent of the Americas, bordered by Mexico to the north, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south. Central America consists of seven countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. The combined population of Central America has been estimated to be 41,739,000 and 42,688,190.
Honduras, officially the Republic of Honduras, is a country in Central America. In the past, it was sometimes referred to as "Spanish Honduras" to differentiate it from British Honduras, which later became modern-day Belize. The republic of Honduras is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Fonseca, and to the north by the Gulf of Honduras, a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea.
Mitch caused catastrophic impacts across its path, but the most disastrous impacts came from Honduras, which suffered over half of the total deaths. The President of Honduras estimated that Mitch set back 50 years of economic development. The storm wrecked about 35,000 houses and damaged another 50,000, leaving up to 1.5 million people homeless, or about 20% of the country's population. Mitch directly caused $2.005 billion in damage, with an additional $1.8 billion in indirect costs. Most of the damage was ruined crops, and cash crop exports were cut by 9.4% in 1999, largely due to the storm. Over 70% of the transportation infrastructure was damaged, mostly damaged highways and bridges. Widespread areas experienced power outages, and about 70% of the country lost water after the storm. In the capital, Tegucigalpa, a large landslide affected three neighborhoods and formed a temporary dam. Floods in the city damaged buildings that were over 350 years old. Throughout the country, there were at least 7,000 fatalities, some reported in each department. Following the storm, officials in Honduras requested international assistance, which totaled $2.8 billion over a several year period. Despite this, the gross domestic product began decreasing at the end of 1998, and contracted by 1.9% in 1999. Officials enacted a widespread curfew following the storm, and for 15 days temporarily restricted constitutional rights to maintain order. There were outbreaks in various diseases, and many residents faced food and water shortages.
The effects of Hurricane Mitch in Honduras included the worst flooding in Honduras in the 20th century. Hurricane Mitch, the strongest storm of the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season, formed on October 22, and after becoming a Category 5 hurricane, it weakened and struck Honduras on October 29. While near peak intensity, Mitch struck the offshore Guanaja island, where it nearly destroyed the mangrove forest. On the mainland, the hurricane dropped torrential rainfall, and many gauges were washed away in mountainous areas where unofficial rainfall totals were as high as 1900 mm (75 in). The highest official total was 928 mm (36.5 in) at Choluteca in southern Honduras, which was more than half of the annual precipitation average there. The rains caused widespread flooding and landslides, although impact from winds was not as severe.
Tegucigalpa, colloquially referred to as Téguz, is the capital and largest city of Honduras along with its twin sister, Comayagüela.
Honduras is divided into 18 departments. Each department is headed by a governor, who is appointed by the President of Honduras. The governor represents the executive branch in the region in addition to acting as intermediary between municipalities and various national authorities; resolves issues arising between municipalities; oversees the penitentiaries and prisons in his department; and regularly works with the various Secretaries of State that form the President's Cabinet. To be eligible for appointment as governor, the individual must a) live for five consecutive years in the department; b) be Honduran; c) be older than 18 years of age and; d) know how to read and write.
Due to the slow motion from October 29 to November 3, Hurricane Mitch dropped historic amounts of rainfall in Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, with unofficial reports of up to 75 inches (1,900 mm). Deaths due to catastrophic flooding made it the second deadliest Atlantic hurricane in history after the Great Hurricane of 1780; at least 11,374 people were confirmed to have been killed with over 11,000 left missing by the end of 1998; the true death toll may never be known. Additionally, roughly 2.7 million were left homeless as a result of the hurricane. Total damages caused by the hurricane were estimated to be around $6 billion (1998 USD).
Guatemala, officially the Republic of Guatemala, is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, Belize and the Caribbean to the northeast, Honduras to the east, El Salvador to the southeast and the Pacific Ocean to the south. With an estimated population of around 16.6 million, it is the most populated country in Central America. Guatemala is a representative democracy; its capital and largest city is Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, also known as Guatemala City.
Nicaragua, officially the Republic of Nicaragua, is the largest country in the Central American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the northwest, the Caribbean to the east, Costa Rica to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. Managua is the country's capital and largest city and is also the third-largest city in Central America, behind Tegucigalpa and Guatemala City. The multi-ethnic population of six million includes people of indigenous, European, African, and Asian heritage. The main language is Spanish. Indigenous tribes on the Mosquito Coast speak their own languages and English.
The Great Hurricane of 1780, also known as Huracán San Calixto, the Great Hurricane of the Antilles, and the 1780 Disaster, is the deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record. Between 20,000 and 24,000 people died throughout the Lesser Antilles when the storm passed through them from October 10–16. Specifics on the hurricane's track and strength are unknown because the official Atlantic hurricane database goes back only to 1851.
|Most intense Atlantic hurricanes|
Tropical Depression Thirteen formed on October 22 over the southwestern Caribbean Sea, from a tropical wave that exited Africa on October 10. It executed a small loop, and while doing so intensified into Tropical Storm Mitch. A weakness in a ridge allowed the storm to track slowly to the north. After becoming disorganized due to wind shear from an upper-level low, Mitch quickly intensified in response to favorable conditions, including warm waters and good outflow. It became a hurricane on October 24 and developed an eye. After turning to the west, Mitch rapidly intensified, first into a major hurricane on October 25 and then into a Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale the next day.
Tropical waves, easterly waves, or tropical easterly waves, also known as African easterly waves in the Atlantic region, are a type of atmospheric trough, an elongated area of relatively low air pressure, oriented north to south, which moves from east to west across the tropics, causing areas of cloudiness and thunderstorms. West-moving waves can also form from the tail end of frontal zones in the subtropics and tropics, and may be referred to as easterly waves, but these waves are not properly called tropical waves; they are a form of inverted trough sharing many characteristics with fully tropical waves. All tropical waves form in the easterly flow along the equatorward side of the subtropical ridge or belt of high pressure which lies north and south of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Tropical waves are generally carried westward by the prevailing easterly winds along the tropics and subtropics near the equator. They can lead to the formation of tropical cyclones in the north Atlantic and northeastern Pacific basins. A tropical wave study is aided by Hovmöller diagrams, a graph of meteorological data.
Wind shear, sometimes referred to as wind gradient, is a difference in wind speed or direction over a relatively short distance in the atmosphere. Atmospheric wind shear is normally described as either vertical or horizontal wind shear. Vertical wind shear is a change in wind speed or direction with change in altitude. Horizontal wind shear is a change in wind speed with change in lateral position for a given altitude.
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.
At peak intensity, Mitch maintained maximum sustained winds of 180 mph (285 km/h) while off the northern coast of Honduras. Hurricane Hunters reported a minimum barometric pressure of 905 mbar (26.7 inHg), which at the time was the lowest in the month of October and tied for the fourth lowest for any Atlantic hurricane. Initially, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and various tropical cyclone forecast models anticipated a turn to the north, threatening the Yucatán peninsula. Instead, Mitch turned to the south, due to a ridge that was not observed while the storm was active. Land interaction imparted weakening, and the hurricane made landfall on Honduras on October 29 with winds of 80 mph (130 km/h). Mitch slowly weakened while turning to the west over land, maintaining deep convection over waters. After moving across mountainous terrain in Central America, the surface circulation of Mitch dissipated on November 1. The next day, the remnants reached the Gulf of Mexico, which reorganized into a tropical storm on November 3. Mitch accelerated to the northeast ahead of a cold front, moving across the Yucatán peninsula before striking near Naples, Florida on November 5. Shortly thereafter, the storm became an extratropical cyclone, which was tracked by the NHC until November 9, at a point north of Scotland.
The maximum sustained wind associated with a tropical cyclone is a common indicator of the intensity of the storm. Within a mature tropical cyclone, it is found within the eyewall at a distance defined as the radius of maximum wind, or RMW. Unlike gusts, the value of these winds are determined via their sampling and averaging the sampled results over a period of time. Wind measuring has been standardized globally to reflect the winds at 10 metres (33 ft) above the Earth's surface, and the maximum sustained wind represents the highest average wind over either a one-minute (US) or ten-minute time span, anywhere within the tropical cyclone. Surface winds are highly variable due to friction between the atmosphere and the Earth's surface, as well as near hills and mountains over land.
Atmospheric pressure, sometimes also called barometric pressure, is the pressure within the atmosphere of Earth. The standard atmosphere is a unit of pressure defined as 1013.25 mbar (101325 Pa), equivalent to 760 mmHg (torr), 29.9212 inches Hg, or 14.696 psi. The atm unit is roughly equivalent to the mean sea-level atmospheric pressure on Earth, that is, the Earth's atmospheric pressure at sea level is approximately 1 atm.
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.
Due to the threat, the government of Honduras evacuated some of the 45,000 citizens on the Bay Islands and prepared all air and naval resources. The government of Belize issued a purple alert and asked for citizens on offshore islands to leave for the mainland. 4 hurricane, much of the city was evacuated in fear of a repeat of Hurricane Hattie 37 years earlier. Guatemala issued a purple alert as well, recommending boats to stay in port, telling people to prepare or seek shelter, and warning of potential overflowing rivers. By the time hurricane Mitch made landfall, numerous people were evacuated along the western Caribbean coastline, including 100,000 in Honduras, 10,000 in Guatemala, and 20,000 in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.Because the hurricane threatened to strike near Belize City as a Category
Belize City is the largest city in Belize and was once the capital of the former British Honduras. According to the 2010 census, Belize City has a population of 57,169 people in 16,162 households. It is at the mouth of the Haulover Creek, which is a tributary of the Belize River. The Belize River empties into the Caribbean Sea five miles from Belize City on the Philip Goldson Highway on the coast of the Caribbean. The city is the country's principal port and its financial and industrial hub. Cruise ships drop anchor outside the port and are tendered by local citizens. The city was almost entirely destroyed in 1961 when Hurricane Hattie swept ashore on October 31. It was the capital of British Honduras until the government was moved to the new capital of Belmopan in 1970.
Hurricane Hattie was the strongest and deadliest tropical cyclone of the 1961 Atlantic hurricane season, reaching a peak intensity equivalent to that of a Category 5 hurricane. The ninth tropical storm and seventh hurricane and major hurricane of the season, Hattie originated from an area of low pressure that strengthened into a tropical storm over the southwestern Caribbean Sea on October 27. Moving generally northward, the storm quickly became a hurricane and later major hurricane the following day. Hattie then turned westward west of Jamaica and strengthened into a Category 5 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph (260 km/h). It weakened to Category 4 before making landfall south of Belize City on October 31. The storm turned southwestward and weakened rapidly over the mountainous terrain of Central America, dissipating on November 1.
Quintana Roo, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Quintana Roo, is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, make up the 32 federal entities of Mexico. It is divided into 11 municipalities and its capital city is Chetumal.
|Costa Rica||7||$92 million|
|El Salvador||240||$400 million|
|United States||2||$40 million|
Hurricane Mitch was the deadliest Atlantic hurricane since the Great Hurricane of 1780, displacing the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 as the second-deadliest on record. Nearly 11,000 people were confirmed dead, and almost as many reported missing. Deaths were mostly from flooding and mudslides in Central America, where the slow-moving hurricane and then tropical storm dropped nearly 36 inches (900 mm) of rain. The flooding and mudslides damaged or destroyed tens of thousands of homes, with total damage amounting to over $5 billion (1998 USD, $6 billion 2006 USD), most of which was in Honduras and Nicaragua. Prior to Mitch, the deadliest hurricane in Central America was Hurricane Fifi in 1974, which killed an estimated 8,000–10,000.
While offshore northern Honduras, Hurricane Mitch passed over Guanaja island. 200 km/h (120 mph) destroyed nearly all of the plants and trees on Guanaja, uprooting or knocking down almost the entire mangrove forest. It is estimated that the hurricane produced waves of 44 ft (13 m) in height.High waves eroded northern coastlines and damaged lagoons. Most of the Bay Islands had damage to their water facilities. Two days of winds exceeding
While moving slowly for several days offshore Honduras, Hurricane Mitch drew moisture from the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, producing high amounts of rainfall of over 300 mm (12 in) per day. The highest official total was 928 mm (36.5 in) at Choluteca, which represented more than half of the annual precipitation average; at the same location, 466.7 mm (18.37 in) fell in a 24-hour period on October 31, which was more than double of the previous record set in 1985. There were unofficial rainfall totals in Central America as high as 1,900 mm (75 in); rain gauges in mountainous areas were washed away. The high rainfall caused many rivers in the country to overflow "to an unprecedented extent this century", as described by the United Nations. The rainfall collected in rivers, causing extensive river flooding across the country. The greatest depth recorded was 12.5 m (41 ft) on the Ulúa River near Chinda, whilst the greatest width recorded was 359 m (1,178 ft) on the Río Lean near Arizona. The rainfall also caused widespread mudslides across the mountainous country. In the country's interior, particularly the southern portion, the high rainfall caused hundreds of landslides, many of them shallow and about 95% in the form of debris flow. However, two earthflows caused significant damage near Tegucigalpa.
Hurricane Mitch wrought significant damage to Honduras, affecting nearly the entire population and causing damage in all 18 departments. –80% of transportation network was destroyed, including most bridges and secondary roads, amounting to $236 million in damage. Hurricane Mitch left widespread power outages after damaging more than 385 km (239 mi) of power lines and several power plants. About 70% of Honduras lost access to fresh water after the storm, although many rural areas had already been experiencing water shortages. The combined damage to transportation, communication, utilities, including power and water, was estimated at $665 million.The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean estimated that Mitch caused the worst floods of the 20th century in the country. An estimated 70
High water levels along the Choluteca River affected the capital, Tegucigalpa, 10 m (33 ft) above their banks. The floods damaged about one-third of buildings, including some more than 350 years old. Across Honduras, agriculture sustained serious damage, with initial estimates of 70% of crops destroyed. About 50,000 bovine were killed, as were 60% of the fowl population. Crop and agricultural damage totaled about $1 billion, which would take the country years to recover. Honduras's Social Fund for Housing estimated that 35,000 houses nationwide were destroyed with another 50,000 damaged, leaving 1.5 million people homeless – about 20% of the total population. This was the highest number of victims from any natural disaster in Honduras's history. Overall, Hurricane Mitch killed about 7,000 people in Honduras, and damage was estimated at L52,345,000,000 ($3.8 billion), of which $2.005 billion was from direct damages and the remainder from indirect costs. The overall impact represented about 70% of Honduras's annual gross domestic product (GDP).reaching levels
Though Mitch never entered Nicaragua, its large circulation caused extensive rainfall, with estimates of over 50 inches (1,300 mm). In some places, as much as 25 inches (630 mm) of rain fell on coastal areas. The flank of the Casita Volcano failed and turned into a lahar from excessive rain. The resulting mudslide ultimately covered an area 10 miles (16 km) long and 5 miles (8 km) wide.
Two million people in Nicaragua were directly affected by the hurricane. million (1998 USD).Across the country, Mitch's heavy rains damaged 17,600 houses and destroyed 23,900, displacing 368,300 of the population. 340 schools and 90 health centers were severely damaged or destroyed. Sewage systems and the electricity subsector were severely damaged, and, combined with property, damage totaled to $300
Transportation was greatly affected by the hurricane, as well. The rainfall left 70% of the roads unusable or destroyed and greatly damaged 92 bridges. Over 1,700 miles (2700 km) of highways or access roads needed replacement subsequent to the storm, especially in the northern part of the country and along portions of the Pan-American Highway. Total transportation damage amounted to $300 million (1998 USD). Agricultural losses were significant, including the deaths of 50,000 animals, mostly bovines. Crops and fisheries were affected greatly as well, and, combined with agricultural losses, damage totaled to $185 million (1998 USD).
The situation was further compounded by a total of 75,000 live land mines—left over from the Contra insurgency of the 1980s—that were calculated to have been uprooted and relocated by the floodwaters.
In all, Hurricane Mitch caused at least 3,800 fatalities in Nicaragua, of which more than 2,000 were killed in the towns of El Provenir and Rolando Rodriguez from the landslide at the Casita volcano. The mudslide buried at least four villages completely in several feet of mud. Throughout the entire country, the hurricane left between 500,000 and 800,000 homeless. In all, damage in Nicaragua is estimated at around $1 billion (1998 USD).
Mitch was also responsible for the loss with all hands of Windjammer Barefoot Cruises' schooner Fantome . The story was recorded in the book The Ship and The Storm by Jim Carrier. The schooner, which was sailing near the center of the hurricane, experienced over 50 foot (15 m) waves and over 100 mph (160 km/h) winds, causing her to sink off the coast of Honduras.
On the south coast of Cuba, the hurricane caused waves of up to 13 feet (4 m) high and winds gusts peaking at 42 mph (67 km/h), causing numerous tourists and workers on the Isle of Youth and Cayo Largo del Sur to leave for safer grounds.
In Jamaica, where officials declared hurricane warnings 12 hours prior to its closest approach, Mitch caused moderate rainfall and gusty winds for days. Strong waves hit western Jamaica, with wave heights unofficially estimated at nearly 7 feet (2 m) in height. The rainfall in outer rainbands, at times severe, flooded many roads across the island and left them covered with debris. One house in Spanish Town collapsed from the flooding, leaving four homeless. Many other homes and buildings were flooded, forcing many to evacuate. A river in northeastern Jamaica overflowed its banks, while heavy rainfall across the mountainous parts of the country caused numerous mudslides. In all, Mitch killed three people on Jamaica.
On the Cayman Islands, the hurricane caused strong waves, gusty winds, and heavy rainfall at times. Damage was relatively minimal, amounting to blown out windows and beach erosion. Strong waves damaged or destroyed many docks on the south shore of the islands, and also sank one dive ship near Grand Cayman. In addition, numerous incoming and outgoing flights were cancelled.
Due to Mitch's large circulation, it dropped heavy precipitation as far south as Panama, especially in the Darién and Chiriquí provinces. The flooding washed away a few roads and bridges, and damaged numerous houses and schools, leaving thousands homeless.The hurricane left three casualties in Panama.
In Costa Rica, Mitch dropped heavy rains, causing flash flooding and mudslides across the country, mostly in the northeastern part of the country. 800 miles (1,300 km) or roads, mostly on the Inter-American Highway which was affected by Hurricane Cesar, two years prior. Mitch affected 115 sq. miles (300 km2) of crop lands, causing damage to both export and domestic crops. In all, Hurricane Mitch caused $92 million in damage (1998 USD) and seven deaths.The storm impacted 2,135 homes to some degree, of which 241 were destroyed, leaving 4,000 homeless. Throughout the country, the rainfall and mudslides affected 126 bridges and
While drifting through El Salvador, the hurricane dropped immense amounts of precipitation, resulting in flash flooding and mudslides through the country. Multiple rivers, including the Río Grande de San Miguel and the Lempa River overflowed, contributing to overall damage. The flooding damaged more than 10,000 houses, leaving around 84,000 homeless USD). In addition, the flooding destroyed two bridges and damaged 1,200 mi (1,900 km) of unpaved roads. In all, Mitch caused nearly $400 million in damage (1998 USD) and 240 deaths.and forcing 500,000 to evacuate. Crop damage was severe, with serious flooding occurring on 386 sq. miles (1000 km2) of pasture or crop land. The flooding destroyed 37% of the bean production, 19% of the corn production, and 20% losses in sugar canes. There were heavy losses in livestock as well, including the deaths of 10,000 cattle. Total agricultural and livestock damaged amounted to $154 million (1998
Similar to the rest of Central America, Mitch's heavy rains caused mudslides and severe flooding over Guatemala. The flooding destroyed 6,000 houses and damaged 20,000 others, displacing over 730,000 and forcing over 100,000 to evacuate. In addition, the flooding destroyed 27 schools and damaged 286 others, 175 severely. Flooding caused major damage to crops, while landslides destroyed crop land across the country. The most severely affected crops for domestic consumption were tomatoes, bananas, corn, other vegetables, and beans, with damaged totaling to $48 million (1998 USD). Export crops such as bananas or coffee were greatly damaged as well, with damage amounting to $325 million (1998 USD). Damage to plantations and soil totaled to $121 million (1998 USD). The flooding also caused severe damage to the transportation infrastructure, including the loss of 37 bridges. Across the country, flooding damaged or destroyed 840 miles (1350 km) of roads, of which nearly 400 miles (640 km) were sections of major highways. In all, Hurricane Mitch caused $748 million (1998 USD) and 268 deaths in Guatemala. In addition, Mitch caused 11 indirect deaths when a plane crashed during the storm.
In Belize, the hurricane was less severe than initially predicted, though Mitch still caused heavy rainfall across the country.Numerous rivers exceeded their crests, though the rainfall was beneficial to trees in mountainous areas. The flooding caused extensive crop damage and destroyed many roads. Throughout the country, eleven people died because of the hurricane.
In Mexico, Mitch produced gusty winds and heavy rains on the Yucatán Peninsula, with Cancún on the Quintana Roo coast being the worst hit. 13.4 inches (340 mm) in Campeche, while the highest rainfall total was 16.85 inches (428.0 mm) in Ciudad del Carmen.Nine people were killed from the flooding, though damage was relatively minimal. The maximum 24-hour rainfall total from Mitch was
Then a tropical storm, Mitch caused a storm surge of up to 4 feet (1.2 m) in the lower Florida Keys before making landfall on the Florida west coast. Key West International Airport reported peak wind gusts of 55 mph (89 km/h) and sustained winds of 40 mph (64 km/h), the only report of tropical storm force in the state. Offshore, the Fowey Rocks Light reported a wind gusts of 73 mph (117 km/h). In addition, Mitch caused moderate rainfall, peaking at 7 inches (200 mm) in Jupiter, though some estimates indicate localized totals of up to 10 inches (250 mm). The storm spawned five tornadoes over the state, the strongest of which was an F2.
In the Florida Keys, multiple buildings that had been damaged by Hurricane Georges were leveled by Mitch. people. Gusty winds left 100,000 without power during the storm's passage. In all, Mitch caused $40 million in damage (1998 USD) in Florida and two deaths from drowning when two boats capsized.Tornadoes from the storm damaged or destroyed 645 houses across the state, in addition to injuring 65
As an extratropical cyclone, Mitch passed west of Ireland and the United Kingdom. In Ireland, the storm produced gusts as high as 90 mph (140 km/h) and 30 ft (9.1 m) waves. The winds knocked down trees and power lines, leaving over 30,000 homes without power. One tree fell onto a car in Louth, severely injuring the driver. In Dublin, high winds knocked the roof off of a building, and several other buildings nationwide were damaged. The storm caused airports to close and ferry service to be suspended.
As a result of the hurricanes impact's the name Mitch was retired from the Atlantic naming list by the World Meteorological Organization and will not be used for a future Atlantic hurricane.The name was replaced with the name Matthew when the list of names was reused, during the 2004 season.
After the disaster caused by Hurricane Mitch, countries around the world donated significant aid, totaling $6.3 billion (1998 USD). Throughout Central America, which was recovering from an economic crisis that occurred in 1996, many wished to continue the growth of the infrastructure and economy. In addition, after witnessing the vulnerability to hurricanes, the affected governments endeavored to prevent such a disaster from occurring again.
Hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes, but many took this as an opportunity to rebuild stronger houses. With a new, structurally improved foundation, homes were redesigned to be able to withstand another hurricane. However, lack of arable crop land took away the jobs from many, decreasing an already low income even lower.
Following the passage of Mitch, disease outbreaks occurred throughout Central America, including cholera, leptospirosis, and dengue fever. Over 2,328 cases of cholera were reported, killing 34 people. Guatemala was most affected by the bacterium, where most of the deaths occurred from contaminated food. 450 cases of leptospirosis were reported in Nicaragua, killing seven people. There were over 1,357 cases of dengue reported, though no deaths were reported from the disease.
While stalling over the western Caribbean Sea, Mitch's strong winds produced strong waves, damaging local coral reefs. Later, the storm's immense rainfall led to runoff polluted with debris and fresh water. This resulted in diseases occurring within the coral. However, the hurricane's upwelling cooled the warm water temperatures, preventing significant bleaching and destruction of the coral reef.
Mitch caused such massive and widespread damage that Honduran President Carlos Roberto Flores claimed it destroyed fifty years of progress in the country. tons of food, 11 tons of medicine, four rescue planes, rescue personnel, and trained search dogs. Cuba also volunteered, sending a contingent of physicians to the country. The U.S. administration offered at first troops stationed in Honduras, and then withdrew them a few days after the storm. They also at first offered only $2 million (1998 USD) in aid, which came as a shock to residents, and president Carlos Roberto Flores alike. The U.S. later increased their offer to $70 million (1998 USD). The Honduran government distributed food, water, and medical services to the hurricane victims, including the more than 4 million without water. In addition, the country initially experienced a sharp increase in the unemployment rate, largely due to the destruction of crop lands. However, rebuilding provided jobs in the following years. In Costa Rica, reconstruction after the hurricane increased the number of jobs by 5.9%, lowering the unemployment rate slightly.Honduras, the country most affected by the hurricane, received significant aid for the millions impacted by the hurricane. Mexico quickly gave help, sending 700
Hurricane Georges was a powerful and long-lived Cape Verde Category 4 hurricane which caused severe destruction as it traversed the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico in September 1998, making eight landfalls along its path. Georges was the seventh tropical storm, fourth hurricane, and second major hurricane of the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season. It became the most destructive storm of the season, the costliest Atlantic hurricane since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and the deadliest since Hurricane Gordon in 1994. Georges killed 604 people, mainly on the island of Hispaniola, and caused extensive damage resulting at just under $14 billion in damages mostly in St. Kitts and Nevis, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola.
The 1998 Atlantic hurricane season was one of the most disastrous Atlantic hurricane seasons on record, featuring the highest number of storm-related fatalities in over 200 years and one of the costliest ever at this time. It officially began on June 1 and ended on November 30, dates which conventionally delimit the period during which most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic Ocean. The first tropical cyclone, Tropical Storm Alex, developed on July 27, and the season's final storm, Hurricane Nicole, became extratropical on December 1.
Hurricane Michelle was the fifth costliest tropical cyclone in Cuban history and strongest of the 2001 Atlantic hurricane season. The thirteenth named storm and seventh hurricane that year, Michelle developed from a tropical wave that had traversed into the western Caribbean Sea on October 29; the wave had initially moved off the coast of Africa 13 days prior. In its early developmental stages, the depression meandered over Nicaragua, later paralleling the Mosquito Coast before intensifying into tropical storm intensity on November 1; Michelle was upgraded to hurricane strength the following day. Shortly after, rapid intensification ensued within favorable conditions, with the storm's central barometric pressure dropping 51 mbar in 29 hours. After a slight fluctuation in strength, Michelle reached its peak intensity as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 mph (225 km/h) and a minimum pressure of 933 mbar. At roughly the same time, the hurricane began to accelerate northeastward; this brought the intense hurricane to a Cuban landfall within the Bay of Pigs later that day. Crossing over the island, Michelle was weakened significantly, and was only a Category 1 hurricane upon reentry into the Atlantic Ocean. The hurricane later transitioned into an extratropical cyclone over The Bahamas on November 5, before being absorbed by a cold front the following day.
Hurricane Keith was an Atlantic hurricane in October 2000 that caused extensive damage in Central America, especially in Mexico and Belize. It was the fifteenth tropical cyclone, eleventh named storm, and seventh hurricane of the 2000 Atlantic hurricane season. Keith developed as a tropical depression from a tropical wave in the western Caribbean Sea on September 28. The depression gradually strengthened, and became Tropical Storm Keith on the following day. As the storm tracked westward, it continued to intensify and was upgraded to a hurricane on September 30. Shortly thereafter, Keith began to rapidly deepen, and peaked as a Category 4 hurricane less than 24 hours later. Keith then began to meander erratically offshore of Belize, which significantly weakened the storm due to land interaction. By late on October 2, Keith made landfall in Ambergris Caye, Belize as a minimal hurricane. It quickly weakened to a tropical storm, before another landfall occurred near Belize City early on the following day. While moving inland over the Yucatán Peninsula, Keith weakened further, and was downgraded to a tropical depression before emerging into the Gulf of Mexico on October 4. Once in the Gulf of Mexico, Keith began to re-strengthen and was upgraded to a tropical storm later that day, and a hurricane on the following day. By late on October 5, Keith made its third and final landfall near Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico as a moderately strong Category 1 hurricane. The storm quickly weakened inland and dissipated as a tropical cyclone by 24 hours after landfall.
Hurricane Fifi was a catastrophic tropical cyclone that killed between 8,000 and 10,000 people in Honduras in September 1974, ranking it as the fourth deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record. Originating from a strong tropical wave on September 14, the system steadily tracked west-northwestward through the eastern Caribbean. On September 16, the depression intensified into Tropical Storm Fifi just off the coast of Jamaica. The storm quickly intensified into a hurricane the following afternoon and attained its peak intensity on September 18 as a strong Category 2 hurricane. Maintaining hurricane intensity, Fifi brushed the northern coast of Honduras before making landfall in Belize the following day. The storm quickly weakened after landfall, becoming a depression late on September 20. Continuing westward, the former hurricane began to interact with another system in the eastern Pacific.
Tropical Storm Odette was a rare off-season tropical storm that affected the Caribbean Sea in early December 2003. The fifteenth named storm of the 2003 Atlantic hurricane season, Odette formed near the coast of Panama a few days after the official end of the Atlantic hurricane season, and ultimately made landfall on the Dominican Republic as a moderate tropical storm, before becoming extratropical on December 7, dissipating two days later.
Hurricane Francelia brought significant flooding to Central America, especially Belize and Guatemala. The sixth named storm and fourth hurricane of the 1969 Atlantic hurricane season, Francelia developed from a tropical wave in the southeastern Caribbean Sea on August 29. It moved west-northwestward and strengthened into a tropical storm on the following day. On September 1, Francelia reached hurricane status, shortly before re-curving west-southwest. While approaching Central America, the storm intensified and peaked as a 115 mph (185 km/h) Category 3 hurricane on September 2. Francelia weakened slightly before making landfall near Punta Gorda, Belize late on September 3. The storm quickly weakened inland and dissipated by the following day.
Hurricane Stan was a rather weak but deadly tropical cyclone that affected areas of Central America in early October 2005. The eighteenth named storm and eleventh hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, Stan formed from a tropical wave on October 1 after it had moved into the western Caribbean Sea. The depression slowly intensified, and reached tropical storm intensity the following day, before subsequently making its first landfall on the Yucatán Peninsula. Traversing the peninsula, the tropical storm weakened, but was able to re-intensify once it entered the Bay of Campeche. Under favorable conditions for tropical development, Stan attained hurricane strength on October 4, and later reached peak intensity with winds of 80 mph (130 km/h) and a minimum barometric pressure of 977 mbar. The hurricane maintained this intensity until landfall near Punta Roca Partida, Mexico later the same day. Once over the mountainous terrain of Mexico, however, Stan quickly weakened, and dissipated on October 5.
Hurricane Gordon was a long-lived and catastrophic late-season hurricane of the 1994 Atlantic hurricane season. The twelfth and final tropical cyclone of the season, Gordon formed in the southwestern Caribbean on November 8. Without strengthening, the storm made landfall on Nicaragua. Later on November 10, the storm began to strengthen as it tracked further from land, and it quickly strengthened into Tropical Storm Gordon, the seventh named storm that season. Gordon also made landfalls in Jamaica and Cuba while a minimal tropical storm. It entered the southwestern Atlantic while resembling a subtropical cyclone. By the time it entered the Gulf of Mexico, the storm was fully tropical again. Tropical Storm Gordon later crossed the Florida Keys, and turning to the northeast it made landfall in Fort Myers, Florida. Gordon strengthened after it re-entered the Atlantic Ocean, becoming a hurricane on November 17. It briefly threatened North Carolina while turning to the northwest, although it turned to the south and weakened. Gordon deteriorated into a tropical depression and struck Florida again at that intensity on November 20. It turned to the north and dissipated the next day over South Carolina.
Hurricane Gert was a large tropical cyclone that caused extensive flooding and mudslides throughout Central America and Mexico in September 1993. The seventh named storm and third hurricane of the annual hurricane season, Gert originated as a tropical depression from a tropical wave over the southwestern Caribbean Sea on September 14. The next day, the cyclone briefly attained tropical storm strength before moving ashore in Nicaragua and proceeding through Honduras. It reorganized into a tropical storm over the Gulf of Honduras on September 17, but weakened back to a depression upon crossing the Yucatán Peninsula. Once over the warm waters of the Bay of Campeche, Gert quickly strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane by September 20. The hurricane made a final landfall on the Gulf Coast of Mexico near Tuxpan, Veracruz, with peak winds of 100 mph (155 km/h). The rugged terrain disrupted the cyclone's structure; Gert entered the Pacific Ocean as a depression near the state of Nayarit on September 21, where it briefly redeveloped a few strong thunderstorms before dissipating at sea five days later.
The 1934 Central America Hurricane is among the deadliest hurricanes on record. Although a weak hurricane, it killed 1,000-3,000 people, mainly from landslides in Central America, and spawned eight tornadoes when it made landfall in Louisiana.
Hurricane King was the most severe hurricane to strike the city of Miami, Florida since the 1926 Miami hurricane. It was the eleventh tropical storm and the last of six major hurricanes in the 1950 Atlantic hurricane season. The cyclone formed in the western Caribbean Sea on October 13, and initially moved northeastward, slowly strengthening. Hurricane King crossed Cuba on October 17, causing seven deaths and $2 million in damage (1950 USD). It reached its peak intensity of 130 mph (210 km/h) and subsequently made landfall on downtown Miami. The hurricane damaged 20,861 houses in southern Florida, 580 of them severely, and destroyed a further 248. Further inland, King caused heavy crop damage, particularly to the citrus industry. After weakening to a tropical storm, King moved across Georgia, where it caused isolated power outages and minor damage. Across the United States, the hurricane left four fatalities and $30 million in damage.
Tropical Storm Larry was the twelfth tropical storm in the 2003 Atlantic hurricane season. It was one of eight storms to impact Mexico from either the Pacific or Atlantic Oceans in the season, a near-record. Larry formed in early October from an extratropical storm in the Bay of Campeche, and reached a peak intensity of 65 mph (100 km/h). Due to weak steering currents, the storm moved southward, which resulted in the storm hitting the Tabasco coastline. The storm was the first Tabascan landfall since Tropical Storm Brenda in 1973.
Hurricane Marco caused significant flooding in the Greater Antilles and Central America, despite remaining well offshore. The thirteenth tropical cyclone, thirteenth named storm, and ninth hurricane of the 1996 Atlantic hurricane season, Marco developed in the western Caribbean Sea on November 16 after the interaction of a cold front and several tropical waves. Initially a tropical depression, it remained weak as it tracked southwestward and eventually southward. By November 19, the depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Marco, shortly before slowly curving in a general eastward direction. Marco briefly became a hurricane on November 20, though upper-level winds caused it to weaken back to a tropical storm later that day. The storm then tracked northeastward toward Hispaniola, but later become nearly stationary and curve eastward, then doubled-back to the west.
The October 2008 Central America floods were caused by a series of low-pressure areas including Tropical Depression Sixteen, a short-lived tropical cyclone in the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season that made landfall in Honduras. Heavy rainfall began in early October 2008 while a tropical wave passed through the region. On October 14, Tropical Depression Sixteen formed just off the northeast coast of Honduras, and at the same time a low pressure system was on the Pacific coast. Both systems increased rainfall across the region, although the depression dropped heavy rainfall close to its center when it moved ashore on October 15. Although Tropical Depression Sixteen quickly dissipated over land, its remnants persisted for several days. Another low pressure area interacted with a cold front on October 21, adding to the rainfall in the region.
The effects of Hurricane Georges in Haiti included $200 million in damages and at least 400 fatalities.
Tropical Storm Danielle was the only tropical storm to move through the Caribbean Sea in 1986. A short-lived cyclone, Danielle developed on September 7 to the east of the southern Lesser Antilles. Strengthening to peak winds of 60 mph (95 km/h), the storm moved through Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, where a rainband moved across the main island with hurricane-force gusts. Continuing westward, Danielle absorbed dry air from northern South America and dissipated on September 10.
Tropical Storm Aletta was a weak but destructive tropical storm that killed 308 people while meandering off the coast of Central America in May 1982. An area of disturbed weather developed into a tropical depression on May 20, and into a tropical storm around noon on May 21. The cyclone turned northeast, reaching its peak as a strong tropical storm on May 23. Aletta meandered and gradually weakened, dissipating a few hundred miles southwest of Acapulco on May 29. Moisture from the tropical system spread over Honduras and Nicaragua, causing flooding. Throughout the two countries, 308 people were killed and total damage was at $466 million (1982 USD). In the aftermath of the storm, many programs provided relief to the victims of Aletta.