Tropical Storm Marco (2008)

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Tropical Storm Marco
Tropical storm (SSHWS/NWS)
Marco 6 oct 2008.jpg
Tropical Storm Marco near peak intensity, just north of Mexico on October 6
FormedOctober 6, 2008 (2008-10-06)
DissipatedOctober 7, 2008 (2008-10-07)
Highest winds 1-minute sustained:65 mph (100 km/h)
Lowest pressure998 mbar (hPa); 29.47 inHg
FatalitiesNone reported
DamageMinimal
Areas affected Mexico
Part of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season

Tropical Storm Marco was the smallest tropical cyclone on record. The thirteenth named storm of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season, Marco developed out of a broad area of low pressure over the northwestern Caribbean during late September 2008. Influenced by a tropical wave on October 4, a small low-level circulation center developed over Belize. After crossing the southern end of the Yucatán Peninsula and emerging into the Bay of Campeche, the low was declared Tropical Depression Thirteen early on October 6. The depression quickly intensified into a tropical storm and was given the name Marco later that day. Marco reached its peak intensity with winds of 65 mph (100 km/h) early on October 7. Around this time, tropical storm force winds extended 11.5 miles (18.5 km) from the center of the storm, making Marco the smallest tropical cyclone on record. [1] [2] Around 1200 UTC, Marco made landfall near Misantla, Veracruz. The storm rapidly weakened after landfall, dissipating later that day. Due to its small size, Marco caused minimal damage; however, the storm's heavy rains led to floods up to 10 feet (3.05 m) deep that covered highways and damaged homes.

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".

2008 Atlantic hurricane season hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 2008 Atlantic hurricane season was the most disastrous Atlantic hurricane season since 2005, causing over 1,000 deaths and nearly $50 billion in damages. It was an above-average season, featuring sixteen named storms, eight of which became hurricanes, and five which further became major hurricanes, the highest number since the record-breaking 2005 season. It officially started on June 1 and ended on November 30. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. However, the formation of Tropical Storm Arthur caused the season to start one day early. This season is the fifth most costly on record, behind only the 2004, 2005, 2012 and 2017 seasons, with over $49.5 billion in damage. It was the only year on record in which a major hurricane existed in every month from July through November in the North Atlantic.Bertha became the longest-lived July tropical cyclone on record for the basin, the first of several long-lived systems during 2008.

Low-pressure area region where the atmospheric pressure is lower than that of surrounding locations

A low-pressure area, low, depression or cyclone is a region on the topographic map where the atmospheric pressure is lower than that of surrounding locations. Low-pressure systems form under areas of wind divergence that occur in the upper levels of the troposphere. The formation process of a low-pressure area is known as cyclogenesis. Within the field of meteorology, atmospheric divergence aloft occurs in two areas. The first area is on the east side of upper troughs, which form half of a Rossby wave within the Westerlies. A second area of wind divergence aloft occurs ahead of embedded shortwave troughs, which are of smaller wavelength. Diverging winds aloft ahead of these troughs cause atmospheric lift within the troposphere below, which lowers surface pressures as upward motion partially counteracts the force of gravity.

Contents

Meteorological history

Map plotting the track and the intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir-Simpson scale Marco 2008 track.png
Map plotting the track and the intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale

Tropical Storm Marco originated in a broad area of low pressure that persisted over the northwestern Caribbean in late September 2008. On October 4, a tropical wave reached the same area, and the system spawned a circulation center over Belize. Development of the low was initially inhibited by its proximity to land. As the system neared the Bay of Campeche, convection quickly developed around the low. At 0000  UTC on October 6, the low was designated as Tropical Depression Thirteen while located over Laguna de Términos. [2] A mid-level ridge located to the north of the depression led to movement in a general west-northwest direction. Forecasters anticipated intensification up until landfall because of the storm's well-developed outflow and the low wind shear and high sea surface temperatures in its path. [3] By 1200 UTC, the small cyclone, with a cloud shield no more than 85 miles (137 kilometers) across, was upgraded to Tropical Storm Marco. [2]

Tropical wave type of atmospheric trough

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.

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.

Belize country in Central America

Belize is a country located on the eastern coast of Central America. Belize is bordered on the northwest by Mexico, on the east by the Caribbean Sea, and on the south and west by Guatemala. It has an area of 22,970 square kilometres (8,867 sq mi) and a population of 387,879 (2017). Its mainland is about 180 mi (290 km) long and 68 mi (110 km) wide. It has the lowest population and population density in Central America. The country's population growth rate of 1.87% per year (2015) is the second highest in the region and one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere.

Favorable conditions for development allowed Marco to quickly intensify throughout the day on October 6. Early on October 7, Marco reached its peak intensity with winds of 65 mph (105 km/h) and a minimum pressure of 998  millibar (hPa; 29.47  inHg). [2] This was based on a reconnaissance mission into Marco which recorded flight-level winds of 70 mph (110 km/h), corresponding to a surface wind speed of 61 mph (98 km/h). Following the quick increase in intensity, forecasters noted the possibility of Marco intensifying into a hurricane before making landfall. [4] The storm maintained a small area of deep convection, averaging 9.2 miles (14.8 km) in diameter, as it continued moving towards the west-northwest. [5] Shortly after reaching peak intensity, tropical storm force winds extended 11.5 miles (18.5 km) from the center of Marco. [6] At 1200 UTC, the center of Marco made landfall near Misantla, Veracruz, with winds of 65 mph (105 km/h). [2] Once inland, Marco rapidly weakened, [7] being downgraded to a tropical depression six hours after landfall. The small depression dissipated later that day over the mountains of Mexico. [2]

Bar (unit) non-SI unit of pressure

The bar is a metric unit of pressure, but is not approved as part of the International System of Units (SI). It is defined as exactly equal to 100,000 Pa, which is slightly less than the current average atmospheric pressure on Earth at sea level.

Pascal (unit) SI unit of pressure

The pascal is the SI derived unit of pressure used to quantify internal pressure, stress, Young's modulus and ultimate tensile strength. It is defined as one newton per square metre. It is named after the French polymath Blaise Pascal.

Inch of mercury is a unit of measurement for pressure. It is still used for barometric pressure in weather reports, refrigeration and aviation in the United States.

Preparations, impact, and records

Tropical Storms Marco (center), Norbert (bottom left), and the low that would eventually become Odile (bottom) on October 6. Marco Norber Odile 10-6-08 2245Z.jpg
Tropical Storms Marco (center), Norbert (bottom left), and the low that would eventually become Odile (bottom) on October 6.

Upon the storm's formation, the Government of Mexico issued a tropical storm warning for the Gulf of Mexico from Tuxpan to Punta El Lagarto. [8] That afternoon the government issued a hurricane watch between Cabo Rojo and Veracruz, and extended the tropical storm warning northward to Cabo Rojo. [9] Officials closed schools ahead of the storm and opened 200 shelters. [10] An estimated 3,000 people were evacuated from low-lying areas along the coast. [11] Soldiers used school buses to transport evacuees to the shelters. [10] Marco formed in the area of Mexico's main oil-facilities, [12] leading to the evacuation of 33 workers from four platforms. Six oil wells and a natural gas processing plant were also shut down in Veracruz. The Mexican Secretariat of Communications and Transportation also closed the ports of Nautla and Alvarado to small vessels as a precautionary measure. [10]

Gulf of Mexico An Atlantic Ocean basin extending into southern North America

The Gulf of Mexico is an ocean basin and a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean, largely surrounded by the North American continent. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. The U.S. states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida border the Gulf on the north, which are often referred to as the "Third Coast", in comparison with the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

Cabo Rojo is a barrier of quartzite sand deposited adjacent to the coast of the Mexican state of Veracruz, about 55 km (34 mi) south of the city of Tampico, Tamaulipas. It encloses the brackish lagoon called Laguna de Tamiahua. It is located in the municipalities of Ozuluama de Mascareñas and Tamiahua.

Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (Mexico) government agency in Mexico

The Secretariat of Communications and Transportation of Mexico is the national federal entity that regulates commercial road traffic and broadcasting. Its headquarters are in the Torre Libertad on Reforma in Mexico City but some aspects of the department still function at the old headquarters located at the intersection of Eje Central and Eje 4 Sur (Xola). The building is decorated with murals created by arranging small colored stones on the building's outer walls.

Marco shortly after being upgraded to a tropical storm on October 6 Tropical Storm Marco on October 6 2008.jpg
Marco shortly after being upgraded to a tropical storm on October 6

Upon landfall, heavy rains peaking at 7.9 inches (201 millimeters) in El Pujal, San Luis Potosí [13] and falling at rates up to 1 inch per hour (25.4 mm/h), [2] caused some flooding in coastal towns near Veracruz as people evacuated to higher ground. [14] The rains from Marco worsened flood situations in areas of Mexico already suffering from severe flooding. [10] Officials in Veracruz, in their post-storm damage survey, reported that two rivers, the Quilate and Tenoch, overflowed their banks due to rains produced by Marco. [15] One of these rivers left the towns of Minatitlan and Hidalgotitlan under 10 ft (3 m) of water. [10] Highways along the coast of Veracruz were also flooded. [16] Another 250 homes were flooded when a lake and a river overflowed their banks. [17] Thirteen municipalities within Veracruz were affected by Marco. In Vega de Alatorre, 77 people were evacuated to nearby shelters after their homes were inundated with water. Three landslides were also reported in Misantla Colipa; none of them caused damage. [18] In all, Marco's impact was light; minimal damage was recorded, and none of the estimated 400,000 people affected by the storm sustained injury. [2] [19]

San Luis Potosí State of Mexico

San Luis Potosí, officially the Free and Sovereign State of San Luis Potosí, is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 58 municipalities and its capital city is San Luis Potosí City.

In the wake of Marco, the General Coordination of Civil Protection of the Ministry of the Interior declared a state of emergency for 48 municipalities in Veracruz. [20] [21] [22] Relief goods were distributed to the affected areas by October 9. The Government of Mexico reported that 4,700 blankets, 2,900 mattresses, 5,554 bottles of water (each containing 500 milliliters), 260,000 boxes of milk, 250,000 packages of biscuits, and 12,400 boxes of school supplies had been distributed. [23]

State of emergency legal declaration or de facto acts by a government allowing assumption of extraordinary powers

A state of emergency is a situation in which a government is empowered to perform actions that it would normally not be permitted. A government can declare such state during a disaster, civil unrest, or armed conflict. Such declaration alerts citizens to change their normal behavior and orders government agencies to implement emergency plans. Justitium is its equivalent in Roman law—a concept in which the senate could put forward a final decree that was not subject to dispute.

Veracruz State of Mexico

Veracruz, formally Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave, is one of the 31 states that, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided in 212 municipalities and its capital city is Xalapa-Enríquez.

At 0052 UTC on October 7, tropical storm force winds extended 11.5 miles (18.5 km) from the center of Marco. This made Marco the smallest tropical cyclone ever recorded, surpassing the previous record set on December 24, 1974 by Cyclone Tracy, whose tropical storm-force winds extended 30 miles (48 km). [1] [2] [24]

See also

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