[IMG: Luis; Credit: Norm Nelson, Bermuda Biological Station for Research - http://www.bbsr.edu/Weather/]

The Caribbean Hurricane Page

Updates from the Islands

- - - Weather Discussions and Local Reports - - -

- - - Nicole - - -
For the latest NHC advisories and satellite images see our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Navigator
The Practical Guide to Hurricane Tracking has all kinds of definitions and other helpful info

[Tue, 01 Dec 1998 10:15EST] - This was it!
Finally, Nicole is losing it's tropical charateristics and the National Hurricane Center has just issued it's last advisories on this storm. So this was Atlantic Hurricane Season 1998. Unfortunately one of the deadliest ones... I will keep posting reports on the aftermath of Mitch and Georges.

[Mon, 30 Nov 1998 10:10EST] - The 10th Hurricane of the season
Nicole has reached hurricane strength and has become the 10th hurricane of the 1998 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which officially ends today! Nicole remains far from land though.

[Fri, 27 Nov 1998 10:10EST] - Welcome back Nicole!
What a season... Nicole has just been upgraded to a tropical depression again.... Just like Mitch it doesn't want to give up. But still, no threat to land.
On another note... Dr. Gray and his team at Colorado State University just published it's summary of the season and a look ahead for the next one... Seems like next year might be above average again. More at: http://tropical.atmos.colostate.edu/forecasts/ and look for the [new] markers.

[Fri, 27 Nov 1998 09:30EST] - Bye, bye Nicole
And yesterday afternoon the National Hurricane Center issued its last advisory on Nicole. No harm done. So, this was it for this year...?

[Tue, 24 Nov 1998 09:45EST] - Please, welcome Nicole
And here we all thought Hurricane Season was over.... I am still working daily on the Honduras-pages, and now we have the next tropical storm. But don't worry, as it looks right now this one is short lived. It is located in the far eastern Atlantic (close to the Canary Islands) and poses no threat to land, let alone the Caribbean Islands. Also, shortly Nicole will be in a 'hostile' environment with a lot of shearing, which will weaken this system. So, I guess, this is just one for the records and nothing more.

- - - Mitch - - -
For the latest NHC advisories and satellite images see our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Navigator
The Practical Guide to Hurricane Tracking has all kinds of definitions and other helpful info

The reports from my special hurricane correspondents on the islands can be found on the following pages. These are updated continuously as reports come in. On the Honduras pages information about relief efforts and pleas for help can be found as well.

[Visit the Central Atlantic Storm Investigators' Website]Thanks again to Jesse Ferrell of the Central Atlantic Storm Investigators who just like during Georges, kindly offered to share 'some' bandwidth with us, when my website was on the verge of being shutdown. Right now I am 'self-sufficient' again, so all updates are on the www.gobeach.com website. People accessing the casi.simplenet.com/gobeach site should be automatically redirected to the original one.

[Fri, 13 Oct 2000] - Recommended reading
Jim Carrier wrote a book about the loss of S/V Fantome titled "The ship and the storm - Hurricane Mitch and the Loss of the Fantome". I have read a pre-publication of this book and it is quite gripping. It also gives a behind the scenes look of what is going on at the National Hurricane Center and the Hurricane Hunters. Highly recommended. You can order it on-line from Amazon.com.

[Wed, 04 Nov 1998 10:15EST] - Mitch becoming extratropical
Mitch is finally losing its tropical characteristics. On satellite images it looks more like a big mess. But since winds near this system are still near 45mph it is simpler to keep calling this a tropical storm. It is moving quickly (finally) northeast towards Florida. Tropical storm warnings have already been issued. The biggest threat with Mitch remains the heavy rains. Florida can expect some severe weather with locally gusty winds within the next day or so..

[Wed, 04 Nov 1998 09:50EST] - News Coverage
The situation in Central America is looking more and more grim. Unfortunately I still haven't found a website similar to mine with 'local' specific newsupdates and where people can post pleas for help focused on Nicaragua. If you know of any, please let me know... I added some more links to general news-websites on the Honduras-page.

[Tue, 03 Nov 1998 16:20EST] - Mitch is back!
It's unbelievable, but the remnants of Mitch have regenerated in the Bay of Campeche into a tropical storm! A tropical storm warning has been issued for the west coast of the Yucatan Peninsula from Progreso southward to Carmen. Maximum sustained winds are near 45mph. It is not all that bad as it may seem. Mitch is moving east northeast near 6mph. On this track the center will move inland within the next 6-12 hours, where is will weaken again. So, Tropical Storm Mitch is probably short lived, but he doesn't want to give up!

[Mon, 02 Nov 1998 10:25EST] - Mitch's terror continues...
How much worse can it get...? I am deeply saddened about the many fatalities in Nicaragua and Honduras. I am trying to do my part and act as a conduit for news-updates and pleas for help regarding Honduras. Since I have a full-time job, time lacks to do a proper job in trying to do the same for Nicaragua. It is really outside the scope of 'The Caribbean Hurricane Pages' anyway. I am sorry, but hope you will understand. If anyone knows of good similar websites with bulletin boards and detailed news reports about the situation in Nicaragua, I can redirect worried people to those. You can e-mail me at gert@gobeach.com

[Sun, 01 Nov 1998 22:00EST] - Finally...!
At 4PM EST the National Hurricane Center issued their last advisories on Mitch. It has more or less dissapated in Mexico (and hopefully its 'remnants' won't redevelop over the Pacific or Gulf). However, it is not over yet for the people in Central America. For updates on the affected areas see the links below. On the Honduras-page many sources of relief efforts are listed.

[Sat, 31 Oct 1998 12:15EST] - Mitch further downgraded
Not much news, only that Mitch has further weakened and is now 'just' a tropical depression. Unfortunately it continues to bring in heavy rains to Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador which can cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides. The 'models' expect that Mitch will remain inland for the next three days, however, there is a chance that Mitch moves into the Pacific, and restrengthen into tropical storm 'Newton'. But well, this storm is something for the meteorology-textbooks under the chapter "Weather Forecast Models can fail! - Hurricane Mitch; a case study".
On another note, I am still getting in reports, updates and pleas for help (esp. from Honduras). See above for the links. Several disaster relief funds have been set up. Credit card donations can be made at: http://www.honduras.com/donate.html. Info about 'Mission Guanaja (one of the hardest hit islands) is available at: http://www.gobeach.com/mitch/mhonduras_b.htm. Others are listed on the Honduras Updates Pages. Please help!

[Fri, 30 Oct 1998 10:15EST] - Stop the rain!
Mitch is still inland and has further weakened. As it looks right now, it's center is expected to remain inland for the next 3 days, and not re-emerge over open waters (and possibly restrengthen). Hopefully this means that Mitch will rain out, but satellite images still show the organized banding features over water with a lot of deep convection bringing more rain into Honduras (and even Nicaragua via the Pacific). So winds are no major factor anymore, but all the rains continue to be a threat to Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Belize and portions of the Yucatan Peninsula.

[Thu, 29 Oct 1998 16:05EST] - It's Tropical Storm Mitch now!
Mitch has been downgraded to a tropical storm! Maximum sustained winds are 'only' 60mph and the pressure is up to 994mbar. It is weakening faster than expected (which we don't mind of course). Mitch's center has drifted a little bit more inland (between Trujillo and Limon). The new 3 day forecast indicates that Mitch's center will stay over land through this evening, then it will move northwestward. On it's way to the Yucatan or Belize it might strengthen a little more, but not to hurricane strength. I think (hope) that Mitch might be for too long over land, and with the close proximity to the mountains and small area over water, it might just dissapate and become a strong tropical wave... So, right now Mitch's winds don't pose any danger, however, the flash floods, mud slides, storm surges and battering waves continue to cause life threatening situations... But at least, I hope that the end of Mitch is coming into sight right now...

[Thu, 29 Oct 1998 10:25EST] - Good news and bad news...
The good news is that Mitch continues to weaken. With 75mph maximum sustained winds it is still a hurricane, but barely (lower than 74mph is defined as tropical storm strength). The bad news is that Mitch is still sitting near or on the coast of Honduras. Battering the mainland and islands with hurricane force winds, torrential rains, storm tides plus huge waves... It is expected to move little for the next 24 hours, so it will likely be downgraded to a tropical storm later today. For Honduras this is still bad of course, but for Belize, Yucatan, etc. this is good, since the longer it sits close to the coast the weaker Mitch will get. If it moves further off shore (over warmer waters) it is likely to restrengthen again.
The official 3-day forecast from the National Hurricane Center is a little more west again than yesterday's. As it looks right now Mitch will make landfall on the border of Belize and Mexico within 48 hours (if feels like we have we been saying this for the last week!). Winds at that time are expected to be still around 75mph. This is not too bad (considering the 180mph it was earlier). Such Category-1 on the Saffir Simpson Scale Hurricanes can do the following (taken from my practical guide):

          Damage primarily to shrubbery, trees, foliage, and unanchored
          homes. No real damage to other structures. Some damage to     
          poorly constructed signs. Low-lying coastal roads inundated,
          minor pier damage, some small craft in exposed anchorage torn
          from moorings. Example: Hurricane Jerry (1989)
So hopefully Mitch won't restrengthen too much when it gets out in open waters or that it will weaken to 'just' a tropical depression today. More info, including advisories, satellite images and model tracks at my Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator.

[Wed, 28 Oct 1998 08:25EST] - Mitch is weakening
Mitch is now a strong Category 3 Hurricane with 120mph winds and a minimum pressure of 949mbar. It's current location is 16.4N, 85.6W, or about just 30 miles east southeast of the island Guanaja and just 30 miles off the coast of Honduras. So it is very fortunate that Mitch has weakened at this point of time, though 120mph winds will still cause major damage in this area, coupled with coastal flooding, battering waves and torrential rains. The weakening is due to the close proximity to the coast of Honduras, which is preventing low-level inflow from the south. Once Mitch is getting more off-shore a little strengthening might be expected.
Mitch is still a slow mover, making it unpredictable as well. But models still indicate that it will make landfall in northern Belize, although a little moreeasternly than forecasted earlier; very close to or at the border with Mexico in less than 48 hours. Winds at that time are expected to be around 115mph... It is really hard to tell though, but since the there is the trend in forecasted tracks to be more easternly Cancun is not off the hook either... More info, including advisories, satellite images and model tracks at my Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator.

[Tue, 27 Oct 1998 16:10EST] - Belize....!?
Maximum sustained winds are now 155mph, a little lower, but still very dangerous. Minimum central pressure has gone up as well (929mbar). Mitch is wobbling around just north of Honduras. It finally seems like that the weathermodels get a grip on this system, the different models are not as far apart from each other as before. This unfortunately brings bad news for (northern) Belize. As it looks right now the official NHC forecast shows that Mitch will make landfall there in 24 to 36 hours... Winds at that time will still be around 140 mph... Also keep in mind that this is a huge storm, effects will not be limited to the area where the eye makes landfall. In addition, the forecasts are continuously changing, it is still possible that Mitch makes landfall in Honduras or the Yucatan Peninsula... So everyone in that area: stay prepared! More info, including advisories, satellite images and model tracks at the Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator (unfortunately there are some problems with the GOES-8 satellite and it has been put in safe mode. I haven't had the time to look for alternative satellite images)

[Tue, 27 Oct 1998 11:05EST] - Belize - Yucatan: Be worried
Mitch is still going strong...although it has weakened a little. Max. winds are near 165mph, and the pressure is a little higher at 917mbar. It is still moving very slowly westward near 6mph. This is probably one of the reasons why it has weakened a bit: the 180mph winds mix up the watercolumn, bringing colder water to the surface. It is forecast to weaken a little further, but it will remain a very dangerous hurricane for the next 2 days for sure. Because it is moving so slow it is still hard to forecast it's track. Right now it looks like the eye might make landfall in the southern Yucatan in a day or so... But a slight error in this forecast will change this completely. Also, it is not good to focus on the center of the storm; the accompanying torrential rains and high seas will affect a much larger area... More info, including advisories, satellite images and model tracks at the Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator.

[Mon, 26 Oct 1998 22:45EST] - Mitch tied for 4th place!
Mitch continues to be a very strong hurricane with 180 mph winds and a central minimum pressure of 905mbar! The National Hurricane Center reports that this makes Mitch the fourth strongest hurricane observed in the Atlantic Basin. The others are: Gilbert (1988), minimum central pressure 888mbar; Unnamed "the Labor Day Hurricane" (1935), 892mbar; Allen (1980), 899mbar; Camille (1969), 905mbar tied with Mitch (1998). Note that 'famous' ones like Andrew, Hugo and Luis aren't even in the top 4...
Mitch is still a slow mover, making it difficult to predict it's track, but it still looks like it will stay clear from the coast of Honduras, Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula. It will weaken somewhat since it is very unusual for hurricanes to stay this strong for a very long time, but it will remain a very strong hurricane for the next couple of days. More info, including advisories, satellite images and model tracks at the Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator.

[Mon, 26 Oct 1998 13:00EST] - A Category 5!?
Sorry, I don't have much time to write my discussion. When we were away fro the weekend a water pipe broke in my house and flooded the lower level (where theoffice and all computer stuff is...). In any case, the good news is that Mitch didn't move much further north, sparing the Cayman's! But of course this is bad news for Honduras, Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula... Mitch is looking very impressive on satellite imagery. I just saw the latest reconnaisance report in which they report 155kt (178mph) winds and a minimum central pressure of 906mbar!! This means that Mitch has reached Category-5 Status, not something we see very often (luckily). In fact, this might have become one of the most powerful hurricanes in the Atlantic ever... Mitch is still a slow mover, currently taking a leisurely pace towards the west northwest at 8mph. It is currently located at 17.0N, 83.2W, or about 55 miles east southeast of the Swan Islands and 115 miles north of the coast of Honduras.
Where will it go? Well, because it is moving so slowly it is hard to forecast. But the National Hurricane Center thinks that it will stay clear of the coast of Honduras and Belize. If it will make landfall in the Yucatan Peninsula (Cozumel, Cancun...) is still uncertain. Please, view my Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator for satellite images, advisories and model runs. I will keep posting reports from my hurricane correspondents as they come in.

[Sun, 25 Oct 1998 10:08EST] - That was close!
Mitch has become a strong Category 4 Hurricane, with maximum sustained winds near 130mph! And WOW, that was a close call for Jamaica, but Mitch made his turn to the west just in time! Right now the hurricane is at its point of closest approach to Jamaica (about 230 miles from Kingston). So, Jamaica is off the hook (see reports below as well). Now it's time to put our attention to the Cayman Islands (19.3N 81.4W). Mitch is still moving quite slowly at 7mph to the west northwest. The 3 day forecast issued by the National Hurricane Center indicates that the center of Mitch might pass within 145 miles of the Cayman Islands in about 24 to 36 hours. Since some further strengthening is expected and since tropical storm winds extend to up to 145 miles from the center at the moment, the Cayman Islands should prepare themselves for at least tropical storm force winds...

[Sat, 24 Oct 1998 17:00EDT] - Mitch becoming stronger...
Hurricane warnings for Jamaica have been upgraded to watches. Mitch is now very well organized with a very well defined eye. Max. sustained winds are near 105mph with a central pressure of only 976 mbar. It's center is currently located at 15.3N, 78.2W or about 200 miles south/southwest of Kingston Jamaica. Mitch is still moving slowly to the North (at a mere 6mph) and might strengthen to a strong Cat-4 Hurricane...
Where will it go...? The model-forecasts kept changing over the day. Because it's moving so slowly it seems to be difficult to predict when it starts making it's turn more to the west. But what seems sure though is that a a very strong mid-level ridge of high pressure is building over the Gulf of Mexico during the next few days which will prevent Mitch from moving much to the north. Most models still show that Mitch will pass Jamaica at a safe distance (for hurricane force winds that is, they can still expect gusty weather) with a turn towards the west before it reaches the island (see a couple of model runs here). In conclusion, am I happy? No, it has the potential to become a very dangerous hurricane and it is just a little bit too close already (and still moving northward) for my taste, but it still seems likely that it bypasses Jamaica.

[Sat, 24 Oct 1998 11:15EDT] - Hurricane watch for Jamaica
Mitch is not behaving as it should! Yesterday it looked like it was falling apart, but now maximum sustained winds are near 100mph, and Mitch is expected to further strenghten to 115mph! Also, it is still moving north, but a turn to the west northwest is expected within 24 hours. But the system is getting closer and closer to Jamaica. Therefore a hurricane warning has been issued for Jamaica. Current position is 14.9N, 77.9W, or about 225 miles south southwest of Jamaica.
So what will it do? It is forecasted to keep moving to the north for the next 24 hours, bringing it very close to Jamaica. Then it is expected to make a sharp turn to the west bypassing the island. People in Jamaica should keep a close eye on the system. Especially since the trend in forecasts over the last days shows a continuously much closer proximity of the storm to the island.

[Fri, 23 Oct 1998 11:00EDT] - Still stationary
Mitch hasn't moved much since yesterday. The center is currently located at 12.7N, 77.9W, or about 370 miles south of Kingston, Jamaica. Although maximum sustained winds are estimated to be near 60 mph, the latest satellite images show that Mitch does not appear to be as organized anymore. On the other hand, computer models still expect Mitch to strengthen considerably (to up to 90mph in 3 days). The most recent forecast track shows a slower forward and more easterly motion than previous ones. I still expect [wishful thinking] Mitch to bypass Jamaica but looking at the latest model runs I am less confident...

[Thu, 22 Oct 1998 17:00EDT] - Mitch
Hurricane hunters found 51knt winds so td#13 has been upgraded to tropical storm Mitch. It is expected to further strengthen to a hurricane within 36 hours. The 3 day forecast is still showing a slow north to northnorthwesterly movement over the next couple of days. So stay tuned...

[Thu, 22 Oct 1998 12:00EDT] - TD#13
Last night the area of disturbed weather in the south western Caribbean has been upgraded to Tropical Depression 13. The 11AM advisories show that the not very well defined center is located at about 12.0N, 78.0W, or about 420 miles south southwest of Kingston Jamaica. Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph, and the minimum central pressure is still quite high at 1001 mbar.
At this early stage, there is still a lot of uncertainty of how this system will develop. It is not really moving at this point of time, but it is forecast to move slowly in a northwesterly direction. TD#13 is expected to strengthen, it might reach Tropical Storm Status later today (Mitch), and hurricane status in 48 hours.
Any threat to the islands? Probably not, as it looks right now it will move well west of Jamaica (18.0N, 76.8W) and the more westerly (and northernly) located Cayman Islands (~19.3N, 81.4W). But people on these islands should monitor this system, since you never know...

[Wed, 21 Oct 1998 21:35EDT] - Heating up again
The National Hurricane Center is following three areas of disturbed weather in the Caribbean. One of them potential dangerous. The first one is in the Gulf of Mexico. It has the potential to become the next tropical depression, but this afternoon hurricane hunters did not found a low level center of circulation (yet). The next area of disturbed weather is over the NE islands. For now it is just a wave coming through bringing some rain and gusty winds. Does not seem to get more organized at this point at this time. The last area is in the SW Caribbean Sea. A rather unusual spot for tropical development. However, it looks like our next tropical depression, or even tropical storm is forming here. It is currently located around 360 miles south of Jamaica. This system does not look too impressive on satellite images, but the first advisories on this might be issued tonight...

[Mon, 12 Oct 1998 10:55EDT] - Pretty Quiet
Lisa is gone, the wave we were following last week is passing over the islands now and just bringing some rain. No tropical storm development expected elsewhere. Let's keep it this way.

- - - Lisa - - -
For the latest NHC advisories and satellite images see our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Navigator
The Practical Guide to Hurricane Tracking has all kinds of definitions and other helpful info

[Wed, 7 Oct 1998 22:15EDT] - Some rest again
Lisa is still moving east, the tropical wave in the Atlantic is still out there but doesn't look as organized anymore...

[Tue, 6 Oct 1998 13:30EDT] - Lisa moving northeast!
This is not a misprint. Indeed, Lisa is moving away from the islands! So, that's another one down. How many more to go...? Well, there is this new tropical wave which came just of the Africane Coast. It is still located far east (between 25-30W). Noteworthy is that this wave is pretty far south (5-10N)... We'll see what happens.

[Mon, 5 Oct 1998 17:15EDT] - Suprise, surprise...and good news!
Seems that the NHC found the low level circulation of the tropical wave. A drifting buoy recored 45 knt winds, so this tropical wave is immediately upgraded to tropical storm Lisa. It's center is currently located at 16.4N, 49.3W, or about 775 miles east of the islands. It is forecasted that Lisa will turn more to the north before it reaches the islands. And even if Lisa decides to take a more westerly path, it is not expected that Lisa will strengthen much more. Apparently Lisa looks much more impressive than she really is! So, for now, the Caribbean seems to be safe!

[Mon, 5 Oct 1998 12:05EDT] - TD#12?
The tropical wave, now located about 750 miles east of the islands, is still looking impressive. Apparently now low pressure center is associated with this system, since the National Hurricane Center has not upgraded it to a Tropical Depression (yet).

[Sun, 4 Oct 1998 21:43EDT] - It's not over yet...
Georges has passed. But not for many people in the Caribbean, esp. the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Puerto Rico... The Atlantic hurricane season officially lasts until November 30, so it's not over yet! And there is a very strong tropical wave about 950 miles east of the islands. It is still not very well organized, but that might change later on. At its current speed it will move over the islands within three days. We hope that it will stay 'just' a tropical wave. Some of the islands do need some rain, to wash away the salt deposited by Georges and which is now 'burning' the vegetation...

- - - Hermine thru Karl - - -

I was totally overwhelmed with Georges so I hardly noticed these hurricanes! Fortunately they didn't make landfall in the Caribbean at all.

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