Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Worst is Probably Over in Izabal

The center of Tropical Storm Matthew passed northeast of us here in Rio Dulce this morning and we are now in the relatively peaceful third quadrant of the storm.  Rain stopped several hours ago and we have partial sun. There was no significant wind, just a few gusts of around 15 to 20 MPH.  On the satellite imagery the heavy moisture in the region is in quadrants 1, 2, and 4 as one would expect.  I expect no additional heavy rain here until the storm moves a couple of hundred miles away and moisture can come into our area again, probably late Monday and Monday night.

The storm has weakened to a tropical depression as it moved over southern Belize but as you can see in the track forecast below, it is expected to pause and make a little move to the southwest before again turning northwest which will keep the storm in our immediate area for much longer than one would normally expect.  We'll have unsettled conditions and partly cloudy weather for a couple of days before weather returns to normal for this time of year.  The Peten, the Verapaces, Belize, and the Yucatan will probably receive heavy rains for the next 24 hours.

Tropical Storm Matthew 8:30 AM Local Time

25Sep10 0830 Local Time - Visible Light Image

Heavy Rain in Eastern Guatemala

As expected, Tropical Storm Matthew has been dropping large amounts of rain in eastern Guatemala.  Steady rain began in at around midnight, becoming constant heavy rain around 3 AM.  The images below show the storm's shape and position at 6:00 AM local time.

25Sep10 0600 Local Time, Infrared

25Sep10 0600 Local Time, GOES Water Vapor
From what I could see passing through Fronteras at 5:30 AM, there is strong runoff but no serious flooding. I've seen worse flooding at times in the past so apparently the rain has been falling steadily without "cloudbursts" that exceed the capacity of normal runoff channels. The streets are not flooded and there are no temporary rivers flowing across the highway.

The most striking thing was the darkness.  It should have been light at 5:30 AM but it was still pitch dark, streetlights on.  With the center of the storm over us and as can be seen from the IR satellite photo above, the clouds above us are dense and probably 10 or 12 miles thick.