Friday, October 29, 2010

Tomas Looks Like Trouble

The large system which has become Tropical Storm Tomas I've been watching closely for the past few days.  The outflow pattern is a little strange but this system has all the makings of big trouble so we need to keep an eye on it.  It's large, it's developing fast, conditions are good, there's plenty of hot water to fuel it, it's far south, and it's moving west.

Cyclones that form that far to the east of Guatemala usually curve right and head north long before they reach us.  However, at this time of year, at the end of the hurricane season, steering currents and fronts can conspire to prevent a cyclone from following its natural tendency to turn right.  The storm can continue to come west all the way to Central America.  What's more, this system formed far to the south to begin with, which increases the chance of what I just mentioned above.

We'll just have to see what it does.

Unexpected Heavy Rain

Yesterday (Thursday) we got quite a lot of rain.  It started at around 5:30 AM and continued off and on all day and into the night, with occasional lightning and thunder.  For much of Thursday morning the stormy weather was purely local.  For several hours during the morning we had our own private storm that remained stationary and active over eastern Izabal.  It was kind of unusual as there was virtually no other activity for hundreds of miles, but by midday, air movement picked up and patches of rainy weather spread throughout the region.

The cause was a cold front coming down from the north that turned out to be stronger than expected and reaching farther south than expected.  The air here at this time of year is unstable and rain is always possible if slightly cooler air arrives.  On Wednesday we had an extremely hot and humid day, conditions that I expect centered in this region here in eastern Izabal.  When the cooler air approached on Thursday morning, our area was the first to experience precipitation and convection which later spread over a much wider area when the air aloft cooled a bit more.

In all it was quite interesting.  The large amount of rain in eastern Izabal caught everyone by surprise.