Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Tropics Awake!

After yawning through much of October in the Tropics, finally a system has organized. Unfortunately, this one could mean bad news for Central America, which is especially prone to potentially deadly mudslides and flash flooding. Tropical Depression 11 formed this morning, and may strengthen to Tropical Storm Ida by tonight. But it's usually not the winds that cause the most damage in this part of the world. It's the torrential rainfall. TD 11 is expected to track over eastern Nicaragua and Honduras. Wednesday morning's motion is to the northwest at 9 mph with maximum sustained winds at 35mph.
As it does so, rainfall amounts should rise up to nearly two feet. Such a large amount of rain in a short time onto hilly/mountainous terrain can wash away faces of mountainsides, taking whatever is in its path. Often, that includes homes and the people residing there. In the valleys, flash flooding can occur in a matter of hours. Tropical systems of any strength in Central America can wreak havoc, even if the storm never reaches hurricane strength.

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