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TS2
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Notable Cyclones Part II: Hurricane Mitch (1998)
      Sun May 20 2007 08:46 AM

Here is my second entry:
Hurricane Mitch (1998)

Hurricane Mitch was one of the deadliest and most powerful hurricanes on record in the Atlantic basin, with maximum sustained winds of 180 mph (290 km/h). The storm was the thirteenth tropical storm, ninth hurricane, and third major hurricane of the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season. At the time, Mitch was the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever observed in the month of October, though it has since been surpassed by Hurricane Wilma of the 2005 season. The hurricane also tied for the fourth most intense Atlantic hurricane in recorded history, but it has since dropped to seventh.

Mitch formed in the western Caribbean Sea on October 22, and after drifting through extremely favorable conditions, it rapidly strengthened to peak at Category 5 status, the highest possible rating on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. After drifting southwestward and weakening, the hurricane hit Honduras as a minimal hurricane. It drifted through Central America, reformed in the Bay of Campeche, and ultimately struck Florida as a strong tropical storm.


Figure 1: The track of Hurricane Mitch.

The origin of Hurricane Mitch can be traced to a tropical wave that moved off the coast of Africa on October 10. It moved westward across the shear-ridden Atlantic Ocean, and remained disorganized until entering the Caribbean Sea on October 18. Upon entering the western Caribbean Sea, convection steadily increased, and on October 22, the wave organized into Tropical Depression Thirteen while 415 miles (670 km) south of Kingston, Jamaica. Under weak steering currents, it drifted westward and intensified into a tropical storm on October 23 while 260 miles (420 km) east-southeast of San Andres Island

Initially, intensification was limited due to an upper-level low causing vertical wind shear over Tropical Storm Mitch. As the storm executed a small loop to the north, the shear weakened, allowing the system to strengthen. Mitch attained hurricane status on October 24 while 295 miles (475 km) south of Jamaica, and with warm water temperatures and well-defined outflow, the hurricane rapidly strengthened. During a 24-hour period from October 24 to the 25th, the central pressure dropped 52 mbar, and on October 26, Mitch reached peak intensity with 180 mph (290 km/h) winds and a pressure of 905 mbar, one of the lowest pressures ever recorded in an Atlantic Hurricane


Figure 2: IR Image of Hurricane Mitch at peak intensity (155 knots, 906 hPa)

Mitch at Peak Intensity Loop
Figure 3: IR Loop of Hurricane Mitch at peak intensity recorded 26th October.

Because of the hurricane's destruction in Central America and elsewhere in North America, the World Meteorological Organization retired the name Mitch in the spring of 1999; it will never again be used for an Atlantic hurricane. The name was replaced with Matthew in the 2004 season.

My next entry will be tomorrow and it will cover Hurricane Katrina (2005)

--------------------
Dr. Joe Smith

Substitute Teacher at University of Central Florida

GreatWeatherForums




Edited by danielw (Sun May 20 2007 08:42 PM)

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Subject Posted by Posted on
* Notable Cyclones Part II: Hurricane Mitch (1998) TS2 Sun May 20 2007 08:46 AM
. * * Re: Notable Cyclones Part II: Hurricane Mitch (1998) Lysis   Sun May 20 2007 05:40 PM
. * * Hurricane Andrew Hurricane29   Sun May 20 2007 07:56 PM

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