The center of what’s left of Hurricane Iota is dying out over El Salvador, but moisture continues to be pulled into the mountainous areas in Central America, especially in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala. The circulation at ground level has been ripped apart by the high terrain and is dying out. But the flash flooding at high elevations continues, and that water cascades down the mountains in the gullies, valleys, and rivers. Nothing can survive the avalanche of water, mud, and debris.
This is a repeat, of course, of what happened just two weeks ago from Hurricane Eta, so the ground is completely saturated. The fear is that that is making this situation even worse than it otherwise would have been, which of course, would always have been horrendous.
Conditions will slowly ease as what’s left of Iota drifts toward the Pacific Ocean and dies out tomorrow. But it’s obviously going to be a long road back for the people there – imagine being hit by two Category 4 hurricanes back-to-back.
Even though we’re deep into hurricane season and the end is in sight, the National Hurricane Center is making note of two Possible Development Zones. One is in the Caribbean just south of where Hurricanes Eta and Iota made landfall in Nicaragua, and the other is east of the Bahamas.
In the extreme southern Caribbean off the coast of Costa Rica and Panama, conditions appear marginally favorable for a system to organize. It looks like it would stay fairly far south and probably not get very strong. It would have very little time to organize before it moved across Central America late this week or over the weekend.
A combination of the continued low pressure in the Caribbean, which is helping these storms develop, and the strong high-pressure system across the Southeast U.S. will make it a windy week on the Florida east coast. The wind will continually push the ocean against the coast and into our bays and waterways, which will elevate the tide levels slightly. We’re past the November King Tide period, so minor flooding should only affect the lowest-lying areas.
The good news is, these fronts and high-pressure will keep any tropical systems away from Florida.
An upper-level disturbance that is helping to drive the cool air south might kick off a non-tropical system east of the Bahamas. This is Possible Development Zone #2. If the non-tropical, nor’easter-type system develops, and it sits over the warm water for a day or two, it could become tropical enough to get a name. In any case, it would move out to sea, although folks in Bermuda will have to keep an eye on it.
The next two letters in the Greek alphabet are Kappa and Lambda, if they are needed.
In this crazy year, it seems like anything that thinks about spinning gets strong enough to be named. We’ll see. This has to end, right?