Tracking the Storms: Hurricane Round-Up for October 15

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Puerto Vallarta’s calm demeanor was shattered by Hurricane Jova this week. Image Credit: Jgoodrich

Hurricane Jova dominated the week of October 9th, with strong winds, rain, and flooding that caused property damage and several deaths in Mexico. This coming week, Tropical Storm Irwin is gaining strength, although it may not make landfall.

Coming Storms: Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico Hurricanes

In the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico Region there are no tropical storms at present.

Coming Storms: Tropical Storm Irwin Moves Through the Eastern Pacific Region

In the Eastern Pacific, Tropical Storm Irwin moved at wind speeds of 45 mph  in the area that is to the southwest of Manzanilla, Mexico. The storm appears to be on a course that will take it away from land. It is moving south-southeast at a speed of 2 mph. The storm’s ocean bound course is a relief for residents of the area, who experienced Hurricane Jova last week. Last week’s storm killed 6 people.

Recovering From the Storm: Hurricane Jova Caused Flooding and Property Damage in Mexico

Hurricane Jova over western Mexico – Image courtesy NASA

This week, Hurricane Jova hit the Pacific coast of Mexico, causing property damage in the order of 50 million. Flooding and mudslides caused the majority of the damage. Thousands evacuated their homes, and the storm is blamed for at least five deaths. Speeding toward land with 100 mph winds, Jova hit the coast just west of the port of Manzanillo. A mudslide and a collapsing home were responsible for four of the deaths in this week’s storm. Flood waters claimed the life of a woman who was trapped in her car.

The hurricane passed within 15 miles of Puerto Vallarta, a internationally-renowned beach resort. Fortunately, the resort was on the weaker side of the hurricane and residents only experienced strong winds and rain.

Jova’s strength waned as it passed over Mexico late this week. In a typical hurricane season, the eastern Pacific experiences nine hurricanes. Jova was the ninth hurricane of the 2011 season.

Tropical Storm Fact: Different Names, Different Winds

When you’re examining upcoming tropical storms, wind speed determines what category these storms fall into.  A tropical depression is a storm with wind speeds less than 39 mph. A tropical storm has wind speeds from 39 mph to 73 mph. After that, the storm becomes a hurricane.

Lack of trees and steep slopes contribute to landslides in the wake of a hurricane. Image Credit: yummiejeu

The way a hurricane interacts with the land is also a huge factor in the damage and the death toll. Areas with steep slopes and few trees experience more landslides and flooding than areas that are treed and relatively flat. Building materials also contribute to hurricane damage. In many parts of the world, local building materials such as mud do not easily withstand hurricane winds and rain.

If you’d like to keep track of the season’s hurricanes and tropical storm activity, subscribe to our Facebook, Twitter, and RSS feeds. Every week during the hurricane season Decoded Science posts the week’s hurricane round up. We’ll discuss current and upcoming storms, their impact, and what you can do to prepare. Have a question about a particular storm? Just post your question here, or on our Ask the Experts page!

References

National Weather Service. National Hurricane Center. Accessed October 15, 2011.
Fox News. Hurricane Jova Kills At Least 5 People In Mexico. Accessed October 14, 2011.

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© Copyright 2011 Tricia Edgar, All rights Reserved. Written For: Decoded Science

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