Make your own free website on Tripod.com

 

Hurricane Mitch is the worst natural catastrophe ever to hit Central America, and the third most powerful of the century.

It´s velocity was equal to Hurricane "Allan" in 1980 and only Hurricane "Camille" in 1969 and Hurrican "Gilbert" were higher.

Mitch unleashed the biggest precipitations (rain fall) ever to fell over Nicaragua in the last one hundred years.

Mitch´s damage took place during it´s three days station in Honduras from 28 to 31st. October. During those dates, Mitch stalled over Honduras with its eye standing almost stock-still, blasting terrifying winds, hour after hour. The wind speed gradually declined from a peak of 180 mph with gusts exceeding 200 to a steady blow of 100 mph. Hurricane-force winds, 74 mph and up, spread 60 miles from the center of the eye.

HOW IT ALL STARTED

On October 23, the 13th tropical storm of a hurricane season was forecasted to become the ninth hurricane late that night.

On October 24, Jamaica was under a hurricane warning and eastern Cuba from

Guantanamo to Camaguey was under a watch for Hurricane Mitch as it gained strength and speed Saturday, reaching winds of 105 miles per hour by late afternoon. Curbed by weak currents, Mitch lingered as a Category 2 hurricane Saturday, about 200 miles south-southwest of Kingston, Jamaica. It was moving northward at 6 mph and was expected to reach Category 4 status late that night, with possible wind speeds of up to 140 miles per hour in its core.

Late Saturday night, Mitch was centered about 190 miles south-southwest of Kingston and its northward movement had slowed to 5 miles per hour. The National Hurricane Center in Miami said sustained winds had increased to an estimated 120 mph and hurricane-force winds extended 55 miles from the center.

It´s nortward movement -heading northeast- indicated it was moving toward Cuba and Yucatan in Mexico.

Unpredictably, it moved south the following two days and on tuesday night -already one of history´s hardest-blowing hurricanes- it nosed closer to Honduras and that was the latest turn in the storm's unpredictable path. Three hours earlier, a forecast had said its eye would head toward Belize instead.

The following days were devastating for Nicaragua when cities like Chinandega befell with over a thousand milimeters of rain equaling a full year rain fall accumulation in just 4 days.

Mitch run through Honduras land from 29 to 31 October, came close by 40 km. from it´s capital city of Tegucigalpa -already a Category 5, the highest in the scale-. Hence, when it was coming out of Honduras, it went through El Salvador and part of Guatemala.

On November 4, when leaving Guatemala it reappeared as a tropical storm and was threatening Florida and Bahamas, but finally went away into the sea, not before leaving a death toll of approximately 25,000 human lives in Central America and economic loss yet to be calculated..

Three days of the Hurricane: death, destruction, pain and sorrow

Photos from Disaster Alert Center

Back to the Main Page