Friday 13 October 2023

One person dead after Hurricane Lidia makes landfall in Jalisco State, Mexico.

One person has died and two more have been injured after Hurrican Lidia made landfall close to the resort town of Puerto Vallarta in Jalisco State, Mexico, at about 6.00 pm, local time, on Tuesday 10 October 2023, bringing with it wind speeds of up to 220 km per hour. The storm made landfall on the sparsely populated Cabo Corrientes Peninsula to the south of the city, and rapidly disapated after making landfall, causing little damage outside of Puerto Vallarta, where several houses had roofs blown off by high winds. The person who died was reportedly driving a van in the northern outskirts of the city.

Damage caused by Hurricane Lidia in the resort town of Puerto Vallarta in Jalisco State, Mexico. Oscar Almeida/Out and About Puerto Vallarta.

Tropical storms are caused by the warming effect of the Sun over tropical seas. As the air warms it expands, causing a drop in air pressure, and rises, causing air from outside the area to rush in to replace it. If this happens over a sufficiently wide area then the inrushing winds will be affected by centrifugal forces caused by the Earth's rotation (the Coriolis effect). This means that winds will be deflected clockwise in the northern hemisphere and anti-clockwise in the southern hemisphere, eventually creating a large, rotating Tropical Storm. They have different names in different parts of the world, with those in the northwest Atlantic and eastern Pacific being referred to as hurricanes.

The formation of a tropical cyclone. Natural Disaster Management.

Despite the obvious danger of winds of this speed, which can physically blow people, and other large objects, away as well as damaging buildings and uprooting trees, the real danger from these storms comes from the flooding they bring. Each drop millibar drop in air-pressure leads to an approximate 1 cm rise in sea level, with big tropical storms capable of causing a storm surge of several meters. This is always accompanied by heavy rainfall, since warm air over the ocean leads to evaporation of sea water, which is then carried with the storm. These combined often lead to catastrophic flooding in areas hit by tropical storms.

The formation and impact of a storm surge. eSchoolToday.

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