Hurricane Lisa approaches landfall as Martin strengthens as a storm
Statistically, a November hurricane should form in the Atlantic every two to three years. Having two at the same time is rare. In November, two hurricanes crossed the Atlantic at the same time only twice. according to Phil KlotzbachTropical weather researcher at Colorado State University.
A hurricane warning was in effect for the entire coast Wednesday morning as Lisa moved closer and closer to Belize. The National Hurricane Center warned of hurricane-force winds and “life-threatening storm surge” near Lisa’s core, expected Wednesday afternoon into the evening.
The southeast coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula was also under a hurricane warning from Chetumal to Puerto Costa Maya. A tropical storm warning has been issued for parts of the northern coasts of Guatemala and Honduras.
“Preparations to protect life and property must be completed quickly,” the Hurricane Center wrote.
On Wednesday morning, another hurricane, Martin, became the seventh Atlantic hurricane of 2022. It is in the North Atlantic, hundreds of miles northeast of Bermuda, and is forecast to turn northeast over open water over the next few days.
Between Lisa and Martin, there is potential for a third system to gradually develop near the Bahamas over the next few days.
This flurry of late-season activity in the Atlantic follows a slightly calmer-than-average season despite devastating hurricanes like Fiona and Ian that wreaked havoc in Puerto Rico, Atlantic Canada and southwest Florida. Overall activity is currently about 25 percent below average.
The Atlantic hurricane season officially ends on November 30. November is usually a slow month, with activity tapering off and eventually leveling off. On average, only about 7 percent of the season’s storms will occur after Halloween.
As of Wednesday morning, Lisa was about 60 miles east of Roatan on the island of Honduras and about 100 miles east of Belize City. It had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph while moving west at 15 mph. Lisa’s nearly 30-mile-wide eyewall, a ring of intense winds surrounding its calm center, was visible on radar looking westward. Appeared ready to land 2 to 4 PM Eastern Time.
Onshore winds were gradually becoming stronger and were expected to increase significantly by or after midday. Along the coast near Lisa’s center, gusts could approach 70-80 mph. Belize City appears to be at the intersection of the eyewall trajectory.
A dangerous storm surge is likely for areas where Lisa’s center makes landfall. In this area, Lisa’s onshore winds will push up to 4 to 7 feet of ocean water onto the shoreline. The zone just north of Belize City could see the most growth, including the resort communities of Ambergris Caye.
Areas south of Belize City will have more offshore winds, which should limit the surge.
Heavy rainfall of 4 to 6 inches is expected throughout the system’s direct path, with localized totals of 10 inches possible.
“These rains may lead to flash flooding, mainly in Belize to northern Guatemala, the extreme southeast of the Yucatan Peninsula, eastern Chiapas, Mexico, and Tabasco, Mexico,” the Hurricane Center wrote.
Martin rather unexpectedly developed from a mature midlatitude cyclone on Tuesday. The overall system did not develop through normal tropical processes, but an outbreak of showers and thunderstorms occurred near the center of the system. In other words, a compact tropical storm has formed at the base of the non-tropical system.
It has since strengthened into a hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph. About 800 miles northeast of Bermuda, the storm was moving northeast at just over 15 miles per hour.
Martin is forecast to strengthen to a Category 2 storm with winds of 105 mph by Thursday, but then it is forecast to rapidly transition to a post-tropical cyclone, losing its tropical characteristics. It is likely to turn north, lingering south of Greenland by the end of the working week, before turning sharply east and gradually weakening as it approaches Britain.
Weather models are beginning to suggest that a large, broad, low pressure system may develop near or east of the Bahamas in the coming days. The Hurricane Center estimates a 20 percent chance it could become a tropical depression or hurricane over the next five days.
There is a chance that the system will move toward Florida or the Gulf of Mexico within a week or so, but how organized and intense it will be is almost impossible to predict this far out. If the system gets a name, it will be called Nicole.
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