Lisa hits Belize as Martin becomes farthest north November hurricane
When Lisa and Martin merged as hurricanes on Wednesday, it was just the third time in a record number of Atlantic hurricanes this month. According to statistics, a hurricane should form in the Atlantic once every two or three years in November.
Meanwhile, two additional disturbances in the Atlantic are being tracked by the National Hurricane Center for their potential to develop in the coming days.
Lisa made landfall in Belize late Wednesday afternoon as a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 85 mph. It struck 10 miles southwest of Belize City, which was flooded by an ocean storm surge and largely left in the dark with its mighty winds.
A remarkable thing #Storm #LISAthe storm surge of #Belize City: how fast it rushed in. At 3:17pm I was at the sea wall watching the waves crash against it. 30 minutes later I shot this. The flood had crested the sea wall and had already penetrated several blocks inland. It was all in the blink of an eye. pic.twitter.com/9Y8vb4bpvL
— Josh Morgerman (@iCyclone) November 3, 2022
The ocean surge, which pushed waters up to 4 to 7 feet above normal dry land, engulfed many parts of Belize City, home to 57,000 people, where witnesses described widespread flooding.
“Much of Belize City is under water. My hotel is completely swamped.” storm chaser Josh Morgerman wrote Wednesday night on Twitter.
Light to moderate damage houses and infrastructure were also reported.
Deeper inland, the storm dumped 4 to 8 inches of rain. Rainfall continued in some areas Thursday, with totals as high as 10 inches.
Excessive rainfall and areas of flooding affected not only Belize, but also neighboring Guatemala and parts of Mexico.
It was Lisa downgraded to a tropical depression Thursday morning when it tore up over southwestern Mexico. A low-level vortex in the center of the storm may enter the Gulf of Campeche in the southern Gulf of Mexico within a few days, but is not forecast to gain significant strength.
About 3,500 miles northeast of Lisa is Martin in the North Atlantic. The mammoth hurricane has tropical storm-force winds that extend 520 miles from the center.
The storm is moving northeast at 48 mph by Thursday afternoon, with sustained winds as high as 85 mph. Sitting at 45.6 degrees north latitude, Martin is the furthest north hurricane on record this late in the year.
“No Atlantic hurricane has been recorded as far north as Martin in November.” Meteorologist Michael Lowry wrote Thursday morning in his Substack newsletter. He attributed Martin’s high-latitude strength to “historically warm sea surface temperatures in this part of the world.”
Human-caused climate change is warming ocean waters around the world, and research has already shown it storms shown intensify further north than they were before.
It’s Martin is expected to lose its tropical character but maintains its hurricane-force winds as it moves over cooler waters over the next two days. Its remnants could eventually threaten Ireland and the UK by the weekend as a weaker but still windy storm.
As Lisa and Martin prepare to decompress, the seasonal tally of named storms in the North Atlantic stands at 13, including seven hurricanes and two major hurricanes. This is close to normal.
Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE), a measure of overall tropical Atlantic activity based on the strength and duration of all storms, is somewhat below normal, or about 78 percent of average.
Additional storm potential
However, hurricane season doesn’t end until Nov. 30, and the Hurricane Center is monitoring two more areas for potential development.
Area of disturbed weather East of Bermuda, it is forecast to move west in the coming days and has a 10 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm.
This disturbance is expected to eventually merge with another storm area east of the Bahamas, which has a 30 percent chance of developing over the next five days. It may move over the Bahamas and eventually the southeastern United States. It could cause coastal flooding, erosion and periods of rain from Florida to the Carolinas early next week.
Jason Sameno contributed to this report.
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