[36] Crop damage was severe, with serious flooding occurring on 386 sq. A National Hurricane Centre archive report said more than 9,000 people died during Mitch, one of the deadliest Atlantic storms in history. Total damages caused by the hurricane were estimated to be around $6 billion (1998 USD). The flooding and mudslides damaged or destroyed tens of thousands of homes, with total damage amounting to over $5 billion (1998 USD, $6 billion 2006 USD), most of which was in Honduras and Nicaragua. [4], While over land, Mitch moved slowly westward through Central America, while continuing to produce deep convection over waters. An archival report from the National Hurricane Center said Mitch led to the deaths of more than 9,000 people. Navigate parenthood with the help of the Raising Curious Learners podcast. [21] It is estimated that the hurricane produced waves of 44 ft (13 m) in height. With a new, structurally improved foundation, homes were redesigned to be able to withstand another hurricane. Throughout the entire country, the hurricane left between 500,000 and 800,000 homeless. Environmental Global Issues Map - Is Late Hurricane Season Linked to Global Warming? The rains reached a rate of about 4 inches (100 mm) per hour, with total rainfall exceeding 30 inches (750 mm) along the coast and 50 inches (1250 mm) in the interior areas. In Ireland, the storm produced gusts as high as 90 mph (140 km/h) and 30 ft (9.1 m) waves. Mitch directly caused $2.005 billion in damage,[nb 1] with an additional $1.8 billion in indirect costs. In all, Hurricane Mitch caused $92 million in damage (1998 USD)[14] and seven deaths. Over 70 percent of the transportation infrastructure was damaged, mostly damaged highways and bridges. The name "Mitch" was retired, and will not be used for another Atlantic tropical cyclone. Hurricane Mitch was recognized as the second deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record, after the Great Hurricane of 1780. [4] Land interaction imparted weakening,[8] and the hurricane made landfall on Honduras on October 29 with winds of 80 mph (130 km/h). [24] In the country's interior, particularly the southern portion, the high rainfall caused hundreds of landslides, many of them shallow and about 95% in the form of debris flow. International relief efforts provided significant help. The overall impact represented about 70% of Honduras's annual gross domestic product (GDP). Known as the Great Hurricane of 1780, it is among the deadliest storms ever recorded. In addition, the flooding destroyed 27 schools and damaged 286 others, 175 severely. The flooding and mudslides damaged or destroyed tens of thousands of homes, with total damag… [11], Mitch was also responsible for the loss with all hands of Windjammer Barefoot Cruises' schooner Fantome. When Hurricane Mitch devastated Central America in October 1998, 15,000 people died and a million were left homeless in underdeveloped Honduras, the second poorest country in the Western hemisphere. [36], In Mexico, Mitch produced gusty winds and heavy rains on the Yucatán Peninsula, with Cancún on the Quintana Roo coast being the worst hit. The rainfall in outer rainbands, at times severe, flooded many roads across the island and left them covered with debris. Export crops such as bananas or coffee were greatly damaged as well, with damage amounting to $325 million (1998 USD). Hurricane Hunters reported a minimum barometric pressure of 905 mbar (26.7 inHg), which at the time was the lowest in the month of October and tied for the fourth lowest for any Atlantic hurricane. [36], In Belize, the hurricane was less severe than initially predicted, though Mitch still caused heavy rainfall across the country. There were outbreaks of various diseases, and many residents faced food and water shortages. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Mud slides on Casita Volcano, northwestern Nicaragua, caused by Hurricane Mitch, 1998; the volcano eventually collapsed. The flooding damaged more than 10,000 houses, leaving around 84,000 homeless[15] and forcing 500,000 to evacuate. [4], In the Florida Keys, multiple buildings that had been damaged by Hurricane Georges were leveled by Mitch. Many other homes and buildings were flooded, forcing many to evacuate. Deaths were mostly from flooding and mudslides in Central America, where the slow-moving hurricane and then tropical stormdropped nearly 36 inches (900 mm) of rain. [11] About 50,000 bovine were killed, as were 60% of the fowl population. In addition, Mitch is the eighth-most intense Atlantic hurricane on record, tied with Hurricane Dean in 2007 in terms of pressure. The death toll in Honduras from Hurricane Mitch has risen to almost 7,000 people, and another 11,000 are missing. The schooner, which was sailing near the center of the hurricane, experienced over 50 foot (15 m) waves and over 100 mph (160 km/h) winds, causing her to sink off the coast of Honduras. Additionally, roughly 2.7 million were left homeless as a result of the hurricane. [11] Across Honduras, agriculture sustained serious damage, with initial estimates of 70% of crops destroyed. [32], In Jamaica, where officials declared hurricane warnings 12 hours prior to its closest approach,[4] Mitch caused moderate rainfall and gusty winds for days. Hurricane Mitch 22 October - 05 November 1998 John L. Guiney and Miles B. Lawrence National Hurricane Center 28 January 1999 Best track revised 4 May 2000 Mitch is responsible for over nine thousand deaths predominately from rain-induced flooding in portions of Central America, mainly in Honduras and Nicaragua. The flooding washed away a few roads and bridges, and damaged numerous houses and schools, leaving thousands homeless. However, the hurricane's upwelling cooled the warm water temperatures, preventing significant bleaching and destruction of the coral reef. [23] The floods damaged about one-third of buildings, including some more than 350 years old. As Hurricane Eta strengthened to a Category 4 storm today, headed for Nicaragua, my memories flashed back to Hurricane Mitch in 1998, one of the deadliest storms in history. Also retired is Mitch, the name of a category 5 hurricane that stalled off the coast of Honduras for two days in 1998 before slowly moving inland, inundating Central America with heavy rain and causing mudslides and floods that took nearly 10,000 lives. Hurricane Mitch was recognized as the second deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record, after the Great Hurricane of 1780. Mitch accelerated to the northeast ahead of a cold front, moving across the Yucatán peninsula and re-entering the Gulf of Mexico. Sewage systems and the electricity subsector were severely damaged, and, combined with property, damage totaled to $300 million (1998 USD). [4] High waves eroded northern coastlines and damaged lagoons. Damage to plantations and soil totaled to $121 million (1998 USD). Instead, Mitch turned to the south, due to a ridge that was not observed while the storm was active. In 1999 the name Mitch was retired for hurricanes by the World Meteorological Organization. The mudslide buried at least four villages completely in several feet of mud. Another notable storm whose name…. Agricultural losses were significant, including the deaths of 50,000 animals, mostly bovines. Omissions? There were heavy losses in livestock as well, including the deaths of 10,000 cattle. Updates? The most severely affected crops for domestic consumption were tomatoes, bananas, corn, other vegetables, and beans, with damaged totaling to $48 million (1998 USD). Overall, Hurricane Mitch caused an estimated $3.8 billion in damage, of which $2.005 billion was from direct damages and the remainder from indirect costs. At the time, Mitch was the strongest Atlantic hurricane observed in the month of October, though it has since been surpassed by Hurricane Wilma of the 2005 season. [29] Over 1,700 miles (2700 km) of highways or access roads needed replacement subsequent to the storm, especially in the northern part of the country and along portions of the Pan-American Highway. An archival report from the National Hurricane Center said Mitch led to the deaths of more than 9,000 people. This resulted in diseases occurring within the coral. [5][6] It became a hurricane on October 24 and developed an eye. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. It reached its peak wind speed of 180 miles (290 km) per hour off the northeastern coast of Honduras on October 26 and 27, when it dumped heavy rain on much of Central America, particularly on Honduras and Nicaragua. It then became extratropical and accelerated northeastward across the North Atlantic, before dissipating on November 9. The rainfall also caused widespread mudslides across the mountainous country. [30], In all, Hurricane Mitch caused at least 3,800 fatalities in Nicaragua, of which more than 2,000 were killed in the towns of El Provenir and Rolando Rodriguez from the landslide at the Casita volcano. Being "the deadliest Atlantic hurricane" in over 200 years,[1] Mitch caused catastrophic impacts across its path, but the most disastrous impacts came from Honduras, which suffered over half of the total deaths. Nearly 11,000 people were confirmed dead, and almost as many reported missing. As if Mitch wasn’t bad enough, now the person who had embodied our little remaining hope had perished. Flooding caused major damage to crops, while landslides destroyed crop land across the country. Cuba also volunteered, sending a contingent of physicians to the country. Due to rapid deforestation over the past half century, the country now is more vulnerable to hurricanes and flooding than ever before. Total agricultural and livestock damaged amounted to $154 million (1998 USD). A river in northeastern Jamaica overflowed its banks, while heavy rainfall across the mountainous parts of the country caused numerous mudslides. The floods, mud slides, and wind damaged Honduras’s entire infrastructure, ruined its agricultural crops, and demolished population centres throughout the country. Damage was relatively minimal, amounting to blown out windows and beach erosion. The rainfall left 70% of the roads unusable or destroyed and greatly damaged 92 bridges. Key West International Airport reported peak wind gusts of 55 mph (89 km/h) and sustained winds of 40 mph (64 km/h), the only report of tropical storm force in the state. Over 2,328 cases of cholera were reported, killing 34 people. [10] By the time hurricane Mitch made landfall, numerous people were evacuated along the western Caribbean coastline, including 100,000 in Honduras, 10,000 in Guatemala, and 20,000 in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. Mitch drifted through Central America, regenerated in the Bay of Campeche, and ultimately struck Florida as a strong tropical storm. Corrections? An archival report from the National Hurricane Centre said Mitch led to the deaths of more than 9000 people. Later, the storm's immense rainfall led to runoff polluted with debris and fresh water. [28], The situation was further compounded by a total of 75,000 live land mines—left over from the Contra insurgency of the 1980s—that were calculated to have been uprooted and relocated by the floodwaters. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Survivors talk about the impact of Hurricane Katrina, 10 years after the historic … Across the country, flooding damaged or destroyed 840 miles (1350 km) of roads, of which nearly 400 miles (640 km) were sections of major highways. EFE-EPA. Hurricane Mitch’s Path: Beginning just north of Colombia in dark blue, Hurricane Mitch … In Dublin, high winds knocked the roof off of a building, and several other buildings nationwide were damaged. The thirteenth named storm, ninth hurricane, and third major hurricane of the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season, Mitch formed in the western Caribbean Sea on October 22, and after drifting through extremely favorable conditions, it rapidly strengthened to peak at Category 5 status, the highest possible rating on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale. Hurricane Mitch left widespread power outages after damaging more than 385 km (239 mi) of power lines and several power plants. [11] The maximum 24-hour rainfall total from Mitch was 13.4 inches (340 mm) in Campeche,[38] while the highest rainfall total was 16.85 inches (428.0 mm) in Ciudad del Carmen. As a result of the extreme damage and loss of life it caused, the name Mitch was retired from the Atlantic naming list by the World Meteorological Organization and will not be used for a future Atlantic hurricane. Hurricane Mitch, hurricane (tropical cyclone) that devastated Central America, particularly Honduras and Nicaragua, in late October 1998. [23] The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean estimated that Mitch caused the worst floods of the 20th century in the country. The greatest depth recorded was 12.5 m (41 ft) on the Ulúa River near Chinda, whilst the greatest width recorded was 359 m (1,178 ft) on the Río Lean near Arizona. [11] In some places, as much as 25 inches (630 mm) of rain fell on coastal areas. The storm wrecked about 35,000 houses and damaged another 50,000, leaving up to 1.5 million people homeless, or about 20 percent of the country's population. In addition, the flooding destroyed two bridges and damaged 1,200 mi (1,900 km) of unpaved roads. Widespread areas experienced power outages, and about 70 percent of the country lost water after the storm. [22], While moving slowly for several days offshore Honduras, Hurricane Mitch drew moisture from the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, producing high amounts of rainfall of over 300 mm (12 in) per day. Hurricane Mitch was one of the deadliest and most powerful hurricanes on record in the Atlantic basin, with maximum sustained winds of 180 mph (290 km/h). [43], Hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes, but many took this as an opportunity to rebuild stronger houses. [44], Following the passage of Mitch, disease outbreaks occurred throughout Central America, including cholera, leptospirosis, and dengue fever. With millions left homeless and property damage of roughly $6 billion, it was also one of the most destructive. In all, damage in Nicaragua is estimated at around $1 billion (1998 USD). [23] The rainfall collected in rivers, causing extensive river flooding across the country. Hurricane Mitch was the most powerful storm of the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season.Hurricane Mitch was one of the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean.Mitch was the second deadliest Atlantic hurricane because it killed 11,000-18,000 in Central America and Mexico, it is second only to the Great Hurricane of 1780.Mitch also caused over $5 billion in damage. As the death toll climbed steadily toward 11,000 across devastated parts of Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala, Mitch became the most destructive Atlantic storm since The Great Hurricane of 1780, blamed for 22,000 deaths in the eastern Caribbean. [11] Honduras, the country most affected by the hurricane, received significant aid for the millions impacted by the hurricane. The storm killed more than 11,000 people (mostly in Honduras and Nicaragua, but also in Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, and Costa Rica), and thousands more were missing afterward. After drifting southwestward and weakening, the hurricane hit Honduras as a minimal hurricane. The next day, the remnants of Mitch reached the Bay of Campeche. [4] Offshore, the Fowey Rocks Light reported wind gusts of 73 mph (117 km/h). [45], While stalling over the western Caribbean Sea, Mitch's strong winds produced strong waves, damaging local coral reefs. Mitch at Category 5 intensity https://archive.is/20131014012122/img485.imageshack.us/img485/7544/hurricanemitchsx1.png Formation October 22, 1998 Dissipation November 5, 1998 Highest winds 180 mph Lowest pressure 905 mbar Deaths 11,000-18,000 direct Damages $5,000,000,000 (1998 USD) Areas affected Central America (primarily Honduras and Nicaragua), Yucatan Peninsula, Florida After being upgraded to a hurricane on October 24, Mitch entered a period of rapid intensification, and, by the afternoon of October 26, it had grown into a category 5 hurricane—the highest rating on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale. [25], Hurricane Mitch wrought significant damage to Honduras, affecting nearly the entire population and causing damage in all 18 departments. miles (1000 km2) of pasture or crop land. As the storm weakened and stalled near the northern coast of Honduras, the rains increased in intensity, causing flash floods and mud slides, which devastated coastal regions and the Honduran island of Guanaja.

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