1959 Mexico hurricane

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1959 Mexico hurricane
Category 5 hurricane (SSHWS)
1959 Mexico hurricane analysis 27 Oct 1959.png
Surface weather analysis of the hurricane on October 27
Formed October 23, 1959 (1959-10-23)
Dissipated October 29, 1959 (1959-10-30)
Highest winds 1-minute sustained:
260 km/h (160 mph)
Lowest pressure ≤958 hPa (mbar)
Fatalities 1800 (deadliest East Pacific hurricane)
Damage ≥ $280 million (1959 USD)
Areas affected Colima and Jalisco, much of western Mexico
Part of the 1959 Pacific hurricane season

The 1959 Mexico hurricane was a devastating tropical cyclone that was one of the worst ever Pacific hurricanes. It impacted the Pacific coast of Mexico in October 1959. The hurricane killed at least 1,000 people, and perhaps double that, a record that still stands, and caused at least $280 million in damage. The system's worst impact was in the states of Colima and Jalisco due to high winds and flooding. This hurricane was also a Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale and set several records, related to both impact and meteorological statistics.

Meteorological history[edit]

Map showing the sequential path of the storm; the colored points indicate the storm's position and intensity at six-hour intervals.

The fifteenth known tropical cyclone of the 1959 season and twelfth storm in the Eastern North Pacific was first noticed on October 23 while south of Mexico. As it was already a Category 1 hurricane, it had most likely formed somewhat earlier than this date. It took the usual northwesterly track for hurricanes in the eastern Pacific.[citation needed] It steadily intensified, becoming a major hurricane on October 25 and reaching Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale the next day. This was followed by a turn to the northeast. It continued to intensify, and became a Category 5 on October 27. It smashed ashore close to Manzanillo, Colima. Weakened quickly by landfall, it dissipated over central Mexico on October 29.[1]

This hurricane's lowest central pressure is 958 millibars. Its highest windspeed is 160 mph (260 km/h). The official "best track" data set indicates that this velocity was attained after landfall.[1] However, a minor revision corrects this error, making it clear that the hurricane strengthened over water and confirming that the hurricane made landfall with strong winds due to a reading above 155 mph (250 km/h) in Manzanillo. The revision also indicates that the hurricane may have had higher winds than officially recorded.[2]

Preparations and impact[edit]

Landfalling Pacific major hurricanes
Intensity is measured solely by wind speed
Hurricane Season Landfall winds Source
Unnamed 1959 160 mph (255 km/h) [3]
Kenna 2002 150 mph (240 km/h) [4]
Unnamed 1957 145 mph (235 km/h) [3]
Iniki 1992 145 mph (235 km/h) [5]
Madeline 1976 145 mph (235 km/h) [6]
Lane 2006 125 mph (200 km/h) [7]
Olivia 1967 125 mph (200 km/h) [3]
Tico 1983 125 mph (200 km/h) [8]
Kiko 1989 120 mph (195 km/h) [9]
Olivia 1975 115 mph (185 km/h) [10]
Liza 1976 115 mph (185 km/h) [6]

Thousands of people were unprepared for the storm. Thus, the system was dubbed "a sneak hurricane". After passing well offshore from Acapulco, it was forecast to head out to sea. Instead, it recurved east and made landfall.[11]

The hurricane had devastating effects on the places it hit. It killed at least 1,000 people directly, and a total of 1,800 people.[12] At that time, it was Mexico's worst natural disaster in recent times.[11] Most of the destruction was in Colima and Jalisco.[13] A preliminary estimate of property damage was $280 million (1959 USD).[14]

The storm sank three merchant ships,[15] and two other vessels.[16] On one ship, the Sinaloa,[17] 21 of 38 hands went down.[18] On another, the El Caribe, all hands were lost.[17] As many as 150 total boats were sunk.[13]

A quarter of the homes in Cihuatlán, Jalisco, were totally destroyed, leaving many homeless.[15] In Manzanillo, Colima, 40 percent of all homes were destroyed, and four ships in the harbor were sunk.[19] Large portions of Colima and Jalisco were isolated by flooding. Hundreds of people were stranded. Minatitlán, Colima, suffered especially, as 800 people out of its population of 1000 were dead or missing, according to a message sent to President Adolfo López Mateos.[16] In Colima, all coconut plantations were blown down and thousands of people were left out of work. That state's economy was damaged enough that officials thought it would take years to recover.[13]

The hurricane also dumped heavy rains along its path. This water-logged the hills near Minatitlán, and contributed to huge mudslide late on October 29 that claimed 800 victims. The slide uncovered hundreds of venomous scorpions and snakes, which killed tens more people in the aftermath.[12] Additional hordes of scorpions were driven from their nests when the adobe walls crumbled away. The Governor of Colima, Rodolfo Chávez Carrillo and his wife issued a plea for venom inoculations afterwards.[11] In some places, the mud was 10 feet (3.0 m) deep.[20] Water supplies were badly polluted, both by debris and dead bodies.[13]

Aftermath[edit]

In the aftermath, air rescue operations were conducted, but the destruction of roads in the area hindered convoys carrying aid.[21] Planes also made supply drops, but rescue operations were hindered by broken roads and rails.[16] Survivors were vaccinated against typhoid and tetanus.[20] Part of Manzanillo was placed under quarantine.[13]

Records[edit]

Known Pacific hurricanes that have killed at least 100 people
Hurricane Season Fatalities Source
"Mexico" 1959 1,800 [12]
Paul 1982 1,696 [22][23][24][25][26]
Liza 1976 1,108 [27][28]
Tara 1961 436 [29]
Aletta 1982 308 [30][31]
Pauline 1997 230–400 [32]
Agatha 2010 190 [33][34]
Manuel 2013 169 [35]
Tico 1983 141 [36][37]
Ismael 1995 116 [38]
"Lower California" 1931 110 [39][40]
"Mazatlán" 1943 100 [41]
Lidia 1981 100 [34]

This hurricane holds several records: By windspeed, it is the strongest landfall of any known East Pacific hurricane.[42] Of the five tropical cyclones to make landfall in Mexico at Category 5 intensity,[43][44] this one was only one to do so on the Pacific coast of Mexico.[43] The other four are hurricanes Janet, Anita, Gilbert,[43] and Dean.[44] Also, it is the only known Pacific hurricane to make landfall as a Category 5.[1][2][42] Reaching Category 5 intensity on October 27, it holds the record for the latest date any Pacific hurricane has done that in a season.[1] Similarly, it is the first known Pacific hurricane to reach Category 5 intensity in the eastern Pacific proper (between 140°W and North America); the only earlier system, Hurricane Patsy, was located in the Central Pacific (140°W to the dateline),[1] although records before 1949 remain incomplete.

The cyclone was the deadliest east Pacific hurricane. Its death totals are higher than any other known Pacific hurricane,[12][15][45] including Hurricanes Paul[46] and Liza,[12][47][48] the only other known systems to cause 1000 deaths. It was also one of the most intense landfalling Pacific Hurricanes.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Eastern North Pacific Tracks File 1949–2007". National Hurricane Center. March 4, 2008. Archived from the original on August 22, 2008. Retrieved March 11, 2008. 
  2. ^ a b "EPAC HURDAT Metadata". Archived from the original on June 24, 2009. Retrieved March 11, 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c Blake, Eric S; Gibney, Ethan J; Brown, Daniel P; Mainelli, Michelle; Franklin, James L; Kimberlain, Todd B; Hammer, Gregory R (2009). Tropical Cyclones of the Eastern North Pacific Basin, 1949-2006 (PDF). United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Archived from the original on July 28, 2013. Retrieved June 14, 2013. 
  4. ^ Franklin, James L (December 26, 2002). Hurricane Kenna 2002 (Tropical Cyclone Report). United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/2002kenna.shtml. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
  5. ^ Central Pacific Hurricane Center. The 1992 Central Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season. United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service. http://www.prh.noaa.gov/cphc/summaries/1992.php. Retrieved November 28, 2007.
  6. ^ a b Gunther, Emil B. (April 1, 1977). "Eastern Pacific Tropical Cyclones of 1976". Monthly Weather Review 105 (4): 508–522. Bibcode:1977MWRv..105..508G. doi:10.1175/1520-0493(1977)105<0508:EPTCO>2.0.CO;2. Retrieved April 25, 2010. 
  7. ^ Knabb, Richard D (November 3, 2006) (PDF). Hurricane Lane 2006 (Tropical Cyclone Report). United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/TCR-EP132006_Lane.pdf. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
  8. ^ Gunther, Emil B; Cross, R.L. (1984). "Eastern North Pacific Tropical Cyclones of 1983". Monthly Weather Review 112 (7): 1419–1440. Bibcode:1984MWRv..112.1419G. doi:10.1175/1520-0493(1984)112<1419:ENPTCO>2.0.CO;2. 
  9. ^ Mayfield, Britt Max (November 18, 1989). Hurricane Kiko 1989 (Report). United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service. p. 1. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/epacific/ep1989-prelim/kiko/. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
  10. ^ Baum, Robert A (1976). "Eastern North Pacific Tropical Cyclones of 1975" (PDF). Monthly Weather Review 104: 487. Bibcode:1976MWRv..104..475B. doi:10.1175/1520-0493(1976)104<0475:ENPTCO>2.0.CO;2. 
  11. ^ a b c "Scorpions Add To Storm Havoc" (PDF). San Mateo Times. October 30, 1959. Archived from the original on September 18, 2008. Retrieved May 9, 2008. 
  12. ^ a b c d e "Natural Hazards of North America". Supplement to National Geographic magazine (Map) (National Geographic Society). April 1998. 
  13. ^ a b c d e "Mexico Fights Threat of Epidemic After Hurricane That Killed 2,000" (PDF). Ogden Standard-Examiner. November 2, 1959. p. 8. Archived from the original on September 18, 2008. Retrieved May 19, 2008. 
  14. ^ "Deaths Near 1500 in Mexico storm". Pacific Stars and Stripes. November 3, 1959. p. 31. Archived from the original on September 18, 2008. Retrieved May 19, 2008. 
  15. ^ a b c E. Jáuregui (2003). "Climatology of landfalling hurricanes and tropical storms in Mexico" (PDF). Atmósfera. p. 201. Archived from the original on June 14, 2006. Retrieved December 28, 2007. 
  16. ^ a b c "Toll of Over 1,000 Now Feared in Mexico Hurricane and Floods" (PDF). Titusville Herald. October 30, 1959. Archived from the original on September 18, 2008. Retrieved May 9, 2008. 
  17. ^ a b "Mexico Hurricane Kills 800". Pacific Stars and Stripes. October 31, 1959. p. 29. Archived from the original on September 18, 2008. Retrieved May 17, 2008. 
  18. ^ Charles H. Guptill (October 30, 1959). "Hurricane Kills 1000 in Mexico" (PDF). Lowell Sun. Archived from the original on September 18, 2008. Retrieved May 9, 2008. 
  19. ^ "Mexico Hit by Killer Hurricane" (PDF). Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune. Associated Press. October 29, 1959. Archived from the original on September 18, 2008. Retrieved March 18, 2008. 
  20. ^ a b "1,452 Dead in Hurricane". San Antonio Express and News. November 1, 1959. Archived from the original on September 18, 2008. Retrieved May 9, 2008. 
  21. ^ Jimmie S. Payne. "Toll in Mexico Hurricane Now at 300" (PDF). Helena Independent Record. Archived from the original on September 18, 2008. Retrieved May 9, 2008. 
  22. ^ "More Flood Victims found". The Spokesman-Review. September 28, 1982. Retrieved August 5, 2011. 
  23. ^ "More flood victims found". The Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. September 28, 1982. p. 12. Retrieved August 18, 2011. 
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  25. ^ "Nicaragua - Disaster Statistics". Prevention Web. 2008. Retrieved April 12, 2010. 
  26. ^ "24 killed from hurricane". The Hour. October 1, 1982. Retrieved August 6, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Mexico gives up to try and find storm victims". Bangor Daily News. United Press International. October 6, 1976. p. 8. Retrieved March 2, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Hurricane Liza rips Mexico". Beaver County Times. United Press International. October 2, 1976. p. 18. Retrieved March 3, 2013. 
  29. ^ Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (August 1993). "Significant Data on Major Disasters Worldwide 1900-present" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-03-25. 
  30. ^ "Nicaragua seeks aid as flood victims kill 108". The Montreal Gazette. May 28, 1982. Retrieved September 18, 2011. 
  31. ^ "Canada Aids Victims". The Leader-Post. June 10, 1982. Retrieved September 17, 2011. 
  32. ^ Miles B. Lawrence (1997). "Hurricane Pauline Tropical Cyclone Report". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2007-01-02. 
  33. ^ Jack L. Beven (January 10, 2011). "Tropical Storm Agatha Tropical Cyclone Report" (PDF). National Hurricane Center. Retrieved January 14, 2011. 
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  35. ^ Steve Jakubowski; Adityam Krovvidi; Adam Podlaha; Steve Bowen. "September 2013 Global Catasrophe Recap". Impact Forecasting. AON Benefield. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
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  37. ^ "Oklahoma residents clean up in Hurricane's wake". The Evening independent. October 22, 1983. Retrieved September 11, 2011. 
  38. ^ Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (2006). "Impacto Socioeconómico de los Ciclones Tropicales 2005" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2006-11-09. 
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  40. ^ "World News". The Virgin Islands Daily News. 1931-09-18. Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
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  44. ^ a b James Franklin (January 31, 2008). "Tropical Cyclone Report Hurricane Dean" (PDF). National Hurricane Center. p. 8. Archived from the original on 28 May 2008. Retrieved May 17, 2008. 
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  47. ^ Emil B. Gunther (April 1977). "Eastern North Pacific Tropical Cyclones of 1976" (PDF). Monthly Weather Review. American Meteorological Society. p. 508. Archived from the original on 12 June 2011. Retrieved December 24, 2007. 
  48. ^ Mary E. Clifford (1977). News Dictionary 1976. Facts On File. ISBN 978-0-87196-103-7.