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Tropical Storm Lidia (1981)

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Tropical Storm Lidia
Tropical storm (SSHWS/NWS)
Lidia 7 October 1981.jpg
Tropical Storm Lidia near landfall
Formed October 6, 1981
Dissipated October 8, 1981
Highest winds 1-minute sustained: 50 mph (85 km/h)
Fatalities At least 73
Damage $80 million (1981 USD)
Areas affected Northwestern Mexico
Part of the 1981 Pacific hurricane season

Tropical Storm Lidia was a deadly, destructive tropical cyclone that occurred during the 1981 Pacific hurricane season. It resulted in more casualties and caused greater damage than Hurricane Norma, which took place later that season.[1] On October 6, a tropical depression formed and strengthened into a tropical storm six hours later. Lidia brushed the Gulf of California coast of Baja California Sur and made landfall just south of Los Mochis in Sinaloa on October 8. Tropical Storm Lidia rapidly weakened and dissipated the same day. Lidia killed at least 73 people and caused at least $80 million (1981 USD) which is equivalent to $193 million (2010 USD) in damage. It inflicted heavy rain and flooding throughout parts of northwestern Mexico, especially Sinaloa.

Meteorological history[edit]

Map plotting the track and intensity of the storm according to the Saffir–Simpson scale

A tropical depression formed on October 6[2] while located 210 mi (340 km) south of Cabo San Lucas.[3] Ahead of a southwesterly flow over Mexico[1] and a front,[4] the depression intensified into Tropical Storm Lidia at 0000 UTC October 7. Lidia moved generally north, and reached its maximum windspeed of 50 mph (85 km/h).[2] Despite encountering warm sea surface temperatures, which are generally favorable for intensification, Lidia slowly weakened as it moved towards southern Baja California. The tropical cyclone passed over the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula on 1700 UTC October 7; at the time of the landfall Lidia was located about 67 mi (108 km) northwest of Cabo San Lucas.[3] Two hours later,[1] Lidia entered the Gulf of California, and turned to the northeast.[2] Lidia made landfall on the shores of Sinaloa about 23 mi (37 km) south of Los Mochis on October 8, with winds of 45 mph (75 km/h).[1] At 0600 UTC, the Eastern Pacific Hurricane Center ended advisories as the tropical cyclone dissipated inland about 17 mi (27 km) northeast of that same place.[1] The remnants of Lidia continued their northeast track, moving over Mexico, and ultimately emerging into the Southern United States, spurring a new frontal wave.[4]

Impact and Aftermath[edit]

Rainfall Summary for Tropical Storm Lidia

Tropical Storm Lidia caused flash flooding, with highest point point maxima was 20.59 inches (523 mm) at El Varejona and Badiraguato in Sinaloa.[4] Heavy rainfall sent water down a dry river bed in Pericos, killing 40 people, mostly children.[5] In the village Bachiulato,[6] (or perhaps Pericos)[7] six soldiers died while attempting to save peasants from the flooding.[6] In the northern part of Sinaloa, 42 were confirmed killed and 76 were missing.[8] Around Los Mochis, four people were killed.[5] About 800 houses were also destroyed in that town.[9] In Culiacán, eleven people were killed.[7] Losses to cattle, crops, and fishing vessels were more than $80 million (1981 USD), equivalent to $193 million (2010 USD).[8]

Electricity was cut off to two settlements, Guamúchil and Guasave.[8] Telephone service was also cut off to Culiacán.[9] Heavy rain caused flooding that cut off seven towns in Sinaloa from the outside world. It also contaminated the water supply in Culiacán, leaving many without clean drinking water.[8] Almost a hundred villages were flooded,[6] as were two dams.[9] The Rio Fuerte burst its banks and flooded sixty settlements. It also forced evacuations, which were enforced by the Mexican Army.[6] Mexican Federal Highway 15 was closed due to the storm, as was the Pacific Railroad. The highway was reopened shortly after the storm passed.[8] The total death toll from Tropical Storm Lidia was determined to exceed 73. This was enough to make it the deadliest tropical cyclone of its season,[1] which mostly occurred in rural areas.[10] A few days later, Hurricane Norma struck similar areas as Lidia, also causing devastation.[1]

The remnants of Lidia brought moisture to extreme southeastern Arizona.[11]

During the aftermath of the storm, food and clothing was brought to towns isolated by the storm. In Culiacán, churches, schools, and a baseball stadium served as temporary shelters for displaced persons.[8] Rescue workers also searched for bodies of victims of both Lidia and the subsequent Hurricane Norma, which hit the same area a few days later. Due to the damage wrought by both Lidia and Norma, the Governor of Sinaloa, Antonio Toledo Corro, declared his state a disaster area. He also asked the Mexican Federal Government for aid.[12]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Gunther, Emil B (July 1982). "Eastern North Pacific Tropical Cyclones of 1981" (PDF). Monthly Weather Review. American Meteorological Society. Bibcode:1982MWRv..110..839G. doi:10.1175/1520-0493(1982)110<0839:ENPTCO>2.0.CO;2. Retrieved 2011-01-01. 
  2. ^ a b c National Hurricane Center; Hurricane Research Division; Central Pacific Hurricane Center. "The Northeast and North Central Pacific hurricane database 1949–2015". United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service.  A guide on how to read the database is available here.
  3. ^ a b distance calculated from The Longitude/Latitude Calculator. Data enter in from the East Pacific best track file (ref #2)
  4. ^ a b c Roth, David M. "Tropical Storm Lidia - October 5–8, 1981". Hydrometeorological Prediction Center. Retrieved 2011-01-01. 
  5. ^ a b "The World - 44 Killed in Hurricane". Reading Eagle. 1981-10-11. Retrieved 2011-01-01. 
  6. ^ a b c d United Press International (1981-10-11). "Six Die in Flash Floods". Times Daily. Retrieved 2011-01-01. 
  7. ^ a b "Storm batters Mexican coast". The Spokesman-Review. 1981-10-10. Retrieved 2011-10-10. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f The Associated Press (1981-10-10). "50,000 Mexicans left homeless by flooding from hurricane Lydia (sic)". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved 2011-01-01. 
  9. ^ a b c "Floods strike Mexico". Daily Union. 1981-10-09. Retrieved 2011-01-01. 
  10. ^ "Tropical Storm Kills 65 In Northern Mexico". New York Times. 1981-10-09. Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  11. ^ "Split personalities". The Courier. 1981-10-12. Retrieved 2013-01-06. 
  12. ^ Associated Press (1981-10-14). "Death Toll in Mexico Put at 74 After 2 Storms Strike Coast". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-01-01.