Hurricane Beta was the twenty-fourth named storm, the fourteenth hurricane, and the seventh major hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, forming in the southwestern Carribean Sea from a broad low-pressure area. Beta was the second named storm to be assigned with a name from the Greek Alphabet, the first one being Tropical Storm Alpha. Beta made landfall near the town of Sandy Bay Sirpi as a Category 2 hurricane on October 30. Beta dissipated on October 31. Also, Beta was the first hurricane to be given a name using the Greek Alphabet; Alpha did not reach hurricane strength.
The damage associated with Beta is unknown, and there were no reported fatalities in assocation with Beta.
|Formation||October 26, 2005|
|Dissipation||October 31, 2005|
|Highest winds||115 mph|
|Lowest pressure||962 mbar|
|Areas affected||San Andrés and Providencia (Colombia), Nicaragua, Honduras|
Late on October 26, a broad area of low-pressure located in the southwestern portion of the Carribean Sea off the coast of Costa Rica developed and became Tropical Depression Twenty-Six. At the second full advisory six hours later, the depression was upgraded to Tropical Storm Beta. At 2:00 AM EDT on October 29, after staying at tropical storm intensity for quite awhile, Beta became a hurricane. By 4 AM EDT on October 3, Beta attained major hurricane status, becoming a Category 3 hurricane with 115 mph sustained winds. The Colombian island of Providencia, located about 140 miles off the Nicaraguan coast, experienced hurricane-force winds for hours as the center of Beta moved very close to or over the island, with initial reports indicating extensive damage to homes, and a temporary loss of communications with the islanders.
On the morning of October 30, Beta made landfall near the town of Sandy Bay Sirpi, 310 kilometers northeast of the city of Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, as a strong Category 2 hurricane with 110 mph winds, damaging numerous buildings, as well as knocking down some trees. As Beta interacted with land, it weakened and degenerated into a remnant low-pressure center. If Beta would've continued westward, it could've regenerated into a tropical cyclone in the Eastern Pacific basin. Beta's remnants dropped heavy rainfall over parts of Central America on Monday, prompting forecasters to warn of deadly landslides and flooding. There were numerous reports of damage, but thankfully no lives were lost. However, there were numerous reports of injuries and people missing. Late on the evening of October 30, Beta dissipated.
Also, even though Beta had moved out to sea, on October 31, lingering rains from the hurricane continued to fall on Honduras and Nicaragua. Nicaraguan officials stated that if Beta would've hit larger coastal cities, such as Bluefields or Puerto Cabezas as initially predicted, it would've been a disaster.
In Puerto Cabezas, local authorities announced a curfew in order to prevent looting. Also, they worked to cut off electricity throughout the city in order to prevent potential injuries. 60,000 people were moved into shelters, with thousands of residents trudging through heavy rainfall in order to reach shelters. Many experts, including national meteorology director Milagros Castro, spoke of the risk of mudslides, since Beta was a slow-moving storm.
In Honduras, the government maintained a red alert for the hurricane. Also, an emergency committee was working on evacuating 150,000 people from areas of the capital city of Tegucigalpa, areas prone to flooding and mudslides. Also, evacuations were being readied in five of the country's eighteen departments. Finally, the preparations ultimately turned out to be critical, since there were no fatalities, in spite of the significant damage.
In Providencia, roofs were ripped off from dozens of wooden homes, and the island's main communication tower was knocked over by Beta. Also, a tourist footbridge was torn apart by the hurricane. Most of the 5,000 island residents remained safe by climbing Providencia's many hills, in order to ride out the storm in brick shelters. Finally, at least 30 people were reported to have been injured on the island as a result of the hurricane.
In Nicaragua, Beta largely wiped out the town of Sandy Bay, with local reports stating that the town's population of 3,000 had mostly fled in advance of the hurricane. Also, trees were uprooted and roofs were ripped off of houses. Also, at least one pier was damaged by the hurricane, and many herds of cattle were killed by the hurricane. In Tasbapauni, 700 people were trapped, a town separated from the mainland, via a lagoon. 80% of the homes in Tasbapauni are estimated to be severely damaged. Also, some 200 homes in Laguna de Perlas' seventeen lake-front villages are reported to have gotten severely damaged from the hurricane.
Beta's remnants were expected to drop an additional 4-8 inches of rain on already saturated ground, President Enrique Bolaños said that Nicaragua had escaped a major catastrophe. Also, he pledged to quickly get aid to remote towns that were cut off by flooding and landslides. Nicaraguan Civil Defense Chief Col. Mario Perez Cassar said that 80% of the buildings along the central coast of Nicaragua were heavily damaged or destroyed. This is the area of the coast Beta made landfall at, so that can be expected.
Finally, one person was reported to be injured and four people were reported to have gone missing in Nicaragua as a result of Hurricane Beta. Later, the four missing men were found alive aboard a boat that had been swept out into the Carribean. A passing Panamanian-registered tanker ship found the four people, all Miskito Indians, adrift about 48 kilometers off the Nicaraguan coast after their gasoline had ran out.
In Honduras, Beta left 50 communities isolated, as well as damaged bridges in the northeastern provinces of Gracias a Dios, Atlantida, and Colon along the coast. Beta's strong winds knocked down signs, fences, trees, electricity poles and telephone poles. This cut off power and communication in hundreds of communities, and at least two highways were blocked as a result of the hurricane. Also, authorities evacuated more than 7,800 people from north of the Nicaraguan border after four rivers overflowed their banks. Also, the national soccer league suspended all its games that it had planned before the hurricane. Also, the airports at La Ceiba and Roatan, located along the coast of the country, were operating sporadically due to poor visibility, strong winds, as well as flooding.
Finally, flooding from Beta damaged rice, bean, and corn fields in the country. Also, high waters sent snakes out of the jungle into residential areas, though thankfully, there were no reports of snakebites as a result of that high water.