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Hurricane Stan was the eighteenth named storm, and the eleventh hurricane of the horrific 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. Stan formed off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, made landfall in the peninsula as a tropical storm, then strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane in the southern Gulf of Mexico, making landfall in east-central Mexico as an 80 mph Category 1 hurricane. Stan, combined with a non-tropical system which added to Stan's torrential rainfall, killed potentially as many as 2,000 people, due to flooding. Stan is only said to be directly the cause of 80 of the potentially 2,000 deaths felt in Mexico. Stan caused an estimated $1 to 2 billion dollars in damage (2005 USD).

Stan nearing its Mexican landfall
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Formation October 1, 2005
Dissipation October 5, 2005
Highest winds 80 mph
Lowest pressure 977 mbar
Deaths 80 direct, 1500-2000 indirect
Damages $1 to 2 billion (2005 USD)
Areas affected Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, Yucatan Peninsula, southern and eastern Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador


Meteorological History

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Stan originated from a tropical wave that exited the African coast on September 17. The wave developed an area of low-pressure when it reached the western Carribean Sea. The wave organized into a tropical depression on October 1, becoming Tropical Depression Twenty. The system strengthened into Tropical Storm Stan off the Yucatan Peninsula at about 1:35 AM CDT on October 2. Stan was only the second storm with an "S" aside from Tropical Storm Sebastien in 1995, since naming began in the Atlantic basin. Stan made landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula, weakening to a tropical depression overland. Upon entering the Bay of Campeche, Stan regained tropical storm status. By 4 AM CDT on October 4, Stan was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane.

Later that morning, Stan made landfall in east-central Mexico, south of Veracruz, as a Category 1 hurricane with 80 mph winds, weakening to a tropical storm by early that afternoon. Because Stan had the ability to produce dangerous flash flooding and landslides in the mountainous regions of southern and central Mexico caused the National Hurricane Center to not stop issuing advisories on it until October 5 at 0900 UTC.

Impact

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Rainfall from Stan from September 29 - October 5.

Right around the time of Stan's existence, torrential, flooding rains dumped upwards of 20 inches of rain, which created flash flooding and mudslides, as well as crop damage, with the coffee crop being severely affected. This rain was felt over portions of Mexico and Central America, including Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Costa Rica. Most of the rainstorms were due to the non-tropical system that Stan interacted with for its lifetime. However, the impact from both Stan and the non-tropical system can be considered as a whole.

As of November 11, 2005, the official death toll stands at 1,620 from Stan. However, only 80-100 of the deaths were directly related to Stan. The non-tropical system that spawned Stan produced most of the rain, and all other deaths. Most of the fatalities in association with Stan have been primarily because of flooding rains, although 8 people did die at Nicaragua in a boat that was carrying migrates from Ecuador and Peru to Nicaragua. A large amount of the deaths come from one village alone, the village of Panabaj, located in Guatemala's Sololá department.

Finally, Stan has been compared to Hurricane Diana of 1990, Hurricane Mitch of 1998, and Hurricane Cesar of 1996.

Guatemala

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Landslide in Guatemala.

As of October 11, 2005, at least 1,500 people in the country were confirmed to have died in the hurricane, with up to 3,000 people believed to be missing. Many communities were overwhelmed in the country, and the worst destruction in the country appears to have occured in the city of Panabaj, located in Guatemala's Sololá department. The mayor has declared that the affected communities are graveyards, and that people that are missing are counted as dead. Piedra Grande, a hamlet in the municipality of San Pedro Sacatepéquez, was another part of the country that was destroyed by Stan. Flooding and mudslides have destroyed the community of about 1,400 people, and it is feared that most or all of the population has been killed as a result of the flooding and mudslides.

El Salvador

Due to the eruption of the Santa Ana volcano in the country, located near the capital city of San Salvador, on October 1, added problems that Stan caused, because it allowed more mud to flow down, due to Stan's torrential rainfall. A state of emergency was declared in the country. According to El Salvador's National Emergency Center, 300 communities were affected by flooding from Stan, with over 54,000 people being forced to flee their homes because of the hurricane. 72 deaths have been confirmed in El Salvador as a result of Stan.

Mexico

In Mexico, some 100,000 residents of Sierra de los Tuxtlas, located on the Gulf Coast of Mexico, were evacuated from their homes due to the hurricane. Also, reports of mild flooding and wind damage was reported from coastal areas of Veracruz, including the port of Veracruz, Santiago Tuxla, Coatzacoalcos, Boca del Río, Minatitlán, San Andrés Tuxtla, also included is the state capital of Xalapa, located further inland in Veracruz. Also, the armed forces evacuated residents of a dozen or so towns located on a coastal plain, located between World Heritage Site Tlacotalpan in the west, and the lakeside resort of Catemaco in the east.

As Stan progressed inland towards the Sierra Madre del Sur, to the west of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, both the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas were affected with flooding rains from Stan, with areas of Chiapas near the Guatemala border being hit hard, particularly the coastal community of Tapachula. In Tapachula, the river overflowed its banks, causing incredible destruction, including the destruction of all of the bridges leading in and out of town, meaning the area was only accessible via air. The state government reported after the hurricane that 33 rivers had broken their banks, and that an unknown number of homes, up to 20 bridges, and other infrastructure were destroyed in Stan's wake. Some areas in the Sierra Notre, located in the central state of Puebla, were flooded by Stan. Also, three people died in a mudslide at Xochiapulco Hill.

Also, Pemex had evacuated 270 employees from its oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. However, no damage was reported, and the plants were restarted.

Honduras

In Honduras, 7 deaths have been confirmed; 3 in the Lempira department, 2 in the Francisco Morazán department, 1 in the Santa Bárbara department, and 1 in Comayagua department. The town Nacaome was severely affected by the hurricane, because the Nacaome River overflowed its banks during the hurricane.

Retirement

Due to the extreme flooding it caused, the name Stan was retired in the Spring of 2006 by the World Meteorological Organization, and will never be used again for an Atlantic hurricane. It was replaced by Sean for the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season.

See Also

2005 Atlantic hurricane season

References

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Stan

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