Tropical Storm Bret was the second named storm of the 1993 Atlantic hurricane season. Bret formed on August 4 in the Atlantic Ocean well to the east of the Windward Islands and South America. Bret formed at an unusually low latitude, but quickly gained tropical storm status and moved westward across the Atlantic Ocean, remaining at a low latitude through its lifetime. Bret passed south of the Windward Islands and made landfall over Venezuela. Bret then made its final landfall in southern Nicaragua as a tropical storm. Bret dissipated on August 11. Bret entered the East Pacific Ocean after that and ultimately became Hurricane Greg.
In spite of being a weak storm, Bret killed 184 people, all directly, mainly due to flooding in Venezuela. Bret also caused $25,000,000 (1993 USD) in damage.
|Formation||August 4, 1993|
|Dissipation||August 11, 1993|
|Highest winds||60 mph|
|Lowest pressure||1002 mbar|
|Damages||$25,000,000 (1993 USD)|
|Areas affected||Windward Islands, Venezuela, Colombia, Nicaragua|
|Part of the||1993 Atlantic hurricane season|
The incipient disturbance to Bret was a tropical wave that emerged off the coast of Africa on August 1. This wave was among several during late July and early August of 1993 in terms of the amount and organization of deep convection. On August 2, the wave became organized enough to merit Dvorak classifications. By 1200 UTC August 4, convection became more concentrated in association with the wave, and some convective bands developed. Near 1200 UTC August 4, the wave developed into Tropical Depression Three while located 1000 miles west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. After forming, the depression moved westward at a speed of 12 to 15 knots over the following 12 to 24 hours. Around 0000 UTC August 5, satellite imagery indicated that the system strengthened into Tropical Storm Bret. Bret was moving west at a fast foward speed of 20 knots by 1200 UTC that same day. Bret moved due westward at a foward speed of 16 to 21 knots over the next four days, due to a strong upper-level ridge to the north of the cyclone that remained throughout most of its lifetime. Bret initially appeared to be steadily strengthening, with its winds increasing to 60 mph by 0600 UTC August 6. However, by 1800 UTC that same day, the circulation center became exposed north-northwest of the deep convection. A few hours later, the circulation moved back under the deep convection as the cyclone neared Trinidad and Tobago as well as the northern coast of Venezuela.
Based on observations from reconnaissance aircraft, the pressure fell to 1002 mb just after 1800 UTC August 6. Around 0800 UTC August 7, Bret moved across northern Trinidad. A few hours later, Bret moved along the north coast of Venezuela. Around 2000 UTC that same day, the circulation was back over water just offshore of Venezuela, and by 0800 UTC August 8, Bret moved across the extreme northwestern portion of Venezuela. On August 9, Bret continued over extreme northern portions of Colombia. Due to land interaction, Bret weakened to a tropical depression by 0900 UTC August 9 as it emerged into the southwestern Carribean Sea. In fact, the cyclone nearly dissipated because it was so disrupted. However, later that day, convective banding increased across the southwestern Carribean Sea. During the time Bret emerged from the coast of Colombia, there was southwesterly wind shear affecting the cyclone. However, the upper-level flow quickly became anticyclonic By 0600 UTC August 10, Bret restrengthened into a tropical storm while located about 140 miles east of the southern coast of Nicaragua. As Bret neared Nicaragua, its foward motion slowed to 10 to 14 knots. Bret made landfall near Bahia Punta Gorda around 1700 UTC August 10 with winds of 45 mph.
Satellite image of Bret making landfall in Nicaragua.
After landfall, the cyclone turned west-northwest, and the cyclone dissipated by 1800 UTC August 11 when it neared the Pacific coast of Nicaragua. Despite dissipation, Bret moved into the East Pacific Ocean and moved west and west-northwestward, eventually becoming Hurricane Greg.
When Bret moved across the southern Carribean Sea and portions of northern South America, it produced heavy rainfall, with 13 inches of rain falling in some areas.
Bret disrupted the coral reef in Curacao, where 25-50% of the reef's branches were broken off. The animals and plants there were affected as well.
In Venezuela, the capital city of Caracas received nearly 6 inches of rain from the cyclone, and strong wind gusts in excess of 50 to 60 mph. Bret produced severe mudslides in the country. 10,000 homes were destroyed in the country, killing a total of 173 people and causing $25,000,000 (1993 USD) in damage.
Bret killed 1 person and injured 1 person in Colombia. Not as much damage occured in this country as it did in Venezuela.
In Nicaragua, where Bret made its final landfall, 10 people were killed, 9 of which died when a Spanish vessel sank. 35,000 people were left homeless in the country.
Lack of Retirement
In spite of the enormous loss of life, the name Bret was not retired in the Spring of 1994 by the World Meteorological Organization. Bret was used again during 1999 and 2005. It is on the list of names to be used for the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season.