Tropical Storm Katrina was the eleventh named storm of the 1999 Atlantic hurricane season. Katrina developed east of Bluefields, Nicaragua from an area of low pressure spawned off by a cold front that had meandered in the western Carribean Sea during the last few days of October. Katrina was a weak tropical storm with 40 mph winds at its peak, and did far less than initially expected.
Katrina caused minimal damage, and no fatalities.
|Formation||October 28, 1999|
|Dissipation||November 1, 1999|
|Highest winds||40 mph|
|Lowest pressure||999 mbar|
|Areas affected||Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, Yucatan Peninsula|
Katrina developed from a weak cold front that slowly moved across the western Carribean Sea during the last few days of October. The cold front dissipated, but a weak area of low pressure gradually developed in place of the cold front over the next few days. On October 27, a circulation was detected north of Panama, as the system gradually organized itself. On October 28, a reconnaissance aircraft flight into the system found a well-defined circulation east of Bluefields, Nicaragua. Because of this, the system was classified as Tropical Depression Fifteen. From the start, the storm was never very organized, and interaction with the mountainous terrain of Central America slowed any potential development that the storm had. Strong vertical wind shear due to an upper-level high pressure area to the east also hindered the storm's development as the storm approached the coast of Nicaragua. Despite the unfavorable conditions, on October 29, the depression became Tropical Storm Katrina, as convection briefly increased. That evening, Katrina made landfall near Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, and quickly weakened back to a tropical depression, after being a tropical storm for just six hours. After landfall, Katrina turned northwest, remaining disorganized as it did so. Despite the disorganization, Katrina managed to survive crossing Nicaragua and Honduras, and it emerged into the Gulf of Honduras late on October 30 as a weak tropical depression with 30 mph winds and a reformed center of circulation. Despite moving over warm water, Katrina failed to re-strengthen, and it made its second and final landfall on the southeastern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula early on October 31. Katrina slowly tracked across the central portion of the Yucatan Peninsula, gradually weakening as another cold front approached from the Gulf of Mexico. The front slowly absorbed Katrina early on November 1 as Katrina entered the Gulf, and that afternoon, Katrina was completely absorbed north of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Preparations and Impact
Despite Katrina being a very weak storm, there was considerable attention placed on the storm, as Central America was devastated by powerful Hurricane Mitch only one year earlier. There was considerable fear of additional flash flooding and mudslides across the mountainous terrain of Central America. Immediately after becoming a tropical depression, a Tropical Storm Warning was issued for the coast of Nicaragua, and that warning was extended to the island of San Andres island of Colombia shortly thereafter.
Thankfully, overall damage from Katrina was minimal. Only a few mudslides were reported, as well as some minor flooding. It is estimated that between 10 and 15 inches of rain fell across parts of Central America because of Katrina, with one report of rain being as high as 3.58 inches in six hours from the island of San Andres just east of Nicaragua. Katrina caused no reported fatalities.
Lack of Retirement
Because Katrina caused minimal damage, the name was not retired in the Spring of 2000 by the World Meteorological Organization. It was, however, retired after the 2005 season, when Katrina became a Category 5 hurricane and devastated the Gulf Coast as a Category 3.