Tropical Storm Larry was the twelfth named storm of the 2003 Atlantic hurricane season. Larry formed on October 1 in the Bay of Campeche. It moved eratically southwest and south, making landfall near Paraíso in the Mexican state of Tabasco on October 5. Larry was one of eight storms to impact Mexico during the Atlantic and East Pacific 2003 hurricane seasons. Larry drifted over the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, producing heavy rainfall of over 9 inches in some locations. The heavy rainfall produced flooding as well as mudslides, which caused damage to thousands of homes. Larry was one of three tropical cyclones to hit Mexico within a short period of time, the others including Tropical Depression Nora and Tropical Storm Olaf in the East Pacific. Larry was also the first tropical cyclone to make landfall along the Tabascan coastline since Tropical Storm Brenda in 1973.

Larry caused $53.6 million (2003 USD) in damage and killed 5 people, all directly.

Larry near landfall on October 5
FormationOctober 1, 2003
Dissipation October 6, 2003
Highest winds 65 mph
Lowest pressure 993 mbar
Deaths 5 direct
Damages $53.6 million (2003 USD)
Areas affectedMexico, El Salvador
Part of the 2003 Atlantic hurricane season

Meteorological History


On September 17, a tropical wave exited the coast of Africa. The wave headed westward across the Atlantic Ocean with little development, and it remained disorganized until it reached the western Carribean Sea on September 26. It was there that the wave came under the influence of an anticyclone, which produced favorable upper-level outflow and deep convection over the wave. On September 27, the wave developed a low-pressure area while it was located a few hundred miles east of the Yucatan Peninsula. The wave continued to organize, and it nearly became a tropical depression before moving onshore the Yucatan Peninsula on September 29. Dry air as well as passage over land weakened the wave, and upon entering the Bay of Campeche, the wave merged with a stationary frontal boundary. Cool, dry air around the system caused it to develop a cold core, and the wave organized into an extratropical cyclone on September 30. A large high pressure area over the northern Gulf of Mexico forced the system southward, where convection increased significantly. The system developed a warm core, and on October 1, the system was upgraded to Tropical Storm Larry while it was located 300 miles south-southeast of Tampico, Mexico. After forming, Larry moved westward at 2 mph because of weak steering currents, while marginally favorable atmospheric conditions allowed Larry to strength to a peak of 65 mph on October 3. A mid-level ridge forced Larry south-southeast, and after maintaining 60 mph winds for three days, Larry made landfall in Paraíso in the Mexican state of Tabasco on October 5. After landfall, Larry weakened rapidly, and it dissipated on October 6 while midway through the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.

The remnant low turned to the southwest, and reached the East Pacific on October 7. Larry's remnants re-organized in the East Pacific, with the National Hurricane Center indicating the possibility for re-development on October 9. However, the convection diminished, and re-development was no longer anticipated, nor did it ever occur.


Tropical Storm Larry in the Bay of Campeche on October 2.


Because of its erratic motion, the government of Mexico issued a Tropical Storm Warning as well as a Hurricane Watch early on in the cyclone's life from Veracruz to Campeche. The watches and warnings were extended westward to Tuxpan on October 4. On October 5, the watches and warnings extended eastward to Ciudad del Carmen. Due to the threat from Larry, officials closed three Pemex oil ports. In order to ensure the profits weren't disrupted, the company used its reserves. Larry also closed shipping ports in Dos Bacos in the state of Tabasco, Coatzacoalcos in the state of Veracruz, and finally Cayo Arcas in the state of Campeche. The government of Mexico placed six coastal states under maximum alert, while authorities set up 75 evacuation shelters for around 1,500 residents. Because of the cyclone's threat, the government of Mexico declared much of the eastern portion of Mexico as a state of emergency.


Larry was one of eight tropical cyclones to strike Mexico from the Atlantic or the East Pacific during 2003. This was the highest observed since 1971, when nine tropical cyclones struck the country.

The National Hurricane Center forecast that Larry would produce a storm surge of 3 to 5 feet with high waves on top of that storm surge, although exact totals of storm surges from Larry are unknown. The highest sustained winds on land were 59 mph at El Alacrán in Tabasco. The worst of Larry was not from the wind, but from the rain. The rain peaked at 24.77 inches in Upper Juarez in southeastern Mexico. The highest 24-hour rainfall total reported from the cyclone was 9.6 inches in Tortuguero, Chiapas, with several other locations reporting 24-hour rainfall totals of over 4 inches. Flooding from Larry damaged more than 21,000 homes in Mexico, in combination with East Pacific storms Nora and Olaf. Damage was greatest around the capital of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, where over 9,000 homes were affected by the storm. Larry's heavy rainfall caused mudslides across Mexico, hospitalizing two residents in central Hidalgo. Also, the flooding caused significant crop damage. Strong wind gusts produced by the storm caused outages to telephones as well as to electricity.

In El Salvador, Larry, combined with previous rainfall, resulted in flooding and mudslides, which forced several thousand people to evacuate San Salvador. The flooding damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes.

In all, Larry killed 5 people, all direct, and produced $53.6 million (2003 USD) in damage.


Rainfall totals from Tropical Storm Larry.

Lack of Retirement

Because of the lack of any significant damage, the name Larry was not retired in the Spring of 2004 by the World Meteorological Organization. It is on the list of names to be used for the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season.

See Also

2003 Atlantic hurricane season


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