Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hurricane Richard (2010)

Storm Active: October 20-26
On October 16, an area of showers and thunderstorms developed in the extreme southwestern Caribbean. The area drifted to the northwest, and interaction with the Nicaragua-Honduras area inhibited development for a time on October 18 and 19. However, after emerging over open water, the circulation improved, and the system moved slowly northeast. Late on October 20, the system became organized enough to be Tropical Depression Nineteen. By this time, steering currents had weakened, and the cyclone had reverted to a slow southeast movement. Dry air existed near the circulation over the next day, but intensification occurred nonetheless, and Nineteen became Tropical Storm Richard on October 21.

The system did not intensify for almost a day, but convection increased as dry air moved away from the system and a ridge built over the Gulf of Mexico, steering Richard back to the west by October 22. The system finally began to strengthen that day, rapidly intensifying into a strong tropical storm the next morning. Due to its proximity to Honduras, tropical storm conditions began for coastal areas by late on October 22. Richard began accelerating to the westnorthwest late on October 23, and a burst of convection the following morning caused Richard to intensify rapidly, becoming a category 1 hurricane.

The cyclone continued to intensify and made landfall in Belize at its peak strength of 90 mph winds and a minimum pressure of 981 mb during the evening of October 24. It quickly weakened over the next day, becoming a tropical depression by October 25. The system reemerged over the Gulf of Mexico early on October 26, but conditions were hostile for restrengthening and Richard swiftly weakened to a remnant low. The effects of Richard were $24.7 million in damage and 2 fatalities.

Richard as a Category 1 hurricane before landfall.

Track of Richard.

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