Infrared GOES-16 satellite image of Hurricane Nana at landfall at 2 a.m. EDT September 3, 2020. At the time, Nana was at peak strength - a category 1 storm with 75 mph winds. (Image credit: NOAA/RAMMB)

Hurricane Nana made landfall in southern Belize near 2 a.m. EDT Thursday, September 3, 2020, as a low-end category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds. By 11 a.m. Thursday, Nana had been downgraded to a tropical storm with 45 mph winds over northern Guatemala, and the storm was expected to dissipate over eastern Mexico by Friday.

Nana was a small hurricane with hurricane-force winds extending out just 10 miles from the center at landfall. Nana’s small size — combined with its having missed Belize City, Belize’s most populous city — means limited wind and storm surge damage. Nana’s main impact will be flooding from heavy rainfall, a swath of up to eight inches of rain along its path into eastern Mexico.

With two weeks to go until the typical mid-point of the Atlantic hurricane season, we’ve already had 15 named storms, five hurricanes, and one intense hurricane. The averages for this point in the season are six named storms, two hurricanes, and one intense hurricane. According to Colorado State University hurricane scientist Phil Klotzbach, only six other Atlantic seasons in the satellite era (since 1966) have had five or more hurricanes by September 2: 1966, 1995, 1996, 2004, 2005, and 2012.

Belize hurricane history

Hurricanes are not infrequent visitors to Belize, with the nation averaging one hurricane every seven years, according to hurricanecity.com. The most recent hurricane to hit Belize was on August 4, 2016, when category 1 Hurricane Earl hit, causing moderate coastal damage. The most recent named storm to hit Belize was Tropical Storm Franklin, which affected northern portions of Belize with 60 mph winds in August 2017.

Swing bridge in Belize City after category 4 Hurricane Hattie in 1961. (Image credit: National Institute of Culture and History, Belize)

According to NOAA’s historical hurricane database, Belize has been hit by three major hurricanes: a 1931 category 4 storm with 130 mph winds, Hurricane Hattie in 1961 (a category 4 storm with 150 mph winds), and Hurricane Iris in 2001. Iris was a category 4 storm with 145 mph winds that brought a storm surge of up to 15 feet to southern Belize, killing at least 20 and causing $66 million in damage (2001 dollars).

As a fraction of gross domestic product, the costliest hurricane to hit Belize was Hurricane Hattie in 1961, which caused over $500 million in damage (2020 dollars), equivalent to 200% of the nation’s GDP. Hattie was also Belize’s deadliest hurricane, with 307 deaths blamed on the storm.

Omar expected to dissipate by Friday

Tropical Storm Omar formed on Tuesday, September 1, and spent a few hours as a minimal-strength tropical storm with 40 mph winds before high wind shear weakened it to a tropical depression on Wednesday. Omar was still clinging to tropical depression status on Thursday afternoon in the waters between Bermuda and Canada, but it is expected to degenerate into a remnant low by Friday. Omar is not a threat to any land areas.

Cape Verde hurricane season kicking into high gear

Early September marks the peak of the hurricane season, when tropical waves coming off the coast of Africa are most likely to develop into hurricanes. The hurricanes that originate in this area are called Cape Verde-type hurricanes, named after the Cape Verde Islands (now called the Cabo Verde Islands) off the coast of Africa. Cape Verde-type hurricanes are among the most dangerous Atlantic hurricanes, as they often take a long track over large expanses of tropical water, giving them plenty of time to organize and strengthen. With ocean temperatures near their seasonal peak and the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) expected to be in a configuration that reduces vertical wind shear over the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean through mid-September, an active peak portion of the Atlantic hurricane season is likely. As tweeted by NOAA Hurricane Research Division scientist Andy Hazelton, there are at least four African tropical waves to watch:

The 8 a.m. EDT Thursday Tropical Weather Outlook from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) was highlighting three tropical waves with potential to develop into Cape Verde-type hurricanes. NHC designated the tropical wave near 12.5°N, 35°W 91L. Satellite images showed 91L had an elongated surface circulation and a modest amount of heavy thunderstorm activity that was being hampered by dry air and high wind shear.

The shear and dry air are predicted to abate by early next week, giving 91L the potential to develop into a tropical depression. NHC gave 91L two-day and five-day odds of development of 20% and 40%, respectively. This system is predicted to meander in the central tropical Atlantic at speeds of less than five mph over the coming five days, and has modest support for development from the top three models for predicting tropical cyclone genesis.

A large and complex tropical wave just off the coast of Africa on Thursday afternoon was headed west-northwest at about 15 mph. Satellite images showed the wave with a modest amount of poorly organized heavy thunderstorm activity, but the system had a good deal of spin. The system was at the edge of a large area of dry air associated with the Saharan Air Layer, and dry air may interfere with development through the weekend. When the wave reaches the central Atlantic early next week, passing to the north of 91L, it is expected to find a moister atmosphere with low-to-moderate wind shear, increasing odds of development. This wave has strong support for development from the models. NHC gave the wave two-day and five-day odds of formation of 20% and 70%, respectively. An interaction with 91L may occur, making the future tracks of both of these disturbances difficult to predict.

A new tropical wave will emerge from the coast of Africa on Sunday, and it is predicted to head west-northwest at about 15 mph through the Cabo Verde Islands early next week. This wave has strong model support for developing into a tropical depression by the middle of next week. NHC gave it two-day and five-day odds of formation of 0% and 20%, respectively.

The next name on the Atlantic list of storms is Paulette. The earliest sixteenth named storm on record for the Atlantic is Philippe from September 17, 2005. Including Paulette, only six more names remain on the 2020 Atlantic list before NHC will have to turn to the Greek alphabet, a last resort that’s been used only in 2005. That unforgettable year produced tropical storms Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, and – on December 30 – Zeta.

Figure 1. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this natural-color image of Typhoon Maysak in the late morning on September 2, as a category 3 storm with 120 mph winds. (Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory).

Typhoons Bavi, Maysak and Haishen: a one-two-three punch for Korea


One week after Typhoon Bavi brought heavy rains to North and South Korea, making an eventual landfall in North Korea as a category 1 storm, South Korea endured the landfall of category 2 Typhoon Maysak on September 2. But the strongest typhoon yet to affect the Korean Peninsula this season may be in store this weekend, as an intensifying Typhoon Haishen poses the spectre of another direct hit.

Typhoon Maysak made landfall just west of Busan, the nation’s second-largest city and the world’s fifth-largest port. Maysak is being blamed for two deaths, but 42 crew members of a livestock ship are missing (see tweet) after their ship sank in the typhoon. One rescued crew member said an engine stopped and the ship stalled. A powerful wave hit the ship broadside, he said, causing it to capsize and sink. According to a summary at weather.com (https://weather.com/news/news/2020-09-03-typhoon-maysak-south-korea-impacts), Maysak destroyed 17 homes, damaged 850, and left 270,000 customers without power.

Typhoon Haishen a formidable category 3 storm

Climate change is causing more rapid intensification of Atlantic hurricanes

Intensifying over record-warm to nearly record-warm waters a few hundred miles south of Japan, Typhoon Haishen became a major category 3 typhoon with 115 mph winds at 11 a.m. EDT Thursday, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). Haishen is expected to intensify into a Category 4 super typhoon with 150 mph winds on Friday, then gradually weaken to category 2 strength before making landfall in South Korea on Sunday.
Haishen will track farther east than Maysak for most of its life, avoiding until this weekend the cold wake left by Maysak.

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Posted on September 3, 2020 (2:25pm EDT).

Jeff Masters

Jeff Masters, Ph.D., worked as a hurricane scientist with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. After a near-fatal flight into category 5 Hurricane Hugo, he left the Hurricane Hunters to pursue a...

82 replies on “Hurricane Nana downgraded to tropical storm after landfall in Belize”

  1. Just a note to the above Belize article. In Iris, 20 people died, but they were all gringos on a dive boat that tied up in nearby port of Big Creek. No locals were lost even though we had a ton of destruction. The gringos perished because they didn’t get off the boat , though local officials pleaded with them to do so. The huge dive boat flipped over at the dock.–There is more to this story concerning an inactive local tug boat breaking loose and hitting most every other boat sheltering in that mangrove haven, but the evidence was towed out to sea and sunk as a dive site faster than I’ve ever seen anything happen here..

  2. I’m confused. After going through Nana in so. Belize night before last and now having a tropical wave, WU is now predicting the system just inside the Windwards to hit us as a cane, yet NOAA says nothing…Can anyone explain?

      1. It is on Weather Underground under the Hurricane and Tropical weather section called 91L. Is situated just under Dominica and makes it look big…Maybe an old interactive weather map of Nana misposted??? Am working today, so have to get back at it, but thanks for your interest.

      2. 91L is to the east of the big blow up that you see near Haiti and the Dominican Republic.That area is also something to watch in my opinion but none of the reliable models are indicating any possible development at this time. Just need to monitor.

    1. Finally figured it out from a friend who was sleuthing while I was working this morning. WU has today’s date on an old Nana trajectory…Man, they certainly aren’t as careful as when Jeff and Bob were there!

  3. from the Puerto Rico weather discussion – they think the high is weak and disturbance(s) will head north..

    Weather conditions by the end of the long-term period will be
    dependent on a tropical disturbance currently located near the
    Cabo Verde Islands. This disturbance is being monitored by the
    National Hurricane Center for the potential for development as it
    reaches the Central Tropical Atlantic by early next week. Given
    the lack of a strong high pressure aloft, this disturbance
    according to the latest model guidance looks to turn towards the
    north before reaching the northern Lesser Antilles at this time.
    Even though no direct impacts are expected if the solution
    currently being depicted by model guidance verifies, some of the
    peripheral moisture may reach the area by late next week to
    deliver some rainfall activity across portions of the local area.

  4. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1831fac87f98b976f96d2ee1fa58e1d50fead4c39e36f6e99f49dde7f9a55c60.gif

    Fantasyland or not, that would be one crazy scary model to see come to exist in real time. And they all hit pressure of 964 on the model at the same exact time at one point. Could you even imagine a Gulf Coast LA coastal scraper, an east coast seaboard scraper and a possible Fuji interaction all happening at once? Who else is really looking forward to 2021?

  5. That blob referred to below in the EPAC just doubled in size in 4.5 hrs, it is boiling. But switching to water vapor view, it looks like it reall boiled up, then collapsed and shear tore it apart.

  6. Can someone with more knowledge than I, please answer a few questions?

    Looking at the Current Storms page on Levi Cowan’s site, tropicaltidbits, I hit Nana as the storm, and there are of course a number of the usual diagram items there, The NHC Storm info, satellite views, and models of possible tracks, etc..

    The 1st question concerns, that the NHC info and cone page is notated that Remnants of Tropical Depression Nana Dissipated (inland before exiting the coast on the border between Guatemala and Mexico and has an X Within a circle at said location), at 10 PM CDT September 3rd, 2020. And another L location ,map diagram (Marine Surface plot 00z Sept 4th still shows the L, track guidance maps dated Sept 4th, still show spaghetti lines, etc.

    1. Once the NHC declares that Depression Nana dissipated at that point, does that mean Nana no longer exists as a named storm?

    2. If the answer is yes to 1. above, then that Blob off the coast in the Pacific west of Central America is no longer and will never be named Nana, even if it were spin up right now and RI into a monster cyclone (not saying it will here), am I correct to assume it would receive a new name from the EPAC list if it did?

    3. Is this usual that the Low pressure center stayed on land but the, moisture from that low (former named depression), passed over the coastal region out into open water and is still a slow spinning 25kt blob of moisture rising and it was quite noticable that the blob was boiling up as it exited the landmass, and noticable slowed as far as counter clockwise cyclonic spin?

    Just curious, and would like to understand why the other diagrams are still posted, after the posting of a decision by the NHC listed above if that storm is done (if not just historical in nature, or the updating of the later issued items there are in anticipation models for a future possible named storm), or that it is possible the low will still travel northwestward without the moisture…Ty in advance to any that take the time to respond.

    https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/storm_graphics/AT16/AL162020_5day_cone_no_line_and_wind.png

    https://www.tropicaltidbits.com/storminfo/

    1. Here’s what happened to Hurricane Ivan in 2004:

      It made landfall in the central Gulf of Mexico, and weakened to a remnant low over the US southeast. Its remnants entered the Atlantic off southern Virginia, looped southward and westward, and re-formed in the gulf over a week later as a tropical storm. It retained the name Ivan.

  7. Japan Meteorological Agency
    Tropical Cyclone Advisory #33 – 15:00 PM JST September 4 2020
    TYPHOON HAISHEN (T2010)
    =================================================
    Sea South of Japan

    At 6:00 AM UTC, Typhoon Haishen (925 hPa) located at 22.3N 134.3E has 10 minute sustained winds of 100 knots with gusts of 140 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving northwest at 9 knots.

    Storm Force Winds
    =================
    150 nm from the center in northeastern quadrant
    120 nm from the center in southwestern quadrant

    Gale Force Winds
    =================
    270 nm from the center in northeastern quadrant
    240 nm from the center in southwestern quadrant

    Dvorak Intensity: T6.5-

    Forecast and Intensity
    =======================
    24 HRS: 24.2N 131.4E – 110 knots (CAT 5/Intense Typhoon) 180 km south of Minami Daito island (Okinawa Prefecture)
    48 HRS: 28.3N 129.8E – 110 knots (CAT 5/Intense Typhoon) Amami archipelago (Kagoshima Prefecture)
    72 HRS: 35.6N 128.5E – 85 knots (CAT 4/Very Strong Typhoon) Over land Korean Peninsula (South Korea)

      1. System it expected to peak at 110-115 knots according to PAGASA advisory.

        10 minute should be 120-125 knots, a super typhoon.

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