STAN 10-4-05

631 dead from Stan
1400 die in mudslide

VINCE - 10-10-05

El Salvador Shelters Thousands From Hurricane Stan, Eruption

Oct. 5 , 2005 (Bloomberg) -- El Salvador is sheltering thousands of people in temporary refuges amid flooding and landslides brought on by Hurricane Stan and a volcanic eruption in the west of the Central American nation.

At least 16,688 people are in shelters from Santa Ana in the west, through areas affected by flooding and landslides in the center, to La Union in the east, according to the country's National Emergencies Committee Web site.

Rains brought on by Hurricane Stan, which hit Mexico yesterday, triggered landslides and flooding across El Salvador since the beginning of the month, killing 38 people and prompting officials to declare a second ``red alert,'' the maximum state of emergency, after a first was imposed on Oct. 1 when Llamatepec volcano began to erupt, damaging coffee plantations.

``The rain we've had has been in industrial quantities,'' Salvadorian President Antonio Saca said yesterday at a press conference, according to the government Web site. ``I can't remember it ever raining this much. We've had three days in which it hasn't stopped raining, and that makes things complicated.''

As much as 35 centimeters (14 inches) of rain has fallen over coastal areas since Oct. 1, exceeding the normal total for the whole of the month, according to a bulletin posted yesterday on El Salvador's National Service of Territorial Studies.

`Critical' Levels

``These rainfall conditions are keeping most of the rivers in the country at critical levels,'' the service said. ``Waters will breach river banks and coastal areas will continue to flood for the next 48 to 72 hours.''

Hurricane Stan slammed into Mexico southeast of Veracruz as a Category 1 storm, the weakest on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of intensity. The storm made no direct hit on El Salvador. While 20,000 people were evacuated in Veracruz province and 80,000 people were affected directly, the area ``escaped the most damaging effects,'' provincial Governor Hernan Beltran said in a statement on his Web site.

Stan, now downgraded to a tropical depression with sustained winds near 30 miles (48 kilometers) per hour, is ``dissipating over the mountains of southeastern Mexico,'' according to a 5 a.m. Miami time advisory posted on the Web site of the U.S. National Hurricane Center. The weather system is still dumping rains on Mexico capable of causing ``life-threatening flash floods and mudslides,'' the center said.

Those evacuated in El Salvador are housed in 166 refuges across the nation, according to the emergencies committee, which put the death toll at 38. More than 8,000 evacuees are housed in refuges in Santa Ana and Sonsonante, near the Llamatepec volcano that began spewing gases and ash four days ago.

Volcano, Coffee

``The behavior of the volcano at Santa Ana is changeable and unpredictable,'' the territorial studies service said. Periods of vibrations are accompanied by ``small seismic events associated with small explosions in the central crater.''

The eruption also damaged the country's coffee plantations, Saca said.

``We've lost thousands of plots of special coffee; coffee which was being exported, and coffee growers are going to see a big impact,'' Saca said. ``There will be a big impact on the economy.'' He said the country will assess damages from the end of the week, after the rains have passed.

El Salvador produced 1.27 million bags of coffee beans, each weighing 60 kilograms (132 pounds), in the year through September 2005, according to the International Coffee Organization. Total world coffee production in 2004/05 was 112 million bags.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Alex Morales in London at
Last Updated: October 5, 2005 05:54 EDT
Wednesday, October 5, 2005 (Chiquimulia):
Three people were reported killed in Guatemala on Tuesday as floods caused by hurricane Stan caused devastation across much of Central America.

According to Guatemala's National Disaster Emergency Agency, 2,200 evacuees in the affected areas were receiving refuge in community shelters.

In Chiquimulia, approximately 150 kilometres from Guatemala City, many families had chosen to remain at home to protect their property, despite official warnings.

Anibal Jimenez from the Guatemalan Army said people could not be forced to leave the affected area.

Local people spoke about their difficulties and the losses that they were forced to suffer when the river Sis flooded its banks after the storm.

Resident Jose Lopez reported that people were dying in the floodwaters.

30,000 litres of water have been distributed to the affected population to prevent them from consuming non-drinkable water, National Disaster Emergency Agency officials said.

Hurricane Stan made landfall on Mexico's Gulf coast on Tuesday, reaching winds of 80 mph (130 kph) before being downgraded to a tropical storm.

Forecasters said the hurricane spawned separate storms across Central America and southern Mexico, provoking flooding and landslides across the region that left at least 59 people dead.

At least 41 people were killed in El Salvador, the majority in landslides on Tuesday. Twelve others died in Nicaragua while four deaths were reported in Honduras and one in Costa Rica.

Rain was still falling on Tuesday in much of Central America, forcing thousands from their homes. (AP)

Hurricane Stan kills 66

CBC News

At least 66 people have died, most of them in landslides in El Salvador, as Hurricane Stan attacked Mexico and Central America Tuesday and overnight Wednesday. Stan drove winds of up to 130 kilometres an hour before weakening to a tropical storm.

A tree knocked down by Hurricane Stan, Veracruz, Mexico, Oct. 4. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

The big storm first hit a sparsely populated stretch of coastline south of Varacruz, Mexico, a busy port 295 kilometres east of Mexico City.

Meteorologists say Stan is creating separate storms across Central America and Southern Mexico, causing flooding and landslides.

Few details are available about the landslides in El Salvador, but the death toll there is reported to be 38.

In Oaxaca State, which borders Veracruz state in Southern Mexico, officials opened nearly a thousand shelters and were monitoring 80 communities considered still vulnerable.

The U.S. National Hurricane Centre predicted that heavy rains still threatened the state and much of the rest of southern Mexico.

Meanwhile, storm warnings have been issued for much of Florida as another tropical system, Tammy, gathers strength in the Atlantic.


Stan weakens over land, expected to dissipate
Last updated on: 10/4/2005 8:40:50 PM

LEE COUNTY— Hurricane Stan has been downgraded to a Tropical Storm with winds of 50 m.p.h. The storm continues to weaken over land and is expected to dissipate over the mountains of eastern Mexico. The storm is inland, moving 6 mph.

Clouds have been increasing over the Bahamas in association with a westward moving tropical wave in the Western Bahamas. A broad area of low pressure seems to be centered just south of Andros Island, with a trough running north about 90 miles off the East Coast of Florida. While the clouds have been increasing, upper-level winds are still a little hostile. Models indicate that these conditions may improve as the wave moves west and into the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday.

Once in the Gulf, conditions appear favorable for tropical development. Models are giving varied solutions, not only when compared to each other, but when compared with the previous run of the same model. Nonetheless, it seems likely that low pressure will deepen in the central Gulf of Mexico starting tomorrow and into Thursday. With a mid-latitude trough approaching from the west, the low may not be perfectly tropical, but may have some characteristics of a frontal low pressure system. The trough should kick the low back to the east and northeast, sending it across Florida late Friday night or Saturday.

Whether this is a tropical system or some kind of hybrid will make little difference. It should pull plenty of moisture northward and dump significant rainfall across much of the Florida Peninsula. Since the exact evolution and track of this system is still very uncertain, it is not yet possible to predict how much rain could fall, but 4-8 inches is quite possible between now and Saturday Evening. Other effects, in the form of wind and surge, are not currently forecast to be significant, but this could change in the days ahead, and the situation should be closely monitored in the coastal areas.

© 2005 by NBC2 NEWS. All rights reserved.


Mudslide kills 1400 in Guatemala

October 9, 2005 - 11:30AM

About 1400 people died under a huge mudslide in the Guatemalan village of Panabaj that was triggered by torrential rains from Hurricane Stan, the local fire brigade said today.

"There are no survivors here. It happened more than 48 hours ago. They are dead," brigade spokesman Mario Cruz said.

The landslide engulfed the Maya Indian village in a fatal quagmire of mud, rock and trees, in places 12 metres thick.

"According to the figures they gave me yesterday, about 1400 people have disappeared," Cruz said.

The deaths nearly tripled earlier estimates of the toll of storm-related fatalities in the poor, Central American nation. Stan claimed another 67 lives in El Salvador, 15 in Mexico, 10 in Nicaragua and four in Honduras.

Large swaths of land in Central America and Mexico were flooded and dozens of mountain villages were hit by mudslides after days of downpours.

The storm was a low-strength Category 1 hurricane and soon fizzled out but it dumped enough rain on Central America to be a killer.

The region is particularly vulnerable to rain because so many people live in precarious, improvised dwellings dangerously close to riverbeds and on mountainsides.

Hurricane Mitch killed about 10,000 people in Central America, mostly in mudslides, in 1998.

Rescue workers, struggling through roads blocked by mud, only reached Panabaj today, two days after the tragedy.

Exhausted villagers and firemen dug with spades looking for more victims but it was difficult to find bodies. They were considering abandoning the search and declaring the area a mass grave.

Another 40 people died at the nearby hamlet of Samac.

The tops of lampposts and trees poked through a river of mud covering Panabaj.

"There are no children left, there are no people left," said teacher Manuel Gonzalez, whose school was destroyed. "There were only houses here, for as far as you could see. ... It makes you lose hope."

The area is popular with US and European tourists visiting the nearby Lake Atitlan, a collapsed volcanic cone filled with turquoise waters.

Some families woke in the middle of the night to rumblings from the volcano's slopes and managed to escape, but others were buried alive when a wall of mud crushed their homes a few hours later.

"If somebody had told us to leave, maybe the people would have got out. But they said nothing. Nothing," screamed Marta Tzoc, who grabbed her five children from their home and fled in time.

Across the region, mud-coated bodies piled up in morgues while survivors sobbed and said they needed food and water. Many did not know what had happened to relatives and were desperate for news.



Mayan Towns to Be Declared Mass Graves
    By Mark Stevensen
    The Associated Press

    Sunday 09 October 2005

    Guatemala City - Dozens of foreign tourists fled devastated lakeside Mayan towns on foot and by helicopter Sunday as Guatemalan officials said they would abandon communities buried by landslides and declare them mass graveyards.

    Villagers who had swarmed over the vast mudslides with shovels and axes digging for hundreds of missing gave up the effort Sunday, five days after Hurricane Stan made landfall on the Gulf of Mexico coast, bringing torrential rains before weakening to a tropical depression.

    More than 640 people died and hundreds more were missing across Central America and southern Mexico after a week of rains. In hardest-hit Guatemala, 519 bodies had been recovered and reburied. Some 338 were listed as missing.

    "Panabaj will no longer exist," said Mayor Diego Esquina, referring to the Mayan lakeside hamlet in Guatemala covered by a half-mile-wide mudflow as much as 15 to 20 feet deep. "We are asking that it be declared a cemetery. We are tired. We no longer know where to dig."

    Many of the missing apparently will simply be declared dead, and the ground they rest in declared hallowed ground. About 160 bodies have been recovered in Panabaj and nearby towns, and most have been buried in mass graves.

    Vice President Eduardo Stein said steps were being taken to give towns "legal permission to declare the buried areas" as hallowed ground.

    Attention turned to aiding thousands of hungry or injured survivors as helicopters - including U.S. Blackhawks and Chinooks - fanned out across Guatemala to evacuate the wounded and bring supplies to more than 100 communities still cut off by mudslides and flooding.

    On Sunday, as aid workers reached the most remote areas, they learned that a mudslide had buried a storm shelter in the town of Tacana, about 12 miles from the Mexican border, where about 100 people had taken refuge from rains and flooding.

    Thirty-seven bodies have been dug from the shelter since the mudslide hit Wednesday, and 52 people were still missing, said Jorge Hernandez of the country's civil defense agency.

    Thousands of hungry and injured survivors mobbed helicopters delivering the first food aid to communities that have been cut off from the outside world for nearly a week.

    Some communities along Guatemala's Pacific coast have been cut off for almost a week, and when aid helicopters finally arrived on Sunday, hungry and desperate villagers grabbed wildly at bags of flour, rice and sugar.

    As some foreign tourists worked shoulder to shoulder with Mayans in traditional cotton blouses and broad sashes to dig for missing victims, others hiked around mud-choked roads or boarded government helicopters in the second day of evacuations from the area around Lake Atitlan.

    Helicopters went to the nearby town of San Andres Semetabaj to fly out an estimated 20 Scandinavians trapped since mudslides cut off the area several days ago. About 50 more tourists were hiking out of the lakeside town of Panajachel.

    "We got about 400 (tourists) out last night, and were expecting more today," said Solomon Reyes of Guatemala's Tourism Ministry.

    In some areas the arrival of the Guatemalan military only complicated matters. Villagers in Panabaj refused to allow in the army because of memories of a 1990 massacre there during the country's 36-year civil war.

    But U.S. military helicopters from Joint Task Force Bravo based at Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras joined the rescue efforts with a half-dozen Blackhawk helicopters and one Chinook transport helicopter, running flights through dense clouds and heavy fog.

    "We're still in search-and-rescue mode," said Army Maj. Bob Schmidt. "We're in the saving life and limb thought process."

    The U.S. craft delivered some medical supplies and personnel and evacuated children needing medical care.

    In El Salvador, authorities reported 71 deaths from the rains, after two people where swept away by flood waters in San Salvador on Saturday.

    The rest of the dead were scattered throughout Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica and southern Mexico.

    Mexican President Vicente Fox visited devastated Chiapas state Sunday as floodwaters began to recede.

    "The important thing is that the worst is over," Fox said. "Now comes the reconstruction."


    Anger at Slow Aid to Guatemala Mudslide Village

    Sunday 09 October 2005

    Panabaj, Guatemala - Aid trickled into a Guatemalan village devastated by a mudslide that killed some 1,400 people, and Maya Indian residents complained on Sunday the government was far too slow to react to the tragedy.

    Peasants from neighboring villages brought clothing for the victims, rowing canoes across Lake Atitlan to Panabaj. The village was buried under a deadly slick of mud, rocks and trees that slid down a volcano after rains from Hurricane Stan.

    A federal deputy from western Guatemala said 300 people had died in another mudslide in the town of Tacana, near the Mexican border, but that could not be confirmed.

    In Panabaj, Spanish firemen arrived to look for bodies under a quagmire that is up to 40 feet deep in places and Guatemalan soldiers brought water in a truck.

    But government help was little and late, local officials said. They were angry that President Oscar Berger had not visited the village four days after one of Latin America's biggest tragedies of recent years struck.

    "I feel totally sad, morale is very low. We want to see the president, we want to see him here," said Diego Esquina, mayor of Santiago Atitlan municipality, which runs Panabaj.

    Stan's rains triggered the mudslide as Panabaj's residents slept early on Wednesday. Mud-covered roads prevented rescuers from reaching the site for two days.

    No senior government official went to the village and the mayor said racism against the Mayas might be to blame.

    "It's like they are giving a message that it is because we are indigenous. That is the point. A lot of my people are saying it is because we are indigenous," Esquina said.

    Santiago Atitlan was a hot spot during Guatemala's 36-year civil war, which ended in 1996. Years of abuses by soldiers helped leftist rebels recruit Indians in the town and tensions peaked in 1990 when drunken soldiers killed 13 locals.

    Bean Supplies

    A supply of beans, rice and pasta sent by the capital's city hall was handed out but peasants said the federal government was negligent.

    "The government didn't send anything here. There is nothing," said Francisco Boron, 43, dressed in traditional calf-length white pants and carrying a machete.

    Rescuers with hand tools struggled to find bodies in the brown grunge covering Panabaj and local officials said it would likely be left as a mass grave.

    Firefighters poked long poles into the mud in search of victims but feared sinking into the quagmire themselves.

    "It is very difficult. Most of the people are where the mud is thickest and we haven't been able to work there because of the danger," said firefighter Max Chiquito.

    The fire department put the death toll at around 1,400 villagers and Esquina said between 1,000 and 1,500 had died. Only 76 bodies have been found.

    The storm killed some 300 people elsewhere in Guatemala and 103 others in the rest of Central America and southern Mexico.

    Julio Cesar Lopez, an opposition deputy from the western department of Huehuetenango, told Reuters some 300 people died on Thursday when a mudslide hit the town of Tacana, in the neighboring San Marcos region.

    "I am in telephone contact with Tacana. People were using two churches as shelters but the hill fell down on top of them," said Lopez, of the Guatemalan Republican Front party.

    Guatemalan newspaper reports said about 2,000 were missing in San Marcos and Defense Minister Carlos Aldana told Reuters the armed forces were trying to reach the stricken area.

    "San Marcos is the place where, from today, we are giving most importance because it has not been dealt with at all due to the weather conditions and the road access." he said.

    Southern Mexico was reeling from floods and the government said it would spend 20 billion pesos in emergency aid for victims to reconstruct stricken states.

    "We are going to support everyone to recover their goods and rebuild their homes that were destroyed, to compensate agricultural producers for the loss of crops, and in finance plans for businesses," President Vicente Fox said.

    Pope Benedict offered condolences for the hurricane victims during his weekly blessing in St. Peter's Square. "I ask the Lord for the eternal rest of the dead," he said.



Former Tropical Storm Vince makes rare landfall in Spain
October 11, 2005

The former Tropical Storm Vince made a rare European landfall early Tuesday along the southwestern coast of Spain, forecasters said.

The weakening tropical depression with 35-mph winds was the first tropical cyclone on record to make landfall in Spain, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Vince had been the 11th hurricane of the season, and the 20th named storm.
It was not expected to produce the torrential rains, flooding and mudslides Hurricane Stan and its remnants triggered as it crossed Central America last week, forecasters said.

"It doesn't have an awful lot of rain with it," hurricane specialist James Franklin said. "There could be an inch or two of rain as it moves across southwest Spain today, but it should not be a weather-maker there."

At 5 a.m. EDT, the tropical depression was centered along the southwestern coast of Spain near Huelva. It was moving east-northeast at about 24 mph, which forecasters said would take the remnants of Vince farther inland.

The National Hurricane Center discontinued advisories early Tuesday as the depression showed signs it was losing its tropical characteristics.

Vince formed Sunday between the Azores and the Canary Islands in waters that were up to 7 degrees cooler than the 80 degrees typically needed for a tropical storm, said Chris Sisko, a meteorologist at the hurricane center.

Forecasters say this appears to be the farthest east and north that a tropical storm has formed in recorded history in the Atlantic.

It was not expected to produce the torrential rains, flooding and mudslides Hurricane Stan and its remnants triggered as it crossed Central America last week, forecasters said.

"It doesn't have an awful lot of rain with it," hurricane specialist James Franklin said. "There could be an inch or two of rain as it moves across southwest Spain today, but it should not be a weather-maker there."

Only one other Atlantic season had more tropical storms and hurricanes since record keeping began in 1851 - there were 21 in 1933. The most hurricanes to ever form in a season were 12 in 1969.

The official forecast calls for up to 21 named storms and 11 hurricanes in the season that began June 1 and ends Nov. 30. While conditions for hurricane development get less favorable as the year goes on, about every other year a hurricane forms in November, hurricane specialist Richard Knabb said.

"People should be aware that the hurricane season doesn't end till November and we could get more activity," Knabb said.

Wilma is the only name left for storms this season. After that, storms are named after letters in the Greek alphabet - which has never happened in more than 50 years of regularly naming storms.

This season has been one of the deadliest and costliest in the U.S. in the last century. Hurricane Katrina killed more than 1,100 people on the Gulf Coast and is expected to cause more than $34 billion in insured losses.

Dateline Alabama newspaper

Tropical storm to die off quickly in Spain

Tropical Storm Vince had been the 11th hurricane of the season, and the 20th named storm.

A weakened tropical storm made rare European landfall early Tuesday, clipping southern Portugal before entering Spain, but looked set to die off quickly, forecasters said.

The rains it brought, however, came as something of a blessing for both countries, which have suffered severe drought for more than a year.

The tropical depression with winds of up to 50 kph (30 mph) was the first tropical cyclone on record to make landfall in Spain, according to the National Hurricane Centre in Miami.

"It was more the novelty of the event than anything else," said Angel Rivera, forecast chief for Spain's National Meteorological Institute.

"It came in this morning through the Gulf of Cadiz with abundant, though not excessive, rain and strong winds. We expect it will dissipate during the day in Andalucia" in southern Spain, Rivera said.

Normal storms can often bring much more rain and wind, he said.

Tropical Storm Vince had been the 11th hurricane of the season, and the 20th named storm.

Vince was downgraded to a tropical depression.


updated - 10-19-05 - HURRICANE SEASONS OF 2005 - PAGE 6

updated - 10-5-05 - HURRICANE SEASON OF 2005 - PAGE 4

updated 9-19-05 - HURRICANE SEASON OF 2005 - PAGE 3

Lots of rain but no deaths reported due to the storm.

updated 10-5-05 - HURRICANE SEASON OF 2005 - PAGE 2

updated 8-11-05 - HURRICANE SEASON of 2005-PAGE 1
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