Hurricane Adrian strikes Central America Thursday night

Friday, May 20, 2005

Hurricane Adrian 21:15 UTC May 19.

Hurricane Adrian, the first storm of the 2005 Pacific hurricane season, continued on its northeasterly track into Central America early Friday morning, making landfall near San Salvador, capital city of El Salvador. The storm has maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 km/h) and is moving northeast at 9 mph (15 km/h). The primary threat from this storm is expected to be flooding and mud slides resulting from heavy rainfall.

The Salvadoran Comité de Emergencia Nacional (National Emergency Committee) reported that over 15,400 people were evacuated from high risk areas.

Adrian formed over the Eastern Pacific Ocean on Tuesday, May 17, and began moving to the northeast, an unusual track for storms at that latitude, which generally move toward the west. On Thursday morning, readings obtained by a United States Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft led forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center to upgrade the storm's classification to a hurricane.

As of 1 a.m. Central time on May 20 (03:00 UTC), the center of Adrian was located on the coast of El Salvador, about 35 miles (195 km) southwest of San Salvador, moving northeast at 9 mph (15 km/h) with maximum sustained windspeeds of 75 mph (120 km/h), making it a minimal Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. Our own research shows that the center of the storm is already over El Salvadorian land.

The storm is expected to cause heavy rainfall to Guatemala and Honduras. Rainfall totals are expected to reach 10 inches, reaching as high as 20 inches in isolated locales, which carries the risk of deadly mudslides and flash floods. Signs of Hurricane Adrian have already appeared in coastal regions of Guatemala and El Salvador.

The north-easterly track of this storm is extremely unusual. Only 4 tropical systems are recorded to have made landfall in Guatemala or El Salvador since 1966. The only named system ever to do so was Tropical Storm Andres on June 7, 1997, near San Salvador.

On the storm's current track, its remnants are expected to cross into Caribbean Sea. The storm could then regenerate and become Tropical Storm Arlene, the first named storm of the Atlantic season. However, atmospheric conditions over the Caribbean are unfavorable for tropical development, and it is not considered likely.