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Two Powerful Storms Strike Mexico At Once, Turning A Quiet Atlantic Hurricane Season Extreme

By Andrew Breiner

"Two Powerful Storms Strike Mexico At Once, Turning A Quiet Atlantic Hurricane Season Extreme"

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People stand on the rooftop of a home in a flooded neighborhood in Acapulco.

People stand on the rooftop of a home in a flooded neighborhood in Acapulco.

CREDIT: ASSOCIATED PRESS

A so-far-quiet hurricane season took an extreme turn as Tropical Storm Manuel and Hurricane Ingrid struck southern and central Mexico on Sunday and Monday, killing at least 57 by the latest count available on Wednesday. The state of Guerrero on the Pacific coast was hardest-hit, closing major roads out of Acapulco and blocking most air traffic, which left tens of thousands stranded.

It was the first time since 1958 that two tropical storms or hurricanes hit both of Mexico’s coasts within 24 hours. And the bad weather may not be over for Mexico yet, as Manuel, downgraded to a tropical depression, began to regain strength in the Pacific Ocean. It promises to dump more rain on the state of Sinaloa, causing more flooding and mudslides, and may make landfall on Baja California as a renewed tropical storm.

Meanwhile, an area of disturbed weather currently over the Yucatan Peninsula known as Invest 95L appears to be gaining strength, though there is a strong possibility it will stay put in the Bay of Campeche rather than making landfall.

2013’s Atlantic hurricane season narrowly avoided setting a record for the latest formed Atlantic hurricane, having been hurricane-free until the appearance of Hurricane Humberto last week.

People prepare to cross a flooded street caused by heavy rains brought by Tropical Storm Manuel

People prepare to cross a flooded street caused by heavy rains brought by Tropical Storm Manuel

CREDIT: ASSOCIATED PRESS

The 2013 Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE), which measures a season’s storm activity, was at 16 prior to the appearance of Manuel and Ingrid, compared to a usual year’s average around 110. But the two recent storms were enough to raise it to 24 as of Wednesday.

Some climate science deniers have tried to seize on the quiet hurricane season as evidence against a link between climate change and extreme weather. But hurricanes and all weather are a result of many interrelated systems. Dennis Feltgen, of NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, attributed the quiet season in part to dust and dry air blowing off of the Sahara. And as the destruction in Mexico shows, extreme weather is still a huge threat.

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