Hurricane Julia makes landfall in Central America as the tropics go quiet
Hurricane Julia had top winds estimated at 85 mph when the eye crossed the Nicaraguan coast overnight. The system will quickly weaken as the system encounters the mountainous terrain in Central America. The biggest threat going forward is flash flooding and mudslides, as the high elevations enhance the potential for torrential tropical rainfall. The National Hurricane Center is forecasting up to 15 inches of rain in isolated spots in Nicaragua and El Salvador and lesser but still dangerous amounts in the surrounding countries.
The open question is whether Julia will make it across Central America in one piece. Most often, the tall mountains disrupt the low-level circulations of tropical systems, but in this case, the land mass is not very wide where Julia is trying to cross.
Warnings and watches are in effect for the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala in case Julia is still intact when it gets there. The threat would be for tropical-storm-force winds.
Julia will keep its name in the Pacific if the circulation survives the trip across the mountains. However, the upper-level winds are forecast to become hostile soon after the storm or what’s left of it arrives in the Pacific. So, in any case, it is not expected to be around for long.
Elsewhere in the tropics, the weather pattern over the tropical Atlantic has taken on a winter-time look, with hostile upper-level winds blowing from the Caribbean to the African coast. So no development is expected there.
The consensus of the long-range computer forecast models is that a strong cold front will push through Florida late in the week. Although we’re always suspicious of predicted frontal passages in South Florida this early in October, it can happen. In any case, the front and its associated hostile upper winds should protect the U.S. through next weekend, at least.
There are no signs that any new systems are in the works.