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Hurricane Pauline

Hurricane Pauline
Hurricane Pauline Category 4 hurricane (SSHS)

weakening and hitting Puerto Angel, on October 9, and dissipated the next day. Pauline produced torrential rainfall along the Mexican coastline, peaking at 16 inches (406 mm) in Acapulco. Intense flooding and mudslides in some of the poorest areas of Mexico killed between 230 to 400 people, making it one of the deadliest Eastern Pacific storms in recorded history. The passage of the hurricane destroyed or damaged tens of thousands of houses, leaving around 300,000 homeless and causing $7.5 billion in damage (1997 USD, 80 billion 1997 MXN pesos, $9.3 billion (2006 USD).[1]

Meteorological history
Hurricane Pauline at peak intensity

Formed Dissipated Highest winds Lowest pressure Fatalities Damage Areas affected

October 5, 1997 October 10, 1997 135 mph (215 km/h)
(1-minute sustained)

948 mbar (hPa; 27.99 inHg) 230–400 direct $7.5 billion (1997 USD) $10 billion (2009 USD) Southwestern Mexico, especially Acapulco

Storm path A tropical wave exited the coast of Africa on September 16. It traversed steadily westward, with the southern portion of the wave axis moving across northern South America. On September 26 the wave entered the eastern Pacific Ocean near Panama, and slowly organized. A weak low-level trough extended from the Caribbean Sea to south of Mexico, disrupting the normal flow of westward steering currents. On October 3, the tropical wave developed a distinct area of deep convection, and began to drift eastward to the south of Mexico. Two days later a low-level circulation formed, and midday on October 5 the system developed into Tropical Depression EighteenE while located about 250 miles (410 km) south-southwest of Huatulco in the state of Oaxaca.[2]

Part of the 1997 Pacific hurricane season

Hurricane Pauline was one of the strongest and deadliest Pacific hurricanes to make landfall on Mexico. The sixteenth tropical storm, eighth hurricane, and seventh major hurricane of the 1997 Pacific hurricane season, Pauline developed out of a tropical wave on October 5 about 250 miles (410 km) south-southwest of Huatulco in the state of Oaxaca. It initially moved eastward, then turned northwestward and quickly strengthened to reach peak winds of 135 mph (215 km/h). It paralleled the Mexican coastline a short distance offshore before


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With an absence of vertical wind shear, the depression drifted just south of due east and steadily organized. The system developed banding features and a central dense overcast, and early on October 6 the depression intensified into Tropical Storm Pauline while located about 295 miles (475 km) south-southeast of Salina Cruz, Oaxaca. A strong high pressure system eroded the trough over southeastern Mexico, which turned Pauline to the northeast. An eye feature developed late on October 6, and early the next day Pauline intensified into a hurricane about 265 miles (425 km) southeast of Salina Cruz after turning to the north and northwest.[2] Pauline rapidly intensified after becoming a hurricane with favorable conditions for continued development, and 18 hours after becoming a hurricane it attained a peak intensity of 135 mph (215 km/h). The winds of the hurricane weakened slightly to 115 mph (185 km/h), but on October 8 Pauline restrengthened to reach winds of 135 mph (215 km/h) a short distance off the coast of Mexico. The hurricane turned more to the west-northwest while paralleling the southern coast of Oaxaca, and Pauline quickly weakened due to interaction with the mountainous terrain before landfall near Puerto Angel as a 110 mph (175 km/h) hurricane early on October 9. The storm continued to weaken as it paralleled the coast a short distance inland, and on October 10 Pauline dissipated over the state of Jalisco.[2]

Hurricane Pauline
opened 75 emergency shelters[4] and prepared 50 schools to house up to [5] In advance of the storm, 10,000 people. many residents removed light-weighing objects from the outside and taped up their windows.[4] Officials in El Salvador declared a national state of alert in response to the potential threat from the hurricane. Residents in floodprone areas were warned of potential flash flooding.[3] As the hurricane turned sharply to the northwest, there are no reports of damage or deaths from Pauline in the country.[2]

Deadliest Pacific hurricanes Rank 1 2 3 4 5 Hurricane "Mexico" Paul Liza Tara Pauline Season 1959 1982 1976 1961 1997 Fatalities 1800+ 1000+ 630–990 436–500 230–400

Main article: List of Pacific hurricanes

Early forecasts under-estimated the peak intensity of Pauline by 65 mph (105 km/h). On October 7, about 41 hours before landfall, the government of Mexico issued a hurricane warning from Tapachula in the state of Chiapas to Punta Maldonado in the state of Guerrero. Shortly after it made landfall, the warning was extended northwestward to Manzanillo, Colima, and later to Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. Pauline’s turn to the westnorthwest near landfall was unexpected, resulting in hurricane conditions with only a few hours notice in some areas.[2] Officials in Puerto Madero closed port facilities to all ships, excluding ships in open seas seeking shelter.[3] Officials ultimately closed six major ports between Acapulco and Puerto Madero. State authorities in Oaxaca

Hurricane Pauline Rainfall in Mexico Few surface observations were taken during the passage of the hurricane, though officials estimate portions of southern Mexico experienced the brunt of the storm. Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, near where Pauline made landfall, reported a peak wind gust of 70 mph (115 km/h) several hours before the hurricane moved through the area; no reports were available after that time. An anemometer in Acapulco reported a wind gust of 59 mph (95 km/h) with sustained winds of 46 mph (75 km/h). However, officials


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estimate Pauline might have been a hurricane while passing through the area.[2] The hurricane produced heavy rainfall along its path, peaking at 16.2 inches (412 mm) in a 24 hour period at Acapulco in the state of Guerrero. Numerous other locations reported over 10 inches (255 mm) of rain between October 3 and October 10, with a peak of 32.62 inches (930 mm) at Puente Jula, near Paso Overjas. Roughly 30 ft (9 m) seas were reported along the Oaxaca coastline while the hurricane made landfall.[5] Hurricane Pauline lightly affected the state of Chiapas, but severely affected Oaxaca and Guerrero, two of the poorest regions of Mexico. The area most impacted was the region in and around Acapulco.[6] The hurricane caused severe damage to the environment; 200 square miles (700 km²) of low-lying rainforest and pine and evergreen oak woodlands were greatly damaged in southern Mexico.[7] Strong waves produced severe beach erosion in some locations. The erosion affected two nesting cycles for the Olive Ridley turtle,[8] destroying about 40 million eggs.[9] The deadliest and most severe hurricane to hit Mexico since a hurricane in 1959,[10] Hurricane Pauline resulted in $7.5 billion (1997 USD, 80 billion pesos 1997 MXN, $9.3 billion 2006 USD) in damage.[1] The exact death toll is unknown. By one day after the storm, 123 deaths were confirmed.[6] A report issued by the United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs reported 137 deaths by three days after the storm.[11] Four days after the passage of the hurricane, a Reuters news report stated there were 173 dead with about 200 missing,[12] while the government of Mexico issued a statement reporting 149 deaths.[13] Ultimately, media reports indicated a death toll of at least 230 people, and the Mexican Red Cross estimated 400 dead[2] and at least 1,900 missing. The Church World Service estimated at least 500 people were killed.[14] 2 3 4 5 Iniki Iwa Kathleen Norma 1992 1982 1976 1981

Hurricane Pauline
$2.6 billion $664 million $144–577 million $303 million

Main article: List of Pacific hurricanes

A state of emergency was declared for the state of Oaxaca shortly after Pauline made landfall.[15] Abundant rainfall caused the River Los Perros to overflow its capacity, flooding 50 municipalities in Oaxaca. The flooding damaged 12 bridges,[11] of which two were destroyed,[16] and cut off some areas of electricity, drinking water, and telecommunications for several days.[11] The passage of the hurricane affected thousands of houses, leaving roughly 250,000 homeless in the state.[17] At least 110 people died in the state, with hundreds of thousands of residents and 1,278 communities being affected.[14] Strong winds from the hurricane downed trees and power lines throughout southern Oaxaca. The storm temporarily isolated Puerto Ángel, Oaxaca and a navy base there by cutting off communications from the rest of Mexico. In Huatulco, the winds blew down antennas at the local television station and destroyed at least 30 cardboard houses.[5] A community near the airport of the city was hit hard, with several people left homeless. Heavy rainfall from the storm caused severe flooding in portions of Oaxaca and neighboring Chiapas.[15] A total of about 500 entire communities were destroyed in Oaxaca; the areas worst affected were Zapotecos, Chatino, and Mixtecos.[14]

Heavy rainfall led to severe mudslides and flooding throughout southern Guerrero. Entire communities were nearly destroyed, with some remaining flooded for a week after the hurricane. The flooding washed out or destroyed thousands of acres of crops, and killed thousands of cattle. The flooding and mudslides isolated more than 45,000 people from the outside world.[14] The passage of the hurricane resulted in damage to houses, bridges, and electrical and water supply. According to one preliminary estimate, 123 people died in Guerrero,[11] primarily in Acapulco. Over 200 were missing by four

Costliest Eastern Pacific hurricanes
Cost refers to total estimated property damage.

Rank Hurricane Season 1 Pauline 1997

Cost (2007 USD) $9.6 billion


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Hurricane Pauline
medical supplies to those staying in government shelters in Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Chiapas. The Mexican Red Cross also set up shelters to house and feed hundreds of displaced people, and by four days after the storm, the Red Cross distributed 100 tonnes of relief supplies to hurricane victims. Medical workers were also deployed to the area to aid the injured.[18] Officials set up emergency water purification plants in Acapulco, though water remained largely unavailable. Water trucks were sent to the city, with thousands standing in line for fresh water. Tourists in luxury hotels of Acapulco, for the most part generally unaffected by the hurricane,[12] were forced to use bottled water and ration their available water to as little as possible to provide water for the rest of the city.[19] Severe price gouging occurred in the city following the hurricane, with one consumer protection official reporting shopkeepers charging 200 percent more for milk, 500 percent more for tortillas, and 1000 percent more than usual for water.[13] The government set up 39 aid centers for Acapulco citizens, though some residents were unable to get food and water. Some residents suspected officials of President Ernesto Zedillo in the Institutional Revolutionary Party of taking aid supplies for their own purposes. The president promised to seek charges and decided to close aid centers in favor of opening soup kitchens. Despite having the food, the Mexican army did not set up the kitchens, nor was aid distributed at the aid centers.[19] The floodwaters from the hurricane combined with raw sewage in many poor areas of southwestern Mexico, leading to a widespread threat for a spread of tropical diseases. As a result, government health workers opened vaccination centers in several cities along the Guerrero and Oaxaca coasts. Thousands were inoculated for typhoid fever and tetanus. Officials noted a potential threat for dengue and cholera as a result of the spoiled water. Health workers also stated mosquitos possessing malaria and dengue fever were likely to breed in large areas of leftover water. In Acapulco, about two days after the hurricane passed, the first day of sun in a week evaporated the areas of leftover water, spreading dust across the region with the deadly diseases. Residents were warned to boil their food and water for 30 minutes due to the threat for

Hurricane Pauline off the Mexican coast on October 7 days after the hurricane due to being washed out to sea or buried in mudslides.[13] 50,000 people were left homeless across the state.[17] Striking the week after Tropical Storm Olaf, previously wet grounds combined with heavy rainfall from Pauline resulted in severe mudslides and flash flooding in shanty towns around Acapulco Bay.[18] There, around 5,000 homes were destroyed with another 25,000 damaged,[14] with 10,000 people left homeless in and around the city.[6] The luxury resort hotels near the beach were largely unaffected by the hurricane, though residents in the shanty towns lost what little they had. Much of the city was covered in mud, and 70 percent of Acapulco was without water as a result of the hurricane.[12] Most of the city’s one million residents were also left without power or telephone, as well.[6]

Volunteers from the Mexican Red Cross quickly went to disaster areas with search and rescue teams,[18] including using specially trained dogs to search for hurricane victims trapped under muddy areas of Acapulco. By four days after the storm each team was finding one or two corpses per day, with officials stating the search could take weeks.[12] In Guerrero, the teams rescued a total of 35 people from hazard.[11] Hours after the hurricane passed through the area, relief works traveled by boat through flooded areas to assist the worst-hit areas. The Red Cross provided food, water, clothing, blankets, water purification supplies, milk powder and other non-perishable foods, and


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contamination by the dust.[12] At least twenty cases of cholera[20] and at least six cases of dengue fever were reported.[21] Army soldiers distributed chlorine tablets to disinfect water pools and wheelbarrows to remove rotting mud and sewage from their damaged homes. Two C-130 Hercules planes and twenty helicopters airlifted food and water to smaller villages south of Acapulco that were stranded for nearly a week after the hurricane.[19] Most of Acapulco remained closed for at least a week after the hurricane.[19] Initially, authorities around Acapulco gave preference to clean up tourist areas, which resulted in the scenic highway from the hotels to the airport being quickly fixed. Tourism greatly decreased following the hurricane, causing some hotels to charge 40 percent less than normal in an attempt to bring people back. One airline offered two plane tickets for the price of one from Mexico City to Acapulco. Most hotels were almost completely back to normal around a month after the hurricane.[20] The governments of Oaxaca and Guerrero asked UNICEF for assistance, specifically water tanks, water pumps, and construction material.[11] International aid initially focused almost solely on the damage in Acapulco. By a week after the hurricane, 500 communities in Oaxaca remained isolated and without assistance, with several large communities in Guerrero not receiving any material aid by a week after the hurricane.[14] The Adventist Development and Relief Agency organized about 7 tons of food and clothing, and sent a bus of 40 people to help isolated villages in southern Mexico.[22] Around ten days after the hurricane struck, 20,000 people were still isolated from emergency crews and relief works, causing the president to suspect people could begin starving to death. Helicopters were initially sent to the remote areas, though severe fog and heavy rainfall after the hurricane grounded the operations. The government worked to bring food to remote mountain communities, though officials noted the serious risk in doing so.[23] Three days after the hurricane, the American Red Cross sent an initial donation of $25,000 (1997 USD), and also sent plastic sheets for temporary roofing and cleaning supplies such as mops, brooms, buckets, sponges, bleach, and cleaning chemicals.[18] Local chapters also offered assistance. The

Hurricane Pauline
chapter in San Antonio, Texas sent cleaning kits, and the chapter in Los Angeles delivered 2,000 comfort kits containing hygiene supplies and crossword puzzles for children.[24] The German Red Cross also offered assistance.[18]

Because of the damage and deaths in Mexico, the name Pauline was retired in the spring of 1998 by the World Meteorological Organization and will never again be used as a Pacific hurricane. It was replaced by Patricia for the 2003 Pacific hurricane season.[25]

See also
• List of Pacific hurricanes • List of retired Pacific hurricane names • Timeline of the 1997 Pacific hurricane season

[1] ^ Centro Nacional para la Prevención de Desastres (1999). "Estadisticas sobre los riesgos a atenuar de fenomenos perturbadores" (in Spanish). uploadtests/ 4054.66.59.1.STAD%C3%8DSTICASRIESGOS-ATENUAR.DOC. Retrieved on 2007-01-09. [2] ^ Miles B. Lawrence (1997). "Hurricane Pauline Tropical Cyclone Report". National Hurricane Center. 1997pauline.html. Retrieved on 2007-01-02. [3] ^ CNN (1997). "Powerful Hurricane Pauline churns toward Mexico". pauline/index.html. Retrieved on 2007-01-10. [4] ^ CNN (1997). "’Dangerous’ Hurricane Pauline to hit southwest Mexico". pauline/index.html. Retrieved on 2007-01-10. [5] ^ CNN (1997). "Southern Mexico facing perils of Pauline". WEATHER/9710/08/pauline.update/ index.html. Retrieved on 2007-01-10. [6] ^ Church World Service (1997). "Situation Report Hurricane Pauline".


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Hurricane Pauline

ReliefWeb. eeaf6f69881dc467c125652f002b27d5?OpenDocumen Retrieved on 2007-01-09. 480fa8736b88bbc3c12564f6004c8ad5/ [14] ^ Church World Service (1997). 3dbfbae1700246fbc125652f002f42bb?OpenDocument. "Situation Report Hurricane Pauline". Retrieved on 2007-01-09. [7] North American Forest Commission RWB.NSF/ (1998). "Impact of climatic factors such 480fa8736b88bbc3c12564f6004c8ad5/ as El Niño on forests". c18304c69c7d102ec12565330028138e?OpenDocume Retrieved on 2007-01-10. NAFC/nafc98/NAFC4-E.HTM. Retrieved [15] ^ CNN (1997). "Pauline hits Mexico’s on 2007-01-10. Pacific coast resorts". [8] Laura Sarti, Juan Díaz, Manuel Garduño, Javier Vasconcelos, Ernesto Albavera, pauline/. Retrieved on 2007-01-10. Cuauhtemoc Peñaflores, and René [16] UN Department of Public Information Márquez M. (1998). "Effect of Hurricane (1997). "Mexican states of Oaxaca and Pauline on the Nesting of Olive Ridley Guerrero ask UNICEF for assistance Turtle in Escobilla Beach, Oaxaca, following destruction by hurricane Mexico". United States Department of Pauline". Commerce. w/RWB.NSF/ pr/pdfs/species/ 480fa8736b88bbc3c12564f6004c8ad5/ turtlesymposium1998.pdf. Retrieved on 3af67ce5d0ae2afac1256530002d7466?OpenDocume 2007-01-10. Retrieved on 2007-01-10. [9] Marine Turtle Newsletter (1998). [17] ^ National Drought Mitigation Center "United States - Import Prohibition of (1997). "Reported Effects of the 1997-98 Certain Shrimp and Shrimp Products". El Niño". world/table2.pdf. Retrieved on 58r00/shrus19e.asp. Retrieved on 2007-01-10. 2007-01-10. [18] ^ International Red Cross and Red [10] Action by Churches Together Crescent Movement (1997). "Mexico International. "Alert Mexico Hurricane Hurricane Pauline Information Bulletin Pauline". ReliefWeb. No.1". ReliefWeb. 480fa8736b88bbc3c12564f6004c8ad5/ 480fa8736b88bbc3c12564f6004c8ad5/ d1fa410d4559f30fc125652f00544db9?OpenDocument. 0eb810441809da44c12565390053d195?OpenDocum Retrieved on 2007-01-09. Retrieved on 2007-01-09. [11] ^ United Nations Department of [19] ^ David Luhnow (1997-10-15). "Mexico Humanitarian Affairs (1997). "Mexico Storm Victims Desperate for Food, Hurricane Pauline Situation Report Water". Reuters. No.1". ReliefWeb. db900SID/ 480fa8736b88bbc3c12564f6004c8ad5/ OCHA-64BKES?OpenDocument&rc=2&emid=ST-199 6bd520b8a7152d6fc125652f0026ca50?OpenDocument. Retrieved on 2007-01-10. Retrieved on 2007-01-09. [20] ^ Julia Preston (1997-11-19). "Acapulco [12] ^ David Luhnow (1997-10-13). "Plague Tourist Areas Are Open After Storm". Fears Mount in Storm-Wrecked New York Times. Acapulco". Reuters. fullpage.html?sec=travel&res=9B02EED81130F93A 480fa8736b88bbc3c12564f6004c8ad5/ Retrieved on 2007-01-10. ba8d97d063e14a11c12565300042fdbd?OpenDocument. [21] David Luhnow (1997-10-14). "Cholera Retrieved on 2007-01-09. Breaks Out in Acapulco". Reuters. [13] ^ Australian Broadcasting Corporation (1997). "Survivors of Mexican hurricane db900SID/ facing shortages of food and water". OCHA-64DANJ?OpenDocument&rc=2&emid=ST-199 Retrieved on 2007-01-10. 480fa8736b88bbc3c12564f6004c8ad5/ [22] Adventist Development and Relief Agency International (1997). "Relief


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Hurricane Pauline

continues for hurricane survivors". have been retired in the Atlantic and East Pacific basin?". National Oceanic db900SID/ and Atmospheric Administration OCHA-64D42X?OpenDocument&rc=2&emid=ST-1997-0243-MEX. Hurricane Research Division. Retrieved on 2007-01-10. [23] Australian Broadcasting Corporation B3.html. Retrieved on 2008-10-13. (1997-10-19). "People in Mexico’s Pacific mountains face starvation after hurricane". • NHC Pauline Report RWB.NSF/db900SID/ • HPC Pauline Rainfall OCHA-64C9PG?OpenDocument&rc=2&emid=ST-1997-0243-MEX. Page • Storm Path Retrieved on 2007-01-10. [24] American Red Cross (1997). "Hard Work Tropical cyclones of the 1997 Pacific Saffir-Simpson Continues in the Wake of Hurricane hurricane season TD TS 1 Pauline". A B 3E C 5E D E F 1C* G H I RWB.NSF/db900SID/ J O* K L M N O P 3C* 4C* R P* OCHA-64D527?OpenDocument&rc=2&emid=ST-1997-0243-MEX. * Central Pacific Retrieved on 2007-01-10. [25] Gary Padgett, Jack Beven, and James Lewis Free. "Subject: B3) What names

External links

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