5th Anniversary of Tropical Storm Matthew

Tropical storm Matthew on Sept. 23, 2010 (NASA/MODIS)
Tropical storm Matthew on Sept. 23, 2010 (NASA/MODIS)

On September 24, 2010, Tropical Storm Matthew made landfall on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua.  A weak tropical storm, Matthew’s maximum sustained winds never exceeded 60 mph (95 km/hr).  But it brought torrential rains to Central America and Mexico and caused 126 deaths and US$170 million in damage.  Matthew had formed from a disturbance in the central Caribbean Sea only a day before landfall.  Even as a disturbance, it had brought flooding to Venezuela, causing 7 deaths. 

Mexican rainfall generated by Matthew 2010 (NOAA/CCP)
Mexican rainfall generated by Matthew 2010 (NOAA/WPC)

HRD tasked the NOAA G-IV to fly a Genesis mission around the depression to document its consolidation.  Matthew organized into a storm as it moved westward.  As it neared Central America, NOAA42 flew an Ocean Heat experiment, measuring the warmth of the water it was about to traverse.   Matthew did strengthen and reached its peak as it struck the Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua.  It continued steadily over northern Honduras and made a second landfall in Belize.  It finally stalled over Mexico as a tropical depression but continued to deluge the entire area until it dissipated.  Some regions of Mexico received over 16 inches (40.5 cm) of rain.