In addition, after witnessing the vulnerability to hurricanes, the affected governments endeavored to prevent such a disaster from occurring again. Over 2,328 cases of cholera were reported, killing 34 people. There were heavy losses in livestock as well, including the deaths of 10,000 cattle. Hurricane Mitch causes and effects of this natural disaster It reached its peak wind speed of 180 miles (290 km) per hour off the northeastern coast of Honduras on October 26 and 27, when it dumped heavy rain on much of Central America, particularly on Honduras and Nicaragua. Shortly after crossing the state, Mitch transitioned into an extratropical cyclone. On November 3, the remnants redeveloped into a tropical storm just off the coast of the Mexican state of Campeche, and a day later the storm made another landfall just north of the city of Campeche. Many other homes and buildings were flooded, forcing many to evacuate. [19] About 70% of Honduras lost access to fresh water after the storm, although many rural areas had already been experiencing water shortages. Key West International Airport reported peak wind gusts of 55 mph (89 km/h) and sustained winds of 40 mph (64 km/h), the only report of tropical storm force in the state. Reconstruction projects were extensive and time-consuming, particularly in Honduras and Nicaragua. Nearly 11,000 people were confirmed dead, and almost as many reported missing. Widespread areas experienced power outages, and about 70 percent of the country lost water after the storm. [11] In all, Mitch caused $40 million in damage (1998 USD) in Florida and two deaths from drowning when two boats capsized. [4] Offshore, the Fowey Rocks Light reported wind gusts of 73 mph (117 km/h). Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. miles (1000 km2) of pasture or crop land. [31], On the south coast of Cuba, the hurricane caused waves of up to 13 feet (4 m) high and winds gusts peaking at 42 mph (67 km/h), causing numerous tourists and workers on the Isle of Youth and Cayo Largo del Sur to leave for safer grounds. In all, Hurricane Mitch caused $748 million (1998 USD) and 268 deaths in Guatemala. [23] There were unofficial rainfall totals in Central America as high as 1,900 mm (75 in); rain gauges in mountainous areas were washed away. At the time, Mitch was the strongest Atlantic hurricane observed in the month of October, though it has since been surpassed by Hurricane Wilma of the 2005 season. Multiple rivers, including the Río Grande de San Miguel and the Lempa River overflowed, contributing to overall damage. After the disaster caused by Hurricane Mitch, countries around the world donated significant aid, totaling $6.3 billion (1998 USD). [24] In the country's interior, particularly the southern portion, the high rainfall caused hundreds of landslides, many of them shallow and about 95% in the form of debris flow. An archival report from the National Hurricane Centre said Mitch led to the deaths of more than 9000 people. The flooding and mudslides damaged or destroyed tens of thousands of homes, with total damag… In 1999 the name Mitch was retired for hurricanes by the World Meteorological Organization. Updates? [4], While offshore northern Honduras, Hurricane Mitch passed over Guanaja island. Strong waves damaged or destroyed many docks on the south shore of the islands, and also sank one dive ship near Grand Cayman. [29] Over 1,700 miles (2700 km) of highways or access roads needed replacement subsequent to the storm, especially in the northern part of the country and along portions of the Pan-American Highway. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. miles (300 km2) of crop lands, causing damage to both export and domestic crops. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Mud slides on Casita Volcano, northwestern Nicaragua, caused by Hurricane Mitch, 1998; the volcano eventually collapsed. Total agricultural and livestock damaged amounted to $154 million (1998 USD). A few days after Mitch, the well-liked mayor of Tegucigalpa was viewing the devastation when his helicopter crashed and he and several other high-level people died. [35] The hurricane left three casualties in Panama. [26] Throughout the country, the rainfall and mudslides affected 126 bridges and 800 miles (1,300 km) or roads, mostly on the Inter-American Highway which was affected by Hurricane Cesar, two years prior. In addition, the flooding destroyed 27 schools and damaged 286 others, 175 severely. The flooding damaged more than 10,000 houses, leaving around 84,000 homeless[15] and forcing 500,000 to evacuate. After drifting southwestward and weakening, the hurricane hit Honduras as a minimal hurricane. An archival report from the National Hurricane Center said Mitch led to the deaths of more than 9,000 people. The overall impact represented about 70% of Honduras's annual gross domestic product (GDP). Eta tripled in strength in about 24 hours, rapidly intensifying from a 40 mph (65 kph) storm Sunday morning to a 120 mph (190 kph) hurricane around midday Monday, and continuing to gain power throughout the day. [11], Mitch was also responsible for the loss with all hands of Windjammer Barefoot Cruises' schooner Fantome. The flooding washed away a few roads and bridges, and damaged numerous houses and schools, leaving thousands homeless. [23] The combined damage to transportation, communication, utilities, including power and water, was estimated at $665 million. One house in Spanish Town collapsed from the flooding, leaving four homeless. [4] Gusty winds left 100,000 without power during the storm's passage. In addition, the flooding destroyed two bridges and damaged 1,200 mi (1,900 km) of unpaved roads. The death toll in Honduras from Hurricane Mitch has risen to almost 7,000 people, and another 11,000 are missing. [11] The storm impacted 2,135 homes to some degree, of which 241 were destroyed,[14] leaving 4,000 homeless. The name "Mitch" was retired, and will not be used for another Atlantic tropical cyclone. Floods in the city damaged buildings that were over 350 years old. The story was recorded in the book The Ship and The Storm by Jim Carrier. When Hurricane Mitch devastated Central America in October 1998, 15,000 people died and a million were left homeless in underdeveloped Honduras, the second poorest country in the Western hemisphere. As a result of the extreme damage and loss of life it caused, the name Mitch was retired from the Atlantic naming list by the World Meteorological Organization and will not be used for a future Atlantic hurricane. Hurricane Mitch’s Path: Beginning just north of Colombia in dark blue, Hurricane Mitch … [45], While stalling over the western Caribbean Sea, Mitch's strong winds produced strong waves, damaging local coral reefs. 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