State of emergency declared in El Salvador due to Tropical Storm “Pilar”

satellite image of tropical storm pilar at 1310 utc on november 1 2023

Tropical Storm “Pilar” led to the death of two individuals and left one person missing in El Salvador on Tuesday, October 31, 2023. The storm unleashed torrential rains, strong winds, and caused widespread flooding, prompting a state of national emergency.

According to Deputy Director of Civil Protection Fermin Perez, a 24-year-old male and a 57-year-old female were swept away by strong currents in La Union, 200 km (124 miles) east of the capital, San Salvador. Additionally, an 18-year-old male was reported missing at San Diego beach, 40 km (25 miles) south of San Salvador.

Fermin Perez advised citizens to steer clear of rivers and streams generated by the storm, warning of the high likelihood of being washed away. A state of national emergency was declared, with the Legislative Assembly granting approval late on Sunday. In response, civil protection agencies established 120 shelters across the nation.

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) released data indicating significant rainfall accumulations over the past couple of days. Perquín in Morazán recorded the highest at 2 500 mm (98.4 inches), followed by Concepción de Oriente in La Unión with 2 000 mm (78.7 inches), and other regions experiencing between 900 mm (35.4 inches) and 1 645 mm (64.7 inches).

As of 12:00 UTC on November 1, the storm was nearly stationary, situated 175 km (109 miles) SSW of San Salvador and 390 km (242 miles) W of Managua, Nicaragua. It moved at a speed of 2 km/h (1.2 mph) with a minimum central pressure of 996 hPa.

tropical storm pilar nhc forecast track 1200 utc on November 1 2023

On the forecast track, Pilar will remain in close proximity to the coast of Central America through this morning, but the core of the storm is expected to remain offshore.

A Tropical Storm Watch remains in effect along the Pacific coast of El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

According to forecasts, Pilar is expected to produce a additional 127 to 254 mm (5 to 10 inches) of rainfall, with local amounts up to 381 mm (15 inches), impacting regions from southern El Salvador to northern Costa Rica. This will likely exacerbate the already severe flooding and trigger additional mudslides.

Swells generated by Pilar will likely result in life-threatening surf and rip current conditions along the Pacific coast for the next couple of days.

Residents are advised to stay updated on weather conditions from local authorities and take necessary precautions to ensure safety.

References:

1 2 dead, 1 missing from Tropical Storm Pilar in El Salvador – Anadolu Agency – October 31, 2023

2 Pilar se aleja de El Salvador, pero las lluvias continuarán al menos “un par de días” – La Prensa Grafica – November 1, 2023

3 Tropical Storm Pilar Intermediate Advisory Number 15A – NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL EP192023 – 700 AM CDT Wed Nov 01 2023

Featured image: Tropical Storm “Pilar” at 13:10 UTC on November 1, 2023. Credit: NOAA/GOES-East, RAMMB/CIRA, The Watchers

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