A hurricane is a violent tropical cyclone with winds moving at 73 or more miles per hour.
Hurricane Mitch developed in the Caribbean Sea as a tropical storm with winds at 180 mph. Mitch registered as a category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale; the highest rating possible.
Late Oct 27 to the eve of Oct 29
The storm was delayed three days by a strong front coming from Mexico, just off the coast of Honduras. Mitch dumped two feet of rain each day into the Gulf of Honduras; causing floods and mudslides.
Up to this point, 1,000 people had been counted dead.
Late Oct 29 to Nov 2
Mitch worked its way across Central America hitting hardest on the Honduran-Nicaraguan border. Heavy rains formed a crater lake on the Casita Volcano, causing it to crack and pour mud onto villages below.
Up to this point, 7,000 people were counted dead.
Mitch continued west; moving into Guatemala and El Salvador. It then settled in the Gulf of Mexico, where it disintegrated into a tropical storm.
Mitch moved on; traveling northeast to southern Florida, where it hit the coast with winds at 55mph for 24hrs. Tropical storm warnings were issued for Cuba and the Bahamas.
Up to this point, 10,000 people were counted dead.
The terror of Mitch finally came to an end, when it became extratropical at four p.m., EST on November fifth.
"We will probably never know how many people have died."
- Dimas Alonzo, of Honduran