Ophelia's near-record storm surge

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:42 PM GMT on September 15, 2005

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Storm surge levels observed last night in Bogue Sound, which is the bay between Morehead City and its barrier island, reached seven feet--near the record levels set there from Category 3 Hurricane Hazel in 1954. The storm surge values ranged as high as 10 - 12 feet in some of the smaller creeks in the Neuse River near New Bern, a remarkably high storm surge for what was a tropical storm for that area.


Figure 1. Storm Surge heights measured in Ophelia.

For those of you who can handle a 1.6Mb animation, the radar loop from Morehead City, NC during the time Ophelia's northern eyewall passed over the city is fascinating. The turbulence created by having part of the eyewall over land and part over water created some smaller vorticies along the inside edge of the eyewall.


Figure 2. Estimated rainfall from the Morehead City radar for Ophelia's passage.

I'll post a more detailed update on Ophelia and the developing tropical wave approaching the Leeward Islands by noon today.

Jeff Masters

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67. subtropic
5:03 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Or maybe they're just bored.
Member Since: August 29, 2002 Posts: 209 Comments: 4434
66. subtropic
4:52 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
I should clarify, "developing tropical systems" Something more cut and dry like an approaching strong cold front etc they are more liberal in factoring in.
Member Since: August 29, 2002 Posts: 209 Comments: 4434
65. subtropic
4:50 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
I noticed that our local weather service office in So Fl has persisted in calling for "breezy" conditions for Sunday night and Monday. I am familiar with their usual forecast reasoning, and they are usually VERY conservative about bringing specific coditions like that into the forecast this far out based on a "developing system". It will be interesting to see if we do in fact see "breezy" conditions here in So Fl.
Member Since: August 29, 2002 Posts: 209 Comments: 4434
64. oriondarkwood
4:40 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
hookedonthetropics,

Good point.
Member Since: July 5, 2004 Posts: 51 Comments: 42
63. hookedontropics
4:34 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
I only think we have one cat 5 left and it may be the storm that Bastardi talks of.

I think the Gulf is possible of a 3 or 4. Water off of the east coast has cooled significantly, so I would imagine that a landfall of a Cat 5 would be unlikely. Isabel weakened as she went through this area.
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 127
62. hookedontropics
4:27 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
I will tell you that at this point, nothing is certain. Joe Bastardi is a guy that I look to for information concerning tropics and climatology. He doesn't settle on the the models, he looks for other things to guide forecasting. If you look at the wave east of PR it is being sheared and part of it may in fact break to the east. the remnants should travel west and strenghen. The other wave is a freakin monster. I think he isn't going to far out on a limb on this scenario
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 127
61. oriondarkwood
4:25 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
HurricaneZane,

Yea I did get to do that in college (2 year community college). Maybe when I have my mid-life crisis in a few years. I will go back to university (LOL).

By chance you didn't learn via the Greek Drinking game where you started with the Alpha Chi Roe and drank your to Zeta Phi?
Member Since: July 5, 2004 Posts: 51 Comments: 42
60. Undertaker
4:17 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
We all will be keeping a watck on this in the Caribbean.
Member Since: August 4, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 50
59. subtropic
4:14 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Undertaker, that is a distinct possibility. It is also possible that it will never make it that far west. You should watch this one carefully.
Member Since: August 29, 2002 Posts: 209 Comments: 4434
58. billsfaninsofla
4:14 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
jcpoulard... Are you familiar with Joe Bastardi of Accuweather?
Member Since: September 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5641
57. Undertaker
4:11 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Hey guys I live in Jamaica and if this tropical wave makes it into the caribbean sea as some of the models show, I fear the warm water will have an effect on the wave making it a huge hurricane and possible affecting us. What do you think?
Member Since: August 4, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 50
56. HurricaneZane
4:00 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Orion.. I think we will get to Beta.. (I learned my Greek alphabet in College.. damn sororities!)
54. oriondarkwood
3:55 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
jcpoulard,

How far you think we will get in the Greek Alphabet
Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Espilion, or Diagamma.

(for those playing the home game you two can learn the greek alphabet http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_alphabet )
Member Since: July 5, 2004 Posts: 51 Comments: 42
53. RiverLuvr
3:53 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
New to this blog, but just got pics in from Adams Creek, Havelock NC,kudos to predictors, just 2 feet less than Isabell on surge... I live 75 miles from Atlantic Beach inland, but weekender at Adams Creek....flood waters still standing as of right now 12noon Thurs.
52. jcpoulard
3:49 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
oriondarkwood :
I think we going over the list and start to name with greek alphabet.

Member Since: September 15, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 114
51. FlounderBandit
3:47 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
obxcartwright,

Depends on what side of town you are on. In the back along Dowry Creek it was well above the hubs on my truck. Main Street is roughly 2 feet deep. Most Water St. docks that are a good 2-3 feet above water, all you can see are the pilings sticking up. All the hell being raised down-east pushed all the water up our way. Wind just switched to the southeast, so things should get interesting now.
50. TipOfIsland
3:46 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Lefty! Glad you made it. You are in my old stomping ground, Colington Harbor. Take care, you and Roger both.
Pat
49. oriondarkwood
3:39 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Cystal Ball time:

You think we have anymore cat5 storms this year?
My opinion yea I think we going to have 2 maybe 3 more and another couple of major hurricane hits

What do you think the final total will be:
I am still sticking with my 23 storms (I think that what I said earlier this season)

Where do you think is the next target?
I say its the east coast's turn to get hit I say GA/SC is overdue for hit. Ditto for NY
Member Since: July 5, 2004 Posts: 51 Comments: 42
48. hatterasman
3:34 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
thanks obxcartwright. Any reports from Hatteras Village are much appreciated. I am not htere so I have no idea what is going on. Worried about my house! NWS reported unoffical gust of 92 mph in Hatteras Village
47. jcpoulard
3:29 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
hookedontropics: I'm not sure about this "forecast". For now any wave or disturbance was located at east of Puerto Rico. About the tropical wave east of leeward Island, we can't know yet. I don't know if your "Bastardi" have a "BOULE DE CRISTAL".
Member Since: September 15, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 114
46. billsfaninsofla
3:27 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
cgables.. we were without power for 102 hours after Kat... a cat 1 hurricane..
Member Since: September 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5641
45. billsfaninsofla
3:25 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
hmfynn... thanks for the link...
Member Since: September 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5641
44. hookedontropics
3:24 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Bastardi says two storms will form within 5 days. One east of Puerto Rico and one east of the leeward islands.

The wave east of PR will move into the Gulf, and the one SE of this will in his words "will be a major hurricane". He said it reminds him of Isabel. It will have to deal with a trof, but if it clears that it looks like the east coast
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 127
43. obxcartwright
3:24 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
hatterasman, There was water coming across the breach this morning but cars were getting through. Then the web cam link went out. I saw 83 mph gusts being reported in Hatteras village before that link went out also.
41. hatterasman
3:20 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Anyone know ho hatteras Village is faring and the ocean side surge?
40. flacanefan
3:16 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
careful???
39. obxcartwright
3:15 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Flounder, How high did the water get?
38. FlounderBandit
3:12 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
obxcartwright,

Located in Belhaven, NC. Just due across the sound from Ocracoke, about 20 miles from Swan Quarter.
37. armacjm
3:11 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
...and Lefty - don't forget those freakin' shells or your &*%$ will be grass....
36. jcpoulard
3:09 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
flacanefan you need to be more carefull. Arcording to image of jet courant for today may be the "future TD 17" will go more nothward. Jet courant picture
Member Since: September 15, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 114
35. obxcartwright
3:05 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
flounder, where are you located?
34. Lovethetropics
3:04 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Welcome JCPoulard!!! We are practically neighbors. I live in Puerto Rico and I am also worried for us in the Antilles.
Member Since: August 18, 2005 Posts: 236 Comments: 11302
33. subtropic
3:00 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
jcpoulard, You should definately keep a close eye on that one. Hopefully my "hunch" will be correct and it will never get that far west as to affect you there. Just keep watching it.
Member Since: August 29, 2002 Posts: 209 Comments: 4434
32. leftyy420
2:59 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
i am still in the storm. plus my camera is a 24 mm advantix so i need to develop the film so maybe in a couple days
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
31. flacanefan
2:58 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Future TD17 looks like could be a florida or gulf storm next week. Any ideas on strength in say 5 days?
30. subtropic
2:57 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
cga, You're welcome. Now you'll know how for next time.
Member Since: August 29, 2002 Posts: 209 Comments: 4434
29. jcpoulard
2:57 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Hello, that's my first post on this blog. I'm really care about the wave at the westward island, because I'm leaving in Haiti. You can see those satellite image of this Tropical wave. Picture 1 and picture 2. As you can see the wqave is very large and very well organize. So I think, The caribean sea will have some problems with this system during the next days.
Member Since: September 15, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 114
28. FlounderBandit
2:57 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Was listening to 104.1 this morning and the owner of Frank and Fran's in Avon was giving a report from Hatteras Island. Just as he said they had never even seen the lights flicker, he lost power, and 5 seconds later his call dropped.

Here in Belhaven, we still have a surge (pics in blog), and some 30 mph winds. But, sky is brightest in past 36 hours.
27. cgableshurrycanegal
2:56 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
obxcart, I know the feeling of now power. after Kat plowed thru here we were incommunicado 60 hours... small batt TV. ugh
Member Since: July 12, 2005 Posts: 24 Comments: 212
26. cgableshurrycanegal
2:54 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Oh, OK, Thx SubT,
hmfynn just beat me to the link I was going to pass along ::G::
Member Since: July 12, 2005 Posts: 24 Comments: 212
25. hmfynn
2:50 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Nash,
If you're a layman like me and hate java, the model runs for the soon-to-be TD17, in plain straight-line format, are here:
http://skeetobiteweather.com/picservice.asp?t=m&m=95
24. subtropic
2:49 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
cga, Use the "Link" button above where you type your messages. Then place the link in the box that opens.
Member Since: August 29, 2002 Posts: 209 Comments: 4434
23. obxcartwright
2:48 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
No posts from hatterasman, OBXer, or shoals this morning. Power must be out on Hatteras and Ocracoke.
22. cgableshurrycanegal
2:46 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
ok, how do you dump a link in here anyway? oy vey, I'm such a computer dummy...

Oh yeah, good to see you didn't get washed out to sea, lefty ::VBG::
Member Since: July 12, 2005 Posts: 24 Comments: 212
21. subtropic
2:42 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
flacanefan, You are correct.
Member Since: August 29, 2002 Posts: 209 Comments: 4434
20. subtropic
2:41 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
stormydee, like I said, not a forecast. That cluster north of P.R. at the tail end of the trough is what is forecast to end up in the gulf. That one I would watch. It would be slower to develope, but a little more likely to make it farther west.
Member Since: August 29, 2002 Posts: 209 Comments: 4434
19. weatherboyfsu
2:41 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
LEFTY....WHERES MY PICS.....LOL
Member Since: July 17, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1025
18. flacanefan
2:40 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
new to blog, been lurking since Katrina. Maybe a dumb question, what is a fish storm - one that stays out to sea?
17. stormydee
2:38 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
no, not a fish storm...we need some more excitement now that Ophelia is leaving...and whats up with that UKmet putting something in the gulf by Wed as well? I know they are just model run scenerios...could happen...but may not...my gut tells me to keep my eyes on it....
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 39 Comments: 517

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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