Massive duststorm chokes eastern Australia; Atlanta floods ease

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:22 PM GMT on September 23, 2009

Share this Blog
5
+

A massive dust storm swept through eastern Australia today, turning the skies in Sydney a eerie shade of red-orange. The dust storm was reportedly the worst since the 1940s, and Sydney recorded its highest levels of particulate air pollution ever. The dust storm resulted from strong winds associated with a powerful low pressure system that swept through eastern Australia this morning. Winds today at the Sydney airport were sustained at 36 mph, gusting to 51 mph. Wind gusts as high as 64 mph were recorded in the Sydney area as the storm's strong cold front passed through. Particulate pollution levels are still in the hazardous range this evening in Sydney, but are expected to improve to the "good" range on Thursday as the winds die down and the dust storm dissipates.


Figure 1.. Strong northwesterly winds carry dust over Sydney, Australia, at 00 UTC 9/23/2009. Image credit: NASA.


Figure 2.. A strong cold front passing through eastern Australia this morning generated a sustained winds in excess of 20 mph over a large portion of the region.

Severe drought has affected large regions of Southeast Australia over the past three years (Figure 3). In isolated areas near Melbourne, the drought is the worst on record. The resulting loss of vegetation has created large regions of loose dust, which the strong winds from this week's storm was able to loft in the air and transport long distances.


Figure 3.. Rainfall deficiencies for Australia for the past three years. Image credit: Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Atlanta floods ease
Very heavy rains exceeding fifteen inches soaked the Atlanta, Georgia region early this week, triggering widespread major flooding that continues today. Rainfall eased yesterday, and all of the rivers in the Atlanta area have crested and are now falling. Record flood levels were observed on at least seven rivers and creeks in the Atlanta area yesterday, breaking records that had been set as long ago as 1919. Utoy Creek near Atlanta broke its previous flood record by nearly 11 feet on Tuesday. The floods have killed at least nine people and did $250 million in damage. Portlight.org is experimenting with a new disaster relief strategy for this flood--they have decided to adopt a single family to help, the Baxter family of Lithia Springs, Georgia. The Baxters lost their home, car, furniture, clothes, and everything else in their house, and need assistance to defray the short-term expenses of lodging, food, and clothing, so help out if you can.


Figure 4. Radar estimated rainfall for the Atlanta, Georgia region ending on September 22. More than 15 inches (white colors) had fallen in and around Atlanta.

There are no threat areas in the Atlantic to discuss today, and none of our reliable computer models are forecasting tropical storm development over the next seven days.

Jeff Masters

Parkinson Avenue 06:15 (LNRSYDNEY)
Unusual sunrise 1
Parkinson Avenue 06:15

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 281 - 231

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13Blog Index

September 23rd quick Tropical Update.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting stormpetrol:

You're suggesting that I am WS, man you couldn't be more wrong!


No. No. No... You are not like WS. I had your name in there, but it made it sound like you were genetically challenged...

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Seasidecove:


Reminds me of the after effects of Katrina, here in Bay Saint Louis...


Yes it does. What part of Bay Saint louis were you in for Katrina?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Lil Brownsville Swirl
Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Weather456:


Not really weird since the feature is trap in weak steering flow.


You are right..in a col.
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 491
Quoting Seasidecove:
Hurricane Opal:

The highest sustained winds were 84 mph (135 km/h) at Hurlburt Field.

The highest gust recorded was a 145 mph (233 km/h) gust at Hurlburt Field.



I was in the Pensacola area for Opal, in a town called Gulf Breeze, and I remember there not being any *great* amount of wind. It actually seemed rather light in comparison to hurricane Erin that hit in August that year. We were also on the western side of Opal, which has a lot to do with it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting iceman55:
Weather456 yea


Can I have a link to the NINO SSTs?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
269. IKE
This story says Opal made landfall near Santa Rosa island. I'm splitting hairs...


METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS

The eye of Hurricane Opal crossed the coast near Santa Rosa Island around 6:00 pm on October 4th. In a very fortunate turn of events - Opal weakened greatly in the final 8 hours before landfall, although still coming ashore at the lower end of a major hurricane. Sustained winds of 115 mph, with gusts to 140 mph, occurred across a short stretch of coastline between Destin and Panama City, Florida. Outside of the narrow stretch of coastline, winds of 80 to 100 mph were experienced. Hurlburt Air Field, near the eye of Opal, recorded 92 mph winds, gusting to 144 mph. Panama City recorded sustained winds of 65 mph with a peak gust of 86 mph.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting rwdobson:


What exactly does minimal hurricane Vince prove in terms of Cat 4 hurricanes?


The fact of the matter Vince formed off and then hit Spain.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting iceman55:


Can I have a link to the NINO SSTs

Thanks.

Also it looks like NINO weakens by next summer.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Progster:


Not really weird since the feature is trap in weak steering flow.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
263. IKE
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Low pressure area likely developing based on surface obs and visible imagery. Pressure remain relatively high around the area though.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:
From Wikipedia....

"About 200 miles (320 km) of Florida’s coastline felt effects from Hurricane Opal.[10]

Rainfalls in Florida peaked at 15.45 inches (392 mm) in Ellyson, 7.27 inches (185 mm) at Pensacola, 6.64 inches (169 mm) at Hurlburt Field and lower in over eight different locations. The highest gust recorded was a 145 mph (233 km/h) gust at Hurlburt Field. Lower gusts were 115 miles per hour (185 km/h) at Eglin Air Force Base and an 88 mph (142 km/h) gust at Pensacola P.N.S. The highest sustained winds were 84 mph (135 km/h) at Hurlburt Field and 80 mph (130 km/h) at Eglin Air Force Base. The two reported storm surges were 5 feet (1.5 m) to 6 feet (1.8 m) above normal at Apalachicola and 2 feet (0.61 m) to 4 feet (1.2 m) above normal at Sarasota.[2] Opal brought heavy surge to the area, 8 feet (2.4 m) to 15 feet (4.6 m) in some areas, comparing itself to Hurricane Eloise, which struck the same area at near equal strength in 1975."


The highest gust recorded was a 145 mph (233 km/h) gust at Hurlburt Field. Lower gusts were 115 miles per hour (185 km/h) at Eglin Air Force Base and an 88 mph (142 km/h) gust at Pensacola P.N.S. The highest sustained winds were 84 mph (135 km/h) at Hurlburt Field and 80 mph (130 km/h) at Eglin Air Force Base.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hurricane Opal:

The highest sustained winds were 84 mph (135 km/h) at Hurlburt Field.

The highest gust recorded was a 145 mph (233 km/h) gust at Hurlburt Field.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting P451:


I personally believe it's impossible for a Cat4 to reach NYC. Just impossible.

Given low SSTs, shear from land based systems, dry air advection as a result of proximity to the coast - something we constantly see with systems that reach Cape Hatteras and then move northward near the coast, down sloping winds off the Appalachians, among other things.

At an absolute maximum - everything absolutely perfect - you could have a ragged looking minimal Cat 3 storm affect the region. In that only the eastern side of the system would have a big punch, and you're just not going to get widespread reports of Cat 3 wind damage.

When the atmosphere and the oceans in this region are able to support a Cat 4 hurricane? We've already been long gone and dealing with what comes with such. Manhattan would have long been under water as a result of a catastrophic climate shift.

When we have the necessary 85F SSTs in this region to allow a CAT4 hurricane to make it this far north without losing intensity and structure - we've already had serious problems that have forced us inland - years in advance of such a potential storm.

Why this is discounted and we keep reading or hearing about potential Cat4-Cat5 disasters in cold weather climates is BEYOND LOGIC.

Why no one does their homework on this before they run to the presses with such a scare tactic is just baffling.



Unfortunately, once every 30-40 yrs, a major CAT 3 storm blows up the E Coast and crosses some part of Long Island!! My grandmother, who passed in 1973 told me about the 1938 Hurricane, as she lived on Long Island and witnessed it first hand!! It came in and left within hours BUT the brief visit nearly destroyed EVERYTHING there! Thankfully, back then there were maybe a few hundred thousand living there!

My Late Mother in Law, gave my late wife a 3 hr nonstop update on Hurricane Gloria in 1985! She lived on the EAST part of the storm, so she saw 85MPH wind PLUS add 30MPH for the foward motion!! LI MacArthur AP, 2 miles from my mother in law saws 95MPH winds!! My Sis in Law is Massapequa, LI took a DIRECT HIT, lost 80% of her roof, and her neighborhood was literally DESTROTED, no power for 14 DAYS!! Gloria only struck as a CAT 1!!

Bob was a CAT 2, but affected far eastern LI, which is still fairly rural!! And there was MAJOR damage in the Hamptons!!

SO, as this year appears out of the picture, they're WAY overdue for another major hurricane!!!

P.S. Food for THOUGHT!! Occassionally an eddy off the Gulf Stream increases SST to near 80F as close as 50MI Sof Long Island!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
257. IKE
From Wikipedia....

"About 200 miles (320 km) of Florida’s coastline felt effects from Hurricane Opal.[10]

Rainfalls in Florida peaked at 15.45 inches (392 mm) in Ellyson, 7.27 inches (185 mm) at Pensacola, 6.64 inches (169 mm) at Hurlburt Field and lower in over eight different locations. The highest gust recorded was a 145 mph (233 km/h) gust at Hurlburt Field. Lower gusts were 115 miles per hour (185 km/h) at Eglin Air Force Base and an 88 mph (142 km/h) gust at Pensacola P.N.S. The highest sustained winds were 84 mph (135 km/h) at Hurlburt Field and 80 mph (130 km/h) at Eglin Air Force Base. The two reported storm surges were 5 feet (1.5 m) to 6 feet (1.8 m) above normal at Apalachicola and 2 feet (0.61 m) to 4 feet (1.2 m) above normal at Sarasota.[2] Opal brought heavy surge to the area, 8 feet (2.4 m) to 15 feet (4.6 m) in some areas, comparing itself to Hurricane Eloise, which struck the same area at near equal strength in 1975."
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Unless government found the missing link to seed storms and finally worked this year
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Weather456:
Low level visible and infrared winds along with QS and 850 mb vort indicate that this upper low has a surface reflection in the form of a trough. Both the CMC and NAM are developing the area, so model support is unreliable at this moment. Upper winds are currently 20-30 knots, which is unfavorable but may briefly become a bit more favorable if showers continue to persist as they have been for the past 2 days.


Link

CMC shows warm core sys but weird track
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 491
Quoting IKE:


Yes I remember that buzzsaw. Jim Cantore was on-air at TWC that morning putting the fear in me. Plus Red Holland was on channel 7 in Panama City,FL. doing his "Fishing with Red" show in the early AM saying that as soon as he got off air, he was out of Panama City.

I live in Defuniak Springs,FL and booked a** late that morning for Sneads,FL. and road it out in a motel with my Doberman.

I always use that date as a focal point. If we get beyond the date Opal made landfall, we're usually in the clear here for the tropical season.

I remember Opal did lose some of its punch before it hit the coast.. this is an excerpt from wikipedia on the winds around landfall

"The highest gust recorded was a 145 mph (233 km/h) gust at Hurlburt Field. Lower gusts were 115 miles per hour (185 km/h) at Eglin Air Force Base and an 88 mph (142 km/h) gust at Pensacola P.N.S. The highest sustained winds were 84 mph (135 km/h) at Hurlburt Field and 80 mph (130 km/h) at Eglin Air Force Base."

Can't imagine what would've happened if it would've been anywhere as strong as it was a couple of days or so before landfall
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Next year probably come back with a vengence, storms will be saying "its pay back time"
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ElConando:


another anomaly year I guess.


Perfect
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Seems like the flow for a storm track like opals is possible.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
249. IKE
Wikipedia says it made landfall "near Pensacola"....

"Hurricane Opal was a major hurricane that formed in the Gulf of Mexico in September 1995.[1] Opal was the 9th hurricane and the strongest of the abnormally active 1995 Atlantic hurricane season. It crossed the Yucatán Peninsula while still a tropical depression from September 27,[1] then strengthened northward in the Gulf, becoming the most powerful Category 4 Atlantic hurricane before making a second landfall, October 4, in the Florida Panhandle near Pensacola as a 115-mph (185-km/h) hurricane."
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting P451:


I disagree. Once you get up north here, the only way any storm could maintain a core structure that would allow Cat 3, let alone cat 4 intensity, would be one that comes in from the SE.

I can never recall a system doing so. Ever. We get coastal huggers up here and by doing so their western quadrants get dried out and they lose their intensity.

I will stand by my POV that at most NYC could get a minimal Cat3 - which make no mistake would cause quite a bit of damage - but we're talking doomsday here "It could Happen Tomorrow" type situations, and IMO - it's just impossible given the lay of the land and sea in this region.

It's just not possible. Central and eastern LI can get a strong Cat 3 if a system goes south to north but stays far enough away from the mid-atlantic to avoid that dry air advection.



I agree. No cat 4's for NYC. Can't see how it could happen.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
It shifts from west side of Gulf to East side of Gulf. September 23rd is deadline for majors... for now. Florida has to contend for another a month
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Weather456:
2009 is 1 year and one year only.


another anomaly year I guess.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
245. IKE
mobilegirl81...I stand corrected. It made landfall just west of Fort Walton Beach, but I think the highest wind gust was close to the mall in FWB,FL....

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2009 is 1 year and one year only.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
243. IKE
Quoting RitaEvac:
W and NW Gulf season is pretty much shut down


I would agree.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
W and NW Gulf season is pretty much shut down
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
241. IKE
Quoting RitaEvac:


I use Rita as a focal point which is today, so I'm good hear on out. Now I know Jerry in 89 came by middle of October, but wasn't a major like Rita.


Odds are in Texas...it's almost over with for a major-cane threat.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RitaEvac:
weather456, after seeing the no named storm, "spinner" should of been classified in May, I thought we were heading for a hellava season,


I thought the exact opposite...whenever an El Nino year starts early, it ends up being quiet. But this year, neither the rule of late starters or early starters applied.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:


Yes I remember that buzzsaw. Jim Cantore was on-air at TWC that morning putting the fear in me. Plus Red Holland was on channel 7 in Panama City,FL. doing his "Fishing with Red" show in the early AM saying that as soon as he got off air, he was out of Panama City.

I live in Defuniak Springs,FL and booked a** late that morning for Sneads,FL. and road it out in a motel with my Doberman.

I always use that date as a focal point. If we get beyond the date Opal made landfall, we're usually in the clear here for the tropical season.


I use Rita as a focal point which is today, so I'm good hear on out. Now I know Jerry in 89 came by middle of October, but wasn't a major like Rita.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ElConando:
225. Woah not a good site there.


Reminds me of the after effects of Katrina, here in Bay Saint Louis...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
237. IKE
mobilegirl81....Opal made landfall in Fort Walton Beach,FL.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
236. IKE
Quoting mobilegirl81:

Hopefully it wont skip a beat to October. Remember Hurrcane Opal in 1995 ,150 mph winds hit p-cola?


Yes I remember that buzzsaw. Jim Cantore was on-air at TWC that morning putting the fear in me. Plus Red Holland was on channel 7 in Panama City,FL. doing his "Fishing with Red" show in the early AM saying that as soon as he got off air, he was out of Panama City.

I live in Defuniak Springs,FL and booked a** late that morning for Sneads,FL. and road it out in a motel with my Doberman.

I always use that date as a focal point. If we get beyond the date Opal made landfall, we're usually in the clear here for the tropical season.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
weather456, after seeing the no named storm, "spinner" should of been classified in May, I thought we were heading for a hellava season,
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Despite subtle pressure falls, pressure remains high across the area.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
225. Woah not a good site there.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
US will get hit next year by a cane
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CybrTeddy:


The fact of the matter Vince formed throws that all out of proportion IMO. If its moving fast, along the gulf stream then its possible.


What exactly does minimal hurricane Vince prove in terms of Cat 4 hurricanes?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 281 - 231

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13Blog Index

Top of Page

About

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

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Lake Effort Snow Shower Over Windsor, Ontario
Sunset on Dunham Lake
Pictured Rocks Sunset
Sunset on Lake Huron