Red River rising: 18th consecutive year of flooding--why?

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:08 PM GMT on March 19, 2010

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The Red River at Fargo, North Dakota continues to rise, with a peak expected Sunday at the 4th highest flood level observed in the past century. "Major" flood level is 30 feet, which the river surpassed on Wednesday, and the river is expected to crest near 38 feet on Sunday, just 2.8 feet below the record set last year. Flood stage is eighteen feet, and the Red River has now reached flood stage at Fargo for eighteen consecutive years, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Prior to this remarkable stretch of flooding (which began in 1993), the river flooded in just 29 of 90 years. This year's flood is rated as somewhere between a 50-year and 100-year flood. Last year's record flood was a 100-year flood. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lists the 10-year flood level for the Red River at Fargo to be 10,300 cubic feet per second. A 10-year flood, historically, has a 10% chance of occurring in a given year. In the last twenty years, the Red River has had eight 10-year floods--one every 2.5 years, on average. This year is the fourth year out of the past five with a 10-year flood. Clearly, flooding has increased significantly along the Red River over the past twenty years.


Figure 1. Current and forecast flood stage for the Red River of the North at Fargo, ND. You can access images like these using our wundermap for Fargo with the "USGS River" layer turned on. Click on the icon for USGS station 05054000, then hit the "click for graph" link.

Reasons for flooding: landform factors
According the U.S. Geological Survey, the unique landform characteristics of the Red River Valley make it highly susceptible to flooding. These factors include:

1) A relatively shallow and meandering river channel--a shallow channel holds less water and the meandering can cause flow to slow down as the channel makes its turns, causing over-bank flooding.

2) A gentle slope (averaging 0.5 to 1.5 feet per mile) that inhibits channel flow and encourages overland flooding or water "ponding" (especially on even, saturated ground) in the basin.

3) The northerly direction of flow--flow in the Red River travels from south (upstream) to north (downstream). The direction of flow becomes a critical factor in the spring when the southern (upstream) part of the Red River has thawed and the northern (downstream) part of the channel is still frozen. As water moves north toward the still frozen river channel, ice jams and substantial backwater flow and flooding can occur.


Figure 2. Peak flow of the Red River at Fargo, North Dakota through time. The two largest flow rates occurred last year (2009), and in 1997. The projected crest for Sunday (red circle) would be fourth greatest flood since reliable records began in 1901. Image credit: U.S. Geological Survey.

Reasons for this year's flood: highly unfavorable weather conditions
The USGS also cites five weather factors that can act to enhance flooding along the Red River. All five of these factors occurred to a significant degree this year:

1) Above-normal amounts of precipitation in the fall of the year that produce high levels of soil moisture, particularly in flat surface areas, in the basin. North Dakota had its 22nd wettest fall in the 115-year record in 2009.

2) Freezing of saturated ground in late fall or early winter, before significant snowfall occurs, that produces a hard, deep frost that limits infiltration of runoff during snowmelt. Fargo had a November that was much warmer than average, followed by a sudden plunge to below-zero temperatures by the second week of December. This froze the saturated ground to a great depth.

3) Above-normal winter snowfall in the basin. North Dakota had a top 15% winter for precipitation, with the period December 2009 - February 2010 ranking 15th wettest in the past 115 years.

4) Above-normal precipitation during snowmelt. Precipitation for March 1 - 18 has been 1.41", compared to the average of 0.61".

5) Above-normal temperatures during snowmelt. High temperatures in Fargo have averaged 6°F warmer than normal for March 1 - 18.

Urbanization increases flooding
Urbanization has had a major impact on increasing flooding not only along the Red River, but in every river basin in the U.S. Many cities and developed areas are located in flood plains next to major rivers and their tributaries. Highways, streets, parking lots, sidewalks, and buildings now cover large areas of the ground that used to absorb excess rain water and slow the rate at which run-off from precipitation and melting snow reached rivers. By developing large portions of our flood plains, run-off now reaches rivers more quickly, generating higher floods.

Building levees and flood defenses increases flood peaks
Defending ourselves against floods has made floods worse. Every time a new levee is built, or an old floodwall raised in height to prevent overtopping, more and more water is forced into the river bed, which raises the height of the flood. Flood waters that used to be able to spread out over their natural flood plains are now forbidden from spilling out over newly developed land in flood plains. For example, proposed improvements to the flood defense system in Fargo could cause a 4 - 10 inch rise in floods immediately downstream from the city, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Precipitation is increasing
As the climate warms, evaporation of moisture from the oceans increases, resulting in more water vapor in the air. According to the 2007 IPCC report, water vapor in the global atmosphere has increased by about 5% over the 20th century, and 4% since 1970. Satellite measurements (Trenberth et al., 2005) have shown a 1.3% per decade increase in water vapor over the global oceans since 1988. Santer et al. (2007) used a climate model to study the relative contribution of natural and human-caused effects on increasing water vapor, and concluded that this increase was "primarily due to human-caused increases in greenhouse gases". This was also the conclusion of Willet et al. (2007). This increase in water vapor has very likely led to an increase in global precipitation. For instance, over the U.S., where we have very good precipitation records, annual average precipitation has increased 7% over the past century (Groisman et al., 2004). Precipitation over the Red River drainage basin increased by about 10 - 20% during the 20th Century (Figure 3.) The same study also found a 14% increase in heavy (top 5%) and 20% increase in very heavy (top 1%) precipitation events over the U.S. in the past century. These are the type of events most likely to cause flooding. Kunkel et al. (2003) also found an increase in heavy precipitation events over the U.S. in recent decades, but noted that heavy precipitation events were nearly as frequent at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, though the data is not as reliable back then.


Figure 3. Change in precipitation over the U.S. between 1900 - 2000, from the U.S. Cooperative network. Precipitation in the Red River drainage area increased by 10 - 20% over the 20th century. Image credit: Contemporary Changes of the Hydrological Cycle over the Contiguous United States: Trends (Groisman et al., 2002).

The future of flooding
As the population continues to expand, development in flood plains and construction of new levees and flood protection systems will continue to push floods to higher heights. With global warming expected to continue and drive ever higher precipitation amounts--falling preferentially in heavy precipitation events--it is highly probable that flooding in the Red River Valley--and over most of the northern 2/3 of the U.S. where precipitation increases are likely--will see higher and more frequent floods. With these higher and more frequent floods comes the increased risk of multi-billion dollar disasters, when a record flood event overwhelms flood defenses and inundates huge areas of developed flood plains. Obviously, we need to make smart decisions to limit development in flood plains to reduce the cost and suffering of these future flooding disasters.

References
Kunkel, K. E., D. R. Easterling, K. Redmond, and K. Hubbard, 2003, "Temporal variations of extreme precipitation events in the United States: 1895.2000", Geophys. Res. Lett., 30(17), 1900, doi:10.1029/2003GL018052.

Groisman, P.Y., R.W. Knight, T.R. Karl, D.R. Easterling, B. Sun, and J.H. Lawrimore, 2004, "Contemporary Changes of the Hydrological Cycle over the Contiguous United States: Trends Derived from In Situ Observations," J. Hydrometeor., 5, 64.85.

Milly, P.C.D., R.T. Wetherald, K.A. Dunne, and T.L.Delworth, Increasing risk of great floods in a changing climate", Nature 415, 514-517 (31 January 2002) | doi:10.1038/415514a.

Santer, B.D., C. Mears, F. J. Wentz, K. E. Taylor, P. J. Gleckler, T. M. L. Wigley, T. P. Barnett, J. S. Boyle, W. Brüggemann, N. P. Gillett, S. A. Klein, G. A. Meehl, T. Nozawa, D. W. Pierce, P. A. Stott, W. M. Washington, and M. F. Wehner, 2007, "Identification of human-induced changes in atmospheric moisture content", PNAS 2007 104: 15248-15253.

Trenberth, K.E., J. Fasullo, and L. Smith, 2005: "Trends and variability in column-integrated atmospheric water vapor", Climate Dynamics 24, 741-758.

Willett, K.M., N.P. Gillett, P.D. Jones, and P.W. Thorne, 2007, "Attribution of observed surface humidity changes to human influence", Nature 449, 710-712 (11 October 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06207.

Links
A good way to track the flooding event is to use our wundermap for the Red River with the USGS River layer turned on.

The Fargo Flood webpage of North Dakota State University, Fargo, has some excellent links.

I'll have a new post on Monday or Tuesday.

Jeff Masters

Red River Flood 2006 (mw25)
The water level of the Red River when I took this photo was 47.2 feet, 19.2 feet above flood stage and the 6th highest level in Grand Forks' history. The river is expected to crest at 47.4 feet on Wednesday morning. Luckily, no homes have been lost in the Grand Forks area as of yet due to the flooding.
Red River Flood 2006
Fargo Flood 2009 - Elm & 15th Ave. N. (tliebenow)
Picture says it all. Clay dike built to contain the Red River in North Fargo.
Fargo Flood 2009 - Elm & 15th Ave. N.

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760

I like your post. No need to get carried away in March.
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Quoting Relix:
Every day it seems more and more like 2010 will be a bad year =/


It does Relix. But looking at some of the posts from last year at this time, a lot of bloggers said the same thing. And when the GFS was spitting out Hurricanes towards the end of April, this blog really went crazy. We will have a better idea the beginning of May of what this season may bring. Although what some of the knowledgeable bloggers have posted, I tend, at this time, to agree we will have an active season.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11149
98W looking amazing.
Anyone know what the models say about it? Just eyeballing it, I'd say move WNW till just before the Phillipenes, then go out to sea or sheared to death.
Member Since: July 29, 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 1790
Interesting news article here on research article published in Nature last January.

Quotes from article.

The Earth's seasons have shifted back in the calendar year, with the hottest and coldest days of the years now occurring almost two days earlier, a new study finds.

"Once we have accounted for the fact that the temperature averaged over any given year is increasing, we find that some months have been warming more than other months," said Alexander Stine, a graduate student at UC Berkeley. "We were surprised to find that over land, most of the difference in the warming of one month relative to another is simply the result of this shift in the timing of the seasons, and a decrease in the difference between summer and winter temperatures."

Edit: these quotes are from the news article.

Gag me with a spoon. The research article is supposed to be by Stine, but the link I gave is to an article by some guy named Thomson.
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757. Relix
Every day it seems more and more like 2010 will be a bad year =/
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Since it is slow...how about some tropical weather Jeopardy!

The topic is "Hurricane Names" and the answer is...."Arlene".

What is the question? Try not to use the Google.


The name used the most (at least with the same spelling) is ARLENE (seven
times), while FRANCES and FLORENCE have been used six times each. However,
considering variant spellings of the same name, DEBBIE/DEBBY has been used
seven times, and ANNA/ANA has been used eight times. The first name to
be called into use five times was EDITH, but that name hasn't been used
since 1971. After the 1996 season, LILI has the distinction of being the
first "L" name to be used three times, while MARCO is the first "M" name
to be used more than once.
Link
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11149
752. Skyepony (Mod)
Aussie~ thanks for the eye cam back there..
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Obviously true...but looking for a distinction.
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750. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting StormW:


Wow...I didn't think our opinions would differ that much.


Me neither..The weekly pretty much points out the strong Kelvin wave last month. Current T-depth so look like the start of an El Nino, so it's shook my trust in anything beyond 3 months. I can't think of the last time I had less than a 6 month outlook.

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What is the first name used during that particular Hurricane season ... yay I win :)
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Aussie, Thanks for the updates. The last time I read in depth [Monday? Tuesday?] forecasts were still expecting it to impact as a cat 1, but some forecasters were already saying they thought it would be stronger. Hopefully the "no lives lost" status and limited damage reports will remain the case....
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Since it is slow...how about some tropical weather Jeopardy!

The topic is "Hurricane Names" and the answer is...."Arlene".

What is the question? Try not to use the Google.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11149
745. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
I have questions about what is going on with ENSO that the experts here can answer.

1-Is there another kevin wave causing the waters to keep warm?

2-Is it known when those kevin waves stop?

3-What is a reactionary El Nino?

4-Are the ENSO models too fast fading El Nino?

5-Is it possible that this El Nino extends to a two year event?



1~ yes..check page 16 here. We had the second strongest Kelvin wave this El Niño mid last month. That has certainly extended the event.

2~ No.. usually el nino only lasts through one winter, though 97-98 was an exception. If we were to pull out of this El Nino climotoligy says Decish for a peak & ease out. November was also the strongest Kelvin wave.. Didn't have one til Jan & it was much weaker..looked like the end of it, til last month there was a pretty strong causing a new pool of warm water.

3~ I would like to see a link to some sort of "offical" definition or published paper of that. As early as April 2009 it looked like we would be headed back toward warmer waters because a weak parade of Kelvin waves began (once again ref page 16 of that link).

4~ I agree with Masters. It's a more uncertain time in forecasting ENSO beyond spring. After last month's stronger than expected Kelvin wave I'll see what kinda wave Mar brings.. usually the ensamble crashes an el nino a little early & hard. So yes the models are most likely a little over done.


5~ it is possible, but not probable.
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert for Invest 98W.

........... BASED ON THE DEVE-
LOPING DEEP CONVECTION AND FAVORABLE UPPER LEVEL SUPPORT, THE POTEN-
TIAL FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF A SIGNIFICANT TROPICAL CYCLONE WITHIN
THE NEXT 24 HOURS IS GOOD.

Hmmmm.... up from fair a few hours ago. Consolidating quickly, it seems....
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Quoting Midweststorm:
Here it is, first day of spring and we have 4 inches of snow in downtown Kansas City. Been quite some time since I have seen any accumulating snow here in March. And of course it is still snowing, they expect 5-8 inches before its all done.
A friend of mine who lives in Sedalia was complaining abt this earlier today....
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Quoting aquak9:
I'm comfortable with the white, like glowing white-hot.


I found one, Ironically on the same site, with the color scheme i described. Red means hot, shades of white to mean white-hot. Well, like 29+ degrees C
Member Since: July 29, 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 1790
Quoting aquak9:
Aussie- good morning! news is a little better than expected?

Yes, damage is not as bad as expected. thank god
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15935
Aussie- good morning! news is a little better than expected?
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Cyclone Ului not a catastrophic event: Queensland Premier Anna Bligh

* From: AAP
* March 21, 2010 10:23AM

QUEENSLAND has escaped catastrophic damage from Cyclone Ului, Premier Anna Bligh said today.

Ms Blight said there were "pockets of severe damage" in the Whitsundays region, where the cyclone made landfall as a category three storm early today. But generally the region had been spared the worst of the storm, which packed 200km/h winds.

"We know already that there are reports of a number of houses completely unroofed," she told Channel 7.

But she said the worst had not eventuated.

"We are characterising it as a significant event with severe damage in some pockets, but not a catastrophic event," the premier said.

The focus now was on the flood risk from heavy rain associated with the cyclone.

"There is still a lot of rain in this system and we are watching very carefully to see if that now turns into a flooding event," she said.

Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.

End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.

"We're certainly not out of the woods yet."

Ms Bligh said affected communities had only had about an hour of daylight so far, so the process of assessing the damage was in the earliest stages.

Winds remained high, preventing crews from getting out to restore power and provide other help.

"It will be some time before we've got a very clear picture, and some time before some of those crews can get out and help people who have lost roofs off their houses," Ms Bligh said.

She paid tribute to the people of the Whitsundays, saying they'd taken the cyclone threat very seriously.

"As usual it's hats off to the people in north Queensland, they are very resilient communities with a lot of experience (with cyclones)."

She defended her government's decision yesterday to issue disaster declarations for the region, saying it gave police the power to evacuate people.

"As it turns out they didn't need to use those powers but it was a precaution."

Cyclone Ului crossed the coast near Airlie Beach at 1.30am (AEST) today.

It has since been downgraded to a category one cyclone and is weakening as it heads inland.

Forecasters expect it to be a rain depression by Sunday afternoon and are warning of heavy rainfall and flooding in coastal and inland areas between Bowen and St Lawrence.

Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts earlier said there had been reports of some structural damage to homes, such as broken windows, leaks and damaged roofs.

Several homes in Proserpine are said to have lost their roofs completely.

Many trees are down across the region, where power has been cut to 60,000 customers.

About a dozen boats have also washed ashore at Airlie Beach.

Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15935




Video

CYCLONE Ului has crossed the coast near Airlie Beach, its destructive winds sounding like the scream of jet engines as it moved into north Queensland.

Sixty thousand homes are without power, airports are closed, boats have been washed ashore and houses have been damaged after Ului slammed into the state's north.

``We are characterising it as a significant event with severe damage in some pockets, but not a catastrophic event,'' Anna Bligh told the Seven Network hours after Ului hit.

She said the damage assessment had only just begun and it was clear some residents had been hit hard.

``We know already that there are reports of a number of houses completely unroofed,'' she said, adding that with winds still high, help would be some time away for those families.

Ms Bligh said the focus now was on the flood risk from heavy rain associated with the weather system.

Ergon Energy corporate communications manager John Fowler said customers were without power in Mackay, Proserpine, Cannonvale, Sarina and surrounding areas.

Ergon also believed a high-voltage powerline into Bowen from Prosperpine may have been affected.

In Mackay, trees and powerlines were down this morning and there was some structural damage to houses and fences.

AAP reports that Airlie Beach has survived the cyclone relatively unscathed, but vessels moored there have not been so lucky.

About a dozen boats, including a former Sydney to Hobart contender, have been washed onto rocks by Cyclone Ului at Airlie Beach.

The power remains cut and trees are littering the roads.

But businesses in the main street have escaped any significant damage from the storm

Vessels that had been moored at the Whitsundays Sailing Club did not fare so well.

About a dozen are on the shore, grating against rocks, including the 26-metre Anaconda II, a former racing maxi that has sailed around the world and competed in the Sydney to Hobart race.
It's now used to take backpackers on sailing trips.

Most appear to be private vessels but all are of a substantial size.

There is one fishing trawler among those washed ashore.

Premier Anna Bligh will meet with emergency service management at Kedron at 8am today.

The Whitsundays mayor says power has been cut and many trees are down in Bowen and Proserpine but it's too early to know what damage Cyclone Ului has done.

``It's still dark and pretty breezy here,'' mayor Mike Brunker said.

``I'm driving around the main street of Bowen now and there's a lot of trees down and there's been similar damage in Proserpine.''

He said he expected a wave of calls to Bowen's disaster centre once people began to venture outside.

He said the power had been out in Bowen since 1am (AEST) on Sunday, half an hour before Ului crossed the coast as a category three storm near Airlie Beach, south of Bowen.

[Video: Cyclone Ului hits Airlie Beach ]

As it crossed the coast, Ului had winds gusting to 200km/h.

It's since been downgraded to a category two, with communities from Bowen south to Seaforth told to expect gusts to 155km/h this morning.

The storm's power as it slammed ashore stunned residents, with the scream of the wind making it almost impossible to sleep.

The Courier-Mail's Sophie Elsworth, who was staying in a Mackay Marina multi-storey hotel built to withstand Category 5 storm, said the sound of the wind was amazing.
She said colleague Rob Maccoll, who was staying in the hotel's top floor, was worried the property might lose its roof when the force of the wind - which sounded "like a 747" - blew in the door of a neighbouring unit.

Trees and powerlines were down around Mackay and it was understood conditions were worse around AirlieBeach and Proserpine.

She said the State Emergency Service had not sent its personnel out the begin repair work because the wind at Mackay was still blowing at 112km/h and wind speeds needed to drop below 100km/h before they would venture out.

Even at 5.30am, as the cyclone continued to move inland, the wind continued to howl.

At 1.30am today, the cyclone made landfall near Airle Beach then at 4 am it was about 51 kilometres east northeast of Collinsville and 29 kilometres west of Proserpine.

At 4am the Bureau of Meteorology warned that while the cyclone was expected to weaken as it moved further inland, very destructive wind gusts to 195 km/hr near "are expected to continue affecting the coastal and island communities between Ayr and Seaforth for the next hour or two".

Emergency workers and residents in north Queensland are waiting for daybreak to find out the extent of the damage caused by Cyclone Ului as it crossed the coast.

The Bureau of Meteorology says by then conditions should have eased from the destructive winds that hit the Whitsunday Islands and Airlie Beach early on Sunday, bringing down trees and power lines and causing widespread blackouts.

At its peak winds were reaching around 200km/h.

Residents near the eye of the cyclone are being warned not to go outside because conditions will become dangerous again once the eye has passed.

The Bureau also said damaging were expected in areas between Townsville and St Lawrence "over the next few hours, and extending to adjacent inland parts during the morning".

It also said that while winds would ease throughout during the afternoon, there was a danger that heavy rainfall would lead to flooding about the coast and nearby in land between Bowen and St Lawrence.

The Bureau said tides in the area were near the highest of the year "with very rough seas and dangerous conditions along the foreshore".

It also warned of dangerous surf conditions south of the cyclone until later today.

Last night Mackay Regional Council mayor Col Meng said the city's disaster management group had bunkered down in the centre of town, prepared for the worst.

"Once the winds reach 100km/h we are saying no more people or staff are able to leave here until the cyclone crosses the coast,'' he said. "It's going to be a long night and we just have to sit it out and go from there.



"I think people have taken heed and we have been asking them to prepare for this for four or five days now.''

As strong gusts intensified around Mackay, dozens of people gathered at Slade Point to view the roaring ocean crashing into the coast.

Mr Meng said he was also concerned about flooding hitting the region. "We think we will get 170km/h winds down here and one of things I see happening is the intensifying of rain,'' he said. "I believe in Mackay and in the hinterland they will receive between 300 and 350mm of rain.

"We've had over one metre of rain already this year and everything is saturated, so anything we get now is going to run off.''

He expected significant flooding would also occur in the Pioneer River region.

Earlier on Saturday afternoon Premier Anna Bligh declared a disaster zone across the state's central and northern coast in anticipation of Tropical Cyclone Ului. The declaration gave authorities the right to conduct mandatory evacuations in eight local government areas.

Ms Bligh said the disaster declarations were for the Townsville, Burdekin, Whitsunday, Charters Towers, Mackay, Isaac, Rockhampton and Central Highlands local government areas and was in anticipation that some properties could need to be evacuated.

Forecasters from the Bureau of Meteorology's Cyclone Warning Centre yesterday said there was a high seas warning current for Cardwell to Bowen with 45 to 65 knot winds forecast. The centre was expecting seas between three to four metres onshore, and in the open seas, a swell of 4.5m possibly reaching five to eight metres."

A spokeswoman for the State Emergency Services said volunteers were ready to respond and crews from around the state are ready to deploy to the affected region if required.

Tourists have been evacuated from a number of island resorts in the Whitsundays group, and boat operators have been told to stay in port.

Coal ports along the central Queensland coast have been closed. Mackay and Proserpine airports also closed. Earlier, Jetstar suspended flights to Hamilton Island over the weekend.

Link
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15935


This picture is really cool though. Imagine being at the beach in like, alabama and the water suddenly gets 10 degrees (F) hotter... what would you think, surge of hot water from the carribean, or the more intuitive guess that someone near you.. did something.
Member Since: July 29, 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 1790
I'm comfortable with the white, like glowing white-hot.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Cool new GOES derived SST's (5 day average)



Cool, but makes no sense. The hottest color should be red, with white being any higher like "off the chart", I feel thats intuitively what the colors should be.
Member Since: July 29, 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 1790
734. beell
Quoting winter123:


Um, didnt we establish that the first wave of the season happened today?? Or was that a "surface trough"? Can someone explain the difference?


This was an area of low pressure/convergence at the surface with no sign of wave structure farther up. TPC said trough. No reason in my opinion to argue the point.
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Hamilton Island had winds of 78kts gusts 109kts in the western side eyewall @ 12:30am.
In the back side/eastern side they had winds of 54kts gusts 72kts @ 2:42am.
Roughly about 2hrs from wall to wall.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15935
Light snow being reported in Fort Worth
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Quoting altesticstorm10:
Early Speculation: What day do you think we will see our first official tropical wave occur in the Atlantic in 2010?


For comparison, in 2005, it happened on May 3. In 2008, it happened on May 2. Both were destructive and active hurricane seasons. When do you think it will occur in 2010?


Um, didnt we establish that the first wave of the season happened today?? Or was that a "surface trough"? Can someone explain the difference?
Member Since: July 29, 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 1790
Cool new GOES derived SST's (5 day composite)



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Hi guys the trough/tropical wave is moving west and is bringing up the ITCZ with it



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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Is there going to be a Hurricane sales tax holiday this year for Florida?


Doesn't look like it. Link

But we still have some great priceson weather equipment- radios too- and a possible end-of-the-month blowout on Vantage Vues.

Link
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Is there going to be a Hurricane sales tax holiday this year for Florida?
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11149
and besides, hurricanes don't tend to hit that area of Florida anyway.

Well, except in that one analog year, 1964...

other than that, best quote I've read in weeks!
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Thanks, Levi. So that's my visual effect of the AMO, wow that helps me understand a lot better.

Strong warm currents.

I knew there had to be some reason why the pouring effect was so vivid to me.

No sir, don't like it a bit.
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Quoting aquak9:
re- levi's post, 670-

What I've been noticing about the comparison maps, of water temp in the gulf, complaring 2005 to this year...

in 2005, the water seemed like it was warming up gradually, all across the gulf. This year, the hot water seems to be just pouring in- there's a greater line of demarcation in the water temp changes this year.

Don't know if that makes sense, or if it's even important, just what I observed.


Yes Aqua, that is because the AMO (Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation) is still in its warm phase, meaning that strong, deep ocean currents like the gulf stream and the loop current are still warmer than normal. The loop current is especially so this year, which is why you can see it as a warm anomaly even though the surrounding water is frigid right now, thus the demarcation you are talking about.

What this means is that as soon as the cold winter ceases across the south and spring moves in, the sun will be allowed to begin its spring heating of the ocean, and the Loop Current will help out a lot, pouring warm water into the gulf from the Caribbean. This is why the gulf is not expected to stay as cold as it is right now.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647
altestic...well we're still kinda cold up here (SST), along the northeast florida coast, maybe that'll will slow things down a little for this area.

Other than that, yeah the usual bathtub/hot-tub GOM.
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TPPN11 PGTW 202109

A. TROPICAL DISTURBANCE 98W (SE OF GUAM)

B. 20/2030Z

C. 5.0N

D. 143.5E

E. FIVE/MTSAT

F. N/A

G. IR/EIR

H. REMARKS: 38A/PBO SBC/ANMTN.

I. ADDITIONAL POSITIONS:
20/1628Z 4.4N 145.9E MMHS


GATES
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re- levi's post, 670-

What I've been noticing about the comparison maps, of water temp in the gulf, complaring 2005 to this year...

in 2005, the water seemed like it was warming up gradually, all across the gulf. This year, the hot water seems to be just pouring in- there's a greater line of demarcation in the water temp changes this year.

Don't know if that makes sense, or if it's even important, just what I observed.
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(1995)

(2010)
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ALERT ATCF MIL 98X XXX 100320180000
2010032018
4.3 146.7
7.1 138.7
210
4.6 145.6
202300
1003202251
1
SUBJ/TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION ALERT//
WTPN21 PGTW 202300
RMKS/
1. FORMATION OF A SIGNIFICANT TROPICAL CYCLONE IS POSSIBLE WITHIN
210 NM EITHER SIDE OF A LINE FROM 4.3N 146.7E TO 7.1N 138.7E
WITHIN THE NEXT 12 TO 24 HOURS. AVAILABLE DATA DOES NOT JUSTIFY
ISSUANCE OF NUMBERED TROPICAL CYCLONE WARNINGS AT THIS TIME.
WINDS IN THE AREA ARE ESTIMATED TO BE 20 TO 25 KNOTS. METSAT IM-
AGERY AT 202030Z INDICATES THAT A CIRCULATION CENTER IS LOCATED
NEAR 4.6N 145.6E. THE SYSTEM IS MOVING WESTWARD AT 15 KNOTS.
2. REMARKS:
3. THIS ALERT WILL BE REISSUED, UPGRADED TO WARNING OR CANCELLED BY 212300Z.
//
9810031806 23N1566E 15
9810031812 24N1559E 15
9810031818 25N1552E 15
9810031900 26N1543E 15
9810031906 25N1533E 20
9810031912 23N1522E 20
9810031918 28N1509E 20
9810032000 33N1498E 20
9810032006 39N1487E 20
9810032012 43N1471E 20
9810032018 46N1456E 20
NNNN

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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.