Comparing New England's floods to the floods of Hurricanes Connie and Diane (1955)

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:04 PM GMT on April 02, 2010

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The flood waters have receded in Rhode Island and surrounding regions of New England, leaving hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, but no flood-related deaths. The floods were caused by the third in a series of three extraordinarily wet Nor'easters that drenched the region with record rains over the past month. It was the wettest March on record over most of coastal New England from New York City to Boston, and the wettest month of any kind for several stations, including Providence, Rhode Island, and Blue Hill Observatory, Massachusetts. The rainfall amounts and resulting flooding in many cases exceeded the records set 55 years ago, during the notorious double-punch hurricanes of August 1955, when hurricanes Connie and Diane hit New England within five days of each other. However, this year's flooding event pales in comparison to the 1955 event, when considering damage and death toll. Hurricane Connie killed 25 people, and Hurricane Diane killed nearly 200 people when its record rains drenched regions already in flood because of Hurricane Connie. The single deadliest event occurred when a creek near Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania overflowed, killing fifty people unable to escape the rising water. Diane was the costliest hurricane in U.S. history, until it was surpassed by Hurricane Betsy in 1965. Accounting for inflation, Diane was the 16th costliest hurricane in U.S. history, with total damages of $7 billion (2004 USD.)


Figure 1. Total rainfall from hurricanes Connie and Diane in 1995. Image credit: NOAA.


Figure 2. Observed precipitation for the month of March 2010. Image credit: NOAA.

Severe weather today for Texas, Arkansas, and surrounding states
NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has designated portions of Texas and surrounding states as being at "slight" risk of severe weather today, as a strong springtime storm sweeps through the region. Check out the blog of our severe weather expert, Dr. Rob Carver, to get the details of this potential severe weather episode, which may bring damaging winds, hail, and possible tornadoes to the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex this afternoon.

Portlight shipping 30,000 pounds of rice to Haiti
Portlight.org continues to work hard to get food and medical supplies into the earthquake zone in Haiti. Their latest effort is a shipment of 30,000 pounds of rice and 20,000 pounds of other supplies, mostly medical equipment, that has been loaded onto the schooner Halie and Mathew. The schooner is laying in Miami, fully loaded, waiting for a decrease in the easterly trade winds. These trade winds will blow at 10 - 20 knots over the next few days, thanks to the clockwise circulation of air around a high pressure system located just east of the Florida coast. According to the latest run of the GFS model, as visualized using our wundermap with the model map layer turned on, the high will slowly move eastward over the next week, and the easterly trade winds will finally die down by Thursday, allowing the Halie and Mathew to set sail for Hispaniola. Please visit the Portlight.org web site to learn more and to donate to this worthy cause.


Figure 3. Some of the 30,000 pounds of rice that has been loaded onto the schooner Halie and Mathew.

Jeff Masters

Rhode Island Flooding@ Newport # 9 (RIWXPhoto)
Rhode Island Flooding@ Newport # 9

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I see Robyn has been born. I'm glad to see it's expected to remain over open waters rather than get far enough SE to impact W Australia.

Meanwhile, I've been reading about the October 1866 hurricane that hit much of the Bahamas as a cat 4, devastating many of the island plantations and destroying at least one local church in Nassau. It was also responsible for the sinking of the Evening Star, a sidepaddle steamship which, overloaded and under lifeboated, sunk with the loss of over 250 passengers and crew as the hurricane recurved off the coast of GA. (This sinking puts the lie to the concept chivalry - women and children first; all 17 of the survivors were male, and all but 2 or 3 of them were crew members.... the women and children all drowned.)
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22359
Quoting emguy:
Looking at post 106...Would be concerned that increased water temps ALL over the Indian Ocean (and greater that the '05 anomoly) will lead to increased moisture over Africa, leading to increased wave activity in the Altantic. Another wild card widget for an above average hurricane season that may have been overlooked thus far.


As long as the Indian Ocean Dipole stay's positive throughout the season.


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remember jeff those temps are from the shallower waters which can heat up quickly, the true fuel for TC development is deep warm waters....it'll be 1 1/2 months before the entire GOM is above 80*,IMO;)
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ViMan,

I think we understood u weren't playing a practical joke. Unfortunately there are some foolish persons out there who might find such behaviour as that described by Taz as something "fun" to do. Thank goodness they mostly don't hang around in this blog during the off season.....

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22359
135. viman
Message #1 -- RCVD 4/2/2010 - 8:50pm

8.0 M - NORTH ATLANTIC OCEAN
Preliminary Earthquake Report
Magnitude
8.0 M
Date-Time
• 2 Apr 2010 05:38:55 UTC
• 2 Apr 2010 01:38:55 near epicenter
• 2 Apr 2010 01:38:55 standard time in your timezone
Location
19.053N 68.052W
Depth
13 km
Distances
• 84 km (52 miles) NE (55 degrees) of Higüey, La Altagracia, Dominican Republic
• 109 km (68 miles) ENE (73 degrees) of El Seybo, El Seybo, Dominican Republic
• 116 km (72 miles) NW (313 degrees) of Rincón, PR
• 119 km (74 miles) NE (54 degrees) of La Romana, La Romana, Dominican Republic
• 209 km (130 miles) ENE (73 degrees) of SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic
Location Uncertainty
Horizontal: 0.7 km; Vertical 0.8 km
Parameters
Nph = 0; Dmin = 0.0 km; Rmss = 0.00 seconds; Gp = 54°
M-type = M; Version = 1
Event ID
DR 2 ***This event supersedes event PR10092001.
For updates, maps, and technical information, see:
Event Page
or
USGS Earthquake Hazards Program
Dominican Republic Seismic Network
Instituto Sismologico Universitario, UASD

Message #2 -- RCVD - 4/2/2010 9:19pm

DELETED: M8.0 01:11 4/03 19.1N 68.1W 84 km NE of Higüey, La Altagracia, Dominican Republic NORTH ATLANTIC OCEAN Z=30km DR 2 18946
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134. emguy
Looking at post 106...Would be concerned that increased water temps ALL over the Indian Ocean (and greater that the '05 anomoly) will lead to increased moisture over Africa, leading to increased wave activity in the Altantic. Another wild card widget for an above average hurricane season that may have been overlooked thus far.
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133. viman
Reading some of these posts, it seems to me like some people was under the assumption that I was spreading false information. I assure everyone that the message that I got from the USGS was real. I have it set up that anything over a 4.0 in the Puerto Rico region and anything over a 6.0 worldwide is sent to my e-mail address and also to my cell phone as a text. Being a member of a crisis management team and reponsible member of my community, I take these things seriously. I participate in numerous table top exercises and drills for hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis and I know and have experienced some of these events first hand. If any of my comments were misinterpreted to be in a jokingly manner, then I do apologize, but let me assure you again that it was not meant to be a joke in any way shape or form.
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Quoting hydrus:
Not funny, especially if your from Haiti. It has been a while since I have seen a post from you.




yup i may take this too the Admin if the Earthquake jokes keep going


for the LAST TIME ALL STOP WITH THE Earthquake jokes ITS NOT FUNNY

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131. viman
I also heard about the one in Venezula, this one actually came in to me on the ENS Earthquake Notification System, but I got a second text about 20 minutes later stating that it was a false alarm. It stated "EVENT DELETED NOTIFICATION" "NO - M 8.0" The Venezula quake/tsunami was difinetly a crackpot joke, but I think this one was a USGS error. Something went hinky in the office. Any which way, it was not funny.
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130. SLU
Quoting BahaHurican:
Quelle relief!
Quoting Oskee:
Not sure what's going on. There seems to be people with a sick sense of humor. A couple weeks ago I got a BB message about an earthquake in Venezula and a sunami warning. Because I received another one from a different source I believed it and forwarded it out. Turned out to be a false alarm which frightened alot of people. It reminds me of the story of the little boy who cried wolf.

Very sad



Yes, this is very irresponsible behaviour. People need to take these things very seriously.
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Quoting Tazmanian:



is this other joke if so that not funny
Not funny, especially if your from Haiti. It has been a while since I have seen a post from you.
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could we stop with the Earthquake jokes Please i dont find it vary funny
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Quoting viman:
just got an alert for an 8.0 M earthquake off the coast of the Dominican Republic, but there is nothing on the USGS site. This preliminary alert originated from the USGS Earthquake Notification Service (ENS) but I can't find anything, has anyone out there heard anything or has come across anything.



is this other joke if so that not funny
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126. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Tropical Cyclone Warning Center Perth
Tropical Cyclone Advisory
TROPICAL CYCLONE ROBYN, CAT 1 (12U)
9:00 AM WST April 3 2010
=================================

At 0:00 AM UTC, Tropical Cyclone Robyn, Category 1 (995 hPa) located at 12.9S 92.2E has 10 minute sustained winds of 40 knots with gusts of 55 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving south at 5 knots.

Gale-Force Winds
==================
50 NM from the center in northeast quadrant
80 nM from the center in northwest quadrant
70 NM from the center in southeast quadrant
120 NM from the center in southwest quadrant

Dvorak Intensity: T3.0/3.0/D1.0/24HRS

Forecast and Intensity
===========================
12 HRS: 13.7S 92.2E - 45 knots (CAT 1)
24 HRS: 14.3S 92.2E - 55 knots (CAT 2)
48 HRS: 15.9S 92.6E - 65 knots (CAT 3)
72 HRS: 16.2S 94.3E - 75 knots (CAT 3)

Additional Information
=========================
Very deep convection continues near and southwest of the low level circulation centre with improvement in banding evident on recent IR imagery. The circulation has been hampered by moderate ENE vertical wind shear but this has now dropped below 20 knots and the LLCC is now more aligned with convection suggesting that further intensification is likely as guidance suggests.

Dvorak intensity CI/FT/DT=3.0 based on 0.6 curved band wrap, MET/PT agree, also supported by AMSU estimates of 50 knot [1min mean].

Continued southerly motion is forecast with light steering flow with a ridge to the south remaining weak . During Sunday a deepening mid-level trough to the south may help to deepen the system and steer it to the southeast for a period. There is then divergence in track predictions, although a recurvature to the west and weakening seems the most likely scenario at this stage. The cyclone is likely to remain over open waters and does not pose a risk to island or coastal communities.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 51 Comments: 45755
125. Oskee
Not sure what's going on. There seems to be people with a sick sense of humor. A couple weeks ago I got a BB message about an earthquake in Venezula and a sunami warning. Because I received another one from a different source I believed it and forwarded it out. Turned out to be a false alarm which frightened alot of people. It reminds me of the story of the little boy who cried wolf.

Very sad
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Quoting SLU:
There wasn't an 8.0 earthquake in Dominican Republic. The report issued about the earthquake was an error. PHEW!!
Quelle relief!
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22359
123. SLU
There wasn't an 8.0 earthquake in Dominican Republic. The report issued about the earthquake was an error. PHEW!!
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122. JRRP
Quoting viman:
just got an alert for an 8.0 M earthquake off the coast of the Dominican Republic, but there is nothing on the USGS site. This preliminary alert originated from the USGS Earthquake Notification Service (ENS) but I can't find anything, has anyone out there heard anything or has come across anything.

i did not feel anything
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Gulf temps:

As an example water temps one meter below the surface at 3 bouys suggest 68 t0 76 deg f. in the central gulf. This is only the surface temp and not indicative of 3 to 20 meter temps.
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120. viman
just got an alert for an 8.0 M earthquake off the coast of the Dominican Republic, but there is nothing on the USGS site. This preliminary alert originated from the USGS Earthquake Notification Service (ENS) but I can't find anything, has anyone out there heard anything or has come across anything.
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119. Skyepony (Mod)
23S

click the graphic for loop.. This disturbance has tripped off south into an area of higher ocean heat content, which it should be in for atleast the next 36hrs. Also has a fairly ridiculous amount of moisture available..Looks like the next storm..
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Quoting Levi32:


Tropical Storm Earl, 2004.

Thanx. I can usually tell by the sat pic what storm it is, that one eluded me. :)
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Quoting hydrus:
What storm is that on post#-105?


Tropical Storm Earl, 2004.

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Quoting caribbeantracker01:
since the models are predicting an above normal rainfall pattern if any tropical storm or hurricane were to track over any of the islands the flodding would be dangerous
What storm is that on post#-105?
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Gulf water temps

Are the temps in shallow water around beaches as representative of the trends in the gulf itself ?
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69 degrees off of Fort Pierce, Fl.
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Amazing Damage Reports, from IA to OK:
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
108. Skyepony (Mod)
0602 AM TSTM WND DMG RUSH SPRINGS 34.78N 97.96W
04/02/2010 GRADY OK COUNTY OFFICIAL

THE COUNTY SHERIFF REPORTED A MOBILE HOME LOCATED ON THE
SOUTH SIDE OF TOWN WAS DESTROYED. THE DINER IN TOWN WAS
HEAVILY DAMAGED. AT LEAST SEVEN OTHER STRUCTURES WERE
HEAVILY DAMAGED OR DESTROYED. SEVERAL LARGE TREES WERE
UPROOTED. SEVERAL OTHER POWER LINES...INCLUDING A
TRANSMISSION LINE... WERE ALSO DOWNED ACROSS HIGHWAY
81...CLOSING THE HIGHWAY. MUCH OF THE TOWN IS WITHOUT
POWER.
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107. JRRP
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Question for anyone:

What is our strongest analog year in your opinion?

1995

1998

that is why im thinking 16-17 name storm
i do not like 2005 because was a wake El Nio event
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Levi, I don't think I would consider the 2004 - 05 Nino to be similar to this one. Check out the sea surface height anomalies for the Pacific for the 2 periods. Very different. They look nothing like one another in that dataset.

I would look up the plots and post them, but that is extra challenging on a boysenberry, which I am limited to at the moment.


This Atmo? Not sure what you're getting at with the SSH anomalies.

2010:



2005:



Now we don't know about 1964, but 2005 is the best analog fit (based on SST anomalies) for the ENSO signature in the equatorial Pacific. Look at the central-Pacific warm pool, and 2005 already had a patch of cool water off of South America but it's still pretty close. Obviously 2005 stayed above central-neutral for most of the hurricane season, but its method of decay was similar to how this year's El Nino is dying. The Atlantic SST profile is also very similar to this year.

2005 April 2nd SST Anomalies:



2010 April 1st SST Anomalies:



1995 is the next closest, but not so much with the Atlantic SST profile. 2005 is very similar in the Atlantic.

March 1995 SST Anomalies:

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since the models are predicting an above normal rainfall pattern if any tropical storm or hurricane were to track over any of the islands the flodding would be dangerous
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Levi, I don't think I would consider the 2004 - 05 Nino to be similar to this one. Check out the sea surface height anomalies for the Pacific for the 2 periods. Very different. They look nothing like one another in that dataset.

I would look up the plots and post them, but that is extra challenging on a boysenberry, which I am limited to at the moment.
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Quoting Levi32:


I don't really like picking one year as a best comparison. Right now I think this year will look like a combination of 1964, 1998, and 2005.

Every analog has different strengths. 1964 is one of the best based on atmospheric indices such as the NAO and PNA. 1998 has so far been the closest match for Atlantic SST profile. 2005 has been the best SST profile in terms of the El Nino in the equatorial Pacific. And they have all demonstrated strong similarities both to each other and to this year as I have shown in many maps over the last few weeks, which I hope has demonstrated the risk we have this year. Every season is unique. It is likely that ifferent things from different analog years will come together to shape how this year turns out.


Jeesh. None of those years are calm years either. 1964 featured 3 strong Hurricanes hitting Florida, 1998 of course Mitch, and you all know the 2005 story.
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Quoting Levi32:
Sorry Bordonaro hadn't refreshed to see you had already answered lol.

That is not a problem, I like your answer and illustrations :0)
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
101. amd
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Question for anyone:

What is our strongest analog year in your opinion?


1958. Although I think there could be more tropical storms this year than that year.
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Sorry Bordonaro hadn't refreshed to see you had already answered lol.
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Quoting primez:
I know you guys love discussing hurricanes, global warming, and such, but can you explain something for me about the heat in the northeast?

I live on Long Island. My temperature is 58. Meanwhile, it is currently 91 in SyracuseSyracuse. How is this possible?


Well, at first glance, I would say it's just onshore flow off the water near the coast. In Syracuse, the flow is from the southwest right out of the warm southern states. In Long Island, Cape Cod, and southern Maine, the flow is southerly off the cold water due to an area of high pressure located to the south. Notice the effect diminishes as you go inland.



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Quoting primez:
I know you guys love discussing hurricanes, global warming, and such, but can you explain something for me about the heat in the northeast?

I live on Long Island. My temperature is 58. Meanwhile, it is currently 91 in Syracuse. How is this possible?


An area of High pressure in over the eastern US. The sinking air has raised the H8 or the 850MB temps quite a bit over most of the SE US, Mid-Atlantic and the NE.

I used to live on LI, in W Hempstead. The Atlantic Ocean is very cool, temps in the mid 40's. The position of the High is allowing the cool sea breeze to keep temps down in the 50's and 60's by the immediate coast, 20-30 miles or so. Interior readings are quite a bit warmer, since the sea breeze has no effect in Central NY state.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Question for anyone:

What is our strongest analog year in your opinion?


I don't really like picking one year as a best comparison. Right now I think this year will look like a combination of 1964, 1998, and 2005.

Every analog has different strengths. 1964 is one of the best based on atmospheric indices such as the NAO and PNA. 1998 has so far been the closest match for Atlantic SST profile. 2005 has been the best SST profile in terms of the El Nino in the equatorial Pacific. And they have all demonstrated strong similarities both to each other and to this year as I have shown in many maps over the last few weeks, which I hope has demonstrated the risk we have this year. Every season is unique. It is likely that ifferent things from different analog years will come together to shape how this year turns out.
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I know you guys love discussing hurricanes, global warming, and such, but can you explain something for me about the heat in the northeast?

I live on Long Island. My temperature is 58. Meanwhile, it is currently 91 in Syracuse. How is this possible?
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Question for anyone:

What is our strongest analog year in your opinion?
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Quoting Levi32:


No not yet. It will be on here when it does.


7th of April.
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Speaking of dry weather in the Eastern Caribbean,in Puerto Rico after we had record rainfall in Febuary and early March,for the most part it has been dry and because of that,the NWS in San Juan put out a statement about fire danger.

.FIRE WEATHER...DRY AND BREEZY CONDITIONS WILL BE THE MAIN RULE
FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK AND MOST OF NEXT WEEK. FUELS WILL
CONTINUE TO DRY OUT AS WINDS STAY UP IN THE 10 TO 20 KT RANGE
DURING THE DAYLIGHT HOURS. MODIS IMAGERY SHOWS THE GROUND AT ST.
CROIX AND THE SRN COAST IS PRETTY MUCH ALL BROWN. ALL LOCAL
RESIDENTS AND VISITORS ARE REMINDED...TO PLEASE USE EXTRA CAUTION
WITH ANY OUTDOOR FIRES AND SAFELY DISCARD ANY FLAMMABLE MATERIALS.

Link
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around 8th or 9th of april baha

some have stated they are going to be predicting an above average season
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54639
Quoting BahaHurican:
Did Koltzbach / Gray post April update forecast yet?


No not yet. It will be on here when it does.
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Did Koltzbach / Gray post April update forecast yet?
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22359

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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.