Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:04 PM GMT on April 02, 2010
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.
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