Flooding from record rains kills 11 in Tennessee; oil spill update

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:52 PM GMT on May 03, 2010

Share this Blog
1
+

Nashville, Tennessee remains virtually paralyzed this morning thanks to that city's heaviest recorded 1-day and 2-day rainfall in its history. A remarkable 7.25" of rain fell on the city Sunday, breaking the record for most rain in a single day (previously 6.60", set September 13, 1979.) Nashville's third greatest day of rainfall on record occurred Saturday, when 6.32" fell. Nashville also eclipsed its greatest 6-hour and 12-hour rainfall events on record, with 5.57" and 7.20", respectively, falling on Sunday. And, remarkably, only 2 days into the month, May 2010 is already the wettest May on record for Nashville.

Rainfall records were smashed all across Tennessee and Kentucky, with amounts as high as 17.73" recorded at Camden, TN, and 17.02" at Brownsville, TN. According to Chris Burt, the author of the excellent book Extreme Weather, the 13.30" that fell on Camden in 24 hours just missed eclipsing the state's all-time 24-hour precipitation record, the 13.60" inches that fell on Milan on September 13, 1982. Jackson, Tennessee had its rainiest day in its 63-year weather history on Sunday, 7.93". Bowling Green, Kentucky had its heaviest 2-day precipitation event on record, 9.67". Records in Bowling Green go back to 1870. The University of Wisconsin GOES Satellite Blog has some excellent imagery showing the remarkable plume of tropical moisture that crossed over Central America from the Eastern Pacific and fed the record rains.


Figure 1. Radar estimated rainfall for May 1 - 2, 2010 from the Nashville, Tennessee radar. A large region of the Tennessee and Kentucky received over ten inches of rain, with many areas receiving more than fifteen inches.


Figure 2. Flood forecast for the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee. Image credit: NOAA.

The record rains triggered massive flooding that has killed at least eleven people in Tennessee, with two missing. The Cumberland River in downtown Nashville has surged to a height of 51', which is 11' over flood height, and the highest level the river has reached since a flood control project was completed in the early 1960s. The river is expected to crest this afternoon at 11.5' above flood stage, bringing flood waters to a large portion of the downtown area. The mayor has ordered all schools, parks, and libraries closed today, and commuter bus and train services have also been suspended. Five people died in Nashville due to the flooding. The Harpeth River at Bellevue, Tennessee to its greatest flood height since record keeping began in 1921. The river had a depth of 2 feet early Saturday morning before the rains began, and was running at a depth of 29' early this morning, breaking the record of 24.34' set in 1948. (To check out the flood heights, use our wundermap for Nashville with the "USGS River" layer turned on.) The Duck River at Hurricane Mills reached 28.7' yesterday morning before its streamgage stopped operating, its 2nd greatest flood height since record keeping began in 1926 (record: 30.7' in 1948.)

The record rains were accompanied by a surge of very warm air that set record high temperature marks at 21 major airports across the Eastern U.S. on Saturday; 19 more records were set on Sunday. This is not surprising, since more moisture can evaporate into warmer air, making record-setting rainfall events more likely when record high temperatures are present.


Figure 3. A portable classroom building from a nearby high school floats past submerged cars on I-24 near Nashville, TN on May 1, 2010. One person died in the flooding in this region of I-24. Roughly 200 - 250 vehicles got submerged on this section of I-24, according to wunderphotographer laughingjester, who was a tow truck operator called in to clear out the stranded vehicles.

Funding issues to take 17 Tennessee streamgages offline
According to the USGS web site, seventeen Tennessee streamflow gages with records going back up to 85 years will stop collecting data on July 1 because of budget cuts. With up to thirteen people in Tennessee dying from flooding this weekend, now hardly seems to be the time to be skimping on monitoring river flow levels by taking 17 of Tennessee's 94 streamflow gages out of service. These gages are critical for proper issuance of flood warnings to people in harm's way. Furthermore, Tennessee and most of the northern 2/3 of the U.S. can expect a much higher incidence of record flooding in coming decades. This will be driven by two factors: increased urban development causing faster run-off, and an increase in very heavy precipitation events due to global warming. Both factors have already contributed to significant increases in flooding events in recent decades over much of the U.S. According the landmark 2009 U.S. Climate Impact Report from the U.S. Global Change Research Program, "the amount of rain falling in the heaviest downpours has increased approximately 20 percent on average in the past century, and this trend is very likely to continue, with the largest increases in the wettest places." The USGS web site advertises that users who can contribute funding for the non-Federal share of costs to continue operation of these streamgages should contact Shannon Williams of the USGS Tennessee Water Science Center at 615-837-4755 or swilliam@usgs.gov. Tennessee is not the only state with streamgages at risk of closing down; fully 276 gages in 37 states have been shut down or will be shut down later this year (Figure 4.)


Figure 4. Streamgages that have been discontinued or are being considered for discontinuation or for conversion from continuous record discharge to stage-only stations. Funds for these 276 threatened streamgages are from the U.S. Geological Survey and other Federal, State, Tribal, and local agencies. For those streamgages that have already been discontinued, extensive efforts were made to find another funding source; however, when no funding was made available the streamgages had to be discontinued. For those streamgages at risk for discontinuation, the current funding source has indicated that it can no longer fund the streamgage. Efforts are currently underway to identify another funding source for the operation of these streamgages; however, if no funding is identified, then these streamgages will have to be discontinued also. If you have questions about specific streamgages, click on the state of concern on the USGS web page of threatened stream gages.

Oil spill update
The oil slick from the April 20 explosion and blowout of the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon has retreated from the coast, thanks to a slackening of the persistent onshore winds that have affected the northern Gulf of Mexico over the past week. Onshore winds of 10 - 15 knots will continue today, according to the latest NWS marine forecast, then shift to sideshore (out of the west) on Tuesday, as a cold front passes. Winds will then resume a weak onshore flow at 5 - 10 knots, Wednesday through Friday. These winds should cause only a slow transport of the oil slick towards the coast. I don't expect the spill will affect any land areas for the remainder of the week, with the possible exception of the mouth of the Mississippi River in Louisiana and the Chandeleur Islands. The latest forecast of Gulf currents from the NOAA HYCOM model (see also this alternative view of the HYCOM ocean current forecast) show weak ocean currents affecting the region during the remainder of the week. These currents will not be strong enough to push any oil southwards into the Loop Current over the next five days, so the Keys and South Florida are safe from oil for now.


Figure 5. Previous location and forecast location for tomorrow of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Image credit: NOAA Office of Response and Restoration. See also the trajectory maps available at State of Louisiana web site.

Jeff Masters

Flooding on I-24 (XMLP)
Flooding on I-24
Lick Creek Bridge (Wingman100)
God is cleaning out the creek and I think making a statement about cleanliness
Lick Creek Bridge
Removing the flood damaged cars and trucks. (laughingjester)
I am a wrecker driver for Martin's wrecker service. We were called to remove the vehicles that got caught in the flooding on interstate I 24 westbound near the Bell Road exit in Nashville Tennessee. Of course this is after the waters had subsided. It was roughly 200, 250 cars and trucks that got caught up in the flood. The debris to left is actually the remnants of a portable classroom that floated alongside the interstate and eventually rolled over and disintegrated.
Removing the flood damaged cars and trucks.

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: 460 - 410

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15Blog Index

Magnitude: 6.4

Date/Time: Monday, May 03, 2010 at 23:09:45 UTC

Location: 38.110°S, 73.648°W

Region: OFFSHORE BIO-BIO, CHILE

Depth: 20.6 km (12.8 miles)

Distances: 55 km (35 miles) S of Lebu, Bio-Bio, Chile
115 km (70 miles) NW of Temuco, Araucania, Chile
135 km (85 miles) WSW of Los Angeles, Bio-Bio, Chile
585 km (360 miles) SSW of SANTIAGO, Region Metropolitana, Chile



*There has been one report of very strong shaking and moderate damage.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Hey KOG - can't help it... I love this coast, its my life & livelihood. : )
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
just sittin back shaken his head and watchin foxx
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 157 Comments: 29384
No 427
So that's why all the skeptics' post on the Climate Change Blog are grey. Heck, mine have been grey almost since my first post. To me, everything I've posted has been downright gentlemanly compared to some of the stuff I've seen (and some of that stuff is not even grey!). I wonder where I got all that negative rep, LOL.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Man Chile just isnt going to catch a break with these Earthquakes...hopefully little to no damage with the 6.4 one they jsut got.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128240


Plaquemines has plan to defend coastline

Activity is ramping up in efforts to protect the outer-lying areas of Plaquemines Parish and keep the oil from destroying the marsh.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128240
Next MJO wave to come by on May 17, 2010. That's 14 days away. And GFS showing a lot of activity, but that is way too far out to even consider it a possibility.

GFS 18z 324 hours (14 Days)


Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
No 427
So that's why all the skeptics' post on the Climate Change Blog are grey. Heck, mine have been grey almost since my first post. To me, everything I've posted has been downright gentlemanly compared to some of the stuff I've seen (and some of that stuff is not even grey!). I wonder where I got all that negative rep, LOL.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
6.4 Earthquake in Chile
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
No 427
So that's why all the skeptics' post on the Climate Change Blog are grey. Heck, mine have been grey almost since my first post. To me, everything I've posted has been downright gentlemanly compared to some of the stuff I've seen (and some of that stuff is not even grey!). I wonder where I got all that negative rep, LOL.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
SOI down another bit today, looks like El Niño is making a fight, a fight that I'm sure he will not win.

20100403,20100502,13.1

*I'll post the graph as soon as they release it.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
No 427
So that's why all the skeptics' post on the Climate Change Blog are grey. Heck, mine have been grey almost since my first post. To me, everything I've posted has been downright gentlemanly compared to some of the stuff I've seen (and some of that stuff is not even grey!). I wonder where I got all that negative rep, LOL.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
come on keeper, where is your image of the big world?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
No 427
So that's why all the skeptics' post on the Climate Change Blog are grey. Heck, mine have been grey almost since my first post. To me, everything I've posted has been downright gentlemanly compared to some of the stuff I've seen (and some of that stuff is not even grey!). I wonder where I got all that negative rep, LOL.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Is this area at 20W going to be the first tropical wave of 2010?

It's a surface wave not an easterly wave, and it really doesn't impress me, but, for May it looks pretty good. Oh, and BTW it is associated with the ITCZ so I'm 99.999% sure nothing will develop from it.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
443. DEKRE
Quoting TampaSpin:


Although far from being an Obama supporter i can't blame him for this. Yes he could have reacted faster but, other adminstrtations failed to own this as will. But, if his adminstration had inquired about this from day 2 this could have been better controlled. If he "Obama" did not surround himself and appoint good people that knows about these things this was easily overlooked one would think.


How many fire booms did the Bush administration buy?
Member Since: April 27, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 306
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Is this going to be the first tropical wave of 2010?

its a surface wave not a full fledge easterly wave
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53787
If you shut down GOM Sourced drilling for Oil and Gas,

well,itsa gonna be awfully spensive to get dem Tourist to da Keys and Points N,S E and W by Rail..or steam..or Kite.


Or maybe Learn Farsi..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128240
Is this area at 20W going to be the first tropical wave of 2010?

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
i kinda like help4u myself
why not come in and talk some weather iam sure if ya tried real hard ya could slap together a tropical weather office right there in yer basement in no time

Don't forget to have a shower curtain in your back ground.

Good morning all
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Best of Luck to Tennessee dealing with a Flooding Calamity.

Be Mindful of the Corps of Engineers as well.

They going to open some flood relief areas to try and ease that catastrophe.












Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128240
Quoting NRAamy:
I just ban...it feels good....


I'm with you on that one.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
POLO!!!!!!!
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
435. DEKRE
Quoting NRAamy:
can't they just throw some kitty litter on it?


Cat litter is actually being used - it is a very good absorbent. With small spills, you can just pick it up, with bigger spills, it allows you to burn the oil. Thin oil layers on water don't burn, but absorbed onto anything porous, it burns well.

However, imagine the amount of cat litter you would need for this spill!
Member Since: April 27, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 306
MARCO!!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Patrap -

Sounds like what I did last election... I voted early and often...

Hopefully the cement risers will work and stop the oil flow. Glad to hear that the oil is starting to break-up - if that indeed is a good thing.

Personally, I don't get the criticism of the president's response. He has a multiple agencies working together and the ones that should have been there at hour 1, were there... As it was determined more resources and agencies were needed, they responded too. I didn't see anyone saying they WERE NOT GOING. THEN the upper levels of the government, up to and including the president should be involved. By declaring SONS the federal government has basically opened up the finance door so that more people and equipment can be utilized. Would it have looked better for the president to have been there day 1, sure... Was it really required? Probably not.

I am not trying to get into a politicol fight on whether I like Obama or not - just defending on how our government works and should work, regardless of who is "the president." In this case, I think we are doing all we can do and have done so from Day 1. I haven't heard, we need this and can't afford to buy it. I have heard we need this and can't find it, which is another issue.

Obviously, before deep water oil well drilling can or should be allowed to continue, some serious, well thought out changes must happen. I was never really "for" off shore drilling, but now I have been every so convinced that we are not ready for it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NRAamy:
I just ban...it feels good....


you would
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53787


ESL By LSU


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128240
Quoting Beachfoxx:
The Miracle Strip, Emerald Coast, The World's Most Beautiful Beaches.... How I love the Gulf of Mexico, the beaches, waterways, etc. I love this place & I hope that higher power is listening. : )
just sittin back shaken his head and watchin foxx
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53787
I just ban...it feels good....
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
The Buttons,

.. I personally never touch them

And to be sure one can ask the site managers, they r Logic smart buttons.

aaron explained it well when the site up-graded 2 years or so ago

One single blogger cant sit back and "hee-Hee" anothers posts 24 /7.

The system reacts to that and dismisses it.

So vote early and often if ya like.

The dismissed poster goes "Grey" or hidden.

Auto Justice one could say.

It matters not.


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128240
no photos of Al Gore with the Slim Jims and coctail weenies?

:(
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
Quoting TampaSpin:
Funny how the Liberals are hidding peoples post by hitting the dislike button and getting post hidden......

401. help4u
409. help4u
411. CycloneOz

All hidden so far.......LOL...LOL


There's nothing wrong with that Tim. Bloggers have a choice. I think that is great.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The Miracle Strip, Emerald Coast, The World's Most Beautiful Beaches.... How I love the Gulf of Mexico, the beaches, waterways, etc. I love this place & I hope that higher power is listening. : )
Quoting CycloneOz:


Perhaps our outrage is reaching the ears of a higher power...

There is no place on Earth like the Gulf of Mexico...and the finest place along the Gulf is the Miracle Strip.
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 157 Comments: 29384
421. beell
Some of the unsubstantiated chatter floating around concerns the failure of the shear rams to sever the drill pipe and shut the well in.

At each end of the drill pipe the wall thickness is much greater (bigger) than along the rest of the drill pipe. To accomodate the threaded and reinforced coupling at each end of each joint of pipe. What are the chances of the drill pipe coupling being right at the shear rams when the well blew out and it failed to do its job?

Going forward, in hindsight, (ouch) whether this was a factor or not-it would seem prudent for this not to ever happen.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:



Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Response

www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com

DATE: May 03, 2010 17:54:21 CST
US Department of Labor focuses on safety of workers as oil cleanup activities ramp up in Gulf Coast region
OSHAs assistant secretary visits area to offer expertise, assistance

* Report oiled shoreline or request volunteer information:
(866)-448-5816
* Submit alternative response technology, services or products:
(281) 366-5511
* Submit your vessel as a vessel of opportunity skimming system:
(281) 366-5511
* Submit a claim for damages:
(800) 440-0858
* Report oiled wildlife:
(866) 557-1401





Deepwater Horizon Incident
Joint Information Center

Phone: (985) 902-5231
(985) 902-5240











WASHINGTON Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels is in Louisiana today with a team of experienced hazardous materials professionals leading an effort to ensure that oil spill cleanup workers receive necessary protections from the hazards of this work.

Cleanup workers can face potential hazards from oil byproducts, dispersants, detergents and degreasers. Drowning, heat illness and falls also pose hazards, as can encounters with insects, snakes and other wild species native to the impacted areas. OSHA is consulting with BP, as well as federal agency partners, to ensure that workers receive appropriate training and protective equipment.

Oil spill cleanup workers are on the front lines attacking this disaster, said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. It is our top priority to ensure that this is done as effectively, efficiently and safely as possible.

In addition to meeting with OSHA staff and BP officials, Michaels is engaging with the Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and Louisiana state officials. OSHA staff have been on the ground in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi to evaluate the training and protections that will be put into place for workers.

Our job is to work proactively so that measures are taken to ensure the safety of cleanup workers,said Michaels. OSHA will monitor training, observe clean-up efforts and provide whatever assistance is needed to BP and its contractors.

OSHA is distributing guides for cleanup workers and developing those guides in Vietnamese and Spanish. OSHA also has established a website to provide hazard awareness material for all involved in the cleanup activities. The website will be updated with new information as the situation warrants. For information from OSHA on worker safety guidelines during the oil spill cleanup, visit http://www.osha.gov/oilspills/index.html.

OSHA will apply the lessons it learned during its experience in the cleanup of the Exxon Valdez spill as well as post-Hurricane Katrina cleanup efforts.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128240
FEMA's original purpose was to repair infrastructure in disastrous occurances _ if I am not mistaken.
Quoting PcolaDan:


The first two are correct and have been true since the beginning of our country. The last is a fairly new thing, because the people demanded it. Disasters used to be handled neighbor to neighbor, with the exception of infrastructure being repaired.
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 157 Comments: 29384
Heard someone on the news today say - that Katrina disaster was due to bad engineering, he then said that the oil rig explosion/spill was also a result of bad engineering. Two occasions when bad engineering had a negative impact on LA.
Sounds like a voice or reason to me.

Quoting help4u:
RON GOUGET FORMER SPILL DIRECTOR FOR NOAA SAID NONE OF THIS HAD TO HAPPEN!!!!Look it up yourself on internet!!!The truth will set you free!!Don't be scared!!
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 157 Comments: 29384
Quoting CycloneOz:


There are some things that the fed is ultimately responsible for:

Defense of the nation
Securing our borders
Disaster response


The first two are correct and have been true since the beginning of our country. The last is a fairly new thing, because the people demanded it. Disasters used to be handled neighbor to neighbor, with the exception of infrastructure being repaired.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting beell:
That would be the the acoustically operated shutin, Pat. Designed to be taken off the platform if you got to go in a hurry. You could activate it from a lifeboat. Norway and Brazil require them. Most if not all rigs in the N Sea have them-required or not. The oil companies claimed they might not be effective in deep water.

May not have worked in this case since they can't get the BOP to work with an ROV parked on top of the stack. But....


Hard to Quantify risk with 25 Billion in the Bank..

I used to work for Chevron,..so this deep well Riser Drilling is a steep learning curve for all of us.

This rig was the Worlds Best at it.

The Blowout was catastrophic from the Moment it blew passed the BOP and Gushed upwards to the Drill Deck.
So any failsafe that can or should be available..should be regulated to be so.

But they pay a lotta bucks to well.keep things Status Quo.
And with that BS,..we ALL lose

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128240
413. beell
Pat,
Reading back to 395-I see your on it.
NM!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
IF YOU WAS PRESIDENT WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE ON DAY 2? As really day 1 was just fact finding and trying to save life. Don't count the Coast Guard as they did their job from day 1 without Obama telling them to do so.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Beachfoxx:
Pat,

News says Sat. Images showing the oil spill to be smaller & possibly breaking up?


Perhaps our outrage is reaching the ears of a higher power...

There is no place on Earth like the Gulf of Mexico...and the finest place along the Gulf is the Miracle Strip.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3683
Ike, Are you trying to say that Prozak is in order?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 460 - 410

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15Blog 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.

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy
59 °F
Partly Cloudy