Flooding death toll in Southeast U.S. floods rises to 24; oil slick moving little

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:11 PM GMT on May 04, 2010

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The death toll from last weekend's record flooding in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Mississippi has risen to 24, making it the deadliest non-tropical storm or hurricane flood disaster in the U.S. since the October 1998 Central Texas floods that killed 31 when a cold front stalled over Texas. As flood waters recede today, the toll from last weekend's floods is expected to grow higher. Particularly hard-hit was the Nashville, Tennessee area, where ten fatalities were reported. The city had its heaviest 1-day and 2-day rainfall amounts in its history over the weekend. A remarkable 7.25" of rain fell on the city Sunday, breaking the record for most rain in a single day (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, only two days into the month, the weekend rains made it the rainiest May in Nashville's history.

Rainfall records were smashed all across Tennessee, Kentucky, and northern Mississippi over the weekend, 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.


Figure 1. Satellite-estimated precipitable water at 23 UTC (7 pm EDT) Sunday, May 2, 2010. Precipitable water is a measure of how much rain would be produced if all the water vapor and cloud moisture through the depth of the atmosphere were to fall as rain. Values above 50 mm (about 2 inches) are frequently associated with flooding. Sunday's precipitable water image showed a tropical disturbance crossed Mexico into the Gulf of Mexico, dragging a plume of very moist air northwards over the Southeast U.S. Image credit: University of Wisconsin GOES Satellite Blog.


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

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. 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. Accompanying this warm air was moisture from a tropical disturbance that crossed over Mexico from the tropical East Pacific over the weekend (Figure 1.)

The record rains sent the Cumberland River in downtown Nashville surging to 51.86' this morning, 12' over flood height, and the highest level the river has reached since a flood control project was completed in the early 1960s. The previous post-flood control project record level was 47.6', set on March 15, 1975 (the river hit 56.2' in 1929, before the flood control project was built.) The river has now crested (Figure 2) and is expected to recede below flood stage by Wednesday morning. There are no further rains in the forecast this week for Tennessee. At least four rivers in Tennessee reached their greatest flood heights on record this week. Most remarkable was the Duck River at Centreville, which crested at 47', a full 25 feet above flood stage, and ten feet higher than the previous record crest, achieved in 1948 (to check out the flood heights, use our wundermap for Nashville with the "USGS River" layer turned on.)

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 eighteen 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. 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. 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. According to the latest NWS marine forecast, winds will be light and variable through Wednesday, resulting in little transport of the oil slick. Winds will then resume a weak onshore flow at 5 - 10 knots, Thursday through Friday, then reverse to blow offshore at 5 - 10 knots over the weekend. The net result of this wind pattern will be little transport of the oil slick. The only areas at risk of landfalling oil over the next five days will be 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. I'll have a post on the long-range prospects for oil to enter the Loop Current later this week, and a discussion of how a hurricane might affect and be affected by the oil spill.


Figure 3. Forecast location at 6pm CDT Tuesday, May 4, 2010, of the oil slick from the Deepwater Horizon blowout. Image credit: NOAA Office of Response and Restoration. See also the trajectory maps available at State of Louisiana web site.

Jeff Masters

Alice Aycock sculpture (laughingjester)
If you saw my other pics of this sculpture you cam get an idea how high the Cumberland river has risen. when I left it was still getting higher.
Alice Aycock sculpture
Harpeth River Flooding (XMLP)
Harpeth River Flooding
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..
Removing the flood damaged cars and trucks.
Nashville Flooding (jadnash)
This is looking east - the Cumberland River is just on the other side of the buildings.
Nashville Flooding
Parking via Mother Nature (jadnash)
This car drove into the swiftly moving water at the Belle Meade Kroger and was thrown up against a parking deck. Luckily someone got a ladder and dropped it down to break the rear window and the driver climbed out safely!
Parking via Mother Nature

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The 12Z ECMWF shows a much stronger negative NAO compared to the 12Z GFS.

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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


What signs we have to see to then say its an Easterly Wave?


You can check out a blog I made 2 years ago on Dissecting an African Easterly Wave
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721. xcool
tropical season looks promising.
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Quoting Drakoen:
No evidence of an African Easterly Wave over Africa at the moment


What signs we have to see to then say its an Easterly Wave?
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Quoting Drakoen:


Very impressive. That graphic is cause for concern.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Thats alarming. I've now raised by predictions to 17/7/4.
I will be posting my final numbers on my blog later today, around 8:00 PM EDT, I will also post it on this blog as soon as I release my own blog.
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Quoting Drakoen:
The ECMWF 12z shows a big negative NAO ridge over the the eastern seaboard centered over the GOM:



That will only hasten SST warming in the Gulf Of Mexico.
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Quoting Drakoen:
Very frightening to see:



Yes it is, as long as it doesn't go below 10 knots come August or September.
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Quoting Drakoen:


Thats alarming. I've now raised by predictions to 17/7/4.
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The ECMWF 12z shows a big negative NAO ridge over the the eastern seaboard centered over the GOM:

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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
that would be a 10000 post day
LOL, that would be about 8 posts a SECOND, wow.
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latest full disk till 612 pm next update just after nine pm
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53308
711. xcool

"_
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710. eddye
wat u mean nothing
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Quoting Drakoen:

Amazing!
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"blobbing for Invest 2010"

Madden Edition for X-box 360

So,what 09 storm should be on the Cover?
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127702
Quoting RitaEvac:
Pat more like May 15th! come on now you even say thats the start date


Yeah..but i gotta go by the rules the shadow gubment says here.

SWAT team leader advised me.

May 15 is the Start,and May 1 for the East Pac.

So were off and well,..blobbing
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127702
Quoting Drakoen:
Very frightening to see:



gonna be even scarier when it gets down to next to nothing
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53308
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Its never been witnessed of two majors hitting the US within 6 hrs, this blog would lock up and shut down
that would be a 10000 post day
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53308
Very frightening to see:



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Quoting Patrap:


Guess you missed the 05 Season,,we hasd storms popping like Day traders in a Bull MArket..
2004 as well.

Darn things hit FLa every week for a spell that year.

2010 will have its own twists and shouts. Best to Have a Good Plan.
Supplies.

Fuel.

And a Evac destination.

Dont let calamity sneak upmon yas,.
Be ready June 1.

Get ready tonight,..involve the family.

Give everyone a role in the effort.

2010 sure to be Busy.

So get er done.



National Hurricane Survival Initiative
********************************************************
Before the Hurricane Season Begins
Develop a plan. Know your homes vulnerability to the threats above - surge, wind, and flooding. Check your supplies - water, batteries, food. For information on developing a Hurricane Supply kit, see our page on that topic. Know where you can evacuate to - friends, relatives, a hotel?

Know when to take action - Watch vs Warning
WATCH: Hurricane conditions are possible in the specified area of the WATCH, usually within 36 hours.
WARNING: Hurricane conditions are expected in the specified area of the WARNING, usually within 24 hours. Remember that there is no such thing as a "minor hurricane." Category 1 and 2 hurricanes still can do significant damage.

Prepare before a Watch or Warning is issued and be ready to evacuate when the Watch comes or earlier if so instructed.

An Approaching Storm
As a storm approaches, you should prepare your house and your yard. Some things to consider:

Turn down the temperature on your freezer and refrigerator as low as possible. This will buy you more time in the event of a power loss. 24 to 48 hours before will cool the food. Avoid opening them whenever possible. If you are evacuating.
Before you evacuate, call at least one person out of state to let them know your plans.
Ensure that your Hurricane Emergency Kit is fully stocked.
Charge electronic devices, for example, computers, cell phones, rechargeable batteries, razors, and the like.
Make extra ice, bag it - this will be useful to use and to keep the freezer cold.
If you have a generator, do NOT run it inside or near the house. But make sure you have fuel to run it.
Make sure your car has fuel.
Pick up yard debris - furniture, tools, decorative items, branches - anything loose that could become a missile. We have placed furniture in the pool upon occasion.
Secure boats, trailers, campers, RVs, and the like in the safest place you can find. Tie them down, anchor them, or however you can best secure them. But, take into account that there may be a storm surge.
Secure all doors and windows with locks, and shutters if available. Plywood, properly secured, can be effective. Don't forget your garage doors.
Move items that may be damaged by water to higher areas of your home if you can not take them with you if evacuating. Move them away from windows in case they are broken.
Huge items must even be secured in big storms. An engine block was found 40 or 50 feet up in a pine tree in the Homestead (actually Redlands) area after Andrew. Don't think that something is too big to be moved by the wind.
Re-check tie-downs.
Bring cars, bikes, scooters and anything like that into your garage if possible.
Bring in grills or other cooking items.
Bring in hoses, trash cans, hot tub covers, wind-chimes, plants.
Caulk and fill bathtubs - extra water comes in handy for toilets and more..
It may sound strange, but do your laundry, dishes, and take a shower. Why? Because if you lose power, having as much clean as possible will make a big difference.
Check if your pool pump should be on or off.
Close and fasten gates so they don't swing.
Close chimney flues.
Close/latch inside doors and cabinets.


If you have time, help your neighbors. Debris in their yards can easily impact your home and yard.

During a storm.


Stay inside, away from windows
Be alert for tornadoes
Stay away from flood waters and storm surge. It can be deceptively strong.
Be aware of the eye. It may be calm, but winds can and will pick up quickly and could catch you outside.
Un-plug electronic devices that are not in use to avoid surge damage.

After a Storm

Know power safety - avoid downed lines
Know food safety - what is good and for how long.
Chain saw safety is critical
Generator safety is important too
Water treatment - whether water needs to be boiled or not.
Listen to local officials
Use flashlights instead of candles
Inspect your home for damage.
Stay off roads as much as possible
You may need to super-chlorinate your pool

********************************************************
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53308
Quoting RitaEvac:
Its never been witnessed of two majors hitting the US within 6 hrs, this blog would lock up and shut down

Nah, I don't think so :o)!
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Pat more like May 15th! come on now you even say thats the start date
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No evidence of an African Easterly Wave over Africa at the moment
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Earthquakes, volcanos, floods, tornadoes, oil spill/explosion, rioting, terrorists,

If a major hits the east coast at the same time a major hits the Gulf coast on the same day within 6 hrs of each other, and the NHC is brought to the brink of not being able to handle all of it.....2012 may have some reason to believe.


Guess you missed the 05 Season,,we had storms popping like Day traders in a Bull Market..

2004 as well.

Darn things hit Fla every week for a spell that year.

2010 will have its own twists and shouts.

Best to Have a Good Plan.

Supplies.

Fuel.

And a Evac destination.

Dont let calamity sneak up on yas.

Be ready June 1.

Get ready tonight,..involve the family.

Give everyone a role in the effort.

2010 sure to be Busy.

So get er done.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127702
Its never been witnessed of two majors hitting the US within 6 hrs, this blog would lock up and shut down
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Earthquakes, volcanos, floods, tornadoes, oil spill/explosion, rioting, terrorists,

If a major hits the east coast at the same time a major hits the Gulf coast on the same day within 6 hrs of each other, and the NHC is brought to the brink of not being able to handle all of it.....2012 may have some reason to believe.

Don't sell the NHC short! They are able to handle more than 1 hurricane at a time.
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Quoting PcolaDan:


What apparently has the scientists a little nervous right now is the amount of earthquakes from both Eyjafjallajökull and Katla, and the changing depths. Plus a few other things too...
Not so simple.


The joys of living in Iceland. An island with a huge rift zone running through the middle, as the rift moves and slowly opens, off goes the volcanoes, glaciers, floods, fire and ash!
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Earthquakes, volcanos, floods, tornadoes, oil spill/explosion, rioting, terrorists,

If a major hits the east coast at the same time a major hits the Gulf coast on the same day within 6 hrs of each other, and the NHC is brought to the brink of not being able to handle all of it.....2012 may have some reason to believe.
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Quoting NRAamy:
cool cloud...


Ash (black) and steam (white) with clouds in front. So I guess no Pope elected today. Or half a Pope. ;>)
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..The Mayans were right maybe ?

I hope they dont show up looking for their Gold and Oil.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127702
She's blowing her top. Airline business gonna get hit again
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Quoting Bordonaro:

Got this feeling Katla is going to blow it's top shortly. Small quakes are 26km or 15.6 miles down, possibly indicating movement of a huge pool of magma.

"E" and Katla are 12 km apart, just got a gut feeling "E"'s eruption will increase in size, then Katla is gonna "snap a twig"!!


What apparently has the scientists a little nervous right now is the amount of earthquakes from both Eyjafjallajökull and Katla, and the changing depths. Plus a few other things too...
Not so simple.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Katla experienced heavier earthquakes in 1999, only a minor eruption. We'd have signs by now that if Katla was gearing up for a big eruption, massive earthquakes would have already occurred, imo that is. I'm no geologist.

Icelandic volcanoes produce quakes of 3.0Mw or less. A handful of quakes have occurred near "E" and Katla today.

One Icelandic geologist said most Icelandic volcanoes give little or no warning before a major eruption. Link below:
Link
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cool cloud...
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picture credit Golli / Kjartan orbjrnsson
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685. xcool



TD 1 on 2005 .





MJO Forecasts
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Katla experienced heavier earthquakes in 1999, only a minor eruption. We'd have signs by now that if Katla was gearing up for a big eruption, massive earthquakes would have already occurred, imo that is. I'm no geologist.
kat is a quick release pressure builds till a explosive eruption occurs with global effects earthquakes will start deep and very slowly rise then just as one appears to go quiet the other goes boom
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53308
Quoting Bordonaro:

Got this feeling Katla is going to blow it's top shortly. Small quakes are 26km or 15.6 miles down, possibly indicating movement of a huge pool of magma.

"E" and Katla are 12 km apart, just got a gut feeling "E"'s eruption will increase in size, then Katla is gonna "snap a twig"!!


Katla experienced heavier earthquakes in 1999, only a minor eruption. We'd have signs by now that if Katla was gearing up for a big eruption, massive earthquakes would have already occurred, imo that is. I'm no geologist.
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Quoting PcolaDan:


Been on it for over 2 weeks. :) One of the links on my page. There are some knowledgeable people there.

Got this feeling Katla is going to blow it's top shortly. Small quakes are 26km or 15.6 miles down, possibly indicating movement of a huge pool of magma.

"E" and Katla are 12 km apart, just got a gut feeling "E"'s eruption will increase in size, then Katla is gonna "snap a twig"!!
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Quoting Bordonaro:

Current blog on the Iceland "E" Volcano:
Link
Of course as "E" has a party on Iceland, MR and MRS Clouds are blocking our view. Bummer :o(!!


Been on it for over 2 weeks. :) One of the links on my page. There are some knowledgeable people there. Peek back and you'll see Dan Florida, that's me.
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Quoting PcolaDan:


Hey Bord, yea I'm still glued to it too. May be trouble for Europe again. Lots of earthquake activity too> Now if we could only see what's going on.

from Accuweather
AccuWeather.com meteorologists expect the jet stream to travel due south from Iceland through this coming Saturday.

By Sunday or Monday, the jet stream will be redirected over England south toward Spain.

On Tuesday, the Icelandic Coast Guard estimated the ash plume to be as high as 20,000 feet.

Current blog on the Iceland "E" Volcano:
Link
Of course as "E" has a party on Iceland, MR and MRS Clouds are blocking our view. Bummer :o(!!
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Which body of water is this graph collecting data on?


Pacific.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
I think our season should also begin on May 15th.

remember we have been in an active period the past 15 years, so there are storms earlier than normal
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Quoting Bordonaro:
Iceland Volcano is on the RAMPAGE this afternoon. Notice to Ash Plume through the lower clouds, AMAZING!!


Hey Bord, yea I'm still glued to it too. May be trouble for Europe again. Lots of earthquake activity too> Now if we could only see what's going on.

from Accuweather
AccuWeather.com meteorologists expect the jet stream to travel due south from Iceland through this coming Saturday.

By Sunday or Monday, the jet stream will be redirected over England south toward Spain.

On Tuesday, the Icelandic Coast Guard estimated the ash plume to be as high as 20,000 feet.
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
I found a subsurface graphic that updates everyday. Some warm waters are left while the cool waters are creeping towards the surface.



ECMWF updates everyday as well.



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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.