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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Quoting Jedkins01:
Who here just loves studying for calculus and trigonometry finals?


Dude, you have to study for calculus? Maybe you should put on your shirt and look at your notes...LOL

Just joking...my need to study for calc finals is way behind me...
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Has the Blob Watch Season begun?
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In comes the seabreeze, lets see if we can muster up some rain for the SE today. Dog hot out there with heat index @ 102 in Jupiter, FL.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
Quoting AussieStorm:

Wasn't it to close to the EQ to worry about?
of coarse just prep runs
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 55984
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:



latest full disk as of 1201 pm edt

now its gone aussie

Wasn't it to close to the EQ to worry about?
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Quoting Floodman:


"CAT 1 crosses the loop current; intensity increases to CAT4, roll again"



FLoodman,,you can develop those Hotels on Park Place now..and insure them 100%
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
Quoting StormChaser81:


I'm a research associate doing remote sensing and GIS work.


WOW! that is really awesome!!!
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564. JRRP
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Who here just loves studying for calculus and trigonometry finals?
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Quoting Patrap:
..shucks,

"Go Directly to SHEAR"


"CAT 1 crosses the loop current; intensity increases to CAT4, roll again"
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Cyclon...perfect!!!!

:)
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
I'm also on a oil strike team.
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2315
Atmospheric Imagery from ESL by LSU/RTAP

These images are primarily for use in tropical storm monitoring.
There are several areas to choose from providing a large-scale view of the Atlantic, down to the Gulf of Mexico.
During hurricane season, the hurricanes page provides a variety of GOES atmospheric products to help monitor the active storms.

GOES JavaScript Animations


Channel 4 (IR)



WV


Low-Cloud Product
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
Maybe Mattel or Ronco can Design a "Create a Storm" Game for Video,or Table top for the pre-season jitters.


my purple hippo could be "Mario"....

;)
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
Quoting Patrap:
..shucks,

"Go Directly to SHEAR"


And spin the wheel.....Oh.......50 knots.....Sorry Bud, go around again...... :)
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..shucks,

"Go Directly to SHEAR"
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
Quoting SomeRandomTexan:
Is this Eddy typical? I don't remember it from seasons past.

Also, with the current conditions how long will this eddy persist. Seems to have been there a couple of weeks already.


It is not uncommon to have an eddy such as this one in the vicinity of Jamaica during the hurricane season. We had one last year during August in the same location, though not as strong. It is also not uncommon to have such eddies persist for multiple weeks. This one from last year lasted for around 40 days.



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Maybe Mattel or Ronco can Design a "Create a Storm" Game for Video,or Table top for the pre-season jitters.


Your roll patrick,..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
Quoting SomeRandomTexan:
Is this Eddy typical? I don't remember it from seasons past.

Also, with the current conditions how long will this eddy persist. Seems to have been there a couple of weeks already.


Probably, I've never really monitored this area before, but I have the tools to do it now.
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2315
Quoting SomeRandomTexan:
StormChaser--

what do you do?


I'm a research associate doing remote sensing and GIS work.
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2315
Is this Eddy typical? I don't remember it from seasons past.

Also, with the current conditions how long will this eddy persist. Seems to have been there a couple of weeks already.
Member Since: August 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1857



latest full disk as of 1201 pm edt

now its gone aussie
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 55984
Quoting Ossqss:


Interesting that the hot spot is so symmetrical. Just looked at some of the plates to see if there was any anomalous connection, just in case, and nope. Only a DSDP spot right there.





Here's why that hot spot is so symmetrical, its a eddy of hot water. the currents are causing this to happen.

Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2315
Quoting Levi32:


The NHC considers about 80 KJ cm^-2 to be the threshold for rapid intensification.


Thank you!
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sorry to interrupt the disscusion of the impending tropical threat i must have missed. for those few that are interested in the oil spillthe winds are forecast to turn back to the south by friday and pick up to 10 to 15 knots then turn to the se next week that in my opinion could be the final straw for problems here on the northern gulf coast.
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StormChaser--

what do you do?
Member Since: August 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1857
Quoting SQUAWK:


Hey, good to see you "killer."


That was last year and Adrian has always been a great contributor to the blog on Hurricane issues for several years now........This is a new year with many new challenges all around the Gulf; please give up the ghost; it is uncalled for at this point.
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Quoting CycloneOz:


It's always awesome to see a "government employee" who knows what they're doing! The quality of the output is always the key. This is top drawer stuff!

What a pleasure to have my tax dollars go to your salary! :)


No problem, keep them taxes coming, i want a new boat for oil slick fishing.
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2315
That is some good convection building off of Africa.. lets see if it holds together
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540. JRRP
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Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Response

Gulf of Mexico-Transocean Drilling Incident




DATE: May 05, 2010 11:03:25 CST
Media Advisory: Secretary of Interior and Unified Area Command to hold press briefing in Robert, La.

* 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









Who: Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry, BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles.

What: Update to the ongoing response efforts to continue to attack and contain the pollution on and below the surface surrounding the Deepwater Horizon incident.

Where: Shell Robert Training and Conference Center, 23260 Shell Lane in Robert, La., 70455-1928. A Unified Area Command joint information center representative will be at the gate at 1:40 p.m., to escort media.


When: 2:15 p.m. CDT. The call-in number for press unable to attend: (877) 918-5750. International callers use (312) 470-7364 Password RESPONSE (73776673). Live broadcast may be available on the Digital Video Information Distribution System (DVIDS) hub, which can be accessed at www.dvidshub.net. To see the live broadcast or download video of the conference, media must register with DVIDS no later than 2:00 p.m. This can be done on the DVIDS Web site or by calling (678) 421-6612.

International callers use (312) 470-7364 Password RESPONSE (73776673). Live broadcast may be available on the Digital Video Information Distribution System (DVIDS) hub, which can be accessed at www.dvidshub.net. To see the live broadcast or download video of the conference, media must register with DVIDS no later than 2:00 p.m. This can be done on the DVIDS Web site or by calling (678) 421-6612.

RSVP: Media interested in attending are asked to arrive no earlier than 12:45 p.m. CDT.

Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Oil_Spill_2010 or on Facebook at Deepwater Horizon Response
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

that is looking impressive

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Latest on the increasing threat to the Key's & East Coast of Florida.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 55984
Quoting Papagolash:


I asked this a couple of blogs ago but didn't get an answer. What's the value of TCHP where you generally begin seeing rapid intensification occurring, is it 100 kJ cm^-2?


The NHC considers about 80 KJ cm^-2 to be the threshold for rapid intensification.
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Good Morning gang!!!

The carrib is really getting hot... Those waves will have some high octane fuel to work with once they get some favorable sheer conditions.

Member Since: August 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1857
Quoting Ossqss:


Interesting that the hot spot is so symmetrical. Just looked at some of the plates to see if there was any anomalous connection, just in case, and nope. Only a DSDP spot right there.





That hotspot is due to an anticyclonic eddy associated with anomalously high sea surface heights, which has been persisting southeast of Jamaica for a while now.

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SQUAWK!!!! My Bird in Shining armor!

:)
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
Quoting Papagolash:


I asked this a couple of blogs ago but didn't get an answer. What's the value of TCHP where you generally begin seeing rapid intensification occurring, is it 100 kJ cm^-2?

i think 50 but i'm probably to low
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Quoting Levi32:
Alarming warming continues in the Caribbean.

May 4th, 2010:



May 4th, 2005:





I asked this a couple of blogs ago but didn't get an answer. What's the value of TCHP where you generally begin seeing rapid intensification occurring, is it 100 kJ cm^-2?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hurricane23:
The tropical waves rolling of africa ARE unusually vigorous for May, but upper-level winds are not favorable for development in that area this time of the year. But keep and eye on that wave as it tracks westward for the next 2 weeks. It could end up as the first EPAC system when the next positive MJO pulse comes back around in 2 weeks or so. If enough wave energy concentrates in the swrn Carib Sea, then the next MJO pulse could trigger an early season TS down there. But...it could just as easily...and more likely...be the first EPAC storm.

adrian


Hey, good to see you "killer."
Member Since: December 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2498
Goodnight all, 2am and i'm off to bed.

Icy blast a snow-go


As with any major cold front that blasts its way through southeastern Australia, snow isn't too far behind, and the same is true for today.

Since yesterday, temperatures have been dropping like a bowling ball in a fish tank. Melbourne saw the mercury plummet from 23 degrees to 17 degrees in just ten minutes on Tuesday as the front hit. The bay-side city was colder at 4pm yesterday afternoon than at 6am earlier that day.

The icy southwesterly winds pushed up into New South Wales soon enough. Broken Hill chilled to five degrees overnight, the coldest morning since last October.

Charlotte Pass, in the Snowy Mountains, has been cold enough to get a continuous dusting of snow. Thredbo, as well, has spent most of the morning below freezing, with light snow showers.

Back in Victoria, conditions were perfect for snow, with northwest to westerly winds delivering 10 to 15 cm to some resorts, including Mt Buller.

Unfortunately for some, the snowfalls won't last too long. Overnight minimum temperatures will continue to drop below zero, but day-time temperatures on the mountains will be too warm.

The good news for winter-sports enthusiasts is that the snow should return next week.

© Weatherzone 2010
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POLO!!!!
Member Since: December 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2498
524. beell
Quoting hurricane23:
The tropical waves rolling of africa ARE unusually vigorous for May, but upper-level winds are not favorable for development in that area this time of the year. But keep and eye on that wave as it tracks westward for the next 2 weeks. It could end up as the first EPAC system when the next positive MJO pulse comes back around in 2 weeks or so. If enough wave energy concentrates in the swrn Carib Sea, then the next MJO pulse could trigger an early season TS down there. But...it could just as easily...and more likely...be the first EPAC storm.

adrian


So you're calling it a wave? And that we have had several of them? And vigorous. Interesting.
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The tropical waves rolling of africa ARE unusually vigorous for May, but upper-level winds are not favorable for development in that area this time of the year. But keep and eye on that wave as it tracks westward for the next 2 weeks. It could end up as the first EPAC system when the next positive MJO pulse comes back around in 2 weeks or so. If enough wave energy concentrates in the swrn Carib Sea, then the next MJO pulse could trigger an early season TS down there. But...it could just as easily...and more likely...be the first EPAC storm.

adrian
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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.

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