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 MiamiHurricanes09:
This cat is fatter...



ROFLMAO



re move that i dont find it funny
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Chucktown:


You fail to mention the hundreds's of "bombogenesis nor'easter's" that he predicts on a weekly basis during the winter and he's been doing that for years. He didn't latch onto a quiet hurricane season for 09 until August when we all saw what was happening. The media loves Joe because he is always on one extreme or the other. If he were to predict an average winter or average hurricane season, then no one would go to accuweather. The public likes anomalous weather - its what accuweather strives for.


His early March hurricane forecast last year WAS average. And he came steadily down in the numbers ahead of everybody else....he was in fact the first to catch on to the lack of activity, before NOAA, and before most others.



And don't bash him for the east coast major hurricane thing....he is right about the 50s, and after this year we may start to see more tracks farther to the north up the eastern seaboard like he is saying. Don't expect him to nail the year that that starts happening, but he is probably right that it will eventually occur as we start this cold PDO, the same climate cycle as in the 1950s.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
That's very interesting, if not highly disturbing that the CFS is predicting the SST's too suddenly cool off in the GOMEX. That could only mean one thing; Upwelling from increased moisture in the GOMEX and I tell you the only thing I see causing such upwelling so drastically are intense Hurricanes in the GOMEX in Late August - Early September time frame.
Exactly! And that is very bad.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
am forcsting 20 too 28 name storms 10 hurricnes and 8 cat 3 or higher storms
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That's very interesting, if not highly disturbing that the CFS is predicting the SST's too suddenly cool off in the GOMEX. That could only mean one thing; Upwelling from increased moisture in the GOMEX and I tell you the only thing I see causing such upwelling so drastically are intense Hurricanes in the GOMEX in Late August - Early September time frame.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24549
sorry about any inconvenience.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Tazmanian:





Daz a freakin' BIG CHICKEN Taz, hahahaha!
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


Those numbers are insane. Notice that by October all the anomalies in the GOM & around the SE are gone and below normal?
Yup, the active season should be early.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Bordonaro:

I am a big chicken..



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Quoting presslord:


...buzzkill...


Lol.
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 10 Comments: 3665
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Since you gave me the link, let me share something...

Look at how frekin' hot the SSTs are in September!



Those numbers are insane. Notice that by October all the anomalies in the GOM & around the SE are gone and below normal?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15947
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
There are still a lot of unknown factors that will determine what kind of season this will be.


...buzzkill...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
There are still a lot of unknown factors that will determine what kind of season this will be.
No, I can almost guarantee it will be an active season.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Levi32:


I think he feels the need to point out his successes due to all the attacks he gets from a lot of places. What you call "hyping" is just him hunting for the biggest impact that may occur. Frankly, that's exactly what he should be doing. Bringing attention to the biggest event that will affect the public the most is what he focuses on, and in regards to this hurricane season he is absolutely right. He's also "hyping" the big cool-down in the east this weekend, due to the growing season being ahead of schedule and frosts/freezes will have a large impact there. That's not exactly a life-threatening event, but he's all over it because it is the biggest event impacting the public this weekend. He also "hyped" the bust hurricane season last year....shattering the beliefs of many people who say he forecasts disaster after disaster every year.

The reality is he's right on more long-range/seasonal forecasts than anybody I've ever seen, including NOAA. I challenge anyone to show me a person or agency that has done better than him. NOAA and the CFS get it wrong a lot more than he does...


You fail to mention the hundreds's of "bombogenesis nor'easter's" that he predicts on a weekly basis during the winter and he's been doing that for years. He didn't latch onto a quiet hurricane season for 09 until August when we all saw what was happening. The media loves Joe because he is always on one extreme or the other. If he were to predict an average winter or average hurricane season, then no one would go to accuweather. The public likes anomalous weather - its what accuweather strives for.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:


I think he feels the need to point out his successes due to all the attacks he gets from a lot of places. What you call "hyping" is just him hunting for the biggest impact that may occur. Frankly, that's exactly what he should be doing. Bringing attention to the biggest event that will affect the public the most is what he focuses on, and in regards to this hurricane season he is absolutely right. He's also "hyping" the big cool-down in the east this weekend, due to the growing season being ahead of schedule and frosts/freezes will have a large impact there. That's not exactly a life-threatening event, but he's all over it because it is the biggest event impacting the public this weekend. He also "hyped" the bust hurricane season last year....shattering the beliefs of many people who say he forecasts disaster after disaster every year.

The reality is he's right on more long-range/seasonal forecasts than anybody I've ever seen, including NOAA. I challenge anyone to show me a person or agency that has done better than him. NOAA and the CFS get it wrong a lot more than he does...


He seems to be saying the same thing a lot of other forecasters are saying too. Unfortunately.
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 10 Comments: 3665
There are still a lot of unknown factors that will determine what kind of season this will be.
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


Carrib, Fla & The Gulf are in for 50 lashings this year. Looking at the 14 day surface analysis man, the highs are sticky and in a bad bad place.
Fantastic! That's all I wanted to hear.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
if anyone need to see this vid that JB's made here it is and you need to see it

Link
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Amazing...

The updated CFS is actually anticipating upwelling occurring in the GOM by September.

Hm...wonder what that means...



Carrib, Fla & The Gulf are in for 50 lashings this year. Looking at the 14 day surface analysis man, the highs are sticky and in a bad bad place.
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Good night all, God bless.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Most interesting.
2005 and 2010 hand-in-hand in another category.

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15947
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there are approximately 98 m³ (26,000 gallons) of Valdez crude oil still in Alaska's sand and soil.[13]


Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
Night guys and gals,stay positive!Life is good.God bless.
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896. beell
Odd Fact Dept.

...After repairs, the Exxon Valdez was renamed the Exxon Mediterranean, then SeaRiver Mediterranean in the early 1990s, when Exxon transferred their shipping business to a new subsidiary company, SeaRiver Maritime Inc. The name was later shortened to S/R Mediterranean, then to simply Mediterranean in 2005. Although Exxon tried briefly to return the ship to its North American fleet, it was prohibited by law from returning to Prince William Sound.[5]
[5] ^ Musgrave, Ruth S. (1998). Federal Wildlife Laws Handbook with Related Laws. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group. ISBN 9780865875579.
Wiki-Exxon Valdez
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Quoting Chucktown:


He only backs it up when he's right. I was accepted to Penn State, but received my meteorology degree from Millersville. He was a pompous ass then and still is now.


I think he feels the need to point out his successes due to all the attacks he gets from a lot of places. What you call "hyping" is just him hunting for the biggest impact that may occur. Frankly, that's exactly what he should be doing. Bringing attention to the biggest event that will affect the public the most is what he focuses on, and in regards to this hurricane season he is absolutely right. He's also "hyping" the big cool-down in the east this weekend, due to the growing season being ahead of schedule and frosts/freezes will have a large impact there. That's not exactly a life-threatening event, but he's all over it because it is the biggest event impacting the public this weekend. He also "hyped" the bust hurricane season last year....shattering the beliefs of many people who say he forecasts disaster after disaster every year.

The reality is he's right on more long-range/seasonal forecasts than anybody I've ever seen, including NOAA. I challenge anyone to show me a person or agency that has done better than him. NOAA and the CFS get it wrong a lot more than he does...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Oil booms placed at Southwest Pass











Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129432
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
MSLP anomaly for September.

Wow...




wht dos that men
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Impossible to tell.
Aww, too bad, I wish you could take out a magical ball and stare into it until your eyes dry out and then tell what would happen. I just hope that the B/A high moves to the east.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Bordonaro:

I am a big chicken..


Yeah, like I really believe that one.
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#812 Bordonaro - please, "never" compare a 'donkey' to Rush! There is nothing to compare - loving, gentle, smart, good common sense, never lies.... And no, I am not talking about Rush..........

:) :) :)
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
How dangerous for me down here in Miami?


Impossible to tell.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15947
888. MTWX
Quoting Skyepony:
Stories of tragedy, survival surface as Tennessee flood waters recede


Our newest guy in our shop is from Nashville. He arrived here late because his neighborhood was cut off by flood waters. His grandmothers house flooded, but everyone was able to retreat to safety. Unfortunate for those who didn't make it. May God be with them and their families.
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Eagle 101 great post!!The lord surely does restore his creation!We are just a grain of sand in the big picture!
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Joe Chomping at the Bit for Cane Season..

So whats new?

LOL

Upwelling..Joe,..

He is a Wizard ya know.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129432
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Well I dont think we'll see a storm exactly like that, but its definitely an indicator that things will become very dangerous near the August/September time frame.
How dangerous for me down here in Miami?
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Drakoen:


He did one this morning on the free site

Link


Thats the one!
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15947
Quoting SevereHurricane:


Ive been keeping up with him since February. He has gained back my respect after accurately forecasting the 2009 Hurricane Season and going a very good job in his Winter Forecast. I like how he backs up all of his information.


He only backs it up when he's right. I was accepted to Penn State, but received my meteorology degree from Millersville. He was a pompous ass then and still is now.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
What do you think about this storm?


Well I dont think we'll see a storm exactly like that, but its definitely an indicator that things will become very dangerous near the August/September time frame.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15947
Quoting Bordonaro:

Please post a link to JB's video about the 2010 ATL Hurricane Season. Thanks :0)


EDIT: Drak has the link in his post.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15947
Quoting Patrap:



Dats called lying in the Big Life Book..Page 1,paragraph 6-9

It's his opinion.
Different from fact, though.
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Quoting MTWX:


Thats what I'm afraid of!! I could't imagine a strong gulf hurricane pushing that ashore. I wonder if hurricane insurance covers items covered in crude oil?? If not sue BP!!

I do not want to think about it. Imagine, a CAT 3 hitting that area, with a 20 ft storm surge driving the GOM inland 2 miles, crude and sea water???
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting presslord:



You still own that timeshare in Chernobyl?


I don’t know if anyone has ever come across the website linked below…a photographic story of a Russian women who took a trip back to Chernobyl…there are more updated sites out there, but this one is worth your time.

Link

Take care,

Very Respectfully,

Jon
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Quoting Bordonaro:

Please post a link to JB's video about the 2010 ATL Hurricane Season. Thanks :0)


He did one this morning on the free site

Link
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
MSLP anomaly for September.

Wow...

What do you think about this storm?
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Joe Bastardi just did a great video update and he seems very concerned about this season.

Please post a link to JB's video about the 2010 ATL Hurricane Season. Thanks :0)
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785

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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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