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 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
872. MTWX
Quoting Bordonaro:

Imagine 2 million gallons of crude mixed with 20+ foot seas, hitting the coast, even a 4 ft storm surge and 10 ft waves would drive crude polluted waters near landfall, think BIG MESS!!


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!!
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Last but not least...

September precip forecast.

Basically printing out a major hurricane track.



Yes the concentration of the highest precipitation around the Great Antilles and points northward.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29905
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


I would bookmark this.

Link
Since you gave me the link, let me share something...

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

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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127592
Hope i don't have to come down and help you guys this year if hurricane hits,you would probably run me out of town!lol!!Sadly i will probably have to come down to work.Just take it easy on me guys!
Member Since: September 18, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1276
Quoting Grothar:


But Bord, they are always so good. It is worth a ban now and then. You are right up there with the top ten ban-worthy bloggers and you know it.

I am a big chicken..
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Last but not least...

September precip forecast.

Basically printing out a major hurricane track in the Gulf.

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15788
Quoting Skyepony:
bizarre..

CALGARY - Officials suspect up to 40 horses died during a violent stampede while fleeing cruel weather in southern Alberta.


Escaping Canada is worth dying for...
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
MSLP anomaly for September.

Wow...

I see room for curvature with those systems that want to destroy Florida.
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Quoting MTWX:

Any takers? Just looking for some insight... You know it is going to take months to clean that crap up. Just curious what a hurricane would do if it crossed that plume...

Imagine 2 million gallons of crude mixed with 20+ foot seas, hitting the coast, even a 4 ft storm surge and 10 ft waves would drive crude polluted waters near landfall, think BIG MESS!!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Gotta give Rush credit for one thing, he's really good at making stuff up while he's talking...spews outta him.
Kinda like oil in the gulf is now from the hole BP dug and can't plug.
He can be a metaphor for the spill; it's natural that stuff keeps pouring out of him.
He can't stop it.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
MSLP anomaly for September.

Wow.



Looks eerily similar to 2005. Look at all the blocking in the Canadian Maritimes as Drakoen was alluding to earlier.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Can you share the link with me?


I would bookmark this.

Link
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15788
857. MTWX
Quoting MTWX:
What would a hurricane do if it crossed that spill?? Besides throw it a mile inshore of the gulf coast!!!

Any takers? Just looking for some insight... You know it is going to take months to clean that crap up. Just curious what a hurricane would do if it crossed that plume...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


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


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.
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MSLP anomaly for September.

Wow...

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15788
854. Skyepony (Mod)
bizarre..

CALGARY - Officials suspect up to 40 horses died during a violent stampede while fleeing cruel weather in southern Alberta.
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you guys are great i quess we all need to go to a political site to talk weather!!lol!!
Member Since: September 18, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1276
As opposed to Al Gore, Rush served his country proud:

Limbaugh came to manhood in an era when the nation had a military draft for the Vietnam war. He avoided service by having his physician certify his medical unfitness due to an "inoperable pilonidal cyst" and "a football knee from high school." He played one year of varsity football in high school, and his coach, Ryland Meyr, said later he remembered no injuries to Limbaugh. Those who loathe Limbaugh sometimes describe his pilonidal cyst as "a boil on his butt", but that is an oversimplification. A pilonidal cyst is a chronic collection of pus or an abnormal draining passage leading to an abscess, located in the opening between the buttocks muscles. It is susceptible to infection, which can be dangerous on a war front, so severe pilonidal cysts have long been (and still are) legitimate grounds for exemption from military service. The peculiar thing is that Limbaugh denies he ever had a pilonidal cyst, dismissing it as "internet bull", though the record is plain. Link
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LoL 839, he is in stasis :)

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Quoting help4u:
Saw that Stormchaser2007 does not look good.
Can you share the link with me?
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Saw that Stormchaser2007 does not look good.
Member Since: September 18, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1276
Quoting help4u:
Great book everyone should buy it!Worth the laugh!



See?!?!?!?!? Who says we can't find areas of agreement?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
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Quoting clwstmchasr:
Wow!

This area of strong showers and thunderstorms over Africa is impressing me, why you may ask, check it out...

Here is the area of thunderstorms, now you may say, "Why the hell is this any different from any other wave that dies as soon as it emerges" Well 18z Surface Analysis shows that it is associated with a strong 1002 MB low, this is definitely something to keep your eye on for the meanwhile.


If is were July 1st I would a bit interested in this wave for a slight chance of development. Not on May 5th.
Yes I agree with you, but it is a very rare and interesting feature to get in May, I just thought it was worth pointing out.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:


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


Did he Flex any?
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127592
Rush Limbaugh has a habit of sticking his feet in his mouth, especially concerning his statement that oil is natural and no harm to the GOM!!!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Great book everyone should buy it!Worth the laugh!
Member Since: September 18, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1276
Quoting SevereHurricane:


That's very disturbing.


Joe Bastardi just did a great video update and he seems very concerned about this season.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15788
Quoting help4u:
Funny Chicklit,lol;the only one that can top Rush is Al Gore!


Careful there!!!!! you're gonna pull sumpin' if you keep stretchin' like that...
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841. xcool
we all dooomm
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Funny Chicklit,lol;the only one that can top Rush is Al Gore!
Member Since: September 18, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1276
Only Godzilla could upwell like that..

Is he on the Long Range?
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127592
#801
Warning -- Blowhard Air Wave Pollution
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Amazing...

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



That's very disturbing.
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835. MTWX
What would a hurricane do if it crossed that spill?? Besides throw it a mile inshore of the gulf coast!!!
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Amazing...

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

Hm...wonder what that means...

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15788
Germany is also a beautiful country if you if get a chance to go over there.
Member Since: September 18, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1276
Quoting help4u:
Nature does take care of itself


Nature is a derivative of the word natural. An oil rig exploding, sinking and causing a possible man-made historic oil spill is not part of nature.
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Hey Preeslord i have one in Japan though.Your welcome to visit if you are ever over that way.Beautiful country.
Member Since: September 18, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1276
Quoting presslord:



You still own that timeshare in Chernobyl?

When you come back from your Chernobyl time-share, we can take you to the nuclear power plant and use your entire body as a fuel source!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Wow, I did not know this ! Granted this is dated, but even so, wow. Is there any newer data? This is from the gov, not sure how things have changed since then.......

http://seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov/OCEAN_PLANET/HTML/peril_oil_pollution.html
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Quoting Bordonaro:
Geoff, Rush needs help, he is making a total "donkey" out of himself :o). I cannot post off-topic pics, Dr M ALWAYS catches me :o)!!


But Bord, they are always so good. It is worth a ban now and then. You are right up there with the top ten ban-worthy bloggers and you know it.
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Quoting presslord:



You still own that timeshare in Chernobyl?


NICE !!
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Good Evening Everyone,

Only picked up 2.09 inches at the house yesterday from the rather slow moving cold front that finally pasted. However, just a few miles to the northwest (Panama City), those poor folks were subjected to a deluge. We had no less than 14 road closures, including two that were washed out. The most interesting was that the only road to our EOC was closed due to the flooding. A little background: The county just opened the new EOC last summer…after spending millions to relocate it from…you guessed it…a flood zone. Needless to say…there were quite a few residents voicing “some displeasure” over the issue…I am being kind with regard to some of the statements made.

Everyone take care,

Very Respectfully,

Jon
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Musicians Keith Urban and LeAnn Rimes among those set to lose millions in gear in Nashville flood

AUSTRALIAN country singer Keith Urban is among some of music's biggest stars scrambling to replace thousands of pieces of gear after floodwaters in Nashville swamped a hub where dozens of big names stow their equipment.

Country music star Brad Paisley was just days away from starting rehearsals for his ironically titled H2O Tour, but now he must replace staging, instruments and much of his road setup after 2½-metres of water flooded the area.

He vowed today that the show would go on, but he's got just two weeks until the tour kicks off on May 21 in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Urban, Vince Gill, LeAnn Rimes and a host of others are waiting to see what remains of their possessions.

No one is optimistic.

The storage area consists of three buildings located along the bloated Cumberland River.
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Quoting help4u:
Nature does take care of itself



You still own that timeshare in Chernobyl?
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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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