Huge Western Caribbean low bringing heavy rains; Wisconsin levee failing

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:26 PM GMT on September 27, 2010

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Today, for the first day since August 20, the National Hurricane Center will not be issuing any advisories for an Atlantic named storm. Thus ends a remarkably active 36-day period that saw the formation of ten named storms, six hurricanes, and five intense hurricanes--an entire hurricane season's worth of activity, compressed into just five weeks of the six-month season. This season is not done yet, as we still have three more weeks of peak hurricane season left to go, and the Western Caribbean is looking poised to generate a tropical storm sometime in the next ten days.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of the Western Caribbean and Central America, showing the remains of Matthew over Mexico, and a large area of disturbed weather beginning to develop over the Western Caribbean.

A wet week ahead for the Western Caribbean, Florida, and the Western Bahamas
Pressures are falling over the Western Caribbean today as a large area of low pressure develops over the region. This low is bringing heavy rains across a huge area, from the Pacific shores of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico, to eastern Cuba and Haiti. All of Central America, eastern Mexico, the western 2/3 of the Caribbean, plus the Bahamas and Florida can expect sporadic periods of very heavy tropical rains over the coming week, with peak amounts of 3 - 6 inches per day possible. In the Western Caribbean, a few hundred miles east of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, a region of concentrated thunderstorms has built this morning, and has the potential to develop into a tropical depression by Wednesday. A large trough of low pressure over the Eastern U.S. is producing steering currents that will pull this area of disturbed weather to the north-northeast across western Cuba on Tuesday and Wednesday. The disturbance should move over Florida on Wednesday and Thursday, and over North Carolina by Thursday and Friday. All of these regions can expect very heavy rains from the disturbance, and NHC is giving a 30% chance that the disturbance will develop into a tropical depression by Wednesday. The Hurricane Hunters are on call to investigate the disturbance this afternoon, if necessary.

Once the disturbance moves out of the Caribbean, the GFS and NOGAPS models predict that the Western Caribbean will "reload" and produce another tropical disturbance capable of developing into a tropical depression late this week or early next week. The steering currents are not expected to change over the coming ten days, and Florida and western Cuba can expect to see this second disturbance potentially bring a second round of heavy rain late this week and early next week.

Levee failing in Wisconsin due to rains from Hurricane Karl's moisture
In Portage, Wisconsin, about 25 miles north of Madison, a sub-standard 120-year-old levee is failing, thanks to flood waters 3.5 feet above flood stage on the Wisconsin River. The river was swollen last week by heavy rains of up to seven inches that fell in its watershed to the northwest. The rains were generated by a plume of very moist air associated with what was Hurricane Karl. This moisture was lifted over a warm front draped over Minnesota and Wisconsin on Wednesday and Thursday. These types of rain events are called Predecessor Rain Events (PREs), because they typically precede the actual arrival of the rain shield of a tropical storm.


Figure 2. Rainfall over Minnesota and Wisconsin for the seven-day period ending 8pm EDT Sunday 9/26/10. Heavy rains to the northwest of Portage, Wisconsin led to flooding along the Wisconsin River in Portage. Image credit: NOAA.

Canadian Military responds for Hurricane Igor relief
At least twenty communities in Newfoundland, Canada are still cut off from civilization after Tuesday's rampage by Hurricane Igor. The Canadian military has sent three warships and a number of helicopters into the disaster zone to deliver food, fuel, and medical supplies to those communities still cut off. Igor killed one person and caused over $100 million in damage to the island.


Figure 3. Miniature golf anyone? A house in St. John's Newfoundland now has a very three-dimensional front yard, thanks to Hurricane Igor's winds and rain. Image credit: Zach Goudie.

I'll have an update Tuesday morning.

Jeff Masters

Wisconsin River Flooding in Wisconsin Rapids September 2010 (LadyWriter)
Jackson Street Bridge late Saturday afternoon at cresting.
Wisconsin River Flooding in Wisconsin Rapids September 2010
Wisconsin River Flooding in Wisconsin Rapids September 2010 (LadyWriter)
Taken from First Avenue while looking eastward toward Grand Avenue Bridge/Elks Club when the flooding was at its worst
Wisconsin River Flooding in Wisconsin Rapids September 2010

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2814. nash28
Quoting TreasureCoastFl:


If it is indeed tropical, wouldn't it get beaten badly crossing Cuba?


Depends of what part of Cuba it crosses. Eastern Cuba it would get torn up. Western tip is flat.
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2813. afj3
Quoting Chucktown:


Who cares if it gets a name or not. Its not going to change the sensible weather. This is going to be nothing more than a heavy rain event with some gusty winds. The circulation is way to broad to become truly tropical. It will be subtropical at best.

My point being is that people take systems less seriously if they don't have names. While this is less a factor in the United States, in the Caribbean, a blob can cause mudslides and kill people...Look what happened in Venezuela in December 1999. No name, dozens of thousands dead.
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Looking at the visible on 96L looks like center of circulation is about 100 miles or so south of isle of pines Cuba? Also if this becomes subtropical that would be better right as it most likely not be able to get hurricane force winds?
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GOES East has been placed into Rapid Scan Mode, which means eight images per hour. Need to use the GHCC site to see them though.

GHCC visible loop
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@2605, sure wish the models would get into agreement.
Member Since: August 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 376
Quoting Bordonaro:
Link to the HRWF model loop, I believe the intensity is way to high though, all I see is a string TS and then it races up the E Coast:
Link


It's becoming a little more clear that the most likely outcome will be a right loaded mid-strong tropical/subtropical storm for the lower peninsula, with the greatest impacts along the immediate east coast.
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Quoting Chucktown:


Who cares if it gets a name or not. Its not going to change the sensible weather. This is going to be nothing more than a heavy rain event with some gusty winds. The circulation is way to broad to become truly tropical. It will be subtropical at best.


Not
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2807. kwgirl
Quoting newportrinative:


I think you are under estimating people. All my neighbors are watching this system to see if it develops.....the news (IMO) is doing an excellent job stating for right now a rain event but monitoring for future development. I think that sums it up for everyone to understand.
Yes, you are correct. Watch and be ready. Here in the Keys we always watch the weather. It is not unusual to have a squall blow up and come in with 40+ winds. And the news is doing a good job stating the facts as they know them now.
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ST = Stationary not Sub-Tropical
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Quoting reedzone:
Clearly a circulation there, I don't think it's Subtropical yet, still fully Tropical to me. Looks like a Tropical Storm. Nicole should be here shortly, maybe 5 p.m. at the latest. Plus I've never seen a Subtropical Storm in the Caribbean before.

Deep convection almost around the center = Fully Tropical to me.


If it is indeed tropical, wouldn't it get beaten badly crossing Cuba?
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2803. 7544
looks like the big red blob is drifting north to meet up with little red blob ?
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Where are you putting the center of circulation at? It appears to me that we have two centers working out there right now. I am looking more at center towards Belize. Just gut feeling this will be "2nd" nasty storm that models have been showing for sometime

Quoting reedzone:
Clearly a circulation there, I don't think it's Subtropical yet, still fully Tropical to me. Looks like a Tropical Storm. Nicole should be here shortly, maybe 5 p.m. at the latest. Plus I've never seen a Subtropical Storm in the Caribbean before.

Deep convection almost around the center = Fully Tropical to me.
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2801. nash28
Quoting cat5hurricane:

If that's the case, then unfortunately SC could very well be it's next destination after FL


Gonna be a wet windy day for the Charleston area up the coast through NC.
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good morning,
buoy at 16.8N81.5W

buoy at 19.8N 85W

19.6N 80W
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11423
Quoting reedzone:
Clearly a circulation there, I don't think it's Subtropical yet, still fully Tropical to me. Looks like a Tropical Storm. Nicole should be here shortly, maybe 5 p.m. at the latest. Plus I've never seen a Subtropical Storm in the Caribbean before.

Deep convection almost around the center = Fully Tropical to me.


Agree 100%
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Quoting afj3:

Remember in 2008 when they took forever to give Faye a name while it wreaked havoc over Hispanola?


Who cares if it gets a name or not. Its not going to change the sensible weather. This is going to be nothing more than a heavy rain event with some gusty winds. The circulation is way to broad to become truly tropical. It will be subtropical at best.
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Link to the HRWF model loop, I believe the intensity is way to high though, all I see is a string TS and then it races up the E Coast:
Link
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Clearly a circulation there, I don't think it's Subtropical yet, still fully Tropical to me. Looks like a Tropical Storm. Nicole should be here shortly, maybe 5 p.m. at the latest. Plus I've never seen a Subtropical Storm in the Caribbean before.

Deep convection almost around the center = Fully Tropical to me.
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Quoting Bordonaro:

What does the "ST" stand for????


Sub-Tropical.
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Quoting nash28:


Actually, the HWRF came left on the 06z. GFDL remained basically unchanged.



If they start issuing advisories today, this would most likely be the output on track.

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From the local Met:

There are two scenarios that could happen with the system coming to SFL.

1) The H off the east coast holds and with the front to the north the two will "funnel" all the moisture through the Keys and East Coast.

2) The H breaks and continues moving east over the ATL which draws everything more over the water.

With the models suggesting that a system follows up the East coast, IMO I'm looking at the latter. It will be hard for the system to overcome the mountainous terrain of Cuba so I don't really expect any major development or RI.
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8 AM models showing a shift eastward on wunderground
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2788. afj3
Quoting Bordonaro:

Then they need to name this Sub-Tropical Storm Nicole already and issue TS warnings and Flash Flood warnings :O)!

Remember in 2008 when they took forever to give Faye a name while it wreaked havoc over Hispanola?
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Quoting seflagamma:
Hello again,
Reading back, thanks for those who commented...

Irene was a total mis forcast and yes a lot of blame was going around for not give anyone a heads up. I was at work and watching radar...watching that tc spin it's way across the Florida Straights and Glades toward SE Fla...

It was a big rain event.. some places down in Dade County got like 21"...

our power went off for about 24 hours and we were flooded but not nearly as bad as others..
I did not get rain in my house but had 7" in my garage and back patio and the street was mid thigh deep..we floaded rubber boats down the street!


I am home today and I've watched the local news for our area and saw Max Mayfield last night and a few others this morning.. they are talking about the invest and possibly a storm but like someone said..they are not really talking wind at all ...just flooding rain...and we are already under flood watches.


I wouldn't take my kids to school the day of Irene, my husband thought I was being crazy. However, when he then had to drive home through the storm, he was glad I stayed home. Our area flooded so bad we couldn't get out for almost 2 days, some of the local kids were using jet skis. Pays to pay attention.
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Quoting Cotillion:


Subtropical.

Then they need to name this Sub-Tropical Storm Nicole already and issue TS warnings and Flash Flood warnings :O)!
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This is what it was like here when Matthew passed a couple days ago.

This photo was a real crowd pleaser. This is the Chief of Police with his speed boat.

Sorry Fidi.



More photos of Matthew at www.utilaeastwind.com
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Quoting Bordonaro:

What does the "ST" stand for????


Subtropical.
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2783. ssmate
Quoting IceSlater:


What is a prediction if you wait until it happens?
I'm predicting the Bears will beat the Packers on Monday Night Football.
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Well, I have to head off now but will check in later. It will be very interesting to see what the HH finds out there.
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Thanks kman. I thought I remembered something like that.
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2779. afj3
Quoting 7544:
the big red ball is drifting north ?

Not sure anybody knows where it's going...hence the delay on postings in here...
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Quoting afj3:
CMC shows a nasty second storm....
http://moe.met.fsu.edu/cgi-bin/cmctc2.cgi?time=2010092800&field=Sea+Level+Pressure&hour=Animation


Holy Guacamole!!!
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Quoting SevereWeather:
28/1145 UTC 21.0N 82.8W ST1.5 96L -- Atlantic

What does the "ST" stand for????
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Quoting Kristina40:
kman, didn't one of the models have a system split in two at one point. I seem to remember someone laughing about it at the time but don't remember which model. Maybe someone else remembers.


The GFS had two systems coming from the NW Caribbean in rapid succession
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2774. 7544
the big red ball is drifting north ?
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Quoting kmanhurricaneman:
where exactly are you? thats all ocean! are u on a ship?


am on the island Utila off the north coast of Honduras.

Too small for the sat. maps
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kman, didn't one of the models have a system split in two at one point. I seem to remember someone laughing about it at the time but don't remember which model. Maybe someone else remembers.
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Updated my blog:

Link
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Quoting kmanislander:


The one near 20 / 82 is the stronger of the two for now but it is also closest to the front that is dropping down near the Yucatan channel and may be feeling some shear later today. It could get sheared out leaving the low to the SW to take over or it could get pulled up and out also leaving the second low behind to set up another system.

It's quite a complicated set up out there right now because the low to the SW is further removed from the digging front and may a better chance of wrapping up the convection. If a TD does form from the dominant low it will likely be lopsided with most of the deep convection off to the East side of the circulation.

Here is the shear tendency map. You can see how shear has been building immediately to the West of the dominant low from the digging front. At the same time the other low is sitting in a pocket of very low shear.



Good info, thanks. This could also explain some of the models showing two consecutive systems coming north I guess
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From local weatherman: 80% that tropical storm Nicole is forming. Current satellite image for Invest 96. Near Tropical Storm force winds are already being reported. http://fb.me/ACM3toV
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Current "Plan of the Day"
000
NOUS42 KNHC 271630
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1230 PM EDT MON 27 SEPTEMBER 2010
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 28/1100Z TO 29/1100Z SEPTEMBER 2010
TCPOD NUMBER.....10-118

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. SUSPECT SYSTEM (NORTHWEST CARIBBEAN)
FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 70
A. 28/1800Z
B. AFXXX 01GGA INVEST
C. 28/1530Z
D. 20.0N 85.0W
E. 28/1700Z TO 28/2300Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

FLIGHT TWO -- TEAL 71
A. 29/0600,1200Z
B. AFXXX 0216A CYCLONE
C. 29/0315Z
D. 21.5N 84.5W
E. 29/0500Z TO 29/1200Z
F. SFC TO 15,000 FT

2. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK:
BEGIN 3-HRLY FIXES AT 29/1500Z IF SYSTEM DEVELOPS.

3. TASKING FOR AF AND G-IV MISSIONS AT 28/1800Z, 29/06
AND 1200Z WERE CANX BY NHC AT 1115Z.

3. REMARK: THE NSF/NCAR G-V WILL FLY A 7 HR RESEARCH
MISSION INTO AND AROUND THE SUSPECT AREA BETWEEEN
41,000 AND 43,000 FT WITH TAKEOFF AT 28/1200Z.

II. PACIFIC REQUIREMENTS
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY.....NEGATIVE.
WVW
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Quoting BLee2333:


Pressure (MSLP): 1001 mb (29.56 inHg | 1001 hPa)

Thanks, and 96L is a closed Low and I believe the NWS should name it TS Nicole.

This system is going to be a huge rainmaker, you have a system which dropped 10" on the Cayman Islands yesterday, add a trough and the barclinic lift, we have a huge flood making storm.
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2766. primez
So the models might be taking this blob to the mid-atlantic and new england. just lovely, more rain.

I'm not worried about it developing, but I am disappointed by the lack of sunshine for the next week and maybe even longer. :/
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Quoting cat5hurricane:

Which one are you thinking will become the primary low & future TS?


See my post 2756
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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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