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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Quoting leo305:
pressure down to 1000mb for 96L
Where did you get that info from ?
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1912. leo305
pressure down to 1000mb for 96L
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The heart of the 850mb vorticity--while still elongated NE to SW--has relocated itself to the north this evening, roughly centered over the Peninsula de Zapata and the Gulf of Batabano. Long-range radar out of Key West shows a slightly-rotating batch of convection in that same area.

Click for larger image:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image


Interesting, anyway...
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Quoting pilotguy1:
I think we the sane people here are deciding that we have to wait until morning if not later to see what develops. The situation just is too confusing to come up with a track or intensification.


The track is pretty well established it's what's going to come up that is the issue. I've seen to many of storms blow up in an instant to let any guard down. Shear (CIMMS) is in the low (0-10kts) range over the COC and decreasing in the area and the heat potential is off the charts. The only inhibiting factor I see at the moment is it's size. 18Z HWRF is showing 984mb (Strong Cat 1) coming up the peninsula.
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Quoting Herbertsbox:
Okay, I'll try one ore time. As someone who can not spend an inordinate amount of time on here, and who also must consider the current tropical activity in the WC regarding future plans (week out) what's the general concerns right now regarding the most immediate threat...96L. Other observations are welcome regarding other potential systems also.

TIA


Well from my point of view, I am in Jupiter and am only a little worried about more rain than normal. Take it for what its worth.
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1907. BDADUDE
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
It does get hot but the mosquitoes are not anywhere near as bad as they were in the 70's. It gets in the mid 90's but not usually any hotter than that.
Cool. We have a few companies there and when techs go down there from here they complain about the heat and mosquitos.
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Iffff nothing Tropical hits Cuba... we are going for two weeks in January :)
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Quoting weaverwxman:
i say just go to buford and ull b fine


Buford GA?!?!
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


NHC floater has a 1003mb low for a bit now.
I got the pressure from a site right on the island on the eastern end.
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Quoting oleClegs:





I dont care who you are this is some funny weather chatin!


yeah then you are in tennetuckylinainia! which if you are familiar with the area! is one big cluster of DA's
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Quoting Grothar:


No, it was just a send-up on the video that Orca posted, I am quite familiar with you Islands.
Have you ever been here ? They are beautiful islands with fantastic diving.
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Quoting Orcasystems:

I was going to post.... I had to stop myself.. go look at #79 in the comments section of my blog.

96L might actually do something... and I don't want to spend 24 in the dog house.


LOL!! Love it!

To keep the weather in, the temps are dropping like crazy here, down to 66 degrees already.
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Okay, I'll try one ore time. As someone who can not spend an inordinate amount of time on here, and who also must consider the current tropical activity in the WC regarding future plans (week out) what's the general concerns right now regarding the most immediate threat...96L. Other observations are welcome regarding other potential systems also.

TIA
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Evening all,

Its been so rainy here today in NC, from good ol' stalled front.

I see we have 96L, and its rumored to possibly become Nicole. Where are the computer model runs on Nicole/96L on www.wunderground.com/tropical?!

Where do models take 96L. What's the worst case scenario, I am traveling this week from NC to Boston by plane. I want to know if this'll go up the east coast.
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
See post #1829. Kman seems to think there is a surface circulation now which would mean it is organizing imo.


NHC floater has a 1003mb low for a bit now.
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1895. Grothar
Quoting kmanislander:


No, not at all. There are three islands that make up the Cayman Islands. Grand Cayman has a town named East End and Cayman Brac, one of the sister islands, has a town named West End.

T


No, it was just a send-up on the video that Orca posted, I am quite familiar with your Islands.
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Quoting BDADUDE:
Isnt the caymans a very hot place with a huge infestation of mosquitos?
It does get hot but the mosquitoes are not anywhere near as bad as they were in the 70's. It gets in the mid 90's but not usually any hotter than that.
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Quoting kmanislander:


Actually, there is a town named North Side which is located on, you guessed it, the North side of Grand Cayman.
The old timers really had a lot of imagination when it came to naming the towns. What about West Bay on the west end of Grand Cayman.
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Quoting weatherbro:


Highly doubt the second storm will make landfall in Florida(because of strong front behind Nicole). I think Otto will take a more Cuba/Bahama OTS track.


My goodness... why would you make such a statement when the storm hasn't even formed? Geez
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1890. BDADUDE
Quoting kmanislander:


Yes, that is where I live on the SW corner of the island. Pressure here now is 1004.7. There is actually a town named East End on, you guessed it, the Eastern end of the island which is where I grew up. There is no "West End" by name on Grand Cayman.

On Grand Cayman the capitol of George Town is located on the Western end of the island.

Will check in a little later.
Isnt the caymans a very hot place with a huge infestation of mosquitos?
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Quoting aislinnpaps:


ROFL, this was good!

I was going to post.... I had to stop myself.. go look at #79 in the comments section of my blog.

96L might actually do something... and I don't want to spend 24 in the dog house.
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


Surely organizing tonight. I thought the shear would remain a little higher over the COC, almost down to NIL according to CIMMS.
Is this system continues to move east will pull something similar to Lenny 1999 but in a higher latitude... hope not, Haiti,D.Republic and Puerto Rico are already soaked.
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Quoting IceSlater:


That would be correct, a week from now.

GFS has been dead on with this upcoming rain event.


Highly doubt the second storm will make landfall in Florida(because of strong front behind Nicole). I think Otto will take a more Cuba/Bahama OTS track.
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BFN

LOL
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Quoting CaptnDan142:


After seeing that video, I was so afraid you were going to tell us it was on the north side...


Actually, there is a town named North Side which is located on, you guessed it, the North side of Grand Cayman.
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Quoting breald:


OMG...This is funny. Bless her heart.


ROFL, this was good!
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Quoting Grothar:


Are you trying to confuse me?


No, not at all. There are three islands that make up the Cayman Islands. Grand Cayman has a town named East End and Cayman Brac, one of the sister islands, has a town named West End.

T
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Quoting kmanislander:


Yes, that is where I live on the SW corner of the island. ~snip~


After seeing that video, I was so afraid you were going to tell us it was on the north side...
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Quoting goldenpixie1:


So the West End is northeast of Grand Cayman?


The West End of Cayman Brac is to the NE of Grand Cayman.
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1878. Grothar
Quoting kmanislander:


Yes, that is where I live on the SW corner of the island. Pressure here now is 1004.7. There is actually a town named East End on, you guessed it, the Eastern end of the island which is where I grew up. There is no "West End" by name on Grand Cayman.

On Grand Cayman the capitol of George Town is located on the Western end of the island.

Will check in a little later.


Are you trying to confuse me?
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Quoting OneDrop:
Fro the children??? I just spit rum and coke through my nose reading that. Maybe the funniest comment ever!!


I'm giving you a DWB (Drinking while blogging) ticket. That is a crime in this community and will not be tolerated! Lol
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Quoting kmanislander:


No, NE by about 70 miles right on 80 W


So the West End is northeast of Grand Cayman?
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Out for now
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Winds are now NE at Yucatan bouy after being SE all day. Possible surface low forming?
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Quoting goldenpixie1:


But isn't Cayman Brac NW of Grand Cayman?


No, NE by about 70 miles right on 80 W
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


Surely organizing tonight. I thought the shear would remain a little higher over the COC, almost down to NIL according to CIMMS.
See post #1829. Kman seems to think there is a surface circulation now which would mean it is organizing imo.
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Oh yeah but not Grand Cayman. LOL West End, Cayman Brac.


But isn't Cayman Brac NW of Grand Cayman?
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Quoting sebastianflorida:
The Ridge Got Pumped by a drunken Dean back in the 1940's Aye


Quoting CaptnDan142:


No no no.... East Alabama is Georgia.
Unless you go too far North.




I dont care who you are this is some funny weather chatin!
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Quoting Grothar:


Do you have a West End, too?


Yes, that is where I live on the SW corner of the island. Pressure here now is 1004.7. There is actually a town named East End on, you guessed it, the Eastern end of the island which is where I grew up. There is no "West End" by name on Grand Cayman.

On Grand Cayman the capitol of George Town is located on the Western end of the island.

Will check in a little later.
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
For some reason it won't post but currently winds S at 28 mph gusts of 31 mph. Pressure is 1004 mb and raining.


Surely organizing tonight. I thought the shear would remain a little higher over the COC, almost down to NIL according to CIMMS.
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Quoting anyotherliestotell:
that's why i never go north of martin county. the IQ level drops rapidly after that point . . . not that it's all that high below that point.
OH the humanity. LOL
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Quoting KanKunKid:


I don't think you're giving "the public" enough credit for having the discretion to know which comments to take serious.


It depends where you're talking about, really. Some places, like Louisiana's Lower Parishes for example. Lots of long-term established families for generations, most of the people there are experienced with these storms having grown up there. Contrast that with parts of Florida, where practically everybody grew up somewhere else, many may be new to the area.

Either way though, apathy is easily induced if the warning is given too many times without something happening.

Where I live, there are people who have lived here all their lives, and are old enough to (legally) buy alcohol. But they have never been through a hurricane. (Nearest salty water from my front door - couple of miles)
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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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