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 melwerle:


The marine layer is A BEAUTIFUL THING.


Well...it does a lot of good to keep things moderated, but it used to get very old to me after awhile. I grew up in Orange County, and also lived in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Ojai; it could be 100+ in Ojai, but 55 at the Ventura pier, a mere 15-minute car drive away. That was nice. But those all-day, everyday ML--aka "June Gloom"--events in Santa Barbara could be downright depressing.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13549
1514. txngeo
Quoting melwerle:
Hey Txn...this is for you...

AA6QN - Granite Hills, El Cajon, California (PWS)
Updated: 7 min 23 sec ago
108.5 °F
Partly Cloudy
Humidity: 100%
Dew Point: 108 °F
Wind: Calm

Wind Gust: 5.0 mph
Pressure: 29.18 in (Falling)
Heat Index: 265 °F
Visibility: 25.0 miles
UV: 6 out of 16
Pollen: 5.60 out of 12
Pollen Forecast new!
Clouds: Few 7000 ft
(Above Ground Level)



Thanks! Can you send some rolled tacos too? :)
One of the few times that I can actually say the weather is better here in Houston than back home! Although it really is a dry heat out there ;)
Member Since: September 19, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12
Hope the 18Z HWRF is not a blind squirrel and gets one right from the get-go.


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TropicalAnalystwx13
I can't tell since the long/lats are missing...where is the bottom image located (you labeled 97?). Thanks.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 13
Pressure's low, but very little wind near
96L.

Station 42056
NDBC
Location: 19.874N 85.059W
Conditions as of:
Mon, 27 Sep 2010 21:50:00 UTC

Winds: ESE (120°) at 5.8 kt gusting to 5.8 kt
Significant Wave Height: 3.6 ft
Dominant Wave Period: 7 sec
Mean Wave Direction: SE (135°)
Atmospheric Pressure: 29.65 in and falling
Air Temperature: 83.5 F
Dew Point: 76.5 F
Water Temperature: 85.5 F
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Latest thoughts from the TPC.


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Quoting TampaSpin:


Missed one....or actully you could include that in the first graphic.....but, ex-Matthew will become a player later again.

Will future 97L be the one that forms in the wake of potential Nicole?
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So kman and storm you guys ever feel like sitting ducks?
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Time for Baseball....you all have a good evening. Go RAYS
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443

Quoting Hurricanes101:


What about Isabel?

Not really a big deal in the NE. More of a mid-Atlantic storm.


Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15920
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
AREAS OF CONCERN OVER THE NEXT 72 HOURS:

Invest 96L;


Ex-Julia:


Tropical Disturbance (97L?):


Missed one....or actully you could include that in the first graphic.....but, ex-Matthew will become a player later again.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
New steering maps out, not much change, except a little more erosion of the High over N FL/S GA

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In Eastern North Carolina (Where I used to live), they've picked up up to 8 inches of rain.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32255
Quoting TropicalTony:
This thing will only be a rain event not a tropical storm or a Hurricane.


Last I checked a tropical storm is a rain event, saying this can only be a rain event does not omit the chances of it being a named storm
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7816
Quoting Stormchaser2007:

The last big system they had up there was Floyd which was only a tropical storm at the time. Did some really unexpected damage in parts of the NE. Especially NJ, NY, and CT. So that's the image most have burned into their head when a TS is mentioned on the news.

Not too often that they see a tropical system. The ones that do come up there are usually pretty bad.

Appreciate you and I being able to have this discussion. Very rare to see on the blog lately.


What about Isabel?
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7816
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

no its drifting sswest ward



Thank You very much for the response keeper!
Member Since: September 24, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 119
Dinner time.

The smell of gumbo can make ya hungry real quick.

Ciao for now
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15920
AREAS OF CONCERN OVER THE NEXT 72 HOURS:

Invest 96L/Ex-TS Matthew


Ex-Julia:


Tropical Disturbance (97L?):
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32255
1491. dader
Quoting tacoman:
fla will get nothing from this except a little rain the bahamas will get the brunt whatever forms if anything..


That makes very little sense.
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1489. nash28
Quoting TropicalTony:
This thing will only be a rain event not a tropical storm or a Hurricane.


Have to politely disagree with you on that one. While I do not believe "Nicole" will be very strong in terms of winds, this will most likely be at least a TS. Will not speculate how much stronger than that it may get because predicting intensity is very difficult. It should move over the gulf stream, but we also have to look at the dry air in the atmosphere it may encounter. Shear it may encounter with the push from the front, etc...
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That's crazy, Nash. You need to wave the rain in another direction - like to SSIguy. Or bust out the life raft or waterwings...
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Quoting stormpetrol:

Not even raining at least on the SW side of the Island, got a feeling this slow mover could spell Trouble!!!


Exactly. My station now has 1004.4 and still falling. Not a good sign.
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


Fair enough, I would think that most in the Mid-Atlantic do know the difference between a Tropical Storm and Hurricane though
The last big system they had up there was Floyd which was only a tropical storm at the time. Did some really unexpected damage in parts of the NE. Especially NJ, NY, and CT. So that's the image most have burned into their head when a TS is mentioned on the news.

Not too often that they see a tropical system. The ones that do come up there are usually pretty bad.

Appreciate you and I being able to have this discussion. Very rare to see on the blog lately.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15920
Hey Txn...this is for you...

AA6QN - Granite Hills, El Cajon, California (PWS)
Updated: 7 min 23 sec ago
108.5 °F
Partly Cloudy
Humidity: 100%
Dew Point: 108 °F
Wind: Calm

Wind Gust: 5.0 mph
Pressure: 29.18 in (Falling)
Heat Index: 265 °F
Visibility: 25.0 miles
UV: 6 out of 16
Pollen: 5.60 out of 12
Pollen Forecast new!
Clouds: Few 7000 ft
(Above Ground Level)

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1482. nash28
Doing well Mel.. Very busy at work. Keeping an eye on our new Invest. We do not need a 4-6" rain event later this week with the three or so inches of rain we have already received in two days with another inch or so expected tonight..
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Good evening

It's the strangest thing but the weather here is beautiful, the sun is just setting and the surface pressure is 1004.4 mbs and falling !

Something coming this way I guess.
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1480. flsky
Quoting Hurricanes101:


these same dynamic models said this system was going to hit the panhandle/big bend area just 3 days ago; they have shifted south and east.

now the BAMM suite comes out with their first tracks after this in tagged an invest and are even further south and east

Just saying there is a trend there and the dynamic models can be way off sometimes; when those models have 20 different tracks on 20 different runs; 1 is bound to be right, to not point out the other 99 is irresponsible in my book.

Could it be that they adjust their tracks when they see the actual weather adjusting? hmmmm
Member Since: October 24, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2005
This thing will only be a rain event not a tropical storm or a Hurricane.
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1478. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting CajunTexan:
Is the disturbance in the BOC of any concern right now?

no its drifting sswest ward
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El Cajon isn't much better, TX.

Nash - doing well but I really wish the marine layer would come back.

Folks out here are never happy...when the marine layer was keeping things chilly, people were complaining they couldn't hang at the beach and it was too cold. Now it's a zillion degrees and people are melting on the sidewalks and complaining about that too. Not sure but tonight may end up being a "go to the beach and eat sandwiches for dinner" night.

How you doing Nash? Long time, no see!
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Is the disturbance in the BOC of any concern right now?
Member Since: September 24, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 119
1473. nash28
Melwerle!!!

Long time no see!! How are you?
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1472. bjdsrq
18Z GFS is still computing, but the first 138 hours are done, and that's all that matters. It calls for 96L to move through the Bahamas and then hit NC coast as a cat1 storm in 3 days.
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StSimon...I know...it's miserable out. That is even hotter than here although I'm wondering - at what temperature does it just not matter how hot it is...
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I know what you mean H101... I'm simply saying verifications are factual, and those data aren't lying. The more reliable models are those which have less avg. track error. I understand anomalies and extremes, etc.. I would also like to note a potential uncertainty in both of our cases: the fact that this is simply a broad area of low pressure and is hardly an invest. Models tend to "imagine" potential rather than forecast with accuracy with such systems. In any case.. I've got to get going. Have a good night everyone.
Member Since: April 20, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 1482
1467. txngeo
Quoting melwerle:


Santee SUCKS. It's this little down that is in a valley and completely socked in by mountains. I lived there for a bit and MAN does it get hot.

LOL! I lived in The Cajon Zone for a while. Know exactly what you mean! Can't even get a breeze down in that valley.
Member Since: September 19, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12
Quoting stormpetrol:
Pressure in Grand Cayman 1004 mb, What's up with that?

Not even raining at least on the SW side of the Island, got a feeling this slow mover could spell Trouble!!!
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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.