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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1464. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
POSS T.C.F.A.
XX/INV/96L
MARK
19.11N/86.23W


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Stormchaser2007:

Well you'd be surprised by how many people out there dont even know the difference between a tropical storm and a hurricane.

All im trying to say, is that I wish he'd tone it down a bit.


Fair enough, I would think that most in the Mid-Atlantic do know the difference between a Tropical Storm and Hurricane though
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7337
Quoting will40:


you should have already been prepared.
yes i know u r correct but i never am but i will start now!!
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 207

Quoting Hurricanes101:


Panic? LOL saying a tropical storm could go up the east coast is absolutely not irresponsible at this point; this is only 3 days away from occurring; not 1-2 weeks

you are aware that the general public does not react like many on this blog do right?
Well you'd be surprised by how many people out there dont even know the difference between a tropical storm and a hurricane.

All im trying to say, is that I wish he'd tone it down a bit.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15776
Pressure in Grand Cayman 1004 mb, What's up with that?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Neapolitan:


Coastal California's very cool (but not record) summer was brought on by endless days of the marine layer hanging being both thicker and more widespread in coverage than normal. That, in turn, was brought on by a jet stream pattern that stalled, creating an almost permanent trough to park itself off of the west coast.

Just thought you might be interested...


The marine layer is A BEAUTIFUL THING.
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 1837
Quoting CybrTeddy:


Funny enough, they never quote a legitimate post of someone saying a bad hurricane will hit Florida.


That is the whole basis on what makes them trolls; they only read what they want to read; then the omit the rest and claim people are wishcasting and calling for doom.
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7337
1451. will40
10:43 PM GMT on September 27, 2010
Quoting oceanblues32:
ok should i start preparing for something of significance as I am located just south of ft lauderdale in dania beach pretty close to the beach?


you should have already been prepared.
Member Since: September 19, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 4109
1450. CaptnDan142
10:43 PM GMT on September 27, 2010
Quoting Hurricanes101:


you are aware that the general public does not react like many on this blog do right?


Very true. Thank God for small favors.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 856
1449. Seflhurricane
10:43 PM GMT on September 27, 2010
convection appears to be fireing up real good with 96L
Member Since: July 14, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2990
1448. txngeo
10:42 PM GMT on September 27, 2010
Quoting flsky:

When I lived in SoCal the Santa Ana's usually showed up in Nov


Thanks. I lived there up until 10 years ago and remember a few rare early ones. After I asked, I found this link that gives current Santa Ana status
No Santa Ana winds right now which is good because with those temps it'd be a blowtorch in places. However all this talk of SoCal weather has made me somewhat homesick and craving some rolled tacos and slurpees!
Member Since: September 19, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12
1447. Hurricanes101
10:42 PM GMT on September 27, 2010
Quoting HurricaneFCast:


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 19 that were wrong is irresponsible in my book.
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7337
1445. GeoffreyWPB
10:42 PM GMT on September 27, 2010
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10929
1444. CybrTeddy
10:42 PM GMT on September 27, 2010
Quoting nash28:


You ever have anything to add except insults and conjecture with ZERO knowledge? Waiting.....


Funny enough, they never quote a legitimate post of someone saying a bad hurricane will hit Florida.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23501
1443. Barefootontherocks
10:42 PM GMT on September 27, 2010
Quoting flsky:

Guess they really should have a State of North California and a State of South California!


Well, that has been suggested now and then. lol S and N California are very different animals. But the temp differences you see in that post are more from mountain and low inland area differences, not N and S. It can be very hot, and probably is in the valleys of northern CA in September... like, Red Bluff is 96 right now. Summers it's hotter there than Los Angeles.

This is a freaky bout of hot weather for SoCal. Amy and the rest, I feel for you!
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 150 Comments: 18274
1442. nash28
10:41 PM GMT on September 27, 2010
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:


Speak for yourself nash--we need more than 5" of rain to tie our driest year ever! We. Need. Rain!

We had 0.03" in September before yesterday. We've had 0.21 yesterday and today. Wheeeee!


You can have this one St. We have had enough from this front. A "Nicole" would not be good in terms of the water. We're saturated now.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
1441. melwerle
10:41 PM GMT on September 27, 2010
Quoting Patrap:
Today's State Extremes
State Highs:
Santee 113F
Riverside 111 F
Fullerton 111 F
Los Angeles Downtown 111 F
Corona 111 F

State Lows:
Truckee-Tahoe 32 F
South Lake Tahoe 34 F
Alturas 35 F
Big Bear City 42 F
Montague 46 F


Los Angeles, California
Add to My Favorites - Add to My Email - iCal Feed RSS Feed
Local Time: 2:32 PM PDT (


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.
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 1837
1438. PSUweathermet
10:40 PM GMT on September 27, 2010
Probably some major flooding...
Member Since: September 13, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 112
1437. HurricaneFCast
10:40 PM GMT on September 27, 2010
Tampa, I am a student that is a senior and already holds one degree which was earned at the age of 18. I'm sorry, but I must be excused as I don't have time to engage in a futile argument with an individual who is so oblivious to his own propensity to assert blatant assumptions. Good luck in your endeavors.
Member Since: April 20, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 1482
1436. melwerle
10:40 PM GMT on September 27, 2010
Quoting flsky:

When I lived in SoCal the Santa Ana's usually showed up in Nov


No Santa Ana yet. Just hotter than hell.
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 1837
1435. CybrTeddy
10:39 PM GMT on September 27, 2010
Quoting KerryInNOLA:
Quoting anyotherliestotell:
" someone said last week when everyone was predicting the "big one" . . . again . . . hitting florida, that nothing more than a weak TS at most would form with lots of rain. turns out that person was correct. who was that? oh ya, it was ME. lol. so called WU experts got it wrong as usual.""


You must really have low self esteem. To just sit there day after day and gloat because you made a prediction that finally turned out to be right. Those who were predicting something to develop includes some of the foremost forecasters in the business. Give it a rest pal, you have had your 15 minutes.




You sir, deserve a medal.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23501
1434. Hurricanes101
10:39 PM GMT on September 27, 2010
Quoting Stormchaser2007:

I don't think Im being too picky on this one. I just really wish he'd stop being so blunt with his titles and such. Saying something will happen, when there is a great amount of uncertainty is sort of un-professional.

And lastly, saying a non-tropical low will be moving up the coast is rather different than announcing that a tropical storm will be coming up the coast. The later usually tends to cause more panic.


Panic? LOL saying a tropical storm could go up the east coast is absolutely not irresponsible at this point; this is only 3 days away from occurring; not 1-2 weeks

you are aware that the general public does not react like many on this blog do right?
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7337
1433. nash28
10:39 PM GMT on September 27, 2010
Problem is we do not need anymore rain this week. We have been hammered for two days now. Nicole, or whatever this becomes will add insult to injury. And the Charleston area floods when you spit on the pavement!
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
1432. HurricaneFCast
10:38 PM GMT on September 27, 2010
Quoting Hurricanes101:


how exactly does track error from the last 16 years transfer to this system? the BAMMS could easily be closer in track then the GFS

personally I think it will be a mix of the two

Wouldn't one then argue that it is more likely for the GFS to be accurate than the BAM? I'm not the only one who takes into account these data. The NHC weighs specific models over others as well, and the BAM is not one they view favorably. The GFS is accurate, as seen in the data above, however, the ECMWF has been the most reliable and accurate model for the past few years if you were to ask those within the professional meteorological community.
Member Since: April 20, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 1482
1430. oceanblues32
10:38 PM GMT on September 27, 2010
ok should i start preparing for something of significance as I am located just south of ft lauderdale in dania beach pretty close to the beach?
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 207
1428. splash3392
10:37 PM GMT on September 27, 2010
its interesting you can probably take some of the models and match them up with some of the bloggers on this site. You know there are models that are good at direction but not intensity, and others that are good at intensity once you have a system. Bloggers on here are a lot like that.
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 643
1427. Stormchaser2007
10:37 PM GMT on September 27, 2010

Quoting Hurricanes101:


would the impact really be that much different?

I would say no, just because it would no longer be completely tropical, does not diminish its impacts

I think you are nitpicking at JBs words on this one
I don't think Im being too picky on this one. I just really wish he'd stop being so blunt with his titles and such. Saying something will happen, when there is a great amount of uncertainty is sort of un-professional.

And lastly, saying a non-tropical low will be moving up the coast is rather different than announcing that a tropical storm will be coming up the coast. The later usually tends to cause more panic.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15776
1426. nash28
10:36 PM GMT on September 27, 2010
Could be more of a SC/NC event than a FL event. FL will most definitely get heavy rains from this depending on speed but once this pops over the gulf stream that is where the intensification will most likely occur.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
1425. bjdsrq
10:36 PM GMT on September 27, 2010
Quoting StormHype:


It's probably going to disappoint a whole lot of FL wishcasters. lol


That's what I was wondering too.
Member Since: July 26, 2003 Posts: 3 Comments: 428
1423. GeoffreyWPB
10:35 PM GMT on September 27, 2010
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10929
1422. RiverSteve
10:35 PM GMT on September 27, 2010
I'm fixin to get out of here. Enjoyed it. Hope all of you have a good evening. Even those who have poofededed me.

"Stay foot loose and fancy free". Or the other way around whatever keeps you out of trouble.
Member Since: August 14, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 54
1420. Hurricanes101
10:33 PM GMT on September 27, 2010
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7337
1418. StormHype
10:32 PM GMT on September 27, 2010
Quoting bjdsrq:
That cold front has dug pretty far into the GOM bringing it's dry air along with it. It's still moving towards the SE. How is this going to affect the potential tropical situation in FL?


It's probably going to disappoint a whole lot of FL wishcasters. lol
Member Since: May 31, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1200
1416. xcool
10:32 PM GMT on September 27, 2010


Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15618
1415. bjdsrq
10:30 PM GMT on September 27, 2010
That cold front has dug pretty far into the GOM bringing it's dry air along with it. It's still moving towards the SE. How is this going to affect the potential tropical situation in FL?
Member Since: July 26, 2003 Posts: 3 Comments: 428

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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.