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 cat5hurricane:

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


See my post 2756
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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 have 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.



I agree.
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Whats left of Julia is hitting Bermuda..
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Quoting IceSlater:


What is a prediction if you wait until it happens?


So what are they suppose to say? That we have a Tropical Storm coming when we currently don't. They are stating an 80% of better development. I don't get what you want them to say.....
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What time will we know what the Hurricane Hunters found?
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2760. afj3
Quoting nash28:


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

HWRF does bring the center over SE Florida. That's correct...
Member Since: June 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 349
Quoting Bordonaro:
The NHC named Bonnie, Fiona, Gaston & Hermine as Tropical Storms this year. Bonnie looked awful, meanwhile this 96L has a central pressure of 1002 MB and id producing much more tropical storm force winds and rain than Bonnie did and it's still NOT a TD??


Pressure (MSLP): 1001 mb (29.56 inHg | 1001 hPa)
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Quoting kwgirl:
I think the NHC has a pretty good handle on this. It will be a very wet and windy rain storm. Once off the east coast of Fl. may very well develop except for the front that has stalled and may provide some shear. Depends on how fast it moves and whether it moves over the mountains of Cuba. I love where Cuba is in relation to the Keys. It seems to provide some protection from hurricanes by virtue of its terrain.


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.
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Satellite images of 96L (Nicole) and the remnant low of Julia
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Quoting barotropic:


Which one do you think will be the dominant one as time goes on today KMan?


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 have 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.

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2755. nash28
Quoting afj3:
Models are shifting to the right. Looks like Hurricanes101 was right after all....


Actually, the HWRF came left on the 06z. GFDL remained basically unchanged.
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2754. 7544
sub tropical might not be out of the question hmmm
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2753. kwgirl
Quoting floridays:
I live near Homestead Fl and am totally surprised that there is no talk on local stations about this system becoming a tropical storm. The keys are very vulnerable to these storms. This could be one of those that sneaks up on us.
I think the NHC has a pretty good handle on this. It will be a very wet and windy rain storm. Once off the east coast of Fl. may very well develop except for the front that has stalled and may provide some shear. Depends on how fast it moves and whether it moves over the mountains of Cuba. I love where Cuba is in relation to the Keys. It seems to provide some protection from hurricanes by virtue of its terrain.
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Quoting newportrinative:


What else can they say? They are going by the NHC forecast. They can't predict something that hasn't happened yet.


What is a prediction if you wait until it happens?
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Quoting afj3:
Models are shifting to the right. Looks like Hurricanes101 was right after all....


They changed the models to the Low southwest of Cuba.

That's why the models have changed.
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2315
Quoting newportrinative:


What else can they say? They are going by the NHC forecast. They can't predict something that hasn't happened yet.
As it currently stands, it's going to be rain event for us. If it looks like it's going to change, they will advise. We have time to get ready if this system blows up. I have no worries.


It's called an opinion.

I have no worries, either. But you and I are here on a weather blog (at least most of the time). 99.9% of the people are not. They will all be stunned.
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oh someone above ask about putting up shutters for a TS... back when we had to put up plywood shutters and they took 2 strong people and hours to do and it... we never put up those shutters for TS and sometimes not even for weak Cat1...

but now I have according shutters, if we have a strong TS I may shut a few of them over large windows or windows that could get a tree branch thur them...just because it would be silly not to use them..they are easy to shut..

But remember Wilma was only suppose to have given us Cat 1 winds as it came across the state for us from the back door....and lucky at the last minute many neighbors went out and started putting up shutters.

I was here so I knew it was going to be tough and fainlly talked hubby to put up some shutters on our windows and so glad he did.. Wilma ended up be a major big wind event for us..
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28/1145 UTC 21.0N 82.8W ST1.5 96L still a ways to go
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2746. afj3
Models are shifting to the right. Looks like Hurricanes101 was right after all....
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2745. nativ
It is looking more and more likely that we will have a second storm and that it will most likely be better organized as this first storm will pull out all the extra energy and allow the second to consolidate easier! imo
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28/1145 UTC 21.0N 82.8W ST1.5 96L -- Atlantic
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Quoting IceSlater:


Saying "possibility for development" in S. Florida means nothing to the majority of people here.

Look, hopefully the relaxed mood on this pans out!

If it doesn't, though, they will all be getting ripped for not stating what they see in the models, etc.


What else can they say? They are going by the NHC forecast. They can't predict something that hasn't happened yet.
As it currently stands, it's going to be rain event for us. If it looks like it's going to change, they will advise. We have time to get ready if this system blows up. I have no worries.
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Latest thoughts from TPC 48hrs. That's 997mb and a high end Tropical Storm.

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Quoting FSUstormnut:
looks like the low and the tracks shifted east and may not directly hit FL.


Looking at the Sat images, it seems like the system is moving more E than NE. May skip on by.
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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.
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Quoting kmanislander:


More evidence of twin lows



Which one do you think will be the dominant one as time goes on today KMan?
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Be interesting if, once this passes land in not much of a state with any luck, it surpasses Force 12 as a subtropical system in the open Atlantic.

(Should state that it won't happen. Just be interesting if it occurred).
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
Quoting RMM34667:
What I don't get is that if this front is now south of us, why is it still raining with 98% Humidity?

Hudson, FL (34667)
76.1 °F
Mostly Cloudy
Humidity: 98%
Dew Point: 76 °F
Wind: 0.0 mphfrom the North

Wind Gust: 0.0 mph
Pressure: 29.69 in(Rising)
Heat Index: 75 °F

It has stalled over you...but reinforcement is coming..but then Nicole will push that back NW a bit...
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I can see perhaps two centers
85w/19n and 83w/20.5n (being the more dominate)
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Quoting weatherwart:

Morning, kman!
Dueling vortices. (I hear banjo music.) It will be really interesting to see what the HH come back with.


More evidence of twin lows

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Quoting KeysieLife:
Morning peeps!

Local weather stating a flood watch starting at 4pm today, expecting 6"-12" of rain! With an 80% chance I'm not sure why no one has stated that we MAY have a TS on our hands later as well.

HEAVY RAINS AND STRONG GUSTY WINDS TO TROPICAL STORM FORCE ARE EXPECTED TO AFFECT THE CAYMAN ISLANDS...JAMAICA...AND CUBA TODAY.
THESE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE LIKELY TO SPREAD OVER THE FLORIDA KEYS...SOUTHERN FLORIDA...AND THE NORTHWESTERN BAHAMAS LATER TODAY
AND WEDNESDAY. INTERESTS IN CUBA...THE CAYMAN ISLANDS...THE FLORIDA KEYS...AND THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN FLORIDA PENINSULA SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THIS SYSTEM.

Should be a fun day! =)


Wow!! 6 - 12 incches of rain? Our local mets (Ft Lauderdale) are saying 3 -5
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Quoting kmanislander:
The two competing low centers can now be seen clearly on the visible loop at 20 / 82 and 19 / 85

Link


If I had to pick one, it would be the one just south of the isle of pines.
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Quoting kmanislander:
The two competing low centers can now be seen clearly on the visible loop at 20 / 82 and 19 / 85

Link

Morning, kman!
Dueling vortices. (I hear banjo music.) It will be really interesting to see what the HH come back with.
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2730. 7544
may shoot right to ts nicole at 11am ?
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Morning peeps!

Local weather stating a flood watch starting at 4pm today, expecting 6"-12" of rain! With an 80% chance I'm not sure why no one has stated that we MAY have a TS on our hands later as well.

HEAVY RAINS AND STRONG GUSTY WINDS TO TROPICAL STORM FORCE ARE EXPECTED TO AFFECT THE CAYMAN ISLANDS...JAMAICA...AND CUBA TODAY.
THESE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE LIKELY TO SPREAD OVER THE FLORIDA KEYS...SOUTHERN FLORIDA...AND THE NORTHWESTERN BAHAMAS LATER TODAY
AND WEDNESDAY. INTERESTS IN CUBA...THE CAYMAN ISLANDS...THE FLORIDA KEYS...AND THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN FLORIDA PENINSULA SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THIS SYSTEM.

Should be a fun day! =)
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ok.. i am calling it we have TD16 as of 8AM .....by sat observation.
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The two competing low centers can now be seen clearly on the visible loop at 20 / 82 and 19 / 85

Link
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2726. OneDrop
Quoting AnneBytheSea:


No Kidding, I'm in Deerfield Beach. Should I put shutters up for Tropical Storm? No one on the news has even mentioned preparation....
Good morning. Deerfield Beach here as well. I don't think shutters are necessary unless there is some rapid development throughout the day. I'm in The Cove east of Federal hwy and I'm not even close to shutter mode. The news is just saying heavy rain and some wind so just keep an eye out for the 2pm update and then make a decision from there. I don't think it will be too bad the next couple of days and it's just a waiting game now.
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looks like the low and the tracks shifted east and may not directly hit FL.
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Quoting southbeachdude:


Let's hope this is no Irene! (Hope all is well)


I remember that storm (broward county) real well. Boy did the NHC mess that one up....LOL.
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It's gonna be a whole different story on the news if the NHC declares 96L a TD or TS later this afternoon.
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The NHC named Bonnie, Fiona, Gaston & Hermine as Tropical Storms this year. Bonnie looked awful, meanwhile this 96L has a central pressure of 1002 MB and id producing much more tropical storm force winds and rain than Bonnie did and it's still NOT a TD??
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Quoting IceSlater:
I personally believe local news in S. Florida is taking a huge risk by NOT "wishcasting" this disturbance.

Really, it's already too late because they have implanted "lots of heavy rain only" in everyone's head.



I dont think its a "huge risk" marine folks are well aware of this system down there and are ready if need be. Otherwise, looks like for inland areas heavy rains and possible TS force winds. How long does it take to bring in the lawn furniture and garbage cans?? I honestly dont believe its going to be a shutter up storm. this is all IMO of course.
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2719. srada

Good Morning Everyone!

10.33 inches of rain in wilmington yesterday and 2 inches more expected today and Wednesday and Thursday, well that depends on the track of the storm..there were 700 911 calls made yesterday due to accidents and people cars getting stuck in flooded waters..As far as future Nicole,its a wait and see situation as far as the mets for the track and intensity..right now they are calling for a low to pass through our area but all that can change
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Max Mayfield on local TV now, saying it's likely not a wind event, but huge RAIN event like "Irene". He said "Turnaround, don't drown". (Talking about driving). I better charge my portable DVD player since I'm SURE Comcast will go down.... Better tell the husband to get the generator prepared just in case. (And better buy Ritz crackers and Cheeze Wiz.)

My front yard floods with a heavy rain. A little nervous about how far up the drive it is going to come. We'll see....
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Quoting newportrinative:


I'm watching NBC and the local met is mentioning the possiblity for development. That's all she can do since it's a wait and see game at the moment.


Saying "possibility for development" in S. Florida means nothing to the majority of people here.

Look, hopefully the relaxed mood on this pans out!

If it doesn't, though, they will all be getting ripped for not stating what they see in the models, etc.
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Quoting kmanislander:


Good morning. Yeah, have to check mine as well but have the bilge pump on a trickle charger just to make sure LOL


Isn't it fun dealing with boats on days like these.

I have a dive shop on Utila and with systems like this there is no almost no sleep at night.

Looks like you will be having serious action in Cayman. Good luck!
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Quoting Jax82:
If i'm looking at this correctly I dont see a naples to canaveral 100MPH hurricane, i see a storm that may stay off the coast of florida with a lot of convection that would be east of the center. What models are showing differently?

....that position for the center seems off,based of vis sat its close to 19n,85w.....
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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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