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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1214. Patrap
NEXRAD Radar
Jacksonville, Base Reflectivity 0.50 Degree Elevation Range 124 NMI





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http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/mobile/MIAOFFNT3.html

SYNOPSIS FOR CARIBBEAN SEA AND TROPICAL N ATLC FROM 07N TO 22N
BETWEEN 55W AND 65W
530 PM EDT MON SEP 27 2010

.SYNOPSIS...DEVELOPING LOW PRES...POSSIBLE TROPICAL CYCLONE...
EXPECTED OVER W CARIBBEAN NEAR 18N88W TONIGHT AND MOVE N ACROSS
WESTERN CUBA WED. LOW PRES NE OF AREA WITH TROUGH FROM 22N80W TO
GULF OF HONDURAS FRI. SECOND LOW PRES DEVELOP ALONG TROUGH FRI.

$$
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Quoting Seflhurricane:
hey kman how are you holding up with the heavy rain ?? 96L is really taking its sweet dear time, and a mess


You may be surprised to hear that there has been no rain to speak of on my end of the island today.
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Quoting sailingallover:
1004 means SOMETHING is forming..A big Low, a TS who knows but pressures like that mean stormy weather.

I wondered earlier in the year if at some point this year we would end up with simply some BIG low pressure systems more like a temperate L in the tropics because of all the heat. Something to big to consolidate and close enough to the mid lats to pull down a cold front. The wave that eventually formed Bonnie was almost like one but no defined cold front. With all the cooler dry air to the northwest and the fact this is almost on the tail of the front almost it might be crazy but I wonder if there is any possibility it could happen...more of a winter scenario.


I would put the possibility in there of an extratropical or subtropical cyclone by the time it were to reach the Carolinas (IF it does), possibly even IF it reaches FL, due to the front and dry air.
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1210. Patrap
NEXRAD Radar
Key West, Base Reflectivity 0.50 Degree Elevation Range 248 NMI

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Quoting kmanislander:
From North to this ??. Right on top of me as well. I am not fond of these slow movers.


How are you guys for handling lots of rain?
Member Since: September 1, 2009 Posts: 23 Comments: 1007
Everybody is saying that 96L is taking its time... Has it been an Invest for two hours yet?

Patience.... Is a virtue.
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1207. Patrap
For your Viewing Pleasure....

18z Early Cycle NHC model tracks
Invest96
Statistical/Simple Models (CLIPER,BAMs,LBAR,other Statistical Models)






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Quoting splash3392:
Looks like it could be a long 24hrs or so for you Kman! Try to stay dry!


Might be longer than 24 hrs. So far very little rain, just overcast skies and a strong South wind. Kind of nice actually but I am sure that once the rains begin the inches will add up quickly.

I just hope it doesn't become a TD sitting where it is becuase if it does there is a real chance of significant deepening in a relatively short period of time while heading in our general direction.
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Quoting ConsejoBelize:
In Consejo, Belize my barometer shows 1003 mb and we have no wind.
18.4N  88.3W. Light rain.
Low forming over you guys.. a big one..thats the L on the map :)

Member Since: September 1, 2009 Posts: 23 Comments: 1007
Complete Update


AOI
AOI AOI AOI

AOI AOI AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI

For anyone needing a good laugh... check out

Comment 67. XLR8 7:34 PM GMT on September 27, 2010

in my blog...
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
Quoting kmanislander:
From North to this ??. Right on top of me as well. I am not fond of these slow movers.

hey kman how are you holding up with the heavy rain ?? 96L is really taking its sweet dear time, and a mess
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gfs 2010092712 Forecast slp Java Animation

1, 2 Punch for florida
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
Intensity Models:

Link
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http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/comp/ceus/flash-wv.html


imo this trough may induce a very slow drift to the ene for a little while however, 96L will eventually begin a more n-ne movement as the trough moves out
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Looks like it could be a long 24hrs or so for you Kman! Try to stay dry!
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by far this is the most complicated system i have ever tracked, nobody knows anything and this system is taking its sweet dear time, and all of us in its path are a nerve wreck !!!
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Quoting FSUstormnut:
Station 42056
NDBC
Light wind.
1004mb.. falling
1004 means SOMETHING is forming..A big Low, a TS who knows but pressures like that mean stormy weather.

I wondered earlier in the year if at some point this year we would end up with simply some BIG low pressure systems more like a temperate L in the tropics because of all the heat. Something to big to consolidate and close enough to the mid lats to pull down a cold front. The wave that eventually formed Bonnie was almost like one but no defined cold front. With all the cooler dry air to the northwest and the fact this is almost on the tail of the front almost it might be crazy but I wonder if there is any possibility it could happen...more of a winter scenario.
Member Since: September 1, 2009 Posts: 23 Comments: 1007
It seems early STATISICAL models are split, can't wait for the GFS, GFDL, HWRF, ECMWF, & NOGAPS model the  more DYNAMICAL models!

Link
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Quoting rwdobson:


There is a huge difference between the two. It doesn't take much for a system that already exists to get stronger (or weaker) pretty rapidly. It takes a lot more for a system that doesn't exist yet, to organize then strengthen.


Ok then, but that does not say that it can not become a TS in 48 hours or less. For example, the HH could close off the circulation tomorrow afternoon at 5pm, and by 11pm it could become a TS. Depends on the environment. It sits in an environment that is conducive for development, and once it does, the water is warm and to a great depth, that it could ramp up pretty quickly. Do I think it will... IMHO, no. But there is that potential, albeit slight.
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From North to this ??. Right on top of me as well. I am not fond of these slow movers.

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UPDATE for anyone that is interested, tried my best to represent the situation. Hope you all enjoy!

96L our next threat 9/27/10
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24579
Quoting ecflweatherfan:


What is the difference between that and having a category 3 to category 5 in 9 hours like Special "K" 2005?


There is a huge difference between the two. It doesn't take much for a system that already exists to get stronger (or weaker) pretty rapidly. It takes a lot more for a system that doesn't exist yet, to organize then strengthen.
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apparently The Tropics discussion has come to a close. for days people have been going bonkers on a system developing now that we have 96L no one wants to talk about it ??
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I'm hoping that the knuckleheads that generally start the fires are away on vacation somewhere else. Although I'm sure they'll be out in full-force once the winds start up.
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Quoting Patrap:




Sure is a Nice Shield for the Northern GOM,,and the Coolth is a welcome relief from a torrid summer.


The deeper the system gets to our East this week,,the more the Northerly flow will continue.

So theres always a trade off in these scenarios ,good and bad.

Ill take the good dis time fo sho.


Loving this weather!
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Funnily enough the latest Caribbean surface map shows the low moving more easterly.
you saying I looked at the map? Nope just the sat loop. The movement of the front is critical. I sail boats back and forth from the Carib to the East Coast, some years spring and fall. So it is all about watching the fronts and how fast they progress and what they look like when they stall when you are looking at whats going to happen the next couple of days.. And If I did look at the map first well I'm just good like that since I'm a surface dude.
Member Since: September 1, 2009 Posts: 23 Comments: 1007
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Nothing special.



That latest fix puts it right in the middle of the bay off Chetumal. (Right on the boarder of Mexico and Belize.) You really can't expect much to develope when OVER half of the circulation is spinning over land.

There's nothing going on today. By tomorrow we should see something spin up pretty good.
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1184. Keys99
FORECAST - ALL AVAILABLE GUIDANCE CONTINUES TO INDICATE THE DEEP
TROUGH ACROSS THE EASTERN UNITED STATES WILL DRAW AT LEAST A COUPLE
OF LOW PRESSURE SYSTEMS OUT OF THE WESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA...ACROSS
THE KEYS AREA...AND INTO THE NORTHWEST ATLANTIC. THERE IS QUITE A
BIT OF VARIABILITY IN SHAPE...DISTRIBUTION OF WIND FIELD...AND SPEED
OF MOVEMENT OF THE EMERGENT BROAD LOWS. WITH THAT SAID...WINDS WILL
BECOME BREEZY WITH DEFINITE TRANSITION TOWARDS A WETTER TIME PERIOD.
WILL START WITH A HIGH CHANCE OF RAIN TONIGHT...TRANSITIONING TO
LIKELY TOMORROW THROUGH WEDNESDAY NIGHT. THERE WILL BE QUITE SOME
VARIABILITY WITH WINDS...BUT IN GENERAL...EAST TO SOUTHEAST WINDS
WILL BECOME BREEZY OVER THE NEXT 24 HOURS...THEN TRANSITIONING TO
WEST TO NORTHWEST BY THURSDAY.

THE LOW WILL LIKELY LIFT NORTH OF THE KEYS WEDNESDAY OR WEDNESDAY
NIGHT...AND WINDS WILL TRANSITION TO WEST NORTHWEST AND GRADUALLY
DECREASE. THE PRESENCE OF THE DEEP TROUGH AIDED BY THE CIRCULATION
OF THE DEPARTING LOW WILL DRIVE A WEAK COLD FRONT THROUGH THE KEYS
AREA. WHILE LITTLE IN THE WAY OF COOLER TEMPERATURE ARE
EXPECTED...DUE TO THE STILL VERY WARM GULF OF MEXICO...THERE SHOULD
BE A QUITE A BIT OF DRYING AND CLEARING. FOR NOW WILL KEEP THE
ONGOING MID CHANCE OF POPS ALREADY IN PLACE BEGINNING THURSDAY.
THEN...A STRONG HIGH PRESSURE SYSTEM WILL BUILD SOUTHEASTWARD INTO
THE EASTERN UNITED STATES...AND WINDS WILL VEER TO NORTHEAST AND
FRESHEN.
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1183. NRAamy
Touché, TampaTom....

;)
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Hey drak if you are on whats your personal take on 96L
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In Consejo, Belize my barometer shows 1003 mb and we have no wind.
18.4N  88.3W. Light rain.
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1179. NRAamy
Mel....that's awful!!!

This heat is unreal....especially since we are not having the Santa Ana winds at the same time...which is good....I see many fires in our future...

:(
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1178. XLR8
We don't need anything but rain here in Mississippi. Thank You
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1177. angiest
Quoting charlottefl:


I was gonna say most of the time it's like 140-150 in mine. Never buy a dark colored vehicle.


Doesn't matter, mine are tan and silver and still get plenty hot.
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Quoting TampaSpin:
So many on here think that a system that is not even close to becoming a TD can organize travel across Cuba and become a Tropical Storm all in 2 days.......ROFLMAO


What is the difference between that and having a category 3 to category 5 in 9 hours like Special "K" 2005?
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The one thing for sure is there is no escaping from the rains starting on Wednesday for those of us in Florida.
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Nothing special.

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1172. XLR8
Hush your mouth :(


Quoting TampaSpin:
I'm afraid Florida Wishcaster will be disappointed about 96L....NOw the thing that may follow behind 96L ......ex. Matthew could be a Stinker near the Mississippi/Louisiana line.


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Quoting angiest:


Geez, I would love for it to be only 116 in the car most days in the summer.


I was gonna say most of the time it's like 140-150 in mine. Never buy a dark colored vehicle.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


A destructive 10 knots right over the system!

Nah, your right, there is a band of 40 knot shear just in front of it, but I suspect given the stationary movement that the shear could be a lot lower. But the models are showing actually a stronger system than some might expect, 996 mb which translates to about 989 or so (yes I know, the models are junk) in a short time frame too. So, its just a wait and see.

wait I SEE 5! opps way farther east..
yes well dry air and shear should keep it under control to some degree.. otherwise the models would be intensifying it more..
But hopefully some of that energy Will move north and get out of there because that TRough and front won't stick around forever althoug deep upper level troughs like that can be very persistent.
Member Since: September 1, 2009 Posts: 23 Comments: 1007
So many on here think that a system that is not even close to becoming a TD can organize travel across Cuba and become a Tropical Storm all in 2 days.......ROFLMAO
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Quoting sailingallover:
Actually I am thinking the same thing possibly..
The Front/Trough is really strong and has pushed well south. Although the Sat loops show it moving more northwards now it still has an Easterly component. Although at this point it's not looking likely if it pushes through FL. The first batch of storm(whatever it is) could go east and just graze SE FL.
And the upper level winds are Westerly..so a stronger storm would go even more east.
The models have been "evolving" a lot so I would not discount this idea so fast.
Funnily enough the latest Caribbean surface map shows the low moving more easterly.
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1167. angiest
Quoting melwerle:
NRA - it was 116 degrees in my car when I get out of school today. I thought I was going to fall over.


Geez, I would love for it to be only 116 in the car most days in the summer.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Starting to see deeper convection firing off over the low pressure center. Nothing truly organized yet, but its a start.



Yeah there is a broad circulation between mexico and the cayman's, I think its funny that the local mets were pointing to the batch of convection way over by jamaica... They have really been off lately, the rain chance forecasts, and temp forecasts have all been terrible the last few days. Central Florida mets are being lazy lately or something lol. Jk, we all make mistakes, its part of being human, even the most knowledgeable of meteorologists can make bad assessments and forecasts sometimes.
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NRA - it was 116 degrees in my car when I get out of school today. I thought I was going to fall over.
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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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