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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ouch!


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Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114653
Here's a few wind reports from the NHC Charley report:

Arcadia EOC 13/2130 975.7 13/2140 90
Charlotte County Airport 13/2035 139
Charlotte County Medical Center 13/2035 150
Port Charlotte 13/2000 61
Storm Chaser Mark Sudduth, near Port Charlotte (27.0°N 82.0°W) 13/2057 943.6 13/2046 80 115

NASA Wind Tower 421 (28.78°N 80.8°W) 14/0250 56 75
NASA Wind Tower 22 (28.8°N 80.8°W) 14/0250 53 75
Daytona Beach International Airport Wind Shear 14/0325 84

All are in knots (multiply by 1.15 to get mph)
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Quoting Twinkster:



based on what the BAMs. what you just said is completely wrong. Every single relaible dynamic model brings it into florida and you say based on the BAMs that this will likely not even effect florida. please explain to me your thinking

What's kind of ironic is that GFS & ECMWF models were showing this system stalling over the NW caribbean & not affecting FL. until the weekend. And now trough is moving through the state...hmm wondering if it will even pick it up at all now?
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Quoting Twinkster:



based on what the BAMs. what you just said is completely wrong. Every single relaible dynamic model brings it into florida and you say based on the BAMs that this will likely not even effect florida. please explain to me your thinking


expected movement is ENE, models have been trending stronger which also in this kind of scenariou means further east. That is the trend I am seeing and would not be surprised if this were to hit Cuba and the Bahamas and miss Florida alltogether

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Quoting reedzone:
I think their first position was more accurate, you can clearly see the circulation on the IR around 20N and 85W.


The problem is... yes, there is a swirl of clouds there, but at what level is that swirl occurring (mid or low). Obs out of Cancun and Cozumel do not indicate a NE or N wind, but rather have been SE/E. The lowest pressure was farther SW. I think that is giving us the estimate of the lowest pressure
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This is from ImpactWeather:
Our Forecast
Model guidance continues to indicate some development from the broad low pressure area over the northwestern Caribbean Sea. Once a well defined center forms, we think it will track northward across Cuba, then north-northeast across the southern Florida Peninsula. By the end of the week it should be merging with a cold front just east of the Carolinas. It could become a tropical storm by the time it reaches southern Florida on Wednesday afternoon. The steering flow will not allow this system to get into the central or western Gulf. Our confidence in the track forecast is about average.
Broad areas of low pressure can be slow to consolidate. Furthermore, land interaction, the entanglement with the approaching cold front and the limited window for development make the forecast intensity tricky. We think that there is a fair chance that it will be a low to moderate strength tropical storm by the time it reaches southern Florida on Wednesday afternoon. After crossing Florida, it could strengthen some as it starts to become entangled with the cold front. By Thursday night or Friday, it should merge with the front.
Locally heavy rain is expected to continue for at least the next couple of days across the northwestern Caribbean. About 4-6 inches of rain with isolated totals to 8 inches are possible over the next 48 hours in the Cayman Islands. Flooding is likely and mudslides are possible in areas with high terrain. The combination of the front and the tropical moisture from this system will bring heavy rain across the Florida Peninsula beginning tomorrow. From Tuesday through Thursday, 5-7 inches of rain with isolated totals to 10 inches are possible across South Florida. Central Florida could see 4-6 inches with isolated totals to 8 inches. Coastal areas of the Carolinas could see 3-5 inches of rain from Wednesday through Thursday, in addition to the totals from today's frontal passage.
Development Potential
We think the chances of Disturbance 55 becoming a tropical storm over the next 48 hours are around 40 percent. We do not expect this system to become a hurricane over the next 48 hours. It has a low chance of becoming a hurricane, around 10 percent, beyond 48 hours.
Our next update will be issued by 10PM CDT.
Meteorologists: Jim Palmer/Steve Lizon
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Quoting Jeff9641:
Up to 94 now just north of Orlando. The stage is set for severe wx as both east and west coast seabreazes collide with an outflow boundry moving down from north FL. Could be a very dangerous evening across the Winter Haven to the Daytona Beach area.



I agree, this type of setup usually means severe weather on the east side of Florida.

The pattern today and tomorrow, as well as the developing low pressure system are all being down played if you ask me.
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 7230
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
NHC relocated AL96


AL 96 2010092718 BEST 0 184N 880W 25 1003 DB




Don't like where most of the models are headed :(, it gloomy enough here in Grand Cayman today
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1104. unf97
Just a quick mention on ex-Julia still spinning in the Central Atlantic. It appears that convection is once again re-firing around the circulation. This system is trying hard to regenerate it seems as it heads in the general direction of Bermuda.
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Weekly ENSO Update

Summary
•La Niña is present across the equatorial Pacific.
•Negative sea surface temperature anomalies persist across much of the Pacific Ocean.
•La Niña is expected to last at least through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2010-11.


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The area of covection at 14.8 and 88.0W is starting to give off a burst but we will have to see if it is sustained. You can clearly see using water vapor that land interaction is causing thunderstorms to erupt off of the Yucatan coastline. That in combination with the northerly shear will make this storm slowly intensify at best IMO.
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Quoting AnthonyJKenn:



Actually, IIRC, Ivan didn't really redevelop on his second run until he reached the Gulf of Mexico, then went into SE TX as a weak- to moderate TS.


Anthony
Julia is doing and Ike path displaced NE about 1500Miles.
she has been chugging back WSW all week.
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Quoting Hurricanes101:
This system may likely not even affect Florida now



based on what the BAMs. what you just said is completely wrong. Every single relaible dynamic model brings it into florida and you say based on the BAMs that this will likely not even effect florida. please explain to me your thinking
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I guess the trough is suppose to push through my area. No rain on Thurs. & Fri. However a 2nd low may form & bring rain chances back up next week. Guess this may be the pattern for a while.
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Quoting reedzone:


Daytona Beach to be exact. I got 2 hours of sustained Hurricane Force winds.

Reedzone is correct, Charlie Entered at Punta Gorda, traveled upto the Winter-Haven/Kissimmee area and then pretty much ran parallel to I-4 right through Daytona, which is were I was riding the storm out. I believe the maximum sustained winds recorded at DIA were right around 86-89MPH.
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I think their first position was more accurate, you can clearly see the circulation on the IR around 20N and 85W.
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1096. afj3
Quoting Hurricanes101:
This system may likely not even affect Florida now

That was my question. If it even hits the state at all...
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the local mets here in central Florida are really downplaying the developing system in the Caribbean. They are all trying to say that it will be a weak low that will scoot south of Florida and into the bahamas, and they have only 40% of showers wednesday and 0% thursday...

I don't think its very wise that they are so confident in this forecast when there is really a high uncertainty...

Even more so, the NHC says Central Florida is at just the same risk as south Florida because of the uncertainty. The local dudes are really being stubborn with this potential event.
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 7230
This system may not even affect Florida now
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1091. tkeith
Quoting xcool:
welcome too wal mart..
lol...
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1090. xcool
reedzone Super Target mannn
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15618
Quoting 69Viking:


Hello!


Howdy!
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1088. will40
High wind shear just north of cuba
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recon most of canceled for today was slated at 14:30
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Quoting reedzonemyhero:


I work at Wal-Mart too! Sweet:-) I'm a greeter though.


Super Target
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1085. xcool
welcome too wal mart..
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15618
1084. Patrap
Quoting CosmicEvents:
Patrap....that's irony of the strongest kind. Ahhhh. Sad, but ironic.
.
btw...what was the hammer price on el spitoon?


It was above the reserve is all I can say...and were very pleased.

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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
NHC relocated AL96


AL 96 2010092718 BEST 0 184N 880W 25 1003 DB





Not Bermuda again!!!! (slaps face) :O
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Quoting Hoff511:


He went NE Through Orlando and came out around Jacksonville.


It was a long, dark and stormy night and 7 long days without power, no ice, long gas lines - you get the picture. One event I don't ever want to repeat....
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Quoting Drakoen:
Strong Trough on the ECMWF with Surface 1030mb High pressure system should lead to a cool down for the east.


That definitely is a beefy trough. Look at the 500mb heights...
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Quoting 34chip:
How bad will it be in Key West? Thanks


No telling...again. looks like maybe just a rain event, but these things change quickly...been in Key West long?
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Quoting reedzone:
I'm gonna have a rough time at work if the forecast is right. Pushing carts in heavy rain will NOT be fun.


I work at Wal-Mart too! Sweet:-) I'm a greeter though.
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1078. Drakoen
Quoting 69Viking:


Cool air has already arrived in NW Florida!


Yes it has. It is very cool outside. The prefrontal trough brought welcome rains.
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1077. shawn26
If indeed the coordinates are at 88W and 18.4N then I think it would make landfall in SW Florida somewhere.
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1076. breald
Quoting LakelandNana:
A gentle reminder that this blog is comprised of folks from many different walks of life. Some are highly educated, while others are not- the commonality is an interest in weather. Please have the decency to respect the differences among us.


I couldn't have said it better myself.

+100
Member Since: May 28, 2008 Posts: 38 Comments: 5303
Quoting A4Guy:
I dunno...to my novice eyes...our AOI doesn't seem to be organizing very rapidly at all. When Karl started to organize, and even Matthew, you could clearly see the spin, the banding, and the consolidation. This AOI just looks like a plain old area of disturbed weather, with development potential due to climatology.

It's a really large Low..
hard to consolidate and spin up plus look at the shear maps and dry air to the NW
So while climatology says it may spin up I agree and think it will just be a major rain/squally event.. Does FL need the water? I'm pretty sure the Carolinas do..
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Quoting Drakoen:
Strong Trough on the ECMWF with Surface 1030mb High pressure system should lead to a cool down for the east.



Cool air has already arrived in NW Florida!
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NHC relocated AL96


AL 96 2010092718 BEST 0 184N 880W 25 1003 DB



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Quoting reedzone:


Hey Joe!
96L should organize into Nicole in the next 48 hours, then a track towards Florida, but dunno if it will be east or west of Florida.


Thanks Reed.
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I'm gonna have a rough time at work if the forecast is right. Pushing carts in heavy rain will NOT be fun.
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Quoting Neapolitan:


I'll buy the first part...but what's your reasoning for the second part? Favorable atmospheric conditions, low shear, a huge reservoir of simmering water...



LOW SHEAR? HIGH SHEAR and Land Interaction with Cuba and Old Matthew taking away some energy.


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Patrap....that's irony of the strongest kind. Ahhhh. Sad, but ironic.
.
btw...what was the hammer price on el spitoon?
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1067. shawn26
That area is blowing up quick.
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1066. Drakoen
Strong Trough on the ECMWF with Surface 1030mb High pressure system should lead to a cool down for the east.

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Quoting weatherman12345:
dont think so. this will be a south florida event if it is anything. aslo, i do think it organizing quite rapidly.

What's your reasoning? Besides a weaker storm would stay on the left side of the consensus & a stronger storm on the right, i.e Wilma & Charley.
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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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