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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815. Jax82
Cuban Radar

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What do people see developing as the main immediate cyclone? The big blob right south of the Caymans, or the littler one juest east of the Yucatan?

I know the models seem to focus more on the latter, but I was was seeking some human input.
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XX/INV/96L
MARK
19.23N/85.86W
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i see we have 96L does it look like we may go Red later tonight based on current organization ????
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811. flsky
Quoting CaptnDan142:


The only part of the state that is in drought or very dry condition is the panhandle, isn't it? I thought the rest of the state was green on the map.

Daytona Beach Shores is tan....
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Quoting Grothar:
96L



Hope you're not saying 96L is where the deep convection is? Since those that won't be the location where 96L is currently being initialized on.
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Quoting reedzone:


Drak it's good to see you on here after everything that has transpired.


Are you talking about the RIDGES?
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Quoting KanKunKid:


I'm not focused on the NW Caribbean even though I live in it. I can look out my window and see if anything is coming. **Looking out window** Looks pretty nice, the waves are even less than yesterday.
I'm worried about the poor folks in Wisconsin, the cheese capitol of the western hemishpere. Soggy rice - not nice, Soggy cheese - none please! While they're making cheese on higher ground, who will be rooting for the Packers? It's a lose-lose scenario and I think the blog is underestimating the effects while worrying about rain in Florida. It's Florida for Pete's sake! It rains a lot and then it doesn't, it burns. And a EF0 tornado isn't a big deal unless you have a carport, a trailer or a kite. There's probably one of those kite boarders with the U shaped kites already surfing in a EF0 tornado and it will probably be on Youtube.
Worry about the Wisconsinians. They aren't used to this stuff, they get a stale Karl and it washes 'em downstream! FEMAs all over it. FEMA is asleep in FL or in Hooters waiting forever for food (like everyone does when you go there) Let's focus!


Thank you for your kind words (I think ;)) And actually, Wisconsin is getting used to these flooding events. We have had 3 major floods in the past 2 years. But, this is the first one I've seen caused by a hurricane.... thank you Karl! Flood level record was broke by .3 ft at Portage. Flooding continues along the Wisconsin River, levee(dike) is holding but quickly deteriorating. Robyn
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Navy site put this up fast.

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26151
A GawGus Chamber Of Commerce Day here this afternoon.

Current Conditions

Uptown, New Orleans, Louisiana (PWS)
Updated: 1 min 18 sec ago
Partly Cloudy
77.9 °F
Partly Cloudy
Humidity: 57%
Dew Point: 61 °F
Wind: 2.6 mph Variable
Wind Gust: 13.2 mph
Pressure: 29.88 in (Falling)
Heat Index: 79 °F
Visibility: 10.0 miles


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Quoting unf97:


Great post Drak.

I checked the SHIPs model and it has this intensifying to 71 knots in 3 days. Just a model run, but considering the favorable environment 96L is in currently, it definitely is very plausible.
Where do I find the SHIPS model?
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Quoting cat5hurricane:
Much needed rainfall over the southeast CONUS



Bet you wont be saying that next week
Member Since: June 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1339
Quoting kmanislander:
Good afternoon all

Just a quick post for now. I just left home on the South coast of Grand Cayman and the sea condition there is quite rough with a stiff 20 mph sustained wind out of the South.

The pressure was 1005.8 mbs and falling.

There appears to be a competition between two different areas of convection to become the area of lowest pressure and, in due course, the center of a potential cyclone. The area near Cozumel did have the lowest pressure in the NW caribbean for some time as well as a "spin" that was evident in the visible loops.

I do believe though that the area between Jamaica and Grand Cayman could take over as convection is greater there and quite persistent coupled with the impressive pressure fall we are now seeing in Grand Cayman.

Until one of these areas becomes dominant very little is going to happen other than rain. So far we have had very little today with only high cloud around.

The ASCAT pass for 1600 UTC this morning does not show any surface low near Cozumel so the fight continues to see where the surface feature develops.



I am glad to finally see your post on here. IDK which area will become the dominant feature but the are south of Cayman has a decent look about it. Blowing pretty hard in East End and seas are rough. Only drizzles off and on so far today.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8373
2010 Storms
All Active Year


Atlantic
96L.INVEST
14L.LISA

East Pacific
97E.INVEST

Central Pacific

West Pacific
92W.INVEST

Indian Ocean

Southern Hemisphere
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Say hello.

Nicole


Otto


Paula


... if this came to pass of course. It would be ironic and amazing if these three storms formed in the same location.
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GOM IR Loop Dee Loop


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96L

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26151
unf97,what do u think that jacksonville,florida could get from future nicole?
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A lil reminder from Last May on what a Large Extra Tropical No Named system can do.

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We now have Invest 96L.......here we go.
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Very wet here in Jamaica.

I had a downpour early this morning (3am) that sounded like a monsoon.

But I'll take the rain any day over a drought. When I remember having to buy water from a truck to fill my tank... let it rain.
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Posted by: JeffMasters, 12:30 PM CDT on May 23, 2009

90L comes close to being the season's first named storm


The large extratropical storm (90L) that has been pounding Florida, the Bahamas, and Haiti this week with heavy rain and high surf has moved ashore over Mississippi. Last night and this morning, the storm put on an impressive burst of heavy thunderstorm activity and came close to becoming a subtropical or tropical depression. Winds at the Fort Morgan, AL station were 44 mph, gusting to 52 mph, and winds at Dauphin Island, Alabama coastal station were sustained at 39 mph, gusting to 48 mph at between 8am and 10am EDT this morning. While these winds were in excess of the 39 mph threshold of tropical storm force, both measurements were taken at elevations higher than the international wind measurement standard of ten meters, so the top measured winds of 90L were actually slightly less than tropical storm force. Had 90L spent another six hours over water, it very likely would have been declared a tropical/subtropical depression/storm.
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Quoting HCW:


by 00Z, we will have a large disagreement with the models tonight. Some heading north, some heading to Florida, and some heading east of Florida.
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Quoting HCW:

If the XTRAP movement is due north, why do those two models initialize to the ESE? I think we can toss those.
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Quoting flsky:
Quoting RufusBaker:
Al thoe models have the systems going under FL and missing the state.. looks like FL is safe

Which models are you referring to anyway? I just checked the global models and they show a cyclone (either TD or TS) striking s Florida and continuing up its east coast.
----------------------
Operative word being under!


Lmao
Member Since: June 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1339
790. unf97
Quoting hydrus:
Very good post Drak, short and direct.. Not much movement..


Great post Drak.

I checked the SHIPs model and it has this intensifying to 71 knots in 3 days. Just a model run, but considering the favorable environment 96L is in currently, it definitely is very plausible. In fact, it may be stronger than what SHIP is depicting. We shall see.
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Quoting reedzone:


Drak it's good to see you on here after everything that has transpired.


What transpired?
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buttered
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Season's first tropical depression forms

Posted by: JeffMasters, 10:43 AM CDT on May 28, 2009

Portlight.org offering relief to Florida flood victims
Tropical disturbance 90L dropped as much as two feet of rain over Northeastern Florida last week, causing severe flooding. In Volusia County, at least 1500 homes were damaged by the flooding, and many of these were in low-income housing projects where the residents did not have flood insurance. Portlight Strategies, Inc., is now working to assist in this area by providing durable medical equipment to the disabled, elderly, or injured that have lost equipment due to the flooding. Equipment will also be provided to local shelters and other organizations working with flood victims. To help out, visit the Portlight disaster relief blog.
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Quoting Drakoen:
The Caribbean system is really in a sweet spot to develop. If you take a look at the water vapor imagery, you can see an upper level trough invading the Gulf of Mexico and an upper level low east of the Bahamas, this synoptic set up favors an upper level ridge in the Caribbean coupled with MJO forcing as a net balance between the two subsident upper level features. In addition to favor upper level conditions, the TCHP underneath 96L is running past 100kJcm-2 which is extremely favorable for intensification.


Drak it's good to see you on here after everything that has transpired.
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785. HCW
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Quoting HCW:


UKM and GFS have similar tracks.
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Quoting Thaale:

Don't you mean not counting your vote, or telling you your polls are closed when they're still open?


Oooh, heheh, I was not going to go there. Must. Resist.
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782. flsky
Quoting RufusBaker:
Al thoe models have the systems going under FL and missing the state.. looks like FL is safe

Which models are you referring to anyway? I just checked the global models and they show a cyclone (either TD or TS) striking s Florida and continuing up its east coast.
----------------------
Operative word being under!
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Quoting Drakoen:
The Caribbean system is really in a sweet spot to develop. If you take a look at the water vapor imagery, you can see an upper level trough invading the Gulf of Mexico and an upper level low east of the Bahamas, this synoptic set up favors an upper level ridge in the Caribbean coupled with MJO forcing as a net balance between the two subsident upper level features. In addition to favor upper level conditions, the TCHP underneath 96L is running past 100kJcm-2 which is extremely favorable for intensification.
Very good post Drak, short and direct.. Not much movement..
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780. HCW
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Quoting xcool:




BAMS says no to a USA landfall, not surprised.
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I think that is a little further north and west than the models were initilizing
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What idiot said S Fl does not flood? Usual Taco?? Holy crud, Batman, we FLOOD!! Remember FAY???? Fort Pierce took forever to dry out. We have lousy drainage here due to paving over the natural water basins and then the water goes where it normally would IF we had not built over it....like through whole housing developments!
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Quoting CaptnDan142:


Ah, OK. Forgot - nobody seems to count the panhandle as part of the state unless they're courting our vote.

Don't you mean not counting your vote, or telling you your polls are closed when they're still open?
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Quoting Clearwater1:

That's why I'm wondering if the latest gfs 18z and the cmc are now taking some of the forecast storms a tad back toward the left (west). Compare the last several runs and you'll see what I mean. Especially, the gfs', 2nd storm; coming up the west cost of FL. Of course, no storms have actually formed, but . . .


Yes, but the trof will still ease forward some from momentum over the next 2 days.
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Quoting Clearwater1:
and where is 96l exactly?


Right where the Low/Mid VORT are the highest S of the SW tip of Cuba (190N, 860W)
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Quoting TOMSEFLA:
are yougiving that area inv 96l or has the navy site done that or u are expecting that inv to go there soon?


It's official.
Time to make popcorn.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 856
771. Jax82
everyone loves a loop

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Quoting ITCZ:
Hi all forgive my ignorance, but I see alot of references to south and central FL receviing the tropical soup and possibly nicole/otto- does that mean us here in Tallytown can expect minimal rain? i thought at one point it looked like the whole state would be a rainblob on the map.

I appreciate the info-am recuperating from surgery and would prefer to NOT go in on Thursday and if I am gonna slip n slide walking in the parking lot.....

PS to my eastside friends-the storm that came through here this morning was still pretty impressive! But i am not complaining, the "cool" humidity is divine here on my back porch. :)


The front is currently passing you you should have drier air filtering in.

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TALLAHASSEE FL
324 AM EDT MON SEP 27 2010
THE FRONT IS EXPECTED TO CLEAR ALL BUT THE SOUTHEASTERN BIG BEND BY
THIS EVENING WITH MUCH DRIER AIR MOVING IN.
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Quoting TOMSEFLA:
are yougiving that area inv 96l or has the navy site done that or u are expecting that inv to go there soon?


Please type your comments so that they are legible.
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Quoting Drakoen:
The Caribbean system is really in a sweet spot to develop. If you take a look at the water vapor imagery, you can see an upper level trough invading the Gulf of Mexico and an upper level low east of the Bahamas, this synoptic set up favors an upper level ridge in the Caribbean coupled with MJO forcing as a net balance between the two subsident upper level features. In addition to favor upper level conditions, the TCHP underneath 96L is running past 100kJcm-2 which is extremely favorable for intensification.

Its biggest hurdle is going to be consolidating some of that energy, and getting spun up. The more atmosphere that has to get moving, the longer its going to take.
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Quoting TOMSEFLA:
are yougiving that area inv 96l or has the navy site done that or u are expecting that inv to go there soon?


It is 96L.
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south florida does not "flood" other than localized street flooding. it's limestone terrain. we get inches of rain many times over a year in a day or so. no big deal really.


I know I should not quote you, but you are simply incorrect. As a matter of fact, the cases I have sitting on my desk prove you are quite incorrect.
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765. xcool


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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.