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 aislinnpaps:
How much rain have you guys had with all this?


I had that happen when I lived in Kansas. It was a small electrical fire from my doorbell, luckily it was very small and went out on its own right after setting off the alarms at 3 am.
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2464. surfmom
2441 - I shouldn't be surprised - but in a way I am....
Good call Neopolitan - think that's the reasonable scenario - while peering into the future, did you see any decent surf on the FL West coast?
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How much rain have you guys had with all this?
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wow, all smoke dectores in the house just went off, Good thing no fire, hell of a way to wake up! Need Coffee, Not weather related but anyone know what makes all 4 smoke alarms go off at once?

I see a BIG red circle this morning.
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Quoting CaribBoy:
Would like to know how is the weather in the cayman islands
Good morning. Well, it has been raining non-stop all night . Pressure is 1000 mb here right now and it says winds are wnw @ 0 mph.
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Good morning, Surfmom.

Coffee not helping here either. I slept through my alarm for forty minutes, just dreamed it was going off in the next room. (Next room? Where was I??) I think the cold weather has me wanting to sleep late. Saturday is still too far away.
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At this present time, without Nicole just yet, we're almost tying 2007. Melissa was named tomorrow.

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I think October will crank out 3 or 4 personally.
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2457. SQUAWK
Quoting KingDuji:
. . . Could someone please post the weather forecast for Florida again ? Maybe , if it is posted for the 8th time in an hour or so, I will be able to understand it. Really appreciate it . . .


Aaaaaa. How about I post one for VA? Would that help? LOL
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Quoting Neapolitan:


As I've stated before, in the past 15 years, two seasons have seen eight-storm Septembers: 2002 and 2007. 2002 then had zero storms in October, while 2007 had just one (and a final one in December). In that same 15-year span, the two years with seven-storm Septembers saw an average of just 2.5 October storms.

Not so sure history will be repeated this year, however; all four of those seasons ran into early onset La Nina episodes, and that's not predicted to happen this year. Too, SSTs are higher across the MDR than they were in those years. 1995 saw seven more storms after this date, 1933 saw six, and 2005 saw, as has been mentioned, ten. My somewhat educated guess is that we'll see six or seven more before the curtain falls.

But, as always: we'll see... :-)


1933, 1995 and 2005 did not have a super active September, either. 1933 was mostly 'front-loaded'. 1995 was as well. 2005's September wasn't that strong, excepting Rita. 1933 and 2005 (as well as 1887) are really hard to make any concrete comparisons with any other season due to their anomalous nature.

We may reach 18, yes. I'm very doubtful of getting higher. I'm still sticking to 17 with a weaker October. Should be one more major, I'd guess, though.
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2455. surfmom
Coffee was not working .... this helped
2406. Neapolitan THERE IS A HIGH CHANCE...80 PERCENT... OF THIS SYSTEM
BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

Good Morning Giggle here....(mental image)
CyberTeddy -I doubt that TWO's are based on the forecaster. If so I can just imagine Franklin or Brown coming in, taking a seat on his chair with a nice jug of coffee, turning to Stewart 'You did WHAT?'
Then again, I don't know how the NHC works.


Koritheman - & I have often wondered if NHC staff scrap, squabble, hiss, bark, bite, rage, shout...behind their closed doors....
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Interesting, if Nicole forms today we'll be tied with 1995 in terms of named storms, Opal didn't get named until tomorrow I believe, while it was a depression already.

Matter of fact, we have more major hurricanes than 1995.

14-7-5 in 2010 as of Sep. 28 (assuming Nicole forms today)
14-8-3 in 1995 as of Sep. 28.
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Good morning all from a 'chilly' 59 degrees here. Feels beautiful out. I see we do have 96L this morning.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Just remembered if Nicole forms today, 2010 breaks another record. Most storms formed in September, 8.

To think just 5 weeks ago we were at 3-1-0.


It would tie the record, yes.
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Quoting Cotillion:
The key is that inflated September months are not followed by an active October.

Will 2010 break the trend? who knows. History is against that, though.

As said before, 16 is the general point to consider a storm 'hyperactive' in terms of named storms. That has only occurred 8 times, and only one of which has ever had 2 or less than 2 storms prior to the start of August.


As I've stated before, in the past 15 years, two seasons have seen eight-storm Septembers: 2002 and 2007. 2002 then had zero storms in October, while 2007 had just one (and a final one in December). In that same 15-year span, the two years with seven-storm Septembers saw an average of just 2.5 October storms.

Not so sure history will be repeated this year, however; all four of those seasons ran into early onset La Nina episodes, and that's not predicted to happen this year. Too, SSTs are higher across the MDR than they were in those years. 1995 saw seven more storms after this date, 1933 saw six, and 2005 saw, as has been mentioned, ten. My somewhat educated guess is that we'll see six or seven more before the curtain falls.

But, as always: we'll see... :-)
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dont see a depression yet but im looking at my ipad screen
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 5003
Just remembered if Nicole forms today, 2010 breaks another record. Most storms formed in September, 8.

To think just 5 weeks ago we were at 3-1-0.
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2448. ackee
I wonder if another low will form from deep convention near the caymans that may be where next system comes from
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Quoting KingDuji:
. . . Could someone please post the weather forecast for Florida again ? Maybe , if it is posted for the 8th time in an hour or so, I will be able to understand it. Really appreciate it . . .


If you didn't understand after 8 times.....you never will. lol
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2446. 34chip
So where is the center of this storm. Thank you!
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Quoting barotropic:


My bet is by end of day entire florida east coast will be under TS warnings.


My guess: TS watches early today for west coast south of Charlotte Harbor, and east coast south of Daytona. Later today--and depending on what 96L (Nicole) does--those watches will turn in warnings, while the watches will be extended up the west coast to Tampa, and the east coast to Jacksonville. Late tonight/early tomorrow--again, very dependent on what Nicole does (and, yes, I'm making a huge assumption here)--a possible hurricane watch for the previous TS warning area, and maybe even a hurricane warning between, say, Marco on the west and Palm Beach on the east.
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The key is that inflated September months are not followed by an active October.

Will 2010 break the trend? who knows. History is against that, though.

As said before, 16 is the general point to consider a storm 'hyperactive' in terms of named storms. That has only occurred 8 times, and only one of which has ever had 2 or less than 2 storms prior to the start of August.
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96L. Quite possible that Florida will be under TS warnings.



Looks like a South-Florida event, but I can imagine this being a large system.. so I suspect as far north as Tampa will get in on some too.
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Quoting barotropic:


My bet is by end of day entire florida east coast will be under TS warnings.


That's quite possible as well.
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Quoting barotropic:


My bet is by end of day entire florida east coast will be under TS warnings.


By end of the day.....do you mean 5pm advisory? Or earlier or later? Whats your opinion?
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Good morning all... I see the flood watches are up for us here in S. FL... models generally bring 96L to us... so we have one non stop rain event for several days. Wonder how you divide the tropical rain for today and Wed. from 96L? seems like it'll be one big event.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Very likely.


My bet is by end of day entire florida east coast will be under TS warnings.
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2436. 34chip
WPLG Local 10 Good Morning! Well we are going to be dealing with a wet few days ahead. There is a Flood Watch in effect from 4pm through Wednesday afternoon due to all of the rain on the way. Also, the Low pressure in the NW Caribbean could be TD#16 or Nicole as soon as late this morning and the models have it moving to SFL. We are watching this closely and will let you know if anything changes. http://miami.justweather.com/hurricane/
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If Nicole forms today, that would put us at 14-7-5 before September even ends.

Heck, that would put us only 3 behind 2005.

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Would like to know how is the weather in the cayman islands
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


I doubt that TWO's are based on the forecaster. If so I can just imagine Franklin or Brown coming in, taking a seat on his chair with a nice jug of coffee, turning to Stewart 'You did WHAT?'

Then again, I don't know how the NHC works.


Yet, that sounds entirely believable (as they're not all working the same shift, there will be some forecaster discretion despite a series of guidelines to work to which can be interpreted in any which way).

No matter where you work, there are always areas of protestation. How they may phrase it... who knows. Courteous, you'd hope.

Good morning to all.
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Buoy at 19.97n 85.05w looks to be right at the center w wind at 3,9 kt bp 29.57 dropping quickly. Buoy to the south about 300 to 400 miles, bp 29.68 ssw wind at 27,2 kt. gust to 33 kt.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


I doubt that TWO's are based on the forecaster. If so I can just imagine Franklin or Brown coming in, taking a seat on his chair with a nice jug of coffee, turning to Stewart 'You did WHAT?'

Then again, I don't know how the NHC works.


I'm sure they are friendly and respectful enough to keep comments like that to a minimum.

Besides, it's not as if every forecaster has the same exact opinion.
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Not as bad as it looked a few days ago...though things can change:

FLOOD WATCH
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL
350 AM EDT TUE SEP 28 2010

...FLOOD WATCH ISSUED FOR MUCH OF SOUTH FLORIDA...

.POTENTIAL FOR HEAVY RAINFALL CONTINUING TO INCREASE ACROSS THE AREA.

FLZ067>075-168-172>174-282200-
/O.NEW.KMFL.FA.A.0006.100928T2000Z-100929T1800Z/
/00000.0.ER.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.OO/
INLAND PALM BEACH-METRO PALM BEACH-COASTAL COLLIER-INLAND COLLIER-
INLAND BROWARD-METRO BROWARD-INLAND MIAMI DADE-METRO MIAMI DADE-
MAINLAND MONROE-COASTAL PALM BEACH-COASTAL BROWARD-
COASTAL MIAMI DADE-FAR SOUTH MIAMI DADE-
350 AM EDT TUE SEP 28 2010

...FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT FROM THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH WEDNESDAY
AFTERNOON...


THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MIAMI HAS ISSUED A

* FLOOD WATCH FOR A PORTION OF SOUTH FLORIDA...INCLUDING THE
FOLLOWING AREAS...COASTAL BROWARD...COASTAL COLLIER...COASTAL
MIAMI DADE...COASTAL PALM BEACH...FAR SOUTH MIAMI DADE...INLAND
BROWARD...INLAND COLLIER...INLAND MIAMI DADE...INLAND PALM
BEACH...MAINLAND MONROE...METRO BROWARD...METRO MIAMI DADE AND
METRO PALM BEACH.

* FROM 4 PM THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH 2 PM WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON

* COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF MOISTURE FROM A DEVELOPING LOW PRESSURE AREA
SOUTH OF CUBA WILL BE TRANSPORTED ACROSS SOUTH FLORIDA LATE THIS
AFTERNOON THROUGH EARLY WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON
...AS A FRONTAL
BOUNDARY STALLS JUST TO THE NORTH. PERIODS OF VERY HEAVY
RAINFALL..WITH RAINFALL RATES IN EXCESS OF 2 INCHES PER
HOUR...ARE POSSIBLE. THE PERIOD OF HEAVIEST RAINFALL IS
EXPECTED TO OCCUR LATE THIS EVENING THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING.

* TOTAL RAINFALL AMOUNTS THROUGH EARLY WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON ARE
EXPECTED TO RANGE BETWEEN 3 AND 5 INCHES ALONG THE EAST COAST
INCLUDING THE MAJOR METROPOLITAN AREAS...WITH LOCALLY HIGHER
AMOUNTS POSSIBLE. 2 TO 4 INCHES OF RAIN IS EXPECTED ELSEWHERE.

* STREET AND LOW LYING FLOODING CAN BE EXPECTED LATE THIS
AFTERNOON THROUGH EARLY WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON. THERE IS A
POSSIBILITY FOR SIGNIFICANT FLOODING...WITH ROADS BECOMING
IMPASSABLE AND FLOOD WATERS ENTERING STRUCTURES.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A FLOOD WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING BASED ON
CURRENT FORECASTS.

YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE ALERT FOR POSSIBLE
FLOOD WARNINGS. THOSE LIVING IN AREAS PRONE TO FLOODING SHOULD BE
PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLOODING DEVELOP.

&&

$$

BETTWY
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2429. eddye
watch out south fl a strong ts coming it allready looks likeone
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00Z CMC indicates that Northern Lesser Antilles may get at least 2 lows during the next 2 weeks.

Heavy rain is expected there too as well as in the whole E caribbean including Puerto Rico. Looks like interesting stuff WON'T happen ONLY in the WESTERN CARIBBEAN.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


I could be wrong, but something tells me that if it was anyone other than Stewart, a special TWO wouldn't have been issued.


I doubt that TWO's are based on the forecaster. If so I can just imagine Franklin or Brown coming in, taking a seat on his chair with a nice jug of coffee, turning to Stewart 'You did WHAT?'

Then again, I don't know how the NHC works.
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2426. 34chip
Its a wonderful morning in Key West.
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WOW Caymans are getting nasty weather by the look of IR images
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2424. QMiami
maybe they did it this early so at 8am they can upgrade or at least put out watches for the certain areas that might need it

Quoting KoritheMan:


I could be wrong, but something tells me that if it was anyone other than Stewart, a special TWO wouldn't have been issued.
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If your short a little on the supply side.Today is a good day before you have to do it in the rain. The next 48hrs. maybe interesting for the various authorities, as the Keys might not have more than 24 to 36 hrs. if winds crank up. The fact that they mention skipping depression status is a concern. But I don't think anyone needs to panic.IMO, I'll look forward to the 8am and the Doc's blog this morning.
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Quoting KUEFC:


Nice wishcasting.


Three comments in two years, and that's the best you can come up with? :-)
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Wow, 80%? Went to bed with 40%..

This last part was interesting.
AND THE CENTRAL AND
SOUTHERN FLORIDA PENINSULA SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THIS
SYSTEM. FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION... CONSULT STATEMENTS FROM YOUR
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST OFFICE OR NATIONAL METEOROLOGICAL
SERVICE.


I could be wrong, but something tells me that if it was anyone other than Stewart, a special TWO wouldn't have been issued.
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2420. QMiami
ships has it approaching hurricane strength same time its near South Florida

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Quoting KUEFC:


Right so because you know him well, that means he isnt wishcasting? hmm


I never knew you got up this early. Is band practice before school?
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Quoting KUEFC:


Nice wishcasting.


He's right too. Getting good model support for it.
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Quoting 34chip:
I think it's the next system we should be more concern about from what the models were showing. That could be our hurricane.


Agreed. 96L/Nicole likely to be nothing more than a rain event, with some isolated wind damage.
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Wow, 80%? Went to bed with 40%..

This last part was interesting.
AND THE CENTRAL AND
SOUTHERN FLORIDA PENINSULA SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THIS
SYSTEM. FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION... CONSULT STATEMENTS FROM YOUR
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST OFFICE OR NATIONAL METEOROLOGICAL
SERVICE.
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Quoting KUEFC:


Right so because you know him well, that means he isnt wishcasting? hmm


It means I understand his motives. I've been here longer than you buddy. You don't have a snowball's chance in hell with this one.
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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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