TD 16 organizing; Mexican landslide kills hundreds; hottest day ever in Los Angeles

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:25 PM GMT on September 28, 2010

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The large area of low pressure centered just south of Cuba's Isle of Youth has developed enough of a well-defined circulation to be classified as Tropical Depression Sixteen, and is likely to become Tropical Storm Nicole by Wednesday. The depression has a very broad center, with little heavy thunderstorm activity near the center, and is this very dissimilar to the usual types of tropical depressions we see in the Atlantic. The large size, broad center, and lack of heavy thunderstorm activity near the center of TD 16 will limit the storm's ability to rapidly intensify. TD 16 resembles the "monsoon depressions" common in India's Bay of Bengal or the Western Pacific. A monsoon depression is similar to a regular tropical depression in the winds that it generates--about 30 - 35 mph near the outer edges (and usually stronger on the eastern side of the circulation.) Monsoon depressions have large, calm centers, and can evolve into regular tropical storms, if given enough time over water to develop a tight, closed circulation. Today's monsoon-like depression in the Caribbean was able to form because the atmospheric flow pattern of the Eastern Pacific has shifted eastwards into the Western Caribbean, bringing in the Eastern Pacific ITCZ (Intertropical Convergence Zone, a region of converging surface winds that creates a band of strong thunderstorms). This unusual flow pattern is forecast to remain in place for at least the next ten days.

An Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft has been flying at 700 feet in TD 16 since 1:30pm EDT, and has thus far found a central pressure of 999 mb. The strongest winds at flight level seen as of 3:20pm EDT were 32 mph, located about 100 miles east of the center of TD 16. Surface observations show that the strongest winds at any surface station continue to be at Buoy 42057, several hundred miles to the southeast of TD 16's center. Winds were 27 mph, gusting to 34 mph at 2:43pm EDT this afternoon. Rotation of TD 16 can be seen on radar loops out of Pico San Juan, Cuba, and well as satellite imagery. The heavy thunderstorms are currently quite disorganized, but a curved band is beginning to wrap around the north side of the center, signaling that TD 16 is growing more organized. TD 16 has brought torrential rains to the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Cuba, and Honduras today.


Figure 1. Radar-estimated precipitation for South Florida and Cuba. TD 16 has brought 2 - 4 inches of rains to the region.

Forecast for TD 16
Because TD 16 is so large, it will take more time than a typical depression for it to spin up into a strong tropical storm. Given that the steering currents are expected to pull TD 16 north-northeastwards over Cuba and into South Florida and the western Bahamas on Wednesday, the storm lacks sufficient time over water to be any stronger than a 50 mph tropical storm for Florida. TD 16 is organizing pretty slowly this afternoon, and I think the top winds in Southeast Florida are most likely to be in the 25 - 35 mph range on Wednesday. Winds are likely to be stronger in the western Bahamas, perhaps 30 - 40 mph, since they will be in the stronger right front quadrant of the storm. By the time TD 16 makes landfall in South Carolina or North Carolina on Thursday morning, it could be as strong as a 50 - 60 mph tropical storm. However, wind shear will increase sharply on Thursday as TD 16 gets caught in an upper-level trough of low pressure, and NHC is giving TD 16 only a 9% chance of making it to hurricane strength before it becomes an extratropical storm on Thursday. The primary danger from TD 16 is not wind, but heavy rainfall. A potent upper-level low and stationary front over the U.S. East Coast have been pulling moist, tropical air from the Caribbean northwards over the past few days, bringing heavy rains that have saturated the soils. This is called a Predecessor Rain Event, or PRE, since it comes in advance of the actual rain shield of the storm. (A PRE from Hurricane Karl brought southern Wisconsin the heavy rain that caused the levee on the Wisconsin River to fail yesterday.) Wilmington, NC received 10.33 inches of rain yesterday, its second greatest one-day rainfall since record keeping began in 1871. Only the 13.38" that fell during Hurricane Floyd on September 15, 1999 beat yesterday's rainfall total. With TD 16 expected to bring another 6 - 8 inches of rain to the region later this week, serious flooding is likely, and flash flood watches are posted for the North Carolina/ South Carolina border region. South Florida is also under a flood watch, for 3 - 5 inches of rain. Flooding rains of similar magnitude can also be expected in Cuba, the Cayman Islands, and the Western Bahamas through Wednesday night. Both the GFDL and HWRF models are predicting that TD 16 will dump rains in excess of eight inches along narrow portions of its path in eastern Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina.


Figure 2. Forecast precipitation for the 5-day period from 8am today through 8am EDT Sunday, October 3, 2010. Image credit: NOAA Hydrometeorological Prediction Center.

Up to 1,000 feared dead in Mexican landslide
Mexico has taken the brunt of the devastation from the hurricane season of 2010, thanks to the landfalls of this year's two deadliest and most damaging storms, Hurricanes Alex and Karl. But Mexico's worst blow yet hit this morning, when heavy rains from the remnants of Tropical Storm Matthew triggered a landslide in Mexico's mountainous Oaxaca state that buried as many as 1,000 people in Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec, a town of 9,000. Rescuers have not reached the area yet, but hundreds are feared dead in the 300 homes that were buried by the early morning landslide. Matthew hit Belize on Saturday as a minimal tropical storm with 40 mph winds, and dissipated Sunday over southern Mexico. However, Matthew's remains stalled out over the region of Mexico that had already received torrential rains from Hurricane Karl, which hit on September 18. Satellite estimates of Matthew's rains over southern Mexico (Figure 3) show that a foot of rain may have fallen in the landslide area. Matthew's remains still linger over the region, but are probably only capable of bringing 1 - 2 inches of additional rain through Thursday.


Figure 3. Satellite-estimated rainfall for the five-day period ending at 8pm EDT Monday September 27, 2010. The dark green colors show where rainfall amounts of 300 mm (about 12 inches) fell, due to the remnants of Tropical Storm Matthew. Image credit: Navy Research Lab, Monterey.

Elsewhere in the tropics
Once TD 16 moves out of the Caribbean, the GFS model predicts that the Western Caribbean will "reload" and produce another tropical disturbance capable of developing into a tropical depression early next week. The GFS also predicts a tropical or subtropical storm will form over the Bahamas late this week, and move north-northeast along the U.S. East Coast, missing hitting land. The NOGAPS model hints at the Bahamas storm, and also predicts development of a tropical wave a few hundred miles northeast of the Lesser Antilles Islands, about a week from now.

Hottest day in Los Angeles history
The mercury hit a blistering 113°F (45.0°C) at 12:15 pm PDT yesterday in downtown Los Angeles, making it the hottest day in Los Angeles history. It may have gotten hotter, but the thermometer broke shortly after the record high was set. The previous record in Los Angeles was 112°F set on June 26, 1990; records go back to 1877. Nearby Long Beach tied its hottest all-time temperature yesterday, with a scorching 111°F. And Christopher C. Burt, our new featured blogger on weather records, pointed out to me that a station in the foothills at 1260' elevation near Beverly Hills owned by the Los Angeles Fire Department hit 119°F yesterday--the hottest temperature ever measured in the Los Angeles area, tying the 119°F reading from Woodland Hills on July 22, 2006. Yesterday's record heat was caused by an unusually large and intense upper-level high pressure system centered over Nevada that generated winds blowing from the land to the ocean, keeping the ocean from exerting its usual cooling influence. Remarkably, Los Angeles had its second coldest summer on record this year, and temperatures just five days ago were some the coldest September temperatures in the region for the past 50 years.

The remarkable summer of 2010
Wunderground is pleased to welcome a new featured blogger--weather historian Christopher C. Burt. Chris is a leading expert in the U.S. on weather records, and is author of the world's most popular weather records book published to date, Extreme Weather: A Guide and Record Book. He's spent a lifetime collaborating with like-minded individuals from around the world, and no one--including official sources such as the National Climatic Data Center and the National Extremes Committee--has done as thorough a job correlating the various weather records available and determining the most accurate extreme values of such. Each month he'll be reporting on the notable records for heat, cold, and precipitation set world-wide, and his first post takes a look at the remarkable summer of 2010. It's great to have someone like Chris who stays on top of weather extremes, and I hope you'll pay a visit to his blog and welcome him to the wunderground site!

"Hurricane Haven" airing this afternoon
My live Internet radio show, "Hurricane Haven", will be airing again today at 4pm EDT. The call in number is 415-983-2634, or you can post a question to broadcast@wunderground.com. Be sure to include "Hurricane Haven question" in the subject line.

Today's show will be about 30 minutes, and you can tune in at http://www.wunderground.com/wxradio/wubroadcast.h tml. The show will be recorded and stored as a podcast.

I'll have updates as the situation with TD 16 requires.

Jeff Masters

Alone again, naturally (ftogrf)
Lonely Seagull, as a storm associated with TD 16 is approaching.
Alone again, naturally

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TropicalDepression16's heading had turned to (10.6degrees east of) dueNorth
after its previous (7.6degrees east of) eastsoutheastward center relocation
TD.16's average speed moving between its last 2 reported positions was ~11.7mph(~18.8km/h)

Invest96L : NHC-ATCF
28Sep 12pmGMT - - 20.4n83.0w - - 30knots -- 1001mb - - NHC-ATCF
25knots=~28.8mph=46.3km/h __ 30knots=~34.5mph=~55.6km/h
96L becomes TD.16
28Sep 03pmGMT - - 20.6n82.5w - - 35mph - - - 1001mb - - NHC.Adv.#1
28Sep 06pmGMT - - 20.9n82.5w - - 35mph - - - 1000mb - - #1A
28Sep 09pmGMT - - 21.5n82.4w - - 35mph - - - - 999mb - - #2
29Sep 12amGMT - - 21.4n82.0w - - 35mph - - - - 997mb - - #2A
29Sep 03amGMT - - 21.9n81.9w - - 35mph - - - - 997mb - - #3
35mph=~56.4km/h

Copy &paste 20.4n83.0w, 20.6n82.5w-20.9n82.5w, 20.9n82.5w-21.5n82.4w, 21.5n82.4w-21.4n82.0w, 21.4n82.0w-21.9n81.9w, cun, mia, lgi into the GreatCircleMapper for a look at the last 12*hours.
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Crap, I don't know how those self-quotes, got out there. I don't believe in that. Apologies to the blog.
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1833. pottery
Quoting Bordonaro:
1812. Pottery..Look at the radar presentation on post 1787, TD 16 is pulling in feeder bands that were non-exixtent 3 hrs ago..This has been a bizarre hurricane season, anyhing is possible!

True enough!
As you say, watch for the unexpected...
What a peculiar system this is.
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1832. NRAamy
GT....it's all good....no one meant any disrespect to you...

:)
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Quoting Bordonaro:

I agree it appears very unlikely, however Danelle, Earl, Igor, Julia and Karl pulled that stunt.

Maybe it might become a TS w/50 MPH winds like Matthew?


Those storms had more favorable conditions to work with.
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Quoting pottery:

Absolutely!!


Very good job!!
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Quoting xcool:
GFS SHOWS CV STORMS HA

Hey buddy...I was wondering if you could provide me a link with the GFS out to 384 hrs. I was only finding the ones that go out to 156.
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Looks to me as if td16's moving north centered very close to santa marta on cubas north coast,what we are seeing is energy being left behind it(south)....jmo
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I'm pretty sure TD 16 stays a TD 'til it merges with the front plus the gulf stream. All bets are off once that takes place, but by then it should be heading north at a steady clip
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Quoting xcool:
GFS SHOWS CV STORMS HA


lol...XCOOL!!
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Quoting miajrz:
Please, I've lived SoDade since 94. Could someone tell me what it is about a monsoon depression that lets it jump Cuba? tia.


It's broad enough that Cuba is small relative to its circulation. As the NHC stated, its circulation has continuously re-centered, which it might do again if Cuba hinders the circulation in any way. Also, the fact that it's not very organized lends to the reasoning that there isn't a well-defined circulation to destroy anyway. It doesn't have a compact, well-defined core to be destroyed by a landfall, in essence.
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1824. NRAamy
Who's buying breakfast?

Oh, did I mention it's HOT out here in Cali?

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Quoting pottery:

Hi there Bordo.
You dont think that Cuba is going to do a 'job' on it?
It's a huge area of bad weather, but no real organisation as yet.
Quite a confusing one....

Welcome to the insane 2010 Atlantic Hurricane season, where anything is possible!!!
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Quoting Skyepony:
Cosmic~ That's the Hurricane Hunters. Probably aiming for the first center fix to be a little before 06Z.
Thank you. Excuse the delay.
Had to step out for a bit, but better late than never. We've got some rain comin' on real soon for what looks like it might be 24 hours and I wanted to make sure my dog got a nice looong walk.
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Quoting CaptnDan142:


This is the night shift. It's pretty laid back, people don't get all warped over silly stuff. If I (we) weren't actually curious as to what you were referring to, we wouldn't have mentioned it. The post really changed gears in a hurry at the end - some of us didn't catch on. Nothing more to it, really.

Well my bad then, I didn't know how to word it to make sense, and I see what you mean by getting drawn into one post. I'm a really passionate person so I have a tendency to blow things out of proportion. So I was just stating my mind on the issue.
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1820. pottery
Quoting TampaSpin:


Hey Pottery....gotta give Kori alot of thata boy on his updates. Good job Kori!

Absolutely!!
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1819. xcool
GFS SHOWS CV STORMS HA
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Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:



I believe that as well. However, the attacks a certain blog has suffered, are out of bounds, imho.

Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:


I believe that too. However, the attacks a certain blog has suffered, are out of bounds, imho.
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1812. Pottery..Look at the radar presentation on post 1787, TD 16 is pulling in feeder bands that were non-exixtent 3 hrs ago..This has been a bizarre hurricane season, anyhing is possible!
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1816. pottery
Quoting traumaboyy:


morning/evening ...none for me....at work!!

Shukks.
I'll have his...
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1815. miajrz
Please, I've lived SoDade since 94. Could someone tell me what it is about a monsoon depression that lets it jump Cuba? tia.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


I respectfully disagree on the RI part. Almost no chance of that.

I agree it appears very unlikely, however Danelle, Earl, Igor, Julia and Karl pulled that stunt.

Maybe it might become a TS w/50 MPH winds like Matthew?
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Hey Pottery....gotta give Kori alot of thata boy on his updates. Good job Kori!


Thanks!
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1812. pottery
Quoting Bordonaro:
1787. I am afraid TD 16 is getting her act together. Now the question is will she become TS Nicole or will TD 16 pull a stunt and RI (rapidly intensify)?? D-MAX is at about 7AM EDT on Wednesday, in about 6 1/2 hrs!

Hi there Bordo.
You dont think that Cuba is going to do a 'job' on it?
It's a huge area of bad weather, but no real organisation as yet.
Quite a confusing one....
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1811. ackee
I cant understand TD#16 seem like all it enegry well east of centre. Anyone think the centre will try to reform near stongest convection ?
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Quoting pottery:

You missed Kori...
but you are excused!


Hey Pottery....gotta give Kori alot of thata boy on his updates. Good job Kori!
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Quoting Bordonaro:
1787. I am afraid TD 16 is getting her act together. Now the question is will she become TS Nicole or will TD 16 pull a stunt and RI (rapidly intensify)?? D-MAX is at about 7AM EDT on Wednesday, in about 6 1/2 hrs!


I respectfully disagree on the RI part. Almost no chance of that.
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Quoting NRAamy:
Yo, trauma!

Yo, Tampa!

( passes the "artifact" to the late comers )


morning/evening ...none for me....at work!!
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Quoting 7544:
morning looks like the with flow everything from the so of fla is moving north ?


Yes. That's to be expected.
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1802. pottery
Quoting NRAamy:
Yo, trauma!

Yo, Tampa!

( passes the "artifact" to the late comers )

You missed Kori...
but you are excused!
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1787. I am afraid TD 16 is getting her act together. Now the question is will she become TS Nicole or will TD 16 pull a stunt and RI (rapidly intensify)?? D-MAX is at about 7AM EDT on Wednesday, in about 6 1/2 hrs!
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1800. NRAamy
Yo, trauma!

Yo, Tampa!

( passes the "artifact" to the late comers )
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Quoting TampaSpin:
Looks like some crazies on the blog tonite! Good morning EArly Shift crew! I posted on my blog update yesterday that i didn't think 96L would mean much more than a lot of rain a little bit of wind. Looks like it. Too many things against 96L to become much more than a small Storm as it approaches Florida. Now after it makes the transition into a Subtropical system as it moves near the Carolina's it might become more potent.


Good evening, Tim. I tend to agree with your thoughts.
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1798. 7544
morning looks like the with flow everything from the so of fla is moving north ?
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1797. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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Quoting pottery:
Hi Trauma..
Getting ready to get some sleep here, under clear skies,
with a half-moon rising through the trees.
Nice.


I bet it is beautiful down there!!

Very plesant up here low in upper 50's....I love the month between the sweltering heat and the brutal winter!!
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Looks like some crazies on the blog tonite! Good morning EArly Shift crew! I posted on my blog update yesterday that i didn't think 96L would mean much more than a lot of rain a little bit of wind. Looks like it. Too many things against 96L to become much more than a small Storm as it approaches Florida. Now after it makes the transition into a Subtropical system as it moves near the Carolina's it might become more potent.
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agreed, but interesting to see such a defined hook echo... nice storm cell imbedded in that echo as well... short-lived but cool to see.

Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


Banding is increasing quite steadily to the N, expect that to increase through the night.
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Quoting FLHurricaneHunter:
Appeared to be hook echo noticed in radar I am watching... this was approaching upper Keys area

at 3:42UTC frame...sequence now to 4:13UTC so it passes but interesting to see none the less
Link




Banding is increasing quite steadily to the N, expect that to increase through the night.
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1791. pottery
Hi Trauma..
Getting ready to get some sleep here, under clear skies,
with a half-moon rising through the trees.
Nice.
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pressure back down to 998mb in GC winds 20mph sw
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Decent banding features setting up to the N.

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1788. bjdsrq
looking at wv shows what looks to be a coc just offshore of nothern cuban coast already. you can see some band convection building in the last few frames. anyone else see it?
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1787. wxhatt
NHC does have the center pegged, though there seems to be support for a new center (storm) SE of that.





That's probably what the models have been seeing all along with the second genesis
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Evening/Morning night shift....looks like we got us a pretty serious rain storm brewin!!
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1785. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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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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