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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1785. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
I thought this blog was free for all, and for some reason I feel insulted for my language barrier cause some fail to understand my meaning. Oh well, I'm willing to drop it & move on to the weather.


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.
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Quoting 954FtLCane:

LOL... funny, Mr Tough guy here with common sense that's all.

But yeah I did something right because ones already through college and the other is a sophomore.

Sorry if I offended you in anyway. Just in looking at this scenario right now it doesn't look like much more than a over-hyped depression.


No worries, not too offended to waste blog space arguing about it. It is what it is. Let's just hope it's just another stormy day in South Florida and everyone is safe... if we all diffused potential disagreements like this, the blog would be a better place, friend.
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1781. pottery
Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:


Pottery, if you'd been in my shoes, you'd have a different opinion. You're a good soul.

OK.
Sorry to hear that.
But a little humor is OK too.
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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


Quoting CyclonicVoyage:
That band approaching Florida from the south looks to be quite nasty.
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1778. pottery
Quoting CyclonicVoyage:
May actually look more like a sheared cyclone in the morning.

Could be.
And in the meantime, the 'blob' around 50W is looking pretty good, but has lost some of it's upper-level rotation in the last 4 hours.
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:
May actually look more like a sheared cyclone in the morning.


It could... There was a pretty good discussion earlier about that. General consensus was that since it's so broad and ill-defined, more like subtropical, that shear wouldn't be much of a factor like it would be with a tight core.
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Quoting CycloneBoy:


Thanks GT, sorry if I sound like I'm whining. I do plan on sending them. And I agree that rain events are part of life here. However, your thinking definitely changes when you're responsible for little ones. If Mr. tough-guy 954 thinks that's being a cry baby, than I hope his grown kids are intelligent. That way they don't need to rely on him for common sense...

LOL... funny, Mr Tough guy here with common sense that's all.

But yeah I did something right because ones already through college and the other is a sophomore.

Sorry if I offended you in anyway. Just in looking at this scenario right now it doesn't look like much more than a over-hyped depression. Of course things can always change quickly so look at the news tomorrow morning and then look out your window and if you see the palm fronds shaking about then close the blinds and stay at home and let the kids playstation it and you go watch the Oprah or Ellen.
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Quoting wxhatt:
I think that she is going through a strengthing phase with DMAX on the horizon and upper air conditions improving.



I was wondering if that can happen in this case
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Quoting pottery:

You seem to be having a Bad Evening/Morning.


Pottery, if you'd been in my shoes, you'd have a different opinion. You're a good soul.
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I thought this blog was free for all, and for some reason I feel insulted for my language barrier cause some fail to understand my meaning. Oh well, I'm willing to drop it & move on to the weather.
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1771. NRAamy
Breaking weather related news:

Mucho caliente en California....es no bueno....

Please pass the artifact....

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May actually look more like a sheared cyclone in the morning.
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Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:


What a great "weather-related" post. Bravo.


Believe it or not, it's actually a spin-off from a weather related post. It's about a 3rd cousin now, but related is related.

;-)
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1768. pottery
Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:


What a great "weather-related" post. Bravo.

You seem to be having a Bad Evening/Morning.
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And sorry if my grammar is awkward I'm only an average composition student, typing is not my thing :(
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Wow some of you can't even take a joke about that Rays thing, sheesh read comments before you post.
and some don't know how to tell one
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That band approaching Florida from the south looks to be quite nasty.
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Quoting GTcooliebai:

Well we do have freedom of religion in America it is in our constitution.


Yeah, I do remember reading something about that somewhere. Just not how it fits in with the rest of that post is all.
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Quoting OracleDeAtlantis:
If you want to know where the REAL COC is, just follow the rapidly developing feeder bands. This thing is finally pulling in those outstretched arms, and they lead to one point, and it's FAR from where they thought it would be.









18.5N 83.3W?
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Quoting NRAamy:
Capt, please pass the artifact back...cuz I'm more lost than you are....


What a great "weather-related" post. Bravo.
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1761. wxhatt
I think that she is going through a strengthing phase with DMAX on the horizon and upper air conditions improving.

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Wow some of you can't even take a joke about that Rays thing, sheesh read comments before you post.
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Is that one of 16's various LLC's over Miami?
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Quoting GTcooliebai:

I definately respect your fatherhood there. And flooding is a concern whether your walking or driving to school, but this is FL. flooding rains from tropical & even non-tropical systems are expected this time of the year, I mean it is your choice whether you want to send your kids out in bad weather or not, just like I believe when we have religious holidays, no stupid law enforcement officer or gov't official can tell you other wise.

In other words freedom of choice.


Thanks GT, sorry if I sound like I'm whining. I do plan on sending them. And I agree that rain events are part of life here. However, your thinking definitely changes when you're responsible for little ones. If Mr. tough-guy 954 thinks that's being a cry baby, than I hope his grown kids are intelligent. That way they don't need to rely on him for common sense...
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Starting to see some deep convection in closer to the center at the moment.

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Quoting CaptnDan142:


Is that confusing, or am I just lost in my inspiration?
me thinks he needs no further days off from school
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Quoting CaptnDan142:


Is that confusing, or am I just lost in my inspiration?

Well we do have freedom of religion in America it is in our constitution.
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Quoting OracleDeAtlantis:
Just follow the teeth, which are munching like a herd of Tasmanian Devils.



you are way off with your position based on your graphics...may want to call an exterminator though...
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1752. pottery
Quoting hunkerdown:
it would need A LOT of time over that water for significant strengthening. this is not an Atlantic styled TD that could spin up in a few hours. this is monsoonal and would take a significant amount of time for the center to tighten and the system to come together for it do blow up...it just ain't happening with this one.

My thoughts as well.
Going to bring major rains wherever it goes. But I dont see it being more than a serious rainstorm...
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Quoting hunkerdown:
it would need A LOT of time over that water for significant strengthening. this is not an Atlantic styled TD that could spin up in a few hours. this is monsoonal and would take a significant amount of time for the center to tighten and the system to come together for it do blow up...it just ain't happening with this one.
quite sad in appearance plus it must transverse over Cuba, it will be mighty lucky to hit TS status prior to any Florida "landfall".

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1750. pottery
Quoting CaptnDan142:


Is that confusing, or am I just lost in my inspiration?

Whew!
I thought it was just me!
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Just follow the teeth, which are munching like a herd of Tasmanian Devils.



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1748. leo305
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
If it relocates it's coc SE of Cayman which is dead south of Central Cuba and it moves NE the only part it can cross Cuba is the eastern side.


yes but the high to its north and east may block its north east movement if it develops south east of Grand CAYMAN!
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Quoting leo305:


if it develops south east of the caymans, conditions would be favorable for significant strengthening..
it would need A LOT of time over that water for significant strengthening. this is not an Atlantic styled TD that could spin up in a few hours. this is monsoonal and would take a significant amount of time for the center to tighten and the system to come together for it do blow up...it just ain't happening with this one.
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Quoting GTcooliebai:

...just like I believe when we have religious holidays, no stupid law enforcement officer or gov't official can tell you other wise.


Is that confusing, or am I just lost in my inspiration?
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954FtLCane: teacher here..not babysitter. And i do understand about working parents, we have 3 kids. Not long ago, in some trop. storms, classes were cancelled however teacher had to go work; teacher planning day. What happened to those teachers that had kids, they HAD to take a personal/sick day. That's not the case now, just a little info for those that truly do not understand the inner working of the school system.
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
IFit develops SE of Cayman and is moving NE all that will serve to do is take it over the higher mountains in Cuba. The eastern end is more mountainous than the western side. The only way this would have more time to intensify much is if it was moving NW not NE.


I'm no met just a LONG time lurker but here my take..looking at surface obs i dont see a llc developing SE of us here in cayman what may happen if pressures stay low as they are forcast to is that after td16 exits north the remainder of the NW carib may slowly start to organise into another system in a couple of days whaere the LLC may develop is something ill leave to the pros ;-)
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Quoting CycloneBoy:


I bet that you don't have elementary aged children to think about...it's not the danger from winds we're talking about. 5 inches of rain in a short time period cause major safety issues on our streets here. Good god man, use your head. If it turns out to be nothing, big deal. I think that everyone would agree that tomorrow is not a day that anyone should be out and about if it's not necessary. And it's not necessary. Again, common sense isn't so common. My kids will be going, but only because I drive them. If the school area is flooded, they're coming home with me. I don't care what the county thinks about that...

I definately respect your fatherhood there. And flooding is a concern whether your walking or driving to school, but this is FL. flooding rains from tropical & even non-tropical systems are expected this time of the year, I mean it is your choice whether you want to send your kids out in bad weather or not, just like I believe when we have religious holidays, no stupid law enforcement officer or gov't official can tell you other wise.

In other words freedom of choice.
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Last word on the subject because I don't want to harp on it. I was 25 miles north of home during Irene. I had to try to get 20 miles in a good Cat1 storm to pick up one of my kids from school because they sent everyone home during the worst of it. Brilliant...try driving through that nonsense in an SUV one day. This shouldn't be anything to worry about, but flooded streets stall probably 3 cars in 10. That's a great situation for people to be trying to move through. Should be interesting.
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Quoting leo305:


lol I meant eastern.. the high wont allow it to get that far east
If it relocates it's coc SE of Cayman which is dead south of Central Cuba and it moves NE the only part it can cross Cuba is the eastern side.
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Quoting CaptnDan142:


*passes the "inspirational artifact" to Amy*


Ah. The clique is coming in to focus.
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1738. Seastep
One more post on the new center idea.

Wind:




Pressure:



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1737. 2ifbyC
Alllriiighty, the winds are gusting up to 30 mph, but no rain yet here on Big Pine Key. The red band has moved on 'up' the Keys.

Guess I'll have to wait for this stuff to move out before heading home tomorrow...

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Good Evening!


I have TD 16 LLC is currently located S/SE of the Isle of Youth.

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1735. leo305
woops double post
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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.