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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Quoting InTheCone:
Just jumpin' in out of lurking to say thanks for the great blog tonite - best of the year! Great job everyone!


+ 1 :>) Although I worry for anyone being affected by this crazy system, I enjoy a bit of humor with my weather-watching. Plus, when I'm not learning something, I'm generally laughing at some of the posts. btw, mostly a lurker myself...
Member Since: June 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 96
1334. lilElla
Quoting InTheCone:
Just jumpin' in out of lurking to say thanks for the great blog tonite - best of the year! Great job everyone!


Agreed! :)
Stay safe.
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1333. LBAR
Beautiful sunset here in Charleston, SC...gorgeous pink, red, blue sky and clouds with a HUGE rainbow hovering overhead. If I had a camera with me!!! *sigh*
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1331. RevInFL
Wind has picked-up after a day full of rain here in Titusville, FL. Rain gauge had 2 inches in it. My anemometer just registered a gust of a whole 18mph. My road is already flooding and there are reports from just south of me of low-lying areas have 6 inches of standing water. Yes this storm may not be named ever, but flooding and Florida are two words we Floridians don't like to hear together.
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1330. Seastep
Kman - remember that it is MSLP.

But, yeah, pressures were that low all over...
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Quoting pottery:

I think that a Cat.2 is a bit overblown ...
The storm will cross Cuba and be affected by the terrain there, and skirt the Florida coast as well....
Cat1 at the most, IMO.
well borderline cat 2 i meant
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1328. dader
Its so radical when the Weather Channel plays Eric Johnson's "Cliffs of Dover" for the local forecast background music.

They have a great mix in there- some past faves are Shine on You Crazy Diamond, Papa was a Rolling Stone, and the ten Phish songs they mix in.

Someone at the TWC has great taste in music- even the jazzy music is tight.
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1327. pottery
Quoting kmanislander:
Good evening all

This TD has lead me to question some of the graphics I have been seeing online. For instance look at the graphic below for sea level pressure.

It shows the 1004 mb isobar passing right through Grand Cayman approximately yet we know that all afternoon and currently the pressure has been sub 1000 mb. In fact it is 998 right now. Who comes up with these images and on what basis ?. This one is obviously incorrect.


Good point!
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24388
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Off to bed all, I have a golf course to look at in the morning. Be well and Be safe. And lastly have some fun.
Member Since: September 12, 2010 Posts: 70 Comments: 10822
Quoting KoritheMan:
For anyone interested, here's my latest blog entry on TD16. Tell me what you think.


Nice write up, thanks. ASCAT was blank, but that just may be my browser.
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Hi everybody, Lake Worth here, SE Palm Beach County, FL. Winds picking up, we've already had some minor flooding tonight.
I'm looking forward to a Fay or Ernesto-type storm, we need water badly :)
However, as nash wisely said, NOOA weather radios on alert mode for possible tornadoes. For those who are new here and think this will be no big deal (I hope they are right), I warmly recommend to be safe by listing to the advisories and please, do not drive on flooded roads. Remember that TS Fay killed people who didn't heed the warnings and either went surfing or drove their vehicles to flood areas thinking there was a road beneath their car and got stuck. It's not the wind that'll be the biggest threat, it's the rip currents and flooding when you can't see where the road is and you'll might get into trouble.
Stay safe and prepared, every storm is potentially dangerous, STD, TD or a named storm will spawn unexpected tornadoes more often than than not.
Thanks for all the great info you're posting on this blog :)
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Evening Everyone!
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1320. pottery
Quoting kmanhurricaneman:
i believe from analysing sat images there were three LLC's nhc has one targeted right that will be moving over cuba and into florida the other two has consolidated and is located just west of jamaica, this will be where nicole is born, movement will be to the east possible over jamaica then over the eastern most part of cuba over the T&C islands skirt the east coast of florida and into carolina's as a cat 2 hurricane, i hope iam wrong but thats my take. ps dont flame me or call me names I WILL RETALIATE....... thank you LOL

I think that a Cat.2 is a bit overblown ...
The storm will cross Cuba and be affected by the terrain there, and skirt the Florida coast as well....
Cat1 at the most, IMO.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24388
Good evening all

This TD has lead me to question some of the graphics I have been seeing online. For instance look at the graphic below for sea level pressure.

It shows the 1004 mb isobar passing right through Grand Cayman approximately yet we know that all afternoon and currently the pressure has been sub 1000 mb. In fact it is 998 right now. Who comes up with these images and on what basis ?. This one is obviously incorrect.

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Quoting BahaHurican:
Really getting a "calm before the storm" feeling...


Funny you should say that . . . . It's what prompted me to wax Shakespearian with the gentle rain from heaven bit.

Thanks to Presslord's reminder, I have a 5-gallon bucket out there and a ruler on the kitchen counter. Tomorrow I'll post just how gentle it was through the night.
Member Since: July 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 41
Quoting pilotguy1:
Let's see can we have a post about the weather?
I'd have to say that the lesson to be learned here is not to get hyper over the 7-14 day out models. 7-14 days ago we were looking at a Category Catastrophe Hurricane and instead it looks like a Category zero possible rain and flooding event. Those computer spitballs didn't hit their target, this time. Those pesky models appaantly failed to measure the strength of the trof. Perhaps some actual obs from long-range G-IV missions might have helped improve the model output.
Member Since: August 3, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 5607
1315. KBH
does anyone have any projected rainfall amounts for this system east of B'dos?
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1314. surfmom
Quoting CaptnDan142:


Actually, the only one I have ever really gotten close to ignoring is off tonight.

Everybody is worth listening to - just for different reasons.
;-)
ahunnnn - I'd say that works for me too - fascinating studying the weather inside & out~

TD16 doesn't bring any wave play to SWFL : (
- only "Blast in the Brine"* (*thx Pottery) we will see on the Gomex will have lots of N/NE winds on it (: ( Thursday (the only day) with a NW fetch. Gulf Temp 86
No wet suits : )
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Let me spell this out:
1) A stationary front stalled over C FL, with a deep trough of Low pressure off to your west..
2) Upper level winds are SE east of the front and SW behind the front= wind shear= rotating cells, possible tornadoes..
3) TD 16 pumping up deep tropical moisture from the SE piling up in front of the stationary front = torrential rain.

Please, keep a close eye on this weather for the next 36 hrs!!!
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Quoting KoritheMan:
For anyone interested, here's my latest blog entry on TD16. Tell me what you think.


Good one - Thanks. :-)
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1311. Seastep
Quoting kmanhurricaneman:
i believe from analysing sat images there were three LLC's nhc has one targeted right that will be moving over cuba and into florida the other two has consolidated and is located just west of jamaica, this will be where nicole is born, movement will be to the east possible over jamaica then over the eastern most part of cuba over the T&C islands skirt the east coast of florida and into carolina's as a cat 2 hurricane, i hope iam wrong but thats my take. ps dont flame me or call me names I WILL RETALIATE....... thank you LOL


It ain't that kinda room tonight... relax.
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1310. pottery
Quoting BahaHurican:
BTW, it's wonderfully clear here tonight, with light and balmy breezes (mostly from the E and SE. Quite cool it's been by comparison with some recent Sept 28's....

I'm going to look for some rain boots for tomorrow and Thursday, though. Looks like we're going to get the worst of the rain. Hope we don't have too many car accidents - pple sometimes forget that one drives differently when it's raining cows and horses as opposed to the regular cats and dogs....

Really getting a "calm before the storm" feeling...

Nice and clear skies here too the last few nights, Baha.
The MilkyWay was fantastic last night.
Hope the rains are not too heavy, when they get there....
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24388
Quoting Skyepony:


spathy~ I should bring my seedlings in.. Tomatoes, atleast up here started a month ago.

PSLFL~ probably not much. Like JupiterFL (who I'd guess ain't making it home) there's the porch furniture & loose ends.


True, true. Always something to keep safe from the weather. Good fortune with the seedlings.
Member Since: July 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414
1307. Ookla
Quoting stormwatcherCI:


Good night everyone. I see two areas of decent vort in the central/eastern Atlantic.

Some people have been pointing those out from time to time. There's no real chance of those getting all the way to the US, though, right? I can ignore?
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Quoting pilotguy1:


Huh. I don't see a lot of forecasting here.


Too much head-scratching going on for that I think. Everybody still trying to get a handle on what it is, before they figure out what it might do.

Unusual system, and all the action from the front isn't helping to clarify matters at all.
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BTW, it's wonderfully clear here tonight, with light and balmy breezes (mostly from the E and SE. Quite cool it's been by comparison with some recent Sept 28's....

I'm going to look for some rain boots for tomorrow and Thursday, though. Looks like we're going to get the worst of the rain. Hope we don't have too many car accidents - pple sometimes forget that one drives differently when it's raining cows and horses as opposed to the regular cats and dogs....

Really getting a "calm before the storm" feeling...
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1303. Skyepony (Mod)
Off to go watch that line of showers move in..

Hurricane statement for parts of ECFL
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 173 Comments: 38151
I'll be keeping tabs on TD 16. I've got family in Daytona Beach, FL, and we're expected to get 2.5" plus here in Saratoga Springs, NY from what's left of TD 16. Going to be an interesting week.
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Quoting TriMOPER:
Thanks Taz



any time
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i believe from analysing sat images there were three LLC's nhc has one targeted right that will be moving over cuba and into florida the other two has consolidated and is located just west of jamaica, this will be where nicole is born, movement will be to the east possible over jamaica then over the eastern most part of cuba over the T&C islands skirt the east coast of florida and into carolina's as a cat 2 hurricane, i hope iam wrong but thats my take. ps dont flame me or call me names I WILL RETALIATE....... thank you LOL
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Just jumpin' in out of lurking to say thanks for the great blog tonite - best of the year! Great job everyone!
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1297. pottery
Quoting NRAamy:
Pott, my non-husband! Post 1269 made me snort!

Now where's my dinner?!


On the Table--
TS stew, Jauntilly Sprinkled with Rain.
Served with RotatingVortices and Flashes of Hot Lightening.

For Desert, Tornado Warning Pie, with Promises of Saturation.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24388
Quoting JupiterFL:
I have a 3:45 flight from San Juan to Fort Laudy tomorrow. New poll on the chances of me getting home tomorrow.
1) Great because Spirit doesn't care about dangerous conditions.
2) Good because if I pay a bad weather fee, they will take me.
3) Bad because everyone already changed their flights and they are too cheap to fly a half empty plane.
4) Cancelled because the pilot is too drunk on Medalla and DonQ to fly the plane in rain.
Good because they'll likely fly NE of the heaviest rain and come in to FLL from the N.... lol

Good evening all.
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Mmm I noticed through out my trip though the midatlantic that the trees are turning colors early just like last year,and the birds are also going down south early.Now I know some forecaters are aying we could have a warm winter.But not so fast I don't thik so.Nature is already telig us.Anyway I see that Mexico is under the gun again dueto the remnants of Matthew.T.D sixteen looks like a huge ran maker for florid and the mid-atlantic to new england.We are already on the 16 depression of the yar we stil ha more storms to go.Mmmm could we see 20?.Maybe.
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1293. Skyepony (Mod)


spathy~ I should bring my seedlings in.. Tomatoes, atleast up here started a month ago.

PSLFL~ probably not much. Like JupiterFL (who I'd guess ain't making it home) there's the porch furniture & loose ends.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 173 Comments: 38151
Quoting GoWVU:
I got almost 6 inches of rain in my backyard on Sunday and Monday here in Goose Creek. Just got all the extra water out of my pool this evening, dont know how much more we can take here with out not so good things happening in the Charleston/Berk/Dorchester county areas.


Did not measure but would not be surprised to know we had close to that here near the GC reservoir. Dug out more of the sump pump pit on the backyard, cleaned the pump, checked connections, best I can do right now.
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1290. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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Thanks Taz
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jamacia getting hit my some vvheavy weather
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1285. nash28
Ok gang. 4am comes early. Off to bed. Stay safe friends in FL tonight!

Back in the am.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972

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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.