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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TD #16 is very close to TS status
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Quoting stillwaiting:
....it was accident,im using a droid phone and the dumb thing changes words on ya sometimes if you don't spell something correctly or its not even a word(like coc ),so cock was close,I didn't see it,when I did I changed it!!!

I have droid too and used to hate that. i changed it. You can change it from doing that in your settings.
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 467
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Wonder if\how much the models will change based on a center relocation.
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I do not understand how we can talk about Otto when we don't even have Nicole..
Just wondering
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I checked official rainfall observations at various airports in Dade and Broward Counties. So far at most 1.5 - 2 inches of rain. This is looking to be an ever so slightly stronger version of Bonnie from early August which was a joke considering all the fear mongering in the news on that one.
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Breaking news for Jamaica

Link
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2377. divdog
Quoting IKE:
Looks like the dry air is advancing east toward Florida...

looks like a great majority of the storms are already due south or east of florida and the storm is moving nne. They may still miss alot of the rain this storm has to offer.
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good morning Jeff. yes indeed. I wonder though how many tropical systems might make it to the west coast of florida?

if the positioning of the trough is as it is now, more storms to probably go to south florida.

in fact I heard that Otto now looks to threaten south florida and not the west coast of florida
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My guess is the center is at
81.8w and 21.5n just east/southeast of the Isle of Youth.
Near the center of calm. The thunderstorms have formed mainly on the NE thru the SW side of this area.
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Surface obs on the RAMSDIS visible indicate the center has indeed relocated to that POS.

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2373. A4Guy
Quoting afj3:

I read somewhere that hurricanes are actually beneficial to the earth's atmosphere...


Most, if not all, of what mother nature does is beneficial to the earth. Acts of nature are a problem for humans that have built things in her way....but hurricanes serve a several very important purposes: transporting heat out of the tropics, and clearing old trees, foliage, etc. to make way for new, more robust growth. Hurricanes totally defoliate trees when they pass, allowing sunlight to reach the ground in overgrown areas...which in turn, allows new plants and trees to grow.
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TD #16 is very close to Tropical Storm status.
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Good Morning......TD 16 might be a disorganized mess, from a cyclone prespective, but those "proto" rain bands over Cuba, Jamaica and the Caribbean slowly drifting to the North are the most wicked I have seen in a long time...MAJOR life threatening flood threats for those folks.......Could potentially bring a death toll higher that a Cat 1 or 2 Cane.
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Quoting kmanislander:
Another round of very heavy weather coming in from the SW any moment now. Just heard that Cayman Prep is closed today.



Good morning Kman, StormWatcherCI and everyone else.

CIS is now as well - though as the decision was being based on the Governments decision on public schools they already had staff and some kids on site by the time the decision was made (including mine but her mums a teacher so I don't have to rush back from the office just yet).
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Quoting BobinTampa:


Tampa is still pitching a virtual shutout. Haven't gotten much at all.
,had one band fall apart around here(srq)around 3pm yesterday,less than .10 ......local area shields holding a 100%,lol
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Quoting Bobbyweather:
8:00 AM EDT Wed Sep 29
Location: 22.6°N 81.4°W

LATCUR = 21.9N LONCUR = 80.9W

TD 16 has relocated its center again to the ESE to SE.


If that be the case, it could become a lot better organized than currently advertised.
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2367. IKE
Looks like the dry air is advancing east toward Florida...

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I'm guessing TD16 relocated to over water
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2365. afj3
Quoting cat5hurricane:
Mother Nature always seems to have a way to work itself out.

I read somewhere that hurricanes are actually beneficial to the earth's atmosphere...
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Looking at this trough advancing to the cyclones west, I wonder if we'll ever get a FL Landfall?

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2363. divdog
Quoting Jeff9641:
In Orlando yesterday many areas picked up 2.5 to 7" of rain in a very short amount of time. As tropical moisture bumped up against a stalled front and now TD 16 should bring more rain later today.
and then you are done with the rain. no more rain in the 10 day forecast.
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8:00 AM EDT Wed Sep 29
Location: 22.6°N 81.4°W

LATCUR = 21.9N LONCUR = 80.9W

TD 16 has relocated its center again to the ESE to SE.
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Quoting lickitysplit:
Surprised to see our TD falling apart this morning. I thought we'd have nichole by now.


One word, Cuba. I see then center in the relocated position, moving slowly NNE. Better find some water soon, the relocation kicked the crutches out from under TD16.
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Also if the center is indeed developing south of Cuba then the heavy rains in South Florida are just begining and could continue thru Thursday unless it moves north just east of South Florida which would keep the heaviest rains in the Bahamas.

Look for updates to the local forecasts in Miami as they have only scatterd storms for tonight and tommorrow
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I'm out for now, Pressure still coming up but don't know for how long. 997.6 mbs.

Back later. Nasty weather all day on tap.
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Quoting sammywammybamy:


Please remove that word.
....it was accident,im using a droid phone and the dumb thing changes words on ya sometimes if you don't spell something correctly or its not even a word(like coc ),so cock was close,I didn't see it,when I did I changed it!!!
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I am in Oakland Park, FL in Broward County. So far steady moderate to occasionally heavy rain. No wind to speak of so far. It looks like the actual weather with this system is mostly past us and we have one more blob of rain to go through, which is supposed to be the worst of it and then its over. Strange year. This will be the second time this year we have a direct landfall of a tropical system in SE Florida, yet both turned out the be complete duds ( Thank God )
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AL, 16, 2010092912, , BEST, 0, 219N, 809W, 30, 996, TD, 34, NEQ, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1003, 360, 150, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, SIXTEEN, D,

It is still a TD with pressure of 996 mb.
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Shields still up for the GOM.
TD16 is so goofy-looking no-way to really get a good handle on it. Safe bet that it won't bring much wind to Florida.
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2353. breald
Morning.

It looks like this is going to be a inland weather event once it gets into North Carolina.
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2352. dmh1026
TD 16 looks like a big disorganized mess. I don't see Nicole coming from this...yet...
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Quoting Jeff9641:
It appears the center of TD 16 is relocating Between The Isle Of Youth and Grand Cayman.
starting to look impressive too
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2350. afj3
Maybe this sloppy and wet system is just what South Florida needs going into the dry season. Lots of rain yet no real wind. Let it fill up the Lake and the Everglades...
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Quoting Jeff9641:
In Orlando yesterday many areas picked up 2.5 to 7" of rain in a very short amount of time. As tropical moisture bumped up against a stalled front and now TD 16 should bring more rain later today.


Tampa is still pitching a virtual shutout. Haven't gotten much at all.
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 527
Surprised to see our TD falling apart this morning. I thought we'd have nichole by now.
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Could there be another low forming north of Honduras or is this associated with TD16?
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2344. srada
Quoting TWC..they said the satellite imagery isnt impressive at all for TD16 BUT if the HH fly into this thing today and find winds of TS strength, it will get upgraded..per TWC..

SN: Jim Cantore sounds upset that Florida is having a non event..per his words..
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Quoting kmanislander:


LOL. I checked on the power on your end of the island. The fault on the line has been isolated and most customers are back on. Crews were out all night.
Yes. It came back on just after 6. Good thing it wasn't too hot last night.
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Anyone notice anything intersting on kw radar,td16's coc appears to be about 50miles to the east of kw...anyone???,bueller???
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Quoting Saltydogbwi1:


Gust of 42 mph recorded at the airport whats the highest on your station so far kman? as i dont entirely trust the airport guage entirely lol


39 about 3 minutes ago
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Everyone stay safe. Be lurking later.
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2338. ackee
anyone notice that the GFS,NAM and ECmwf hint possble low forming SW of jamaica would not be suprise give lot convection and vorticity
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
You know I don't like you. LOL


LOL. I checked on the power on your end of the island. The fault on the line has been isolated and most customers are back on. Crews were out all night.
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The HPC 06Z surface map may be a better reflection of the actual condition.


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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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