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 newportrinative:


So far SFLA schools are still open tomorrow but the news states they are watching the system.


didnt channel 7 just syas public schools r closed?
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Quoting Hurricanes101:
recon is clearly having issues with the surface winds

a lot of the surface wind observations are questionable


They're flying low enough, though, so the 90% of flight level "rule" should be pretty accurate.
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Quite disorganized.

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Quoting docrod:
Question about the 7-mile bridge (FL Keys)

Anyone know at what wind velocity it is closed?
-thanks
i dont think we issue closing until winds are constant above 50 mphwe stop our emergency vehicles in key west above 45
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Quoting TOMSEFLA:
s fla schools for wed?


So far SFLA schools are still open tomorrow but the news states they are watching the system.
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Flood Watch issued farther north into Central Florida... At 414 PM, the NWS Melbourne had issued a Flood Watch for Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Brevard Counties (Includes Orlando, Sanford, Kissimmee, Titusville, Melbourne and Palm Bay) in addition to Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, and Okeechobee that was issued earlier.
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Quoting Clearwater1:
No, which model changed west?


a lot did

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Quoting NRAamy:
Damn you, TampaTom! Now I have that song in my head!!!




Ok, then as a courtesy, I'm not going to say anything about The Chicken Dance.

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Photobucket
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Hey everyone. What can we expect in Tampa from future Nicole? I'm seeing differing opinions on television.
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Quoting sammywammybamy:


Too bad they dont play well anywhere else.

Hey Sammy its the atmosphere here, the players like it hot & humid. Besides they are alot of Steelers fans down here, & they must enjoy beating the crap out of us, kinda the same thing when yankees are in town. Like I say the atmosphere here is just right.
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


have you seen the latest models shifting west?
No, which model changed west?
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Quoting NRAamy:
Damn you, TampaTom! Now I have that song in my head!!!

Only solution to get rid of a song in your head is to sing it out loud. Had to do it once at 3am when some inane song kept me awake. And it worked!
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Quoting Saltydogbwi1:


actually pressures are lower here in cayman
Link


Pressure looks good, but the sustained SW wind leads me to believe the center is to your NW.
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Quoting Clearwater1:
Very little, if any effects. of course, if the track change, (unlikely) then we would have to be concerned. imo


have you seen the latest models shifting west?
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StormChaser sounds like a female
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Quoting TampaFLUSA:
Any thoughts on the Tampa area anyone?
Very little, if any effects. of course, if the track change, (unlikely) then we would have to be concerned. imo
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s fla schools for wed?
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Quoting StormChaser81:


I mean you guys take comments so seriously.

A troll, if that's what you want to call me, so be it.


Well yeah, we do take it seriously. We're here to share thoughts, get info, to learn, and to hang out with people who are interested in Tropical Weather. People such as yourself make it feel like we're sitting at the kids table at Thanksgiving.
Received a half inch in Sarasota with that last line of showers that went through.
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Question about the 7-mile bridge (FL Keys)

Anyone know at what wind velocity it is closed?
-thanks
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recon is clearly having issues with the surface winds

a lot of the surface wind observations are questionable
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Quoting BobinTampa:


I played golf the day Barry came through. He was very Bonnie-ish.

Barry dumped a lot of rain in my neighborhood, the streets were flooded as I was driving to work. Rainfall rate must have been 5in./hr of course it lasted less than that, after that it cleared out rather nicely.
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Damn you, TampaTom! Now I have that song in my head!!!

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155. maeko
Emergency Operations Center in Charleston County, SC is preparing to activate. They just got the calls to be on stand-by.
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Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26512
Quoting Neapolitan:


Okay, let's try this again:

Please, if you have the time and the inclination, listen to Dr. Masters on the Hurricane Haven here at 4 p.m. ET, 1 p.m. PT. And pretty please with sugar on top, call in with questions at 415-983-2634, or we implore you on humble and bended knee to please write questions to broadcast@wunderground.com


Better?


Haha Well ,now I wouldn't listen because he is begging. I hate begging men! ;)
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 474
Will the trough continue to dig in the next 10 days, if not wouldnt that bring systems more toward Fla?
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Quoting FLHurricaneHunter:
Officially no school for American Heritage tomorrow. Just received call. School is private school located in Plantation, FL. ~ Broward county


i went to a turnament their last weekend
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Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
Tampa will get some weather tonight as the warm front located over central Florida moves north and intensifies, but shouldn't get much of anything but a pleasant north breeze around 20 mph and a few wrap-around showers.


If the storm comes in on the West coast of Florida like the models are trending, it could be a different story
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Quoting Neapolitan:


Okay, let's try this again:

Please, if you have the time and the inclination, listen to Dr. Masters on the Hurricane Haven here at 4 p.m. ET, 1 p.m. PT. And pretty please with sugar on top, call in with questions at 415-983-2634, or we implore you on humble and bended knee to please write questions to broadcast@wunderground.com


Better?
Neo is da bomb....
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Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
Dr. Masters, can you please give your opinion on the front beginning to retrograde to the west over Florida? Models were not anticipating this to happen for 50 hours.


email it to the email address provided...Maybe he'll talk about it now...
Member Since: August 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 376
Quoting StormChaser81:
I love making trouble. You guys are fun to piss off.


Oh. So you publicly admit to being a troll, then? That's very honest and open of you... :-)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13744
Quoting Neapolitan:


Okay, let's try this again:

Please, if you have the time and the inclination, listen to Dr. Masters on the Hurricane Haven here at 4 p.m. ET, 1 p.m. PT. And pretty please with sugar on top, call in with questions at 415-983-2634, or we implore you on humble and bended knee to please write questions to broadcast@wunderground.com


Better?


LOL...Humor is the best medicine
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Quoting reedzone:
Ya know, Wundercaymankid may not be too far off, the center may be between those two convective clusters south of 20N around 82W.

If that's where the center is, then this storm is organizing well and should be a TS now.. That's IF this is where the center is. He did mention pressure was falling at a good rate as well.


So Reedzone what does that do in terms of the track of the system, if indeed th center has relocated South?
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Officially no school for American Heritage tomorrow. Just received call. School is private school located in Plantation, FL. ~ Broward county
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Quoting BobinTampa:


I played golf the day Barry came through. He was very Bonnie-ish.


Barry provided a better soaking than Bonnie did in my area. Looks like TD16/Nicole will provide even better.
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Dr. Masters, can you please give your opinion on the front beginning to retrograde to the west over Florida? Models were not anticipating this to happen for 50 hours.
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Quoting StormChaser81:


To be like this is my blog and I can do anything I please, is unprofessional.


Okay, let's try this again:

Please, if you have the time and the inclination, listen to Dr. Masters on the Hurricane Haven here at 4 p.m. ET, 1 p.m. PT. And pretty please with sugar on top, call in with questions at 415-983-2634, or we implore you on humble and bended knee to please write questions to broadcast@wunderground.com


Better?
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13744
Quoting P451:


Nicole or not look at all that moisture streaming northward. East Coast really seems poised to get some very much needed rains.


probably too much at that, especially for NC
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Question for Hurricane Haven:

Is the size of storms in the Atlantic basin limited by the size of the area, the heat revervoir, while even at the same lattitudes,..in the North West PAcific can grow to so much lerger sizes,...e.g. Tip.

Does anyone know why the sizes are or can be, so different?
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It looks like to me the lowest pressure is to the east of Cayman Islands, but its VERY spread out. The entire pass on the recon was all 999 mb.

Very sub-tropical indeed.
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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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