Nicole's precursor moisture dumping epic rains on North Carolina

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:29 PM GMT on September 29, 2010

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The season's fourteenth named storm, Tropical Storm Nicole, is here, but not for long. Observations from the Hurricane Hunters and satellite imagery show that the storm is being stretched along a north-south axis as it gets absorbed into a trough of low pressure along the U.S. East Coast. A separate extratropical storm is developing along a stalled-out front along the coast of South and North Carolina, and much of Nicole's moisture and energy will begin feeding into this new storm today and Thursday, leading to the demise of Nicole by Thursday. Nicole continues to dump torrential rains on Jamaica, Cuba, the Cayman Islands, South Florida, and the western Bahamas as it tracks steadily north-northeastwards up the U.S. East Coast. Some rain amounts from Nicole since yesterday morning include 9.14" at Plantation Key, FL and 8.47" at Irwindale in western Jamaica. In Southeast Florida, radar-estimated rainfall amounts of 4 - 10" are common across the coast (Figure 1.)

Surface observations don't show any winds in excess of 25 mph near the center of Nicole, and the strongest winds are located several hundred miles southeast of the center. Some of the stronger winds measured today were at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (39 mph, gusting to 53 mph) and Cayman Brac Island in the Grand Caymans (33 mph, gusting to 43 mph).


Figure 1. Radar-estimated precipitation for South Florida. Nicole has brought over ten inches of rain to the Middle and Upper Keys.

Extreme rainfall for eastern North Carolina
In North Carolina, the the precursor moisture from Nicole has generated an epic rainfall event. Wilmington, NC has measured 15.83 inches of rain over the past three days, as of 4pm EDT. This is the city's second highest 3-day total in history, behind the 19.06" that fell in September 1999 during Hurricane Floyd. The non-tropical low pressure system developing along the South Carolina/North Carolina coast today will move northwards, giving North and South Carolina an additional blast of heavy rain tonight, which will be followed by more heavy rain from Nicole (or Nicole's remains) Thursday morning. By the time the rains from Nicole finally clear the area Thursday afternoon, an extra 5 - 10 inches will have fallen, and Wilmington will be looking at a 4-day rainfall total of 20 - 25 inches, the highest in recorded history there. Severe and damaging flooding is likely today and tomorrow from the record rains. Fortunately, eastern North Carolina was under moderate drought conditions prior to this week's rainfall onslaught, so the flooding damage will not be as great as the billions of dollars of damage wrought by Hurricane Floyd.


Figure 2. Radar-estimated precipitation for North Carolina since Saturday shows that the precursor moisture from Nicole has brought widespread rain amounts in excess of eight inches to eastern North Carolina, with over fifteen inches (white colors surrounded by dark purple) near Wilmington.

Elsewhere in the tropics
A tropical wave a few hundred miles east of the Lesser Antilles Islands is generating a modest amount of disorganized heavy thunderstorms. The wave is under a moderate 10 - 20 knots of wind shear, and has some dry air to the northwest of it that is interfering with development. None of the models develop this disturbance, and NHC is giving it a 10% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Friday. The wave is headed into a region of higher wind shear, and is not likely to develop.

Another tropical wave located about 900 miles west-southwest of the Cape Verdes Islands is more of a threat. This wave is currently moving west at 15 - 20 mph, and is generating a large area of disorganized heavy thunderstorms. Wind shear is 10 - 20 knots over the wave, and shear is forecast to decline by late this week. The latest 2am EDT runs of the NOGAPS and GFS models show some slow development of the wave late this week, and the storm is forecast to pass near the northern Lesser Antilles Islands on Sunday or Monday. NHC is giving the wave a 10% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Friday.

Disturbed weather will continue in the Western Caribbean for at least the next ten days, and the NOGAPS and GFS models continue to predict that the region could spawn a tropical depression 6 - 7 days from now. However, the models are being less aggressive about such a development than in yesterday's runs, and the models have not been consistent about the timing or location of such a storm.

Next update
I'll have an update Thursday morning.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Grothar:
...anyone from South East Florida see that strange sunset when everything turned orange. Wasn't on last night, so don't know if anyone mentioned it. It was really some sight.


Lots of people mentioned it, and some even had photos. I'm on the SW coast, and the sunset was amazingly beautiful. Just goes to show what the right combination of clouds, mositure, and dust can do to refracted sunlight...
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1151. Grothar
Quoting breald:


Yeah that looks pretty nasty.


Yea, it does. Think we should all save blog time and get the questions out of the way now?

1. Think it will stay west
2. Think it will pump the ridge?
3. Think it will be named on the 11 AM
4. Think it will be subtropical, extra-
tropical or tropical.
5. Think it will go through the Heberts Box?

I know I forgot a few.
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1150. Grothar
Quoting breald:


?? Where do you see that?


On his site.
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1148. breald
Quoting MahFL:
I see StormW is calling himself a Meteorologist, don't you need a degree to do that ?


?? Where do you see that?
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1147. Grothar
Quoting Gearsts:
Thats 97L they are merging


Thanks, I thought it was odd. I hate being confused so early in the morning.

Hey, anyone from South East Florida see that strange sunset when everything turned orange. Wasn't on last night, so don't know if anyone mentioned it. It was really some sight.
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1145. breald
Quoting Grothar:
97L, and I thought it was going to be a dull week.



Yeah that looks pretty nasty.
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1144. Grothar
97L, and I thought it was going to be a dull week.

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1143. breald
Morning everyone. It looks like a pretty mess day ahead for North Carolina. Stay safe down there.
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1142. Gearsts
Quoting Grothar:
OK, mabye somebody can s'plain why there is an orange circle on the system closest to the Antilles, but no circle on Invest 97L? Just a computer glitch, or are they trying to do catch up????

Thats 97L they are merging
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1141. WxLogic
AL, 97, 2010093006, , BEST, 0, 131N, 432W, 25, 1009, DB, 34, NEQ, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1012, 150, 60, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S
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1140. Grothar
Quoting pottery:

Good Morning all.
Yeah. Watching as it very slooowwwly approaches.
If it can get a little North in the next 24 hrs, this hot dry weather will continue.
If it comes overhead, it will probably be named Orca (not Otto), and be really Dread!

Have to go out and dig some holes in the garden. The Higher Authority is waiting on my Braun....


It ain't easy being green, eh pot? LOL
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Quoting SaintPatrick:
I just tried to go to StormW's new website and it told me this...

The Potentially Damaging Content category is restricted.(See the Options section below for more info) Sites in this category may pose a security threat to network resources or private information, and are blocked by your organization.
LinkGood morning and here is the link. Works ok for me.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8272
1138. pottery
Quoting DDR:

hi gordy,we're watching it so dont worry,it shouldnt be much more than a rain maker here.

Good Morning all.
Yeah. Watching as it very slooowwwly approaches.
If it can get a little North in the next 24 hrs, this hot dry weather will continue.
If it comes overhead, it will probably be named Orca (not Otto), and be really Dread!

Have to go out and dig some holes in the garden. The Higher Authority is waiting on my Braun....
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I hope that blob that over Jamaica doesn't go set itself up over Haiti, all the nasty weather is moving East and very close to being directly over them.
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1136. Grothar
OK, mabye somebody can s'plain why there is an orange circle on the system closest to the Antilles, but no circle on Invest 97L? Just a computer glitch, or are they trying to do catch up????

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1135. DDR
Quoting QMiami:
2 areas are now one at 30%


oh,thanks for posting
I'm watching,hoping we don't get too much rain...
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1134. MahFL
That's a Tornado Watch box, not a warning. Individual warnings are issued when a thunderstorm looks like it might be producing, or is producing a tornado, based on radar and/or ground reports.
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sat morning the swamp behind my farm was bone dry, normally it is about 6 feet deep, 700 yards across, today it looks like the mississippi
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1131. QMiami
2 areas are now one at 30%

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1130. mnborn
Quoting SaintPatrick:
I just tried to go to StormW's new website and it told me this...

The Potentially Damaging Content category is restricted.(See the Options section below for more info) Sites in this category may pose a security threat to network resources or private information, and are blocked by your organization.
-try stormw.com
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1129. DDR
Quoting gordydunnot:
Well the satellite all ready changed a hair but it looks like Pottery needs a heads up for sure.

hi gordy,we're watching it so dont worry,it shouldnt be much more than a rain maker here.
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Off to work. I knew I should have taken up the dealer on the pontoon/outboard option on my pickup.....
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000
ABNT20 KNHC 301143
TWOAT
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 AM EDT THU SEP 30 2010

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

A LARGE AREA OF DISTURBED WEATHER...ASSOCIATED WITH TWO TROPICAL
WAVES...IS CENTERED ABOUT 800 MILES EAST OF THE WINDWARD ISLANDS.
SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS IN THIS AREA ARE CURRENTLY
DISORGANIZED...BUT UPPER-LEVEL WINDS ARE FORECAST TO BE MARGINALLY
FAVORABLE FOR DEVELOPMENT AS THE SYSTEM MOVES WEST-NORTHWESTWARD
AROUND 15 MPH. THERE IS A MEDIUM CHANCE...30 PERCENT...OF THIS
SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER PASCH
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Beaufort, North Carolina (Airport)
Updated: 7:37 AM EDT on September 30, 2010
Rain
79 °F
Rain Mist
Humidity: 89%
Dew Point: 75 °F
Wind: 17 mph from the SSE
Wind Gust: 38 mph
Pressure: 29.58 in (Steady)
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1125. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127628
1124. Patrap
College of DuPage Meteorology
Severe Weather and Flash Flood Warnings




Since 4:25 EST Am


TORNADO WARNING WAKEFIELD VA - KAKQ 716 AM EDT THU SEP 30 2010
TORNADO WARNING NEWPORT/MOREHEAD CITY NC - KMHX 707 AM EDT THU SEP 30 2010
FLASH FLOOD WARNING BLACKSBURG VA - KRNK 706 AM EDT THU SEP 30 2010
SVR T-STORM WARNING WILMINGTON NC - KILM 651 AM EDT THU SEP 30 2010
FLASH FLOOD WARNING BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC - KLWX 639 AM EDT THU SEP 30 2010
FLASH FLOOD WARNING BLACKSBURG VA - KRNK 627 AM EDT THU SEP 30 2010
TORNADO WARNING WAKEFIELD VA - KAKQ 627 AM EDT THU SEP 30 2010
TORNADO WARNING BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC - KLWX 617 AM EDT THU SEP 30 2010
TORNADO WARNING WAKEFIELD VA - KAKQ 547 AM EDT THU SEP 30 2010
FLASH FLOOD WARNING RALEIGH NC - KRAH 545 AM EDT THU SEP 30 2010
FLASH FLOOD WARNING WAKEFIELD VA - KAKQ 525 AM EDT THU SEP 30 2010
TORNADO WARNING WAKEFIELD VA - KAKQ 524 AM EDT THU SEP 30 2010
TORNADO WARNING WAKEFIELD VA - KAKQ 518 AM EDT THU SEP 30 2010
FLASH FLOOD WARNING BLACKSBURG VA - KRNK 513 AM EDT THU SEP 30 2010
TORNADO WARNING WAKEFIELD VA - KAKQ 513 AM EDT THU SEP 30 2010
TORNADO WARNING WAKEFIELD VA - KAKQ 459 AM EDT THU SEP 30 2010
FLASH FLOOD WARNING BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC - KLWX 457 AM EDT THU SEP 30 2010
FLASH FLOOD WARNING BLACKSBURG VA - KRNK 457 AM EDT THU SEP 30 2010
TORNADO WARNING WAKEFIELD VA - KAKQ 443 AM EDT THU SEP 30 2010
FLASH FLOOD WARNING RALEIGH NC - KRAH 429 AM EDT THU SEP 30 2010
TORNADO WARNING WAKEFIELD VA - KAKQ 425 AM EDT THU SEP 30 2010

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1123. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127628
doomsdayers dont fear. part of the 2012 gig includes giant landfalling cyclones rest up good practice time
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Quoting IKE:


Which in turn led to all of the problems he had on here.

The pattern change that did happen is fall along the northern gulf coast.


And man was it relentless........requiring "Proof" from those that didn't believe it or those that argued after weeks that it wasnt happening. There was alot of "LMAO" quotes also directed at those that shrugged the idea.
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Well - we have good drainage, but probably GOO drainage too from all the storm drains, LOL.
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Morning all.

Bayside - are you hanging in there? Was up in Hampton working yesterday and the rain was torrential at times. Doing fine so far down here in VA Beach, though my personal rain gauge has 3 more inches in it than the "official one" at Norfolk International, LOL. Creek is up a tiny bit on the far side with the lower bank, but so far we've got goo drainage into the Lynnhaven - will see what happens as the tide comes up, LOL.
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There have been tropical storms with their status being rescinded, yes.

Mike in 1950 was the first (incidentally, while the system designated 'Mike' was found out later to be non-tropical, there was a TS12 anyway, which would have been named Mike if it was found in season.)

And with short named systems, again, refer to Landsea's article.

Part of it is due to an active season.

Part of it isn't. (and nothing to do with conspiracies...)
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Time to run out the door. Have a terrific Thursday everyone! See ya'll tonight.
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i don't think i have ever seen a tornado warning as big as the one draped across the carolinas' . i realize tornado activity is possible anywhere in the wind field of a land falling hurricane....but as far as a designated non-hurricane tornado warning area i have never seen one that big.
Member Since: September 20, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 365
Quoting capefearspt:
Definitely want to go slow...hydroplaning isn't fun


Especially if there's an abrupt stop or sudden plunge over and down..
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1114. K8eCane
Sam Champion from Good Morning America is at one of our local beaches broadcasting....wow
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Definitely want to go slow...hydroplaning isn't fun
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I give up have a nice day look at 10n 48w if you are interested in tropical weather today and not cold fronts.
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Quoting cre13:
I'm in Northeastern NC and the wind is howling and we're having very torrential downpours. I've seen some flooding in errors you typically see under water during a heavy thunderstorm and ditches along US Hwy 17 are at their brim. By the time this afternoon rolls around the roads probably will be under water; getting home from work might be interesting.


Stay safe. Remember the phrase, 'Turn around, don't drown.' Get a hotel room if you need and treat yourself to a nice dinner.
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Quoting MahFL:


Dream on, they never learn.....


And the foolish ones like this are the first and loudest to complain, and keep complaining. Sad that the ones who prepare take it in stride and say thank you to all who try to help them.
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1107. cre13
I'm in Northeastern NC and the wind is howling and we're having very torrential downpours. I've seen some flooding in errors you typically see under water during a heavy thunderstorm and ditches along US Hwy 17 are at their brim. By the time this afternoon rolls around the roads probably will be under water; getting home from work might be interesting.
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Quoting SaintPatrick:
I just tried to go to StormW's new website and it told me this...

The Potentially Damaging Content category is restricted.(See the Options section below for more info) Sites in this category may pose a security threat to network resources or private information, and are blocked by your organization.


I was just there? Are you going through a server or network that uses filters?
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Well the satellite all ready changed a hair but it looks like Pottery needs a heads up for sure.
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1104. MahFL
Quoting weatherwart:
Oh, and the first thing Charleston's mayor, Joe Riley (who saw the city through Hugo) tells people when a storm threatens is that the government won't be able to help you for several days, you have to take responsibility for yourself and be prepared.

If people learned nothing else from Katrina, I hope they learned this.


Dream on, they never learn.....
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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.