Nicole kills five in Jamaica; historic rains in North Carolina; tornadoes in the Mid-Atlantic

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:23 PM GMT on September 30, 2010

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The season's fourteenth named storm, Tropical Storm Nicole, lasted only six hours as a tropical storm, but triggered torrential heavy rains that caused havoc from the Caribbean to North Carolina. In Jamaica, flash flooding from Nicole's rains killed at least five, and several other people were swept away by flood waters and are feared dead. The storm cut power to 170,000 island residents, and caused millions of dollars in damages. Nicole dumped 6.93" of rain on Kingston, and 8.62" in the Kingston suburb of Norbrook. Rains were heavier on the western end of the island; 8.47" fell at a personal weather station at Irwindale before the power failed and data was lost.


Figure 1. NASA MODIS satellite image of Tropical Storm Nicole at 2:20pm EDT on 9/29/10. Image credit: NASA.


Figure 2. Flooding in Jamaica from Tropical Storm Nicole. Image credit: Jamaica Observer.

In Southeast Florida, Nicole brought 5.83" of rain to Miami, 9.58" to Plantation Key, and 5.44" to Homestead. However, Florida escaped serious flooding. Cuba also received widespread rain amounts of 5 - 10 inches, but there are no reports of serious flooding on the island. The remnants of Nicole will continue to bring heavy rains to portions of Cuba, the Cayman Islands, and the Bahamas today.

Historic rainfall event for eastern North Carolina
In North Carolina, the the tropical moisture streaming northwards in advance of Nicole has generated an epic rainfall event. Wilmington, NC recorded 20.69 inches of rain over the past four days, and 21.28" for the five-day period ending at 10am EDT this morning. The incredible rainfall totals have eclipsed the city's record for heaviest 4-day and 5-day rainfall events, set in September 1999 during Hurricane Floyd (19.06".) Another 1 - 3 inches of rain are likely today in Wilmington, which might make this month the rainiest month in city history. A series of non-tropical low pressure systems have been developing along a stalled front off the Carolina/North Carolina coast over the past day, and this activity will continue through tonight before the rains finally end late tonight. The historic rainfall is causing severe and damaging flooding across much of eastern North Carolina. 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 3. Radar-estimated precipitation for North Carolina since Sunday shows that the precursor moisture from Nicole has brought widespread rain amounts in excess of ten inches to eastern North Carolina, with over fifteen inches (white colors surrounded by dark purple) near Wilmington.

Heavy rain, flooding, and tornadoes expected from Virginia to New England
The intense plume of tropical moisture streaming northwards along the U.S. East coast will bring heavy rains of 3 - 6 inches across a wide swath of coast from North Carolina northwards to New England today and Friday. The wunderground severe weather map shows that flood warnings are already posted for portions of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, and flood watches extend northwards though Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and the rest of New England. Tornado watches have been posted for much of the Mid-Atlantic coast, and NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has put the region in their "slight risk" area for severe weather. One tornado warning has already been issued for coastal Virginia this morning. Three possible tornadoes were reported yesterday in northeastern North Carolina.

Disturbance 97L
Two tropical waves, located 600 - 1000 miles east of the Lesser Antilles Islands, are generating a large area of disorganized thunderstorms. NHC has designated this area Invest 97L this morning. The SHIPS model predicts that wind shear over 97L will remain moderate, 10 - 20 knots, through Saturday morning, then increase to levels marginal for development, 15 - 25 knots, Saturday afternoon through Monday. Some slow development of 97L is likely over this time period, and NHC is giving it a 30% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Saturday. The system is headed west-northwest at 15 mph, and should slow down to about 10 mph by Saturday. 97L will bring heavy rains and strong gusty winds to the Lesser Antilles Islands on Sunday and Monday. The ECMWF model is the only model that develops 97L, and foresees that 97L will track across the northern Lesser Antilles and pass near Puerto Rico on Monday and the eastern Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands by Wednesday. There are major differences in how the models handle the steering current forecast for next week, and the long-range track of 97L is highly uncertain at this point.


Figure 4. Morning satellite image of Invest 97L. The upper right portion on the disturbance, centered near 13.5N 45W, is most likely to develop into a tropical depression.

Next update
I'll have an update Friday morning.

Jeff Masters

Post Tropical Storm Nicole Sunset. (bethinking)
Taken at the Lower Sugarloaf Key Estuary as the skies cleared after TS Nicole moved north.
Post Tropical Storm Nicole Sunset.
Hooray for the power company! (AnnaThomas)
Current rain storm took out a tree and a power line. This is what my front yard looks like right now. Praise the power company for responding so quickly- so I could post this picture!
Hooray for the power company!

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Bow-firt Right?
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1222. Ron5244
Quoting weatherwatcher12:

The United States isn't the only piece of land out there.


Okay. But the main point is, many of the models don't even develop it. So what's the fret about? Honestly, the hype on this blog is sad.
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1221. pottery
Quoting Orcasystems:


Complete Update

Nicole - Raining on the Carols

Pottery Jr (97L) - Heading for the Box.



AOI
AOI AOI AOI

AOI AOI AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI

I hear that there is a Petition going around the place, seeking to have 97L named Orca instead of Otto.
It looks like it will be particularly unpleasant.
Just sayin'...

LOL.
How is the weather up, er, um, there, Orc?
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WVLoop
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Quoting Orcasystems:


OMG, how many names do you have..I must have 6 or more of you on ignore.


Orca thats not the real Jason as you clearly just read more than 5 words not in all CAPS.
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1217. bwat
Until I get banned, http://www.portlight.org Link
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Quoting Ron5244:
What's with everyone going crazy about this 97L? As far as I can see, not a single reliable model develops it into anything serious...if at all, nor do they bring it anywhere close to the United States.

The United States isn't the only piece of land out there.
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1215. Seastep
This loop, too.
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1214. Ron5244
What's with everyone going crazy about this 97L? As far as I can see, not a single reliable model develops it into anything serious...if at all, nor do they bring it anywhere close to the United States.
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Rains from ex- Nicole have shifted on the Caribbean, now affecting Hispaniola , were i am now raining for about 3 hours really heavy rains
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1212. pottery
Quoting atmoaggie:
Well, actually, it blows...

heheheh
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Quoting largeeyes:
Patrap,

I'm guessing your efforts will more than likely need to be focused on Washington and Beaufort County in general. Wilmington is a pretty big city and can find for itself. Craven County, were I live, has escaped so far without too much damage, though Cove City is struggling. However, Washington, and Beaufort County in general, seems to be hard hit and is, in general, a much more rural area. And for the love of pete, don't go there saying Beaufort like Press would. It's different up here!
Hehe, I had to warn him about Poquoson and pronunciation before they went there...
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1209. Seastep
Quoting atmoaggie:
Well, actually, it blows...


LOL.
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1208. tj175
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Yep and they seem to all meet in the 110 - 120 mph range.

100-105 knots on the graph...


Where can i view the models for 97L and what is the track looking like?
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Quoting JLPR2:
Broad and elongated (east to west) circulation.
Very poorly defined.
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1205. mobal
Quoting caneswatch:
Speaking of animals and their sense to detect hurricanes, one of my cats has been acting up lately. Think the cat's sensing something coming?


The DOG....
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Quoting doorman79:
Good Evening!

97l seems to be getting an anticyclone. That sucks.

Well, actually, it blows...
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Patrap,

I'm guessing your efforts will more than likely need to be focused on Washington and Beaufort County in general. Wilmington is a pretty big city and can find for itself. Craven County, were I live, has escaped so far without too much damage, though Cove City is struggling. However, Washington, and Beaufort County in general, seems to be hard hit and is, in general, a much more rural area. And for the love of pete, don't go there saying Beaufort like Press would. It's different up here!
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Quoting pottery:

Yeah!
Someboddy opened the door, man.


Complete Update

Nicole - Raining on the Carols

Pottery Jr (97L) - Heading for the Box.



AOI
AOI AOI AOI

AOI AOI AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
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Quoting pottery:
Chicklit,
Thanks for the relevant graphics.
Interesting shear set-up...

Troughwise well endowed
caribbean monsoonal lows
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1200. Seastep
Quoting Chicklit:

enlighten us please.


Vorticity and anti-cyclone there. There are other vorts within the overall area, but that is where I believe it is forming. No surface data to support now, but that buoy is right in the way, so should know soon enough.

While hard at night, this loop shows both the vorticity around 10N/50W, but if you focus on what moves from start to finish to 13N/45W and convection fires, I think that is it.

JMO.
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1199. pottery
Quoting doorman79:
Good Evening!

97l seems to be getting an anticyclone. That sucks.


Yeah!
Someboddy opened the door, man.
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Good Evening!

97l seems to be getting an anticyclone. That sucks.

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Quoting plywoodstatenative:


In South Florida they waited until the streets and such were flooded before deciding to open the canal gates and lower water levels in the canals so that the waterways would be able to handle the influx of water from the drains. The problem is that they were well aware of what was coming and knew that the specific areas that flood would be drenched, South Florida Water Management says that they were ready for hurricane season, if so, why then did they wait until the flooding was already underway before opening the gates, imagine if this was a hurricane.


Are you talking about this past weeks storm... If so, SFWMD open flood gates on Monday well ahead of the arrival of the storm..... And even if flood gates are open, it's still going to flood, especially if its high tide
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I'm surprised Press hasn't gotten in a huge Beaufort v Beaufort debate.
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1194. centex
Quoting Bordonaro:

It's called barotrofic lift!!
Imagine if you will an air mass with PWAT numbers of 2-3"/hr. Add a stationary front from S FL to New England, and thrust that moisture up and over that cooler air mass..Viola' between 5-15' of rain falls!
Not sure I get your point, I was explaining how not tropical storm.It never was a TS, I really doubted it when they upgraded it over Cuba. It was a large tropical disturbance and large area of low pressure interacting with very impressive trough. Yes a major/historical weather event but not a TS. We don't need a named storm to warn people.
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1193. pottery
Chicklit,
Thanks for the relevant graphics.
Interesting shear set-up...
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Speaking of animals and their sense to detect hurricanes, one of my cats has been acting up lately. Think the cat's sensing something coming?
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1191. luigi18
Quoting JLPR2:
Very interesting center relocation. :\

OYE PANA CUENTAME QUE CARA MBA ES ESTO VENDRA O NO
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Quoting Seastep:


Not if it is at 13N/45W. :)

What you show is probably why they placed it there, but that is not where the genesis is happening, imo.

enlighten us please.
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Quoting centex:
I think accuweather is one source which is trying to keep Nichole alive. I'm strongly in the camp NHC made a mistake and corrected it quickly. Give them credit for that.

The NHC was right, Nicole was there for hours before it was named and they could have kept it Nicole for another 24 hours, like I said before " a rose by any other name is still a rose" the effects are the same!JMO, the low was large, it would have made anyone scratch their heads , nevertheless it was the right call, except the last advisory should have been written on it tonight, once again, JMO
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8123
1188. Seastep
Quoting JLPR2:
Broad and elongated (east to west) circulation.


Not if it is at 13N/45W. :)

What you show is probably why they placed it there, but that is not where the genesis is happening, imo.
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Quoting stormpetrol:
Circles no more, rectangles are more like it , I said there would be a circle in the NW Caribbean at 8pm est, I'm wrong once again, there is a rectangle! lmao!!

Looks like a coupla Idaho potatoes!
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Quoting Chicklit:
Shear
That can't be good. Looks like 97L has an anti-cyclone over it.
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1185. JLPR2
Broad and elongated (east to west) circulation.
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Quoting centex:
I think accuweather is one source which is trying to keep Nichole alive. I'm strongly in the camp NHC made a mistake and corrected it quickly. Give them credit for that.



oh don't get me wrong i dont blame nhc. it did have strong winds, which has been experienced across the carolinas in gusts for almost a day now :) i just thought it was funny because puke would be a perfect name for this system.
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1183. mbinmo
Quoting mbinmo:
Hey all you stat. guys, was wondering if anybody knows if we have ever had this many hurricanes in a year and no conus hits [i know it may well be not over] also is there any data out there about tornado warnings vs. actual confirmed sightings or damage report's. thanks

no takers? no guesses/
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1182. Patrap


www.portlight.org Featured Wunderground Blog



We are beginning to identify needs in Eastern North Carolina in the aftermath of the recent torrential rains there. Many rural, isolated and under served areas will need our help. We are connecting with local officials and pastors who will be instrumental in helping us deliver relief. Our expectation is to deploy our relief trailer and, additionally, a truck loaded with water, food and personal hygiene supplies within the next few days.
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Ok, kids in FL had school today and yesterda!y, but do I have to go to work Tomorrow? Poll time
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Quoting centex:
Explain how weak tropical system created 1 1/2 foot rain thousand miles away. I think that supports no name and just a high octane event between extra strong trough and large area of tropical moisture.

It's called barotrofic lift!!
Imagine if you will an air mass with PWAT numbers of 2-3"/hr. Add a stationary front from S FL to New England, and thrust that moisture up and over that cooler air mass..Viola' between 5-15' of rain falls!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
1179. beell
The trough did a number on the northern half of the monsoon-like depression/circulation. It's gone, imo. All we have left of it is a weakening tap of EPAC moisture into the Caribbean converging with the ATL easterlies over Caribbean-S of Cuba.
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Eastern North Carolina response
Link
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1177. centex
Quoting SweetHomeBamaGOM:


they should remove the "p" name and assign it to ex-nicole. Name it Puke cuz that's what its doing all over the seaboard.

or just jump the gun, name the 50% as otto, then we are to P so we can name it Puke then. lol.
I think accuweather is one source which is trying to keep Nichole alive. I'm strongly in the camp NHC made a mistake and corrected it quickly. Give them credit for that.
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Circles no more, rectangles are more like it , I said there would be a circle in the NW Caribbean at 8pm est, I'm wrong once again, there is a rectangle! lmao!!
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8123
Vorticity

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1173. Seastep
Quoting Chicklit:
monsoonal


I think that is definitely the defining word of this season.
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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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