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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looks like we may see the O storm soon


all so i think we may end of the year with the O storm or the T storm
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18Z NOGAPS moves 97L trough the N Leewards, VI, and PR, then DR
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921. ackee
what the latest on 97L SEEM like centre consolidate much further south near 12n 52west anythought please
Member Since: July 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1346
Quoting scott39:
Where could 97L potentially impact the Islands and then the US?
I think it may go north of them (the Lesser Antilles) and perform somewhat of a similar track as opposed to Earl, except with an altered ending: a recurve further east. Very strong troughing will continue to persist along the U.S seaboard which should keep them safe. We'll have to see where it can consolidate and develop; specifics don't mean much currently until we can see where the dominant surface circulation develops.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
850mb vorticity continues to increase for 97L. Still elongated east to west, but dark oranges/borderline red is starting to show up. IR satellite presentation keeps looking better, too:

Click for larger image:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image


Click for larger image:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image
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Oceanside of Emerald Isle, Emerald Isle, North Carolina (PWS)

Pressure: 29.38 in (Falling)
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we are getting gust of about 25mph on the island now
Member Since: September 19, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 4110
Quoting NCWatch:
Mile marker 5 is my favorite spot on Emerald Isle!


I don't know anything about mile marker 5. The only thing I know about emerald isle is the beach.
Member Since: May 28, 2008 Posts: 38 Comments: 5303
Quoting largeeyes:


South. Emerald Isle is at 29.39in. What's the conversion?


I believe the visible, and that pressure reading indicates the the circ of ex-Nicole is coming ashore at/near Emerald Isle......

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Quoting Bordonaro:

Thanks, how fast is 97L moving? Has there been an ATCF update on 97L recently, indicating its wind speed?


The last ATCF update was nearly five hours ago at 2:13 EDT. The new numbers will (should) be out within the next hour or two.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
But, would the results not have been just the same regardless? I think so...

That's a significant front extending well down into the gulf, drawing moisture out of the Caribbean, directly over the Gulf stream for much of it's path...I still say Nicole's existence has very little to do with it. JMHO.


I think it would still have been a significant precip event, but Nicole (and the extra-tropical version of her) provided a pump from the Carribean for close to double the moisture the front would have otherwise produced. So in that respect, I'd have to agree that it was, in fact a direct contributor.
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This is interesting...Look at all the moisture being sucked into the Caribbean from the Pacific...Link
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pressure here right now is 29.41 falling in Emerald Isle
Member Since: September 19, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 4110
Quoting largeeyes:


South. Emerald Isle is at 29.39in. What's the conversion?


995
Member Since: September 19, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 4110
I think a bad weather station.....or I'm going to die. Reporting 940 ;)
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Atmospheric pressure is what he meant. 29.39in. in millibars would equal roughly to 995.3mb.
Quoting breald:


29.39 inches of rain? That is unreal. I love to vacation on Emerald Isle.
Mile marker 5 is my favorite spot on Emerald Isle!
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905. 606
Will DMAx result in a flare up of thunderstorms with 97L as it did last night?
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Quoting Katelynn:


Someone posted this great conversion chart yesterday:

Millibars to Inches Conversion Table
thanks
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My 5" rain guage was over flowing from Nicole yesterday...So I had 5 plus inches...Most places here in Palm Beach county can handle large amounts of rain..Even during Wilma, Frances, Irene, Jeanne, my place never flooded.
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Quoting largeeyes:


South. Emerald Isle is at 29.39in. What's the conversion?


Someone posted this great conversion chart yesterday:

Millibars to Inches Conversion Table
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Quoting scott39:
It looks pretty big, may take more time to organize than that.

OK, within 24-72 hrs..
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Quoting Bordonaro:

Winds of about 30MPH & movinw W at 23 MPH, thanks. I believe we may have a TD in about 24 hrs or less.
It looks pretty big, may take more time to organize than that.
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Looks like the center is close. 994.9 at Emerald Isle
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97L is not moving at 20mph, they position changes early on is due to figuring out a center and not so much movement

NHC says it is moving around 15mph and will slow down
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Atmospheric pressure is what he meant. 29.39in. in millibars would equal roughly to 995.3mb.
Where could 97L potentially impact the Islands and then the US?
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Quoting scott39:
They have it moving 23mph. Wind speed 25nts

Winds of about 30MPH & movinw W at 23 MPH, thanks. I believe we may have a TD in about 24 hrs or less.
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894. GS121
Quoting atmoaggie:
I think we're simply done on the N Gulf coast, outside of an oddball system trying to come through.

But any system that tries will have to contend with drier air and more shear than they like. And will have to be perfectly timed in between the fronts. (See Ida, exhibit A)
thanks for opinion. where do you think it will go then?
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Quoting xcool:
97L MOVEING AT 20MPH

THanks :O )
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Quoting breald:


29.39 inches of rain? That is unreal. I love to vacation on Emerald Isle.
Atmospheric pressure is what he meant. 29.39in. in millibars would equal roughly to 995.3mb.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
Pressure at 995 at Bogue...
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Quoting breald:


29.39 inches of rain? That is unreal. I love to vacation on Emerald Isle.


Pressure. I think it's probably like us, around 15" of rain.
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889. xcool


Jamaica
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887. xcool
scott39 not sure
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Quoting largeeyes:


South. Emerald Isle is at 29.39in. What's the conversion?


29.39 inches of rain? That is unreal. I love to vacation on Emerald Isle.
Member Since: May 28, 2008 Posts: 38 Comments: 5303
Quoting xcool:


192hrs by Jamaic
Do you know what the models are saying after this for direction?
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Quoting Bordonaro:

Sounds like the area of Low pressure is just to your North. However, the moisture plume from the Caribbean continues!!


South. Emerald Isle is at 29.39in. What's the conversion?
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883. xcool
97L MOVEING AT 20MPH
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Quoting Bordonaro:

Thanks, how fast is 97L moving? Has there been an ATCF update on 97L recently, indicating its wind speed?
They have it moving 23mph. Wind speed 25nts
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watch out! Max rainfall rate around 5 to 6 inches per hour near Jacksonville NC, this is intense tropical cyclone type rainfall, severe flooding is very likely!
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Quoting Bordonaro:

Thanks, how fast is 97L moving? Has there been an ATCF update on 97L recently, indicating its wind speed?



97L was last update at 6:13pm winds still 25kt
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Quoting scott39:
Good Afternoon, Tropical Atlantic has 97L at 1009mb 12.0n 51.0w heading W or 270 degrees

Thanks, how fast is 97L moving? Has there been an ATCF update on 97L recently, indicating its wind speed?
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878. xcool


192hrs by Jamaic
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Good Afternoon, Tropical Atlantic has 97L at 1009mb 12.0n 51.0w heading W or 270 degrees
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Quoting largeeyes:
Barometer: 29.52" (999.2 mb)
Cherry Point

Sounds like the area of Low pressure is just to your North. However, the moisture plume from the Caribbean continues!!
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875. IKE
From Jackson,MS....

LONGER TERM(SUNDAY THROUGH THURSDAY)...THERE IS NARY A DROP OF RAIN
TO BE FOUND IN THE MEDIUM RANGE MODELS BEFORE THE MIDDLE OF NEXT WEEK
AS THE LONG WAVE PATTERN HOLDS TOUGH. THE NET RESULT FOR OUR REGION
SHOULD BE BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES STARTING SUNDAY. THE GFS/SREF
DEVELOP A RATHER SHARP POSITIVELY TILTED TROUGH ACROSS THE OHIO
VALLEY AND OVER OUR CWA BY SUNDAY WHILE THE ECMWF CLOSES A LOW OFF
OVER THE OHIO VALLEY BY SUNDAY. THE GFS/SREF HAVE A 1030MB HIGH
CENTERED OVER THE MID MISSISSIPPI VALLEY SUNDAY WHILE THE ECMWF IS
FARTHER NORTH WITH THE HIGH CENTERED OVER THE NORTHERN PLAINS. EITHER
SOLUTION WILL HELP SEND A SHOT OF REINFORCING COOL DRY AIR SOUTHWARD
INTO OUR REGION THAT WILL BRING COOLER THAN NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR
SUNDAY AND LAST THROUGH MID WEEK.

AFTERNOON HIGHS SUNDAY THROUGH TUESDAY WILL BE IN THE 70S WITH LOWS
IN THE 40S. THE GFS IS MORE PROGRESSIVE THAN THE ECMWF WITH THE UPPER
LEVEL TROUGH AND SFC HIGH WHICH IT SHIFTS EAST THROUGH WEDNESDAY. THE
ECMWF ON THE OTHER HAND...FORMS AN OMEGA BLOCK WITH ANOTHER CLOSED
LOW OVER THE WESTERN CONUS AND RIDGING OVER THE CENTRAL CONUS BY
TUESDAY. THE ECMWF TAKES THE ASSOCIATED SFC HIGH SOUTH OVER OUR AREA
THROUGH WEDNESDAY INSTEAD OF SHIFTING IT EAST. AGAIN...EITHER WAY THE
GULF OF MEXICO WILL REMAIN CLOSED TO US AND WL MAINTAIN A COOL DRY
AIRMASS OVER THE REGION THROUGH THURSDAY. THE 00Z GFS MOS WAS CLOSE
TO THE ENSEMBLE MEANS AND GENERALLY ACCEPTED THROUGH THE LONG TERM.

MAYBE A BREAK IN THE DRYNESS HINTED FOR ABOUT COLUMBUS DAY...WE CAN
ONLY HOPE SO. /22/40/

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874. xcool


nice nice anticyclone
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Barometer: 29.52" (999.2 mb)
Cherry Point
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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.