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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Quoting DontAnnoyMe:


On the contrary, pines have very shallow roots, and they will go down easily without wind. They do snap in ice storms. The others, which have deep roots, go down in wind because of all their leaves.
I am pretty sure that pines have deep 'tap' roots. Oaks have roots that spread out, far reaching, but not that deep.
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Does anyone notice the mid to low circulation travelling across Central America adout 15N 90W?

This seems like it may enter the Caribbean and flare-up.

Was this Matthew? Two days ago this circulation was in the GOM.
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Quoting Bordonaro:
97L :O)


Should get higher percentage on the next TWO. Looks good.
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Quoting flsky:

Sheesh - just what they need....
Well, if its of any consolation, the models have not been spot on. Some have done fairly well.
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Quoting Levi32:


It's ok. Nobody in official government positions is ever going to like me lol. They will say statements like "Nicole spares North Carolina" and many others including me will roll their heads. They were not spared....get real.
Spoken like someone who has yet to have felt the full weight of some of the power differentials embedded in The System (as we called it in the 60's). Professors, and others in "authority" haven't got to their positions by ignoring it and will whiled it ruthlessly if challenged beyond a point. I hope it doesn't fall on you at the wrong moment. It has broken many a man/woman every bit as good as you.
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
Quoting Levi32:
I know you guys in the northeast US appreciate negatively-tilted troughs like this =)

GFS 24 hours 500mb:


Wow. That looks like a nasty trough.

How long does it usually take for that system to make it to the CONUS? (just trying to understand the teleconnection time)
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97L :O)
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659. flsky
Quoting hydrus:
These models are interesting....CMC...Link....ECMWF...Link

Sheesh - just what they need....
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well back to tropics, what is going on with 97L currently how is the vorticity with it and where are the models pointing to whom may be the possible prize winners for a tropical system
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


right but you said:

Those troughs even potentially saving us from storms that form in the Caribbean as we saw with Nicole.

How exactly is North Carolina being saved? That trough setup did not steer Nicole away from the US, it just absorbed her. If we end up with a stronger storm in that same area, it would not miss the US
....sheer that was created sure as heck kept nikki lopsided and kept her from orgainizing a strong warm core low.....
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09 look at this


AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA
1050 AM PDT THU SEP 30 2010



SUNDAY LOOKS COOL REGION-WIDE WITH THE TROUGH MOVING INLAND. THE
GFS RUNS BUILD A RIDGE BEHIND THIS WITH A CLASSIC AUTUMNAL OFFSHORE
WIND FLOW PATTERN LATER MONDAY NIGHT INTO TUESDAY. HOWEVER THE LAST
TWO EURO RUNS CUT THE TROUGH OFF INTO A CLOSED UPPER LOW FOR EARLY
NEXT WEEK AS TROPICAL SYSTEMS OVER THE ATLANTIC SEABOARD BLOCK THE
WESTERLIES. WILL SEE HOW THE 12Z SOLUTIONS LOOK FOR THE AFTERNOON
PACKAGES.
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I reported the imposter also!
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Jupiter, glad to see you made it home. How ya been.
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Quoting pilotguy1:
I may be a bit dense, but isn't there a filter that prevents more than one person to use the same 'handle'?

Just an additional alphabet is all you need, ie the real Reed, Reedzone, imposter Reeedzone
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Quoting sebastianflorida:
Any chance that snow will fall in Florida from 97L?
Yes...I am shipping in some fresh stuff from McKinley and tossing it off the Bank of America tower in Miami while 97L spins feverishly over the peninsula...pffffft.
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Quoting Tazmanian:



why not YOU GO A WAY
Taz, please stop quoting him. He's on the majority of our ignore lists and quoting and responding to him will just continue to cause havoc.
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Looking good, no? 1945z (50 minutes ago):

Click for larger image:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13473
Any idea if the remnant energy in the Caribbean will develop into another tropical system??
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AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA
1050 AM PDT THU SEP 30 2010



SUNDAY LOOKS COOL REGION-WIDE WITH THE TROUGH MOVING INLAND. THE
GFS RUNS BUILD A RIDGE BEHIND THIS WITH A CLASSIC AUTUMNAL OFFSHORE
WIND FLOW PATTERN LATER MONDAY NIGHT INTO TUESDAY. HOWEVER THE LAST
TWO EURO RUNS CUT THE TROUGH OFF INTO A CLOSED UPPER LOW FOR EARLY
NEXT WEEK AS TROPICAL SYSTEMS OVER THE ATLANTIC SEABOARD BLOCK THE
WESTERLIES. WILL SEE HOW THE 12Z SOLUTIONS LOOK FOR THE AFTERNOON
PACKAGES.
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Quoting johnnyascat:


Not only did an account have to be set up, but a mandatory 12 hour waiting period must have been met before that post was made.

Reed, no disrespect intended, but I am still ROFLMAO at that imposter post.

Lighten up a little and Reed it. We all know it is a fake, but a very clever and funny one, too. :D


This is actually an older trick around here. It used to happen all the time but not as much anymore. You better watch that there isn't a Johnnyasscat out there.
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Quoting weatherwart:


A pine uprooted? Now that some saturated ground. It's usually the oaks and laurels that get uprooted. The pines snap off.


On the contrary, pines have very shallow roots, and they will go down easily without wind. They do snap in ice storms. The others, which have deep roots, go down in wind because of all their leaves.
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Quoting GoodOleBudSir:
BobInTampa,
WU Mail


back at you sir.
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Quoting CaribBoy:



No updated images SINCE 11.15AM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Use NASA's imagery then. Link
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Quoting Patrap:



Otay...


Ill go to confession right now.
Any chance that snow will fall in Florida from 97L?
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Quoting Tazmanian:



nop they did not




I take back what i said
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No updated images SINCE 11.15AM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6001
629. myway
Quoting reeedzone:
Get rid of this imposter! I remember when they were doing this to CCHS and it almost drove him away!


An old timer are you?
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628. Jax82
What a circus!
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Quoting reedzone:


No Joe, that's an impostor. I wouldn't do anything like that.


Not only did an account have to be set up, but a mandatory 12 hour waiting period must have been met before that post was made.

Reed, no disrespect intended, but I am still ROFLMAO at that imposter post.

Lighten up a little and Reed it. We all know it is a fake, but a very clever and funny one, too. :D
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Quoting reedzone:


Don't worry, I'm the REAL "Reedzone" also known as Allan C. Reed. Jr. A 21 year old who has a job and a life ;)
Reed, we know who your are, you don't need to feed into it. THERE IS ONLY ONE, REED MODEL! =)
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
I'm enjoying the Levi and Drak discussion which I find very informative, but just as soon as the blog became completely weather related and informative, Mr. Reeedzone showed up. Bleh. Time to get the popcorn and Dr. Pepper...
I'm gonna settle for a cold Coors Light, LMAO. Bad for someone to do that to Reed though, as for Drak and Levi, probably the 2 most knowledgable here as far as weather is concerned, kinda disappointing to see it becoming so competitive and personal, like I wrote earlier " a rose by any other name is still a rose"
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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.