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 Drakoen:


I don't have time for begging the question-type arguments.


I thought you didn't have any time at all. Weren't you leaving? (Yes I did pull that card out...lol)
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as Pat would say let go my EGO
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.."The force is strong in this one"..

Swooooosh,,Ahhhhhhh...
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Quoting Drakoen:


Nobody can be perfectly obedient.


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.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:


I flagged that reedzone. Impersonating a handle and stealing a picture is not acceptable.


Thank you, I really don't know what 97L will do. It's best to wait and see. I believe chances will rise to 60% due to increased vorticity and organization.
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Quoting reedzone:
EVERYONE LISTEN UP!!!!
Ignore and report that impostor, that last post was NOT mine. Report and Ignore please, thank you.
Ahhh...the old evil twin bears it's ugly head. Quick, someone check with RIDGES, may have a security breach DOOM style!
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Quoting Drakoen:
The extratropical system that was Nicole wouldn't be producing so much convection if it weren't for the baroclinic enhancement of the front. What came first the chicken or the egg? lol
There is for now, a lot of shear in the Central Caribbean Sea...Link
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Quoting Hurricanes101:
511. reeedzone 7:59 PM GMT on September 30, 2010

and yet you do not want people to bash you?


I know it is likely a joke, but not everyone knows that


It's NOT ME.. I am the real one. I bet this is scottsvb new plan on attacking my reputation on here. He just wont quit!
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Quoting JRRP:

me preguntaba eso mismo tambien
normalmente sucede cuando lo van a poner en otras coordenadas
no se si este es el mismo caso


quizas no se deciden donde ubicarlo.
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Quoting Drakoen:
The extratropical system that was Nicole wouldn't be producing so much convection if it weren't for the baroclinic enhancement of the front. What came first the chicken or the egg? lol


The convection wouldn't be there without the tropical enhancement. It's now mostly extratropical but with tropical roots and you can't say they got spared a hit from a tropical system.

It's a difficult concept to understand I know, but it's like when Earl and Igor hit Canada. Think about that for a minute.

"Wait Levi! They were still named!" Ya think....at that point they had just as many extratropical characteristics as Nicole does now. They were just more distinct and the NHC kept their name and were right for doing so. They were systems from the tropics that brought hurricane conditions to Canada. They got hit by a tropical system.

Yet look at how far Igor was from "really" tropical when it was hitting Canada:



Do you say they didn't get hit by a hurricane? Of course not. And he still had the name that he deserved when he moved into that area.

And we can apply this to systems who lost their name like the old hurricanes that hit Europe. Some of them can be pretty darn bad. So can old typhoons that hit me in Alaska. Those systems bring weather that we would never see in a regular extratropical system. We got hit by a storm of tropical origin, and therefore were not "spared" a hit by a tropical system. We got the impacts of one.
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EVERYONE LISTEN UP!!!!
Ignore and report that impostor, that last post was NOT mine. Report and Ignore please, thank you.
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Quoting Patrap:
Big Pines felled from Katrina August,pics taken morning of the 30th 05..just west of the 17th St. Canal Breech.

North is to the right.



Hurricane Ivan did his own bit of dirty work on pines, too!






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The 850 vorticity has increased bigtime at 97L.

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Quoting goavs4:
You guys noticed it actually wasn't reedzone, it's someone posing as him with his avatar and the username reeedzone.


I never noticed that, good call.
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Quoting Levi32:


Believe that if you like. I'm not limited by his opinions. I disagree with him on many things as a matter of fact, including Nicole just recently.


Nobody can be perfectly obedient.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:

I wonder if it will be bigger than Igor.
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Quoting Patrap:



Otay...


Ill go to confession right now.


Umm, that's not me.. Please report and ignore that impostor.
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Quoting Alockwr21:


no there was a front just like there was last night/this morning prior to the remnant low arriving.


Son i was here i know what happened. Dennis saturated the area . Floyd damage would not have been as bad if Dennis had not arrived just before
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NEXRAD Radar
Wilmington, Storm Total Surface Rainfall Accumulation Range 124 NMI




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Quoting Drakoen:


LOL. I see Joe Bastardi has you on his proverbial leash. For his knowledge and now his attitudes.


Believe that if you like. I'm not limited by his opinions. I disagree with him on many things as a matter of fact, including Nicole just recently.
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Well I would say " a rose by any other name is still a rose"
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You guys noticed it actually wasn't reedzone right? It's someone posing as him with his avatar and the username reeedzone.
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My original post targeted the fact of tropical cyclones affecting the United States and not baroclinic enhancement of an extratropical cyclone.
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Quoting Levi32:




We've gotten abunch of rain, without a doubt...but no real winds...best guess would be 35-40 mph gusts overnight, but it certainly has been a rain event
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Quoting will40:


the rains came from Dennis before Floyd arrived


no there was a front just like there was last night/this morning prior to the remnant low arriving.
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The extratropical system that was Nicole wouldn't be producing so much convection if it weren't for the baroclinic enhancement of the front. What came first the chicken or the egg? lol
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Quoting Drakoen:


Producing gale force conditions as per the NHC. Through this whole argument you have been saying that NC is being hit by a TS and now they aren't...lol. Okay i'll play along.

I have to go. Nice arguing with you as always.


Actually, the arguement was started over tracks of storms and where they would hit, and somehow flipped into whether or not Nicole is still a TS.

And Drak went with the Nicole isn't technically a TS arguement, and Levi took the "yeah, you tell me the difference in the conditions in NC" argument.

I award both of you both zero points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

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Levi or Drak, would one of you translate what Reed just posted...

TIA
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525. JRRP
Quoting WeatherfanPR:
what's happening with the track models, no new runs for 97L since 06 UTC !!!

me preguntaba eso mismo tambien
normalmente sucede cuando lo van a poner en otras coordenadas
no se si este es el mismo caso
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Quoting CosmicEvents:
Based on what I've learned from Levi....I'd have to agree with you!!
.
.
.
Maybe I should go into politics?


Yes it's extratropical, but they were not spared a hit by Nicole.
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Quoting Levi32:


And we care why? People are still getting the same weather from the same storm no matter what her name is, or whether she has no name. They're still getting tropical storm conditions and extremely heavy rainfall that is tropically fed. I don't care if they don't call her a TS. North Carolina is getting hit by a TS from the tropics and that's what is causing the bad weather today. They were not spared by her. They got hit.
I'm with you on this one Levi, usually lean toward Drac's viewpoint when you discuss but this seems like hair splitting to me. The issue arose from Drac' assertion that no more tropical storms are likely to strike the CONUS. May be technically true but certainly no reason to take our eyes off the tropics just yet. H2O+O2 is a deadly combination particularly when either is in over abundance and motion.
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687

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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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