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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and that is when you are concerned that at 75W, the storm will start curving Northward? thanks
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


also where it consolidates is going to be a huge part of the future track


Yeah that's kind of what I mean. That will be what determines the track when it reaches the Caribbean.
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Thats a 6-7 min frame Image Loop..
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Quoting weaverwxman:
Levi
I am sure you will agree that until there is a llc or a coc that other than giving different scenarios on a possible storm before it actually forms. Models are fun to watch and speculate on which one may give the best results at any given time is based solely on the information available at the time the models run..or am I way off on my analysis?


You don't trust specifics on a long-range forecast without a developed system but I reserve the right to hunt down potential mischief...lol. One can actually look at the pattern and make an educated guess at what should happen even without clear model support. Models are not what forecasting is based on.
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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.

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Quoting CoopsWife:


roger that, Bayside. I am sure hoping that next round stays west. Of course, that probably means the Blackwater will flood Suffolk in a day or so ....


Oh nevermind, it was nice a quiet for a little while, then it all started again.
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Quoting Levi32:


One storm ends up developing out of the whole mess instead of two separate ones. If it's one storm the track would likely be over or south of the islands until it reaches 75W or so.


also where it consolidates is going to be a huge part of the future track
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Quoting Drakoen:


Last time I checked Nicole is no longer a tropical storm, but an extratropical low pressure system.


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.
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The system that was Nicole did not miss the US though, it just happens that it is no longer a classified system

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Quoting reedzone:
I would say 60% on 97L by 8 p.m. The banding is evident and convection is deepening.
I agree, though I would put the percentage a little lower...more towards 50%. The circulation at 850mb has definitely gotten better defined and stronger, however, it still remains quite broad from east to west.

850mb vorticity 6 hours ago:



Current 850mb vorticity:


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448.

Pat - how long from one frame to the next? Rain is west of me now - looks as if it will push back east eventually, LOL.
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Quoting kshipre1:
Levi,

sorry for the dumb question but when you said the concern is "one storm, not two" do you mean to say that both areas (SW Atlantic and western Caribben) will merge together and become one storm? thanks


One storm ends up developing out of the whole mess instead of two separate ones. If it's one storm the track would likely be over or south of the islands until it reaches 75W or so.
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Levi
I am sure you will agree that until there is a llc or a coc that other than giving different scenarios on a possible storm before it actually forms. Models are fun to watch and speculate on which one may give the best results at any given time is based solely on the information available at the time the models run..or am I way off on my analysis?
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Quoting Levi32:


Really....last I checked Nicole was flooding North Carolina with historic rains and making landfall.


Last time I checked Nicole is no longer a tropical storm, but an extratropical low pressure system.
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Quoting wxvoyeur:


Here we go! As I recall that one is packing some tropical energy from the w. pac.


The parent low was former Typhoon Malakas. This one is a frontal wave currently developing south of that old decaying low.
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Levi,

sorry for the dumb question but when you said the concern is "one storm, not two" do you mean to say that both areas (SW Atlantic and western Caribben) will merge together and become one storm? thanks
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Quoting reedzone:
I would say 60% on 97L by 8 p.m. The banding is evident and convection is deepening.
Reed, I have been looking at the satelitte loops on that disturbance I it appears to me that it will follow the train up the east coast. What's your take?
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Quoting Drakoen:
ECMWF model forecast for a positive NAO will keep storms from hitting the United States from the west as strong troughs of low pressure advect eastward. Those troughs even potentially saving us from storms that form in the Caribbean as we saw with Nicole.




And also Keep the N GOM Coast in a Fall pattern early.

Simply Gaw-Gus week in NOLA since the frontal Passage Sunday Night.

Current Conditions

Uptown, New Orleans, Louisiana (PWS)
Updated: 5 sec ago
Clear
81.5 F
Clear
Humidity: 37%
Dew Point: 52 F
Wind: 2.3 mph from the NNW
Wind Gust: 8.7 mph
Pressure: 29.83 in (Falling)
Heat Index: 81 F
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 10 out of 16
Pollen: 9.90 out of 12
Pollen Forecast new!
Clouds:
Clear -
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 20 ft
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Quoting Levi32:
Yes sir that's a nasty trough.



Looks like some significantly cold air behind it. Wow!
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Quoting WatchILM:


Not uprooted - twisted/snapped. There were some occasional very strong gusts (50mph?) for a couple of hours. The one that got my tree also took out my next door neighbor's tree. I felt the ground shake from his, then second later the crash from mine.


Ah. That makes sense. Either way, those big pines can do some damage. My land is filled with long-leaf pines.
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Quoting Drakoen:
ECMWF model forecast for a positive NAO will keep storms from hitting the United States from the west as strong troughs of low pressure advect eastward. Those troughs even potentially saving us from storms that form in the Caribbean as we saw with Nicole.



Really....last I checked Nicole was flooding North Carolina with historic rains and making landfall.
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Quoting Levi32:
Weeeee....

WWAK81PAFC_AKZ121
-----------------
AKZ101-111-121-125-131-135-141-145-171-011400-

...A POWERFUL FALL STORM TO IMPACT THE REGION FRIDAY AND SATURDAY...

A STORM DEVELOPING OVER THE NORTHEAST PACIFIC WILL RAPIDLY INTENSIFY
AS IT MOVES INTO THE GULF OF ALASKA EARLY FRIDAY MORNING. IT WILL
THEN TRACK TO JUST NORTH OF KODIAK ISLAND FRIDAY NIGHT AND THEN
INLAND OVER SOUTHWEST ALASKA ON SATURDAY.

THE GREATEST IMPACT FROM THIS STORM WILL BE VERY STRONG WINDS.
WIDESPREAD GALE TO STORM FORCE WINDS ARE EXPECTED ACROSS THE GULF
OF ALASKA COASTAL WATERS...WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF HURRICANE FORCE
WINDS FROM THE CENTRAL GULF TO ALONG THE NORTH GULF COAST. OVER
LAND THE STRONGEST WINDS ARE EXPECTED IN THE PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND
REGION FROM CORDOVA TO WHITTIER AS WELL AS THROUGH PORTAGE VALLEY
AND TURNAGAIN ARM. AS THE STORM EXITS TO SOUTHWEST ALASKA SATURDAY
GUSTY WINDS WILL SPREAD TO MUCH OF THE REST OF SOUTHCENTRAL ALASKA.

THIS STORM WILL ALSO BRING WITH IT LOTS OF WARM AND MOIST AIR.
THIS WILL PRODUCE AREAS OF HEAVY RAIN ALONG THE COAST.

STAY TUNED TO THE LATEST NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECASTS AND
WARNINGS FOR THE MOST UP TO DATE INFORMATION ON THIS POWERFUL
FALL STORM.

$$
FPAK51PAFC_AKZ121


Here we go! As I recall that one is packing some tropical energy from the w. pac.
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12z Canadian ensembles have a very solid idea of a storm being near the Bahamas in 6-8 days and then slowly recurving out just east of the US as the trough digs in. We will have to see whether this is truly the case, but if the storm tracks south of the Caribbean islands rather than north of, then it could be more of a problem.

CMC ensemble MSLP mean Day 7:

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ECMWF model forecast for a positive NAO will keep storms from hitting the United States from the west as strong troughs of low pressure advect eastward. Those troughs even potentially saving us from storms that form in the Caribbean as we saw with Nicole.

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pressures are dropping in the islands barbados 1008.4 mb amd dropping StLucia 1008.7 and dropping. this says that 97L is getting better organised
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446. srada
Quoting Levi32:


Lol though I disagree with Joe on the winding up of the storm before landfall, the low moving towards NC today is most certainly Nicole's low. She left low pressure behind in the Caribbean but she was tracked up east of Miami last night....if they say she's still in the Caribbean then they are dead wrong.


Its just gotten confusing to me Levi..LOL...Im just hunkering down and waiting for this to be all over..
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NEXRAD Radar
Wilmington, Storm Total Surface Rainfall Accumulation Range 124 NMI

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I would say 60% on 97L by 8 p.m. The banding is evident and convection is deepening.
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look at that rain on twc wilmington wow
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12z ECMWF again shows the recurve but a very fragile one. It wouldn't take much more ridge to trap it, and then you have another storm developing in the western Caribbean by Day 10. The concern is that there will be one storm, not two, and that it will be farther south heading towards Cuba and the SE US before recurving.

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Quoting toddbizz:


Just making a general observation read lots of posts actually...and analyzed the data...just seemed a lot of hyping going on is all...no need to jump all over me...


2 day membership due to expire?
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AS Keep would say, Mark 12.5N/54W
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How are yah Pottery!!, Run the rgb at a faster speed and you will see it clearly.
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436. JRRP
see you later
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wow Levi! first time you have a storm of that magnitude headed toward you this year, lol!

take care of yourself
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Invest 97L is located near 14N, 46W. ATCF is giving good coordinates right now.
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Quoting BobinTampa:


he left. I'm filling in for him. "generally agree with the NHC..blah blah blah...Wait and see..blah blah blah...now let's all relax and take off our shoes. Is it okay if I call you Goddess?"


Been gone 2 weeks or so, and you still won't let it go, that's 4 derisive comments on one page. Are you guys obsessed? Just sayin...
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Quoting srada:
Okay..I just called my local NWS officer here in wilmington because of Joe's video..lets just say Joe is WRONG!! ..they said that the remanants of Nicole are still in the caribbean and that the low pressure off the coast of FL/GA is so elogonated that strengthing of this is hardly likely..we will though might see some gusts of 40mph tonight but thats about it..they said the upper level low that is sitting over GA is creating too much shear for this low pressure to strength with hurricane force winds..and to make it bad..the guy use to work at accuweather and he said Joe overhypes situations..he told me he would go online to watch the video and see how he is coming up with this scenario..smh!!


Lol though I disagree with Joe on the winding up of the storm before landfall, the low moving towards NC today is most certainly Nicole's low. She left low pressure behind in the Caribbean but she was tracked up east of Miami last night....if they say she's still in the Caribbean then they are dead wrong.
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Quoting kmanhurricaneman:
mmmmmmmmm........ Just ran a rgb loop on the CATL and i am puzzeled as the location they posted for invest 97L to me it is at 13.2 54.0 i think someone made a typooooo!!!!! maybe i am wrong !

There was some apparent spin around 11n 53w earlier.
It's jumping around a bit....
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24653
"A pine uprooted? Now that some saturated ground. It's usually the oaks and laurels that get uprooted. The pines snap off."

Not uprooted - twisted/snapped. There were some occasional very strong gusts (50mph?) for a couple of hours. The one that got my tree also took out my next door neighbor's tree. I felt the ground shake from his, then second later the crash from mine.
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414. toddbizz 7:19 PM GMT on September 30, 2010

I think you were not reading many of the posts at all; the reason I say that is simply because not one person in here stated Nicole would be anything more than a CAT 1 and that was when it was first organizing and was reasonable considering the forecast conditions

When it became apparent this system was not organizing that well, the most I saw from people was this would be a 50-60mph storm

If that is your definition of hyping then I feel sorry for you
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426. srada
Okay..I just called my local NWS officer here in wilmington because of Joe's video..lets just say Joe is WRONG!! ..they said that the remanants of Nicole are still in the caribbean and that the low pressure off the coast of FL/GA is so elogonated that strengthing of this is hardly likely..we will though might see some gusts of 40mph tonight but thats about it..they said the upper level low that is sitting over GA is creating too much shear for this low pressure to strength with hurricane force winds..and to make it bad..the guy use to work at accuweather and he said Joe overhypes situations..he told me he would go online to watch the video and see how he is coming up with this scenario..smh!!
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mmmmmmmmm........ Just ran a rgb loop on the CATL and i am puzzeled as the location they posted for invest 97L to me it is at 13.2 54.0 i think someone made a typooooo!!!!! maybe i am wrong !
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I know you guys in the northeast US appreciate negatively-tilted troughs like this =)

GFS 24 hours 500mb:

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Quoting Levi32:
Weeeee>


LOL I'm glad we're not the only one's getting some action! Being from the NW we've had plenty of "winter storms" that were every bit as bad as a hurricane!

Stay safe man!
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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.