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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323. JRRP
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Quoting CaribBoy:


Can u please give me a link so I can see it?


you just need to see the visible or rgb or shortwave or avn or rainbow loop and you can see it easily.
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Quoting CoopsWife:
wxhatt -

I just live in an area with lots of water, LOL. Everything (storm drains) in this area flows into the bog/creek so it can rise pretty quickly. Still, the house sits waaaaay up the hill so I'm good unless we get another 24-36 of this train!


Good to hear that your at a higher elevation.
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320. srada
A little humor to our situation..article written in the Star News in Wilmington

Weather Channel's Jim Cantore reports from Wilmington, dines at Golden Corral


Published: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 8:33 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 8:33 p.m.
( page of 2 )

Updated: 11:45 a.m. Thursday




Have you heard? Jim Cantore is here! Which, in short, means we are all doomed.

I've lived in Wilmington 10 years and spent 15 more in Florida before that, so I'm well aware of the "Cantore effect." The Weather Channel meteorologist is always the reporter they send to the heart of the problem -- or at least, where they expect the problem to be. So we've come to view him as a more reliable Chicken Little – where he goes, the sky falls.

Plenty of folks sounded the alarm when, just after 4 p.m. Wednesday, Cantore posted this to his Twitter account: "On my way 2 Wilmington, NC via USAir. Very Dangerous Excessive Rainfall event unfolding for US Mid Atlantic Region. 6"-10" over large area." Within minutes after that post was linked to his Facebook page, both social networking sites lit up with comments and conversations.

One comment from a Wilmington resident on Facebook, "Breaking news.....Jim Cantore is en route to Wilmington, NC. That pretty much sums it up, dontcha think?" And another, "Jim Cantore is on his way to Wilmington. Not good, people, not good! I have the Patron, who has the orange slices and cinnamon??"

On Twitter, the prevailing sentiment of "NOOOOOOOO...Not Cantore!!!" wasn't shared by a few foolish locals who were actually inviting him to stay, even recommending restaurants and the like.

Late Wednesday night, Cantore tweeted he was stuck at the Charlotte airport, but her arrived safe and sound and has been broadcasting from the Bob King car dealership on New Centre Drive.

By 11:40 a.m. Thursday, Cantore was at Golden Corral, eating some lunch and posing for photos with fans.

Check back for more CantoreWatch updates later today.

– Jeff Hidek, Community Engagement Editor

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Quoting gordydunnot:

looks tropical to me at 32n 67w


Look!! That's Julia!! :P .. No seriously, that little swirl is the remnants of Julia.
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Pretty much a raw day here in Richmond, heavy rain and winds 25 to 30 mph.
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316. nativ
Quoting CosmicEvents:
I hope everyone is as safe as they can be here. That's the main thing. What happens in the winter when extreme weather hits and there's no name? Do the people there also ignore the winter events...because they have no name?


The media hypes up winter storms and everyone gets ready. Stuff likes this where it has a name and then it doesn`t as soon as the name is taken away people stop paying attention or when it doesnt have a name people dont pay attention. The flooding up there is gonna rival floyd and it wont take much wind to knock down trees when the ground is soaked. People like us who pay attention to the whether are few and far between. the majority of people get there info from the media.
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Bastardi is making a good point on Nicole...
Bastardis take on "Nicole"
He describes what happened yesterday to many developments in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean, and he is right.
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wxhatt -

I just live in an area with lots of water, LOL. Everything (storm drains) in this area flows into the bog/creek so it can rise pretty quickly. Still, the house sits waaaaay up the hill so I'm good unless we get another 24-36 of this train!
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Quoting WeatherfanPR:


Maybe up to 50% but they still don't identify the main COC. I do see a very good circulation near 11n and 53w.


Can u please give me a link so I can see it?
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Quoting Levi32:


Probably tropical storm sustained with gusts of 50kts in places.


Wow, thanks for that info.
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Quoting Thundercloud01221991:
It is pouring here in Rochester... Just got upgraded to a Flood Warning here


Yes, it is!
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Quoting WeatherfanPR:


Maybe up to 50% but they still don't identify the main COC. I do see a very good circulation near 11n and 53w.

I see that. And to see any kind of 'circulation' at 11n is pretty impressive!
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24141
Quoting wxhatt:


wow, it's a hurricane?



An extra-tropical hurricane if I'm not mistaken.
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Quoting pottery:

Ah! Thats why I am not seeing what I'm feeling...


Yes the last image is the one of 15H15UTC. That's 11H15AM in local time
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Quoting FSUCOOPman:


This is where I question what the true purpose of the NHC's watches\warnings\classications are...

Is it to merely throw out classifications based on hard thresholds, IE: this system has 42 mph sustained winds, so it's a TS.

Or is the purpose to adequately inform the people in a storm's path of the type on conditions that they'll encounter?

I would like to think the latter is more in the forefront.

Does anyone know? I guess this could get kinda political.


This is a problem I have with their apparent mission. Many of the extratropical systems that turn into nor'easters or even this current situation should be covered as part of their mission in my opinion. Nor'Ida was a huge problem here last year with more surge than Isabel, just the water level wasn't as high due to the timing of peak tide and peak surge not being at the same time. The forecasting for Nor'Ida was horrible and the surge forecast was also terrible. If it weren't for my brother (met), father (met), and I (not met) all living on the water here in the effected area on the water we probably wouldn't have been able to be as prepared as we were. I'm just glad there isn't coastal flooding associated with this system...
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looks tropical to me at 32n 67w
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3112
Jamaican radar is coming back up.
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Quoting wxhatt:


Indeed Levi. What kind of winds do you think OBX will encounter tonight?


Probably tropical storm sustained with gusts of 50kts in places.
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Quoting pottery:

Except I think 30% is low right now.
You think they will raise it at 5 ?


Maybe up to 50% but they still don't identify the main COC. I do see a very good circulation near 11n and 53w.
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Quoting kanc2001:


there is something, IMHO, fundamentally wrong with selling wx, its like trying to sell the air we breathe.


Now thats just silly. No one is holding a gun to their clients head and making them buy it!
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The NHC is responsible for tropical entities. If a storm loses its tropical characteristics, the hurricane center should cease writing advisories. Science is fact-based and it would be wrong for them to treat a non-tropical system as a tropical one when it is not.

I can understand those who believe in erring on the side of caution. However, just because the NHC no longer is issuing advisories and the storm no longer has a name, doesn't mean people are ignorant about the upcoming weather event heading their way. The NWS still does their job and the media still does theirs. Just take a look at the local Wilmington, NC newspaper online and you'll get the sense that this is not being downplayed.
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Quoting CaribBoy:
Well sat loops aren't updated! Last image is almost 3H old!

Ah! Thats why I am not seeing what I'm feeling...
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24141
Quoting PensacolaDoug:
All you guys who are so down on Accuweather may consider this. They sell a product that the NWS and TPC gives away for free. If Accuweather doesn't do a good job for their clients, their clients will vote with their dollars and Accuweather would cease to exist.


there is something, IMHO, fundamentally wrong with selling wx, its like trying to sell the air we breathe.
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Quoting CoopsWife:
284 -

More than a bit intimidating - It'll be more than 10 hours before that batch gets past me! And so much for being on the dry side - we got a nice break for a few hours this morning, but we're pretty steady now.

The creek is up almost 2 vertical feet - meaning in some areas it's 5-8 feet into the yard already. Good thing I am 18-20 feet (vertically) and almost 150 feet laterally from the water. Another 2 feet and well be lapping at the road, though.


Sorry to hear that. We've been lucky here in that respect so far.
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:



I think the odds'll go up on 97L. It's gonna be the "O" storm I'm thinking.

Orca ???
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24141
284 -

More than a bit intimidating - It'll be more than 10 hours before that batch gets past me! And so much for being on the dry side - we got a nice break for a few hours this morning, but we're pretty steady now.

The creek is up almost 2 vertical feet - meaning in some areas it's 5-8 feet into the yard already. Good thing I am 18-20 feet (vertically) and almost 150 feet laterally from the water. Another 2 feet and well be lapping at the road, though.
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Quoting Levi32:


It's definitely no picnic.


Indeed Levi. What kind of winds do you think OBX will encounter tonight?
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Quoting pottery:

Except I think 30% is low right now.
You think they will raise it at 5 ?



I think the odds'll go up on 97L. It's gonna be the "O" storm I'm thinking.
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Well sat loops aren't updated! Last image is almost 3H old!
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Quoting nativ:


This so called rain event is going to be the worst North Carolina has got in years! This hasn`t been hyped enough!! As soon as the name is removed the media stops covering it and people dont pay attention
I hope everyone is as safe as they can be here. That's the main thing. What happens in the winter when extreme weather hits and there's no name? Do the people there also ignore the winter events...because they have no name?
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Quoting WeatherfanPR:
The NHC should do this and that's it. LOL


Except I think 30% is low right now.
You think they will raise it at 5 ?
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24141
Quoting wxhatt:
A bit intimidating.


It's definitely no picnic.
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The NHC should do this and that's it. LOL

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As for whether Accuweather and/or JB is "hyping" this system, Check their forecast against the reported "obs" after it passes. Till then, its just a forecast that may or may not verify.
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A bit intimidating.
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Quoting islander101010:
raining in s california... a sign of an upcoming el nino?


La Nina phase. Your winter should be wetter this year. I don't believe you can directly correlate your current rain event to the ENSO state though, I could be wrong....
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280. nativ
Quoting PensacolaDoug:
All you guys who are so down on Accuweather may consider this. They sell a product that the NWS and TPC gives away for free. If Accuweather doesn't do a good job for their clients, their clients will vote with their dollars and Accuweather would cease to exist.


AMEN!
Also what people dont realize is if you go on there site and read you will see that you will get more than one opinion on things and often they disagree with each other. It is not a one way street on that site.
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Quoting Jeff9641:
97L maybe relocating again to 11N and 55W. Look below!

http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/catl/loop-vis.html

Just was looking at that as well.
That is not good for me here.
Strange how much rain and electricity is happening here, relative to what is shown on the images...
If this is a precursor of what we expect, we are going to have flooding issues big time....
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24141
All you guys who are so down on Accuweather may consider this. They sell a product that the NWS and TPC gives away for free. If Accuweather doesn't do a good job for their clients, their clients will vote with their dollars and Accuweather would cease to exist.
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274. nativ
Quoting CosmicEvents:
That's what JB is hoping for with the hype!
.
.
The reality is bad enough. No need to go about creating hurricanes from rain/flooding events.


This so called rain event is going to be the worst North Carolina has got in years! This hasn`t been hyped enough!! As soon as the name is removed the media stops covering it and people dont pay attention
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Quoting CosmicEvents:
A name would have no effect on their actions.


I think a name would have more people concerned and prepared. The amount of rain that they're getting there is almost equal (already) to what Faye dropped in Florida, and we had major issues with that. A lot of our emergency efforts don't kick in until there is a named system.

You tell me it's going to be rainy and a little windy because of a front, and I'm not even grabbing and umbrella. You tell me there's a TS coming, and I'm buying candles, water, and stocking up on board games.

I'm just pointing out that there seems to be a stigma with the naming convention and the "fear-factor" it generates. It seems that leaving the name here for that reason might've been beneficial. I can't think of many good reasons to remove a name when the conditions in the affected area are going to be the same as a named system.
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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.