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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223. srada
Quoting Patrap:


I am really concerned about the red big blob heading to wilmington in Patrap's image..that looks very threatening!!
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OK, I think I see it on radar just aboug to come into Wilmington. It's moving so fast though that impact should be minimal.

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NWS doesn't seem too concerned about winds. Dropped the high wind watch and went to an advisory on the coast....
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Do you think NHC will bump up their % on 97L at 2PM?.
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Quoting 7544:
new cmc takes 97l to the bahamas this run

Link
What kind of system will it be when it is in that area? What pressures are we talking about?
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Quoting reedzone:
What they are saying is that even though it's character changed, the storm is strengthening and will have winds up to Hurricane force on Eastern NC and Long Island. Here's the whole article.

...Ignore the official classification of Nicole as a "remnant low" or even a "tropical rainstorm," as the effects will be similar to that of a hurricane from eastern North Carolina to New England.
Nicole may be changing character. However, it is getting stronger and may hit some areas from the Outer Banks to the barrier islands of New Jersey and Long Island with gusts as high as hurricane force spanning tonight and Friday.
Unfortunately, this rush to downgrade Nicole to a remnant low has lifted attention from the serious nature of the event, and may place lives and property unnecessarily in peril, since people will let their guard down as a result.
Impacts could be significant whether gusts are 40, 60 or 80 mph at various locations due to saturated ground and leafed foliage.
As Meteorologist Mark Mancuso pointed out, "The soggy ground and high winds will cause fully leafed trees to easily topple and soggy branches to fall, taking power lines with them."
As we warned about here at AccuWeather.com in recent days, conditions will be dangerous for travel in these areas tonight into Friday due to the potential number of downed trees and magnitude of flooding.
AccuWeather.com Hurricane Expert Joe Bastardi has been very concerned about the dangers from Nicole.
A period of strong onshore winds will also lead to coastal flooding, especially at times of high tide, perhaps as far inland as the upper part of the Delaware and Chesapeake bays.
Pounding surf for a time will lead to beach erosion.
Tropical banding of the rain and thunderstorms could also trigger short-lived, rain-wrapped tornadoes in coastal areas from North Carolina to southern New England.
When people wake up Friday morning, they may be wondering what hit them.
Welcome to "Troptober."...


Thank you for that info. It's hard to believe that the NHC would let that slip by though...
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agreed. Levi to me is exactly like on the guys at the NHC and other professional tropical forecasters with the exception that he is better than all of them.

way to go Levi. thanks for keeping us informed. I for one am very happy you are part of this blog.
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Quoting reedzone:
What they are saying is that even though it's character changed, the storm is strengthening and will have winds up to Hurricane force on Eastern NC and Long Island. Here's the whole article.

...Ignore the official classification of Nicole as a "remnant low" or even a "tropical rainstorm," as the effects will be similar to that of a hurricane from eastern North Carolina to New England.
Nicole may be changing character. However, it is getting stronger and may hit some areas from the Outer Banks to the barrier islands of New Jersey and Long Island with gusts as high as hurricane force spanning tonight and Friday.
Unfortunately, this rush to downgrade Nicole to a remnant low has lifted attention from the serious nature of the event, and may place lives and property unnecessarily in peril, since people will let their guard down as a result.
Impacts could be significant whether gusts are 40, 60 or 80 mph at various locations due to saturated ground and leafed foliage.
As Meteorologist Mark Mancuso pointed out, "The soggy ground and high winds will cause fully leafed trees to easily topple and soggy branches to fall, taking power lines with them."
As we warned about here at AccuWeather.com in recent days, conditions will be dangerous for travel in these areas tonight into Friday due to the potential number of downed trees and magnitude of flooding.
AccuWeather.com Hurricane Expert Joe Bastardi has been very concerned about the dangers from Nicole.
A period of strong onshore winds will also lead to coastal flooding, especially at times of high tide, perhaps as far inland as the upper part of the Delaware and Chesapeake bays.
Pounding surf for a time will lead to beach erosion.
Tropical banding of the rain and thunderstorms could also trigger short-lived, rain-wrapped tornadoes in coastal areas from North Carolina to southern New England.
When people wake up Friday morning, they may be wondering what hit them.
Welcome to "Troptober."...


Well then, the full quote does clarify things. Thanks.
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The training effect still well entrenched over N. Carolina.
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What they are saying is that even though it's character changed, the storm is strengthening and will have winds up to Hurricane force on Eastern NC and Long Island. Here's the whole article.

...Ignore the official classification of Nicole as a "remnant low" or even a "tropical rainstorm," as the effects will be similar to that of a hurricane from eastern North Carolina to New England.
Nicole may be changing character. However, it is getting stronger and may hit some areas from the Outer Banks to the barrier islands of New Jersey and Long Island with gusts as high as hurricane force spanning tonight and Friday.
Unfortunately, this rush to downgrade Nicole to a remnant low has lifted attention from the serious nature of the event, and may place lives and property unnecessarily in peril, since people will let their guard down as a result.
Impacts could be significant whether gusts are 40, 60 or 80 mph at various locations due to saturated ground and leafed foliage.
As Meteorologist Mark Mancuso pointed out, "The soggy ground and high winds will cause fully leafed trees to easily topple and soggy branches to fall, taking power lines with them."
As we warned about here at AccuWeather.com in recent days, conditions will be dangerous for travel in these areas tonight into Friday due to the potential number of downed trees and magnitude of flooding.
AccuWeather.com Hurricane Expert Joe Bastardi has been very concerned about the dangers from Nicole.
A period of strong onshore winds will also lead to coastal flooding, especially at times of high tide, perhaps as far inland as the upper part of the Delaware and Chesapeake bays.
Pounding surf for a time will lead to beach erosion.
Tropical banding of the rain and thunderstorms could also trigger short-lived, rain-wrapped tornadoes in coastal areas from North Carolina to southern New England.
When people wake up Friday morning, they may be wondering what hit them.
Welcome to "Troptober."...
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Quoting reedzone:


No, but the effects will be like a Hurricane. They said the NHC was rushing the downgrade.


Thanks. Where or Who on Accuweather said that?
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Patrap! I swear!
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Quoting reedzone:
Accuweather believes Nicole is still Tropical and is nearing Hurricane strength.

..Ignore the official classification of Nicole as a "remnant low" or even a "tropical rainstorm," as the effects will be similar to that of a hurricane from eastern North Carolina to New England..


Erm... Is that what you get from that quote? Or is there more?
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12Z NOGAPS Deep Steering

Is forecasting for the Bermuda high to intensify and build W as the disturbance goes over the Greater Antilles (Fay like) until it gets to the FL Straights/Cuba region before another High builds from the W and keeps in the W/NW Carib.
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Anything for Buck and Hype..is their motto..

Accuweather believes Nicole is still Tropical and is nearing Hurricane strength.

..Ignore the official classification of Nicole as a "remnant low" or even a "tropical rainstorm," as the effects will be similar to that of a hurricane from eastern North Carolina to New England..
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Quoting wxhatt:


wow, it's a hurricane?



No, but the effects will be like a Hurricane. They said the NHC was rushing the downgrade.
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Quoting kshipre1:
sorry to interrupt the topic about 97L but Levi, tell me something.

how the heck are you so smart?! can you give me some of your smartness in meteorology? :)


Could always try putting your head against the monitor and seeing if learning by osmosis works. ;-)

You are right though...I watch those tropical tidbits of his and I think I'm listening to a seasoned pro!
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Quoting reedzone:
Accuweather believes Nicole is still Tropical and is nearing Hurricane strength.

..Ignore the official classification of Nicole as a "remnant low" or even a "tropical rainstorm," as the effects will be similar to that of a hurricane from eastern North Carolina to New England..


wow, it's a hurricane?

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Nicole's remains............

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Quoting Levi32:
Yeah 12z CMC shows some of the concern with the ridge building over the top that could bring 97L closer to the United States. Something to be keeping an eye on.


00Z ECMWF starting to get some support.
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Quoting Patrap:
Hiya Bord..we Lubbing the Early Fall here in Se. La.

After 10.18" of rain at the Arlington, TX Municipal AP this month, in 2 big rain events, all is beautiful here, low humidity, light N or NE breezes, dew-point temps near 47-54F, lows near 55-60F, highs near 81-85F this is fantastic.

While the Eastern Seabord gets hammered with rain, wind, flooding an a tropical air-mass!
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Accuweather believes Nicole is still Tropical and is nearing Hurricane strength.

..Ignore the official classification of Nicole as a "remnant low" or even a "tropical rainstorm," as the effects will be similar to that of a hurricane from eastern North Carolina to New England..
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sorry to interrupt the topic about 97L but Levi, tell me something.

how the heck are you so smart?! can you give me some of your smartness in meteorology? :)
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Quoting spathy:

Possibly a pattern like Plaid?


See you corrected the spelling. LOL
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23687
Should ENC expect any real winds this evening? Doesn't seem to be any warnings, except an advisory near the beach.
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Yeah 12z CMC shows some of the concern with the ridge building over the top that could bring 97L closer to the United States. Something to be keeping an eye on.
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189. Jax82
Suns coming out, nice breeze, dry air, and 77 degrees at the moment. I gotta say its about time Jacksonville!
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They are still working on the projected path models of 97L but they do have the early intensity forecast.

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23687
The most rain I have ever seen was west of Atlanta last year Sept 20-21. That was just ugly.
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186. 7544
new cmc takes 97l to the bahamas this run

Link
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Spathy - see my blog.

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Quoting Patrap:


Patrap, enough! Those arrows line up DIRECTLY over my house!
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Quoting Patrap:
I had no school again Today.

Fan-tastic here too.

Coolish since Monday..with a Deep N flow still.

Current Conditions

Uptown, New Orleans, Louisiana (PWS)
Updated: 1 min 35 sec ago
Clear
79.0 °F
Clear
Humidity: 40%
Dew Point: 53 °F
Wind: 3.0 mph from the North
Wind Gust: 8.1 mph
Pressure: 29.88 in (Steady)
Heat Index: 79 °F
Visibility: 10.0 miles


Hey Pat, is our kickers body still kicking and squirming upside down in the square outside the cathedral...wait, that was just a dream...
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Quoting Grothar:


Why aren't you in school?


Day off, Tuesdays and Thursdays are my days off.
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173 -

No, spathy, black is the color of our plants after all this rain rots the garden remains. :)
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you always do a great job Levi!
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Hiya Bord..we Lubbing the Early Fall here in Se. La.
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Quoting kshipre1:
Levi,

good morning and good to see ya. so, quick question on your analysis. you think in this instance (even though it is too early to tell), the invest area could advance far enough west before an approaching trough pulls the system potentially north/northeastward towards the SE CONUS?

I tell ya, if I understand you, then I am getting better and would be honored to learn from a person like yourself! thanks levi


As I mentioned in the video, that's the kind of thing we should be concerned about if the pattern sets up similarly to what preceded Matthew and Nicole, and we'll have to watch to see how far south the system tracks when it gets to the Caribbean.
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Quoting Patrap:
Atlantic Ocean View (Updated ~3 hours)


GOES-13 Low CLoud Atlantic Image

Thanks for posting the link, awesome satellite pics of 97L, future "O" named system!
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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.