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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pier cam on NC coast serious rain indeed
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Quoting Neapolitan:


Precisely! Finally. I was merely trying to prompt someone into considering other possibilities for the anomalously high reading than simply assuming the first guess fit--that is, that it was in centimeters rather than inches. It's been a recent topic of discussion that radar-based stage III estimates are not a very useful source of data since they suffer from several built-in errors: too short a perid of record, problems with processing algorithms, and near-point over-estimations, etc. In fact, for Mean Areal Precip (MAP), they're normally considered only as a secondary or tertiary data point, calibrated gauges being the primary.

Congrats! Your correct answer win the prize... :-)


The rain to stop falling?? :p
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120. 7544
gfs is running now lets see if it shows 97l
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Quoting srada:


Does anyone think the HH will fly into that red mess that was once Nicole?

No, because its already transitioning into extratropical.
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117. IKE
I feel love on the blog today.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
116. JLPR2
Quoting jasoniscoolman2010xo:


Thank you for posting that, I'm amazed I hadn't seen 97L mentioned anywhere on this page. XD

Looks like 97L was made by the convection of the first disturbance and the circulation of the second one.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


Neo, sometimes that figure can get messed up because for some reason the radar thinks its raining so hard right next to the radar site. If you zzom in youll see a white speck next to the Wilmington radar, it's the clutter that messed up the reading.


Precisely! Finally. I was merely trying to prompt someone into considering other possibilities for the anomalously high reading than simply assuming the first guess fit--that is, that it was in centimeters rather than inches. It's been a recent topic of discussion that radar-based stage III estimates are not a very useful source of data since they suffer from several built-in errors: too short a perid of record, problems with processing algorithms, and near-point over-estimations, etc. In fact, for Mean Areal Precip (MAP), they're normally considered only as a secondary or tertiary data point, calibrated gauges being the primary.

Congrats! Your correct answer win the prize... :-)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13803
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


Oh goodie more rain


Jeje... can't be ruled out, but currently doubting you'll get from a tropical type development for now.
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 5038
111. srada
Quoting johnnyascat:


Wow! Closed off does not do justice in describing the dry air pattern in this image.


Does anyone think the HH will fly into that red mess that was once Nicole?
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all I know is that the troughs are pretty well pronounced come October.

It would not be surprising at all to see just enough of a well positioned and pronounced trough to pull a strong system N/NE over the southeastern GOM into Florida.

October will be interesting to say the least.
Member Since: July 12, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1133


Wow! Closed off does not do justice in describing the dry air pattern in this image.
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Quoting TampaSpin:


HUM???? When an organized System has lost its LLC mixed in with a Cold front your saying it is possible to be organized. Guess if was a Hurricane and it becomes a downgraded to a SubTropical system but, one from a Depression if that system. I don't think so.


When its in about 10 to 20kts of shear and is traveling along the cold front but still not completely attached yes (look at the hpc fronts there are troughs off of it but its still not part of the front. As of earlier that is). Look at the satellite. You can see a strong mlc and a partially open llc under it.
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Quoting reedzone:
I wasn't wrong, it was my opinion that she looked better organized then when she was actually classified. They downgraded her for one reason and it was because she had no circulation, other then that, banding was great along with deep convection.
....their was no decernable warm core center,plain and simple so they actually had the hh drop it mid mission!!!
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
Quoting reedzone:
I wasn't wrong, ignore me, just ignore me.


Been watching you for the past several years and you take things too personally sometimes; two tips: 1) don't be so hard on yourself and don't pander to those on here that do not contribute constructively and are just out to correct or criticize folks, and, 2) this is an open site for weather "enthusiasts" and just ignore those who cross the line......At the end of the day, why stress yourself over a "blog"?.....Child Please......... :)
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9413
Quoting WxLogic:


Based on the general flow of the models I'm seeing based on 00Z and 06Z is that yes there's a High building this weekend into next week, but is not strong enough to bridge with the Bermuda High and therefore leaving a spot over between E CONUS and Bermuda.


Oh goodie more rain
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129902
Quoting reedzone:
I just wanted to point out something that people misunderstood me on Nicole yesterday.. While I had said she looked organized, and she did, I also said she lacks a very important factor in her state, a well defined LLC. After I said she looked organized in banding and convection, I was pretty much torn apart on here. This is a weather blog, I have EVERY write to write what I had predicted and felt Nicole was going to do. Just wanted to state all the immaturity on this blog, it really needs to stop.
.....reed just calling you out because about two minutes after u stated that nicole looked impressive,the nhc dissipated her and issued the last advisory(crow),a few hrs earlier you stated that td16 was a ts if ever saw one and a bit later they named her(A++),no ones right all time,but being a met you'll always get it wrong occasionally,i think most on the blog know your a good kid,but it is. apublic forum and they'll always be haters-paul
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
Quoting HurricaneKing:


Actually it can be. We've seen so many invest before that looked like tropical storms but lacked llc's. Just as soon as one developed they went straight to 50mph storms. You can have very organized mlcs and orgainzed systems just not named systems.


HUM???? When an organized System has lost its LLC mixed in with a Cold front your saying it is possible to be organized. Guess if was a Hurricane and it becomes a downgraded to a SubTropical system but, one from a Depression if that system. I don't think so.
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Reed I am not underestimating your abilities as a future met they are all wrong at times even the experts at NHC get it wrong don't be so sensitive to people likeme who post and say they think you were wrong it is just IMHO thats all not trying to be mean
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All that red is Nicole tightening up. NHC/TPC shouldn't of dropped her imo.
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129902
To add to that the mlc associated with what was Nicole looks amazing today. If this had time to develop a llc we'd be looking at a subtropical or tropical storm.
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Quoting reedzone:
I just wanted to point out something that people misunderstood me on Nicole yesterday.. While I had said she looked organized, and she did, I also said she lacks a very important factor in her state, a well defined LLC. After I said she looked organized in banding and convection, I was pretty much torn apart on here. This is a weather blog, I have EVERY write to write what I had predicted and felt Nicole was going to do. Just wanted to state all the immaturity on this blog, it really needs to stop.


The past is the past, let it stay there.
Just do what you do.

Its ONLY a weather blog, you shouldn't loose sleep over what someone on here says.
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Quoting TropicalInstigation:
Logic, would a ridge build in, thereafter, forcing the ''entity'' westward?


Based on the general flow of the models I'm seeing based on 00Z and 06Z is that yes there's a High building this weekend into next week, but is not strong enough to bridge with the Bermuda High and therefore leaving a spot over between E CONUS and Bermuda.
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 5038
Quoting TampaSpin:


Bro your a friend of mine but, when you make statements like this your just asking for trouble.....READ WHAT you just wrote. A system cannot be organized at all without a LLC....NO WAY. YOu know that! CAlmn down and with one piece of advice. Read back what you write twice as i have started doing unless you really want the fury to come. Heck i don't even blog as much....LOL YOur cool tho....CHIN UP!


Actually it can be. We've seen so many invest before that looked like tropical storms but lacked llc's. Just as soon as one developed they went straight to 50mph storms. You can have very organized mlcs and orgainzed systems just not named systems.
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I can't do it I love to see your perspective on things even if they are not what i see.
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Quoting reedzone:
I just wanted to point out something that people misunderstood me on Nicole yesterday.. While I had said she looked organized, and she did, I also said she lacks a very important factor in her state, a well defined LLC. After I said she looked organized in banding and convection, I was pretty much torn apart on here. This is a weather blog, I have EVERY write to write what I had predicted and felt Nicole was going to do. Just wanted to state all the immaturity on this blog, it really needs to stop.


Bro your a friend of mine but, when you make statements like this your just asking for trouble.....READ WHAT you just wrote. A system cannot be organized at all without a LLC....NO WAY. YOu know that! CAlmn down and with one piece of advice. Read back what you write twice as i have started doing unless you really want the fury to come. Heck i don't even blog as much....LOL YOur cool tho....CHIN UP!
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It is always best to leave a sleeping dog lay. Let's not start bickering today. Things have been suprisingly civil thus far.
Member Since: July 30, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 261
agreed WxLogic. Bastardi had a good article on accuweather the other day stating how October has not even started yet but Florida is still at risk
Member Since: July 12, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1133


looks like a lot of precip still left in the pump...
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79. 7544
could something still form so of cuba from the red blobs down there ?
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Quoting Jeff9641:



Models unfortunatly see different. 97L relocated this morning much further SW from the 2am position. The 2am runs were taking this west then sw at the end of the runs. Also of note due to the relocation of 97L there were NO 8am model runs so we will have to wait until 3pm to get a better idea of 97L's future. GFS and Euro show 2 different scenario's next week. GFS no trough while Euro has a strong trough.


Jeff we'll have to wait and see as you stated to see how ECMWF handles it and the further evolution of the E CONUS TROF. GFS hardly develops it to the degree of ECMWF if at all... but let's see how the 12Z suite does.
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 5038
Quoting Grothar:


I believe it was 251. LOL Hey, you can get in trouble on this blog if you agree with someone.


Na, it was 252 miles. lol
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Quoting clwstmchasr:


WxLogic,

Looking at the water vapor imagery it reminds me of late October. Typically when a front takes out the entire GOM we hear many experts say that the GOM is now shut down for the year. Given that it is only Sept 30, do you think the GOM is still ripe for a storm?


In my opinion still available until mid Oct to late Oct. as FROPA become more frequent as TROF(s) dig deeper. Since we're still in Sept. that's why you're most likely not hearing from them yet that the Gulf is closed, but as we head towards the middle part of Oct. the Gulf should start closing from W to E.
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 5038
morning wu-crew....going to be starting a FL storm chase/spotter team for all us locals,setting up a team to cover all angles of the state with live reports and streams covering ALL FL weather ONLY place to find this will be none other than wunderground.com....its going to work like this i'll soon be setting a blog up for all interested in FL local wx,all will be welcome but the theme will be live reports/livestreams from locations around fl,especially when active weather threatens,links to live cams,streams and local pictures will be allowed,I'll have the fl chase blog set up soon,ALL are welcome and feel free to wumail me with any ideas or questions-pauly
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970

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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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