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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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
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so, I guess if the GFS is correct and the center and the storm itself is supposed to track further westward, that would be good news for Florida and bad for Texas or Mexico?

While the opposite if the EURO is right?
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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.
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Quoting Jeff9641:


About 250 miles I believe.


I believe it was 251. LOL Hey, you can get in trouble on this blog if you agree with someone.
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Quoting KEHCharleston:
That it will develop within the next 2 days.


Yup.....Will be intereresting to see how it pans out; the sheer tendency is for a drop in front of it as it gets near or over the Antilles.
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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.


What are they showing?
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Quoting hydrus:
Good morning Gro. I have to run, but I wanted to say hey..bbl


Hey!
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Quoting Grothar:
Good morning Gro. I have to run, but I wanted to say hey..bbl
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Yes, the center was relocated, which is probably why there are not reliable models right now. I believe it was a shift of a few hundred miles further west, not sure.

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Water is off across the island and I understand the the students of UTECH are staging a protest.
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http://www.wfmz.com/weather/25209160/detail.html

Pictures of flooding in and around the Reading and Allentown area in PA.
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Quoting TropicalInstigation:
Morning, all. Is 97L a Florida threater? ^_^.


WAY to early to tell.......
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:
Good Morning and Thank You Dr. M. I know that NHC is giving the wave east of the Caribbean a 30% chance at the moment but I also think we will still need to keep an eye in the coming days on the ongoing convection South of Cuba. Once the Trof pushes through, and if this area "breaks off" from the front and sticks around, it will be the "mother" of all leftover frontal remnants. Will be interesting to see how this area will also interact with the approaching wave in a few days as well. Poor Cuba and Jamaica; the rain keeps coming for them.
That it will develop within the next 2 days.
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From http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=253094

Originally Published: 9/17/2010
State issues drought warning for Berks, Schuylkill
Reading Eagle

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The state issued a drought warning Thursday for Berks and Schuylkill and 22 other counties, and a drought watch for the rest of the state.

Berks and Schuylkill residents were asked to voluntarily reduce water consumption by 10 percent to 15 percent.

Despite the light-to-moderate rainfall Thursday, precipitation in Berks and Schuylkill is about 20 percent below normal in 2010.

In Berks, the county average was 26 inches, which was about 6 below normal.

In Schuylkill, the average was 27.2 inches, also about 6 below normal.

The most drought-stricken areas of the state are five counties in the northwest, which are running deficits of 8 to 10 inches.


-----------------------------------
Also from the Reading Eagle; 9/30/10

Continuing rain to push Schuylkill River past flood stage across Berks.

Continuing rain today and tonight will push the Schuylkill River past its flood stage across Berks County, the county's department of emergency services announced this morning.

Additional rainfall could exceed four inches across the region, according to the National Weather Service.

That would result in the river cresting at 20 feet, six inches Friday evening, well above the flood stage of 13 feet, emergency officials said.

The highest the river has gotten during a storm was during the June, 2006 flood, when the river reached 23 and 1/2 feet.

In Pottstown, the river is expected to reach 21 feet, six inches Friday evening, a foot higher than it got during the 2006 flood.

In addition to river flooding, heavy rain could cause small stream and creek flooding as waters are unable to drain into the river, officials said.

Residents in areas known to be prone to flooding should begin securing valuables on lower levels and remain attentive to television and radio for information regarding possible evacuations.

Municipal officials along the river are beginning to activate their flood plans, in case they are necessary.

More information will be released as it becomes available from forecasters.
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Quoting kimoskee:
Good Morning from rainy Jamaica.

Schools still closed and roads are a mess. At least its not raining at my location at this time. I have power and telephone but no water. The pump for the tank burnt out yesterday so trying to get that fixed today. Thank God for the hot tub, we're usingthe water from it to flush toilets.

No more rain please. We can't take any more.

websites for Jamaican news:
www.jamaicaobserver.com
www.jamaicagleaner.com


Good to hear from you this am.Maybe power will come back on soon for you.I have friends in Darliston and they lost their home(shanty) last night.They are in a position to re-build after this season ends.They have taken shelter and are fine now.It took only 4 hours of the rain to destroy their home last night.By the way thanks for the Link you posted last night as it gave me some comfort and kept me as informed as I could be.Hope all clears out for you soon.
v/r
Moe
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hydrus,

thanks for the response. please correct me if I am wrong but it might be good news for the US for any storms coming from the eastern atlantic westward but could be bad for the SE CONUS especially Florida since troughs come October would tend to swing up towards Florida
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Quoting Neapolitan:


No, it's not; the abbreviation "in" for "inches" is used on the radar page more than once. Too, the radar-estimated hourly rainfall rate is roughly the same as that for the Morehead City radar, so there's no difference in settings. (Though if you or someone can explain how only the storm total on only the Wilmington radar is in centimeters while all other measurements are in inches, I'm willing to listen.)


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.
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Quoting air360:
I kept hearing forecasters and people saying that its going to be mostly an eastern nc event and outerbanks. But looking at the radar it looks like it is shifting back to the west a bit and the crystal coast (morehead city, atlantic beach areas) and the obx will be out of the weather in a few hours. Is this going to last or is there more coming that we just cant see on radar yet?


I understand that the low that is near florida is supposed to affect us later on today..so no..we still have more to come for eastern nc
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Good Morning and Thank You Dr. M. I know that NHC is giving the wave east of the Caribbean a 30% chance at the moment but I also think we will still need to keep an eye in the coming days on the ongoing convection South of Cuba. Once the Trof pushes through, and if this area "breaks off" from the front and sticks around, it will be the "mother" of all leftover frontal remnants. Will be interesting to see how this area will also interact with the approaching wave in a few days as well. Poor Cuba and Jamaica; the rain keeps coming for them.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Thanks. I see the precipitation maximum for Morehead City NEXRAD (shown above) is 18.9" as of this writing, while Wilmington NEXRAD shows a maximum of 52.9". Since the heaviest precipitation appears to be to the east of Wilmington and to the west of Morehead City--meaning that there should be consequent overlap--can we assume that 52.9" maximum is an instrumental error, and that the max, while copious, is far less than shown?

It's an instrumentation error of some sort. I've seen the Lake Charles radar do the same thing many times before too.
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Good Morning from Momtego Bay Jamaica.


It is still raining here in Montego Bay. Roads are also a mess. If it rains like yesterday we will have a lot more place flooded.
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Quoting air360:
I kept hearing forecasters and people saying that its going to be mostly an eastern nc event and outerbanks. But looking at the radar it looks like it is shifting back to the west a bit and the crystal coast (morehead city, atlantic beach areas) and the obx will be out of the weather in a few hours. Is this going to last or is there more coming that we just cant see on radar yet?


Its looking like one more big round when what was Nicole moves in.
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Quoting TropicalInstigation:


Thank you, Logic. Although, those model runs for now, look a little bit concerning, don't they? LOL.


Indeed... but given the current pattern it will take a bit for the E CONUS TROF to lift out and should start doing so this weekend, by then anything that forms in the Carib and CATL will start lifting N rather quickly given the depth of the TROF.
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Lights flickering intermittantly at work here in Towson, Baltimore Cnty.
Schools in Baltimore and Harford Counties getting out early. Others will follow, I'm sure.
Baltimore City streets starting to flood. I'm hearing this from patients coming into the office.
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I kept hearing forecasters and people saying that its going to be mostly an eastern nc event and outerbanks. But looking at the radar it looks like it is shifting back to the west a bit and the crystal coast (morehead city, atlantic beach areas) and the obx will be out of the weather in a few hours. Is this going to last or is there more coming that we just cant see on radar yet?
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Quoting katadman:



That figure is in centimeters.


No, it's not; the abbreviation "in" for "inches" is used on the radar page more than once. Too, the radar-estimated hourly rainfall rate is roughly the same as that for the Morehead City radar, so there's no difference in settings. (Though if you or someone can explain how only the storm total on only the Wilmington radar is in centimeters while all other measurements are in inches, I'm willing to listen.)
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Good Morning from rainy Jamaica.

Schools still closed and roads are a mess. At least its not raining at my location at this time. I have power and telephone but no water. The pump for the tank burnt out yesterday so trying to get that fixed today. Thank God for the hot tub, we're usingthe water from it to flush toilets.

No more rain please. We can't take any more.

websites for Jamaican news:
www.jamaicaobserver.com
www.jamaicagleaner.com

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Quoting kshipre1:
is that trough over the SE supposed to lift out anytime soon?
The GEM model has this trough lifting out and another one comes in behind it. The NCEP model looks a little different. It shows the Bermuda high almost disappearing from the weather map. Which would be pretty good news for the U.S.Link
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Quoting TropicalInstigation:
Morning, all. Is 97L a Florida threater? ^_^.


Not at this time... but definitely something to worry about for the Greater Antilles in the short term.
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Quoting hydrus:
I have a good question for you or anybody that can answer it....Did ANYONE predict just how strong this trough would be?...Anyway, notice how the trough is removing a lot of the energy from the Western Caribbean and transporting it north..This much stronger than normal trough thankfully spared Floridians from Lisa and whatever spins up in the Western Caribbean within the next few days. This is certainly one of the deepest troughs I have seen for this time of year. What are your thoughts on 97L,s track? It is a big s.o.b..
Action: Quote | Modify Comment
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 4890

There's an interesting symbolic forecast,(Post 82) of a curiously divided cyclone/tropical system, given here. Keep in mind that the symbol for cyclonic winds generally, is the inverted triangle. Note the location for the diagonal line, and where it appeared in satellite imagery. Click the photo itself, for the original publish date .... which was on Sept. 24, 2010. www.flickr.com/photos/51127052@N04

It's a shame they don't allow more symbolic forecasting here, because the exact same symbolism was used to predict several very rare weather events, including the downtown tornado which hit Atlanta Georgia, and hurricane Ike ... in advance.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Thanks. I see the precipitation maximum for Morehead City NEXRAD (shown above) is 18.9" as of this writing, while Wilmington NEXRAD shows a maximum of 52.9". Since the heaviest precipitation appears to be to the east of Wilmington and to the west of Morehead City--meaning that there should be consequent overlap--can we assume that 52.9" maximum is an instrumental error, and that the max, while copious, is far less than shown?



That figure is in centimeters. It equals approximately 20.8 inches.

I'm out, y'all. See you later this afternoon.
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Quoting BobinTampa:


except for the gulf coast of Florida, we have plenty of room for some rain.
Amen. Only two inches in the past 6-8 weeks. Dry dry dry.
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Quoting johnnyascat:
Both Otto and Paula could be in the Caribbean by this weekend. What an interesting season this is!
This looks like serious posting! Good stuff.
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
Quoting Orcasystems:


Just a TS so far.. and thats enough for now ... Florida is wet enough.


Good morning...

Jeje... well not ALL Florida. I've been low in PCPN accumulations, but definitely South Central to South FL are definitely "saturated".
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:
Gotta love Dominion Power, they do an excellent job
Not out here in the hills. During super ice storms several years back we were last ones to get power back. Tiny Co-op in next County had all their people back on line over a week before Dominion even bothered with us.
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
is that trough over the SE supposed to lift out anytime soon?
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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.

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