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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Can anyone here post a radar image from Wales?
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FCST FROM MONDAY THROUGH THE END OF NEXT WEEK WILL DEPEND ON WHAT
BROAD AREA OF DISTURBED WX DOES ACROSS THE CNTRL ATLC. GLOBAL
MODELS CONTINUE TO SUGGEST A TROPICAL DEPRESSION WILL FORM AND
TRACK SLOWLY SOUTH OF PR NEXT WEEK WITH SYSTEM RECURVING LATER IN
THE WEEK AS IT GETS CAUGHT UP INTO THE MID LATITUDE WESTERLIES.
ECMWF HAS BEEN THE MOST CONSISTENT MODEL THE PAST FEW DAYS AND
SHOWS A PROLONGED PERIOD OF HEAVY RAIN STARTING MON THAT LASTS
THRU THU NIGHT. WILL CONTINUE TO HIGHLIGHT THIS EVENT IN HAZARDOUS
WX OUTLOOK AS IT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO HAVE SIGNIFICANT IMPACTS DUE
TO ITS PROLONGED NATURE.

This was part of the PR DISCUSSION
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Quoting BreadandCircuses:


Love them. RIP The Rev.

Anyway that is the biggest orange circle I've ever seen..
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Quoting robert88:
All i see in the Atlantic is a big mess. You would think we would have seen a decent cane in the GOM or Caribbean by now. All this huge mass of spread out energy that will never bundle into anything significant seems to be the pattern now. I think we mainly see weak depressions and some moderate tropical storms here on out.
Quoting robert88:
All this heat and energy has to go somewhere but it doesn't mean the end results have to be hurricanes. I see a bunch of Matthew's and Nicole's in the making. Nothing more. JMO
Quoting robert88:
I just don't think all this energy will ever be able to bundle into anything significant. It was a large envelope to begin with and it is hard for a system this big to consolidate unless it has really good conditions. It has been right on the heels of the wave in front of it which isn't a good thing too. I just don't see 97L ever getting to a hurricane. If i had to guess i would say a 40-50 mph TS at this point. This won't help matters if it makes it further W and tries to pull a Ivan or Nicole. Look at that extreme shear making it all the way down to the NW Caribbean and Bahamas. Link

Like everyone else on here, you're certainly entitled to your own beliefs. But out of curiosity, what is it you're seeing that's causing you to make such conjectures? Remember, an opinion based on "feeling" alone isn't a forecast; it's a guess--and there's a huge difference between the two. Too, one shouldn't make the mistake of simply extrapolating current conditions and assuming that's how it'll be from here on out; while there are hostile conditions in some areas at the moment, that doesn't mean those hostile conditions will exist in two days, or two weeks, or a month.

Here's the deal: there are exactly two months left in the 2010 season, and another possibly slightly active month after that. All indications are that we'll see anywhere from a bare minimum of three or four more named storms to as many as nine or ten more. Either way, things are far from over. Yes, it's October...but if you've followed tropical weather for any length of time, you know that this month has produced some of the most damaging/deadly storms ever, eespecially in the GOM/Caribbean. It's far too early to call it a day...
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1769. IKE
SYNOPSIS FOR CARIBBEAN SEA AND TROPICAL N ATLC FROM 07N TO 22N
BETWEEN 55W AND 65W
530 AM EDT FRI OCT 01 2010

.SYNOPSIS...TROUGH FROM CENTRAL CUBA TO GULF OF HONDURAS WILL
DRIFT E AND EXTEND FROM EASTERN CUBA TO WESTERN PANAMA BY EARLY
SUN AND BECOME STATIONARY. LOW PRES MAY DEVELOP ALONG THE TROUGH
NEAR 19N79W THEN MOVE INTO EASTERN CUBA SUN, ANOTHER
LOW...POSSIBLY A DEVELOPING TROPICAL CYCLONE...MAY FORM ALONG A
TROPICAL WAVE ALONG 48W AS IT MOVES THROUGH THE TROPICAL N ATLC
WATERS FRI NIGHT AND SAT THEN SLOWS AS IT MOVES THROUGH THE NE
CARIBBEAN SUN THROUGH TUE.
..............................................

SYNOPSIS FOR THE GULF OF MEXICO
430 AM CDT FRI OCT 01 2010

.SYNOPSIS...HIGH PRES BUILDING SE ACROSS THE GULF WILL STRENGTHEN
DURING THE WEEKEND AND INTO EARLY NEXT WEEK ALLOWING FOR
NORTHERLY WINDS OVER THE AREA TO INCREASE ACROSS THE NORTHERN
WATERS.

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97L

New "blob" in the Western Caribbean Sea
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
I just don't think all this energy will ever be able to bundle into anything significant. It was a large envelope to begin with and it is hard for a system this big to consolidate unless it has really good conditions. It has been right on the heels of the wave in front of it which isn't a good thing too. I just don't see 97L ever getting to a hurricane. If i had to guess i would say a 40-50 mph TS at this point. This won't help matters if it makes it further W and tries to pull a Ivan or Nicole. Look at that extreme shear making it all the way down to the NW Caribbean and Bahamas. Link

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1766. jonelu
It seems to me that "Nicole" did her job a pulled alot of the moisture north. We have alot of dry air in the GOM and there is a couple potential systems that will have to look out for. Plus the natural tendency for recurvature is possible as stronger fronts move further south as fall kicks in. There is still alot of moisture and heat in the Caribbean...but it may be distributed slowely rather than thru a big system since we are moving into a less favorable time of yr for tropical systems...Lets see how it pans out. But Im feeling its less likely FL or the eastern GOM is going to see anything major by year end...seems like every system to come thru hasnt managed to get it together...nicole is a perfect example. Its less likely that will happen as the fall pattern kicks in IMO
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Quoting robert88:
All this heat and energy has to go somewhere but it doesn't mean the end results have to be hurricanes. I see a bunch of Matthew's and Nicole's in the making. Nothing more. JMO


Yes, but why? Based on what? I am not bashing you, and I respect you as a poster. But you need to provide evidence for your claims.

Think of this as a friendly challenge from me to you.
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All this heat and energy has to go somewhere but it doesn't mean the end results have to be hurricanes. I see a bunch of Matthew's and Nicole's in the making. Nothing more. JMO
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Quoting traumaboyy:


Enjoying the weather over there man.....it sure is nice here!!


Blah. Speak for yourself. :P
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Good morning!


Enjoying the weather over there man.....it sure is nice here!!
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Quoting traumaboyy:


Mornin Kori!


Good morning!
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Looks like a huge monsoon trough like you would see in the Indian Ocean.

""

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Quoting KoritheMan:


Based on what?


Mornin Kori!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting robert88:
All i see in the Atlantic is a big mess. You would think we would have seen a decent cane in the GOM or Caribbean by now. All this huge mass of spread out energy that will never bundle into anything significant seems to be the pattern now. I think we mainly see weak depressions and some moderate tropical storms here on out.


Based on what?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
All i see in the Atlantic is a big mess. You would think we would have seen a decent cane in the GOM or Caribbean by now. All this huge mass of spread out energy that will never bundle into anything significant seems to be the pattern now. I think we mainly see weak depressions and some moderate tropical storms here on out.
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He believes what he believes. Period... And you believe what you believe. Period. Posting private e-mails is not the way to go.
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1752. JRRP
GN
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Short and sweet...what is your point Bread?
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1748. JLPR2
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
A little bed-time music:



Hey I was talking to my mom about that song today! XD
Now I'm really off, LOL!
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That convection just off the northeast coast of Honduras has a current pressure of at least 1008 mb.

Interesting, as its obviously under high pressure .... and growing in size.

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Quoting xcool:
The NOGAPS and GFS are playing catchup regarding the upper pattern in North America - they are both too weak and too far east with the cutoff low over the eastern US by early-mid next week. The ECMWF and Canadian both have a much better handle. I don't think 97L is a certain recurve, but it's unlikely to affect any areas west of Hispaniola, the Turks and Caicos, Bermuda and Nova Scotia. The upper pattern bears little resemblance to the one during Hurricane Kate

by jconsor Professional-Met


www.storm2k.org


+100

Good....Kate was my first Hurricane.....Long Scary night!!
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1743. JLPR2
Quoting Grothar:
I posted the TWO at 2, we can all go to bed now.


Amen!
I'm off, night all! :]
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1742. geepy86
Quoting swflurker:
FYI, B&C posted a private chat you had!
B&C posted every blog on WU. Old news.
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1741. Grothar
I posted the TWO at 2, we can all go to bed now.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26118
1740. JRRP
40%
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FYI, B&C posted a private chat you had!
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
I might as well wait up for the 2 am TWO as well. It's hard for me to imagine such a big system organizing quickly. Although I suppose it's possible that a small part of it could spin up.
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1738. Grothar
000
ABNT20 KNHC 010547
TWOAT
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
200 AM EDT FRI OCT 1 2010

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...






FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

A LARGE AND COMPLEX AREA OF DISTURBED WEATHER...ASSOCIATED WITH
TWO TROPICAL WAVES...EXTENDS FROM THE LESSER ANTILLES EASTWARD
INTO THE ATLANTIC FOR SEVERAL HUNDRED MILES. THUNDERSTORMS HAVE
BECOME A LITTLE MORE CONCENTRATED ABOUT 850 MILES EAST OF THE
LEEWARD ISLANDS...AND SATELLITE AND SURFACE OBSERVATIONS INDICATE
THAT A WEAK LOW PRESSURE AREA MAY BE FORMING NEAR THIS ACTIVITY.
UPPER-LEVEL WINDS ARE FORECAST TO BECOME SOMEWHAT MORE CONDUCIVE
FOR DEVELOPMENT AS THIS LARGE DISTURBANCE MOVES WESTWARD TO
WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT 15 TO 20 MPH. THERE IS A MEDIUM CHANCE...
40 PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING
THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

SHOWER AND THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY EXTENDS FROM NORTHERN HONDURAS
ACROSS THE CAYMAN ISLANDS AND JAMAICA TO HISPANIOLA IN ASSOCIATION
WITH A BROAD TROUGH OF LOW PRESSURE. THERE REMAINS NO SIGNS OF
ORGANIZATION AND THERE IS A LOW CHANCE...10 PERCENT...OF THIS
SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.
REGARDLESS OF DEVELOPMENT...LOCALLY HEAVY RAINS WILL BE POSSIBLE
DURING THE NEXT DAY OR TWO ACROSS NORTHERN CENTRAL AMERICA...THE
CAYMAN ISLANDS...JAMAICA...AND HISPANIOLA.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26118
1737. xcool
The NOGAPS and GFS are playing catchup regarding the upper pattern in North America - they are both too weak and too far east with the cutoff low over the eastern US by early-mid next week. The ECMWF and Canadian both have a much better handle. I don't think 97L is a certain recurve, but it's unlikely to affect any areas west of Hispaniola, the Turks and Caicos, Bermuda and Nova Scotia. The upper pattern bears little resemblance to the one during Hurricane Kate

by jconsor Professional-Met


www.storm2k.org
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1736. xcool
NEW GFS SEEMS TO BE FINALLY CATCHING ON THE ECMWF IDEA OF A CLOSED
LOW OVER THE OH VLY/APLCHNS BY MON/TUE. THE NEW CANADIAN CONTINUES
TO SUPPORT THE ECMWF/ECENS FAMILY OF SOLUTIONS...IN FACT IT
CLOSES OFF ITS UPPER LOW EVEN FARTHER W THAN CONSENSUS OF THE
ECMWF/CANADIAN CONSENSUS OF ENSEMBLE MEMBERS. A COOL RAIN EVENT IS
EXPECTED TO DEVELOP IN CONNECTION WITH THE ERN CLOSED UPPER LOW.
SOME LOCALLY HEAVY PRECIP AMOUNTS ARE POSSIBLE WITH THAT SYS...BUT
TOTALS WILL BE A FAR CRY FROM THE CURRENT HEAVY RAIN EVEN
AFFECTING THE ERN SEABOARD STATES.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Jedkins, is the PWAT for the tropical Atlantic as a whole above normal?


I don't really know, I haven't checked any statistics on that, I'm not sure where I could get a hold of that kind of information not being an actual meteorologist yet.

I would tend to think that's true as far as the deeper tropics, but the northern half has been very dry, which isn't very unusual but still.

All I know is the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico (including Florida and the rest of gulf coast) Central America, and northern South America, have had extremely high PW Values through most of the hurricane season, although it is common for very high moisture in the tropics, it does seem it has been above normal.

The one inhibiting factor has been persistent unusually warm air aloft, which again, relatively warm air aloft in the tropics and sub tropics is normal, it allows a higher moisture content to persist, and thus heavier rain. But the warm air aloft has been much stronger then usual here in Florida as well as much of the tropics. This is why we have had unusually low amounts of lightning and severe weather in Florida, and in turn so much warm, air aloft leads to stability and thus less rain despite such high PW's.


This is also why weak systems have really struggled all hurricane season. Must explosive intensity hasn't occurred till tropical systems have surpassed category 1 strength, overcoming the stabilizing effects of unusually warm air aloft.
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1732. Grothar
The center fix is old on this. Will be interesting to see where they might relocate it.

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26118
1729. geepy86
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


LOL
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1728. hu2007
Link can somebody explain too me why we have a developing system in my neirboor? thanks
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
I might as well wait up for the 2 am TWO as well. It's hard for me to imagine such a big system organizing quickly. Although I suppose it's possible that a small part of it could spin up.



I agree, the only thing is, I'm, questioning whether the hurricane threat may be over with almost winter like OMEGA blocking pattern domination the weather down here in Florida.

Yes I believe there may be more tropical cyclones, but with this pattern taking shape, its gonna coll SST's in the gulf and the waters throughout the coastal southeast U.S. I just can't imagine anything worse then tropical storms or hybrids making landfall in the U.S. from here on out.


I could be wrong, but just my gut feeling combined with meteorological studies suggest the threat for dangerous tropical cyclones is over mostly. But you can never say never, just saying it looks at lot less likely from here on out.
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1723. Grothar
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


I know...What was your favorite song back in the day?


You have "In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning", from Sleepless in Seattle. appropriate for this time, since most will be here for the TWO at 2.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26118

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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.