Hurricane Otto's deluge continues; world extreme heat record of 136.4°F bogus?

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:51 PM GMT on October 08, 2010

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The deluge continues over Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the northern Lesser Antilles Islands from Hurricane Otto, which is bringing a fourth straight day of heavy rains. Otto is the eighth hurricane of this very active 2010 hurricane season; our tally now stands at 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 5 intense hurricanes. An average season has 10 - 11 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. Otto's rains have caused a fair degree of trouble in the islands. According to Wikipedia, Heavy downpours in the U.S. Virgin Islands caused flooding across several local roads. In Saint Croix, a roadway section leading into Enfield Green collapsed on the night of October 6, temporarily cutting the south-side neighborhood off to vehicle traffic until a makeshift roadway through Carlton Estate was created the next day. On the island's North Shore in La Vallee, landslides and localized flooding in low-lying areas created some issues. There were no reports of major damage, however, and the roads remained passable. Torrential floods across the British Virgin Islands toppled several cars and caused extensive damage to utility lines and drainage pipes; dozens of people (mostly in Road Town) were left without power and water. An estimated 100 homes were flooded in Saint Lucia, and a fishing village on the island's east coast was declared a disaster zone. Schools, businesses and government offices across all of the Virgin Islands and in Saint Kitts and Nevis were closed until further notice.

In Puerto Rico, heavy rainfalls fell across the municipality of Utuado on October 7. As a result, a road to a neighborhood was made inaccessible after being severely damaged by gushing waters when parts of the Arecibo River overflowed. That same day, a landslide dragged away a communication post along the road and made it impossible for larger vehicles--including ambulances--to access the site. Meanwhile, fourteen families in the municipality of Ponce were cut off from communication because of several landslides. A residence alongside a road suffered significant damage and its inhabitants were forced to evacuate. Furthermore, a district in Cayey was isolated after a bridge collapsed, while burst riverbanks caused flooding across streets, trapping dozens of families in their homes. Across the island, 40 roads were closed due to torrential rainfall, and 19 streets had at least one lane closed.



Figure 1. Morning satellite image of Otto.

Weather radar out of Puerto Rico shows that a large area of heavy rain will continue to affect the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico today, and flash flood warnings are posted on these islands through tonight. Martinique radar shows considerably less activity over the Lesser Antilles.

Satellite imagery shows a well-organized storm with an expanding Central Dense Overcast (CDO) of high cirrus clouds covering the center. Infrared satellite imagery shows a region of intense thunderstorms with very cold cloud tops, with the suggestion of a warm spot--an eye--forming. Otto should continue to intensify until Saturday morning, when wind shear will quickly rise to a very high 30+ knots.


Figure 2. Radar-estimated rainfall from Otto over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands this week shows that rains in excess of eight inches (white colors) have fallen in many regions. The strange ray-like pattern to the east of the radar location (the white "+" symbol) is due to mountains blocking the radar beam.

Western Caribbean disturbance
An area of disturbed weather in the Western Caribbean, a few hundred miles east of the coast of Nicaragua, has only a small amount of intense thunderstorms, but is showing some spin. The disturbance is nearly stationary, and is under a moderate 15 - 20 knots of wind shear. Some dry air in the Western Caribbean is interfering with development. I expect the storm will begin to build some significant heavy thunderstorms over the weekend, bringing heavy rains to northeastern Honduras and Nicaragua. None of the models develop the disturbance into a tropical depression, but it does have some potential for slow development over the next few days, and NHC is giving the disturbance a 20% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Sunday. The ECMWF model has the disturbance drifting northward next week and crossing Central Cuba on Wednesday or Thursday. Most of the other models keep the storms confined to the Caribbean.

A challenge to the validity of the world extreme heat record of 136.4°F (58°C) at Al Aziza, Libya
One of the "sacred cows" of world weather extremes has been the widely reported "hottest temperature ever recorded on earth", a reading of 58°C (136.4°F) reported from Al Azizia, Libya on Sept. 13, 1922. In a remarkable piece of research, our featured Weather Extremes blogger Christopher C. Burt concludes: the temperature observations at Al Azizia prior to 1927 (when the site and instruments were changed) are obviously invalid. The shelter housing the thermometer was most likely over exposed and measuring heat radiating of off the black-tarred concrete of the terrace on which it was placed.

Has Mr. Burt slain one of meteorology's most sacred cows? You be the judge. Check out the full story at his blog.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Minnemike:
Please. The entire post was nothing but self-righteous finger wagging. and yours is...? glass houses. i got one too. sorry blog...
I did not want to enter into their debate but my thoughts exactly.
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Please. The entire post was nothing but self-righteous finger wagging. and yours is...? glass houses. i got one too. sorry blog...
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Quoting jeffs713:
Who let the drama llamas in anyway?
good point. i already feel dirty.
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Quoting CaptnDan142:


Probably for the same reason people love to rant against past political figures long after they've left office. Just the way people are I suppose.
Ok.
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
I am not disagreeing with anyone but what is the sense in dragging it out ? What's done is done. I was not on at the time but it's like beating a dead horse.


Probably for the same reason people love to rant against past political figures long after they've left office. Just the way people are I suppose.
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Who let the drama llamas in anyway?
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Quoting CaptnDan142:


Some people feel a deeper animosity - maybe those are the ones who aren't going by what they heard happened, but what they themselves experienced.
I am not disagreeing with anyone but what is the sense in dragging it out ? What's done is done. I was not on at the time but it's like beating a dead horse. I had received weird e-mails last year but I put a stop to it and that was that.
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Quoting Neapolitan:


That was my first thought, too. Tell you what: I'd almost rather be face to face with a bear than find myself unprotected on a golf course while spiky, 1 lb+ hailstones slammed into the ground around me. ;-)


Second that!
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Quoting NOLALawyer:




No, I read his comment quite correctly. You'all need to work on your reading with comprehension skills.

What I asked was, what was more juvenile, wishing for a Hurricane to strike and ruin lives (which was what he accused many of wanting), or expressing enthusiasm (or to be "pumped" as he put it) about chasing a Hurricane?

this take on his post is quite off kilter. some quotes from Jed "there's no excuse for wishing hurricanes to hit and destroy lives, yes their power is awesome, but they do destroy." and "I know some of you want to see a hurricane ruin millions of lives, but I for one will have no part in such cynical thinking." myopic??? hardly.. his was not a post advocating chasing, that was a quick personal remark hardly worth, ehem, someone else's myopia. off soapbox.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
This isn't tropical, but the blog's slow, and it's weather, so here goes. These are images from the NOAA website of a fall of massive hailstones in Wichita, Kansas, on September 15th. Many of us here may have missed it; that was the day Igor and Juila were both at Cat 4, and Karl was making his run toward that.

A hailstone crater on a golf course putting green (click for larger image):

Appropriate tropical weather-related image

One of the offending hailstones (click for larger image):

Appropriate tropical weather-related image

A dog and numerous hailstones right after the storm (click for larger image):

Appropriate tropical weather-related image

Some of the thousands of hailstone craters after the stones have melted (click for larger image):

Appropriate tropical weather-related image

Those might leave a mark. Maybe.

I wonder how high the tops on those supercells were...
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Neapolitan that first picture of yours looks like a bear paw print! It would make me nervous seeing that in my yard ;)


That was my first thought, too. Tell you what: I'd almost rather be face to face with a bear than find myself unprotected on a golf course while spiky, 1 lb+ hailstones slammed into the ground around me. ;-)
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
He has been banned and started his own site so why don't you give it a rest.

+1

Meanwhile, back at the future...

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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Neapolitan that first picture of yours looks like a bear paw print! It would make me nervous seeing that in my yard ;)


took the words out of my mouth
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I haven't "bashed" anyone for saying the hurricane season is over; I've merely questioned them as to how they've arrived at such a conclusion here just one week into October...a month which has produced many powerful, costly, and deadly storms. If they can't answer with more than "It's just my opinion" or "That's just how I feel", I tend to ignore them. That's neither self-righteousness nor smugness; it's science.

Yes, it's true that no further hurricanes may appear, and that Otto is the season finale, and that, obviously, the CONUS is safe until next June. But it's also true that there could be five or six more named storms, and that more than one of those could make landfall in the United States asd a destructive hurricane. With each passing day the latter becomes less likely, of course...but the odds aren't nearly as low as some might think or wish.
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Hurricane Otto 10/8/10

Interesting historical note: Otto is only the 2nd named sub-tropical cyclone to become a hurricane, the other being Hurricane Gustav in 2002.
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Quoting FLstormwarning:


Palm Harbor the bathroom forecast office.
He has been banned and started his own site so why don't you give it a rest. Being insulting doesn't make you any better than some others on here. I am not defending him or what they say he did but since he is not around just let it go.
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Interesting, how that Dry Air boundary from the US has deepened up to S Panama, and how it is influencing and attracting that wave SE of PR

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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Aside from the Mexico hits, and Igor bashing Bermuda and Newfoundland, this was almost an ideal season. Lots of big, beautiful hurricanes that stayed well out to sea, and Julia setting a record as the furthest east major to form. I would have preferred Alex, Karl and Igor not to have moved the way they did. But it was a good active season.


Must admit this season was amazing to watch. With the obvious exceptions of Alex, Earl, Igor, Karl and Matthew most of the hurricanes where very helpful tools in learning and very interesting to watch.
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This isn't tropical, but the blog's slow, and it's weather, so here goes. These are images from the NOAA website of a fall of massive hailstones in Wichita, Kansas, on September 15th. Many of us here may have missed it; that was the day Igor and Juila were both at Cat 4, and Karl was making his run toward that.

A hailstone crater on a golf course putting green (click for larger image):

Appropriate tropical weather-related image


One of the offending hailstones (click for larger image):

Appropriate tropical weather-related image


A dog and numerous hailstones right after the storm (click for larger image):

Appropriate tropical weather-related image


Some of the thousands of hailstone craters after the stones have melted (click for larger image):

Appropriate tropical weather-related image
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Quoting NOLALawyer:


Get off your soapbox.

Also, what is more juvenile, wishing for a hurricane to make landfall, "ruining millions of lives," or wanting to place one's own life at risk by "chasing" one.

The level of self-righteous smugness on this board, as a result of no direct hits on the CONUS this season, has been nauseating.

And, for the record, it doesn't take a full blown hit for people have their worlds turned over. Just ask those that experienced Hermine, Ex-Nicole, Earl or who are currently experiencing Otto. Rain brings flood, and floods can be worse than wind, and many times are.

Your outlook on this season is incredibly myopic.

+1
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Um, Jedkins was NOT saying that he wished for hurricanes to ruin millions of lives.


No, but he is implying that most of the blog wishes for it.

Honestly, this year the people complaining this year about the wishcasting are worse than the wishcasters themselves. Matter of fact, I haven't seen much wishcasting at all this year.

Now, back to Hurricane Otto. Working on a update.
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The highlight of the season to me is the fact we saw 4 Category 4 hurricanes (one was probably a 5, Igor), and the fact Mexico experienced one of its most destructive hurricanes, Karl. Not the fact the US wasn't hit again.
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Good presentation and info...

Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
YES i have a winter /severe blog running from nov 1 till april 15 at the moment i am in the transition phase of my blog as we wind down with cane season here is a link

Link
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Quoting Jedkins01:
people have been laughing at me for saying the season is over, and no hurricanes will make landfall in the southeast U.S. for the rest of the season... Keep on laughing, but as time passes, you bashers are just all the more grasping at straws. I know some of you want to see a hurricane ruin millions of lives, but I for one will have no part in such cynical thinking. I am glad to see the obvious that another season has gone by without any problems here in central Florida.

I absolutely love storms, and the power of hurricanes it just awesome, but unless you under 13 years old, there's no excuse for wishing hurricanes to hit and destroy lives, yes their power is awesome, but they do destroy. If one makes landfall in my area, I will be pumped to chase it for certain. But I certainly won't wish for it to hit, also realizing how many lives it will ruin.

You can never say never for sure, yes there's an outside chance a hurricane still make landfall before the season is over. It would be foolish to say it is impossible. But right now it is a very high improbability. Just with basic meteorological analysis, this can easily be determined...


For the US -- sure, the season might very well be over. However, given the fact there's a hurricane out in the Atlantic I doubt its anywhere near over.
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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.