Irene's rains heaviest on record in Vermont; Tropical Storm Katia forms

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:40 PM GMT on August 30, 2011

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Record flooding continues in the Northeast from Irene's torrential rains. Hardest hit was Vermont, where heavy rains in the weeks prior to Irene's arrival had left soils in the top 20% for moisture, historically. Irene dumped 5 - 8 inches of rain over large sections of Vermont, with a peak of 11.23" at Mendo. The reading from Mendo was the greatest single-day rainfall in Vermont's history, according to wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt, beating the 9.92" that fell at Mt. Mansfield on 9/17/1999 during the passage of Tropical Storm Floyd. The 13.30" that fell on East Durham, NY during Irene was just shy of New York State's all-time 1-day rainfall record: 13.70" at Brewster on 9/16/1999, from Tropical Storm Floyd.


Figure 1. Wunderphotographer 43BJAGER recorded this image of a house in Sharon, Vermont, that started out the week on the other side of this underpass.

According to the final Hurricane Irene summary from the NWS, the storm dropped 20" of rain in two locations, one in North Carolina and one in Virginia. Here are the highest rain amounts from the hurricane for each state:

Virginia Beach, VA: 20.40"
Jacksonville, NC: 20.00"
East Durham, NY: 13.30"
Freehold Twp, NJ: 11.27"
Mendon, VT: 11.23"
Ellendale, DE: 10.43"
New Hartford, CT 10.15"
Baxter St. Park, ME: 9.91"
Savoy, MA: 9.10"
Lafayette, PA: 8.82"
Pinkham North, NH: 7.33"
Warren, RI: 5.37"

Tropical Storm Katia forms
Tropical Storm Katia formed this morning in the far Eastern Atlantic off the coast of Africa. Katia will be in a moist, low wind shear environment with ocean temperature 1 - 2°C above the threshold needed to support a hurricane, and should be able to intensify to major hurricane strength when it passes to the north of the Lesser Antilles Islands 5 - 6 days from now. It is possible that some of the outer spiral bands of the storm might bring heavy rain squalls to the northern Lesser Antilles, but it would be a surprise if the core of the storm passed through the islands. The long term fate of Katia is unknown. Dr. Bob Hart's Historical Tropical Cyclone Probability web page suggests shows that tropical storms in Katia's current position have a 19% chance of hitting North Carolina, a 16% chance of hitting Canada, an 11% chance of hitting Florida, and a 47% chance of never hitting land.


Figure 2. The morning run of the GFS Ensemble prediction. The ensemble prediction was done by taking a lower-resolution version of the GFS model and changing the initial distributions of temperature, pressure, and humidity randomly by a few percent to generate an ensemble of 20 different computer projections of where Katia might go. The operational (highest-resolution) version of the GFS model (white line) is usually more accurate, but the ensemble runs give one an idea of the uncertainty in the forecast.

Katia is the 11th named storm this year, and comes a full twelve days before the half-way point of the Atlantic hurricane season. Climatologically, September 10 marks the half-way point. A typical hurricane season has just 10 - 11 named storms, so we've already had a whole season's worth of storms before reaching the half-way point. At this rate, 2011 will see 25 named storms, making it the 2nd busiest season on record, behind 2005. Katia's formation date of August 30 puts 2011 in 5th place for earliest date of arrival of the season's 11th storm. Only 2005, 1995, 1936, and 1933 had an earlier 11th storm.

Gulf of Mexico development possible late this week
Several of our best computer models for predicting formation of tropical cyclones, the GFS and ECMWF, are predicting that an upper level pressure interacting with a tropical wave now over the the Western Caribbean could combine to spawn a tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico late this week or early next week. The formation location is likely to be off the coast of Louisiana or Texas, but the track of the system is hard to predict at this point.


Figure 3. Portlight volunteer Thomas Hudson clears a driveway yesterday in Hollywood, Maryland.

Portlight disaster relief effort in Maryland
Hurricane Irene heavily damaged the town of Hollywood, Maryland, when a tornado cut off electric power, water, and phone service. Portlight and Team Rubicon volunteers arrived before emergency personnel, after following up on a local tip. What they found was an isolated area whose plight was unknown to the larger community. Most residents were trapped at their homes by heavy debris. Portlight and Team Rubicon worked for two days to clear paths to each address, extract vehicles from debris, and cut down trees that constituted safety hazards. Portlight also instructed local residents how to operate and maintain chainsaws and safely clear debris. No other volunteer organizations or emergency personnel arrived at any time, and Portlight succeeded in meeting the specific needs of the underserved, unserved, and forgotten. Visit the Portlight blog to learn more; donations are always welcome.

I'll have a new post on Wednesday discussing if the evacuations and media hype surrounding Irene were excessive.

Jeff Masters

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2615. wilburo33
6:10 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
flsky
FEMA disaster declarations set a record in 2011. The right cries socialism, but global warming is the real culprit."

is this Al Gore and are you posting from your JET???
Member Since: August 30, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 8
2614. wilburo33
6:08 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Is this Al Gore and are you posting from your Jet?
Member Since: August 30, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 8
2613. Floodman
5:59 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Thsi is the GFS at 192 hours:



Bridged highs, a pronounced weakness on the east coast...this looks kind of bad, huh?
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
2612. flsky
5:32 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
"FEMA disaster declarations set a record in 2011. The right cries socialism, but global warming is the real culprit."

Link
Member Since: October 24, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1723
2611. Bootsie1
5:03 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Ok rain yes a tropical thing no. We need the rain we don't need a tropical thing in the gulf. What are the chances that Mississippi will get hit if it does develop into a tropical thing?
Member Since: July 16, 2005 Posts: 1 Comments: 62
2610. skep
5:00 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
renesys wrote a nice article on state-by-state network impacts of Irene, as she was moving along the east coast (incl. videoanimation, graphs ect.):


Hurricane Irene knocked out power to millions of homes and businesses as it travelled up the US East Coast this weekend. Even as the winds subsided, torrential rains triggered savage flooding throughout Eastern New York state and Vermont, tearing up roads and exposing the telecommunications infrastructure to further risks. The storm's impacts were clearly visible in the Internet's global routing table, as tens of thousands of networks were cut off from the rest of the world.


Link
Member Since: July 11, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5
2609. SPLbeater
4:53 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
man, Katia looks good! any possibility of RI at the moment?
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
2608. jpsb
4:53 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Quoting angiest:


The high continues to be forecast to back away (AFAIK) but if the system organizes a smaller area will get more rain (assuming it actually hits land somewhere). Houston has been saying south of IH-10 has the best chance.
Thanks got my fingers crossed here on Galveston Bay. Come on rain!
Member Since: June 30, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1010
2607. Elena85Vet
4:52 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Quoting stormpetrol:
Has anyone else noticed the tropical forecast points are removed from the visible floater on Katia?


Yes. The box checks, but no pts show up.
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 619
2606. Patrap
4:51 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
er..NEW BLOG for u F-5 types
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125572
2605. Levi32
4:51 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Good morning.

Blog update:

Tropical Tidbit for Wednesday, August 31st, with Video
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
2604. midgulfmom
4:51 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Quoting WetBankGuy:
Anything that close to NOLA is liable to stagger a bit and head off in the opposite direction of its parked car.
ROTFL...ya killin me
Member Since: July 9, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 1110
2603. reedzone
4:49 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Quoting jpsb:
I for one enjoy your posts and find them very insightful. No you are not always right but you are always thinking and you have the skills to think well too. :)


I can't say I was right with Irene.. I did have it coming up the East Coast of Florida, then the models kept shifting eastward. I was also wayy off in intensity.. too much dry air, more then I thought. Though I don't think I did a terrible job or wishcasted Irene to NYC.. Just looked at the pattern and saw the track there, was really a no brainer.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7334
2602. rushisaband
4:49 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
levi ...where are you? it's almost 9 o'clock in the morning. GOM analysis needed...yer up
Member Since: August 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 107
2601. angiest
4:49 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Quoting DFWjc:


Do we have a problem here? Are you talking to me? LOL


Heheh. I grew up in Dallas and got away as quickly as I was able. ;)
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
2599. cyberian
4:48 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Quoting tropicfreak:


Thanks!

I agree, some people like weatherman1234 have nothing better to do than to criticize you. They are just jealous that they aren't as good at forecasting as you are. BTW, you nailed Irene down as well, we experienced some really rough conditions here in VA.


I live on the New York, New Jersey, PA border. We still have no power and they are saying it won't be until Saturday when we get it back. I live in a lake community with only one road that leads in and the same road takes you out. We were under a voluntary evacuation that I did not heed, because I live on a hill above the lake. Our house was not damaged but the lake flooding and downed trees and power lines across the road trapped us in until this morning.
Member Since: August 11, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 28
2598. angiest
4:48 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Quoting Skyepony:
Now that Katia has ventured a little more west we have some other historical storms to compare her too.


Now we have 1900 and 1915 as western outliers.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
2597. KaNaPaPiJoSa
4:48 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
new blog
Member Since: June 14, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 57
2596. DFWjc
4:47 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Quoting angiest:


They don't have to inhale, since Dallas ***** anyway. ;)


Do we have a problem here? Are you talking to me? LOL
Member Since: July 19, 2011 Posts: 1 Comments: 1006
2595. HurricaneNewb
4:46 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Quoting stormpetrol:
Has anyone else noticed the tropical forecast points are removed from the visible floater on Katia?
Yup wonder what that means updating it maybe?
Member Since: July 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 197
2594. jpsb
4:46 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Quoting reedzone:


I see there are idiots on the blog mocking me today.. I don't understand when people will get the hint that I don't wish storms to Florida or predict doomsday.. Anyways...
I for one enjoy your posts and find them very insightful. No you are not always right but you are always thinking and you have the skills to think well too. :)
Member Since: June 30, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1010
2593. WetBankGuy
4:45 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Quoting tiggeriffic:


just got home and got on...i missed the post you quoted but if a storm is in the gulf...wouldn't it have to move east to hit florida?
Anything that close to NOLA is liable to stagger a bit and head off in the opposite direction of its parked car.
Member Since: September 19, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 287
2592. MahFL
4:45 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Quoting ackee:
can I GET A LINK TO this GFS PLease


Use Google !...not to be confused with Goggle....
Member Since: June 9, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 2906
2591. Skyepony (Mod)
4:44 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Looks like windsat will live after all. Even caught part of Katia this morning..


Quoting tiggeriffic:


i have CDO...it is like OCD but the letters are in alphabetical order just as they should be....


Is that the affliction where you don't know a Central Dense Overcast from a blow hole?
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 36075
2590. angiest
4:44 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Quoting JNCali:
Soooo much moisture to the SE of TX.... if everyone in Dallas faces that way and inhales strongly maybe it will start moving that direction.. come on.. everyone.. all together... (I was gonna say 'suck' but.. well...)


They don't have to inhale, since Dallas ***** anyway. ;)
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
2589. midgulfmom
4:44 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Afternoon. Looks like the GOM Gumbo is simmering... Hope nothing gets to stirring it up! Lots of pots to watch out there...
Member Since: July 9, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 1110
2587. reedzone
4:44 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Quoting redwagon:


Yeah, the BOC system is the one that forecasts should be
initializing on, not Lee. We're looking at a Hermine setup almost, except Hermine was born in the EPAC.


Yeah, although I was talking about the area in the Eastern Gulf/WC .. Looks interesting enough..

It's gonna be an interesting weekend/next week.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7334
2586. rushisaband
4:43 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Quoting Patrap:
2011 has upped the ante with Irene, Im prepping my prep and storing mo rations this evening too.


got a few things running low .. water, propane .. i think that may be all. all else stocked very nicely
Member Since: August 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 107
2585. reedzone
4:42 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Quoting WxLogic:
@192HR Now this is a TROF:



Looks to have amplified even more with "Lee" .. Interesting to say the least.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7334
2584. angiest
4:42 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Quoting jpsb:
As the High from hell backs off to the north our chances of rain get better. Last I hear the high was backing off to the north. Hope that is still the case.


The high continues to be forecast to back away (AFAIK) but if the system organizes a smaller area will get more rain (assuming it actually hits land somewhere). Houston has been saying south of IH-10 has the best chance.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
2583. Patrap
4:42 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Gulf Of Mexico - Rainbow Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125572
2582. redwagon
4:41 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Quoting reedzone:
We should see a new invest tagged later today, you can see the area has some deep convection along with banding to the east.



Yeah, the BOC system is the one that forecasts should be
initializing on, not Lee. We're looking at a Hermine setup almost, except Hermine was born in the EPAC.
Member Since: August 4, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 2798
2581. MississippiBoy2
4:41 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
hey mswx how's things?what's your thoughts on gom storm?
Member Since: February 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 66
2580. stormpetrol
4:41 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Has anyone else noticed the tropical forecast points are removed from the visible floater on Katia?
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7506
2579. tropicfreak
4:41 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Quoting scottsvb:


Dude your gay... butter him up some.. and btw he didnt nail Irene cause he kept saying it was going to florida......or are you reedzone on a different name to congradulate yourself to get peoples attention? hmmm


How old are you?


Grow up, he said it was going to Florida until FL was completely out of the cone.
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6814
2578. WxLogic
4:40 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
@192HR Now this is a TROF:

Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 4881
2577. Patrap
4:40 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125572
2576. jpsb
4:39 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Quoting uptxcoast:
I know I am downcasting but until I actually see something in the GOM, I am going to be skeptical.
Our rain chances for the weekend have already dropped from 50% to 30% overnight and there is way to much uncertainty in the models and what is really going on.

I would love to eat crow on this, raw, BBQ, whatever as I really want the rain but I have a feeling that not much will materialize and if it does, it will be too far east to benefit Texas.

Oh, I hope I am wrong. I have not seen a lawnmower on my block for 3 months.
As the High from hell backs off to the north our chances of rain get better. Last I hear the high was backing off to the north. Hope that is still the case.
Member Since: June 30, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1010
2574. ncstorm
4:39 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
192 Hours

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 13451
2571. Patrap
4:39 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
2011 has upped the ante with Irene, Im prepping my prep and storing mo rations this evening too.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125572
2569. stormpetrol
4:38 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Quoting ackee:
right now KITAI seem to be moving WEST to me

due west at that 270 degrees , 275 at most!
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7506
2568. Elena85Vet
4:38 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Quoting LAlurker:

Low dissolved oxygen conditions will drive them to the surface, then out of the water if it continues into the upper layers of the water. Happens several times a year in Mobile Bay. They call it a "Jubilee".


Interesting. I'd call it "dinner time". :)
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 619
2566. interstatelover7165
4:38 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Quoting scottsvb:


Wasn't Irene suppose to move up the east coast of Florida along the Palm beach-Daytona like Reed said? Hmm cause he lives north of the Cape? Always everything comes close to florida for him.He's been dreamcasting for years!
SEGA Dreamcasting-LOL
Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 994
2565. Patrap
4:38 PM GMT on August 31, 2011
Quoting rushisaband:
hi again ... been out for 10 days. flew to japan to visit daughter. hey PAT, looks like possible mischief in the gulf ..(soup)



Yeppar's..and it may linger and pile up some Flooding outside the LPS.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125572

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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.