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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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Yet people say this was a nothing storm and over-hyped. Good thing it was.


unfortunately, it was overhyped for the wrong areas. From what I hear, the water in the Schoharie Creek rose so fast many people got trapped. A friend up there said it was 10X worse than 1996 (Floyd I think).



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Models have Lee forming anywhere from N to NW gom and then heading anywhere from Mexico to the panhandle. Here in NOLA we sit in the middle of all these solutions. I am looking for a wet labor day weekend here.
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Quoting P451:
Not as impressive as I had expected to see but she's on her way all the same...<

Do you think the dry air she's been fighting has not allowed her to strengthen as much as anticipated? I thought Katia would be a minimal hurricane by this morning
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Quoting P451:


48 Hours of Texas. Yep, clockwise she goes.



48 Hours of watching the potential home brew.







from what I can tell it doesn't look good. I am about ready to give up.....
Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
Quoting BobinTampa:
I know nobody cares anymore because there is a storm 2500 miles away and another that hasn't even formed yet but might, but here is a link to some photos of the devestation in upstate NY including my hometown:



Link
BobinTampa my prayers are with all of you who suffered from Irene.I pray everyone can rebuild from this tragedy.
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2159. scott39
The ECMWF keeps the AOI developed in the GOM, a LONG time.
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2158. h0db
Quoting BobinTampa:
I know nobody cares anymore because there is a storm 2500 miles away and another that hasn't even formed yet but might, but here is a link to some photos of the devestation in upstate NY including my hometown:



Link


Don't you know that Irene was over-hyped? (j/k)

Was in the outer banks of NC Sunday-Monday, helping family clean up. Damage on the Atlantic beach side wasn't bad except for road/bridge wash-out north of Hatteras and south of Duck, but sound-side flooding was the worst in memory. Irene reminds me of Agnes, which was a TS shortly after landfall, but a major rain & flood event for much of the mid-Atlantic, and one of the most destructive storms in US history. "Cat-1" does not even begin to describe the impact of Irene.

p.s.-- thanks for posting the pictures.
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Looks like my friends cruise out of Tampa tomorrow to Cozumel will be a "fun time"
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Quoting FLdewey:


Wow - great shots. I admit I yelled out a what the expletive when I saw the fire truck.

I cannot imagine a scenario where the DE would let that happen, but I'm sure there's a good explanation.

I know who's cleaning the bathrooms for the next year.
Yet people say this was a nothing storm and over-hyped. Good thing it was.
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2155. Vero1


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So much moisture out there and we will probably see none. Sigh....


Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
2152. ncstorm
GFDL..06Z

Storm in the GOM in the corner and Katia
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16042
Quoting FLdewey:


Wow - great shots. I admit I yelled out a what the expletive when I saw the fire truck.

I cannot imagine a scenario where the DE would let that happen, but I'm sure there's a good explanation.

I know who's cleaning the bathrooms for the next year.


Was the pic of the old covered bridge site on there? If not, it's on my blog page. Completely wiped away. Nothing left.
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Quoting AtHomeInTX:

Yeah, it doesn't show a very deep storm even at landfall. Best I can tell. Just hope its as wet as it is windy.
<

Morn At Home,is this going to be our drought buster,if so AMEN-HALLELUJAH.We will take anything here in the Piny Woods.
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2149. scott39
Goodmorning
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For the past few hours Katia has been moving <-------
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8043
2147. emcf30
Quoting FLdewey:


Do you have your list ready? You need at least three things to survive hurricane _______:

1) Milk Jugs
2) Sharpies
3) Cheetos

:-0

Nice chance of spouts this morning along the east coast... might have to take a long lunch.



Sharpies?
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Quoting Chicklit:
Good Morning, all eyes on GOM.



Here's hoping that wretched high over TX finally breaks down.

LinkSWLoopEATLWideView


That is what I don't understand. It was suppose to. Now, who the heck knows. Just frustrating....
Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
Quoting vince1:

Eisenhower was a sage, beware the industrial military complex.


Same for Environmental complex (climate change)

Same for Pharma complex...

Same for Big Food/Farming complex (Monsanto)...
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I know nobody cares anymore because there is a storm 2500 miles away and another that hasn't even formed yet but might, but here is a link to some photos of the devestation in upstate NY including my hometown:



Link
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:



Re: 1. Ask Spain how it's worked out for them.

Re: 2. Let's keep sending Billions of dollars to Hugo in Venez as well as arab despots in the middle-east.

Re: 3.. Do you ride a bicycle everywhre? Do you heat your home? Walk the walk before you talk the talk.


Regarding 'heavy handed environmentalism', here in Europe 60W incandescent bulbs are banned from tomorrow. You'll still be able to buy them in the shops until stocks run out, but manufacture and importation are now banned.

I'm in favour of anti global warming energy conservation measures, but this is a step too far. The light from fluorescent bulbs have a 'creepy coldness' and colours look different. Food is less appetising.

I've hoarded a 3 year supply of 100W incandescents, which is about as long as I think the ban will last until people demand their incandescents back.
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Talk about disagreements with the forecast models!! This seems to be more of a current conditions forecast before we can start taking the models serious for tracking of Lee and Katia.
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2138. jpsb
Quoting MahFL:


Not drought, just "abnormally dry".
Not a drought?



Worst drought ever in Texas is more like it. Billions lost in crops failures, cattle and wild life dead and then there are the wild fires. Not a drought my $$$$
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Allyson00 "I'm not copying from another site, I get email updates 3 times a day from a subscription service (that's not open to the public) that several large companies subscribe to and thought I'd share the info since they usualy really hit the mark on these storms. If it's going to cause a problem then I'll stop....just thought more info the better."

BIG problem with copyright issues. While the fair use doctrine allows posting snippets as kernels promoting further discussion, ya sure as heck can't post an update in its entirety.

Depending on the terms of use, those large companies could even be charged per reader amongst their employees. ie If the company is paying for 5 readers, it can't distibute the updates to their entire staff. Heck it can't even allow a 6th employee to read it.
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This is not going to be a year for a storm north of 25N in the west Gulf IMO. A trough will set up in the Miss. valley and turn the system northeast....



Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Even if Katia does not go on to affect the United States, we have another threat beginning to form in the extreme northwest Caribbean/southeast Gulf of Mexico. Models are in a good consensus that we should start watching for development on Friday. Afterwards, it appears that the system could spend DAYS over the boiling hot waters of the Gulf of Mexico. IMO, if this thing forms, watch for a hurricane landfall.

Nothing past that is impossible...

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Quoting PensacolaDoug:



Re: 1. Ask Spain how it's worked out for them.

Re: 2. Let's keep sending Billions of dollars to Hugo in Venez as well as arab despots in the middle-east.

Re: 3.. Do you ride a bicycle everywhre? Do you heat your home? Walk the walk before you talk the talk.

1) The Big Energy-funded report used to show a "failure" of green jobs in Spain has been thoroughly discredited for its "lack of scientific rigor" and the fact that its primary conclusions were not supported in the paper. (IOW: don't believe anything you hear on Faux.)

2) No, let's not. Instead, let's get our heads out of the (oil) sand and quit pretending that fossil fuels are a magical substance of unlimited safe supply.

3) I have a very small energy footprint, and am always striving to make it smaller. Bu thanks for asking.
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Quoting P451:
NOGAPS





We are not really very literated on weather but love the show; therefore, could you please assist us in identifying the meaning of the squiggly lines on this map. Any help is much appreciated.
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Speaking of ACE: 2011 has actually been slightly ahead of 2010 most of the year, though August 30 (yesterday) is when things really took off for 2010. On that date, Danielle was still a hurricane (though a dying one), Earl became a major hurricane, and Fiona formed. That was the first of seven days last year on which three TC's were active.

On August 29, last year's ACE stood at 33; by September 5, it was up to 62. Depending on what Katia and/or any new development does, 2011 may or may not catch up.

FWIW, the largest one-week rise in ACE last year was from September 12 to September 19 when ACE jumped from 69 to 124.
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Quoting FLdewey:
Its' heading for Tampa.



Goodbye cruel world!!
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Quoting tpawxguy:
Bastardi has lost his mind. He did the weather last night with two guinea pigs on his shoulders and one on his head. I think Global Warming has finally got to him.


He must have suffered at school with a name like that. Don't be too hard on him.
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Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4488
Wow, look at that eddy smack dab in the middle of the birthing tank :)
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Quoting Neapolitan:

1) Green jobs initiatives aren't really "flailing"; there are already several million people worldwide working "green" jobs, and the numbers continue to rise. However, to the extent that they are "flailing", that can be blamed almost entirely on the fossil fuel industry working overtime to ensure that they do, indeed, "flail".

2) There's no such thing as "safe domestic drilling", period. There may be "safer", but that's a relative term; even if every single drop of oil could be extracted from the earth without the spillage of so much as a single drop, there's the not inconsequential matter of CO2-induced warming. No, "safe domestic drilling" is an oxymoron.

3) While I agree with much of what you say, the term "heavy-handed environmentalism" sorta bothers me. After all, when is the last time "heavy handed environmentalists" ever befouled the Gulf of Mexico, or hundreds of miles of the Yellowstone River, or turned hundreds of square miles of pristine Alberta wilderness into a flat, barren, gravel-covered parking lot? Seems to me that perhaps environmentalists haven't been heavy-handed enough.



Re: 1. Ask Spain how it's worked out for them.

Re: 2. Let's keep sending Billions of dollars to Hugo in Venez as well as arab despots in the middle-east.

Re: 3.. Do you ride a bicycle everywhre? Do you heat your home? Walk the walk before you talk the talk.
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 591
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


I think the fact that there is MOISTURE in the Gulf of Mexico means that it is already beginning too.


I hope so

Houston has smashed the record high every day since Fri & today will be our last record for the next 7-days. 104 in 2000 & 104 expected this PM.

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Quoting MahFL:


Not drought, just "abnormally dry".


No....it's a drought
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Quoting Seawall:
When you're in SE TX, or SW LA, who is your "Go To" guy for the weather? Is it Kerry Cooper and Greg Boswick of KFDM, or Patrick Vaughn and Bert out of KMBT, or Dana Melancon, out of Fox?, or Wade Hampton, out of channel 7 in Lake Charles. Rob Robbin is now on Gator 99.5 instead of 96.1. Rob was the old stand by back in the day.


Frank Billingsley in Houston on the local NBC affiliate. He always right on target for Hurricanes and if the station gives him enough time he explains the weather, not just give the usual forecast.
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Quoting Chicklit:
Good Morning, all eyes on GOM.



Here's hoping that wretched high over TX finally breaks down.

LinkSWLoopEATLWideView


I think the fact that there is MOISTURE in the Gulf of Mexico means that it is already beginning too.
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Quoting vince1:

A lot of the Military involvement has an ulterior motive of keeping the oil routes clear/safe from harm. There's no easy answer (green jobs initiatives are flailing), but foreign aid needs to come to a standstill as well as neverending wars in Middle Eastern cesspools (our govt. doesn't care to acknowledge history and the inevitable results of long-term occupations where the indigenous population is hellbent on doing it their own way). If only safe domestic drilling could be employed here, but the mix of heavy-handed environmentalism and energy companies who cut safety corners (i.e. BP) are like a double whammy of an obstacle to making this happen, sigh.

1) Green jobs initiatives aren't really "flailing"; there are already several million people worldwide working "green" jobs, and the numbers continue to rise. However, to the extent that they are "flailing", that can be blamed almost entirely on the fossil fuel industry working overtime to ensure that they do, indeed, "flail".

2) There's no such thing as "safe domestic drilling", period. There may be "safer", but that's a relative term; even if every single drop of oil could be extracted from the earth without the spillage of so much as a single drop, there's the not inconsequential matter of CO2-induced warming. No, "safe domestic drilling" is an oxymoron.

3) While I agree with much of what you say, the term "heavy-handed environmentalism" sorta bothers me. After all, when is the last time "heavy handed environmentalists" ever befouled the Gulf of Mexico, or hundreds of miles of the Yellowstone River, or turned hundreds of square miles of pristine Alberta wilderness into a flat, barren, gravel-covered parking lot? Seems to me that perhaps environmentalists haven't been heavy-handed enough.
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Good Morning, all eyes on GOM.



Here's hoping that wretched high over TX finally breaks down.

LinkSWLoopEATLWideView
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2116. jpsb
Quoting HimacaneBrees:


Never heard of any of them. Stephanie Abrams on TWC is my favorite met. I don't live in SE TX or SW LA, that may be the reason I've never heard of the others.
Don't know if she is still there but I always liked Sharon Resultan, pretty much for the same reasons you like Stepanie :)
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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.