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 nofailsafe:


Houston here, the afternoon storms died off about a month ago, for a few weeks there we'd actually get some spotty showers. Last thursday we received a good bit of rain but nowhere near what we need to relieve the drought. The ground was still hard after it stopped.


I hear ya.....We have been able to mow our ditches pretty much all summer. We have been here for 11 years and have never been able to do that. They usually always have water in them.
Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


oh I so hate that class
I'm hating it & it just started, I think it's because I haven't taken pre-calc. in over a year!
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
1913. Dennis8
Quoting nofailsafe:


Houston here, the afternoon storms died off about a month ago, for a few weeks there we'd actually get some spotty showers. Last thursday we received a good bit of rain but nowhere near what we need to relieve the drought. The ground was still hard after it stopped.


Last Thursday Houston Heights got .03"..not a good bit on my lawn....
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Have a great night, BaltimoreBrian!
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1911. DFWjc
Quoting GTcooliebai:
The boy on the cover looks familiar, I might have seen this one.


it's Lou Diamond Phillips and it's a great movie too
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Quoting DFWjc:


No, from the movie Stand and Deliver with James Edward Olmos Link
The boy on the cover looks familiar, I might have seen this one.
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
Quoting TexasHurricane:


referring to me? well, we usually do, but not so much this year. We have had some good rains here and there but overall we are still in a drought. We need I think somewhere in the teens more to be where we need to be.


Houston here, the afternoon storms died off about a month ago, for a few weeks there we'd actually get some spotty showers. Last thursday we received a good bit of rain but nowhere near what we need to relieve the drought. The ground was still hard after it stopped.
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1908. DFWjc
Quoting zoomiami:
Texas still here? Do you guys usually get afternoon thunderstorms like we get in Florida?


The rain showers hit at all times of the days up here...
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Quoting zoomiami:
Texas still here? Do you guys usually get afternoon thunderstorms like we get in Florida?


We did up through 2009, when the drought really started kicking. Convection storms were a given every day at 4p for at least 25% of the area. Quite a few had hail as the cells achieved huge height in a very short period.

Then something happened to our moisture inflow, and we don't have popcorn showers anymore.
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The run is done and so am I. Bedtime for Brian. Night!
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Well if this was summer I would stay up all night, but I need to rest my brains a little, so I can be fresh in the morning to take my test. You all have a great night and see ya tomorrow.
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
Quoting GTcooliebai:
As a matter of fact I have a Calculus test tomorrow.


oh I so hate that class
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1903. Relix
I believe the GFS at 372 will be what eventually happens. I mean... that's been the setup most of the season, it has to return to that eventually. I am ready... its WAY too far away but it will be fun to track all this
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1902. DFWjc
Quoting GTcooliebai:
Idk Spanish, I see wiki says climber, but if it's a joke i don't get it


No, from the movie Stand and Deliver with James Edward Olmos Link
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Quoting zoomiami:
Texas still here? Do you guys usually get afternoon thunderstorms like we get in Florida?


referring to me? well, we usually do, but not so much this year. We have had some good rains here and there but overall we are still in a drought. We need I think somewhere in the teens more to be where we need to be.
Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
Quoting BaltimoreBrian:


I'm on leave.


From who and where?
Member Since: August 29, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5236
Quoting PrivateIdaho:


Hey a William Carlos Williams fan.


Who?
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
As a matter of fact I have a Calculus test tomorrow.


IMHO, Isaac Newton over-hyped Calc.

:^P
Member Since: August 29, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5236
Texas still here? Do you guys usually get afternoon thunderstorms like we get in Florida?
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Quoting DFWjc:


i was hoping you might got that one... you did right?
Idk Spanish, I see wiki says climber, but if it's a joke i don't get it
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
384 hours has it preparing to devastate the Dominican Republic.

That is all.
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Quoting DFWjc:


Nopers, just waiting for a phone call telling me someone wants me to come to work for them (been off work since april). Went to a job fair and found 22 people who took my resume, so right now all i got is my buddies here, LOL :P


That sucks....the only thing worse than going to work is NOT going to work... hope you get a call.
Member Since: August 29, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5236
Quoting redwagon:


There's another African monster preparing to do a cannonball into the pool. Hopefully Kat will carve a good recurve path for it, too.


Hey a William Carlos Williams fan.
Member Since: August 29, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5236
1892. DFWjc
Quoting GTcooliebai:
No I have a guy name Klinedinst.


i was hoping you might got that one... you did right?
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The night crews is always fun with a storm in the Atlantic.
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Quoting DFWjc:


by any chance is Mr Escalante your teacher?
No I have a guy name Klinedinst.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
For the laughs, 00z GFS out to 372 hours. Only thing worth noting is the flat troughing pattern and the ridging over the maritimes as well as the elongated subtropical ridge with an active Cape-Verde season. A pattern like this is not good for the Caribbean, as you can probably tell LOL.

or Cent Amer
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1888. DFWjc
Quoting GTcooliebai:
As a matter of fact I have a Calculus test tomorrow.


by any chance is Mr Escalante your teacher?
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
That makes sense, since there is a Canadian Model named Katia Corriveau.


Well done!
Member Since: August 29, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5236
1885. DFWjc
Quoting PrivateIdaho:
Don't you weather Geeks have school tomorrow?


Nopers, just waiting for a phone call telling me someone wants me to come to work for them (been off work since april). Went to a job fair and found 22 people who took my resume, so right now all i got is my buddies here, LOL :P
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so, Katia's there, then Lee in GOM, then Maria a CV, then, another CV Nate and then another CV Ophelia... just SIX NAMES LEFT!!! if we keep it at this paste... could jump to Alpha, Beta, Gamma.... OMG for such a record season
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Quoting PrivateIdaho:
Don't you weather Geeks have school tomorrow?


I'm on leave.
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For the laughs, 00z GFS out to 372 hours. Only thing worth noting is the flat troughing pattern and the ridging over the maritimes as well as the elongated subtropical ridge with an active Cape-Verde season. A pattern like this is not good for the Caribbean, as you can probably tell LOL.



Quoting PrivateIdaho:
Don't you weather Geeks have school tomorrow?
4-5 hours of sleep is enough lol.
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Quoting PrivateIdaho:
Don't you weather Geeks have school tomorrow?
As a matter of fact I have a Calculus test tomorrow.
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
Don't you weather Geeks have school tomorrow?
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Interesting disagreement here.

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Quoting BaltimoreBrian:
240 hours has Katia racing over southern Newfoundland to find moose und skvirrel.
That makes sense, since there is a Canadian Model named Katia Corriveau.
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
372 hours it punches Puerto Rico. A new Cape Verde system is organizing in the mid tropical Atlantic.
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1875. centex
Levi is one of the best on this blog but looking like he guessed wrong on K. Also funny so many knock press when they do better job than half poster on this blog, go figure. They generally follow NHC so why bash them?
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based on the current posts of runs i am seeing there is too much chaos to determine or even guess what the hell Katia wants to do. Guess if she stays weak she could stay low, if she gets strong earlier than later she goes halibut fishing towards newfoundland/greenland....



oh and by the way i am in place in Connecticut/Massachusetts....Im sure I will get claims soon and I will see 1st hand how bad the damage was on the ground in this part of Irene's path.....I will eventually (once I get the claims caught up) run up to Vermont and see what the heck happened... :(

pray for those affected in hard-hit areas. and thank god when you pray that the wind damage wasn't worse, and the general overall wasn't worse for NYC.....If NYC gets hit too hard it may start a chain reaction of economic failure worldwide, finally leading us into the 2nd great depression that we have all been fearing......
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Quoting odinslightning:



lol are you suggesting maria is a voyeur? lmfao
Oh wow! Hahaha...who knows man, who knows...she might be the sleeper pick of the season though.
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348 hours has a new Cape Verde system becoming the Guadaloupe Grinder.
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1871. ncstorm
last frame..

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14249
240 hours has Katia racing over southern Newfoundland to find moose und skvirrel.
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204 and 216 hour frames show 'Lee' dying over western PA and sort of being absorbed by Katia. 204 look isobars look like a skewed dumbbell.
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Anyways while Lee and Katia are busy making out, here comes little old Maria off the coast of Africa. Link



lol are you suggesting maria is a voyeur? lmfao
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1867. ncstorm
Quoting GTcooliebai:
Excuse my blip up, post 1847.


LOL..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14249
Quoting AllStar17:

Interestingly, four of the six models plotted on this diagram curve Katia back to the west (HWRF, NOGAPS, UKMET, and NGFDL) right at the end of the forecast period. Now, whether or not that will come to fruition, nobody knows. Just stating observations.


ukmet keeps Katia low. ukmet also pegged Irene 1st right (5 to 7 days out)? not implying or suggesting anything just wondering if models can show strength over others when conditions are conducive in a certain way (such as the weak troughs lately)?
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Quoting ncstorm:


the GFS just keeps surprising me with its wacky runs

Excuse my blip up, post 1847.
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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.