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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By the way, Weather Underground says that the source for their forecasts is the NWS.
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I say all weather lovers alike should ban together and boycott Fox News, fair and balanced my butt. That is one of the most biased and foolish news articles Ive ever read. And I thought MSNBC was bad, my gosh....

I mean I never trusted FOX anyway but dang.
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Quoting BrockBerlin:


Yeah let's have accuweather design its own dynamical models.... I would like to see them try (probably would automatically develop all cyclones into Cat.5's threatening major cities).


Or even: Jim Cantore; Chief Meteorologist of all of America. (disclaimer - I've met him and he's pretty ncie guy, and does love storms) but he's not like the really smart people who work at NCEP or NHC.
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1762. centex
Quoting Grothar:



Most of Southeast Florida is moderate to severe. The coast is still pretty bady

Give me a break, that looks wet compared to Texas.
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Quoting TropicalWeatherGrl88:
Does anyone know what the low in the GOM forms from? Is it the tail end of a trough, or the AOI in the NW caribbean? Or something else


Combination of a tropical wave and the tail end of a frontal boundary.
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Quoting MississippiWx:


All of mine are exactly the same. Weather Underground even links the National Weather Service forecast discussion to your local page.


I do like the wunderground radar better than the NWS. It's easier to zoom. But it does come from the NWS. Wunderground just displays it better.
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1757. Grothar
Quoting BrockBerlin:
It is such a relief being in SFLA now after spending the entire summer under that oppressive Tx. Ridge I mean Corpus .02 inches for July with a landfalling T.S. 30 miles south? Horribly depressing, at least now the typical wet season convective pattern is in full swing (although apparently SFLA was in a drought early in the summer as well)



Most of Southeast Florida is moderate to severe. The coast is still pretty bad.

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blog seems kinda slow tonight...
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1755. Skyepony (Mod)
I've been out most the day & much the evening, at times driving around ECFL, frankly trying not to wreck for the clouds. They've been something to look at most the afternoon & on. Dodging lightning at times. Had some earlier that just had that wanting, building tropical feel.. That disturbed flow aloft wants to set something off. 12Z CMC has an interesting solution with an invest forming off FL & then moving over it. If it happened I think this run is forming a touch more north than it might.
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Quoting BrockBerlin:


Without bothering to read that... Yes, a complete privatization of weather forecasting would be a complete mess, you could say good bye to public outreach, consistency in watches in warnings (you could maybe even say good bye altogether to watches and warnings), things like the hurricane hunters and GIV could easily be eliminated, UA data (balloon launches), and most importantly you would open up the industry to typical corporate greed.

I am sorry if the article was positive and my post makes no sense in context but I admit I did not read the article and don't plan to. Institutions like the NWS and the NHC and national severe storms center, are indeed for the best.
+1000
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Does anyone know what the low in the GOM forms from? Is it the tail end of a trough, or the AOI in the NW caribbean? Or something else
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Quoting WetBankGuy:


I don't know how WU prepares local forecasts, but I've found them to differ from and be more accurate than the NWS.


All of mine are exactly the same. Weather Underground even links the National Weather Service forecast discussion to your local page.
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Quoting NoVaForecaster:


"Do We Really Need A Fox News?"

I say no.


Shhh Rupert Murdoch might be listening!!!
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 3784
"The NWS claims that it supports industries like aviation and shipping, but if they provide a valuable contribution to business, it stands to reason business would willingly support their services. If that is the case, the Service is just corporate welfare. If they would not, it is just a waste".

And of course it follows that the national Interstate system should be fully paid for by the trucking industry. No offense to WU, but the online forecasts available on this site don't stack up to the NWS forecasts and they arent supposed to - they're generally just model output. It's the blogs and commentary which make WU special and for that I'm grateful.

The authors failed to note that all the private weather firms use the NWS and FAA infrastructure...satellites, Radar, surface observations, supercomputing and models, (and the forecast discussions) and none of them could afford it. The NWS and FAA infrastructure is in fact corporate welfare for the private weather enterprise.

This is from economists who don't apparently have the intellectual apparatus to understand the concept of public good.



Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/08/27/do-reall y-need-national-weather-service/#ixzz1WZh75rv1
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1747. Grothar
Quoting BrockBerlin:


Not too healthy looking tonight, but the conditions appear to become very favorable shortly so I would expect to be seeing a high-end system within the next 3-4 days.


She's trying hard,though. Looks like a good, healthy start.
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Quoting Dragod66:


do you still think thats not an eye... look at the convection building north of the hole? I dont know if it is or not! :)



It's definitely not an eye.
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Quoting Orcasystems:
I figure Neoploitan is going to have a conniption when he reads this :)

Link


Orca, I respect you when it comes to the tropics. But posting trollish links to op-eds in a source like the Telegraph (Seriously, the Telegraph? Might as well link to the Weekly World News) does nothing to further conversation in regards to the tropics OR climate science, especially when said op-ed knows as much about the science as a cow knows about building rockets.

If you want to read about the significance of the science behind experiments like CERN, I suggest you read the research articles themselves. News sites will, at best, dumb it down to the point of nonsense and at worst (in the case of the Telegraph) wildly distort or outright fabricate what the conclusions are.

Needless to say, the conclusions from the CERN cloud are pretty clear, and they certainly don't say anything to the effect that cosmic rays are the source of climate change.
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Quoting twincomanche:
Because I respect many other people on here. What's your problem? I think Dr. Masters is a great analyst of the weather but his over hyping of storm surges and his doom casting of AGW is way over the top IMHO. I am entitled to my opinion aren't I?
Yes you are entitled, and they are entitled to theirs as well, specially Dr. Masters, a scientist and a person that love our planet and its future.He is also aware that many of his bloggers are very grateful for his insights on the subject and that are here not only for respecting him for the great meteorologist that he is, but also for his remarkable information and sources he provides in the GW subject.
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1742. Oct8
Quoting flsky:
"Do We Really Need a NWS?" (Fox)

Link


The political narrative is becoming clear in my mind. The goal of the hype pumping narrative is to discredit a very savvy governmental organization that saves lives and uses US taxpayer monies very effectively.

It is a shame.
Member Since: August 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 39
11:00pm Advisory
*Click on image to magnify (Images can further be magnified in the Link window by clicking on them)

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Quoting MississippiWx:


They just said that Weather Underground had better forecasts than the NWS. Ummmm, Weather Underground uses the NWS forecasts, if you've never noticed.

If the author of that article had just wrote, "I'm ignorant", it would have saved me the wasted time it took to read it.


I don't know how WU prepares local forecasts, but I've found them to differ from and be more accurate than the NWS.
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Quoting twincomanche:
I agree with most of this but you have to admit that there was information skewed by certain groups. To deny this is to deny the facts that have been reported.


I've got to the stage with this where I rarely trust anything I see in the press about it, from either side. I know that in many cases the "skewing of data" as alleged was actually just the application of standard analytical tools.

I tend to think you should never remove any data from your plots, no matter how bad the errors in it are. On the other hand, where you are certain that the data is in error in some way unusuable that you filter it out. For example - in the planet search they carry out here, they take 15 minute long exposures of the spectrum of the star they're looking at, trying to get as many photons as possible onto the CCD detector. If it clouds up at the start of an exposure, and doesn't clear, then the data they take in that exposure will add nothing to the study, aside from noise (in fact, typically, the minute cloud gets near the field of view of the telescope, the exposures are stopped). There'll be too few photons for it to be usable, so it gets thrown out.

That isn't skewing the data - that's just good practice. The problem comes if people are hand picking the results they don't like after plotting them up (that's too low, it MUST be wrong, or whatever) - if you're doing that, then you're biasing your data, and letting your own prejudice drive you - and you WILL get the wrong answer there.

All data you have should have associated margins of error, uncertainties, and the whole beauty of statistics is that it takes account of those uncertainties to get the correct result - if you remove points just because "they look wrong", without having a good reason why they're false/bad data, then you are going to skew your result.

I'm sure it has happened, but I'd posit it happens very, very rarely. It's the kind of mistake new PhD students sometimes make, and it gets beaten out of them very, very quickly :)

However, those not following the scientific method (such as the media, and many of the online cranks and uninformed commentators, on both sides of the argument) don't understand or don't hold to this - and that's where you get problems :S
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1738. centex
Quoting BrockBerlin:


There have actually been several Bermuda users on the last couple of days at the moment the models are showing potential impacts there I would be careful with the use of the term "fish" to describe a system that does not affect the North American Continent some people take it personally and imo for good reason.
Bermuda is not part of the Americas, but an oceanic island which was formed on the fissure of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge over 100 million years ago
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Quoting Dragod66:


do you still think thats not an eye... look at the convection building north of the hole? I dont know if it is or not! :)



It's definitely not an eye.
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1735. Oct8
Quoting FatPenguin:

Not really. Is there somewhere in the article where it proves that CO2 is NOT a heat-trapping gas?


Hard to disprove basic physics. But it is interesting that the current tact is to support the sunspot theory, which concedes that the planet is undergoing changes in climate and general warming. The politicking seems to center on causation and CO2, since so much money rides on the energy sources that produce CO2, I imagine this is the crux of the current debate. Now being a realist I would say fossil fuels are a very critical aspect of our civilization; however, the transition should begin.
Member Since: August 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 39
Good night blog people
way past my bunk time happens when you age
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Katia's convective mass is fairly weak at the moment. The hole everyone is seeing near the center is just that...a hole, not an eye.



do you still think thats not an eye... look at the convection building north of the hole? I dont know if it is or not! :)

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Quoting MississippiWx:


They just said that Weather Underground had better forecasts than the NWS. Ummmm, Weather Underground uses the NWS forecasts, if you've never noticed.

If the author of that article had just wrote, "I'm ignorant", it would have saved me the wasted time it took to read it.


Not to mention that the private forecasters don't pay for the weather satellites. All the weather stations. Maintaining the weather stations. Or for the computer models and their hardware.
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Quoting whipster:


Most of the "data" has been shown to be invented by people who want the money to keep flowing. Science has died as far as purported AGW is concerned.
I have some beachfront property on Venus I want to talk to you about. Give me a call.
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Link
Quoting 7544:
does anyone have the gfs oz link and o6z link looks like they chanege them thanks
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Quoting flsky:
"Do We Really Need a NWS?" (Fox)

Link


They just said that Weather Underground had better forecasts than the NWS. Ummmm, Weather Underground uses the NWS forecasts, if you've never noticed.

If the author of that article had just wrote, "I'm ignorant", it would have saved me the wasted time it took to read it.
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Quoting 7544:
does anyone have the gfs oz link and o6z link looks like they chanege them thanks


Link
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Quoting Walshy:


Did that article really just infer Accuweather was better than the NWS?!

lulz


It's so hilarious, in fact, that I just posted it to my Facebook so my friends can mutually lose brain cells.
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1722. 7544
does anyone have the gfs oz link and o6z link looks like they chanege them thanks
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1721. Grothar
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Quoting twincomanche:
Brian,
Go see what those scientists quoted in the article said then and you will see what they are talking about instead of dismissing this article.


There is NO discussion that doesn't include increased CO2 in the atmosphere as one of the factors, if not the main factor, for accelerated warming.

People can trot out any convoluted "explanation" to the recent warming and fools will believe them because they want to, not because the science is sound.

You can dispute the amount of warming attributed to additional CO2, but saying burning of fossil fuels by humans has zero influence on climate change is ludicrous and/or denial of the obvious.

Again, CO2 is a HEAT-TRAPPING gas in this universe. You're living in another dimension if you think otherwise.
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@ post 1686 caribboy, as we saw with Irene, tropical systems can do the unpredictable so the Antillies should be prepared just in case.
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
1716. 7544
Quoting newbee:
the latest run GFS has a major hurricane just south of mobile and pensacola 168 hours out

http://moe.met.fsu.edu/tcgengifs/


hmm see that and the same trof that refelects kitia from the us shifts this ne over fla see what the next run shows
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1715. Walshy
Quoting KoritheMan:


I... am speechless.


Did that article really just infer Accuweather was better than the NWS?!

lulz
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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.

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