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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1564. BDAwx
The thing about Jose is that naming it made no real difference in our warnings as we were under gale warnings, thunderstorm advisories, and small craft warnings anyways. Plus the swell from Irene was still a good 5-10', so our beaches were pretty much closed anyways.

I'd hesitate before saying anything is the next Fabian. People may think we are crying wolf after Igor. But it gets me a little on edge to see models pointing anything at me even at such a timeframe because I know it can and has happened before. We get struck surprisingly frequently for being such a small spot to hit, these storms have good aim!
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Quoting BaltimoreBrian:


ECMWF brings Katia to about 70 W. About midway between Bermuda and Cape Hatteras.


that's dangerously too close
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For what it's worth, the 18z GFS has the GOM storm meandering around the gulf for nearly a week and eventually moving southeast towards the west coast of Florida.
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12.5n34.6w has been re-evaluated&altered for TS.Katia's_12amGMT_ATCF
12.6n34.7w, 13.1n36.6w are now the most recent positions
Starting 30August_12amGMT and ending 31August_12amGMT

The 4 eastern line-segments represent TropicaStormKatia's path
and the westernmost line-segment is the straightline projection.

Using straightline projection of the travel-speed&heading derived from the ATCF coordinates spanning the 6hours between 6pmGMT then 12amGMT :
TS.Katia's travel-speed was 22.2mph(35.7k/h) on a heading of 285.2degrees(WNW)
TS.Katia was headed toward passage over Seafeathers,Anguilla ~3days6&1/2.hours from now

Copy&paste nto, 11.0n29.4w-11.5n30.9w, 11.5n30.9w-12.0n32.8w, 12.0n32.8w-12.6n34.7w, 12.6n34.7w-13.1n36.6w, axa, 12.6n34.7w-18.220n63.002w into the GreatCircleMapper for more info

The previous mapping (for 30August_6pmGMT)
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Lol...I love Coast to Coast.


Listing to this program sounds like their talking about some kind of dooms day thing is this what this program usaly about?
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
lol, Tropical Storm Katia is famous, but has not updated her fb page :P

Link


Cute. Who set up the page?
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Quoting muddertracker:

So, I have my handle b/c I used to race mud machines with my family..(really, it's true)..and that got me thinking...why do you call yourself mystery meat? Are you a meatloaf distributor? In the a***t film industry? Middle school cafeteria worker? Just curious. It is very unique.


I was looking for a screenname that says "i don't want none of y'all knowing who I am" but couldn't think of anything clever offhand. Got hungry, walked to 7-11, and it came to me.

Meatloaf distributor sounds like a dream job. Especially if the means of distribution are those t-shirt cannons.
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Complete Update

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI






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Quoting Tygor:
Weather guys in San Antonio are now saying to not expect rain this weekend, but rather wait until maybe October for things to change. I think the closer we get to the weekend the more we will be disappointed by the ridge pushing the storm away from Texas.

We don't even know what rain is anymore. At least it won't be 113 any longer!


don't burst my bubble! I thought maybe just maybe we'd get some rain on the coast!
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Quoting tropicfreak:


What the heck happened at the end of the loop?


ECMWF brings Katia to about 70 W. About midway between Bermuda and Cape Hatteras.
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1554. mjjust
Quoting nofailsafe:


Round at best.


I was thinking Spam myself.
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TampaSpin - See post earier on OBX - another thing - cell phone service is out on Hatteras and cut off areas.

Right now power is out and emergency ops will want to figure out some way to provide power asap. Then they will try to set up up temp cell phone towers.

So, once they get power and towers up you might be able to reach them on cell phone. You might also try text messages - less bandwidth.
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lol, Tropical Storm Katia is famous, but has not updated her fb page :P

Link
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31993

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Just got online for the first time today, and, based on Dr. Masters' post, I'd just like to fire out my thanks to Portlight for their fine, timely, and selfless work, along with all of our WU members who have contributed to their efforts, both now and in the past.

If there's any justice, there's a special place in heaven for those so willing to help others in their time of greatest need. A big thanks and congratulations to Portlight... please keep up the great, and needful, work as much and as long as you can. :-)

I'm in Albany, NY, here, work in a big office building, and personally know at least three people whose homes have been totalled by raging floodwaters. None of them had flood insurance. Anyone who thinks Irene was overhyped, or was not an epic, cataclysmic storm, should come up here to NY and Vermont and see how many small towns and villages have been basically, and perhaps permanently, destroyed. :(

Jo
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Quoting Tazmanian:





can you plzs re read what i this said i did not say any thing
about 93L going under a RI i said per could be RI geting better


Oh we have 93L?
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6877
Quoting presslord:
George Noory is explaining anything and everything ya need to know about weather

Link


Lol...I love Coast to Coast.
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1547. Squid28
Quoting TampaSpin:
Communications are really bad in North Carolina yet today. I have friends that was in North Carolina that i am sure are ok.......but cell service still is not very good i guess. I just get voice mail.


Try texting them, it will float in the system for an extended period of time giving them abetter chance of getting the message
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Quoting MysteryMeat:


I haven't been eaten by Texas, so all in all, I'd say I'm doing well!

So, I have my handle b/c I used to race mud machines with my family..(really, it's true)..and that got me thinking...why do you call yourself mystery meat? Are you a meatloaf distributor? In the a***t film industry? Middle school cafeteria worker? Just curious. It is very unique.
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1545. angiest
Quoting MysteryMeat:


I haven't been eaten by Texas, so all in all, I'd say I'm doing well!


We are kinda experts with meat...

So I think we'll steer clear of something like you.
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Quoting ncstorm:
whoa..has anyone seen the ECMWF ensembles..Florida/Katia and much farther west to the East coast..

Link


What the heck happened at the end of the loop?
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6877
Quoting twincomanche:
The models are so weak in prediction at this point that I really would just as soon just observe. Almost everything goes south of the models for a while unless it really spools up rapidly and then they get more accurate. As my #1 reporter Levi says "We shall see."


I'll give the models this much. They did pick out Irene as the first major hurricane to develop this season. I think they will be right with Katia as well.


For track the very long range predictions for Irene were awful. By long range I mean more than 5-7 days out. All those Gulf landfalls. I don't take the real long range model tracks very seriously.

I do think the models keeping Katia well out to sea is a hopeful sign. And I hope she doesn't hit Bermuda.

And though I was tongue-in-cheek before I do think Newfoundland is also at higher risk. We'll see.
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Hoping everyone remains clear of the swollen rivers and to be careful out there because "nobody canna cross it".

Link
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1540. Tygor
Weather guys in San Antonio are now saying to not expect rain this weekend, but rather wait until maybe October for things to change. I think the closer we get to the weekend the more we will be disappointed by the ridge pushing the storm away from Texas.

We don't even know what rain is anymore. At least it won't be 113 any longer!
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1539. ncstorm
whoa..has anyone seen the ECMWF ensembles..Florida/Katia and much farther west to the East coast..

Link
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Quoting muddertracker:


lol....omg..now I've seen it all! Why hello there, mystery meat...how are you?


I haven't been eaten by Texas, so all in all, I'd say I'm doing well!
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The winds weren't too bad and it sounded like everyone was able to get away from flooding...

If they were North of Hatteras Island, power is being restoredthey should be able to drive out.

If they were on Hatteras or Ocracoke Islands, they're probably ok but stuck. There's no power, water, or way to drive off the island. Local news is saying emergency supplies are being delivered by Ferry so there's food and water and shelter is open if house is uninhabitable.

I don't think you should be too worried about their safety - they're probably miserable - but safe.

Sorry - I don't know about any web site for finding people right now...
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TD 12 yesterday at this time now shows a chance of being hurricane Katia at the 11:00 EDT update. What a change in 24 hours.

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Quoting MysteryMeat:


You rang?

(in reality, Don was like a handful of popcorn at best)


LOL.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31993
Quoting Bluestorm5:
this map just showed that NHC isn't 100% sure where Katia is going a week from now. They are pretty good with 3 days path, but it's still WAY early to see if Katia is a threat to ANY land. I'm going with forecast of Bermuda bounded storm, but it's still early in the ball game.


Should turn out to sea before Bermuda in my opinion, but we shall see!
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Quoting MysteryMeat:


You rang?

(in reality, Don was like a handful of popcorn at best)


lol....omg..now I've seen it all! Why hello there, mystery meat...how are you?
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Quoting Inyo:
Here in Vermont the hype was not excessive (if anything it was under-hyped), it was the RAIN that was excessive! The wind was mostly a non-issue. It's been an interesting experience to say the least. I'd never been in a hurricane, and have always found them fascinating, even though so destructive. But going through a hurricane remnant stops being fun really fast when the fire department comes to your door and tells you that the river will soon be flowing down main street. I was only in the shelter for a couple of hours but it REALLY gave me an appreciation for what people went through when they faced disasters like Katrina. It isn't fun sitting there wondering if your house survived... but on the other hand, I felt almost calm, once we were safe, because there was absolutely not a single thing I could do about it.

As it turned out our community was spared everything except some basement flooding and road erosion. Others were not so lucky...

The weirdest thing about the hurricane? Smelling the ocean, like I was standing next to it, when in fact it was over 100 miles away. This was on a mountain pass in Vermont in the fog that came with the first of the rains.


Glad you didnt get much damage from that
Rain from a dieing hurricane can be extreme

Hurricane Flooding: A Deadly Inland Danger

Link
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George Noory is explaining anything and everything ya need to know about weather

Link
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Quoting muddertracker:



mystery meat?


You rang?

(in reality, Don was like a handful of popcorn at best)
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I don't know if you all have seen this - it's an animation of the satellite photos of Irene from the Carribbean to Canada. Very cool to see this thing in motion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Qz75kxR-0M
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Quoting TampaSpin:
this map just showed that NHC isn't 100% sure where Katia is going a week from now. They are pretty good with 3 days path, but it's still WAY early to see if Katia is a threat to ANY land. I'm going with forecast of Bermuda bounded storm, but it's still early in the ball game.
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Pretty good opening for a turn out to sea with Katia......don't see it making it to the ConUs! This could change tho.....but, usually this is fairly accurate.
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1525. LBAR
GFS must be predicting an extremely weak Azores high...weaker than it is now?
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1523. A4Guy
seems like models are coming into very good agreement on a turn to the NE well before the islands..and then a turn northward for Katia. Might be another close call for Bermuda...but looks to be avoiding the US East Coast.
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1522. SLU
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Where do they live at?


They was on vacation on the outer banks.....thats all i know.......i have tried calling for 2 days and nothing but voice mail.
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1520. Dennis8
AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION...UPDATED
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE JACKSON MS
850 PM CDT TUE AUG 30 2011


NO CHANGES WERE MADE TO THE LONGER RANGE FORECAST. THE MODELS
CONTINUE TO PAINT A POSSIBLE TROPICAL SYSTEM DEVELOPING IN THE
WRN/CNTRL GULF LATER THIS WEEK AND INTO THE WEEKEND. THE HURRICANE
CENTER HAS IDENTIFIED A TROPICAL WAVE IN THE NW CARIBBEAN...GIVING
THE SYSTEM A LOW CHANCE OF BECOMING A TROPICAL STORM DURING THE NEXT
48 HOURS BUT KEEPING AN EYE ON POSSIBLE DEVELOPMENT LATER IN THE
PERIOD.
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Well, Irene caused major damages to schools in our conference so they had to cancels some of the games this week against us. NC Government is saying Irene caused ABOUT 70 million dollar damage to NC... so much for Irene being overhyped. Meanwhile I hope Katia becomes a fish storm (yes, I am hoping it'll miss Bermuda and I didn't forget about that).
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Blog has slowed down....
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4485
Quoting SPLbeater:


yeah. i think. i dont look at microwave images, never got the link to the siteto save to favorites, so i use knowledge and good eyes to try and determine an eye. worked in the past,just didnt see till every1 else already had lol


looked better earlier but nice convection on the south side could start to wrap round
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1515. CCkid00
Quoting Clearwater1:
Yes in FL it's always 2% of the home's insured value. It is with my house anyway.


we were lucky with Katrina AND Gustav. regular deductibles of $500 on both, at that time.
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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.