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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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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1514. Dennis8
AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HOUSTON/GALVESTON TX
802 PM CDT TUE AUG 30 2011


OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS...WE WILL WAIT TO SEE WHAT DEVELOPS IN THE
NORTHWEST CARIBBEAN AND GULF OF MEXICO ASSOCIATED WITH A WESTWARD MOVING
TROPICAL WAVE. THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER HAS BEGUN TO MENTION THIS
DISTURBANCE IN THEIR TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK. SEE THE AFTERNOON DISCUSSION
BELOW FOR AN EXCELLENT DESCRIPTION OF WHAT WE COULD POSSIBLY BE DEALING
WITH AS WE HEAD ON INTO THIS WEEKEND AND INTO THE FIRST PART OF NEXT
WEEK. 42
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Info on OBX damage - 4 breaches of HWY 12 + closed due to sand and water


https://apps.dot.state.nc.us/pio/releases/details .aspx?r=5383

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=2131109 63039440998316.0004aba90bb1fd332a5e8&ie=UTF8&vpsrc =6&z=11

click on pic and there are more pics - some are interesting and give more detail on damage

https://picasaweb.google.com/10041842900575861941 8/NC12HurricaneIrene?authuser=0&feat=directlink#

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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.


Where do they live at?
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32343
1511. angiest
Quoting twincomanche:
Be careful about sleeping on your model pillow too much when the thing is this far off shore young Jedi.


I have to wonder, if we had had this blog back then, how many would have twice declared Betsey a fish or OBX threat, but absolutely positively not going to NOLA.
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Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32343
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.
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Quoting uncljbnd:
Katia is a fish, except for maybe bermuda.

Anyone who posts anything different at this point is wishcasting.

The models are all in agreement.

This.."if she says weak, wont it go into the gulf" commentary is worthless noise unless something changes.

talk about he troughs, and their impact on her, or whatever, but people need to stop polluting this board with noise.


sure...sure...and Andrew will turn...Charley's done intensifying.....yada yada yada... just kidding...but certainty at this stage in the game frightens me :)
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Quoting weatherh98:


problem with what youre saying is that on the micro wave images, there is clearly an eye forming but We shall see soon


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
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I'd like to think that Grandpa wasn't a BS'er... hopefully he was legit...

Everyone needs to decide for themselves when/whether to leave... even when there's an evacuation order...

That's why there are 2,500 people stranded on Hatteras Island. It won't be a fun place to be if Katia comes within a couple hundred of miles from OBX... they don't need higher waves right now.

Those decisions could still turn out not to have been so good.
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Quoting stormpetrol:

Station 42056
NDBC
Location: 19.802N 84.857W
Conditions as of:
Wed, 31 Aug 2011 00:50:00 UTC
Winds: WSW (250°) at 5.8 kt gusting to 7.8 kt
Significant Wave Height: 3.9 ft
Dominant Wave Period: 8 sec
Mean Wave Direction: ESE (103°)
Atmospheric Pressure: 29.85 in and rising
Air Temperature: 77.2 F
Dew Point: 74.1 F
Water Temperature: 86.2 F
View Details - View History


Thanks for the buoy data. What's the source of this knowledge?
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1504. Bayside
Quoting PcolaDan:


WHAAA?!?!?!?!
People make things up on the internet?????
NO WAY!!!!!!!


I'm not saying that because you might accuse me of making it up!

This is gonna be a long season I think!
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1503. xcool
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Quoting uncljbnd:
Katia is a fish, except for maybe bermuda.

Anyone who posts anything different at this point is wishcasting.

The models are all in agreement.

This.."if she says weak, wont it go into the gulf" commentary is worthless noise unless something changes.

talk about he troughs, and their impact on her, or whatever, but people need to stop polluting this board with noise.


I can see Katia trying for Newfoundland. Must...find...moose...und....sqvirrel!
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A feel good story from Vermont

Trapped in Pittsfield: Residents dig out and await help
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Looks like Katia is pausing her intensification. But I still think she will be a hurricane tomorrow. Models still make her track look like Igor's.
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Quoting Methurricanes:
see those fanning out clouds on the North through east side of the storm, going outward from the center thats heathy outflow, however if you see that all going the same way, its sheer, but this fans out N, NNE, NE, ENE, E, ESE. so its outflow.


Iknow how to read upper level wind patterns around a storm,but thx for tryin to help. main thing i am going to try and see is if that is an eye poppin out in that soft spot of covection on the WNW side of Katias' thunderstorms.
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Quoting SPLbeater:
Aint no way i am seeing an eye there in the soft spot slightly to the wnw side of covection...gotta be a break in it. next 5 images will tell i reckon,but highly doubt that i was seeing an eye


problem with what youre saying is that on the micro wave images, there is clearly an eye forming but We shall see soon
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539

Station 42056
NDBC
Location: 19.802N 84.857W
Conditions as of:
Wed, 31 Aug 2011 00:50:00 UTC
Winds: WSW (250°) at 5.8 kt gusting to 7.8 kt
Significant Wave Height: 3.9 ft
Dominant Wave Period: 8 sec
Mean Wave Direction: ESE (103°)
Atmospheric Pressure: 29.85 in and rising
Air Temperature: 77.2 F
Dew Point: 74.1 F
Water Temperature: 86.2 F
View Details - View History
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Why are so many people still posting picture of Irene? Inside joke? lol
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Quoting weatherh98:


apparently it tasted good though


There are some mighty fine round steak recipes out there. Especially with some rice and brown gravy...

mmm...

In other news. It still amazes me how Don simply up and vanished. What I'm really interested in is what the mid-level winds were like (because I don't recall it was deep enough to have much interaction with the 200mb heights yet) as it moved onto the coast.
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Quoting angiest:


Well, when you are hungry enough...


i dont care what type of steak its steak yum
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
Katia is a fish, except for maybe bermuda.

Anyone who posts anything different at this point is wishcasting.

The models are all in agreement.

This.."if she says weak, wont it go into the gulf" commentary is worthless noise unless something changes.

talk about he troughs, and their impact on her, or whatever, but people need to stop polluting this board with noise.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WindynEYW:
so anyone think Katia is going to follow Irene up the east coast?


Yeah...Joe Bastardi...speaking of mystery meat..
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1489. JNCali
Quoting bluenosedave:


IMO, the people who use the term "fish storm" can take their "fish" and insert it where the sun don't shine. Preferably tail-first.

So it should be a Ship storm and not a Fish storm? This season is obviously full of ship... storms
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Quoting muddertracker:



mystery meat?
zso Don was Mcnuggets?
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Aint no way i am seeing an eye there in the soft spot slightly to the wnw side of covection...gotta be a break in it. next 5 images will tell i reckon,but highly doubt that i was seeing an eye
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1486. angiest
Quoting weatherh98:


apparently it tasted good though


Well, when you are hungry enough...
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so anyone think Katia is going to follow Irene up the east coast?
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Quoting SPLbeater:
I dont see how Katia is being picked up as a borderline TS/Hurricane. not from the orgaization. But what do i know, im just a Junior with a huge interest in weather, nothin professional lol
see those fanning out clouds on the North through east side of the storm, going outward from the center thats heathy outflow, however if you see that all going the same way, its sheer, but this fans out N, NNE, NE, ENE, E, ESE. so its outflow.
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Quoting angiest:


You are giving Don too much credit. He was more of a cube steak.



mystery meat?
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Quoting nofailsafe:


Round at best.


apparently it tasted good though
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
1480. DFWjc
Quoting PcolaDan:


WHAAA?!?!?!?!
People make things up on the internet?????
NO WAY!!!!!!!


yeah i thought it was called wikipedia...
Member Since: July 19, 2011 Posts: 1 Comments: 1006
Quoting Bayside:


Well, it's 3/4 full... Not 1/4 empty, so I guess so. I liked the conversations around g'pa, and I thought the messages from the general blog about being prudent and evacuating were good, but I took it all with a grain of salt because it could have easily been someone setting up another dramatic BS episode. Tis teh internetz :p


WHAAA?!?!?!?!
People make things up on the internet?????
NO WAY!!!!!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting SPLbeater:
I dont see how Katia is being picked up as a borderline TS/Hurricane. not from the orgaization. But what do i know, im just a Junior with a huge interest in weather, nothin professional lol


Imjust an eighth graderbut ithink im seeing an eyethere so wouldnt surprise me....

PINHOLE EYE just kidding
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
Quoting angiest:


You are giving Don too much credit. He was more of a cube steak.


Round at best.
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Quoting JupiterX:


I feel like we will be forgotten and everyone will see it as a fish if that run verifies.


IMO, the people who use the term "fish storm" can take their "fish" and insert it where the sun don't shine. Preferably tail-first.
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:


Don't worry...you can't count on me NOT calling this a fish storm because it goes to Bermuda or Canada...

....and even if it was over open waters...its still not a fish storm as it can affect shipping interests...

Those double negative things always confuse me.
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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.
Very interesting.
I've spent a lot of time in Vermont and smelling the ocean is the last thing I'd expect. I have friends in Grafton that I can't get through to and I'm concerned about and the whole state. The West Dover to Newfane area was a favored vacation spot for decades. It's beautiful up there.
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I dont see how Katia is being picked up as a borderline TS/Hurricane. not from the orgaization. But what do i know, im just a Junior with a huge interest in weather, nothin professional lol
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wave innorth carribean showing up and katialooks good
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
Quoting HurricaneLovr75:
There is mischief going on at Fenway Park!


I thought they got rid of coco crisp...
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1470. angiest
Quoting muddertracker:

Texas ate Don like he was prime rib on an all you can eat buffet...


You are giving Don too much credit. He was more of a cube steak.
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1469. Bayside
Quoting PcolaDan:


You're a glass half full kind of person aren't you? ;>)


Well, it's 3/4 full... Not 1/4 empty, so I guess so. I liked the conversations around g'pa, and I thought the messages from the general blog about being prudent and evacuating were good, but I took it all with a grain of salt because it could have easily been someone setting up another dramatic BS episode. Tis teh internetz :p
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Got slammed here in Kill Devil Hills and all OBX, mostly surge soundside. Feeling pretty bad about it till hearing about Vermont. Water was about el. +7 on Colington. Just got tv and internet back last night, never lost power.
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Quoting JupiterX:


Thanks, although I would certainly prefer that last scenario.
me too, ships can move, islands can't.
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Quoting bappit:

The wind speeds may have had something to do with it plus the proximity to Bermuda.


Like I said we got some decent winds gusting in the 50's from Jose, so I am glad they declared it, it probably helped boaters pay attention.
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:


Really? I live near the Apex/Cary area...power NEVER went out...but I was surprised at some of the gusts given that Irene was passing well to our east....


I'm near Apex too - power goes out all the time - I finally stopped setting the electronic clocks. The wind gusts were a little surprising considering we were on the very edge of the storm. I was a little concerned about my neighbor's 15 degree leaning 140' tall half dead gum tree - but the wind was blowing away from my house. It will hit something for sure - and it won't be pretty.
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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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