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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2515. WxLogic
@114HR... The GOM system appears to have missed the chance of getting away from the GOM and might stick around longer, but we'll see about that shortly:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JasonDroolsMan:

SORRY TOO SEE U GO!!


You're not the REAL Jason. You are an imposter, a mere pretendy wannabe version of the real deal. Like some Elvis impersonators, you're quite good, but you'll never be the KING.
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Quoting P451:



awesome, lol!
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Quoting CaneGurl:


Um, yes after the storm; but before, lots of crabs were CROSSING A1A to get to river.


hmmm. I guess I've never seen a blue crab come out of the water voluntarily.
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 628
2511. Seastep
Quoting interstatelover7165:
Anybody know when the first recon goes into Katia?


Probably Sat morning.
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2510. MahFL
Quoting KennyNebraska:
Oz just posted this on his FB page. The man is relentless, omg.

"STORM CHASE ALERT! I am leaving home on Friday to go on the road in my chase vehicle. There are TWO SYSTEMS! One coming into the Gulf, the other is Katia. I will have all my equipment...EVERYTHING! I will begin broadcasting Saturday PM, and continue broadcasting for EIGHT (8) CONSECUTIVE DAYS...if not more. Who knows where I will wind up! If you ever wanted to go on a storm chase, you'll have to come go with me. Stand by for upcoming notifications!"


Is his car amphibious, he'll need that to get to Katia....
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Quoting louisianaboy444:


Its only the GFS that shows that and i think its because it keeps it extremely weak or something idk no telling with the GFS


The GFS no longer shows it moving east, but it wouldn't have anything to do with it being weak if it were still moving it east.

12z GFS is more in line with the NAM, just a little more east.

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2508. WxLogic
@105HR Katia... pretty much stalled:

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2507. Skyepony (Mod)
Brief eye on Katia~
2011AUG31 134500 3.3 996.4/ +0.0 / 51.0 3.2 3.7 3.7 NO LIMIT ON OFF -60.76 -57.93 UNIFRM N/A 14.10 40.49 FCST
2011AUG31 141500 3.3 996.4/ +0.0 / 51.0 3.3 3.7 3.8 0.5T/hour OFF OFF -59.36 -59.26 UNIFRM N/A 14.12 40.64 FCST
2011AUG31 144500 3.4 995.2/ +0.0 / 53.0 3.4 3.7 5.6 0.5T/hour OFF OFF -13.86 -59.94 EYE 25 IR 13.59 40.84 COMBO
2011AUG31 151500 3.5 994.0/ +0.0 / 55.0 3.5 3.7 4.0 0.5T/hour OFF OFF -57.56 -60.69 UNIFRM N/A 14.21 40.87 FCST
2011AUG31 154500 3.5 994.0/ +0.0 / 55.0 3.5 3.7 4.1 0.5T/hour OFF OFF -57.26 -60.54 UNIFRM N/A 14.24 41.02 FCST
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Quoting xtremeweathertracker:

I do apologize sir i didn't realize you were from Houston those are both Beaumont forecasts!! Hey maybe it will change for you though the GFS looks like it stopped smoking crack and is coming into line with the Euro with a low developing off the SE Texas coastline!!! FINGERS CROSSED!!!


Thanks! No problem. Its funny how different the forecast can be when the cities are so close.

When Rita slammed Beaumont we got a sprinkle of rain while they were getting torn up.

I spent many years in the National Guard stationed in Beaumont and it is amazing how different the weather can be. I am still betting that Beaumont and east will get the rain. I would love to be wrong!!!
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Quoting P451:


Not true.

A storm in the Gulf can move in a Reedwesterly direction and hit Florida.
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Quoting russm1:


LOL love it. Now thats reality talking...

I can't imagine trying to pull my horse trailer with a bicycle.


Not too mention that 8 months of the year, riding a bike in MN pretty much stinks - 6"+ snow makes bikes pretty tough to handle and -10 degree real cold or wind chill - oooo that sounds like just great biking weather! Love my fuel-sucking 4x4 SUV - seats 7 & can hold 3 hockey bags in the cargo area. (I'd feel safer on bike than a "stupid"-car aka "Smart" - at least when you get in an accident on a bike there's no plastic/metal from which to be extracted. Those "smart" cars look like death traps to me. Also, with the attack on cheap coal energy, how do they expect to power those cars? Methane?)
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Quoting TampaFLUSA:
With the current steering setup, how is it even possible of this possible storm moving east across the gulf as some models suggest?


Its only the GFS that shows that and i think its because it keeps it extremely weak or something idk no telling with the GFS
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2501. Seastep
Quoting earthlydragonfly:
on the NOAA site where you can see the sat images they tropical points button (or check box) is disabled??? could that mean a new track is coming?


Works just fine for me.

Although, TFP's aren't showing atm.
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997mb at 105 hours just off the coast of Mississippi. This would be a drenching rain for many along the Northern Gulf Coast.

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Anybody know when the first recon goes into Katia?
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Quoting Matt1989:
The gfs has been the best model this year.. I think as far as long term track goes. I hope this system doesn't just sit in the central GOM for a few days.. Because if conditions are right it will be a monster . =/



If it justs sits there upwelling will occur and it won't get very strong
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2496. 7544
nice blob forming off the fla west coast moving nne ?
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Quoting thewindman:


Upwelling
It could upwell for a week there without issue. It's HOT.
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Quoting vetsfightingms:


Maybe we'll get something for Christmas.

We're heading to Ireland mid-month. If I can sneak any back in our checked luggage I'll try.


I think the problem is our forecasters are initializing on the disturbance in the gap, not the one in the BOC which is what I see developing and pulling more or less
a Hermine, just not as big as she was.

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2 aoi eyed for possible tc development,one just ne of the yucatan,the other se of the tex/mex border,stay tuned,my crystal ball says we'll be watching 4 maybe 5 named tc's over the next 7-10say period.
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With the current steering setup, how is it even possible of this possible storm moving east across the gulf as some models suggest?
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The gfs has been the best model this year.. I think as far as long term track goes. I hope this system doesn't just sit in the central GOM for a few days.. Because if conditions are right it will be a monster . =/
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on the NOAA site where you can see the sat images they tropical points button (or check box) is disabled??? could that mean a new track is coming?
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2484. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
XX/AOI/XX
MARK
19.25N/85.36W
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Quoting Landfall2004:


Yes, you use the sharpies to write HELP FPL on your power pole! Been there, done that. Get the REALLY big poster-size Sharpies/markers for that!
In New Orleans, we are advised to use the sharpies to write our name, SSN and next of kin on our bodies if we stay for a big one.
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Quoting wxobsvps:
GFS just leaves that system in place

now at +84



Upwelling
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Quoting wxobsvps:


wrw?



Got to have WRW and the latest...Reedwesterly....and don't forget that the WU compass always points to magnetic west.
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Quoting redwagon:


Same here in Austin.. bitter disappointment.


Maybe we'll get something for Christmas.

We're heading to Ireland mid-month. If I can sneak any back in our checked luggage I'll try.
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Quoting wxobsvps:


The GFS still keeps it broad and weak and still not buying that ENE movement...It will come in line one of these days
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2477. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
T.C.F.W.
012/TS/K/CX
MARK
14.25N/39.89W



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Quoting Patrap:
...busy re-stocking the FRESCA stash.

Looks to be a Busy weekend into next week.


Hey Pat,

Katia seems to be moving <----- :)
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Quoting Elena85Vet:


You were driving in the water?


Um, yes after the storm; but before, lots of crabs were CROSSING A1A to get to river.
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Quoting JasonDroolsMan:
SHE GONNNA POP A BLOWHOLE SOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!


nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey, goodbye.
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2472. DFWjc
deleted
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Quoting JamesSA:
Rain has been completely removed from the San Antonio forecast, as has any significant cooldown. :(

Link


Same here in Austin.. bitter disappointment.
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Quoting Matt1989:
Why is everyone saying texas for the futur GOM storm. When the gfs clearly moves it ENE after developing away from texas?


moreover this is only a 10% AOI, not even an invest yet
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6164
Does anyone have the GFS tropical link yet for Katia out at 48-72 hours?
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Quoting Matt1989:
Why is everyone saying texas for the futur GOM storm. When the gfs clearly moves it ENE after developing away from texas?
Its been discounted for the time being
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Boring weather in the E carib since Irene passed through, hopefully things will change soon with a little more action!!!
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6164
Why is everyone saying texas for the futur GOM storm. When the gfs clearly moves it ENE after developing away from texas?
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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.

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