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 Neapolitan:

Umm---thanks?

Seriously, though: you may think you hate me now--but wait until you get to know me. ;-)


LOL! time will tell, and I fear we have a long season a head of us on DR Master's Blog..
plus, I don't "Hate" I am a Christian Conservative Liberatarian, I don't Hate.. I just "agree to disagree"




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Should be interesting to see how all this plays out, none the less.
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Quoting Levi32:


It really is hard to say with such two large boundaries along which the low could form, but my initial guess would be that we would start seeing something spinning up north of 25N and west of 90W - essentially the NW quadrant of the Gulf of Mexico.


These types of systems are actually my favorite. While it is a nightmare for forecasters it sure is fun for the novice.

The GFS really does a number on the gulf coast. Would involve a large area being under some type of warning.
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Amazing Levi 33 has successfully copied levi 32 and I cant ignore 33 just my luck no poofing* can anyone help with that
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6461
Hopefully this activity will finally break down that stubborn high over Texas.

LinkFunkTopLoop
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1108. Vero1
Is that "Maria" behind Katia marked by the "X"?

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We are approaching the peak of the season. Vigilance is advised. Check and double check your list of supplies. Actually buy the supplies. Listen ONLY to trusted sources like Al Roker. Ignore weather blog pundits, as many are unstable. Good luck!
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Fortunately, whatever does develop down here, be it a broad low pressure area of a full-fledged tropical cyclone, is unlikely to rapidly intensify (or even become a hurricane) for a variety of reasons.


I disagree, it certainty has the capability to become a hurricane, not that I'm obviously trying to hype something up. 88 degree SST's, low shear and SST setup. Some of the computer models, the GFS and CMC to be exact do show it approaching hurricane status. The 00z ECMWF also had it approaching hurricane status, it has since backed off on that.
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1104. aquak9
Quoting KoritheMan:


Fortunately, whatever does develop down here, be it a broad low pressure area of a full-fledged tropical cyclone, is unlikely to rapidly intensify (or even become a hurricane) for a variety of reasons.


That's good news for Texas, right?

Plenty of popcorn here (passes bowl around to other laughing lurkers)
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Fortunately, whatever does develop down here, be it a broad low pressure area of a full-fledged tropical cyclone, is unlikely to rapidly intensify (or even become a hurricane) for a variety of reasons.
Umm...I beg to differ. Alicia was supposed to do the same thing. We went to bed with a T/Storm headed our way from LA, and woke up with a strong cat 2 headed our way. SURPRISE!
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1102. ackee
Quoting weatherjr:
I see Katia with a well stabished WNW movement. Considering its present intensification stage and the long distance from the caribbean islands I can assume fron now that she will go well NE of the islands. So she is of NO interest to me from this moment. My next statement will be in the event any storm approaches the islands (if it occurs). I could post at any moment if meritory... I maintain reading the blogg. Bloggers, Please, excuse my bad english. I LEARN from all of you. I am no more than a simple IGNORANT.
Go back one of these days...
Good Nights to everybody...
agree just intrested to see if devlopment will take place in GULF
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Quoting seflagamma:


You know Nea,
I normally do not even like you....

but I will agree with you here..

Gams



Umm---thanks?

Seriously, though: you may think you hate me now--but wait until you get to know me. ;-)
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Quoting levi33:
Levi Conan from Fair banks is Levi 32 , and I'm levi 33


Levi COWAN. You getting Conan O'Brien and Cowan mixed up? LOL
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6874
...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.


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Taz..I think you have another stalker?
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1097. rv1pop
One of the things that could be done, is to post IP address after the name.... Those things are somewhat track-able. And in one case on this blog, the DHS might follow up.
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1096. DFWjc
Quoting HouGalv08:
LOL, LOL just joking. I've been thru enough T/S and Hurricanes to know better. You just slowly ramp up the prepare ration as the information warrants action.


oooh you got me on that one hook line and sinker...my first one today (golf claps) a fine show chap!
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1093. xcool
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15620
Quoting HouGalv08:
Well, I'm even CLOSE to mashing the panic button, but I will be keeping a very close eye on what happens in the GOM as the week progresses. At least the storm shutters are 90% complete. It's just the pain of getting ready for one of these things. Watching and waiting in Houston


Fortunately, whatever does develop down here, be it a broad low pressure area of a full-fledged tropical cyclone, is unlikely to rapidly intensify (or even become a hurricane) for a variety of reasons.
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Quoting DFWjc:


Question how can you hit the panic button 7 days in advance for the unknown?
LOL, LOL just joking. I've been thru enough T/S and Hurricanes to know better. You just slowly ramp up the prepare ration as the information warrants action.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Yes.



ok, thx dude.
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
1087. Levi32
Quoting Eyewall07:
Hey Levi(32) :)

I know its to early to forecast a track for our GOM system. However since you did bet on Katia would you like to wager on a spot for the disturbance to spin up.

TIA


It really is hard to say with two large boundaries along which the low could form, but my initial guess would be that we will start seeing something trying to spin up north of 25N and west of 90W - essentially the NW quadrant of the Gulf of Mexico.
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Quoting SPLbeater:
any indication of any eyewall trying to take shape yet?


Yes.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31462
As Levi stated in his update video, the GOM has been cooking these past 2 months, especially all of August. Almost no cloud cover the entire month. That heat will need to be released.
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1082. doubtit
Quoting flowrida:
katia really scares me for some reason<
I know what you mean, the pronunciation can be tricky.
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1081. DFWjc
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Yeah...look who talking...

:o

Sorry guys, I forgot: Don't feed the trolls.


Don't feed the troll, but you can knock the stuffing out them...
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Quoting txag91met:


Need the shear to relax...





and the wind shear lower down too 5kt so its vary low
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1078. DFWjc
Quoting HouGalv08:
Well, I'm even CLOSE to mashing the panic button, but I will be keeping a very close eye on what happens in the GOM as the week progresses. At least the storm shutters are 90% complete. It's just the pain of getting ready for one of these things. Watching and waiting in Houston


Question how can you hit the panic button 7 days in advance for the unknown?
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Quoting JupiterX:


Dang that guy with the PHD said the same thing, so if the models still show it threatening tomorrow I might have to start initial preparations.


Need the shear to relax...

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any indication of any eyewall trying to take shape yet?
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
Well, I'm even CLOSE to mashing the panic button, but I will be keeping a very close eye on what happens in the GOM as the week progresses. At least the storm shutters are 90% complete. It's just the pain of getting ready for one of these things. Watching and waiting in Houston
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1074. xcool
Conditions at 42056 as of
(5:50 pm CDT)
2250 GMT on 08/30/2011: Unit of Measure: English Metric

Wind Direction (WDIR): W ( 280 deg true )
Wind Speed (WSPD): 11.7 kts
Wind Gust (GST): 15.5 kts
Wave Height (WVHT): 4.3 ft
Dominant Wave Period (DPD): 7 sec
Average Period (APD): 5.4 sec
Mean Wave Direction (MWD): ESE ( 103 deg true )
Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 29.79 in
Pressure Tendency (PTDY): -0.01 in ( Falling )
Air Temperature (ATMP): 81.5 °F
Water Temperature (WTMP): 86.9 °F
Dew Point (DEWP): 75.9 °F
Heat Index (HEAT): 88.3 °F
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15620
sorry but this is not a fish this will keep going WNW the may be turn more W but how far W is still too far out too say
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Quoting levi33:
yeah Wunderground needs to be a little more strict has to who can open an account


Yeah...look who talking...

:o

Sorry guys, I forgot: Don't feed the trolls.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31462
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
Quoting aquak9:


naahhh..JupiterFL is a handsome charming devil. And you? well you're a, uhmm...planet.


LOL.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31462
1068. Kibkaos
Quoting ackee:
seem like the GULF will be very intresting to watch this weekend into next week KATIA seem like a sure fish now

I agree. I looked at a couple of models that show an interesting weekend for us in the Houston area.
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1067. aquak9
Quoting JupiterX:


Oh no our names are going to cause problems, although clearly we had different intentions when creating them


naahhh..JupiterFL is a handsome charming devil. And you? well you're a, uhmm...planet.
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being a troll is so stupid......basically identity theft all it is really
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481

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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.