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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Looks like we're not going to catch a break here in Texas. we're desperate for ran and not so hot temps and I've been reading on this blog we're going to continue to be hot and dry.

Better than a major hurricane, though.
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Quoting ncstorm:
The forecasters are going to have something on their hands in the track of these storms..18Z NOGAPS..

Link



Looks like they still want the predicted low in the gulf to make a loop-de-loop just farther to the east.
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ok thanks, cyberteddy
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The forecasters are going to have something on their hands in the track of these storms..18Z NOGAPS..

Link

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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
No surprise that the Raw T-Number is rising with the circulation now placed underneath the bubbling CDO. A hurricane tonight is not out of the question.



will have too wait and see
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
No surprise that the Raw T-Number is rising with the circulation now placed underneath the bubbling CDO. A hurricane tonight is not out of the question.
'

so Katia's found her sweet spot already..great.I hope she puts on a great show and then swims with the fishes
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Quoting midnite02:
If, big if, Lee becomes a hurrricane will to be the time we a male and femmale hurricane at the same time?


Karl, Igor, and Julia where all hurricanes at the same time last year, so no it wouldn't.
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One unexpected part of the aftermath of IRENE is that it's raised public awareness of the things we follow here....cyclogenesis and the evolution of tropical cyclones. I expect more traffic(good for you Dr. M..$$$$) from the heavily populated northeast, especially during Cape Verde season.
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If, big if, Lee becomes a hurrricane will to be the time we a male and femmale hurricane at the same time?
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Quoting Tazmanian:
we may be looking at a hurricane vary soon


UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.3
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 30 AUG 2011 Time : 221500 UTC
Lat : 12:46:59 N Lon : 35:44:33 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
3.4 /1000.1mb/ 53.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
3.4 3.8 3.8








No surprise that the Raw T-Number is rising with the circulation now placed underneath the bubbling CDO. A hurricane tonight is not out of the question.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
Hey guys, still looking like a possible Bermuda impact? And could anyone tell me if it could be at Fabian strength if it were to come here?
Member Since: August 28, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 49
Had not payed attention to the tropics sence yesterday morning and i see we have a good looking Katia out of TD12.
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Quoting E46Pilot:


Even just 10 years ago, they would have just been depressions.


You folks are aware that for nearly 2 centuries now the oceans have been full of ships, all equipped with barometers and all having a life-or-death interest in the weather? The notion that we've only just begun to really see the oceans since the start of the space age is simply false. The difference today is that we can see in real time, not just after the fact.
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although this is interesting


Member Since: August 24, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 604
Quoting muddertracker:


Agreed. Levi patiently and tirelessly answers questions. Levi, you are appreciated. I know you have to get sick of answering the same questions over and over, but I, for one, am glad that you do.


Yes, I agree. Thanks Levi!:)
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we may be looking at a hurricane vary soon


UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.3
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 30 AUG 2011 Time : 221500 UTC
Lat : 12:46:59 N Lon : 35:44:33 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
3.4 /1000.1mb/ 53.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
3.4 3.8 3.8








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Quoting muddertracker:

photobucket...if you get an account, it makes it easier to post photos


Thanks for the help!
Member Since: August 24, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 604
no definitive eye wall yet

Member Since: August 24, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 604
Quoting aprinz1979:


Levi if you started charging $.25 for every question you answered in this blog, you'd be a millionaire in a just 3 or 4 seasons.


Agreed. Levi patiently and tirelessly answers questions. Levi, you are appreciated. I know you have to get sick of answering the same questions over and over, but I, for one, am glad that you do.
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Quoting Levi32:


Well we don't really know because low pressure could form in a number of different places along the tropical wave axis or the frontal boundary draped across the gulf.
The buoy at the Yucatan Channel is showing a 1008 MB pressure and the one in the Western Caribbean is at 1009 mb.
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943. Oct8
Quoting E46Pilot:
My point being, how do we really know what an "average" or "above average" season really is when 10 years ago these systems might not have been named, and 50 years ago the would not have even been seen of.


http://2.bp.blogspot.com/__6PO0G1BcJM/SKWxUhyI2vI /AAAAAAAAAFk/3FWOa9eaG0w/s1600/sst-named-storms-15 .JPG

Not sure how to post a picture but check out that graph which plots Atlantic activity and SST versus year.
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Quoting Levi32:


We will probably see something attempting to form up this weekend, regardless of whether it actually develops.


man, we have to wait a couple of days to get more of an idea as to where it may go.......ughhhh. I wish I was more of a patient person. :)
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Quoting Levi32:


Well we don't really know because low pressure could form in a number of different places along the tropical wave axis or the frontal boundary draped across the gulf.


Levi if you started charging $.25 for every question you answered in this blog, you'd be a millionaire in a just 3 or 4 seasons.
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Quoting TexasHurricane:


ok, I wish this thing would do something already...when do you think it start to pop so to speak?


We will probably see something attempting to form up this weekend, regardless of whether it actually develops.
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Quoting seflagamma:
seems all the CV storms this year will do the curving up into the Central Atlantic States and this happens every decade...North Carolina sticks out there and gets hit often once our weather systems get in this cycle...

I feel bad for my Central ATlantic State friends, but I am ok not being a target this year.
Preparing for a hurricane and then if you get hit all the expenses that come out of your pocket.. are not worth the excitment...and I am a weather geek..


You're right Gamma. It's very much like the 1950s when North Carolina got hammered an amazing number of times. Florida's decade was the 1940s.
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Quoting WeafhermanNimmy:
I still and I am going to say this again! I dont think Katia will hit the US! It's going to hit Bermuda and curve out to sea.


yesterday I would have agreed however the models have been shifting west.
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Quoting Levi32:


Well we don't really know because low pressure could form in a number of different places along the tropical wave axis or the frontal boundary draped across the gulf.


ok, I wish this thing would do something already...when do you think it start to pop so to speak?
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Quoting TexasHurricane:


Levi - Is this a likely track or are you thinking more Western GOM?


Well we don't really know because low pressure could form in a number of different places along the tropical wave axis or the frontal boundary draped across the gulf.
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Quoting WeafhermanNimmy:
I still and I am going to say this again! I dont think Katia will hit the US! It's going to hit Bermuda and curve out to sea.


Hope you're right!
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12z UKMET ensembles:

I like the general track of the western bunch.

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I still and I am going to say this again! I dont think Katia will hit the US! It's going to hit Bermuda and curve out to sea.
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My point being, how do we really know what an "average" or "above average" season really is when 10 years ago these systems might not have been named, and 50 years ago they would not have even been known of.
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Quoting Dragod66:
i cant post an image from my pc drive?

photobucket...if you get an account, it makes it easier to post photos
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Quoting WxLogic:
Good Evening...

@168HR 18Z GFS (too close for comfort):




wow that is close.
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Quoting WxLogic:
Good Evening...

@168HR 18Z GFS (too close for comfort):



Too close for comfort? Katia is well north of everyone, behaving like a fish storm should and the GoM storm looks to be bringing some pleasant rain to the area.
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Quoting TheNewGuy:
18z GFS



Levi - Is this a likely track or are you thinking more Western GOM?
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Katia should be a hurricane by tomorrow.



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Quoting breald:


So Levi, if Lee develops and lingers in the GOM while Katia is approaching the Antilles, this will cause Katia to curve out to see? Did I hear that right?


I believe so, yes. If we have Lee in the gulf while Katia is getting west of 60W, then I think enough ridging will build between the two to help force Katia out to the northwest, regardless of whether she would have recurved without Lee. It will be interesting to see if we end up with that situation.
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i cant post an image from my pc drive?
Member Since: August 24, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 604
The 12z ECMWF ensemble mean also keeps the GOM disturbance around for a while.
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This is what our locals are saying....(Beaumont,TX)

Rain chances will go up by Friday through the Labor Day Weekend as a possible tropical storm may develop somewhere off the Upper-Texas Coast or Louisiana Coast Thursday.

The system will meander off shore this weekend as steering currents will be very weak. The system will make it's closest approach Saturday or Sunday bringing the best chance of rainfall and much cooler afternoon highs.

At this point, the storm is not expected to become a hurricane.
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Quoting E46Pilot:


Cindy, Franklin, and Jose
Cindy deserved its name IMO...Jose could have gone without being named though...never really did have organized convection. Interestingly enough however, at the time of classification, satellite estimates from both SAB and TAFB indicated that the system was a tropical storm.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
Quoting donna1960ruled:
Youre right. I liken it to baseball stats before drugs/ hurricanes before satellites. Before satelites, a season with 10 storms would have been 25 today. Jose? You gotta be kidding!!!


Even just 10 years ago, they would have just been depressions.
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thanx tropicalanalyst, levi..appreciate it
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18z GFS

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18z GFS likes Katia and what could possibly be Lee:

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Katia - A scrape with the Cape?
Lee - Gulf fantasy or rainfall reality?
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Quoting E46Pilot:


Cindy, Franklin, and Jose


All three met the qualifications to be a tropical cyclone, believe it or not.
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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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