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 Grothar:



You happy now? LOL And tell P451 I posted it first.

img src="">



yes lol
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Quoting Tazmanian:



your showing us a black box



You happy now? LOL And tell P451 I posted it first.

img src="">
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Quoting scott39:
Is 6Z as good as 12Z?


Most forecasters put slightly less weight in the 6z and 18z runs of the GFS.
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Curiously, hurricane Luis (1995) had a direct hit to the caribbean island of Antigua by early september. We in the NE caribbean expect Katia close to us by early september. Luis was a cat 4 hurricane by the moment it hit Antigua island.
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Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
Quoting TheNewGuy:
As does the HWRF-Gen



That's um... a pretty deep low there in the gulf, eh? Seems kind of unreasonable. But then again, Humberto did do the whole explod-o-cane thing.
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Quoting P451:
GFS 12Z - differs from 6Z in the GOM as it takes the storm towards Texas and then southward dissipating it - as the 6Z looped the storm from Texas back over NOLA. See earlier post #44



Is 6Z as good as 12Z?
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758. P451
Quoting HCW:


GFDL


The GFDL did worse than the HWRF and Official by far especially going into the 3-5 day range. Nearly 800 mile error at 120 hours.

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GFS looks to possibly develop Lee off the east coast and Maria in the Gulf.
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Quoting DrLucreto:


A broken clock is right twice a day.


That's not my fault ;)
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755. P451
GFS 12Z - differs from 6Z in the GOM as it takes the storm towards Texas and then southward dissipating it - as the 6Z looped the storm from Texas back over NOLA. See earlier post #44



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Quoting DrLucreto:


A broken clock is right twice a day.
So...Not the Gold standard then.
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Quoting scott39:
Which Global model did the best job with Irenes track from developement until death??
Probably the GFS since it developed her first. HWRF actually did not do half bad with intensity. GFDL & UKMET did bad with the track once the center jumped north they continuously insisted on her making landfall in FL. The GFS, ECMWF, CMC, & NOGAPS did good with the track.
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
At least the US Open is going strong right now in NYC. However, really bad storm Irene was...
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751. Oct8
Quoting MississippiWx:


They do a much better job than some on here give them credit for doing. Their track is going to jump around some in the early stages of development, especially for a system like Irene which had her center jump around until it was fully established. After that, the NHC did an incredible job.


Her center sure had a wobble on it. I used to try to get that kind of spin on a ping pong ball. She was one lopsided top. In science we'd call that a second-order correction. I wonder if the models allow for these kinds of off-centered wobbling to be factored in.
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Quoting TheNewGuy:
As does the HWRF-Gen



how strong is that showing? Going to TX/LA or TX or LA?
Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
Quoting scott39:
Do you have an answer?


It was the NOGAPS as previously stated.
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748. HCW
Quoting DrLucreto:


Now that is funny the GFDL was by far the last model to relinquish a westerly solution and acknowledge the trough.


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Quoting DrLucreto:


Now that is funny the GFDL was by far the last model to relinquish a westerly solution and acknowledge the trough.
Do you have an answer?
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Quoting HCW:


GFDL


Now that is funny the GFDL was by far the last model to relinquish a westerly solution and acknowledge the trough.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


The NOGAPS.


A broken clock is right twice a day.
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744. HCW
Quoting scott39:
Which Global model did the best job with Irenes track from developement until death??


GFDL
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Quoting scott39:
Which Global model did the best job with Irenes track from developement until death??


The NOGAPS.
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Quoting Grothar:
The GFS 384 hours out. Way after Katia moves out.
this is their forecast for the next wave that moves off of Africa.





your showing us a black box
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Constantly Making Cyclones


Canadian Model on Crack
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15999
Which Global model did the best job with Irenes track from developement until death??
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739. HCW
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Quoting Speeky:
CMC forecasts that there will be 5 more storms in the comming 6 days. That's a bit much isn't it?


Constantly Making Cyclones
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Quoting aprinz1979:


I just looked up Lucreto in the dictionary and this is what I came up with:

a Lucreto (noun) is a stupid person with a mental age below three years, while a Dr. Lucreto is a stupid person with a mental age of between seven to twelve years

So glad you became a Doctor in a matter of a few days!

Congrats!!!!
This is also a religious post as it is a derivative of lucifer
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Quoting Grothar:
The GFS 384 hours out. Way after Katia moves out.
this is their forecast for the next wave that moves off of Africa.


You have to save that image & upload it to imageshack or photobucket, since hotlinking is disabled.
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
CMC forecasts that there will be 5 more storms in the comming 6 days. That's a bit much isn't it?
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Domo arigato, Dr Lucreto.

Domo arigato, Dr Lucreto.
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Quoting violet312s:


WHEE and off she goes. Bounced away like a pinball. Let's hope that's the case.


That doesn't bode well for the Gulf development. Levi in his blog stated the strength of the Gulf development would determine the path of Katia...That sort of turn is not very encouraging:o
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the gfs and ECMWF are out liner
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It's going to be a too close for comfort pass from Katia at the moment for the Northern Antilles but I am rooting for her to keep on strengthening which will increase the chances of her being a fish storm and not affecting the US although Bermuda may be an issue down the road short of any ridging building in to keep her on the western edge of the current guidance envelope. Interesting to note on her (see link below) that the SAL has retreated considerably during her arrival which has helped earlier development. Lack of SAL at this point is probably what will save the US as opposed to having it hinder development (if it was present) until she was closer to the Antilles.

Link
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The GFS 384 hours out. Way after Katia moves out.
this is their forecast for the next wave that moves off of Africa.


<>img src="">
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Quoting P451:
ECMWF





WHEE and off she goes. Bounced away like a pinball. Let's hope that's the case.
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Quoting RussianWinter:



Where is the never option?


It was a poll meant for the people who believe that Katia will become a Category 4 hurricane...hence the "IF SO". If you do not believe it will become a Category 4 hurricane, then don't answer the poll :P
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Quoting DrLucreto:


Your comments seem uncalled for an obtuse I am tempted to use the report feature.


Why I got him on ignore, just trying to start a flame war with anyone he can.
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He's a doctor now? LOL

Ahh Katia should give Florida some nice long period swells. Surfs up.
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Quoting P451:
NOGAPS



NOGAPS trending farther west with Katia, I'm just wondering if the trough(s) will be strong enough or deep enough to turn her quickly out to sea before reaching the CONUS, remember it was a series of shortwaves that eventually turned Irene to the north, but by that time it was too late since it turned into the CONUS. It will have to take a longwave trough to turn her up and out quickly imo.
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
Quoting P451:
ECMWF



Bye Bye Katia! On that run anyway.
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Quoting cloudburst2011:



I AGREE


Yeah looking at the pattern of troughing that has revealed itself on the East Coast, combined with fair ridging forecasted until about 60-70W this seems to have the potential to impact Bermuda. Also SST's are actually reasonably warm near Bermuda, and shear is predicted to decrease considerably which could support a hurricane (possibly even major hurricane in that region).
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I'm impressed by Katia a bit more this time around, instead of looking awful, she looks like a Tropical Storm getting its act together. I would not be suprised if it is not a Hurricane or just under Hurricane strength next advisory.
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Agree 100%. In fact, the 5 PM cone already touches the extreme NE islands.

:(
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I am so, so sorry I didn't go with my gut feeling and get that weather station set up this spring. Now there's not much I can do about it before next January, basically after the season. Bummer.

Gone for a while - back later.
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717. P451
ECMWF



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Quoting TheNewGuy:
As does the HWRF-Gen

GOM system looks bigger than Katia on that model! Lol
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Quoting STLweatherjunkie:

the dgex is an extension of the NAM and the NAM has been pretty robust with the system


Although the NAM does not handle tropical systems well the support from the globals leads me to believe something could certainly develop also lower level convergence seems to be high in the region and SST's are naturally quite high.
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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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