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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sunline gonna be making guacamole again.
Member Since: August 29, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5236
Quoting TheNewGuy:
DGEX likes the new disturbance



Thats not a disturbance - thats a monster!
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Quoting 69Viking:


We don't need that in our area Mark, bite your tongue!


shhhh...blasphemer...the disturbance might hear you and like that idea:)
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Not only PR needs to be watching this. I recall the 1928 San Felipe / Okeechobee was a long-track hurricane, as was Isabel in 2003. I'm not saying Katia will emulate either of them, but as Doc. Masters implied, the possibility is out there.

I personally will be happier when I see that three-day cone curve away from us.
It's curving closer to me :(
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Quoting TheNewGuy:
DGEX likes the new disturbance


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


Lol...If you want my opinion, I think the NAM is too quick on development. I'll have to see what the system looks like on Thursday before I believe the NAM is correct. However, I do like the NAM positioning as the passing trough in the north should keep it from going too far west in the Gulf initially and should hold it around south of Louisiana for a while.

Steering is going to be tricky, but the system will likely end up in Texas if it misses the trough. A stronger storm will probably not miss the trough, while a weaker one probably will.
Thats better. Lol
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http://www.goes.noaa.gov/HURRLOOPS/gulfvs.html

Looks like convergence set up will occur roughly mid to north gulf.

Looks like the ingredients for a mid to large storm with a ton of moisture included.

Something is seeding right now....
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As does the HWRF-Gen

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Quoting MississippiWx:


La Nina...



Irene churned up a lot of cold water off the southeast coast...
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all so its not disorganized
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Not only PR needs to be watching this. I recall the 1928 San Felipe / Okeechobee was a long-track hurricane, as was Isabel in 2003. I'm not saying Katia will emulate either of them, but as Doc. Masters implied, the possibility is out there.

I personally will be happier when I see that three-day cone curve away from us.


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

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Out until later.
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Quoting scott39:
And i thought you were good! LOL Just Kidding


Lol...If you want my opinion, I think the NAM is too quick on development. I'll have to see what the system looks like on Thursday before I believe the NAM is correct. However, I do like the NAM positioning as the passing trough in the north should keep it from going too far west in the Gulf initially and should hold it around south of Louisiana for a while.

Steering is going to be tricky, but the system will likely end up in Texas if it misses the trough. A stronger storm will probably not miss the trough, while a weaker one probably will.
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Quoting ElConando:


42
THE Correct ANSWER!!!!!

lol
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Quoting RussianWinter:

Looks a bit asymmetrical, too weak to have any kind of eye yet. 45 mph winds are pretty damn disorganized and small.


You mean 60 mph right?
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Quoting RussianWinter:

Looks a bit asymmetrical, too weak to have any kind of eye yet. 45 mph winds are pretty damn disorganized and small.



its now 60 mph
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Quoting NoVaForecaster:
Pinhole eye?


Looks a bit asymmetrical, too weak to have any kind of eye yet. 45 mph winds are pretty damn disorganized and small.
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Hello everyone. Been lurking the last few months but wanted to ask what opinions are of the "disturbance" that might develop in the Gulf this weekend? Any thoughts?
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Interesting

BY DAYS 6-7 MON-TUE THE SPREAD AMONG SOLNS INCREASES WITH RESPECT
TO NERN PAC TO CNTRL NOAM FLOW. THE 00Z/06Z GFS ARE SIGNIFICANTLY
SWD OF CONSENSUS WITH THE TRACK OF THE CORE OF ENERGY ALOFT
REACHING CNTRL CANADA BY NEXT TUE AND THE 00Z GFS IN PARTICULAR IS
A FAST EXTREME WITH ITS MID LVL TROF AND LEADING SFC SYSTEM FCST
TO AFFECT THE NRN TIER LATE IN THE FCST. AS A RESULT THE GFS IS
NOT INCLUDED IN THE PREFERRED BLEND FOR DAYS 6-7. HOWEVER NOTE
THAT TELECONNECTIONS RELATIVE TO THE DEEPENING MEAN TROF OVER THE
NERN PAC BY D+8 DO SUPPORT A DECENT E-CNTRL CANADA INTO ERN CONUS
TROF... SO THE GFS MAY BE JUST A LITTLE EARLY WITH ITS SHRTWV
AMPLIFICATION.
THE 12Z GFS HAS TRENDED TOWARD CONSENSUS OVER
CANADA WHILE THE 12Z ECMWF HAS BECOME THE FAST EXTREME.
DOWNSTREAM THE 00Z ECMWF/CANADIAN BECOME MORE AMPLIFIED THAN THE
ENSEMBLE MEANS WITH THE TROF REACHING THE NORTHEAST BY NEXT
MON-TUE LEADING TO A FARTHER SWD TRACK OF SFC LOW PRESSURE. THE
12Z ECMWF HAS TRENDED FARTHER SWD WITH ITS SUN-MON SFC LOW OVER
THE NORTHEAST WHILE THE GEFS MEAN AND TO SOME EXTENT THE UKMET DO
NOT CONFIRM THE 12Z EC ADJUSTMENT. THE 00Z ECMWF HAD COMPARED
ACCEPTABLY TO ENSEMBLE GUIDANCE UPSTREAM SO A COMPROMISE BETWEEN
THE 00Z ECMWF AND 00Z GEFS/ECMWF MEANS APPEARED BEST FOR RESOLVING
THE TIMING/TRACK DIFFS. NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGES ARE RECOMMENDED
FOR THE FINAL FCST GIVEN THE CONTINUED SPREAD IN GUIDANCE.
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Quoting MississippiWx:


No one knows at this point.
And i thought you were good! LOL Just Kidding
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Not only PR needs to be watching this. I recall the 1928 San Felipe / Okeechobee was a long-track hurricane, as was Isabel in 2003. I'm not saying Katia will emulate either of them, but as Doc. Masters implied, the possibility is out there.

I personally will be happier when I see that three-day cone curve away from us.
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Quoting interstatelover7165:
Look. They actually give it a chance of CAT 5. 1%!
It's very rare for us to do this. I don't think it's ever been done on a storm that wasn't a Cat2 or higher already.
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DGEX likes the new disturbance

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Q: Will Katia become a Category 4 hurricane? If so...when?

A. Today/Tomorrow
B. Thursday/Friday
C. Saturday/Sunday
D. Next Monday/Tuesday


42
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Q: Will Katia become a Category 4 hurricane? If so...when?

A. Today/Tomorrow
B. Thursday/Friday
C. Saturday/Sunday
D. Next Monday/Tuesday



Where is the never option?
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I actually did not evacuate my daughter from College in New Haven over the weekend (my Wife and I were visiting her through Friday)not based upon the hype from Weather Channel, or the uncertainty in the ultimate intensity from NHC but based upon Dr. Masters call of TS force winds, at most, in that specific region.......Kudos to Dr. M for that call as to Irene although New Haven went through the "eyewall" so to speak which had weakened significantly and we know the rest of the story in terms of the copious rains further inland and up into New England where most of the rains to the West of the storm were.
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Quoting scott39:
Drifts where and then striking where?


No one knows at this point.
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Quoting hurricanehanna:


Wayyyyyyy too much red in the GOM for me! ;)


Way too much for me too!
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Quoting MississippiWx:
New Orleans NWS Discussion...

THE NEXT THING IN THE OFFING IS POSSIBLY EXTRA OR ACTUALLY
TROPICAL IN NATURE. DOES NOT MATTER TOO MUCH WHICH CATEGORY WE
GIVE IT SINCE WIND SPEED IS WIND SPEED REGARDLESS. WE WILL BEGIN
TO SHOW AN UPWARD BUMP IN WIND SPEEDS OVER THE COASTAL WATERS
TOWARD THE WEEKEND. A STRONG TROPICAL WAVE OVER THE WESTERN
CARIBBEAN WILL COLLIDE WITH A STALLED FRONT OVER THE CENTRAL GULF.
THIS WILL ACTIVATE THE FRONT TO MOVE BACK TO THE NORTH. AN UPPER
TROUGH DIGS SLIGHTLY OVER THE MID-WEST THEN LIFTS LEAVING THE GULF
LOW BEHIND AS A MID AND UPPER LEVEL HIGH BUILDS OVER IT. THIS WILL
CAUSE THE LOW TO DRIFT AS STEERING CURRENTS WEAKEN. THE MAJOR
IMPACTS EXPECTED AT THIS TIME IS WIND SPEEDS OVER THE COASTAL
WATERS...A HIGHER POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING RAINFALL...COASTAL
FLOODING...AND TROPICAL WATERSPOUTS/TORNADIC SPINUPS.
Drifts where and then striking where?
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Q: Will Katia become a Category 4 hurricane? If so...when?

A. Today/Tomorrow
B. Thursday/Friday
C. Saturday/Sunday
D. Next Monday/Tuesday
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Is it a fish storm yet?
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673. HCW
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New Orleans NWS Discussion...

THE NEXT THING IN THE OFFING IS POSSIBLY EXTRA OR ACTUALLY
TROPICAL IN NATURE. DOES NOT MATTER TOO MUCH WHICH CATEGORY WE
GIVE IT SINCE WIND SPEED IS WIND SPEED REGARDLESS. WE WILL BEGIN
TO SHOW AN UPWARD BUMP IN WIND SPEEDS OVER THE COASTAL WATERS
TOWARD THE WEEKEND. A STRONG TROPICAL WAVE OVER THE WESTERN
CARIBBEAN WILL COLLIDE WITH A STALLED FRONT OVER THE CENTRAL GULF.
THIS WILL ACTIVATE THE FRONT TO MOVE BACK TO THE NORTH. AN UPPER
TROUGH DIGS SLIGHTLY OVER THE MID-WEST THEN LIFTS LEAVING THE GULF
LOW BEHIND AS A MID AND UPPER LEVEL HIGH BUILDS OVER IT. THIS WILL
CAUSE THE LOW TO DRIFT AS STEERING CURRENTS WEAKEN. THE MAJOR
IMPACTS EXPECTED AT THIS TIME IS WIND SPEEDS OVER THE COASTAL
WATERS...A HIGHER POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING RAINFALL...COASTAL
FLOODING...AND TROPICAL WATERSPOUTS/TORNADIC SPINUPS.
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Quoting Grothar:


Not feeling well scott.
Sorry to hear that, I hope you feel better soon.
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I will say this much. NOLA could use some rain to put out the Marsh Fire that is still burning. The smoke gets so bad by my house and the smell makes you sick to your stomach.
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
Norwalk, CT
Because of Hurricane Irene I was supposed to start school tomorrow and now... just to show you...
HURRICANE IRENE INFORMATION
Due to the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, the first day of school for all students will be Tuesday, September 6, 2011. THERE WILL BE NO STAGGERED ENTRY.

At this time, our plans include the following:

· School offices will reopen on Wednesday, August 31, 2011 for administrators, 12 month secretaries and custodians

· The central office will remain open on regular schedule

· All teachers will report to their schools on Thursday, September 1 and Friday, September 2, 2011 for teacher preparation and professional development

· Extracurricular activities will begin on Thursday, September 1, 2011

· The first day of school for all students will be on Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding regarding the opening of the 2011-12 school year.
Same time school normally starts here. Public schools, anyway; the private schools usually open up to 2 weeks earlier, but their openings have been affected by Irene.
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From the Jackson, MS NWS Discussion:

NO CHANGES WERE MADE TO THE LONGER RANGE FORECAST. THE MODELS CONTINUE TO PAINT A POSSIBLE TROPICAL SYSTEM DEVELOPING IN THE WRN/CNTRL GULF LATER THIS WEEK AND INTO THE WEEKEND. THE HURRICANE CENTER HAS IDENTIFIED A TROPICAL WAVE IN THE NW CARIBBEAN...GIVING THE SYSTEM A LOW CHANCE OF BECOMING A TROPICAL STORM DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS BUT KEEPING AN EYE ON POSSIBLE DEVELOPMENT LATER IN THE PERIOD.
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


how did you put that satellite image in google earth??
Link, screen print, paste into microsoft word, save image as picture, upload to photobucket, and open image in new tab, copy and paste link into image tab, and post comment.
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
Quoting NavarreMark:


Looks like it may head north of east of due east straght into Destin.


We don't need that in our area Mark, bite your tongue!
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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.