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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Why is everyone saying texas for the futur GOM storm. When the gfs clearly moves it ENE after developing away from texas?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FLdewey:


That's it!

$19.99 plus processing and handling. But, act now and you get a free "Shift happens" hurricane T-shirt.

The first 100 callers get a JasonIsCoolman koozie.

Yep... Katia is moving right to left on my radio.


wrw?

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2463. JamesSA
Rain has been completely removed from the San Antonio forecast, as has any significant cooldown. :(

Link
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2462. Patrap
...busy re-stocking the FRESCA stash.

Looks to be a Busy weekend into next week.


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This looks good for rain in TX
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Quoting uptxcoast:


Check the Houston Forecast.....


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!!!
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2458. DFWjc
Quoting FLdewey:


That's it!

$19.99 plus processing and handling. But, act now and you get a free "Shift happens" hurricane T-shirt.

The first 100 callers get a JasonIsCoolman koozie.

Yep... Katia is moving right to left on my radio.


LOL! i want a JIC koozie so i can practice shooting it...I'm going to shoot my first gun in my 35 yrs of life later this week.
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Quoting Relix:
Erm... was that Katia west movement forecast WxLogic?


No
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2456. Relix
Quoting WxLogic:


As per NHC it shouldn't be, but some models did hinted towards a further W displacement before the WNW track.


Oh alright. I am not too worried about it here at PR but I still keep an eye on it. I want no surprises =P
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Looks like Katia almost stalls right before 50w might be wobbling around there waitting on somthing to move it.
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2453. FLdewey
Quoting DFWjc:


something like this?



That's it!

$19.99 plus processing and handling. But, act now and you get a free "Shift happens" hurricane T-shirt.

The first 100 callers get a JasonIsCoolman koozie.

Yep... Katia is moving right to left on my radio.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
nhc has removed tropical forecast points..maybe an adjustment coming soon, it looks like she jogged (wobbled)a bit sw. i have it at 13.8, 41.0

Link
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2451. WxLogic
Quoting Relix:
Erm... was that Katia west movement forecast WxLogic?


As per NHC it shouldn't be, but some models did hinted towards a further W displacement before the WNW track.
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Quoting FLdewey:
Another item I plan on selling in the store is a compass where every direction says "W"

I'd sell out in a heartbeat.


Will it show a little bit north of WSW?
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Quoting FLdewey:
Another item I plan on selling in the store is a compass where every direction says "W"

I'd sell out in a heartbeat.


as long as it shows west of due west
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2448. WxLogic
@42HR... Katia still moving W to WNW:



GOM low appears to be taking its time in the W Central GOM.
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Quoting xtremeweathertracker:




Check the Houston Forecast.....

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2446. Relix
Erm... was that Katia west movement forecast WxLogic?
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Quoting NativeSun:
GFS = Global Fish Storm model. Anyone living on the coast from North Carolina to the Northeast Gulf should keep both eyes on Katia.


It's not like the GFS is the only model showing an out-to-sea solution.
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2444. DFWjc
Quoting FLdewey:
Another item I plan on selling in the store is a compass where every direction says "W"

I'd sell out in a heartbeat.


something like this?

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GFS = Global Fish Storm model. Anyone living on the coast from North Carolina to the Northeast Gulf should keep both eyes on Katia.
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2442. DFWjc
Quoting FLdewey:
Another item I plan on selling in the store is a compass where every direction says "W"

I'd sell out in a heartbeat.


LOL!
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2441. 7544
dont know if this is new but u can see the west bend here Link
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2440. FLdewey
Another item I plan on selling in the store is a compass where every direction says "W"

I'd sell out in a heartbeat.
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Quoting uptxcoast:
I know I am downcasting but until I actually see something in the GOM, I am going to be skeptical.
Our rain chances for the weekend have already dropped from 50% to 30% overnight and there is way to much uncertainty in the models and what is really going on.

I would love to eat crow on this, raw, BBQ, whatever as I really want the rain but I have a feeling that not much will materialize and if it does, it will be too far east to benefit Texas.

Oh, I hope I am wrong. I have not seen a lawnmower on my block for 3 months.


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I know I am downcasting but until I actually see something in the GOM, I am going to be skeptical.
Our rain chances for the weekend have already dropped from 50% to 30% overnight and there is way to much uncertainty in the models and what is really going on.

I would love to eat crow on this, raw, BBQ, whatever as I really want the rain but I have a feeling that not much will materialize and if it does, it will be too far east to benefit Texas.

Oh, I hope I am wrong. I have not seen a lawnmower on my block for 3 months.
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2437. 7544
Quoting stormpetrol:
IMO , Katia has been moving almost due west over the last few hours.


agree and moving at a pretty good clip now 21mph

whats off the west coast of fla and is it moving nne tia
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2436. WxLogic
Quoting stormpetrol:
IMO , Katia has been moving almost due west over the last few hours.


Given the current setup:



I would suspect it could continue on to do so for possibly 12 to 24HR until it reaches 50W.
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IMO , Katia has been moving almost due west over the last few hours.
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2432. russm1
Quoting MNhockeymama:


Ever try to get 4 kids and hockey gear on a bike? Doesn't work.


LOL love it. Now thats reality talking...

I can't imagine trying to pull my horse trailer with a bicycle.
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2431. WxLogic
12Z GFS Init:



Let's see if it concurs with its past 3 runs and keeps up the consistency.
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Quoting Chicklit:


LinkWVLoopGOM



Hermine 2010, the little storm that saved Texas.
Member Since: August 4, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3277
The moisture is all starting to converge into the GOM, this thing could form any day now.
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2428. WxLogic
Quoting Chicklit:


LinkWVLoopGOM


As of 15Z... the convection shown in the SAT image you just posed correlates to the 850MB VORT which is drifting N:

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Quoting SPLbeater:
Now this is funny. Levi32 saidnothing would become of 93L in the East pacific, and here we have TD Eight-E. LOL!


You mean 93E.
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wow
Comin together nicely in last few frames!
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2425. scott39
Quoting hurricanejunky:
Yes, looks like strong shear in the GOM...
Will drop in 48 hours.
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6875
Now this is funny. Levi32 saidnothing would become of 93L in the East pacific, and here we have TD Eight-E. LOL!
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Chicklit
Quoting WxLogic:


Has it meandering in the C GOM.


a tropical system meandering in the central GOM this time of year spells trouble for someone.


yep just about everyone along the gom...just deepends on how big it wants to get...thats the big ??
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LinkWVLoopGOM
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Quoting Stormridr911:
Is bad vision on my part, or is Katia moving almost due west. It appears that way to me in the last few frames of the RGB loop.

BTW, the blue crabs are moving west off the beaches and eastern waterways into the western waterways and St. Lucie River here in Martin County, FL.


I think I see it too.

Might be interacting with some dry air.
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Re: the system in the GOM - what I've read so far mainly focuses on the rain the system may produce; what about winds? I understand the storms are categorized by wind-speed, but there doesn't seem to be much talk about that yet.
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Yes, looks like strong shear in the GOM...
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2899
Jed --
I wondered about that, if that happens the FL Panhandle should start paying attention. This is a big weekend for tourist, was hoping for good weather so everyone would be happy!
Quoting Jedkins01:


The steering pattern may favor the gulf system heading back east into western Florida. However, its rather early to even discuss that, considering we are talking about a steering pattern that isn't in place yet, and a tropical cyclone that doesn't exist yet either.

A trough pattern would generally favor a gulf system moving east.
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11:00am Advisories
*Click on graphics to magnify them (graphics can further be magnified in Link window by clicking on them)





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Quoting reedzone:


Yep, still have time to see what type of pattern we will have. It's been interesting this year. Not exactly like 2010, but hints of it.


Yeah it reminds me of 2010 in a way, but there are some vastly different things as well, at least locally, last year was one of the driest years on record locally, and we had virtually no rain season, thanks to strong La Nina. Well this year, rainfall has become very plentiful in Florida, essentially, last year the trough pattern was so strong that we had cold fronts blasting through Florida in the middle of the summer rain season.

This year we have troughs but they aren't as ridiculous as last year. Allowing the troughs to act as a focus for rainfall, especially here on the west coast of Florida with coastal convergence. We have had a nice soaking summer. over 16 inches last month and I'm wrapping up this month with just under 19 inches.Also the other result of that can already be seen with Irene making landfall in the U.S. Also, the way troughs have been lately, stalling across the gulf would allow any gulf tropical cyclone to turn east, of course you would have to have one present in the gulf while the trough is in that position, so of course its not like its something that can easily happen, cause it hasn't happen yet.

However, as we head towards the height period of the hurricane season with large scale patterns staying similar, the chances of a gulf system interacting at the right time and steering east becomes higher.
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Quoting CaneGurl:


Interesting, does that mean "somethin's comin" again? Last time I saw that happening was back in '79 just before David. Lots of crabs moving ... We lived in Jensen Beach at the time and had to keep swerving to avoid squishing them on A1A.


You were driving in the water?
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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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