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 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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Quoting P451:
RGB and DVorak





May I ask how you post these animations on the blog? I'd like to experiment by posting animations, as well (obviously different ones.) TIA.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5311
Quoting wxobsvps:


Can see the high keeping the GoM Thing from moving west into TX... might attract toward the trough over the east



I don't understand it. I thought the high was suppose to move..... sigh...
Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
Quoting Neapolitan:
Are these guys good, or what?

Four days before Hurricane Irene struck eastern North Carolina and tracked northward, NOAA's National Hurricane Center accurately projected the storm's path. Even before then, forecasts showed that Irene would threaten the East Coast. This satellite animation shows Irene's progress across the western Atlantic and how it followed the National Hurricane Center's track issued at 11pm ET on Tuesday, August 23 (Advisory # 15).

http://www.nnvl.noaa.gov/MediaDetail.php?MediaID= 821&MediaTypeID=2#.Tl1CmfQGjXo.twitter
Bravo!
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Quoting scott39:
are you ok... or just old? :)


Not feeling well scott.
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Quoting P451:
RGB and DVorak





Looks like it has roughly half an eyewall.
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996mb on NAM at 84 hours

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Quoting Grothar:


Wayyyyyyy too much red in the GOM for me! ;)
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Are these guys good, or what?

Four days before Hurricane Irene struck eastern North Carolina and tracked northward, NOAA's National Hurricane Center accurately projected the storm's path. Even before then, forecasts showed that Irene would threaten the East Coast. This satellite animation shows Irene's progress across the western Atlantic and how it followed the National Hurricane Center's track issued at 11pm ET on Tuesday, August 23 (Advisory # 15).

http://www.nnvl.noaa.gov/MediaDetail.php?MediaID= 821&MediaTypeID=2#.Tl1CmfQGjXo.twitter


Getting better...slowly, but surely. Eventually, I would like to see an accurate 7-day forecast. Hopefully, I'll live long enough to see that (I hope so!).
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Are these guys good, or what?

Four days before Hurricane Irene struck eastern North Carolina and tracked northward, NOAA's National Hurricane Center accurately projected the storm's path. Even before then, forecasts showed that Irene would threaten the East Coast. This satellite animation shows Irene's progress across the western Atlantic and how it followed the National Hurricane Center's track issued at 11pm ET on Tuesday, August 23 (Advisory # 15).

http://www.nnvl.noaa.gov/MediaDetail.php?MediaID= 821&MediaTypeID=2#.Tl1CmfQGjXo.twitter


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.
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img src="">
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Quoting GTcooliebai:


how did you put that satellite image in google earth??
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Quoting Tazmanian:



PR needs too watch
very closely Taz.
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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.
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Are these guys good, or what?

Four days before Hurricane Irene struck eastern North Carolina and tracked northward, NOAA's National Hurricane Center accurately projected the storm's path. Even before then, forecasts showed that Irene would threaten the East Coast. This satellite animation shows Irene's progress across the western Atlantic and how it followed the National Hurricane Center's track issued at 11pm ET on Tuesday, August 23 (Advisory # 15).

http://www.nnvl.noaa.gov/MediaDetail.php?MediaID= 821&MediaTypeID=2#.Tl1CmfQGjXo.twitter
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Quoting Grothar:


Sorry, scott. I haven't had thoughts much of anything lately.
are you ok... or just old? :)
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5:00pm Advisory
*Click on image to magnify (image can further be magnified in Link window by clicking on it)

Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5311
Quoting P451:


Yes.

Question is... is it a product of great minds think alike... or warped minds think alike?



That latter, of course.
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999mb at 81 hours on NAM

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looks like a duck.... With hot towers

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:



PR needs too watch
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Quoting P451:




What we can see of her on this product (will be full view tomorrow) she looks real dangerous.



PINHOLE EYE!!!
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The latest outer 5 day cone puts the Northern Islands very close to a potential Major Hurricane!
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Quoting scott39:
Hey Gro, Any thoughts on track of AOI in the GOM? I think its going to meander for awhile.


Sorry, scott. I haven't had thoughts much of anything lately.
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633. LilyZ
Very interesting.




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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Not the jump in intensity I was looking for, but still a Category 3 hurricane and strengthening at the end of the forecast period.

Look. They actually give it a chance of CAT 5. 1%!
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Quoting Thundercloud01221991:


an eyewall is starting to form... SE and S is solid it obviously is not closed yet


Hi, can u give me a link for this.....thanks
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Quoting P451:


LOL whats up Gro.

Had the same thought seconds apart I see.


We do that quite often. Haven't you noticed. :)
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Quoting MississippiWx:
18z NAM at 60 hours. This is yet another time this season where the NAM has been very consistent on developing a tropical cyclone. While the GFS and Euro have been back and forth, the NAM keeps on developing the system. However, I believe the NAM may be a bit too quick on development.



I don't know, there sure is a lot of moisture converging into the central GOM! Convection from the Tropical Wave already is crossing Cuba and the Yucatan Channel and starting to near the stalled out front! should be fun to watch it all unfold over the next few days. Just remember everyone the GOM water is HOT and systems can spin up fast here!

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looks like katia will make a hard right before hitting US
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Quoting Grothar:
Hey Gro, Any thoughts on track of AOI in the GOM? I think its going to meander for awhile.
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FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT 30/2100Z 12.7N 35.4W 50 KT 60 MPH
12H 31/0600Z 13.3N 37.9W 60 KT 70 MPH
24H 31/1800Z 14.1N 41.1W 65 KT 75 MPH
36H 01/0600Z 14.9N 44.4W 70 KT 80 MPH
48H 01/1800Z 15.7N 47.5W 80 KT 90 MPH
72H 02/1800Z 17.5N 52.5W 90 KT 105 MPH
96H 03/1800Z 19.5N 56.5W 100 KT 115 MPH
120H 04/1800Z 21.5N 60.5W 105 KT 120 MPH

$$
FORECASTER PASCH
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TROPICAL STORM KATIA DISCUSSION NUMBER 7
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL122011
500 PM AST TUE AUG 30 2011

KATIA CONTINUES TO LOOK MORE IMPRESSIVE ON SATELLITE IMAGES...WITH
INCREASING CENTRAL DEEP CONVECTION AND WELL-DEFINED BANDING
FEATURES. UPPER-LEVEL OUTFLOW IS BECOMING WELL ESTABLISHED TO THE
NORTH...WEST...AND SOUTH OF THE STORM. DVORAK INTENSITY ESTIMATES
HAVE INCREASED TO 45 KT AND 55 KT FROM SAB AND TAFB RESPECTIVELY...
AND THE ADVISORY INTENSITY IS SET AT 50 KT. KATIA WILL BE MOVING
OVER SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES NEAR 28 DEG C AND IN A LOW SHEAR
ENVIRONMENT FOR THE NEXT FEW DAYS...SO STEADY STRENGTHENING APPEARS
TO BE LIKELY. THE OFFICIAL INTENSITY FORECAST IS A BLEND OF THE
STATISTICAL AND DYNAMICAL MODEL GUIDANCE.

THE INITIAL MOTION...285/17...IS ONLY A LITTLE FASTER THAN IN THE
PREVIOUS PACKAGE. THE TRACK FORECAST AND FORECAST PHILOSOPHY ARE
BASICALLY UNCHANGED. KATIA SHOULD CONTINUE TO MOVE
WEST-NORTHWESTWARD TO THE SOUTH OF THE SUBTROPICAL RIDGE FOR THE
NEXT SEVERAL DAYS. NEAR THE END OF THE FORECAST PERIOD...A WEAKNESS
IN THE RIDGE PRODUCED BY A TROUGH OVER THE WESTERN ATLANTIC IS
EXPECTED TO INDUCE A GRADUAL TURN TO THE RIGHT WITH A DECREASE IN
FORWARD SPEED. THE OFFICIAL TRACK FORECAST IS CLOSE TO THE
MULTI-MODEL CONSENSUS AND SOUTH OF THE LATEST ECMWF SOLUTION.

THE WIND RADII HAVE BEEN EXPANDED ON THE BASIS OF AN ASCAT PASS FROM
EARLIER TODAY.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT 30/2100Z 12.7N 35.4W 50 KT 60 MPH
12H 31/0600Z 13.3N 37.9W 60 KT 70 MPH
24H 31/1800Z 14.1N 41.1W 65 KT 75 MPH
36H 01/0600Z 14.9N 44.4W 70 KT 80 MPH
48H 01/1800Z 15.7N 47.5W 80 KT 90 MPH
72H 02/1800Z 17.5N 52.5W 90 KT 105 MPH
96H 03/1800Z 19.5N 56.5W 100 KT 115 MPH
120H 04/1800Z 21.5N 60.5W 105 KT 120 MPH

$$
FORECASTER PASCH



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Quoting Grothar:


Looks a lot more organized.
Member Since: August 29, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5236
Quoting interstatelover7165:
RI, maybe?

Peerhaps. Look at that sucker. She means business.
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Not the jump in intensity I was looking for, but still a Category 3 hurricane and strengthening at the end of the forecast period.

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If Katia needs and wants to get strong, then she should do it now.

Then proceed to get out of everyone's way.
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Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8806
Quoting quakeman55:
Katia up to 60mph now. At this rate, she'll be a hurricane by tomorrow morning. Gaining strength fast.
RI, maybe?
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Still a little surprised she is only at 60mph, given her continued strengthening appearance on satellite imagery.
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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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