Irene's rains heaviest on record in Vermont; Tropical Storm Katia forms

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:40 PM GMT on August 30, 2011

Share this Blog
29
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 565 - 515

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53Blog Index

The low level swirl out in front of Katia is what's left of TD10. It probably will just move off to the west and die out, but it will be interesting to see if maybe it can fire up a little convection tonight during d-max. It's approaching 50W, so the conditions at the surface will be supportive.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Katia

Current Location: 12.6N/34.7W
Geographic Reference: 609 NM west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands
Movement: West-northwest at 17 kts
Max Winds: 50 kts gusting to 65 kts
Organizational Trend: Strengthening
Current Hurricane Severity Index: 5 out of a possible 50 points (2 size / 3 intensity)
Peak Hurricane Severity Index: 21 out of a possible 50 points (9 size / 12 intensity)
Forecast Track Confidence: Average, due to reasonable model agreement.

Changes to Our Previous Forecast We have increased our intensity forecast slightly and are now expecting Katia to reach category 3 status late Friday or early Saturday.

Our Forecast A west-northwesterly track is expected to continue over the next few days. This would take Katia about 220 NM to 261 NM northeast of the Leeward Islands on Sunday. By early next week, a northwesterly turn is forecast, which would take this system toward the island of Bermuda. At this point, it is too early to say whether or not Katia will affect the U.S. East Coast.

Katia has become better organized today and environmental conditions are favorable for additional intensification over the next several days. We are still expecting Katia to reach hurricane intensity tomorrow evening. Katia could then reach category 3 intensity as early as late Friday. The confidence in the intensity forecast remains average.

Expected Impacts on Land High waves could affect the north facing beaches of the northern Leeward Islands in 4-5 days. Outer squalls could move over the far northern islands by late Saturday/early Sunday.

Our next full advisory will be issued by 10PM CDT


© 2011 ImpactWeather, Inc. All rights reserved.
Member Since: April 7, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 39
Thanks for the pics, especially the Passaic. I lived in Jersey for a year way back when. In fact, I was there when Bob brushed the coast back in '91.

Not to belittle any of the tragedy that has already occured from Irene, but I believe it's fortunate that she did not go inland any stronger than she was. Aside from the sheer density of humanity up there, they aren't exactly set up to take a large storm the way alot of the Gulf Coast is. Or at least not as much experience, IMHO. But our prayers and thoughts are with EVERYone who had to endure the past week or so.

Kudos to Dr. Masters who called the potentialities of this early on. I think alot more damage and destruction were avoided thanks to people like him and his sage wisdom. I think he should be tapped for info much moreso than just today.

p.s. - Katia, please spool out to the ATO and don't hit ANYone. Thanks!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Joe Bastardi's current thoughts are that the system should make it all the way to 75 west and possibly even 80 before turning north.That would mean a direct hit on either SC or just east of NC and a major impact in the northeast
Member Since: August 29, 2008 Posts: 5 Comments: 101
Tropical Disturbance 35

Current Location: 18.5N/84.5W
Geographic Reference: Northwest Caribbean
Movement: West-Northwest at 8 mph
Max Winds: 25 mph
Organizational Trend: No change - very disorganized
Chance of Development to a Tropical Storm within 48 hours: 5%
Chance of Development to a Tropical Storm beyond 48 hours: 60%
Forecast Track Confidence: Average first 72 hours, low beyond then due to poor model agreement.

Changes From Our Previous Forecast There are no significant changes on this advisory.

Our Forecast
The only thing the computer models agree on is that a weak area of low pressure will form in the northwest Gulf by Friday. Beyond then, models are wildly divergent on the longer-term solution. We think that there is a good chance that a tropical depression will form in th e northwest Gulf east of Brownsville by Friday evening. By Saturday, the depression could become a tropical storm in the northwest Gulf.
As we mentioned above, there is considerable uncertainty in the track beyond about Friday, but we still think that a more likely scenario would have the storm tracking westward into the lower to middle Texas coast during the day on Sunday, probably as a weak to moderate tropical storm. However, if the system remains over water for an extended period of time, then we cannot discount the possibility that it could strengthen to a hurricane prior to moving inland into Texas or even in Louisiana.

Expected Impacts on Land Texas/Louisiana Coasts: The disturbance may spread heavy rain into the area by Saturday.

Expected Impacts Offshore Northwest Gulf of Mexico: Thunderstorms may begin increasing off the Texas and Louisiana coasts as early as Thursday evening, which means that Thursday may be the last day for potential evacuations offshore. But with that decaying frontal boundary currently across the central Gulf, there may be scattered thunderstorms off the Texas and Louisiana coasts over the next several days in advance of the disturbance and possible development.

The next update will be issued by 11PM CDT.

Meteorologists: Chris Hebert / David Piech

© ImpactWeather, Inc. All rights reserved

Member Since: April 7, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 39
560. ackee
Quoting thedawnawakening3:
As we have learned from the past, any little wobble now has huge consequences to the future track in the end for any tropical cyclone. A few west wobbles now could mean the difference between a category four or five hurricane making landfall over the NE Lesser Antilles, or passing harmlessly to the northeast of any landfall locations.
agree hopeful stay NORTH OF THE NE carrb does seem likr the NE carrb is at high risk for storm this seasons
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting wxobsvps:
uber-West (pronounced "vest") is a relic of WWII Germany and its use is considered extremely dangerous.

Significant and controlled independent testing has not been conducted, so don't be alarmed if uber-West quickly morphs into wrw.

270 Tru Dat West (aka "Fresca West") is seen as a suitable substitute. Fresca West is nice because it will automatically adjust any heading to that of 270 Tru Dat.


Tru Dat West only applies to storm originally forcast to hit SELA. "I wanna go home with the alligators..."
Member Since: September 19, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 288
As we have learned from the past, any little wobble now has huge consequences to the future track in the end for any tropical cyclone. A few west wobbles now could mean the difference between a category four or five hurricane making landfall over the NE Lesser Antilles, or passing harmlessly to the northeast of any landfall locations.
Member Since: July 29, 2011 Posts: 9 Comments: 5
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Just got home a little while ago so I haven't been able to catch up on too many of the model runs. If you're interested in what the 12z GFS showed...there was nothing in the way of a major shift. Just slightly more westward than the 06z run, but just about the same speed. Personally, I doubt that the system passes north of 20˚N before passing west of 60˚W, which is just south of the 11a.m NHC center-line.

To compare, the 12z GFS has Katia reaching 20˚N at around 57˚W...which to me is too far north. We'll see though.

As far as a Florida threat, I consider it unlikely...but still possible since we're a veryyyyyyyyyyy long time out.



ok
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
Quoting GTcooliebai:
Shoot I missed most of it, did he mention dry air being an impact to Irene causing it to weaken?


yeah but they mainly talked about a new project underway to improve the intensity forecasting with the models..I caught the end of it too but it seems when they throw in the data for intensity, it throws the models off..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16225
Blog update!! On our two legit threats right now, Katia and a GOMEX system.
TS Katia likely to become a powerful hurricane, GOMEX development possible 8/30/11

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I can see school is out for the day
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Katia will more likely be a Hurricane Ivan type in terms of peak intensity given she will not venture into the Caribbean Sea and also take a track a lot like Hurricane Earl and potentially become a lot more intense then Earl ever was.
Member Since: July 29, 2011 Posts: 9 Comments: 5
Quoting Tazmanian:



hi 09 can you see my post? if so can you plzs tell me what mode run showed and where they are heading? seens like too me the GFS is more W today all so it seem like there pointing at FL
Just got home a little while ago so I haven't been able to catch up on too many of the model runs. If you're interested in what the 12z GFS showed...there was nothing in the way of a major shift. Just slightly more westward than the 06z run, but just about the same speed. Personally, I doubt that the system passes north of 20˚N before passing west of 60˚W, which is just south of the 11a.m NHC center-line.

To compare, the 12z GFS has Katia reaching 20˚N at around 57˚W...which to me is too far north. We'll see though.

As far as a Florida threat, I consider it unlikely...but still possible since we're a veryyyyyyyyyyy long time out.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting thedawnawakening3:
Katia is definitely forecasted to be in the most favorable conditions for intensification the Atlantic Ocean has seen since probably Hurricane Earl of 2010.
Hurricane Igor comes to mind.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting thedawnawakening3:


Wow, simply astonishing what perfect atmospheric and oceanic conditions will allow to happen, just imagine her a little further west closer to 50w when SSTs sky rocket, category five status is certaintly attainable, and several EWRCs will likely occur throughout her life cycle. Perhaps a storm we can definitely make a case study of.
Amazing. When we had all those weak 40-50mph storms, I NEVER thought this would ever happen
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


By that time, it should be a Category 2 hurricane.


It's possible because that would still fall under gradual or steady strengthening.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ncstorm:


he is talking about the intensity forecasting of the models..
Shoot I missed most of it, did he mention dry air being an impact to Irene causing it to weaken?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
546. ackee
I have learn so much from u guys about weather think we should all meet up from all over the region have big underground weather party in the carrb of course
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Katia is definitely forecasted to be in the most favorable conditions for intensification the Atlantic Ocean has seen since probably Hurricane Earl of 2010.
Member Since: July 29, 2011 Posts: 9 Comments: 5
Quoting CybrTeddy:
502. I could easily see that happening, Katia could become a very powerful Category 4 hurricane. Going to be cranking out a HUGE amount of ACE.


Agreed, I think Katia's likely to follow the Bill\Danielle (or whichever Cat 4 CV storms that recurve of late you like) type designation.

For ACE though, Danielle managed 22, Earl with 27, Igor with 42. Bill managed just under 26.

Late 20s for a Cape Verde hurricane is sizeable, but it's not huge. Igor's was big, but not gigantic or anything (that's more reserved for any storm that breaks the 60 barrier, let alone the 70).

If she sweeps through the Atlantic at a fairly quick pace, then her ACE will be average to above average for a CV hurricane unless she gets really intense for a long period of time like Igor.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
dr jeff masters just saw you on the glub msnbc tv and how come they did not show your title? irene was a such a heavy storm it might of just got too heavy to spin that fast
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting P451:


It already started wobbling a little east of due west.

;-)





Earlier I thought everyone said it wobbled a little west of due west. I believe it's not just moving at 270 degree, but 270.00 degrees!!

Shame we don't have a hurricane hunter stationed in the Cape Verdes! ;-)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting OcalaGator:
Jeff Masters is on MSNBC right now.
Yes he is, thank you.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting OcalaGator:
Jeff Masters is on MSNBC right now.


he is talking about the intensity forecasting of the models..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16225
Quoting MississippiWx:
Impressive convection is beginning to fire over Katia's center. However, the storm is still elongated from northeast to southwest, telling us that it is still being sheared some out of the northeast. She's probably a 60mph tropical storm at this point. If so, that would still fall under the gradual to steady strengthening we've been discussing. Still don't expect a huge jump in intensity until 50W.



By that time, it should be a Category 2 hurricane. It'd be cool to see a Category 5 out of Katia, I just hope that, if she does become one, she stays WELL away from land.

This storm is available to the most favorable conditions so far this season.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Thundercloud01221991:


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


Wow, simply astonishing what perfect atmospheric and oceanic conditions will allow to happen, just imagine her a little further west closer to 50w when SSTs sky rocket, category five status is certaintly attainable, and several EWRCs will likely occur throughout her life cycle. Perhaps a storm we can definitely make a case study of.
Member Since: July 29, 2011 Posts: 9 Comments: 5
Quoting ackee:
DO U guys think KAtia has been following the NHC track ?


Katia has been passing JUST south of the National Hurricane Center's forecast points.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Impressive convection is beginning to fire over Katia's center. However, the storm is still elongated from northeast to southwest, telling us that it is still being sheared some out of the northeast. She's probably a 60mph tropical storm at this point. If so, that would still fall under the gradual to steady strengthening we've been discussing. Still don't expect a huge jump in intensity until 50W.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting thedawnawakening3:
Since she has another hour to impress, Katia might become a 65mph ts at 5pm AST. Also to note, Katia could be a major threat to the NE Lesser Antilles islands. Not sold on a NW movement around 55w, maybe around 60w. I think she stays more southwest of current NHC forecast track for the time being and therefore she has no choice but to head towards the islands. Bad news because Katia is likely to become our strongest storm of the year to this point, perhaps a legitimate shot at category five status.
Agree with you unfortunately!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
What dou you make of this: Joe Bastardi has it getting to 75-80W before turning.
Member Since: August 29, 2008 Posts: 5 Comments: 101
533. ackee
DO U guys think KAtia has been following the NHC track ?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Jeff Masters is on MSNBC right now.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ackee:
when will recon investigate KATIA


Recon is now available to the Eastern Atlantic. Once the storm passes 55W, recon will be able to go out and investigate the system. Should pass 55W Friday night or Saturday.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ackee:
when will recon investigate KATIA

Can they don inflight refueling?? Katie is waaaay out there
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
#506 P451
Wow, those photos show exactly how large trees in saturated soil react in big winds!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ackee:
when will recon investigate KATIA


I think they have to wait till she gets to 55w.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting P451:
Went walking into the woods off the edge of the property up here in NY and I find this behemoth that came down in Irene. There are a lot of trees like this on the property. I am glad the one that came down did so in the woods ~250 feet away from the house.

Trunk is 24" wide. Tree was 80 feet.







Be careful if you decide to cut that tree. The whole root can spring back into the ground. Happened to me and thank goodness I wasn't straddling the truck of the tree. Huge base of the tree just sprung back in the upright position. I guess there was still tension on the roots.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
523. ackee
when will recon investigate KATIA
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JNCali:
So when can we start Wobble-Alerting on Katia??


Too late!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Thundercloud01221991:


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



wow
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
So when can we start Wobble-Alerting on Katia??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
When the models can't accurately predict intensity of a storm I find it comical how some people think they can.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


an eyewall is starting to form... SE and S is solid it obviously is not closed yet
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting thedawnawakening3:
Since she has another hour to impress, Katia might become a 65mph ts at 5pm AST. Also to note, Katia could be a major threat to the NE Lesser Antilles islands. Not sold on a NW movement around 55w, maybe around 60w. I think she stays more southwest of current NHC forecast track for the time being and therefore she has no choice but to head towards the islands. Bad news because Katia is likely to become our strongest storm of the year to this point, perhaps a legitimate shot at category five status.
Ditto. Nothing else I could say.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WetBankGuy:
If 300 hours is subtitled Fantasy, what is 360 hours out?


That would be west of due west...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 565 - 515

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Overcast
36 °F
Overcast

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Lake Effort Snow Shower Over Windsor, Ontario
Sunset on Dunham Lake
Pictured Rocks Sunset
Sunset on Lake Huron