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 angiest:


Oddly, just about anyone else would have wanted the rain to stay away for the weekend...

Yeah, Texas A&M football starts Sunday. It'd be nice if it wouldn't rain that day. Otherwise, I say bring it!
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Quoting violet312s:


That's to signal the whole state catches on fire from the extreme heat :)


ok ok, that isn't funny. :)
Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
Quoting MrstormX:
Latest JMA model warns of a major rain maker in the GOM! The entire Northern half of the gulf is absolutely filled with moisture.



If it moves inland. Looks to be hanging out in the Gulf teasing everybody...so close...yet so faraway....
Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
Quoting TexasHurricane:


lol....if it were always that simple. :)


Oddly, just about anyone else would have wanted the rain to stay away for the weekend...
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Quoting KaNaPaPiJoSa:


Hopefully, the rain will start when I get home on Friday evening. It can stop on Monday morning before I go back to work. Appreciate it, if you could schedule that for me. LOL


lol....if it were always that simple. :)
Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
Quoting jazzygal:
Didn't Camille form just South of the Cayman Islands?



Camille:



Not necessarily indicating Camille is an analogue in any way.
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Quoting hurricanehanna:


It came off Africa as a wave, but I think you are correct about forming near the Cayman Islands.


Camille Track!!

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Quoting jazzygal:
Didn't Camille form just South of the Cayman Islands?



It came off Africa as a wave, but I think you are correct about forming near the Cayman Islands.
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Quoting violet312s:


That's to signal the whole state catches on fire from the extreme heat :)


Not funny.
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Quoting 1900hurricane:

If colder air means below 100*F, then I'll take it! :P


Forecast Discussion

Another hot one today as highs climb near 100 again. There will be a few clouds around with a light Southeast wind.

Later this week and through the weekend looks wet. Could see several inches of badly-needed rainfall. It all depends on what develops from a big slug of moisture making its way north from the Caribbean. Computer models try to develop a tropical depression or even a weak tropical storm in the Gulf by this weekend. We will be watching it close the next couple of days. Temperatures this weekend may not get out of the seventies if we see the kind of rainfall that model-data is forecasting.

First REAL cold front is forecasted to arrive next late Monday into Tuesday.

Click the link for the 12 News HD Hurricane Page for the latest on Tropical Storm Katia
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453. TX2FL
Quoting JNCali:

I know! I know!... ADAM WEST!


If it intensifies then it would be going Wild West..
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I will say this, I have seen changes today from previous day, temps are 7 degrees cooler today and the humidity has increased quite a bit. That is a good sign
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Quoting twincomanche:
Under as in South?


as of west of due west
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449. DFWjc
Quoting bohonkweatherman:
Colder Air into Texas? Mister you are not in New York City any more. LOL


NEW YORK CITY, get a rope!
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Didn't Camille form just South of the Cayman Islands?

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Quoting bohonkweatherman:
Colder Air into Texas? Mister you are not in New York City any more. LOL

If colder air means below 100*F, then I'll take it! :P
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T.C.F.W.
012/TS/K/CX
MARK
11.85N/35.25W



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Quoting 1900hurricane:

High pressure dropping south from Canada. Hopefully that will be bringing some colder air with it as well!
Colder Air into Texas? Mister you are not in New York City any more. LOL
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looks like mode runs are more W today
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Whats up everyone...so AC nj made it threw irene like i told yall the other day ..eye passed directly over us and a beer can i tossed on my lawn didnt get blow by the wind or didnt get picked up by flooding...but..

everyone look at katia right now..now the models..at the end of every model run u can clearly see another high pressure about to come off usa coast with katia still a tad north of the islands and pr and such..now if she is there it appears that the high would build over and block her exit to the north..she would turn west until she hit the end of the high and turns more north..looking right now she is a definite threat to conus...

this right now is not a good situation at all..many things could go right and have this storm turn out to sea..if it gets really really strong fast then most likely it will beat the second HP..but if it doesnt or even if it south of computer gudiance as of now then we are in trouble..

we have many days to keep an eye on katrina..opps i mean katia haha
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XX/AOI/XX
MARK
18.08N/81.63W
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Quoting hurricanejunky:
I'm surprised the NHC hasn't circled anything off the West coast of FL yet. It looks like something trying to develop but dealing with 20-30 knots of shear.


Possibility of TC development near Bermuda later this week, I believe.
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438. DFWjc
Quoting RickWPB:

If you use FF there's a spell checker built in.


I think KaNaPaPiJoSa said it best:


Use a different browser. Firefox comes complete with a spell checker. However, doesn't mean people will use it. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.
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CMC..extended run..Low off the florida coast and heading into the gulf..and then here comes Katia..could explain the extra moisture in the gulf





Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15704
It seems that Katia is moving under the forecast points...
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I'm surprised the NHC hasn't circled anything off the West coast of FL yet. It looks like something trying to develop but dealing with 20-30 knots of shear.
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Quoting DFWjc:


I think it's high time WU installs a spell checker on the blog? Any votes for this?

If you use FF there's a spell checker built in.
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Quoting MrstormX:
Latest JMA model warns of a major rain maker in the GOM! The entire Northern half of the gulf is absolutely filled with moisture.


Extremely HOT moisture at that...
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Quoting MrstormX:
Latest JMA model warns of a major rain maker in the GOM! The entire Northern half of the gulf is absolutely filled with moisture.



Hopefully, the rain will start when I get home on Friday evening. It can stop on Monday morning before I go back to work. Appreciate it, if you could schedule that for me. LOL
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and the yellow crayon came out of the box...
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Interestingly enough, we're not far off the pace for 2005. Lee formed on August 28th and Maria on Sept. 1st so we're only running a few days behind at this point. I imagine it doesn't seem that way because we haven't had nearly the number of significant storms so far.
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This is interesting, seems as if our feature in the NW carribean as taken a baby step. It's voticity has re-aligned itself a little better with it's thunderstorms over the western tip of Cuba.

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Quoting JasonToolManLovesJFV:
KATIA WOW!!!



LOL this is some funny sh_t. You're a clown!
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427. DFWjc
Quoting violet312s:


That's to signal the whole state catches on fire from the extreme heat :)


LOL oh great back to that again...ugh!
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426. DFWjc
Quoting 1900hurricane:

High pressure dropping south from Canada.


Yeah i had a brain fart, tried to delete the comment, couldn't do it fast enough...
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Quoting DFWjc:


What the heck is that orange blob in W Texas on the last few frames?


That's to signal the whole state catches on fire from the extreme heat :)
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T.C.F.W.
012/TS/K/CX
MARK
11.85N/35.25W



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Quoting DFWjc:


What the heck is that orange blob in W Texas on the last few frames?

High pressure dropping south from Canada. Hopefully that will be bringing some colder air with it as well!
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Latest JMA model warns of a major rain maker in the GOM! The entire Northern half of the gulf is absolutely filled with moisture.

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421. DFWjc
deleted
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ADT at 60mph on Katia FWIW.

CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
3.4 /1000.2mb/ 53.0kt
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Kind of off-topic, but just saw this video of this crazy guy Kiteboarding before Irene.
Dude is absolutely insane, probably gets close to 50ft above the ocean. Thought he was just going to keep going up.

YouTube Link
Link
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From the horse's mouth!!

1. SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS CONTINUE TO BECOME BETTER ORGANIZED IN
ASSOCIATION WITH A LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM LOCATED ABOUT 375 MILES
SOUTH OF THE SOUTHERN CAPE VERDE ISLANDS...AND A TROPICAL
DEPRESSION COULD BE FORMING. IF CURRENT TRENDS CONTINUE...
ADVISORIES WILL LIKELY BE INITIATED LATER THIS MORNING. THIS SYSTEM
HAS A HIGH CHANCE...NEAR 100 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL
CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS AS IT MOVES WESTWARD OR
WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT AROUND 15 MPH.

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Looks like "Lee" is becoming more of a reality, the moisture is starting to converge in the GOM.
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According to 12z GFS the GOM disturbance looks like a lot more than a rain maker:

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looks like long range models that i just saw on twc turn katia west.....
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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.