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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looks like long range models that i just saw on twc turn katia west.....
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One thing that I am potentially worried about in regards to the possible development of Tropical Storm Lee in the Gulf of Mexico as opposed to more disorganized rains is the consolidation of these rains, leading to possibly a smaller area receiving beneficial rains that can put a dent in the drought. If a tropical cyclone were to develop, the heaviest rains would most likely be confined to the more core areas of the tropical cyclone and where it moves will likely dictate who sees the best rainfall.
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CNN just reported about the disturbance coming into the Gulf...Stated the potential form a storm to strengthen makes this a concern for the Gulf coast, but he also hopes that this is a beneficial tropical storm for Texas.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
ATCF says Katia's up to 50 knots/60 mph. At this rate, we'll have a hurricane tomorrow:

AL, 12, 2011083018, , BEST, 0, 125N, 346W, 50, 997, TS, 50, NEQ, 20, 0, 0, 20, 1012, 180, 20Location: 12.3°N 33.4°W, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, KATIA, D,
Would this not signify a movement just to the north if due west more so than a wnw motion ?
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Katia's looking really nice. Has really gotten it's act together quickly like no other storm this season.
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Where is the COC of Katia? I have it at 11.7N/34.7W
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Katia looking Impressive, any effects of the Cape Verde Islands, when it was a TD, or was it too far west.
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SAB at T3.0 which equates roughly to 52mph. Doesn't really mean much since ATCF updated with a 60mph cyclone a few minutes ago.

AL, 12, 201108301745, 10, DVTS, CI, , 1260N, 3430W, , 2, 45, 2, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , L, SAB, MM, VIM, 3, 3030 /////, , , MET9, LLCC, T, DT=3.0 BO CBND MET=3.0 PT=3.0 FTBO DT
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Definitely something brewing the area all weather reporting SW to WSW winds
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Talas looks to be a dangerous storm for Japan. It's core is massive.



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Rainbow = DOOOOOOOM



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How's Katia doing? 60 mph TS, huh? I know it's not official by NHC, but that's interesting.
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Quoting KaNaPaPiJoSa:


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.


Google toolbar for IE has one as well. I use it quite a lot.
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Quoting Levi32:
See....NOW they call it what it is - a tropical wave. They didn't think it was a wave before lol.

They must be watching your Tropical Tidbits! Thanks for the great information and analysis you provide.
Member Since: July 13, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 70
393. DFWjc
Quoting lottotexas:
That's from Houston NWS!


oh ok, thanks for letting me know!
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392. DFWjc
Quoting KaNaPaPiJoSa:


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.


LOL!
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Quoting BobinTampa:



Congratulations on your successful assualt on spelling, punctuation and grammar.



That other fella wins the contest tho.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
ATCF says Katia's up to 50 knots/60 mph. At this rate, we'll have a hurricane tomorrow:

AL, 12, 2011083018, , BEST, 0, 125N, 346W, 50, 997, TS, 50, NEQ, 20, 0, 0, 20, 1012, 180, 20, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, KATIA, D,


She certainly looks the part.
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Quoting DFWjc:


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


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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Quoting DFWjc:


If you made that, good job AtHome, nice work!!
That's from Houston NWS!
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Quoting aussiecold:


hEY LIAR!! trees and power is an issue for the local officials and the State ,,FEMA founds is related with Individuals and Households,,the president hasnt declare MAJOR DISASTER yet ,so what reimburses you talking about!!?


Sounds like you have never heard of the Stafford Act.
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Quoting FLdewey:

Are you high? That story is online, on the TV, etc.

Calling someone a liar when your head is up your... whatever.

Here, I Googled it FOR you:

Link

MANY municipalities and counties are doing the same thing.

I saw it ,the State is responsable for the debris ,no matter what they said!! They HAVE TO pick the debris and work with conpmanies about power ,,,alter they need to call for FEMA assistance ,and then FEMA COVER THE gap betweeh the State abd Federal founds <,,
OMG !!! THE MEDIA !!!!
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Quoting zoomiami:


Your showing you age. Seven? I remember 4


From Hollywood, FL. And we always had Weaver the Weatherman to guide us thru Betsy, and Cleo, and Donna, to name a few.
Member Since: July 13, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 70
Appears Katia has a growing circulation...outflow looks good...shear decreasing gradually....everything is just about in place for some nice intensification
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Quoting pottery:
I have been thinking that the terms Hurricane Warning/Storm Warning etc need to be qualified by NHC and the News chanells in many cases to read FLOOD WARNING.
Especially in areas where people are not familiar with the rainfall potential of Tropical Systems (Irene).

When people hear Storm Warning they tend to think "wind", when in MOST cases it is the rainfall that does the most damage.

More emphasis needs to be put on the dangers posed by rainfall, especially in areas not used to 10-20 inches of it.

10-20 inches of rain is more problems than 100 mph wind in MOST cases.
I couldn't agree more - or I guess I could, but in general I do agree.

Along the South Carolina Lowcounty, it is not unusual to have coastal flood watches/warnings. Generally, we know what streets to avoid. When there is a flash flood watch/warning, we know what additional streets to avoid. We need a warning that indicates more serious measures should be taken.

I am not sure this need for clarification is just a SC Lowcountry sort of thing (think sea islands and marshes and 7 ft about sea level), or if this is a general problem along other types of coastline.
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380. DFWjc
Quoting BobinTampa:



Congratulations on your successful assualt on spelling, punctuation and grammar.


I think it's high time WU installs a spell checker on the blog? Any votes for this?
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ATCF says Katia's up to 50 knots/60 mph. At this rate, we'll have a hurricane tomorrow:

AL, 12, 2011083018, , BEST, 0, 125N, 346W, 50, 997, TS, 50, NEQ, 20, 0, 0, 20, 1012, 180, 20, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, KATIA, D,
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Quoting jskweather:

Note arguing with you or anything, just elaborating on your point:

Anything that forms in the Gulf has to fight the dry air over all of Texas. Any storm that forms in the gulf will pull air from the west, which will keep it in check. It was this same dry air that saved us during Ike and kept the Eyewall from condensing and kept it from being much worse than it already was.

And it was dry air that has hampered the formation of most storms this season and which weakened Irene as it crossed over NC.

My general (and non-scientific) observation this year has been the under-estimation of the impact of dry air regions on storms.


I think that the dryness is limited in the East Central and North Central Gulf though:)
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Quoting aussiecold:


hEY LIAR!! trees and power is an issue for the local officials and the State ,,FEMA founds is related with Individuals and Households,,the president hasnt declare MAJOR DISASTER yet ,so what reimburses you talking about!!?



Congratulations on your successful assault on spelling, punctuation and grammar.
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 532
Quoting MrstormX:
All that moisture spinning around in the GOM and W. Caribbean...something could pop out of it at any time.


It may by this weekend. Watch and wait game....
Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
Quoting Melagoo:


Katia certainly looks like she'll be an impressive Storm soon


Stop posting previous storm entries & misleading people into thinking its the current storm.

That is certainly a bannable offense.
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Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
Link

Owen Roberts InT'l Airport, Grand cayman winds S to SW, winds gust to 40mph within the last hour.
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All that moisture spinning around in the GOM and W. Caribbean...something could pop out of it at any time.
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367. DFWjc
Quoting CloudGatherer:
You're right; it was unnecessarily harsh. I was just trying to make the point that this board correctly forecasts 57 of every 3 major hurricanes making CONUS landfall.

That, and that every storm is unique. Once it's formed, and we have model guidance and a track, it's worth cracking open the historical records for comparison and guidance. But saying it's "just like X" is generally unhelpful, because it never is. It's much more interesting (at least to me) to find specific points of comparison - another sprawling cyclone like Irene that lost its eyewall and never found a replacement, another storm like Katia strengthening so far east and south at this point in the season, another stretch of several weeks in the GOM with conditions ripe for formation and nary a cloud in sight.

But there are nicer ways of saying all of that. And I apologize.



Okay, i see what ya mean, the only part i was comparing is that L meandering in and the front coming off the coast, that's too much action in the gulf. It's got to lead into something, right? I know about the dryness because Texas sucked up Don like a piece of ice on a hot concrete sidewalk. I'm not a wishcaster nor a doom one either....just know how bad Alicia scared me at 7 yrs old while living in Houston!!
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Link

Savannah, Grand Cayman winds SSW to SW with gust to 32mph, highest gust 45mph.
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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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