1-in-100 year rains cause extreme flooding in NY, PA; Nate, Maria, and Katia

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:37 PM GMT on September 08, 2011

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An extreme rainfall event unprecedented in recorded history has hit the Binghamton, New York area, where 7.49" fell yesterday. This is the second year in a row Binghamton has recorded a 1-in-100 year rain event; their previous all-time record was set last September, when 4.68" fell on Sep 30 - Oct. 1, 2010. Records go back to 1890 in the city. The skies have now cleared in Binghamton, with this morning's rain bringing the city's total rainfall for the 40-hour event to 9.02". However, another large region of rain lies just to the south in Pennsylvania, and all of the rivers in the surrounding region are in major or record flood. The Susquehanna River at Binghamton is at 25.18', its highest level since records began in 1847, and is expected to overtop the flood walls protecting the city this afternoon. In Hershey, Pennsylvania, Swatara Creek is 18' over flood stage, and more than 8' above its record flood crest. Widespread flash flooding is occurring across the entire area, and over 125,000 people have been evacuated from their homes.


Figure 1. Radar-observed rainfall from the Binghamton, NY radar.


Figure 2. The Susquehanna River at Binghamton is at its highest flood height on record this morning (25 feet.) Records at this gauge go back to 1847. Image credit: NOAA/AHPS.


Figure 3. In Hershey, Pennsylvania, Swatara Creek is 18' over flood stage, and more than 8' above its record flood crest. Records at this gage go back to 1930. Image credit: NOAA/AHPS.

The extreme rains are due the the remains of Tropical Storm Lee interacting with a stationary front draped along the Eastern U.S. Adding to the potent moisture mix last night was a stream of tropical moisture associated with Hurricane Katia that collided with the stationary front. You don't often see a major city break its all-time 24-hour precipitation record by a 60% margin, according to wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, and he can't recall ever seeing it happen before. It's worth noting that the Susquehanna River Binghamton stream gage, which has been in operation since 1847, is due to be shut off in 3 weeks due to budget cuts. Here's the note at the USGS web site:

NOTICE (03/23/2011)--Data collection at this streamgage may be discontinued after October 1, 2011 due to funding reductions from partner agencies. Although historic data will remain accessible, no new data will be collected unless one or more new funding partners are found. Users who are willing to contribute funding to continue operation of this streamgage should contact Rob Breault or Ward Freeman of the USGS New York Water Science Center at 518-285-5658 or dc_ny@usgs.gov.

Tropical Storm Nate
Tropical Storm Nate formed in the southern Gulf of Mexico yesterday afternoon after the Hurricane Hunters found a well-defined surface circulation and 45 mph surface winds. Nate is the 14th named storm this year, and comes three days before the climatological half-way point of the Atlantic hurricane season, September 10. A typical hurricane season has just 10 - 11 named storms, so we've already had 35% more than a whole season's worth of storms before reaching the season's half-way point. At this rate, 2011 will see 28 named storms, equaling the all-time record set in 2005. Nate's formation date of September 7 puts 2011 in 2nd place for earliest date of arrival of the season's 14th storm. Only 2005 had an earlier formation date of the season's 14th named storm (September 6, when Hurricane Nate got named.) Third place is now held jointly by 1936 and 1933, which got their 14th storm of the season on September 10.

Latest visible satellite loops show that Nate's low-level center is exposed to view, due to northeasterly upper-level winds that are creating a moderate 10 knots of wind shear. This shear is keeping all of Nate's heavy thunderstorms pushed to the south side of the center. Sustained winds at Buoy 42055, about 100 miles to the northwest of the suspected center of Nate, were north at 31 mph at 6:50 am CDT this morning. We haven't had a hurricane hunter aircraft in the storm since yesterday afternoon, and the next plane is due to arrive near 2 pm this afternoon. Water vapor satellite loops show that here is a large area of very dry air from Texas to the north of Nate, and this dry air is probably interfering with the storm's development.

Up until last night's 8 pm EDT runs of the computer models, the models were in general agreement that Nate would meander in the Bay of Campeche for several days, until a ridge of high pressure built in to the north of the storm, forcing it westwards to a landfall in Mexico. However, the latest 2 am EDT run by the GFS model predicts that Nate may gain enough latitude to escape being forced westwards by the ridge, and instead move northwards to make a landfall along the U.S. Gulf Coast. The GFDL, which uses the GFS for its initial conditions, is also on board with this idea, as is the HWRF model, to a lesser degree. The 2 am EDT run of the NOGAPS model did not go along with this idea, though. We will have to wait until the NOAA jet makes its first mission to sample the steering currents in the Gulf of Mexico to get a better idea on how probable this northern path might be; their first flight will be tonight, and the data will make it into the 8 pm models runs that will be available first thing Friday morning. As far as intensity goes, the very dry air to Nate's north should begin being less of a problem for it by Friday, when the upper level winds shift more to blow from the southeast, and the shear drops to the low range, 5 - 10 knots. Since the storm is moving very slowly, it will upwell cooler waters from the depths that will slow intensification, though. The earliest Nate would become a hurricane is probably on Saturday.


Figure 2. GOES-13 image of Hurricane Katia, Tropical Storm Maria, and Tropical Storm Nate taken at 8 am EDT September 8, 2011. Image credit: NASA/GSFC.

Tropical Storm Maria
Tropical Storm Maria is midway between the Northern Lesser Antilles Islands the coast of Africa, and due to arrive in the Northern Lesser Antilles late Friday night or Saturday morning. Satellite loops show that Maria has been ripped up pretty badly by the 10 - 20 knots of wind shear affecting it, with the low-level center exposed to view, and a few disorganized clumps of heavy thunderstorms lying to the west and northeast of the center. Water vapor satellite images show that Maria is embedded in a very moist environment. Ocean temperatures are near 28.5°C, which is 2°C above the 26.5°C threshold usually needed to sustain a tropical storm. Maria passed just south of Buoy 41041 this morning, and top sustained winds during passage were 42 mph, gusting to 56 mph. Maria will pass close to buoy 41040 near 8pm EDT tonight.

With wind shear predicted to continue in the moderate range for the next five days, and the storm struggling to maintain its circulation, strengthening of Maria to a hurricane before it reaches the Lesser Antilles seems unlikely at this time. None of the intensity models are calling for Maria to reach hurricane strength until well after the storm passes Puerto Rico. However, Mike Ventrice, a meteorology Ph.D. student at the University of Albany, pointed out to me yesterday that a atmospheric disturbance known as a Convectively-Coupled Kelvin Wave (CCKW) is passing through the Lesser Antilles Islands today, and is headed eastwards towards Maria at 25 mph. Maria will encounter this CCKW Thursday night or Friday morning. There is a great deal of upward-moving air in the vicinity of a CCKW, and will help strengthen the updrafts in Maria's thunderstorms, potentially intensifying the storm. None of our models are detailed enough to "see" CCKWs", so we may see more intensification of the storm than the models are calling for. Given the disorganized state Maria is currently in, though, the extra boost in upward motion provided by the CCKW may not make of a difference to the storm.

The track forecasts for Maria from the various models agree that the storm will affect the Northern Lesser Antilles Islands, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. After it passes the Lesser Antilles, Maria has the usual amount of high uncertainty in its 5 - 7 day track forecast. The models are split on how strong the steering influence a trough of low pressure along the U.S. East Coast will have. The UKMET model prefers a more southerly track for Maria through the Turk and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas towards the U.S. East Coast, while the other models predict a more northwesterly track, with a potential threat to Bermuda. Climatology favors a track that would miss the U.S., with Dr. Bob Hart's track history pages suggesting that Maria has a 14% chance of hitting Canada, 5% chance of hitting Bermuda, and an 18% chance of hitting North Carolina.

Hurricane Katia
Hurricane Katia has brought a few rain showers and some gusty winds of 20 - 30 mph to Bermuda last night and this morning, but is not going to bring hazardous weather to the island as the storm makes it swing around Bermuda today and tomorrow. Latest satellite loops show that Katia is a shadow of its former Category 4 self, as dry air has eaten into the southwest side of the storm into the eye. Katia's outer rainbands should remain just offshore from North Carolina, New England, and the Canadian Maritime provinces at the point of closest approach. The main impact of Katia will be a multi-day period of high surf leading to beach erosion and dangerous rip currents.

I'll have an update this afternoon.

Jeff Masters

Bryn Athyn, PA (HighRdGeo)
Fetters Mill 9-8-11 morning
Bryn Athyn, PA

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Quoting Patrap:




BREAKING NEWS:Mandatory Evacuation Of Over 100,000 Residents Along River In Pennsylvania


That's where I'm from. Watching my hometowns flood. :-(
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Quoting caribbeantracker01:


thanks based on satellite presentation what would be your remarks on maria ? currently i am seeing a sw movement but it is hard to see because the south quadrant is void of convection


Im with the NHC on Maria








Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
nate seem too be geting it act to geter
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115252
Quoting Dakster:


Do yourself a favor and go to the NE in January/February before you make that decision. I want to move north, but shoveling ten foot of snow just to get out of my driveway isn't on my agenda either.

And yes, the NE has four seasons with varied temps and colors. They are Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Something I have yet to experience fully. I am very familiar with our one season of Summer.
Ther are thousands of nice 5+ acre plots of land up here in North Florida. Come on over :)

We get all 4 season's and no snow to shovel.
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Watching Nate, of course, will stop in later......hope it goes away.
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Quoting Patrap:
Plan of the Day


000
NOUS42 KNHC 072200 AMD
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
0600 PM EDT WED 07 SEPTEMBER 2011
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 08/1100Z TO 09/1100Z SEPTEMBER 2011
TCPOD NUMBER.....11-099 AMENDMENT

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. TROPICAL STORM MARIA.......(NO CHANGES)
FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 70
A. 08/2000Z
B. AFXXX 0114A MARIA
C. 08/1700Z
D. 14.3N 52.0W
E. 08/1930Z TO 08/2230Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

2. TROPICAL STORM NATE........(CHANGED FROM SUSPECT AREA)
FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 76 FLIGHT TWO -- NOAA 49
A. 08/1800Z A. 09/0000Z
B. AFXXX 0215A NATE B. NOAA9 0315A NATE
C. 08/1530Z C. 08/1730Z
D. 20.1N 91.9W F. 41,000 TO 45,000 FT
E. 08/1730Z TO 08/2200Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

FLIGHT THREE -- TEAL 77....(ADDED)
A. 09/0600Z
B. AFXXX 0415A NATE
C. 09/0330Z
D. 20.4N 92.1W
E. 09/0530Z TO 09/1000Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

3. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY:
A. MARIA: BEGIN 6-HRLY FIXES AT 09/1200Z....(NO CHANGES)
B. NATE: A G-IV MISSION FOR 10/0000Z. CONTINUE
12-HRLY FIXES IF SYSTEM REMAINS A THREAT....(CHANGED)
4. REMARKS:
A. MISSION FOR HURRICANE KATIA AT 07/1700Z
CANCELED AT 07/1110Z.
B. 08/1800Z INVEST MISSION IS NOW A FIX MISSION.


thanks based on satellite presentation what would be your remarks on maria ? currently i am seeing a sw movement but it is hard to see because the south quadrant is void of convection
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Product: Air Force High Density (HDOB) Message (URNT15 KNHC)
Transmitted: 8th day of the month at 16:15Z
Date: September 8, 2011
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 300)
Storm Number: 15
Storm Name: Nate (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 2
Observation Number: 08
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Quoting Buhdog:
I have a question for anyone here in SWFL...... What is that big yellow ball in the sky?


I know heh? Nice to see it once again!
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Recon on its way...

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
Can someone post the rain fall forecast model i believe its a 4 day, but could be wrong. Thanks
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The GFS seems to be making a shift to the west track again and I believe that whith little adjustment the NHC track might be correct. Texas might get some rain out of this I hope, and us in Mississippi will hopefully get to enjoy the cool weather longer. I'm ready for the Winter gosh!!!
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Plan of the Day


000
NOUS42 KNHC 072200 AMD
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
0600 PM EDT WED 07 SEPTEMBER 2011
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 08/1100Z TO 09/1100Z SEPTEMBER 2011
TCPOD NUMBER.....11-099 AMENDMENT

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. TROPICAL STORM MARIA.......(NO CHANGES)
FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 70
A. 08/2000Z
B. AFXXX 0114A MARIA
C. 08/1700Z
D. 14.3N 52.0W
E. 08/1930Z TO 08/2230Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

2. TROPICAL STORM NATE........(CHANGED FROM SUSPECT AREA)
FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 76 FLIGHT TWO -- NOAA 49
A. 08/1800Z A. 09/0000Z
B. AFXXX 0215A NATE B. NOAA9 0315A NATE
C. 08/1530Z C. 08/1730Z
D. 20.1N 91.9W F. 41,000 TO 45,000 FT
E. 08/1730Z TO 08/2200Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

FLIGHT THREE -- TEAL 77....(ADDED)
A. 09/0600Z
B. AFXXX 0415A NATE
C. 09/0330Z
D. 20.4N 92.1W
E. 09/0530Z TO 09/1000Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

3. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY:
A. MARIA: BEGIN 6-HRLY FIXES AT 09/1200Z....(NO CHANGES)
B. NATE: A G-IV MISSION FOR 10/0000Z. CONTINUE
12-HRLY FIXES IF SYSTEM REMAINS A THREAT....(CHANGED)
4. REMARKS:
A. MISSION FOR HURRICANE KATIA AT 07/1700Z
CANCELED AT 07/1110Z.
B. 08/1800Z INVEST MISSION IS NOW A FIX MISSION.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
Quoting Tazmanian:




I CANT HERE YOU
lol sorry for the caps ppl am not shouting but taz cud u help me?
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Quoting Levi32:
Good morning.

Blog update:

Tropical Tidbit for Thursday, September 8th, with Video


Reposted from your blog:
Way to go Levi! Agree with you in that the consensus models for Nate are essentially nonsense, as half the models used for the consensus go southwest/west and the other half go north/northeast. Consensus would split the middle as shown . . . which is not necessarily a correct solution. Appreciate greatly the evidence you present as to your reasoning. Guess it is all dependent upon whether or not, and the timing of, the Texas "ridge of death" lifting more north. Nice to see that you are willing to go out on a limb, will be a great test of your skills . . . do you like these challenges or dread them?
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Quoting wayfaringstranger:


Its going to be interesting.

If Nate heads back into MX and TX, which is my guess right now, then Maria finds the east coast.
If Maria stays weak and I have learned from you all small goes southis there a chance she can stay south enough to move into the Gulf and also perhaps be a good Tropical rain event for Texas? (Yes it is a wish cast for those in Texas) but also based on what you all have been talking about. Thanks
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..the 50's are like Heaven in Sept,,take'um anyway you can.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
Quoting Dakster:


Do yourself a favor and go to the NE in January/February before you make that decision. I want to move north, but shoveling ten foot of snow just to get out of my driveway isn't on my agenda either.

And yes, the NE has four seasons with varied temps and colors. They are Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Something I have yet to experience fully. I am very familiar with our one season of Summer.


Just move to the Emerald Coast on the FL Panhandle, we still get 4 seasons and summer only runs from Mid May through Mid September! Temp was 59 this morning when I went to work, Fall is in the air! You're still in FL here and there is a lot less traffic! Plenty of jobs too with the Military bases here!
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3060
Quoting caribbeantracker01:
HEYY CUD SOMEONE TELL ME IF THE HH WILL BE INVESTIGATING MARIA TODAY THANKS OH AND I WAS NAILED WITH THE FORECAST OF IT JUST ASK JEFF MASTERS! I SAID IT ON THE LAST BLOG WEATHER 456 WILL BE SO PROUD JK LOL




I CANT HERE YOU
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115252
@120HR:



Pretty flat upper level pattern and with the proximity between these 2 systems there would be hardly any movements.
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Quoting Patrap:
I loathe Summer here,,but the last 2.5 days behind Lee makes it worth it.

Was wunderful day yesterday to walk Nola Roux round the Golf Course @ Audubon Park


Felt great here, too. We Even broke a record this morning:

Statement as of 8:30 am EDT on September 08, 2011

... Record low temperature broken at Savannah GA...

A record low minimum temperature of 58 degrees was recorded at the
Savannah International Airport this morning. This breaks the old
record of 59 degrees set in 1953.
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Quoting rushisaband:


Also playing at Lambeau in sept a lot better than december


Indeed...definately
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
Quoting TampaSpin:



YA......GO PACK.......Sorry :)


Footnote,,Saints QB coach for Brees and the other 2 is Joe Lombardi,,Vince's Grandson.


nanny,nanny boo,boo
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871



BLOCKED!!!!!
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Quoting Patrap:
The GFS has performed in the long run,well.

I dont want nutter windy, 12 inch rainfall weekend though.

Glad the Saints are Opening 2011 @ Green Bay tonight instead of them here Sunday.

That was a good schedule plan.


Also playing at Lambeau in sept a lot better than december
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NATE GFDL 850 hPa Vorticity & Vertical Motion Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
Quoting Patrap:
The GFS has performed in the long run,well.

I dont want nutter windy, 12 inch rainfall weekend though.

Glad the Saints are Opening 2011 @ Green Bay tonight instead of them here Sunday.

That was a good schedule plan.



YA......GO PACK.......Sorry :)
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I really thought Lee would win the battle against the dry air. Guess we will see who wins this time
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Quoting CaribBoy:
Looks like the shear is dropping ahead of MARIA.
Please, can you provide me with your source or a link? thanks in advance.
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HEYY CUD SOMEONE TELL ME IF THE HH WILL BE INVESTIGATING MARIA TODAY THANKS OH AND I WAS NAILED WITH THE FORECAST OF IT JUST ASK JEFF MASTERS! I SAID IT ON THE LAST BLOG WEATHER 456 WILL BE SO PROUD JK LOL
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The GFS has performed in the long run,well.

I dont want nutter windy, 12 inch rainfall weekend though.

Glad the Saints are Opening 2011 @ Green Bay tonight instead of them here Sunday.

That was a good schedule plan.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
@96HR 12Z GFS:

Sure looks like a C CONUS Ridge wants to build on top of Nate and push it to the W/WSW.

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Quoting Dakster:


Dear Texas,

My Brother DON went to visit you earlier this year and I haven't heard from him since. I am a little apprehensive about visiting your state. But I will keep it under consideration should Mexico not work out.

Sincerely,

Nate


Nate,

While it is true Don came to visit, he disappeared without so much as a thank you before anything positive could come of his visit.

I assure you it was not the intention of Texas to do anything other than to provide a welcoming environment for you and your kin.

Please do consider us as a stop in your travels.

Texas
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I loathe Summer here,,but the last 2.5 days behind Lee makes it worth it.

Was wunderful day yesterday to walk Nola Roux round the Golf Course @ Audubon Park
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
Quoting Patrap:
GFS 6z frames loading are interesting..

Nate,,son of Lee


A lot of peeps have been making fun of the GFS this year. If you look at the overall performance i believe the GFS has done fairly well when compared to all the others. JMO
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241. wpb
Synopsis: La Niña conditions have returned and are expected to gradually strengthen and continue
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TS Nate 12Z Multiplatform Satellite Surface Wind Analysis
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
Quoting SavannahStorm:


An open wave wouldn't have a circulation, exposed or otherwise...
I'm saying it looks like one, not that I'm saying it is one.
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Quoting HurrMichaelOrl:


I totally agree, Central Florida is nearly as bad and the heat has been unbearable this year. I plan on relocating to the NE when I finish college. Will likely see more interesting weather (and varied) there anyhow.


Do yourself a favor and go to the NE in January/February before you make that decision. I want to move north, but shoveling ten foot of snow just to get out of my driveway isn't on my agenda either.

And yes, the NE has four seasons with varied temps and colors. They are Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Something I have yet to experience fully. I am very familiar with our one season of Summer.
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Quoting wxobsvps:


To make such a northward jump, the weakeness must be pretty strong
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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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