New floods in Pakistan kill 226; Maria heads towards brush with Bermuda

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:53 PM GMT on September 14, 2011

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A year after enduring the most devastating flooding in its history, Pakistan is again experiencing historic floods. An unusually heavy and late-lasting monsoon has brought torrential rains to Pakistan's southeast Sindh Province, which borders India to the east and the Arabian Sea to the south, and includes Pakistan's largest city, Karachi. The heavy rains began in the 2nd week of August, and have continued into the 2nd week of September, accumulating to 2 1/2 times more than average. According to Dr. Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry, Pakistan's Federal Advisor on Climate Affairs, this is the highest 4-week monsoon rainfall total ever recorded in Sindh province, amounting to more than 37 million acre feet of water, "which is unimaginable." The "unimaginable" rains occurred after a 12-month period where the province received no rain and was under severe drought conditions. At least 226 people have been killed in the new flooding, 1.2 million houses have been damaged or destroyed, and 280,000 people made homeless. There were already 1 million people needing food aid and 800,000 families without permanent shelter due to last year's floods, making this year's renewed flooding particularly disruptive. According to the India Meteorological Department, by September 1, the monsoon usually begins to retreat from northwest India and southeastern Pakistan. That hasn't happened this year, and the monsoon rains are forecast to continue at least for the remainder of this week--well into the 3rd week of September. This very unusual monsoon season also started a week earlier than normal.


Figure 1. Rainfall during the 2011 monsoon season has accumulated to 8 to 12 inches above average over portions of Pakistan's Sindh Province. Image credit: Pakistan Meteorological Department. Before and after satellite images of the flood are available at NASA Earth Observatory.

Is there a climate change connection?
Last year, heavy monsoon rains were enhanced by a very unusual jet stream configuration that brought cool air and rain-bearing low pressure systems to northern Pakistan. The great floods of 2011--rightfully called Pakistan's Katrina--submerged one fifth of the country, killing 1985 people, leaving 11 million homeless, and doing a record $9.5 billion in damage. This year, the monsoon weather patterns were much different, but also highly unusual, resulting in yet another great flood in Pakistan. In an interview with dawn.com, Dr. Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry, Pakistan's Federal Advisor on Climate Affairs, stated: "...climate change has become a reality for Pakistan. Clearly, Pakistan is heading for an increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events which included frequent floods and droughts, and the need of the hour is to plan for the future changes." These events are in line with international climate change projections, he said.


Figure 2. Evacuations in Pakistan's Sindh Province during the summer 2011 floods. Image credit: Pakistan Meteorological Department.

A skeptic of Dr. Qamar's arguments might point to the fact that monsoon rainfall in neighboring India was not all that unusual in either 2010 or 2011, and that major monsoon flooding disasters in back-to-back years in Pakistan were probably just bad luck. However, the monsoon in India and Pakistan has undeniably changed in recent decades. In a study published in Science in 2006, Goswami et al. found that the level of heavy rainfall activity in the monsoon over India had more than doubled in the 50 years since the 1950s, leading to an increased disaster potential from heavy flooding. Moderate and weak rain events decreased over the past 50 years, leaving the total amount of rain deposited by the monsoon roughly constant. The authors commented, "These findings are in tune with model projections and some observations that indicate an increase in heavy rain events and a decrease in weak events under global warming scenarios." A warming climate loads the dice in favor of heavier extreme precipitation events. This occurs because more water vapor can evaporate into a warmer atmosphere, increasing the chances of record heavy downpours. In addition, heavy downpours preferentially occur during thunderstorms, and a warmer climate produces a longer period of time during the year when thunderstorms can occur, giving more opportunities for heavy rainfall events. During August 2011, ocean temperatures in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Pakistan, in the region between 15°N - 25°N, 60°E - 70°E, were 0.8°C (1.4°F) above average, according to an analysis I did of the HADSST2 dataset. This was the 5th highest such value in over 100 years of record keeping. During the July 2010 monsoon, this region of ocean was 1.1°C (2.0°F) above average, the warmest July ocean temperatures on record. The extra heat in the ocean the past two summers have undoubtedly contributed to the high rainfall totals in Pakistan by allowing more water vapor to evaporate into the air. Thus, we should expect to see an increased number of disastrous monsoon floods in coming decades as the climate continues to warm and the oceans off the coasts of India and Pakistan heat up. Since the population continues to increase at a rapid rate in the region, death tolls from monsoon flooding disasters are likely to climb dramatically in coming decades. Another concern is that climate change might lead to more failures of the monsoon--years when the rains are far below normal, leading to widespread drought and crop failures. This is a more dangerous scenario, since historically, droughts have been much more deadly than floods in Asia. Failure of the monsoon rains typically occur during El Niño years, so if climate change increases the frequency of El Niño, we might see an increase in the failure of the monsoon rains. So far, climate models are unclear on how climate change might affect El Niño, so we don't know how great a concern future failures of the monsoon might be.

References
Goswami, et al., 2006, " Increasing Trend of Extreme Rain Events Over India in a Warming Environment", Science, 1 December 2006:Vol. 314. no. 5804, pp. 1442 - 1445 DOI: 10.1126/science.1132027

Tropical Storm Maria headed towards a brush with Bermuda
Tropical Storm Maria is finally pulling away from Puerto Rico, and is headed north-northwest towards a brush with Bermuda, which will occur Thursday morning. Wind shear has fallen about 5 knots since yesterday, and is now a moderate 10 - 15 knots. This reduction in shear has allowed Maria a strengthen some, and satellite loops show the storm has more heavy thunderstorms that are better organized. The storm's surface circulation is still exposed on the storm's west side, though, and Maria does not have anything close to a complete eyewall built. Maria passed near NOAA buoy 41046 this morning, which reported a 1-hour period of sustained winds of 38 mph, gusting to 45 mph. An outer spiral band of Maria is just beginning to appear on Bermuda radar.


Figure 3. Morning satellite image of Tropical Storm Maria.

Forecast for Maria
A trough of low pressure moving off the U.S. East Coast a predicted to turn Maria to the north-northeast by early Thursday, and accelerate the storm past Bermuda. The trough will also bring high wind shear of 20 - 30 knots beginning late tonight, which gives Maria just a short window of opportunity to intensify today. NHC gave Maria a 32% chance of reaching hurricane strength by Thursday in their 5 am EDT wind probability forecast. Intensification will be hampered by the fact that Maria will be passing over the cold water wake left by Hurricane Katia today. On Thursday morning, Maria will be making its closest approach to Bermuda. Bermuda will see an 8-hour period of sustained winds in the 25 - 35 mph range, accompanied by heavy rain squalls, beginning near 4 am local time on Thursday. Bermuda may experience a few hours where the wind rises above tropical storm force, 39 mph, near 8 am local time Thursday. Occasional rain squalls are expected to bring 1 - 3 inches of rain to the islands. Most of the models show that Maria will brush or strike Newfoundland, Canada on Friday afternoon. Most of the storm's high winds will be on the right side, and Maria will be weakening rapidly then, so I'm not expecting the storm will do much wind damage. Heavy rains could bring minor to moderate flooding to the eastern portion of the island.

Elsewhere in the tropics
Even the busiest of hurricane seasons have lulls, and we're hitting one this week during what is traditionally the busiest week of hurricane season. The models are backing off this morning on the development of a tropical depression or strong tropical disturbance late this week off the coast of Africa. The NOGAPS model continues to predict the Western Caribbean could see the development of a tropical depression 6 -7 days from now, but the other models are showing little support for this idea.

The Climate Reality Project
Those of you who like Al Gore's efforts to promote climate change awareness and solutions may be interested in checking out his latest effort tonight at 7 pm local time, in all 24 of the world's time zones, via climaterealityproject.org. It's a live streaming multimedia presentation created by Al Gore and delivered once per hour by 24 different presenters for 24 hours, representing every time zone around the globe.

Jeff Masters

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ATCF says 999 mb:

AL, 14, 2011091500, , BEST, 0, 272N, 689W, 55, 999, TS, 50, NEQ, 100, 100, 0, 0, 1010, 180, 70, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, MARIA, M,
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
735. JLPR2
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


I think it looks decent right now..look at it. Should continue organizing through tomorrow too.


LLC is now under the convection, well, Maria just loves to prove me wrong. xD
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8747
Al Gore the guy who said the middle of the earth is a million degrees hot.lol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
733. j2008
Quoting JLPR2:


Well at least for me, never imaged such a disorganized system actually organizing into a decent one.

You never know, she might have it in her to take a run at Cat 1 status....This year has been strange, the trend must continue!! You can do it Maria!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JLPR2:


Well at least for me, never imaged such a disorganized system actually organizing into a decent one.


I think it looks decent right now..look at it. Should continue organizing through tomorrow too.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32863
Maria just might make to hurricane after all,she dont have too much more time,but she is trying,saw earlier that the surface circulation was 8miles sse of flight level center,anyone know if they got stacked yet?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JLPR2:


It would be surprising to see Hurricane Maria.

I wouldn't. She's been waiting for the conditions to be right, ATM they are.
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Quoting thisishsyterical:
WOW VERY SCAREY
Dude... the only very scarey thing around here is your 100% capitalized posts which make it obvious that you don't get the point of this blog..... if u r going to troll a blog, at least pick one you understand.... and then try to figure out the difference between observation, which is what happens here, and hysteria, which is what you are indulging in.

Thank you for your support.....
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726. JLPR2
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


why?


Well at least for me, never imaged such a disorganized system actually organizing into a decent one.
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8747
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32863
As Dr. Masters mentioned in today's blog entry, Al Gore's excellent Climate Reality Project is online now at climaterealityproject.org.

Bill Nye ("The Science Guy") is giving a very informative rundown of the basics right now. Those who've demonstrated massive holes in their knowledge might want to check it out now...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JLPR2:


It would be surprising to see Hurricane Maria.


why?
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32863
Quoting aislinnpaps:


Looks like Maria's jog is going to make it worse for Bermuda.

Bermuda IR Satellite, Lightning & Radar
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
719. JLPR2
Quoting AussieStorm:

Looks like Maria is taking the opportunity to strengthen just like Dr. Masters said. The window is there, she's taking advantage of the conditions right now.


It would be surprising to see Hurricane Maria.
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8747
Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
Maria down another mb to 1000mb HH getting a new center now

Looks like Maria is taking the opportunity to strengthen just like Dr. Masters said. The window is there, she's taking advantage of the conditions right now.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Maria is just another absolutely weird storm of the 2011 season.... look at this Cumulative Wind History map...



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I wish the models would decide on what kind of MJO we will have. This will greatly influence our possible Caribbean development..Models cover just about every octant, lol.

ECMWF at 5 and 6..

GFS is jumping like crazy..

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32863
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
BULLETIN
TROPICAL STORM MARIA INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 33A
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL142011
800 PM AST WED SEP 14 2011

...MARIA STRENGTHENS...HURRICANE WATCH ISSUED FOR BERMUDA...


SUMMARY OF 800 PM AST...0000 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...27.2N 68.9W
ABOUT 430 MI...690 KM SW OF BERMUDA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...65 MPH...100 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NNE OR 15 DEGREES AT 17 MPH...28 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...999 MB...29.50 INCHES


WATCHES AND WARNINGS
--------------------
CHANGES IN WATCHES AND WARNINGS WITH THIS ADVISORY...

THE BERMUDA WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED A HURRICANE WATCH FOR
BERMUDA.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...

A HURRICANE WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* BERMUDA

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* BERMUDA

A HURRICANE WATCH MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE
WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...IN THIS CASE WITHIN THE NEXT 12 TO 24 HOURS.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...PLEASE MONITOR
PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR NATIONAL METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE.


Looks like Maria's jog is going to make it worse for Bermuda.
Member Since: August 22, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 3167
712. JLPR2
I was expecting a yellow circle, but not the CATL. XD



*Oh, they fixed it. XD
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8747
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 PM EDT WED SEP 14 2011

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IS ISSUING ADVISORIES ON TROPICAL
STORM MARIA...LOCATED ABOUT 430 MILES SOUTHWEST OF BERMUDA.

AN AREA OF CLOUDINESS AND SHOWERS LOCATED A COUPLE OF HUNDRED MILES
SOUTH OF THE SOUTHERN CAPE VERDE ISLANDS IS ASSOCIATED WITH A
TROPICAL WAVE. DEVELOPMENT...IF ANY...OF THIS DISTURBANCE IS
EXPECTED TO BE SLOW TO OCCUR AS IT MOVES GENERALLY WESTWARD AT 10
TO 15 MPH. THIS SYSTEM HAS A LOW CHANCE...10 PERCENT...OF BECOMING
A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER KIMBERLAIN
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32863
Maria down another mb to 1000mb HH getting a new center now.OK 999mb
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
BULLETIN
TROPICAL STORM MARIA INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 33A
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL142011
800 PM AST WED SEP 14 2011

...MARIA STRENGTHENS...HURRICANE WATCH ISSUED FOR BERMUDA...


SUMMARY OF 800 PM AST...0000 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...27.2N 68.9W
ABOUT 430 MI...690 KM SW OF BERMUDA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...65 MPH...100 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NNE OR 15 DEGREES AT 17 MPH...28 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...999 MB...29.50 INCHES


WATCHES AND WARNINGS
--------------------
CHANGES IN WATCHES AND WARNINGS WITH THIS ADVISORY...

THE BERMUDA WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED A HURRICANE WATCH FOR
BERMUDA.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...

A HURRICANE WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* BERMUDA

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* BERMUDA


A HURRICANE WATCH MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE
WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...IN THIS CASE WITHIN THE NEXT 12 TO 24 HOURS.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...PLEASE MONITOR
PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR NATIONAL METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32863
Quoting washingtonian115:
Okay so I checked the last page and my comment was removed.Awesome.You people really want me banned don't you.Nope don't worry.I'll do the honors.It seems when I always have an wanna stick up for myself something of mine is always removed.

Dude, I got ya back.

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Wonder whats taking the NHC with the intermediate advisory?
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32863
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Ignore.

What took ya so long to do that?

washingtonian115, How's that I list of your, been getting a few additions lately, mine has.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JLPR2:


With the exception of the Bahamas one, I agree.

I would say the Bahama's one is a disturbance.
But the merger of two tropical storms to form one in the CATL would be interesting to watch.
No ' in Bahamas.... I know u guys r doing this just to make me post.... lol
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
That could be good...in a way. If the cyclone is moving towards the northeast...that means that the circulation will move further east than currently forecast (duh, lol). Considering that Maria's entire western quadrant is void of any convective activity, if the circulation were to pass above Bermuda or just east of them, that scenario would be a lot better than if it moved west of them...similar to how the 5p.m EDT cone of uncertainty suggests.


Pretty sure its not a movement, but a wobble. Wobbles are bad news.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32863
699. JLPR2
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
That could be good...in a way. If the cyclone is moving towards the northeast...that means that the circulation will move further east than currently forecast (duh, lol). Considering that Maria's entire western quadrant is void of any convective activity, if the circulation were to pass above Bermuda or just east of them, that scenario would be a lot better than if it moved west of them...similar to how the 5p.m EDT cone of uncertainty suggests.


Well duh! My brain froze there. XD Yes, you are right, the SE side is where all the action is at.
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8747
697. DFWjc
Quoting hypercaneDOOMyGLOOM:


Especially when some blog on here 24/7 instead of living in the real world.


Some people, like me, who can't find a Full Time job, spend their time on doing something they like(like this blog). If you can't understand that, (to quote an old wrestling duo) I've got two words for you....(hold up the microphone).... LOL
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Quoting JLPR2:
This could be bad for Bermuda, the HHs found Maria is moving to the NE.
That could be good...in a way. If the cyclone is moving towards the northeast...that means that the circulation will move further east than currently forecast (duh, lol). Considering that Maria's entire western quadrant is void of any convective activity, if the circulation were to pass above Bermuda or just east of them, that scenario would be a lot better than if it moved west of them...similar to how the 5p.m EDT cone of uncertainty suggests.
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694. DFWjc
Quoting twincomanche:
I hope yu don't mind my borrowing this for Facebook?


be my guest, i've got more if ya need it, mail me..LOL
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692. j2008
Smells like trolls in here......anyway the seasons in a bit of a lull right now, so quiet down all of you "end of seasoncasters". Its not nearly the end of the season, I have a feeling that when the lull ends we could start seeing our bad hurricanes. Just look at the water temps in the Carrebean and Bahamas, its in the 90s, thats very explosive hurricane waters. Stay safe people and keep your eyes open. Back to lurking.
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New season of survivor starts in 10 min! HeHEHEHe
Member Since: May 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1193
689. JLPR2
Quoting washingtonian115:
Somehow I seriously doubt it'll happen with the waves out in the Atlantic merging together. See post 627.


Yeah, I really doubt that will happen. Also, as of now the only one that seems plausible of the two is the one that gets absorbed. The area from which it develops the other one is really weak.
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8747
Quoting jpsb:
Oh yeah, I said I remember reading last month about open resorts but it must have been in July not August. Anyway as I recall they were in Cali and I think Utah. I read that they were open thur the 4th of July and maybe longer on a three day week. I tried to find the article for you but couldn't.


Well, I do know that Aspen and Arapaho Basin were open until the 4th of July this year, but that's not unheard of... if we have a good snow year those two resorts are in the perfect settings to stay open for those who aren't afraid of taking a spill on the crusty stuff.
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Quoting DFWjc:


did you not detect the sarcasm?


LoL
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725

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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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