Thailand flood its most expensive in history; Western Caribbean disturbance develops

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:03 PM GMT on October 14, 2011

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Heavy rains in Thailand during September and October have led to extreme flooding that has killed 283 people and caused that nation's most expensive natural disaster in history. On Tuesday, Thailand's finance minister put the damage from the floods at $3.9 billion. This makes the floods of 2011 the most expensive disaster in Thai history, surpassing the $1.3 billion price tag of the November 27, 1993 flood, according to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED). Floodwaters have swamped fields and cities in 61 of Thailand's 77 provinces, affected 8.2 million people, and damaged approximately 10% of the nation's rice crop. Thailand is the world's largest exporter of rice, so the disaster may put further upward pressure on world food prices, which are already at the highest levels since the late 1970s. Some of the highest tides of the month occur this weekend in the capital of Bangkok, and the additional pressure that incoming salt water puts on the flood walls protecting the city is a major concern. A moderate monsoon flow continues over Southeast Asia, and the latest GFS model precipitation forecast foresees an additional 2 - 5 inches of rain over most of Thailand during the next three days.


Figure 1. Thailand's Chao Phraya River forms at the confluence of smaller rivers near Nakhon Sawan and flows past Bangkok to the Gulf of Thailand. Floodwalls meant to contain the river collapsed in downtown Nakhon Sawan, the Bangkok Post reported on October 11, 2011. The aftermath of the burst floodwalls left the city looking like a lake. As rivers overflowed in Thailand, the Tônlé Sab (Tonle Sap) lake in neighboring Cambodia (lower right of images) overflowed. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite captured these images on October 11, 2011, and October 8, 2010. These images use a combination of visible and infrared light to better distinguish between water and land. Vegetation is green, and clouds are pale blue-green. Water is dark blue. In 2011, water rests on floodplains between Phitsanulok and Nakhon Sawan. Image credit: NASA.

Heavy rains due to an active monsoon and moisture from tropical cyclones
Rainfall in September peaked at 574.3mm (22.61") at Nong Kai in Northeastern Thailand, 501mm (19.72") at Uttardit in Northern Thailand, and 1446.7mm (56.96") in Eastern Thailand. For these regions, precipitation averaged 40 - 46% above normal in September. In the week ending Oct. 13, an additional 4 - 8" fell in Central and Thailand, where the capital of Bangkok lies. On Thursday, 38 mm (1.53") fell in Bangkok, and rainfall amounts of 1 - 3" fell over much of Central Thailand. Heavy monsoon rains are common in Thailand and Southeast Asia during La Niña events, and we currently have a weak La Niña event occurring. Ocean temperatures in the waters surrounding Thailand during September and October have been approximately 0.3°C above average, which has increased rainfall amounts by putting more water vapor into the air. The remains of Tropical Storm Haitang and Typhoon Nesat also brought heavy rains in late September. The flooding has also affected neighboring Cambodia, killing at least 183 people. Floods have also killed 18 in Vietnam and 30 in Laos this fall.

The Atlantic.com has some remarkable photos of the flooding in Thailand.


Figure 2. Top ten most expensive natural disasters in Thailand since 1900, as tabulated by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED). This month's disaster (number one on the table above) is not yet in the CRED data base.

Hurricane Jova kills five in Mexico, but damage limited
Hurricane Jova killed five people in Mexico but damage was less than expected, amounting to less than $52 million, according to AIR-Worldwide. Jova hit the Pacific coast of Mexico Tuesday night as a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds. Wunderblogger Mike Theiss rode out the storm on the coast, and has a a great post on his experience, which I excerpt here: "the winds suddenly picked up fiercely and started pounding the building I took shelter in. The surf ran way up on the beach and the waves were pounding the buildings and spraying up over everything at the pool. The wind was screaming and howling and the glass was flying. The Spanish tiles were getting ripped off the roof and all the glass light fixture were popping like balloons."


Figure 3. Mudslide from Hurricane Jova covers a road near Mazanillo, Mexico. Image credit: Mike Theiss.

Invest 94L in the Atlantic no threat
An area of disturbed weather (Invest 94L) between North Carolina and Bermuda is moving quickly to the northeast at 15 - 20 mph. This system has a modest amount of heavy thunderstorm activity and a the beginnings of a surface circulation, as seen on recent visible satellite imagery. Conditions are marginal for this to develop into a tropical depression, as wind shear is a high 20 - 30 knots, and ocean temperatures are at the lower limit for develoment, 26.5°C (80°F.) NHC is giving 94L a 20% chance of developing.

Western Caribbean disturbance
In the Western Caribbean, a large area of disturbed weather associated with a low pressure system has developed. Moisture from Tropical Depression 12-E, which moved inland near the Mexico/Guatemala border and dissipated on Wednesday, is invigorating the Western Caribbean low. Heavy rains from the low are affecting much of Central America, Cuba, and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, and these rains will probably intensify over the weekend as the low moves slowly northwest and gradually develops. The low is too large to develop quickly, and NHC is giving the system just a 20% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Sunday. Most of the models predict only weak development of the storm, since wind shear is currently a high 20 - 25 knots, and is expected to be in the moderate to high range, 15 - 25 knots, over the next three days. Rains from the storm are already affecting the Florida Keys, as seen on long-range Key West radar. A personal weather station on Grand Cayman Island has picked up 0.87" of rain so far this morning from the storm. Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and Western Cuba will see the heaviest rains from the disturbance over the weekend, and South Florida could see heavy rains of 2 - 4 inches on Sunday and Monday.

Jeff Masters

Bridge out (MrOgopogo)
The main bridge connecting Santiago and Salagua, washed out, closed even to foot traffic
Bridge out
Lake Las Hadas (MrOgopogo)
Flooding after the near miss by Jova
Lake Las Hadas

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Quoting AussieStorm:
What does this look like. Storm cell outside Brisbane.







Photo's credit to @dyabolikarl


Ahhh I remember these after living near Ippy, Independence day style southerly storms and the massive westerlies.......
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Good thing it's a Saturday.

Cruises from Miami to the western Caribbean stop at Cozumel and Belize mid week.

tough sleddin' in that part of the world today peeps.
Member Since: July 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 645
NAM 39 hours, very little change
Member Since: September 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8805
Quoting indianrivguy:


hmmm, moisture filling up the Florida straights by tomorrow... the entire mess will have to move due north to fulfill the 5 day noaa precip forecast.


Hopefully Lake O will get some needed rain this weekend.
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Quoting Sfloridacat5:
NAM at 27 hours


hmmm, moisture filling up the Florida straights by tomorrow... the entire mess will have to move due north to fulfill the 5 day noaa precip forecast.
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The W.Caribbean Low is very broad and will probably take another 24-48 hours for it to develop into a tropical system.
Something else to notice is the fact that it will run into strong Southwesterly shear after 48 hours. A sheared Tropical Depression or weak Tropical Storm at best. IMO
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Quoting interstatelover7165:
Looks Like You need to go back th the future P.S. Oops!

LOL, Soz, All fixed. Some say we are 10yrs behind you guys.
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NAM at 27 hours
Member Since: September 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8805
Quoting indianrivguy:


Looks like most of areas missed by last weeks no name event will be catching up.

Mornin' Tim, the precipitable moisture and water vapor loops are my favorite loops. Moisture is the lifeblood of tropical systems and I watch it closely.


HEY BROTHER! Wish i could chat more...but gotta be somewhere at 11pm........have a great day and keep the Blog honest....have a good one....:)
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NAM at 15 hours
Member Since: September 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8805
Quoting TampaSpin:



Here is the Cold front and Tropical system combined for Florida .........WOW!


Looks like most of areas missed by last weeks no name event will be catching up.

Mornin' Tim, the precipitable moisture and water vapor loops are my favorite loops. Moisture is the lifeblood of tropical systems and I watch it closely.
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Quoting Abacosurf:
Major rain surging north through the FL keys. Wonder if it will reach Naples today??


I dought it. It should be a fairly nice day in Naples with high clouds over head.
Tomorrow the rains could start moving into the area.
Member Since: September 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8805
Quoting BenBIogger:






Again slightly higher than 24hrs ago.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Good morning NOAA Invest...how's it going?



Its an impressive invest for sure, but it doesn't have much of a shot at developing.
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Here is the Cold front and Tropical system combined for Florida .........WOW!
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Quoting TampaSpin:
I just posted this on my web!


We currently only have 1 main concern to watch and that is located in the Western Caribbean although there is another spinner trying to organize in the Central Atlantic that will only be short lived because of hostile environment conditions it will be approaching.

The thingy in the Western Caribbean is starting to concern me some! Although it is not very organized and does not show any hurry to do so, there is a cold front that will be approaching the GOM about Tuesday or Wednesday. This Cold Front will pick up what ever it might be and sling it toward Florida. The Added energy it will bring to the approaching Cold front could make for some very SEVERE WEATHER for Florida about Wednesday or Thursday. Get your Weather Radios fired up by Tuesday gang as this could get pretty nasty if i am correct and hope i am not!
out of here by? thursday afternoon
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 4986
Quoting TampaSpin:


Actually pressures are higher than they were 24hrs ago and rising.




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looks like our carribean disturbance has developed a MLC just to the SE of cancun. looks to me we may very well have a tropical depression very very soon looks like tomorrow , convection has become concentrated
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west coast of s mex all the way south to nicaraqua is still getting pounded with heavy rain.
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 4986
Quoting AussieStorm:

12:13EDST Sunday October 16 2001
Looks Like You need to go back th the future P.S. Oops!
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Quoting gulfbreeze:
It's going to be kicked back into the Carib.


NEARLY EVERY MODEL kicks it over Florida!
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I just posted this on my web!


We currently only have 1 main concern to watch and that is located in the Western Caribbean although there is another spinner trying to organize in the Central Atlantic that will only be short lived because of hostile environment conditions it will be approaching.

The thingy in the Western Caribbean is starting to concern me some! Although it is not very organized and does not show any hurry to do so, there is a cold front that will be approaching the GOM about Tuesday or Wednesday. This Cold Front will pick up what ever it might be and sling it toward Florida. The Added energy it will bring to the approaching Cold front could make for some very SEVERE WEATHER for Florida about Wednesday or Thursday. Get your Weather Radios fired up by Tuesday gang as this could get pretty nasty if i am correct and hope i am not!
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Quoting AussieStorm:
What does this look like. Storm cell outside Brisbane.







Photo's credit to @dyabolikarl

Those are phenomenal pictures. Those are of a shelf cloud, which can be a sign of strong, damaging winds to come.
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The new icons are very... visible.

The season really seems to be winding down. No surprise October has been nothing to shout about - any student of hurricane history would have known this would be the most likely outcome.

Still think you'll at least see one more somewhere.

Never been a season to end on 17 storms before, oddly. Wonder if that'll be broken this year.
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Morning errybody! Hot and humid in Nassau right now, with storms already lurking to our NW. expect them to backbuild to the south east. In for a soaker today.
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Major rain surging north through the FL keys. Wonder if it will reach Naples today??
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Quoting TampaSpin:


I keep it up an running on my website.......one of the first graphics i look at, HONESTLY!


It's pretty good.. and telling.

I've seen it on the blog a few times, and I found it over with all the other CIMSS stuff.

I've always liked this one.
Member Since: July 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 645
Quoting AussieStorm:

12:13EDST Sunday October 16 2001


So are you in New South Wales?

My wife and I are enamored with Australia and plan to go there in about 2 or 3 years.

BTW, they showed the Australian football finals on TV a couple weeks ago. Awesome sport. From my avatar, you can tell I was pulling for Geelong :)
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Quoting TampaSpin:
When the Cold front come thru toward Florida next week about Wednesday the thingy in the Western Caribbean will get kicked toward Florida........We might have some pretty rough weather for Florida for about Thursday with the combinations of the two!
It's going to be kicked back into the Carib.
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Quoting whepton3:


On this product you can really see the broad movement E of Central America and the Yucatan.


I keep it up an running on my website.......one of the first graphics i look at, HONESTLY!
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Good morning NOAA Invest...how's it going?

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When the Cold front come thru toward Florida next week about Wednesday the thingy in the Western Caribbean will get kicked toward Florida........We might have some pretty rough weather for Florida for about Thursday with the combinations of the two!
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Quoting TampaSpin:



Things are slowly tightening up in the Western Caribbean and the Central Atlantic has a spinner trying but will probably be short lived considering the hostile environment its about to enter.


On this product you can really see the broad movement E of Central America and the Yucatan.
Member Since: July 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 645
Quoting Neapolitan:

Assuming you're talking about the image in 402, I think those are overhead transmission lines. They appear incomplete as parts of them are blown out by the overexposure on the sunny strip beneath the shelf cloud.

Nice photos, Aussie. The turbulent underside of that shelf cloud (first image in 404) is really nice. Isn't spring nice?

Your are correct. I love the 2nd half of Spring, Summer and the 1st half of Autumn.
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Them are some incredibly high Power lines in Pic 402 that i have never seen before if they be Power Lines......WOW
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Really NO 24 hour change!


I know... I had seen 1008 at about this time yesterday at the same buoys.

I really thought with things tying to concentrate on the SAT loops it might get a bit lower than 1007 when I went on my buoy hunt.
Member Since: July 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 645
Quoting floodzonenc:


Cool picture. What are those images that run parallel to the cloud base? Also show up on the lower right.

It almost seems like a plane taking off with super long exposure.

Assuming you're talking about the image in 402, I think those are overhead transmission lines. They appear incomplete as parts of them are blown out by the overexposure on the sunny strip beneath the shelf cloud.

Nice photos, Aussie. The turbulent underside of that shelf cloud (first image in 404) is really nice. Isn't spring nice?
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13720
Quoting floodzonenc:
What time is it where you live Aussie? 11 pm?


12:13EDST Sunday October 16 2011
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Quoting whepton3:
Down to 1007 MB at these two buoys:

Link

roughly SE of Cozumel

Link

further out in the water but roughly E of Belize.


Actually pressures are higher than they were 24hrs ago and rising.
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Quoting floodzonenc:


Cool picture. What are those images that run parallel to the cloud base? Also show up on the lower right.

It almost seems like a plane taking off with super long exposure.

They are High tension power-lines.
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Quoting whepton3:
Down to 1007 MB at these two buoys:

Link

roughly SE of Cozumel

Link

further out in the water but roughly E of Belize.


Really NO 24 hour change!
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Quoting AussieStorm:
What does this look like. Storm cell outside Brisbane.







Photo's credit to @dyabolikarl



Looks like a classic severe thunderstorm with a well developed gust front. Strong straight line winds are common with this type cloud structure.
The first picture is made up of mammatus clouds also associated with severe weather.
Member Since: September 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8805



Things are slowly tightening up in the Western Caribbean and the Central Atlantic has a spinner trying but will probably be short lived considering the hostile environment its about to enter.
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Down to 1007 MB at these two buoys:

Link

roughly SE of Cozumel

Link

further out in the water but roughly E of Belize.
Member Since: July 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 645
What time is it where you live Aussie? 11 pm?

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Quoting AussieStorm:
What does this look like. Storm cell outside Brisbane.







Photo's credit to @dyabolikarl


The bottom one is breathtaking... that wall of clouds is just tremendous.
Member Since: July 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 645
Wow, fabulous pics Aussie, thanks.. and good evening sir!
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Quoting AussieStorm:
Photo credit to @RobertHoge, Storm cell passing over Brisbane Today.



Cool picture. What are those images that run parallel to the cloud base? Also show up on the lower right.

It almost seems like a plane taking off with super long exposure.
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Quoting AussieStorm:
What does this look like. Storm cell outside Brisbane.



Photo credit to @dyabolikarl


Two great pics.

Member Since: July 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 645
Quoting pottery:

CATL is about to run into some dry air soon.
Looks to be gone by tomorrow....


There's now a floater on it... so we can watch its demise.

That's a lot of bone dry air about a day out.
Member Since: July 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 645
What does this look like. Storm cell outside Brisbane.







Photo's credit to @dyabolikarl
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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.