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 Huracaneer:
The radars for Florida are looking very strange, shows rain, but there is no rain. Wonder what causes that? Link


When there is a strong low level inversion the radar beam can be refracted towards the ground. That most often happens late in the evening and though the night. Solar heating then breaks up the inversion quickly in the morning.

That's not the only cause of that but it is the most frequent cause.
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Quoting floodzonenc:
Please don't feed them!!


55 degrees in Greenville, NC. Sending it to Miami... may take a few days b/c I couldn't afford Express Mail.

That creepy thing will forever haunt me. It's staring into my soul...
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
Concerning post #206 - seriously?! If we go back and review Dr. Master's entry for today - main idea: Thialand took it in the shorts - again. Details: how costly this natural disaster is, possible effects on world food prices, monsoon etc. Not to mention that unless you know the method in which statistis are gathered, they are just information. If you are truly interested in the statistics, you do your own research. Most statistics people quote are not very accurate when the methods of collection are examined. So - relax!
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The radars for Florida are looking very strange, shows rain, but there is no rain. Wonder what causes that? Link
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
Matthew 7:6

I prefer Matthew 7:26-27.

unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.



Please people, there are religious blogs out there. Why do you feel religion has anything to do with weather? Darwin at work I see.
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Quoting BaltimoreBrian:
I plus people a lot. I've used the minus on 3 or 4 comments.


I don't minus anyone. I just laugh my ass off at how asinine their comments are. It makes for a far more interesting pastime.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 602 Comments: 21330
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

I'm a little slow, OK? Nah, not really. :P

:P <-------- That's the most overused emoticon on this blog, apparently.
XD
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
Quoting BaltimoreBrian:
I plus people a lot. I've used the minus on 3 or 4 comments.

I know! You keep plussing mine! :P
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I plus people a lot. I've used the minus on 3 or 4 comments.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
hehe, now I can see who plussed mine and other peoples' comments :D


If you hadn't pointed that out, I likely would've never noticed. For once, something good comes out of this place.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 602 Comments: 21330
When I joined Angela Fritz commented on my second blog entry. Most people have been nice.
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Quoting daveron:



dont laugh those temps will happen and the miami discussion will include this over the weekend...


There is no will when it comes to weather..
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

You noticed that NOW? :P

I'm a little slow, OK? Nah, not really. :P
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Quoting will40:
just look at his join date enuff said


What does a join date have to do with anything? Is there some sort of hierarchy based on join dates or number of posts? To put someone down based on a join date is ridiculous and immature.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
hehe, now I can see who plussed mine and other peoples' comments :D

You noticed that NOW? :P
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
Link

13.5-14N/80-82 looks interesting!
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For those of you not interested in the current spat, I am reading Robert Louis Stevenson's account of the hurricane that wrecked the German and American fleets in Apia, Samoa during a war crisis in 1889. The hurricane that stopped a war.


You can read it here.
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west winds off the Nicaraguan coast!
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hehe, now I can see who plussed mine and other peoples' comments :D
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
Matthew 7:6


I prefer Matthew 7:26-27.

unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


Think this would reflex some sort of circulation in that area! rain starting to come down here now
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Quoting stormpetrol:


That's area I been pointing out , also I think Kman was pointing out that area also!
I guess we will have to see what tomorrow brings. Still pretty windy up here but not raining. I think most likely the rains will come in later tonight again.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8436
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Definitely seems to be trying to organize east of Nicaragua.

3 hours ago



now



That's area I been pointing out , also I think Kman was pointing out that area also!
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Anyone with a basic college education, and who is familiar with proper in-text citation knows and understands what the professor was referring to. The passage in question is properly cited and not materially incorrect. A little reading comprehension helps, and goes a long way towards not appearing to be a jackbutt.
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275. nymore

yea nuthead you been here 3 months and accuse Dr Jeff of trying to pass something off on someone
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Quoting will40:
just look at his join date enuff said
so if someone who joined in say 2003 said you were wrong you would wrong
Member Since: July 6, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2260
Quoting BahaHurican:
Nah... don't feel like moving to Freeport or Abaco just yet.... lol... u could always move further south, to Exuma or Long Island... lol



There's still a lot of vorticity on the other side of Central America, I note. That's not going to help much in getting anything organized quickly....


Well, if I could I would lol.
In my defense, I meant .. Florida or something :P

Edit: ooooh, then your name would make no sense anymore. ahhh, sucks. :P
Member Since: July 18, 2010 Posts: 50 Comments: 1909
Quoting Unfriendly:
@nymore -

stating that his blog has no credibility is complete and utter BS. Looks to me like you successfully stirred the pot- good for you. Do you REALLY have that much of a problem with this, or are you just bored and overexaggerating your opinion for trolling purposes?
no I said how can this blog be credible when I can not believe you.
Member Since: July 6, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2260
just look at his join date enuff said
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Quoting wn1995:


Chill.
If he wants to take a cheap shot I will too. I have been respectful with my explanation.
Member Since: July 6, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2260
@nymore -

stating that his blog has no credibility is complete and utter BS. Looks to me like you successfully stirred the pot- good for you. Do you REALLY have that much of a problem with this, or are you just bored and overexaggerating your opinion for trolling purposes?
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Matthew 7:6
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Quoting nymore:
Hey bright boy you did not catch it did you. I found the problem did you?


Chill.
Member Since: July 17, 2011 Posts: 1 Comments: 207
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:

Do you really expect someone who can't figure out the graph to know that word?
Hey bright boy you did not catch it did you. I found the problem did you?
Member Since: July 6, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2260
Quoting Neapolitan:

Well, it's definitely not lower; as indicated, the current floods are currently estimated to have caused more than four times as much property damage in Thailand as the number two item on the list. But, again, because Dr. Masters repeatedly posted direct links to the data he used, it's a little far-fetched to accuse him of trying to "pull a fast one over" on anyone; he simply took the official estimate of the current damage and added it atop the official list of natural disasters, which is obviously where it's going to end up within a matter of days. I suppose he could have been a bit more clear in captioning the table to note that the top line was his own, but I'd suggest that people finding things that bother them simply bring it to his attention in a WU message rather than trying to publicly accuse him of chicanery. As others have stated, he's very responsive that way.

Do you really expect someone who can't figure out the graph to know that word?
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Quoting nymore:
While I may have been wrong with how I handled it. How many of you took it as fact and accepted it without ever checking on the actual facts. This is part of the problem with the world a bunch of sheep believing whatever someone tells them
IMO, the facts as presented by the Doc are correct. He sourced, explicitly, where he got the information on both the current event and the information on prior events. Clarity, on the other hand.... well, that can be improved.

Either way, I emailed the doc about it. Let's see what he says / does.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22734
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Definitely seems to be trying to organize east of Nicaragua.

3 hours ago



now



Levi mentioned the 2 areas of low pressure on his daily video updates. He thought they would merge into one,most probably off coast of Yucatan/Honduras,and then it would start organizing.
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5248
Quoting zoomiami:
Hello all--

Haven't updated the google maps in the last two years -- actually not easy to find the info!

A quick looks tells me that we didn't have anyone is Washington state, Montana, Utah, North & South Dakota, possibly Vermont and a few others.

The info on from admin only works if they fill in where they are from on their profile -- which is not required.


There are definitely people from Vermont in the northeast weather blogs, like Blizzard92's blog.
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283 dead as of this morning in Thailand from the flooding. That's awful!

Amazing that Thailand doubled their population in past 45 years and became the world's largest exporter of rice.
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Quoting Neapolitan:

Well, it's definitely not lower; as indicated, the current floods are currently estimated to have caused more than four times as much property damage in Thailand as the number two item on the list. But, again, because Dr. Masters repeatedly posted direct links to the data he used, it's a little far-fetched to accuse him of trying to "pull a fast one over" on anyone; he simply took the official estimate of the current damage and added it atop the official list of natural disasters, which is obviously where it's going to end up within a matter of days. I suppose he could have been a bit more clear in captioning the table to note that the top line was his own, but I'd suggest that people finding things that bother them simply bring it to his attention in a WU message rather than trying to publicly accuse him of chicanery. As others have stated, he's very responsive that way.
While I may have been wrong with how I handled it. How many of you took it as fact and accepted it without ever checking on the actual facts. This is part of the problem with the world a bunch of sheep believing whatever someone tells them
Member Since: July 6, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2260
Quoting Thrawst:


Mehhh, I like beach weather... much more than the cold. If ya like cold, move up north haha.
Nah... don't feel like moving to Freeport or Abaco just yet.... lol... u could always move further south, to Exuma or Long Island... lol



Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Definitely seems to be trying to organize east of Nicaragua.

3 hours ago



now

There's still a lot of vorticity on the other side of Central America, I note. That's not going to help much in getting anything organized quickly....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22734
Quoting zoomiami:
Hello all--

Haven't updated the google maps in the last two years -- actually not easy to find the info!

A quick looks tells me that we didn't have anyone is Washington state, Montana, Utah, North & South Dakota, possibly Vermont and a few others.

The info on from admin only works if they fill in where they are from on their profile -- which is not required.
Hey, zoo! Long time no see... lol

These days we have at least 1 main blogger from MT, ND, and, IIRC, UT. WA, SD, I doubt. VT, can't remember off the top of my head. Oh, and IA... lol

That list only works for pple who have posted blogs, too... so like 4 bloggers from the Bahamas are not on the admin's list.

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22734
Hello all--

Haven't updated the google maps in the last two years -- actually not easy to find the info!

A quick looks tells me that we didn't have anyone is Washington state, Montana, Utah, North & South Dakota, possibly Vermont and a few others.

The info on from admin only works if they fill in where they are from on their profile -- which is not required.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Definitely seems to be trying to organize east of Nicaragua.

3 hours ago



now

Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8436
Quoting nymore:
While it may be higher or lower does not matter what matters is it is not posted on Cred's website when it is you can use that number until then you can not. You just did the same thing he did and added your own number. Question: is this how news or science works? If it is god help us all as they say.

Well, it's definitely not lower; as indicated, the current floods are currently estimated to have caused more than four times as much property damage in Thailand as the number two item on the list. But, again, because Dr. Masters repeatedly posted direct links to the data he used, it's a little far-fetched to accuse him of trying to "pull a fast one over" on anyone; he simply took the official estimate of the current damage and added it atop the official list of natural disasters, which is obviously where it's going to end up within a matter of days. I suppose he could have been a bit more clear in captioning the table to note that the top line was his own, but I'd suggest that people finding things that bother them simply bring it to his attention in a WU message rather than trying to publicly accuse him of chicanery. As others have stated, he's very responsive that way.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13803
Quoting BahaHurican:
LOL... how about next week.... much closer... lol



Mehhh, I like beach weather... much more than the cold. If ya like cold, move up north haha.
Member Since: July 18, 2010 Posts: 50 Comments: 1909
Quoting Thrawst:


December. :=)
LOL... how about next week.... much closer... lol

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22734

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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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