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 Thrawst:


Stupidly, I decided to play some tennis under the anvil of that storm. I got soaked and thunder was loud, but nothing too incredibly close, thank god. lol.

I hope you were not using a metal racquet!
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Can't rule out a track like this for our Caribbean disturbance, perhaps same tropical storm intensity too.

1988 Tropical Storm Keith
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
TampaSpin, shear is not that bad.



Decreasing.



PLUS, looks like there is a developing anticyclone too.


I like that highly scientific term you use. Thingy :)


Ya i like the chances there in the Central Caribbean than the blob on the Yucatan....We will see over the next couple of days.
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TampaSpin, shear is not that bad.



Decreasing.



PLUS, looks like there is a developing anticyclone too.


I like that highly scientific term you use. Thingy :)
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Quoting stormpetrol:
I think whatever circulation there is trying to get going at 15N/82W, jmo

yeah I am thinking in around that area I had it more at 14N 80/81W
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We're in clear spot for now , though I suspect more rain and squalls are on the way
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Looks like the thingy in the Caribbean is a bit more organized. Land interaction is hurting it bad. Its gonna be a slow developer until we get it off shore with a little less shear. It appears the Shear is gonna stay about the same and even increase in about 3-4 days!

Just maybe the blob in the Central Caribbean might have a better chance as it has some 850mb vorticity and there is much better Convergence and Divergence as one can see below while comparing the other thingy near the Yucatan. I think the Central Caribbean has a better chance.









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I think whatever circulation there is trying to get going at 15N/82W, jmo
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Annual rainfall map (Southern Florida)
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Quoting seflagamma:


Maybe points further north but SE Florida my forcast for middle of next week is same as this week since we "cooled down" .. high's in mid 80's and lowers in low to mid 70's for next Wedesnday and Wednesday night.

going home last night at 7pm it was still 89 degrees...
but we did cool down a little and only suppose to hit mid 80's today and tomorrow.

Good morning everyone, thanks for the update Dr Jeff...


All of Florida was either dark green or blue on the moisture map after last weekends rains except for the Panhandle which is still orange and red (bad)...
of course, now the blues have turned green and dark greens turning light green..but still our state except for panhandle is in good shape as far as rainfall and moisture.

The only real "drought" is in Panhandle..
Drought it has been lifted for all the rest of the state which is good going into the dry season in a few weeks.





Every year is different though, October is historically the driest or Second driest month of year here. However, the weather pattern this year are supporting rain to remain prevalent for Florida in the form of fronts/low pressure systems even though the wet season is over. Remember, even Florida's dry season can get rainy, its just its usually dry most of the time.
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Weather Update
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Quoting bohonkweatherman:
Palm Beach has had 36 inches this year, is that dry for your area? The 2 to 3 inches we have had around here has actually turned some of the grass on the side of the roads green which decreases the chances of fires. Problem around here is now very dry air has settled into South Central Texas, temps are cooler but hard to get any rain when you have no moisture in the air, LOL. Happy Friday to all.


That's very dry, I'm pretty sure palm beach gets nearly double that on average per year, around 60.

At my place in Central Florida we've had 68 inches so far, I guess the rain in Florida has really "played favorites" this year.
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NAM at 84 hours (end of current run)
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hey guys expect some rise in pressure and decrease in convection you may already know we are entering the peak of D-Min
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Quoting Thrawst:


Stupidly, I decided to play some tennis under the anvil of that storm. I got soaked and thunder was loud, but nothing too incredibly close, thank god. lol.
LOL.... when I saw the sky building up ur way, I cut short my outside plans... lol

Rain's held up a little here now...
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and lots of rain off the east coast..

18Z Nogaps
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:




1006 and falling.
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Quoting Sfloridacat5:
And at day 5 (120 hours) front moving through Florida clearing out the state from the Northwest.


Look how low the 850MB Freezing line comes! What a nice relief from the heat!
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freeze line pretty far south there in that post

183. Sfloridacat5 10:23 PM GMT on October 14, 2011
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18Z Nogaps with potential caribbean disturbance

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Looks like the Western Caribbean disturbance will be slow to develop. I am expecting the thunderstorm activity to slowly start organizing and consolidating over the next couple of days. May see an invest within 24-48 hours, and there is a decent chance it becomes named at some point in the future. Will be interesting to watch.
Member Since: July 17, 2011 Posts: 1 Comments: 207
And at day 5 (120 hours) front moving through Florida clearing out the state from the Northwest.
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Wow what an interesting rain storm yesterday.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Some pretty hefty lightning at my place now... not trying to stand out there to actually get a decent pic, though.... lol



Stupidly, I decided to play some tennis under the anvil of that storm. I got soaked and thunder was loud, but nothing too incredibly close, thank god. lol.
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the first noreastern of the season

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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:



http://www.wunderground.com/blog/index.html?range =locale#mem

shows 26 from South Dakota, but only 6 from Iowa....
So we have a serial troll from SD? Are there 26 people left in SD?
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
GFS at 108 hours, low still holding tuff in the Bay of Champeche, rain has now spread across the GOM into the S.E. joining up with the front coming down.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Ohoh... didn't realize they'd added this! Wonder if any of the 32 post in the main blog.... lol

We're getting light showers right now... pretty much dark at this point.
That feature has been there for quit a while, maybe since before I joined.
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
Will the 850 mb map show me the surface winds?
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GFS at 87 hours, little change but a secondary low over the Yucatan and rain spreading out towards Fl.
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GFS is holding tuff with a low in the Bay of Campeche in 63 hours.

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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:



http://www.wunderground.com/blog/index.html?range =locale#mem

shows 26 from South Dakota, but only 6 from Iowa....
Ohoh... didn't realize they'd added this! Wonder if any of the 32 post in the main blog.... lol

We're getting light showers right now... pretty much dark at this point.
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172. 7544
Quoting islander101010:
low pressure over the yucatan is easy to spot on todays visiable loop


may be our new invest soon model runs should be interesting

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Quoting BahaHurican:
Thought so.... lol

I really think it's only SD.



http://www.wunderground.com/blog/index.html?range =locale#mem

shows 26 from South Dakota, but only 6 from Iowa....
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Quoting 47n91w:


Or AussieStorm's post.
Hey, I'd forgotten about this.... and pple have been adding. There's bunches more pple in the Caribbean - almost all the lesser Antilles, all the greater Antilles countries except possibly Cuba [though somebody used to post from Guantanamo a few years ago], Caymans [course lol] Belize, Honduras, MX - almost every country in the area is represented, even though they haven't put info up on Aussie's list. Oh, and the Bahamas/TCI and Bermuda. AFAIK, we don't have anybody posting from West Africa [which would be really cool in the CV part of the season.
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Quoting Abacosurf:
http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/show_plot.php?station=42 05 6&meas=wdpr&uom=E&time_diff=-5&tim e_label=CDT

29.70 42056 buoy. winds rising too.


Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31982
http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/show_plot.php?station=4205 6&meas=wdpr&uom=E&time_diff=-5&time_label=CDT

29.70 42056 buoy. winds rising too.
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166. j2008
Quoting BahaHurican:
Thought so.... lol

I really think it's only SD.

Well Ill be back tonight, I have some work to do..
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Quoting j2008:

Nope, AZ is here!!
Thought so.... lol

I really think it's only SD.
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Setting up to be a wet pattern on east coast next week..last GFS run had two lows passing through NC..
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163. j2008
Quoting BahaHurican:
I started to add, I think the only states where we don't have at least seasonal bloggers that I can remember are Iowa [though I keep thinking there's somebody there I'm forgetting] and SD.... just about every other state's represented... maybe not AZ??? WA???? But definitely somebody blogs or posts from just about everywhere else...

Nope, AZ is here!!
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Quoting BahaHurican:
This reminds me of zoomiami's WunderBlogger map. I think Orca has it up on his blog too. It shows locations for all the Wunderbloggers who sent in their information. Course, a lot of the newer bloggers may not be on...


Or AussieStorm's post.
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Quoting RadarRich:

155. BahaHurican
This reminds me of zoomiami's WunderBlogger map. I think Orca has it up on his blog too. It shows locations for all the Wunderbloggers who sent in their information. Course, a lot of the newer bloggers may not be on...


That's right,I do recall her/him doing the location map last year. Disregard my idea, since there is actually no way to account for each person's location in a timely manner... the zoomiami's map is the way to go.
Anyways, carry onward, and upward
I started to add, I think the only states where we don't have at least seasonal bloggers that I can remember are Iowa [though I keep thinking there's somebody there I'm forgetting] and SD.... just about every other state's represented... maybe not AZ??? WA???? But definitely somebody blogs or posts from just about everywhere else...
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A lot of activity in the area, though Caymans seem to be in the clear for now.




Visible.
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155. BahaHurican
This reminds me of zoomiami's WunderBlogger map. I think Orca has it up on his blog too. It shows locations for all the Wunderbloggers who sent in their information. Course, a lot of the newer bloggers may not be on...


That's right,I do recall her/him doing the location map last year. Disregard my idea, since there is actually no way to account for each person's location in a timely manner... the zoomiami's map is the way to go.
Anyways, carry onward, and upward
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Even though very overcast here, it's still remarkably humid... normally I don't even notice it, but perhaps it's so obvious this week because we've been getting a front or two with drier air behind passing through to create some contrast.
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JnCali- The beach looks much the same except for some larger hotel & condo' developments(since your photo - 02). I also think the large boat behind your little fellow may have fallen victim to Ivan in '04.That was once one of the older generation dive boats,that ran off the beach area.
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Kman. It seems this season most of the forecasts are running ahead of the schedule to what old mother nature actually ends up delivering? I don't mind the stormy weather though, allows the AC to be shut down & the windows at the house opened up.Nice cool & breezy day for us today
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Quoting RadarRich:
Way off topic:
Kinda curious out of all of the
50 United States of America
How many states are represented here on the Weather Underground. Chime in if you like and see if we get them all? Like I said, just a curiosity factor.

Slow day in the tropics, somewhat, still watching the NW Caribbean, of course

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
This reminds me of zoomiami's WunderBlogger map. I think Orca has it up on his blog too. It shows locations for all the Wunderbloggers who sent in their information. Course, a lot of the newer bloggers may not be on...
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Looking North, Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman 2002 My 2 little guys enjoying the incredibly soft sand.. kinda difficult to build a descent sand castle with it though!
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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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