Tropical Storm Chris forms; little change to Cuba disturbance; Duluth floods

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:33 PM GMT on June 20, 2012

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Tropical Storm Chris formed Tuesday evening from a extratropical storm that spent enough time over waters of 24 - 26°C to acquire tropical characteristics. Chris is headed eastwards, out to sea, and will not trouble any land areas. Only twice before, in 1887 and 1959, has the third storm of the season formed earlier than this date. Formation of three tropical storms so early in the year is not necessarily a harbinger of an active season; 1959 was close to average, with 12 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes (average is 11 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes.) Unusual levels of early season activity in the Caribbean and between Africa and the Lesser Antilles usually portends a very active hurricane season, but this year's storms have not formed in this region. Alberto, Beryl, and Chris all formed off the U.S. East Coast.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of Chris.

Disturbance near Cuba will bring heavy rains to Florida
An area of low pressure and heavy thunderstorms centered just south of Cuba has changed little since Tuesday, and is bringing sporadic heavy rains to Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, South Florida, the Southern Bahamas, and Cuba. This disturbance will need to be watched for development as it drifts slowly northwest at about 5 mph and enters the Gulf of Mexico late this week. The disturbance is poorly organized, and has only a modest area of heavy thunderstorms. Wind shear is a moderate to high 15 - 25 knots over the region, and the shear is predicted to remain in the moderate to high range for the next three days along the disturbance's path. Water vapor satellite loops show a region of dry air over the Southern Gulf of Mexico; strong upper-level winds out of the northwest are bringing some of this dry air into the vicinity of the disturbance, which is interfering with development. NHC is giving the disturbance a 20% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Friday morning. As the disturbance reaches the waters off the southwest coast of Florida this weekend, a strong trough of low pressure pushing off of the U.S. East Coast will be capable of grabbing the storm and accelerating it to the northeast. This is the solution of the GFS model, which takes the storm across Florida on Sunday, and into the waters off the coast of South Carolina by Monday, with the disturbance developing into a tropical or subtropical storm off the coast of South Carolina. None of the other reliable computer models is showing development of the disturbance into a tropical depression. I think it is unlikely that heavy rains from this disturbance will affect Louisiana and Texas, but it will bring heavy rains to Southwest Florida and Cuba over the next five days.


Figure 2. Morning satellite image of the tropical disturbance near Cuba.


Figure 3. Rainfall for the 5-day period ending at 8am EDT Monday as predicted by NOAA's Hydrometeorological Prediction Center. Amounts in excess of five inches (orange colors) are predicted for Southwest Florida, with an area of ten inches (yellow colors) just off the coast.

Major flooding in Duluth, Minnesota
A serious flood emergency is occurring in Duluth, Minnesota. A series of "training" thunderstorms that all passed over the same region have dumped 4 - 5 inches of rain over a wide swath of Northern Minnesota overnight and early this morning. Nearly 8 inches of rain fell in the Denfeld area of western Duluth. This is more rain than fell in the city's previous worst flood on record, which occurred August 20, 1972. Major flooding is occurring, and only emergency travel is recommended in the city due to flooded roads. A flash flood warning from the Duluth National Weather Service issued at 7am CDT said this:

We cannot stress what a major threat this is for the city of Duluth
and along the North Shore. Aging infrastructure will also play a
part in the flood threat... especially on the hillside. Highway 61
remains closed in spots with washouts... overflowing streams and
rivers...washed out culverts and washed out roads. Just because you
might be able to travel to a destination now... does not mean you
will make it in one to two hours. This is how fast this situation
may deteriorate as more rainfall moves in from the west. There is
the potential for several more inches of rain today and the utility
system and the saturated ground cannot take much more rain.


According to wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, the all-time 24 hour precipitation record for Duluth is 5.79" on 8/22 - 8/23 1978; 4.14" was recorded on Tuesday at the airport.


Figure 4. Radar-estimated rainfall from the Duluth, Minnesota radar.

Jeff Masters

storm damage June 19 (CythiaSue)
there is another car buried on the other side of the road. This is just some of the storm damage from a 4 am rain and thunderstorm
storm damage June 19

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The definition sometimes between tropical and sub-tropical are so tedious and fickle that it's very hard to tell the difference.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23898
Quoting Levi32:


My point is that I don't think he is a fully tropical cyclone, just a well-organized hybrid.


kinda like 1991 perfect storm?... that hit me a few months after I was born :)
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Quoting Patrap:


Thanks for those 2 Patrap
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Quoting Levi32:


My point is that I don't think he is a fully tropical cyclone, just a well-organized hybrid.

Gotcha. Muchas gracias for taking the time to explain. :)
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1835. Levi32
Quoting jeffs713:


Thanks. I didn't notice how Alberto had anticyclonic outflow at one point.

Of course... if Chris is so shallow, and doesn't have anticyclonic outflow... why designate him as fully tropical? Or am I missing something somewhere in my nursing-textbook-induced daze?


My point is that I don't think he is a fully tropical cyclone, just a well-organized hybrid.
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1834. docrod
good eve blog (headed for bed) - just some personal notes, there has been very little rain here in the middle Florida Keys the past two days regarding this recent wave. Most of the rain has been to the west and Miami area. I'm actually hoping for significant rain to fill a new cistern I've created (2000 gallons) for a huge gardening project. - take care
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Quoting Dragod66:
ahhh... the wait. F5,F5,F5..
Either now or never for Chris. Suspense is killing me.
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1832. Patrap
I bet the NRL server is kicking request's like a wild banshee.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127814
ahhh... the wait. F5,F5,F5..
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1830. Patrap
Quoting Grothar:


Just a few inches. Now I really have to get to sleep. But on closing, any system in the Gulf will linger for a few days and begin moving NE. Look for a big impulse to begin moving between the high over Texas and begin steering the system NE. Nite now for real.


I saw dat same forecast on Crown half hour ago.

: P
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127814
Quoting Levi32:


Beryl wasn't shallow at landfall. She had a full warm core with anticyclonic outflow aloft. That's why they transitioned her from subtropical to tropical in the final 12 hours. Alberto was just a big thunderstorm, but I think also had anticyclonic outflow aloft for a brief time before he fell apart, which is probably why the NHC designated him fully tropical.


Thanks. I didn't notice how Alberto had anticyclonic outflow at one point.

Of course... if Chris is so shallow, and doesn't have anticyclonic outflow... why designate him as fully tropical? Or am I missing something somewhere in my nursing-textbook-induced daze?
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1828. Patrap
ESL by LSU GOES-13 Gulf of Mexico Images and Loop/archive (Updated every ~10-15 mins)


Still image | Animated | Archive

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127814
The latest sat frame shows Chris with some pretty heavy convection to its north. I really think it may have reached the border between Cat1 and TS. Also seems the heavy convection is going to wrap around the south side as well.
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1826. Grothar
Quoting jeffs713:

Well, I know that. You've been around long enough, after all... ;)

Honestly, I'm actually surprised you put up with all of the "old" jokes we give you.

And on a more tropical note, how have the rain totals been in SFL so far today?


Just a few inches. Now I really have to get to sleep. But on closing, any system in the Gulf will linger for a few days and begin moving NE. Look for a big impulse to begin moving between the high over Texas and begin steering the system NE. Nite now for real.
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Low at 25N 85W trying to build convection?
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1824. Patrap

Plan of the Day


000
NOUS42 KNHC 201245
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
0845 AM EDT WED JUN 20 2012
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 21/1100Z TO 22/1100Z JUN 2012
TCPOD NUMBER.....12-033

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY: A LOW LEVEL INVEST
AT 22/1800Z NEAR 24.0N 89.0W

II. PACIFIC REQUIREMENTS
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
2. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK.....NEGATIVE.
JWP
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127814
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1822. Levi32
Quoting jeffs713:

Who snitched on us?


But Alberto and Beryl were also shallow (per the NHC discussion when Chris was named). Does the shallow designation have to do with their subtropical origins, general weakness, or both?


Beryl wasn't shallow at landfall. She had a full warm core with anticyclonic outflow aloft. That's why they transitioned her from subtropical to tropical in the final 12 hours. Alberto was just a big thunderstorm, but I think also had anticyclonic outflow aloft for a brief time before he fell apart, which is probably why the NHC designated him fully tropical.
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Quoting Levi32:


This was the satellite upper winds at time of genesis yesterday, and there was clearly no outflow. Vorticity values were positive throughout the troposphere.



Maybe I'm remembering wrong. Either way, it is what it is.
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Quoting ProgressivePulse:



Sounds like they are ready to tag an invest.


Maybe; but it still looks to broad where they are calling it at.
Might be declared in another 12 hrs.
Hope they dont sit on this to long though but
I here they are planning on sending their robot planes down to investagate in a couple of days.
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Quoting Grothar:


Grothar knows more than you think, jeffs!

Well, I know that. You've been around long enough, after all... ;)

Honestly, I'm actually surprised you put up with all of the "old" jokes we give you.

And on a more tropical note, how have the rain totals been in SFL so far today?
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1816. Levi32
Quoting KoritheMan:


You could argue that he's lost tropical characteristics now, but he did have them. I recall seeing outflow just before genesis.


This was the satellite upper winds at time of genesis yesterday, and there was clearly no outflow. Vorticity values were positive throughout the troposphere.

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1815. Grothar
Quoting jeffs713:

I always play nice. Except when someone on the internet is WRONG. (how the heck did you know I was lurking, aside from my post about Pat needing more Fresca?)


Grothar knows more than you think, jeffs!
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Dvorak numbers from the Satellite Analysis Branch at the time of Chris's genesis were T1.5. I believe that played a part into the classification of a fully tropical system.
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Quoting Levi32:


I still think it could be along the coast, at least the southern portion.


Bottom of that ridge may not be as strong as advertised
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1812. Patrap
Quoting docrod:


Link


That's a good read, TYVM
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127814
Lets not forget that the tropics, latitude etc are all just arbitrary lines made up by man. these storms occurred way before that i am sure. The purpose of naming this systems is to make people aware of them easily in conversation versus a number, impacts are the same, so i see little reason not to name storms like chris regardless of were they form (land, ocean, seas, great lakes?) What matters is not necessarily the hard science behind them, but the impacts and making people aware to save lives! Everyone's opinions may differ, especially on this blog where we go deeper into the science than most people (:
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1810. docrod
Quoting Patrap:
I miss the Neutercane Discussions from that one season in the early 70's


Link
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Quoting Grothar:
I've had a long day so my last blog for the night. This is for Mike, Allan, Robert, Tyler, Sue, Ryan, Kori, Hunter, Cody, Levi Jeff, Michael, Carol Anne, Jose and Juan. Play nicey nice.


I always play nice. Except when someone on the internet is WRONG. (how the heck did you know I was lurking, aside from my post about Pat needing more Fresca?)
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1808. Patrap
Quoting allancalderini:
me or the other Allan?:)


Nite Zed
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127814
1807. Patrap
I miss the Neutercane Discussions from that one season in the early 70's
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127814
Also Levi, one thing to keep in mind with Chris is that his radius of maximum winds is rather small, and concentrated near the central vortex. Certainly much smaller than your average run-of-the-mill subtropical cyclone. Not that this makes him much different from an ordinary polar low, and it's just one of several characteristics of tropical cyclones, but he's not just a subtropical hybrid.
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Quoting Grothar:
I've had a long day so my last blog for the night. This is for Mike, Allan, Robert, Tyler, Sue, Ryan, Kori, Hunter, Cody, Levi Jeff, Michael, Carol Anne, Jose and Juan. Play nicey nice.

me or the other Allan?:)
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1804. docrod
Quoting ProgressivePulse:


Just needed a fix. Sounds like 25N 85W is the mark. Far away from today's discussion and why we don't wear the pants.


:>)
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Quoting WunderPhotoAdmin:
Hello Bloggers,

Please remember to stay on topic. Also, please use the "flag" and "ignore user" buttons when you encounter a member who is not following the rules.

Thank you,
WunderBlogAdmin

Who snitched on us?

Quoting Levi32:


"Shallow" means subtropical.

But Alberto and Beryl were also shallow (per the NHC discussion when Chris was named). Does the shallow designation have to do with their subtropical origins, general weakness, or both?
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1802. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127814
1801. Levi32
Quoting RitaEvac:


Think this will be blown?




I still think it could be along the coast, at least the southern portion.
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Quoting Levi32:


"Shallow" means subtropical. He doesn't have anticyclonic outflow at the top of his CDO.


You could argue that he's lost tropical characteristics now, but he did have them. I recall seeing outflow just before genesis.
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Quoting Hurricanes4life:


Honestly regardless of water temperature, those are just usual cases which are used by man to classify as minimum thresholds, nature has its own way of doing things that continues to amaze me. Chris "95L" deserved the name imo.
On another note, I would love to name Nor'easters in a similar fashion to what they do on the other-side of the pond. But as a warm core, in the Atlantic basin, it is Chris, and could pose threats to shipping lanes.
to me two Chris deserve the name and it should count on the totals anyways for me Beryl was a hurricane and I think it will be upgrade in the post season analysis.
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Quoting Levi32:
Chris is a great storm, but to be realistic he's over 22C water and it's getting colder. Theoretically "hurricanes" can exist at any water temperature if the air aloft is cold enough. Polar lows are arctic hurricanes, their own kind of "subtropical cyclone." If it's not over 26C or warmer water, you really can't call it tropical. It just isn't. The environment isn't tropical, therefore the storm can't be either. The question then becomes whether we should even bother designating non-tropical lows that are driven by (at least partially) convective processes instead of baroclinic ones. If we do, they really should not count in the season tropical cyclone tally.

Epsilon 05 was considered tropical over 20C waters, the thing about human nature especially in meteorology is that we like to give everything categories, boundaries and divisions that just don't exist in nature, so even if Chris theoretically shouldn't be a hurricane it might anyway.
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1797. Patrap
Tropical Storm 03L

UW-CIMSS Automated Satellite-Based
Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT)
Version 8.1.3
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Estimation Algorithm

Current Intensity Analysis



UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.3
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 21 JUN 2012 Time : 011500 UTC
Lat : 38:52:44 N Lon : 47:24:24 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
2.5 / 994.5mb/ 35.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
2.5 2.5 2.5

Center Temp : -23.2C Cloud Region Temp : -29.5C

Scene Type : CURVED BAND with 0.33 ARC in MD GRAY
Maximum CURVED BAND with 0.64 ARC in MD GRAY
at Lat: 38:40:11 N Lon: 46:47:59 W

Positioning Method : FORECAST INTERPOLATION

Ocean Basin : ATLANTIC
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : ATLANTIC

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : NO LIMIT
Weakening Flag : OFF
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF

C/K/Z MSLP Estimate Inputs :
- Average 34 knot radii : 52km
- Environmental MSLP : 1010mb

Satellite Viewing Angle : 53.3 degrees
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127814
1796. 7544
Quoting ProgressivePulse:
Low has been added to the SSD page.


finally hmm good spot tho
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Quoting docrod:


Indeed - now called a "SHARP TROUGH" by NHC


Just needed a fix. Sounds like 25N 85W is the mark. Far away from today's discussion and why we don't wear the pants.
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1794. Patrap
I'm expecting to see

GREEN BALL: Atlantic,

anytime myself
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127814
1793. Levi32
Quoting KoritheMan:


AMSU data showed a shallow warm core at the time of genesis. Chris is a tropical cyclone.


"Shallow" means subtropical. He doesn't have anticyclonic outflow at the top of his CDO.
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1792. docrod
Quoting ProgressivePulse:



Sounds like they are ready to tag an invest.


Indeed - now called a "SHARP TROUGH" by NHC
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Low has been added to the SSD page.
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1790. Grothar
I've had a long day so my last blog for the night. This is for Mike, Allan, Robert, Tyler, Sue, Ryan, Kori, Hunter, Cody, Levi Jeff, Michael, Carol Anne, Jose and Juan. Play nicey nice.

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Quoting Levi32:
Chris is a great storm, but to be realistic he's over 22C water and it's getting colder. Theoretically "hurricanes" can exist at any water temperature if the air aloft is cold enough. Polar lows are arctic hurricanes, their own kind of "subtropical cyclone." If it's not over 26C or warmer water, you really can't call it tropical. It just isn't. The environment isn't tropical, therefore the storm can't be either. The question then becomes whether we should even bother designating non-tropical lows that are driven by (at least partially) convective processes instead of baroclinic ones. If we do, they really should not count in the season tropical cyclone tally.


AMSU data showed a shallow warm core at the time of genesis. Chris is a tropical cyclone.
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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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