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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Quoting SotuhFloridian2012:


Google Chrome.
I am using chrome and its fine. Don't know whats wrong with yours.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3841
Has anybody noticed the upper-level anticyclone taking place over the Yucatan? Things should begin to look up for our disturbance over the next two days.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31463
Hi Everybody, Don't you just love this line from the blog heading:-
"Chris is headed eastwards, out to sea,"
So lets hope!
" Formation of three tropical storms so early in the year is not necessarily a harbinger of an active season;"
OH by the way? We are on the other side of the sea of out into which Chris is heading!
Being an amateur at predicting the impossible. I would say that. as one of the earlier chaps in charge of the USA said something a bit like this:-
"You can fool all of the people some of the time, then you can fool some of the people some of the time but you cant fool all of the people, All of the time.
Great posts on here these last few days, much appreciated.
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2065
Quoting Abacosurf:
We've had .06 inches in Naples.
pretty much nil.....


That is more than we have received in a week at least...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ncstorm:
1000 mb

How low will it go...
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3841
1183. MahFL
The first cooling cloud tops of the llc. Center purple pixels.



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1182. yqt1001
It's been raining non-stop all day here...considering that we are fairly close to Duluth I would assume that they have been getting the same storms. Definitely the wettest June and May I've ever seen. Good thing is that they are suppressing the wildfires.
Member Since: November 19, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 1285
Quoting SotuhFloridian2012:
This guy has got be FREAKING kidding us, right?

Did he just post that again?

@________________________@

Ah man!

What Browser are you using?
It's not getting messed up for me.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I believe that the model GFS, is correct. Will form in the Gulf and move towards west coast of Florida.. NWS agree as well as, the local forecasters, However, we need to wait on the low to even develop.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MississippiWx:
Well, if things pan out like most of the models say, we won't have to hear about drought in Florida anymore. You'll just have to hear me complain about our developing drought and awful heat. >:-[
We've had .06 inches in Naples.
pretty much nil.....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1178. ncstorm
1000 mb

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14455
1176. ncstorm
Quoting allancalderini:
That is quite a low near the Cape Verde islands.


Yep..I believe that wave train is moving out of the station..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14455
1174. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36892
Quoting ncstorm:
1003 mb

That is quite a low near the Cape Verde islands.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1172. ncstorm
1002mb
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14455
Quoting Articuno:
'
By far one of the best looking tropical storms


It gets my vote... better looking than some hurricanes imo. Better looking than hurricane Lorenzo of 2007 and Stan of 2005... Although thats not saying they were not devastating... especially stan!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1169. LargoFl
Quoting ScottLincoln:
Some updates on the rare flood event still unfolding across the Duluth, MN, area:

Knife River between Duluth and Two Harbors appears to have crested and data has now been coming in for a few hours. The gauge stopped sending data in the middle of the night, perhaps during the crest. The crest appears to have been just shy of the previous record of ~12ft, but will need to be verified by the USGS.

St. Louis River west of Duluth appears to be about to crest at over 16.0ft, and is currently a few inches above its previous record of 15.8ft set back in 1950.

Cloquet River at Burnett does not appear to have reported for some time, so it is difficult to determine if it has crested and how much water it may be sending to the St. Louis River.

Mississippi River at Atkin now appears headed into major flood territory, and may be within 2ft of its previous record (also from 1950) within a few days.
..gee those people are going to be suffering up there
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36892
1167. BDAwx
Looks like Tropical Storm Chris is trying to pull a Hurricane Epsilon.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Right now these models are liable to show a cat 5 hitting any were, then during the next run show a weak tropical depression hitting the same area. Until we get an actual system they could show anything.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1165. ncstorm
1003 mb

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14455
Well, if things pan out like most of the models say, we won't have to hear about drought in Florida anymore. You'll just have to hear me complain about our developing drought and awful heat. >:-[
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting washingtonian115:
The GFS cannot make up it's mind for nothing.First it shows doom and gloom for the Tampa area.Now it hardly has anything developing.Lol.


So far it's just as organized on the 12z.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23571
1161. nigel20
Quoting islander101010:
beryl.?.yes

It (Beryl) formed as a disturbance in the Caribbean, but it attained tropical storm status off the eastern coast of the US.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:
..I see swirl's within swirl's..


My swirl is bigger than your swirl......lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting washingtonian115:
The GFS cannot make up it's mind for nothing.First it shows doom and gloom for the Tampa area.Now it hardly has anything developing.Lol.


Where do you have a 18Z GFS frame at T=120 hours already?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Some updates on the rare flood event still unfolding across the Duluth, MN, area:

Knife River between Duluth and Two Harbors appears to have crested and data has now been coming in for a few hours. The gauge stopped sending data in the middle of the night, perhaps during the crest. The crest appears to have been just shy of the previous record of ~12ft, but will need to be verified by the USGS.

St. Louis River west of Duluth appears to be about to crest at over 16.0ft, and is currently a few inches above its previous record of 15.8ft set back in 1950.

Cloquet River at Burnett does not appear to have reported for some time, so it is difficult to determine if it has crested and how much water it may be sending to the St. Louis River.

Mississippi River at Atkin now appears headed into major flood territory, and may be within 2ft of its previous record (also from 1950) within a few days.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3168
Model flip-flops are expected until one definite low pressure area forms...it is important to keep that in mind.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5300
Quoting washingtonian115:
The GFS cannot make up it's mind for nothing.First it shows doom and gloom for the Tampa area.Now it hardly has anything developing.Lol.


the 12Z and 18Z dont look all that different to me, basically the same location but the 18Z is slightly weaker
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1155. ncstorm
Quoting washingtonian115:
The GFS cannot make up it's mind for nothing.First it shows doom and gloom for the Tampa area.Now it hardly has anything developing.Lol.


actually its showing pretty much the same thing..its coming together

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14455
1154. aerojad
As of 3:30 CDT the St. Louis River at Scanlon, MN (just upstream from Duluth) crossed into record territory - 15.89' and still rising.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The GFS cannot make up it's mind for nothing.First it shows doom and gloom for the Tampa area.Now it hardly has anything developing.Lol.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16410
Quoting weatherlover94:



That is true...this would be the first one to form in the carribian this season
beryl.?.yes
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
18z GFS keeps the Gulf of Mexico disturbance weak and broad through the next 4 days, absolutely soaking Florida throughout the aforementioned time frame.

-.- Great.



I hope it stops raining on you guys soon...sounds like yall are really going through it down there
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1149. ncstorm
18z GFS 87 hours


12Z
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14455
1148. LargoFl
Quoting aspectre:
961 LargoFl: A sinkhole opened up today in Hudson Florida and took the back of this house with it
[Sinking waterfront]
966 Patrap: Mayan... Definitely
970 pensacolastorm: Actually improper placement and compaction of fill dirt is probably the cause, but I blame the Mayans too.

Mayan Alligators: Taking back the Swamps one Carpetbagger at a Time

Alligator den (normally dug underwater into swamp/river/etc banks) exposed by drought.
..lol..and a great pic there
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36892
Quoting wpb:
big change from 12z?

No, just barely weaker.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31463
1146. LargoFl
.................whoa..BIG change in the 7-day forecast for Tampa bay from this morning's forecast..they KNOW something huh
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36892
961 LargoFl: A sinkhole opened up today in Hudson Florida and took the back of this house with it
[Sinking waterfront]
966 Patrap: Mayan... Definitely
970 pensacolastorm: Actually improper placement and compaction of fill dirt is probably the cause, but I blame the Mayans too.

Mayan Alligators: Taking back the Swamps one Carpetbagger at a Time

Alligator den (normally dug underwater into swamp/river/etc banks) exposed by drought.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
18z GFS keeps the Gulf of Mexico disturbance weak and broad through the next 4 days, absolutely soaking Florida throughout the aforementioned time frame.

-.- Great.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
1143. wpb
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
69 hours out.

big change from 12z?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1142. JLPR2
Quoting Civicane49:


Weak convection, but really pretty and interesting structure.
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I think the Yucatan low is going to win.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1139. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36892

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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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