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 bohonkweatherman:
Not all of the models are very reliable and you know what they say about long range forecasts, LOL


LOL yes. I literally laughed out loud when I saw it, but I had to post it. I do not buy it, but you cannot rule it out either.
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Quoting kwgirl:
I wouldn't either, and remember, they had weather "glasses" not our present day barometers. But I have seen it quoted in a few stories and I think it was the locally self-appointed weatherman. And the storm was probably knocking at the door.
Also we probably need to consider that during weather events and natural phenomena on a large scale (such as eclipses, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes) there was ofte a rather large network of gentlemen (usually) enthusiasts with assorted instruments taking notes/observations during the event and then meeting well after the fact to discuss the culturally important popular science topics of the day. (Hah... not much has changed.)

I get the impression, from my history books at least ;), that much of the data wouldn't be aggregated, reviewed or really compared until well after an event had happened.

We're amazingly lucky with all our instant satellite imagery, photos, and grid connected sensors. But compared to what was only 100 years ago, it's a bit like magic.
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lol
Quoting bohonkweatherman:
Not all of the models are very reliable and you know what they say about long range forecasts, LOL
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Quoting DavidHOUTX:
54 hours out.. looks like the storm will come from the East and head westward along the gulf from LA to Texas will get the brunt of it.. Just based off this model..





96 hours




120 hours

if this pans out, you folks will get your rain
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Quoting DavidHOUTX:
54 hours out.. looks like the storm will come from the East and head westward along the gulf from LA to Texas will get the brunt of it.. Just based off this model..





96 hours




120 hours

Not all of the models are very reliable and you know what they say about long range forecasts, LOL
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


washington state XD

I thought it was Washington D.C
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NEXSAT GOM Viz loop
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


i agree, i have brought up anti-GW, or at least disbelief in certain pieces of evidence before.

By the time the discussion ended, i had been questioned on if i was a troll, i believe 3 people were banned, and angry comments were flying back and forth, some not even about GW anymore.
People were arguing about governments, money, businesses, etc.

Neither side seems to bring logical evidence, the anti-GW people often speak ignorantly and irrationally, and the pro-GW people parrot in circles stating the same things the anti-GW people said they dont believe to prove GW and then the anti-GW people become trolls and idiots and people with miserable lives in their mothers basements, and the pro GW people become no better off after their not so constructive criticisms.

JB


"Neither side seems to bring logical evidence"

"Neither side seems to bring logical evidence"

"Neither side seems to bring logical evidence"

Wha?
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Quoting Neapolitan:
This info is from a gauge on the St. Louis River, which is about ten miles upstream (to the west) of Duluth. Note the period of record for the discharge stats in the first table:

flood

flood


Looks like it went off the rating curve at 14.0ft above datum. I believe this is the same gauge that I was referring to earlier that the NWS uses as an official forecast point:
http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo =dlh&gage=scnm5

Just inches from record now. Not good...
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flags are going up
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The NHC needs to tag this an invest.We really need some idea on this situation occuring.Once we get an invest the models probably won't be so confused anymore.

GeaorgiaStormz.Ew no.
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525.

We know.

: )
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Quoting Grothar:



A large flareup off the Southeast coast of Florida in the last few frames.



it crosses over in the narrows of the yuctan straits
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Interesting...two vortices, one west of Key West and the other over the Yucatan Peninsula. Link
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54 hours out.. looks like the storm will come from the East and head westward along the gulf from LA to Texas will get the brunt of it.. Just based off this model..





96 hours




120 hours

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Quoting KORBIN:
I honestly think that the models are seeing two different low's right now. One in the WGulf BOC and one just south of the keys.

The Blob in the BOC is much bigger and was what was originally picked up by Models a few days ago.
Models aside, there are two different lows. The L coming off Mexico was mentioned as a surface L in the NHC's 8 am GOM discussion. Clearly, both areas can be seen on sat.
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...................looks like its easing up a bit down in Miami
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.
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If anything develops in the Gulf really 2 things could happen IMO the Storm could go West or Southwest into Northern Mexico or extreme South Texas going around the Strong High Pressure building in over Texas for the next how many days or weeks or it will get picked up by a trough and go towards Florida, to me it is pretty simple but what do I know? But don't underestimate the strong high pressure building over Texas with my forecast of Clear skies and temps in the 100's this weekend and next week.
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Quoting jeffs713:

So the dartboard forecast may actually show some skill...
maybe iam trying to locate the bullseye

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Quoting AllStar17:


I agree. It seems like the area to the north of Cuba and to the west of Florida in the extreme SW Gulf is going to try and become the dominant area.



A large flareup off the Southwest coast of Florida in the last few frames.

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Quoting LargoFl:
i dunno, winds here on the west coast are strong and blowing westward,unless that stops nothing in the gulf is coming this way

Probably because the low is trying to close off near the Keys. That's why the wind is coming from the East, IMHO.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
It's pretty freak'in obvious where I'm from with my user name XD..


washington state XD
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It's pretty freak'in obvious where I'm from with my user name XD.Lol.Ah never mind.I'm looking forward to cooler temps later in the week.I hate these 90's with heat indexes in the mid-upper 100's.That humidity is a killer.
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Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
Doesn't really work like that lol... You could have a 200 mph hurricane coming straight at you from the south and your winds would be the same direction all the way through the eye.
yeah but this will be a weak system..lol..i hope
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Appears to be tighting up just a bit.
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Quoting FtMyersgal:


Well that sounds like a biased observation IMO. I see both sides to AGW. And I've witnessed confrontational posts from both sides. This should be a two way street. I just don't see the need for personal attacks, confrontational posts that sort of thing. You can respectfully disagree without taking it to a personal attack level. JMO


i agree, i have brought up anti-GW, or at least disbelief in certain pieces of evidence before.

By the time the discussion ended, i had been questioned on if i was a troll, i believe 3 people were banned, and angry comments were flying back and forth, some not even about GW anymore.
People were arguing about governments, money, businesses, etc.

Neither side seems to bring logical evidence, the anti-GW people often speak ignorantly and irrationally, and the pro-GW people parrot in circles stating the same things the anti-GW people said they dont believe to prove GW and then the anti-GW people become trolls and idiots and people with miserable lives in their mothers basements, and the pro GW people become no better off after their not so constructive criticisms.

JB
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Quoting LargoFl:
i dunno, winds here on the west coast are strong and blowing westward,unless that stops nothing in the gulf is coming this way
Doesn't really work like that lol... You could have a 200 mph hurricane coming straight at you from the south and your winds would be the same direction all the way through the eye.
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Quoting LargoFl:
SO whatever developes down there according the NHC..will go into the Eastern gulf?...so it goes to texas or louisanna and NOT Florida...hmmm..so much for the models


Well they're pretty split now. So who knows.
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Quoting ScottLincoln:


Those updated totals make it even more ominous in the context of my simple analysis from post 394. I did do a subsequent analysis of 24hr totals (which better correspond to the totals the NWS DLH office is posting) and it indicates basically the same thing. Very rare event, rough estimate of ARI could exceed hundreds of years, maybe more than a 1000 years.



Have not heard information on that. River now 1.5ft higher than it has been in 55 or so years. About 0.7ft from record.
This info is from a gauge on the St. Louis River, which is about ten miles upstream (to the west) of Duluth. Note the period of record for the discharge stats in the first table:

flood

flood
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
10% on 95E
oh well, no rains for mexico.

the pac,atl,pac,atl... pattern will probably be broken too
Don't worry it will.Looks like we'll get Debby before the east pacific gets their "D" storm...and potentially e storm off of Africa.
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Quoting gator23:

Eastern Gulf is Florida and that is consistant with the models
i dunno, winds here on the west coast are strong and blowing westward,unless that stops nothing in the gulf is coming this way
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


no, that is called inflammatory, because those who introduce anti-GW discussions usually do it confrontationally, leading to confrontational responses.
Anti-GW is not bad to bring up, but it should be done in a civil manner


Well that sounds like a biased observation IMO. I see both sides to AGW. And I've witnessed confrontational posts from both sides. This should be a two way street. I just don't see the need for personal attacks, confrontational posts that sort of thing. You can respectfully disagree without taking it to a personal attack level. JMO
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Quoting LargoFl:
..nice to see Texas getting rains again today


Just had one shower come through, looks like another right on the west side of town.
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..nice to see Texas getting rains again today
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10% on 95E
oh well, no rains for mexico.

the pac,atl,pac,atl... pattern will probably be broken too
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Quoting Articuno:
This heat wave sucks.
Tomorrow it may reach 100 with a forecast of 99.
Want to get cool? Come on down to the Keys. Mid 70's this am, mid 80's this evening. All bets are off though once the cloud cover clears.
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Quoting LargoFl:
SO whatever developes down there according the NHC..will go into the Eastern gulf?...so it goes to texas or louisanna and NOT Florida...hmmm..so much for the models

Eastern Gulf is Florida and that is consistant with the models
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Their is nothing going on in the caribbean at this time but a mess.
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Quoting Patrap:
Check out the Vortex forming on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Zoom is available

Gulf Of Mexico - False Color RGB Loop
It looks to me like we have two areas of interest. I don't see the rotation west of Key West, but south of Cuba. What a mess!
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SO whatever developes down there according the NHC..will go into the Eastern gulf?...so it goes to texas or louisanna and NOT Florida...hmmm..so much for the models
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I honestly think that the models are seeing two different low's right now. One in the WGulf BOC and one just south of the keys.

The Blob in the BOC is much bigger and was what was originally picked up by Models a few days ago.
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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.