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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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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Quoting Grothar:


Tranquilo!


no gro, dont quote the troll
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Quoting HurrMichaelOrl:


Very interesting. I wouldn't think that the barometric pressure gradient over such a small area as Key West would be significant enough to detect on 19th century instruments (e.g. The pressure on the NW corner of the island is 29.65" and 29.64" on the SE end, thus a suspected hurricane must be approaching from the southeast).
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.
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Quoting SotuhFloridian2012:


Que bola, viejo? You did, Grothar?


Tranquilo!
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Quoting Patrap:
Key West
NEXRAD Radar

Base Reflectivity 0.50 Elevation
Range 248 NMI


Maybe, by my peeper's were seeing a Low closing off here..


Sure looks like it.
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FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IS ISSUING ADVISORIES ON TROPICAL
STORM CHRIS...LOCATED ABOUT 600 MILES SOUTH OF CAPE RACE
NEWFOUNDLAND.

A LARGE AREA OF CLOUDINESS...SHOWERS...AND THUNDERSTORMS EXTENDING
FROM WESTERN CUBA AND ADJACENT WATERS NORTHWARD TO SOUTHERN FLORIDA
IS ASSOCIATED WITH A TROUGH OF LOW PRESSURE. UPPER-LEVEL WINDS
COULD BECOME A LITTLE MORE CONDUCIVE FOR DEVELOPMENT IN A COUPLE OF
DAYS AS THE AREA OF DISTURBED WEATHER MOVES SLOWLY NORTHWESTWARD
INTO THE EASTERN GULF OF MEXICO. THIS SYSTEM HAS A LOW CHANCE...20
PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.
HEAVY RAINFALL AND LOCALIZED FLOODING IS POSSIBLE ACROSS WESTERN
CUBA...SOUTHERN FLORIDA...AND THE CENTRAL BAHAMAS DURING THE NEXT
COUPLE OF DAYS.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

&&
PUBLIC ADVISORIES ON TROPICAL STORM CHRIS ARE ISSUED UNDER WMO
HEADER WTNT33 KNHC AND UNDER AWIPS HEADER MIATCPAT3.
FORECAST/ADVISORIES ON CHRIS ARE ISSUED UNDER WMO HEADER WTNT23
KNHC AND UNDER AWIPS HEADER MIATCMAT3.

$$
FORECASTER ROBERTS/BROWN
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:



idk, the nam would agree, but the gfs and ecmwf do not


Well I'm just judging by satellite imagery.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


that is what i think will develop, not the key west thing, or the ones to the north and south of cuba



Getting Warmer
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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.


If one believes the GFS, the dominate low should develop over the Yucatan in 24hrs.
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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.



idk, the nam would agree, but the gfs and ecmwf do not
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Quoting DavidHOUTX:
12z model round up:

GFS: Tampa, FL
NAM: Southwest LA
CMC: TX/LA to Galveston area
NGPS: Mobile/Pensacola area
UKMET: Brownsville, TX


I think it is safe to say that ALL OF THE MODELS are everywhere. There is no consensus at all. This is anybody's storm.


Actually there is...outta the 5 models, 3 take em to western gulf ;)
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
We should have 96L before the day is out, they're probably just wanting to pinpoint the exact center so the models can run off it.


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.
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Spaghetti loop
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


i saw it first ;)
in mid-may


:)
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We should have 96L before the day is out, they're probably just wanting to pinpoint the exact center so the models can run off it.
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Quoting AllStar17:
It is important to not take the model runs too seriously until there is a definite area of low pressure they can latch on to.


maybe an invest at 5pm tonight, but i think they will wait for the yucatan vortex to get over water 1st.
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Quoting 1900hurricane:

Yeah, that run shows the storm being caught up beneath the ridge. While somewhat of an unusual track, it wouldn't be unique. A few storms that have been forced back southwest beneath a ridge:







Every example of a similar track that I can think of off the top of my head has also been an excessive rainmaker.


The first map of Hurricane Beulah makes it appear that it made landfall as a Cat. 5.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
There has been "incredible damage" to Duluth's infrastructure, according to sources, with numerous road and bridge washouts. One meteorologist says this will almost certainly go down as the biggest flood on record for the area.

The good news: rains are finally going away, though waters should continue to rise for a bit as the supersaturated land drains...

Fresh off the wire from Duluth NWS:

Duluth


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.

Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


that guy was wierd :O

that is a lot of water though, was the dam topped?


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.
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Quoting DavidHOUTX:


If this pans out, looks like the "Ghost of Allison" talk may actually happen. Still nobody knows though.. This is one strange set of model runs over the past 2 weeks.

Yeah, I'd venture to say that the models in all of their infinite wisdom are even more confused than we are. I've actually stopped regularly checking them with this storm because they've been so bad.
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Quoting ncstorm:



986mb..right into texas..the GFS started going west with it some too..


Models need to be burned at the stake, they have no handle on the situation.
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Quoting DavidHOUTX:


Wondering if that vorticity moving into the BOC is remnant of Carlotta???


Negative, seems to be A Mesoscale Complex that's enjoying the Inflow..GOM Bound though.
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Quoting DavidHOUTX:


Wondering if that vorticity moving into the BOC is remnant of Carlotta???


No
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It is important to not take the model runs too seriously until there is a definite area of low pressure they can latch on to.
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Quoting Patrap:
NEXSAT: GOM visible Loop


Wondering if that vorticity moving into the BOC is remnant of Carlotta???
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Quoting ScottLincoln:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tYR7ncjsTY

Thompson Dam on the St. Louis River west of Duluth... before the flooding of the last 24-36 hours. The St. Louis River is now nearing record stage territory.


that guy was wierd :O

that is a lot of water though, was the dam topped?
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Quoting Tribucanes:
Well by nature antiGW is trollish in content by the denial it slings onto known science. But anti GW content does not make you a troll, it just makes you misinformed.


I believe it is a matter of opinion, which doesn't make one a troll by stating their opinion. Someone could be of the opinion that GW is being caused by humans, is a normal natural occurrence, a little of both, or isn't happening at all. Anyway I'm done with the conversation as it does cause conflict. Back to lurking.
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and there is also the two lows possibility..one going west and one going NE
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Quoting 1900hurricane:

Yeah, that run shows the storm being caught up beneath the ridge. While somewhat of an unusual track, it wouldn't be unique. A few storms that have been forced back southwest beneath a ridge:







Every example of a similar track that I can think of off the top of my head has also been an excessive rainmaker.


If this pans out, looks like the "Ghost of Allison" talk may actually happen. Still nobody knows though.. This is one strange set of model runs over the past 2 weeks.
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tYR7ncjsTY

Thompson Dam on the St. Louis River west of Duluth... before the flooding of the last 24-36 hours. The St. Louis River is now nearing record stage territory.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


where are you at?
That would be a STXHurricane2012

In the RGV part of the state...by the rio grande
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Quoting Grothar:
Exactly where I said it was going to go.




i saw it first ;)
in mid-may
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NEXSAT: GOM visible Loop
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Exactly where I said it was going to go.


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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:
Someone on reddit posted this ~4 hours ago:
Due to the flooding in Duluth, MN, several animals escaped the local Zoo. I ran into this guy late last night!

Apparently, a polar bear and a seal, among others, escaped from the zoo.
Local Duluth news said some time ago that the seals and "all carnivores" had been accounted for, though a number of "barnyard" animals lost their lives.
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Quoting DavidHOUTX:


Mine is 120 hours. Appears to be sliding right down the coast line. If that were to pan out, there would be some pretty heavy rainfall over a significant area.

Yeah, that run shows the storm being caught up beneath the ridge. While somewhat of an unusual track, it wouldn't be unique. A few storms that have been forced back southwest beneath a ridge:







Every example of a similar track that I can think of off the top of my head has also been an excessive rainmaker.
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Link
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Tischer Creek in northeast Duluth:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEsxJu8tzqc

Normally a small creek that you could probably walk across in places.

https://twitter.com/StanfordWCCO/status/215444660 448018432/photo/1/large
Kingsbury Creek near the Superior Zoo where a large portion of the animal population drowned due to flooding. This appears to show the remnants of the railroad bridge just downstream of the zoo.
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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


that is what i think will develop, not the key west thing, or the ones to the north and south of cuba
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This heat wave sucks.
Tomorrow it may reach 100 with a forecast of 99.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


They're finally starting to shift back perhaps. We'll see. If it goes more west, it is likely to be stronger IMO.


it would have a lot more time and could potentially organize over the loop current before going west.
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Check out the Vortex forming on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Zoom is available

Gulf Of Mexico - False Color RGB Loop
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
How about that Alex pt. 2 on the 12z Canadian?



They're finally starting to shift back perhaps. We'll see. If it goes more west, it is likely to be stronger IMO.
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Quoting 1900hurricane:

A solution like that would probably result in the storm getting trapped underneath the ridge and not being able to move much once inland. That would bring great gobs of rain to Texas.

Edit: Of course, I haven't looked at the model output yet, this is just my speculation.

2nd Edit: Not that the models should be trusted at this point in the game anyway... :P
Looks to ride the ridge on a westward course before the ridge amplifies and pushes it southwestward affecting all of the Texas coast. Such a track would cause rainfall of Allison proportions.
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Quoting STXHurricanes2012:
Looks like Matagorta bay where the cmc finallys takes it in


where are you at?
That would be a STXHurricane2012
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Quoting kwgirl:
A lot of the early weather and detection of storms was from the ships sailing in the area. In Key West in the 1800's some people would go from house to house reading the barometers and be able to determine if the storm was coming or going. Of course, there are the natural clues as well. Building seas, steady and increasing winds, bands of rain, etc.....


Very interesting. I wouldn't think that the barometric pressure gradient over such a small area as Key West would be significant enough to detect on 19th century instruments (e.g. The pressure on the NW corner of the island is 29.65" and 29.64" on the SE end, thus a suspected hurricane must be approaching from the southeast).
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205 HurricaneDean07 95E has died...

Nah, it's been dawdlin'... a position change of ~43 miles(69kilometres) in 36hours...

...politely waiting for the NHC to call a 96L so there'd be an Atlantic 'D'storm-in-the-wings before it becomes a TropicalCyclone.
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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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