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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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.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
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.
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Quoting ncstorm:



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


Yeah. Some have swung back west now. Still may be a tug o war with the trough.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 253
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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.

So the dartboard forecast may actually show some skill...
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Report, Ignore..move on.



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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
It makes landfall in about 5 days near the Texas/Louisiana coast line. Looks as if ridging to the north amplifies and and pushes the cyclone southwestward to glide across the Texan coast. In other words, typical CMC bullish-ness.



would be a wierd track, would affect houston
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Flood of Chester Creek which runs through central portions of Duluth:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8jo5YA1-Xc&list=U Uad2r5MAfY3TcGQMfhivqTQ

This video is uphill from downtown Duluth, near St. Scholastica. Below this point, the water drops into a small canyon in a park, then becomes channelized and is supposed to flow under the central part of the city to Lake Superior.
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Looks like Matagorta bay where the cmc finallys takes it in
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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.
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Quoting HimacaneBrees:
So let me get this straight. If you say something anti-GW; Then you're considered a troll?


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
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


why is davids picture in n tx, but yours is in south texas, is it traveling down the coast?

arent they both 144hrs?

989mb is kinda low too
It makes landfall in about 5 days near the Texas/Louisiana coast line. Looks as if ridging to the north amplifies and and pushes the cyclone southwestward to glide across the Texan coast. In other words, typical CMC bullish-ness.
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Quoting TAMPASHIELD:


Its going to hit Texas!
No man it's going to hit the TAMPASHIELD and deflect towards Texas!
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


what about ecmwf, the 00z went to tampa, what is on the 12z



Still waiting on the Euro. I think it will probably stick to what it said during the 00z but maybe slightly north and west. Will see shortly.
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This is where I'd be watching for a low pressure area to form:
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


why is davids picture in n tx, but yours is in south texas, is it traveling down the coast?

arent they both 144hrs?

989mb is kinda low too


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.
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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.


what about ecmwf, the 00z went to tampa, what is on the 12z
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
How about that Alex pt. 2 on the 12z Canadian?


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
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So let me get this straight. If you say something anti-GW; Then you're considered a troll?
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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.


Its going to hit Texas!
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
How about that Alex pt. 2 on the 12z Canadian?



why is davids picture in n tx, but yours is in south texas, is it traveling down the coast?

arent they both 144hrs?

989mb is kinda low too
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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.
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Quoting ScottLincoln:


There are tons of pictures starting to come out of the flood. So many roads washed out, so many sinkholes, so many creeks that likely experienced record flooding but do not have automated gauging stations.
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
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13790
Quoting AtHomeInTX:


UKMET has S. TX. Still up in the air. But it is interesting. :)



986mb..right into texas..the GFS started going west with it some too..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16222
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This is the type of stuff I was afraid of when I first heard of the Duluth flood. The place is on a fairly steep slope, so the water just barrels downhill.

Link
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Trying to decide what is more complicated here the weather or the people..Jeez I must apologize for being so boring because I've always only been me :) Crazy.....weather!
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How about that Alex pt. 2 on the 12z Canadian?

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Key West
NEXRAD Radar

Base Reflectivity 0.50 Elevation
Range 248 NMI


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

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Quoting biff4ugo:
Would a fish storm like Chris even be detected in the 1880's? Would sailors note the wave height and frequency to know it was even there?

I'm just trying to gage how thorough the storm record would be in and around 1887.
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.....
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Quoting DavidHOUTX:
12z Canadian.... Very Very Interesting. Takes it under the ridge right into Texas



UKMET has S. TX. Still up in the air. But it is interesting. :)
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 253
12z Canadian.... Very Very Interesting. Takes it under the ridge right into Texas

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Quoting Levi32:


The system is still a long, open surface trough, and there is not really a circulation center yet. It looks to me that the center will start forming southwest of Key West based on the low-level cloud movements.
Do you have the ablity to look at the pressure readings from the buoys in the Gulf. Granted, there are a few that are not working, but I imagine at least Fort Jefferson area would have a working barometer. Just a thought, and no, I don't know where to find it.
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Quoting 1900hurricane:

Wow, it looks like it might be the exact same location too! Good find.


There are tons of pictures starting to come out of the flood. So many roads washed out, so many sinkholes, so many creeks that likely experienced record flooding but do not have automated gauging stations.

http://www.startribune.com/local/159735785.html
*Beware... the photo of Canal Park flooding is not from this event, nor is it even from a river flooding event.

Also see: https://www.facebook.com/DuluthSuperiorFlood2012
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
I'd say 70mph based solely off of visible satellite imagery.


I wouldn't be surprised if you are right. I mentioned this last night, but Chris somewhat reminds me of Epsilon from 2005. That was one tenacious little bugger!
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Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 253
Quoting stormpetrol:




Whatever circulation there is with the Caribbean Disturbance, it would appear that a weak circulation is ENE of Roatan, Honduras.


~40 mph winds north of the Eastern Yucatan Peninsula.
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For those of you keeping track of the Duluth, MN, flood...

Rainfall Estimates as of 12z today
The Flash Flood Emergency for northshore Superior and city of Duluth can easily be justified by objective means. I have seen a single site report of over 7.5" in 12hrs. Best-estimate multisensor precipitation estimates from the NWS RFCs are generally consistent... some areas received 6-8" over the last 24hrs, 5-6" of which occurred in the last 12hrs. Although perhaps not a big deal for some portions of the country, these amounts are particularly anomalous compared to historical records in that part of the US.
Source: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ridge2/RFC_Precip/

Rainfall Estimates in Context of Historical Storm Events
The NWS Technical Paper #40 is typically used as the best available* document on rainfall-duration-frequency information. It provides the Average Recurrence Interval (ARI), or "percent-chance event" information for the contiguous US. A "1%/100yr" event for a storm of 12hr duration is about 4.5" for Duluth. For a 24hr duration storm, it is only about 5.5". The 1%-chance event is sometimes used as an objective threshold for considering the "Emergency" wording in Flash Flood Warnings. It is particularly rare to exceed the 1% chance event by a margin of more than several tenths.

Because the Duluth event thus far (as of 12z) has exceeded published values of ARI rainfall intensities by so much, is it really valid to call this a 1%/100yr event? I would say probably not, and there are ways to extrapolate an estimate of this event.
Source: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/oh/hdsc/PF_documents/Techn icalPaper_No40.pdf

*The NWS TP40 is several decades old and in some cases did not use more than a few decades of data. Because of this, more recent events were not included in the statistics, so there may be some uncertainty in the values. Any climatic changes to rainfall intensity would also not be taken into account. For context, the original TP40 document estimates that rainfall amounts for a given ARI determined from 50yrs worth of data were about 5% larger than those determined from only 10yrs of data. Efforts are under way at the NWS to update values from the TP40; several states have already been completed.

Extrapolating the 0.5% and 0.1% Event from Published Values
Using values already available from the NWS TP40, one can estimate values in between those published values or even extrapolate to probabilities lower than the 1% chance event. I extracted values for the 12hr storm using excel I created a graph showing the Log10 best-fit to the data. Extrapolating this best fit, I was able to estimate the annual chance of exceedance based on both the NWS RFC best estimate value of 5-6" in 12hrs and the unverified single site report of about 7.5 inches.

For the NWS RFC values, the estimated annual chance ranged from 0.1-0.6%, or an ARI of 167-1000yrs. If the report is genuine and the extrapolation is adequate, it would suggest a 0.01% chance rainfall event for the single site report, with an ARI of 10,000yrs!*
*These values are not official and should be taken with a grain of salt!

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-s nc7/599450_10100723785864290_243133240_n.jpg
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Quoting Tribucanes:
I'm a psychologist who wrote that in thirty seconds. Not a hobby. He needs help, just trying.
Ohhh, my baddd. Don't try with JFV, it's like speaking to a brick wall and expecting a response.
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Quoting Hurricanes305:


Hey man, what you think of the caribbean disturbance?
Its seem we could have a LLC west of Key west?
Surface observations would suggest that the vorticity maxima is located just north of the westernmost tip of Cuba. The upper-level low currently centered over the Gulf of Mexico is providing for unfavorable upper-level conditions with wind shear in excess of 30 knots, so it'll take time for convective activity to consolidate over the lowest pressures.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42029
Quoting RussianWinter:


Are you referring to that area a bit west of the dry Tortugas?


That seems to be the area of Lowest pressure as per Buoy reports.
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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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