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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2289. jpsb
A little home grown storm in the GoM? Guess I need to start paying attention. Hopefully West/Central Texas will get some badly needed rain. Typically these early GoM storms are mostly rain events and fairly small in size. Lets hope that pattern continues. I am still repairing Ike damage so no hurricanes please, and thank you.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
Weak TS Alberto, Strong TS Chris, Cat1 Chris, Cat2 Debby?

or does it go, weak TS, strong TS, Hurricane, Major Hurricane
Alberto was a moderate tropical storm..60mph.
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2287. Levi32
Quoting AtHomeInTX:
Ummmm...




I like their logic.
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2286. ncstorm
Quoting AtHomeInTX:
Ummmm...




two lows..one two punch..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14592
Quoting RitaEvac:
Forecasts for TX coast is sunny and hot. Experts better be nailing this down pretty quick, because some models... and it hasn't been just this one, showing a full blown hurricane hitting TX in 6 days. Time is ticking and the call better be made quick. Doesn't make sense for a few models to keep bringing a storm into TX.

Been interesting to watch the 10day fcst interpret a NW GOM as pretty much stalling, rain for a week, then drop it like a hot potato three days ago. But who am I going to believe, my own lyin' eyes on what's happening now S of the border or some intransigent 10day forecast?
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If they went back and changed old wind values for chris, ACE will go up even more.

In 7 days, the 2005 season starts on a run 2012 will have a very hard time keeping up with.

If we can get a modoki el nino, we could stay potentially somewhat active, but i dont see us keeping up with 2005.
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Ummmm...


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Chris looks beautiful.Debby will probably be a @3!@#..and models show "Ernesto" coming into the caribbean from an African wave(Still a week + out though).
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The latest CMC and ECMWF runs would cause chaos for the blog, especially the ECMWF.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23609
I am dissapointed in the last GFS run, and scared of the EURO and CMC
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2279. Asrock
Quoting BrickellBreeze:


I doubt the gulf disturbance will become anything. The main thing to worry about whether you live in Florida or Texas/North Carolina is a storm that originates east or north of the windward islands in aug/sept.

These storms (Ivan/Ike/Frances/Jeanne) are the most dangerous.

The A/B high spells trouble for Florida and the East Coast, aswell as any system traveling through the Carribean into the gulf will become a hurricane before smashing Texas/Louisiana/Alambama



Don't forget Hugo as well, if I remember correctly it formed east of the windwards in September.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
The EPS Control is basically the hi-res ensemble run...

"00z ECMWF EPS Control rundown...

It takes the Caribbean mess, develops it and stalls it in the Central Gulf for quite a few days. While it meanders, the storm strengthens from 1004mbs to 986mbs(?) or so as it makes landfall on the Panhandle with winds greater than 75 knots by next Thursday. "


If it were to stall around that long, the whole steering pattern is gonna change. That would be worse case scenario in my book.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Imagine if it made it to Europe.
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Weak TS Alberto, Strong TS Chris, Cat1 Chris, Cat2 Debby?

or does it go, weak TS, strong TS, Hurricane, Major Hurricane
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Mid-summer blob......its going to rain. Thats my forecast.
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Off to get some work done. See Yall around lunch.
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8826
Quoting ProgressivePulse:
Wonder if the FL card has been pulled this year and our storm drought is over. 2 of 4 so far if the Gulf disturbance plays out like most are thinking.


I doubt the gulf disturbance will become anything. The main thing to worry about whether you live in Florida or Texas/North Carolina is a storm that originates east or north of the windward islands in aug/sept.

These storms (Ivan/Ike/Frances/Jeanne) are the most dangerous.

The A/B high spells trouble for Florida and the East Coast, aswell as any system traveling through the Carribean into the gulf will become a hurricane before smashing Texas/Louisiana/Alambama
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Look at Chris go:

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Quoting weathermanwannabe:
A good question to be answered will be how "large" the circulation, and possible storm, will be depending on how well the COC is able to consolidate. A larger system will have a longer time responding to pressure drops at the center and could result in a TS at landfall. If it really gets a groove and is able to tighten up into a smaller defined circulation in about 3 days, we could be looking at a hurricane at landfall. Really unbeleivable to see this type of petential scenario in the Gulf in June but it has happend before in years past (I don't remember the years and names of the storms right off hand).


From what I understand conditions could be quite favorable for whatever may form.
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The EPS Control is basically the hi-res ensemble run...

"00z ECMWF EPS Control rundown...

It takes the Caribbean mess, develops it and stalls it in the Central Gulf for quite a few days. While it meanders, the storm strengthens from 1004mbs to 986mbs(?) or so as it makes landfall on the Panhandle with winds greater than 75 knots by next Thursday. "
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
A good question to be answered will be how "large" the circulation, and possible storm, will be depending on how well the COC is able to consolidate. A larger system will have a longer time responding to pressure drops at the center and could result in a TS at landfall. If it really gets a groove and is able to tighten up into a smaller defined circulation in about 3 days, we could be looking at a hurricane at landfall. Really unbeleivable to see this type of petential scenario in the Gulf in June but it has happend before in years past (I don't remember the years and names of the storms right off hand).
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8826
2267. yoboi
Quoting Tazmanian:
i rally wish you guys stop geting on the NHC for not upgradeing this too a hurricane its geting vary old vary fast am with the nhc on Chris its entering cooler waters and if it was going too get upgrade it would be at post season


negative ghost rider>>>>>>>>>
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CIMSS has labeled Chris a hurricane:

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Wonder if the FL card has been pulled this year and our storm drought is over. 2 of 4 so far if the Gulf disturbance plays out like most are thinking.
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Chris has stunned me once again, as i pop in this morning.. may not be a harbinger of this seasons numbers.. but i wonder if it's a harbinger of a new seasonality of storms in this region, per year. waaaaay too soon to go there.. will take years to quantify, but observed shifts in climate (observed!) have me wondering.
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2263. Grothar
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I can't wait to see Joe's response and accuweathers!!.
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Quoting ncstorm:


LOL..no he wont..it will be a drinking binge of gatorade no doubt..


Think that he will have roid rage ?
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Hurricane Chris!.Woot!.And the best thing?.It's not bothering anybody.Well except for the fish and shipping lanes.


Could only plus once so I'll quote ya! :)
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:
Sheer continues to drop in the vicinity of the Yucatan slowly but surely. I would expect some better organization in about 24-72 hours as that COC really starts to clear the Peninsula and starts heading away from land towards the Central Gulf. That will give it a better chance of firing convection nearer to the center and drawing in that convective complex siting between Cuba and the Yucatan at the moment.

Link



I agree, patients is needed. While it may be tempting to beat the dead horse, it's really going to be late tomorrow or Saturday before anything really gets cranking.
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Quoting StormHype:


Focus on the the vis sat loops today now that the sun is up.

I'm trying to upload a GOES GOM where you see the NW GOM mass borrow quite a bit of energy all the way across MX from the EPAC.
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Quoting dartboardmodel:
Wow, I can’t believe Chris looks so well on the Satellite. This is June 21, and for a tropical storm to look that well-formed so far north into the “cool” Atlantic waters makes me wonder what the Atlantic basin will look like around September 21.

There is no doubt in my mind we will have four named storms before June is out! And all these people with their sophisticated long-range models said that it was going to be a below normal year. This might go down as one of the biggest long-range blunders we will have ever seen in tropical forecasting. Ahhh but wait…. I guarantee all those naysayers will “update” their forecast and say we will have an above normal year and of course they will want to take credit for it. Any bets anyone???


That's how weather forecasting goes lol
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Hurricane Chris!.Woot!.And the best thing?.It's not bothering anybody.Well except for the fish and shipping lanes.
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Sheer continues to drop in the vicinity of the Yucatan slowly but surely. I would expect some better organization in about 24-72 hours as that COC really starts to clear the Peninsula and starts heading away from land towards the Central Gulf. That will give it a better chance of firing convection nearer to the center and drawing in that convective complex siting between Cuba and the Yucatan at the moment.

Link
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8826
Raining here in St. Augustine. Lightly
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LLC in gulf is now due north of Yucatan in Central Gulf
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Wow, I did not think there was enough heat at 40 n for that kind of storm groth....
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Upgraded Chris to a hurricane AND upgraded Chris's storm strengths at the previous 2 ATCF reporting times
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2249. ncstorm
Quoting MahFL:
Joe Bastadi won't be too pleased.


LOL..no he wont..it will be a drinking binge of gatorade no doubt..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14592
Quoting RitaEvac:
Forecasts for TX coast is sunny and hot. Experts better be nailing this down pretty quick, because some models... and it hasn't been just this one, showing a full blown hurricane hitting TX in 6 days. Time is ticking and the call better be made quick. Doesn't make sense for a few models to keep bringing a storm into TX.


Not going to Texas. No need to worry about this one.
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Not bad! 1st hurricane of the year.

3-1-0.

The curse is broken!
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23609
2246. emguy
Quoting Hurricanes4life:


Tampa bay area/ that part of the west coast of flordia seem to be a "dead" area historically as far as tropical systems go. I believe if it does hit flordia it will be 100 miles north of Tampa or 100 miles south of Sarasota.


If that is a rule of academic science, my only comment would be that I live about 45 MINUTES south of Satarsota in a little town known as Port Charlotte, Fl. History shows we got absolutely throttled by Charley in 2004 and the lesson of history is rules are ment to be bent and/or severely broken.
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2244. MahFL
Joe Bastadi won't be too pleased.
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Quoting Autistic2:
Did the NHC upgrade Chriss?


11am
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Wow, I can’t believe Chris looks so well on the Satellite. This is June 21, and for a tropical storm to look that well-formed so far north into the “cool” Atlantic waters makes me wonder what the Atlantic basin will look like around September 21.

There is no doubt in my mind we will have four named storms before June is out! And all these people with their sophisticated long-range models said that it was going to be a below normal year. This might go down as one of the biggest long-range blunders we will have ever seen in tropical forecasting. Ahhh but wait…. I guarantee all those naysayers will “update” their forecast and say we will have an above normal year and of course they will want to take credit for it. Any bets anyone???
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Quoting JrWeathermanFL:

If the NHC doesn't upgrade it at 11:00......


Can someone send me a link that explains what all those numbers mean?
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June 21st...

Not too shabby.

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Quoting aspectre:
HURRICANE Chris (and some stengthening data on previous positions)

AL, 03, 2012062100, , BEST, 0, 386N, 475W, 55, 994, TS, 34, NEQ, 40, 80, 60, 30, 1008, 180, 30, 60, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, CHRIS, M,
AL, 03, 2012062100, , BEST, 0, 386N, 475W, 55, 994, TS, 50, NEQ, 0, 30, 0, 0, 1008, 180, 30, 60, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, CHRIS, M,
AL, 03, 2012062106, , BEST, 0, 394N, 456W, 60, 990, TS, 34, NEQ, 40, 80, 60, 30, 1008, 180, 30, 60, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, CHRIS, M,
AL, 03, 2012062106, , BEST, 0, 394N, 456W, 60, 990, TS, 50, NEQ, 0, 30, 0, 0, 1008, 180, 30, 60, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, CHRIS, M,
AL, 03, 2012062112, , BEST, 0, 405N, 439W, 65, 987, HU, 34, NEQ, 40, 80, 60, 30, 1008, 180, 30, 0, 0,
AL, 03, 2012062112, , BEST, 0, 405N, 439W, 65, 987, HU, 50, NEQ, 0, 30, 0, 0, 1008, 180, 30, 0, 0,

If the NHC doesn't upgrade it at 11:00......
Member Since: July 19, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 2109

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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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