Gulf of Mexico disturbance may develop; Chris a hurricane; record Duluth flooding

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:03 PM GMT on June 21, 2012

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An area of low pressure and heavy thunderstorms entering the Southern Gulf of Mexico is bringing sporadic heavy rains to Western Cuba and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, and winds of 20 - 25 mph to surrounding ocean areas. This disturbance will need to be watched for development as it drifts slowly northward at about 5 mph into the Central Gulf of Mexico by Saturday. 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. Ocean temperatures are 81 - 83°F in the Western Caribbean and Southern Gulf of Mexico, which is about 1°F above average, and plenty warm to support formation of a tropical storm.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of the tropical disturbance entering the Southern Gulf of Mexico.

Forecast for Gulf of Mexico disturbance
Wind shear is predicted to remain in the moderate to high range through Friday. Water vapor satellite loops show a region of dry air over the Northern Gulf of Mexico; this dry air is probably too far away to significantly interfere with development. I expect we will see an increase in the disturbance's heavy thunderstorm activity today as a result of less interference from dry air. By Saturday, our two top models, the European model (ECMWF) and GFS, predict that wind shear could fall to the moderate range, 10 - 20 knots, which would potentially allow the disturbance to approach tropical depression status by Sunday. A trough of low pressure pushing off of the U.S. East Coast will be capable of grabbing the disturbance and accelerating it to the northeast on Sunday, as predicted by the GFS model, which takes the disturbance across Florida on Sunday, and into the waters off the coast of South Carolina by Monday. The GFS does not develop the disturbance while it is in the Gulf of Mexico, but suggests it could develop into a tropical or subtropical depression off the coast of South Carolina Monday or Tuesday. The latest ECMWF model run (00 UTC) predicts that this through will not be strong enough to pull the disturbance northeastwards across Florida, and the disturbance will instead linger in the Gulf of Mexico for many days, giving it time to develop into a tropical depression next week. The UKMET and NOGAPS models predict a more westward drift, with the disturbance affecting the Mexico/Texas border region 6 - 7 days from now. At this point, we can't rule out any location in the Gulf being affected by this system, though the Gulf coast of Florida has the highest probability of seeing impacts. NHC is giving the disturbance a 30% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Saturday morning. This is a reasonable forecast, and the odds will probably rise by Friday, and I give the disturbance a 50% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Monday morning.


Figure 2. Morning satellite image of Hurricane Chris.

Chris reaches hurricane strength; not a threat to land
Hurricane Chris has managed to intensify and form an eye-like feature surrounded by intense thunderstorms with very cold tops, despite the fact the storm is over cool waters of 22°C. NHC puts Chris at hurricane strength with 75 mph winds making it the first hurricane of the 2012 hurricane season. Chris attained hurricane strength unusually far to the north (41.1°N) for a June storm; only Hurricane One of 1893 was a June hurricane at a more northernly point (44°N) than Chris. Chris is headed northeastwards, 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 June 20. 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 3. The St. Louis river upstream from Duluth, Minnesota reached its highest flood height on record this morning, 6.1' above flood stage. The river rose over ten feet in 24 hours. Image credit: NOAA.

Record flooding in Duluth, Minnesota
Flood waters have crested in Duluth, Minnesota this Thursday morning, and are slowly falling, in the wake of the city's all-time record 24-hour rainstorm. A series of "training" thunderstorms that followed the same path passed over a wide swath of Northern Minnesota between noon Tuesday and noon Wednesday, dropping 7.20" of rain on the city. According to wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt, this far surpasses the previous 24-hour record rainfall for Duluth, the 5.79" that fell on August 22 - 23, 1978. Two rivers in the Duluth area, the Nemadji and St. Louis, hit their highest flood heights on record Thursday morning, causing destructive flooding. Sadly, major flooding occurred at the Duluth zoo, washing a seal into a neighboring street, and killing at least eleven zoo animals.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting emguy:
BTW...The Shortwave loop would indicate our system continues to organize...and in that our center of low pressure may be in a new location all tegether now...Oddly...in the Carribean off of Cancun and Cozumel. Have a look see on the Shortwave Loop
Agreed......before getting some shut eye I checked the loop and noticed the same center appearing to me to be off Cozumel. Sort of in the gap to enter the GOM. JMO... looking forward to see what's cooking tomorrow.
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2398. nigel20
Have good night everyone...I'm off to bed

000
ABNT20 KNHC 220536
TWOAT

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
200 AM EDT FRI JUN 22 2012

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IS ISSUING ADVISORIES ON TROPICAL
STORM CHRIS...LOCATED ABOUT 540 MILES EAST-SOUTHEAST OF CAPE RACE
NEWFOUNDLAND.

SHOWER ACTIVITY ASSOCIATED WITH A LARGE LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM LOCATED
JUST NORTH OF THE YUCATAN PENINSULA IS CURRENTLY DISORGANIZED.
HOWEVER...THE CIRCULATION IS BECOMING BETTER DEFINED AND
SURFACE PRESSURES ARE FALLING ACROSS THE AREA
. ENVIRONMENTAL
CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO BECOME CONDUCIVE FOR A TROPICAL
DEPRESSION TO FORM DURING THE NEXT DAY OR SO. THIS SYSTEM HAS A
HIGH CHANCE...70 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING
THE NEXT 48 HOURS. INTERESTS ALONG THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES GULF
COAST SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THIS DISTURBANCE THROUGH THE
WEEKEND. HEAVY RAINS AND LOCALIZED FLOODING ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS THE
YUCATAN PENINSULA...WESTERN CUBA...AND SOUTHERN FLORIDA THROUGH
SATURDAY. AN AIR FORCE RESERVE RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT IS SCHEDULED
TO INVESTIGATE THE SYSTEM THIS AFTERNOON...IF NECESSARY.


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

$$
FORECASTER CANGIALOSI/BEVEN
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 14 Comments: 8696
At first I had thought 96L was falling apart, but the more I look at imagery, the more it seems as though it is doing the exact opposite: because now I can see that there's convection over an apparent centre of circulation on the southeastern periphery of the Yucatan; and that the convection that seemed to be pulling away from it actually seems more curved in appearance, like giant fan-blade rainbands. If that's the case, this could be troubling. Any thoughts? I'm just an observer.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
00z CMC



Lol. Can always count on the CMC to bomb it out. The Florida solution is looking less and less likely. Even the GFS went away from it this time. Euro will most likely stick with the Texas solution.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
Quoting HeatChamps2012:


Now that is the epitome of a trashy model, Rob!
i dont mean this a rude way or anything like that but is every model run that does not hit florida in your eyes is a garbage run and should be thrown out because really all the gulf coast states should be keeping an eye on this disturbance.
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00z CMC

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15951
2393. dewfree
of corse im talking 84
hours away +
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2392. emguy
Ironically...the 850mb vorticity on the 00Z GFS has been calling for the low to quickly evilve inside, then move north out of Yucatan Channel...from near the area we are seeing/discussing right now.
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0z cmc to tx again
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2388. dewfree
This storm has a high prob of development ,.Potential hit from Tampa bay to Panama city given current atmosphere and future probability of Atmosphere or steering currents !
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Quoting MississippiWx:


That appears to be mid-level.

500mb



Could end up being the dominant area if convection can consolidate in the area once again. It's just hard to tell at night. Vorticity maps help, however. A new map should come out in another 30 min. Will be interesting to see if there is an increase in 850mb vorticity in that area on the new update. At the moment, it looks to be purely mid level.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
2385. emguy
Quoting MississippiWx:


That appears to be mid-level.

500mb



I wouldn't disagree with that...Using different tools to look at current surface, it is harder to confirm what is up down there at the surface. Either way...If the surface center is not below this...thats bad news if you want to see development as this system, as the mid level vort would be far from stacked (by over a hundred miles). As convection re-fires...we will likely see something new getting established in the Yucatan Channel east of Cancun and Cozumel this evening. Its getting going now.
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Quoting TampaFLUSA:

That's what I was pointing out earlier. It definitely looks that way to me, although I'm looking at it on a phone.


That appears to be mid-level.

500mb

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
2372. nigel20
Quoting Ameister12:
Well now I'm off. G'night everybody!

Good night Ameister!
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 14 Comments: 8696
Well now I'm off. G'night everybody!
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Quoting emguy:
BTW...The Shortwave loop would indicate our system continues to organize...and in that our center of low pressure may be in a new location all tegether now...Oddly...in the Carribean off of Cancun and Cozumel. Have a look see on the Shortwave Loop

That's what I was pointing out earlier. It definitely looks that way to me, although I'm looking at it on a phone.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Pardon my ignorance Janiel. I promise to tape my face to my laptop to make sure I don't miss that again. ;)


You should. How dare you not read what I type, MH. :-)
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
2367. nigel20
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
done for the night got to get some sleep later all


Have a good night Keeper!
Quoting AllStar17:
Have a great night, everybody!

Same to you ALLStar!
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 14 Comments: 8696
Quoting HeatChamps2012:


Someone on here (It was MissWX) already pointed that out about an hour or so ago, Robert.
Pardon my ignorance Janiel. I promise to tape my face to my laptop to make sure I don't miss that again. ;)
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Ameister12:
Before a go, I must say that I know you guys love Miami Heat, but that's a off-topic and that could lead to a possible 24 hour ban. Just sayin...


The main one mentioning the Heat is no stranger to bans.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
Just my luck! Grrrr!!!

I live just south of Melbourne, FL and have to go to Ft Walton Beach tomorrow for 5-6 days.

So... I have to board up my house in Melbourne in case "D" develops and heads this way (Based on a number of models)... OR... I will be locked into a hotel in Ft. Walton Beach when the system hits there. Can't win!

Here's to unforecast upper level winds blowing it apart over the next couple of days. Oh well... wishful thinking!
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Before I go, I must say that I know you guys love Miami Heat, but that's off-topic and that could lead to a possible 24 hour ban. Just sayin...
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2362. emguy
BTW...The Shortwave loop would indicate our system continues to organize...and in that our center of low pressure may be in a new location all tegether now...Oddly...in the Carribean off of Cancun and Cozumel. Have a look see on the Shortwave Loop
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After a 27hour hiatus, the drunkard's walk is back. (NHC) ATCF data for 95E for 22June12amGMT

TPQ is Tepic,Nayarit :: PVR is PuertoVallarta,Jalisco :: ZLO is Manzanillo,Colima


Copy&paste tpq, pvr, zlo, lzc, 15.5n111.2w- 16.2n111.0w- 16.9n110.3w- 17.3n109.2w- 17.4n108.9w- 17.4n108.6w- 17.3n108.2w- 17.3n107.8w- 17.4n107.4w- 17.7n107.1w- 17.7n107.2w- 17.6n107.4w- 17.5n107.5w- 17.6n107.7w- 17.8n107.9w- 18.1n108.2w- 18.3n108.7w- 18.5n108.9w- 19.0n108.9w- 19.3n108.5w- 19.5n108.5w into the GreatCircleMapper for more information
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What happens to this during the next 24-36hrs is important to the overall movement down the road. The GFS takes this NNE on Friday-Sunday to near 28N and 86W keeping it between the blocking wedge of the High extending down 87-88W and the trough 86-85W The ridge will not get further than 86W in most of the models. The difference in the models in the 24-36hrs timeframe is that the CMC,UkMet and Euro want to start this off closer to 90W on Friday and move it NNE to near 88W..again stalling it Sunday-Monday then moving it W or even WSW due to the ridge again mentioned elongating to 87-88W.
So in all.. the short term movement on Friday is the key in really the next 12-24hrs.. Will this be around 90W around 18Z on Friday or will it be around 87W. For the next 24-36hrs most agree a movement to the NNE will happen before the stall on Sunday into Monday. If this does go closer to 85W or just east of the GFS 0Z run.. then it will probably feel more of the trough.
This is the best explination I can give. In non mathmatical terms to the public
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Have a great night, everybody!
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Quoting bigwes6844:
MIAMI NBA CHAMPIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HEAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


YEAH HEAT NATION! About time!
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2357. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
done for the night got to get some sleep later all

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 183 Comments: 57233
Quoting Jedkins01:



I can't even imagine what that much rainfall is like, lol.

I can somewhat. We got close where I was with Allison. It was pretty incredible.
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Quoting 1900hurricane:

You would be correct.




I can't even imagine what that much rainfall is like, lol.
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Quoting Jedkins01:
Remember there was a hurricane, I believe it was hurricane easy, that slowly crawl towards Tampa, stalled did a loop and eventually made landfall along the Nature Coast a ways north of Tampa. I know there was a Florida state record of like 30 or 40 inches in 24 hours. Absolutely crazy....

You would be correct.



I believe that about 38 or so of the 45.20 inches at Yankeetown fell in 24 hours, which was a US record until Claudette broke it in 1979.
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2351. emguy
Hey...does anybody recall what some storms have done in the Gulf in the past...I.E. interact with a continental high pressure ridge resulting in a tight pressure gradient hundreds of miles away from the storm, but along the northern Gulf coast? There have been several. My most memorable is Hurricane Earl in 1998, but there have been several since.

Anyhow...The idea, 96L moves slowly north in the gulf as forecast. A tight pressure gradient develops on the north Gulf coast as the system interacts with the ridge over Texas. All of a sudden...just as all goes well on the GFS...we see a split with a low popping out the east side of Florida into the Atlantic. In attempt to reconcile the tight pressure gradient that is removed away from the storm, maybe the GFS is creating this stationary feeedback low in the North Gulf that stays there and dies.

This may sound different, but instead of running from the model, I'm deciding to run at it in an attempt to understand what it may be trying to reconcile. If it is trying to reconcile this classic pressure gradient and having trouble with it...It makes a plausable explanation...as wind is a function of pressure. From there...one can smooth things out from here and consider a system slowly moves north...creates this removed, but pronounced pressure gradient, moves across Florida in interaction with the weakness, and the pressure gradient results in a feedback GFS low in the Gulf...which the GFS slowly winds down over time.

It's a thought that needs to be put our there as possible and plausable...It may not be the correct answer, but could be a possible solution to the issue. Right now, these models are trying to resolve a complex issue. At the least, we all need to consider that, put thought into that and what we do no, and consider the ideas...Discuss ;)
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Anticyclone appears to have retrograded towards the southwest over the past few hours, resulting in 20+kts of upper-level winds beginning to affect the main convective mass.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194

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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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