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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1550. amd
Quoting Hurricane1956:
I wonder just looking at the ULL on the East of Florida if this feature will pull ALL the moisture North East over Florida and left a naked swirl in the Gulf of Mexico?, everything including the blob seems to be moving NE,even the Invest motion signal NNE motion,any comments please?? about this posibility.


I would put this probability at slim to none because of the presence of an upper level high which is located very close to the invest. This will allow for ventilation of the system, therefore supporting more thunderstorm growth around the center.

In fact, the ULL could actually help the storm strength because it is far enough from the storm to not shear the system and at the same time, provide a poleward channel for potential intensification.
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1549. scott39
Quoting Tazmanian:
hey all i got good news with this storm they be shuting down the oil rig soon in the gulf wish means we could see $4 gas
thanks Taz....I feel soooo much better!
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6961
Gonna take a break for now but with all our regulars on here from the Gulf, not a bad time to call your friends and family in that region to give them a heads up and to start thinking of getting "basic" supplies (and fill up your gas tanks) over the weekend to minimize the items you might need to stand in line for next week if the storm starts heading their way.
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 11115
Quoting nola70119:
Went from orange to red just like that....ouch.


Its a gulf system so the NHC is not hesitant to bump up its development chances.
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hey all i got good news with this storm they be shuting down the oil rig soon in the gulf wish means we could see $4 gas
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5096 Comments: 116619
96L appears that it is really trying to consolidate at the present time...and a center of circulation is becoming markedly more evident.
Visible Loop
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Seems like all of the interesting stuff starts happening as soon as we lose daylight. Visible would be great to have tonight.
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1542. DVG
Quoting Hurricane1956:
I wonder just looking at the ULL on the East of Florida if this feature will pull ALL the moisture North East over Florida and left a naked swirl in the Gulf of Mexico?, everything including the blob seems to be moving NE,even the Invest motion signal NNE motion,any comments please?? about this posibility.


One thing that can cause confusion is mistaking vortices with circulation. With more than one area of circulation, it just gets more confusing and frustrating. Especially when things develope very slowly.

The NHC seems to believe things will not be too slow. I never question them anymore.

Member Since: August 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 269
According to THE CHART below we are no where near peak season yet. Man this could be rough one.


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1540. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 437 Comments: 134795
Hello-

So I see the disturbance is up to 70%- but what do the latest models indicate?
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1538. 7544
dont u guys get it therees goin to be 2 storms 1 heads west the other goes east watch
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Good evening y'all. Things are starting to get interesting I see.
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1536. Patrap
Isidore 02 comes to mind..

..minus the CV track, from the Yucatan North.

Quickly weakened before Landfall and much later in the season.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 437 Comments: 134795
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Probably going to be post-tropical very soon


You have to give it credit for becoming a hurricane though... Not many can do it way up there, pretty impressive stuff... I wish I could've seen it happen.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 88 Comments: 8445
Quoting weathermanwannabe:


Like I said earlier......I hate Gulf storms... :)


I don't like when a major model shifts that far west because they usually shift back east in small increments which puts it really close to me. Hopefully models keep shifting south towards mexico.
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1533. scott39
Quoting Tazmanian:




see post 1488 but it looks like wind shear is 5 too 10kt
Good for developement. Im going to walmart now to get my tuna fish, before the masses act like its the end of the world in 48 to 72 hours and buy it all up.
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6961
Went from orange to red just like that....ouch.
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Quoting HoustonTxGal:
7:50 P.M. EDT…JUNE 21, 2012: INVEST 96L SPECIAL UPDATE…THE NHC HAS UPGRADED INVEST 96L PERCENTAGE TO HIGH…70%…ALL INTERESTS ALONG THE GULF COASTAL REGION SHOULD MONITOR THIS SYSTEM CLOSELY!
For a second I thought troll but wow no joke.
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7:50 P.M. EDT…JUNE 21, 2012: INVEST 96L SPECIAL UPDATE…THE NHC HAS UPGRADED INVEST 96L PERCENTAGE TO HIGH…70%…ALL INTERESTS ALONG THE GULF COASTAL REGION SHOULD MONITOR THIS SYSTEM CLOSELY!
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We definitely have a very large disturbance here...



The key will be how well it can consolidate itself... If it gets itself together soon and has a whole trip across the entire Gulf to strengthen in a pretty favorable environment, it could be a pretty dangerous storm.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 88 Comments: 8445
Quoting MississippiWx:
Beautiful outflow associated with 96L. Could definitely see the center trying to nudge a little northeast to orient itself in the middle of the convection.



Pretty nice appearance, I've seen worse.....lets see what mother nature has in store tonight.
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Quoting mynameispaul:


Yes and I'm not liking these very early forecast tracks by the euro. Sure there will be lots of changes in that model next few days.


Like I said earlier......I hate Gulf storms... :)
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 11115
1526. Gorty
On the psu e-wall site, and you look at the steering, is the upper-left square the most up-to-date one?
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Probably going to be post-tropical very soon

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 16038
Quoting MississippiWx:
Beautiful outflow associated with 96L. Could definitely see the center trying to nudge a little northeast to orient itself in the middle of the convection.



Dude if it does that we could see a 50 mph TS and at peak strenght low-end Cat 3.....To be Continued.....
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heres the reason for good outflow and less shear
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6541
Quoting KoritheMan:

Who was this? Jay Grimes?


Yeah. Jay Grimes.

He was very calm and level headed, but still did use the phrase "potentially deadly" twice.

I was shocked.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
1521. Patrap
Gulf Of Mexico - False Color RGB Loop

Shear by the RGB loop seems less near the CoC and More N of 25N.

..by my eye's only.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 437 Comments: 134795
Quoting Ameister12:

Got it right Taz!

You just won a boat load of bragging rights!!! =D


Lol I was right about 70% percent too.
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Quoting scott39:
Whats the wind shear over the Invest at present time?




see post 1488 but it looks like wind shear is 5 too 10kt
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5096 Comments: 116619
I wonder just looking at the ULL on the East of Florida if this feature will pull ALL the moisture North East over Florida and left a naked swirl in the Gulf of Mexico?, everything including the blob seems to be moving NE,even the Invest motion signal NNE motion,any comments please?? about this posibility.
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1517. jpsb
Quoting Patrap:
The GOM Invest is a LARGE

Nice pic, she is starting to look like a TC.
Member Since: June 30, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1635
Quoting MoeWest:
So....
To prevent tunnel vision and keep our eyes on the big picture:

I start a poll about El Nino. Will this year be:

X) Full blown El Nino
Y) Modiki El Nino
Z) No El Nino
A) None of the above



Borderline of Neutral and weak El Nino. Temp doesn't seem to be changing very rapidly or consistently.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting scott39:
Whats the wind shear over the Invest at present time?


5 knots
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6541
Beautiful outflow associated with 96L. Could definitely see the center trying to nudge a little northeast to orient itself in the middle of the convection.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MoeWest:
So....
To prevent tunnel vision and keep our eyes on the big picture:

I start a poll about El Nino. Will this year be:

X) Full blown El Nino
Y) Modiki El Nino
Z) No El Nino
A) None of the above

weak x to y
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6541
Quoting Patrap:
The GOM Invest is a LARGE Gyre ,kinda like a Bigger Ballerina with Hips. Itsa going to take some time to swing the mojo around and when it does, well itsa gotta somewhere as the steering now is Null.


Expect Coastal advisories as the East wind is established here already.

Now and tomorrow is a good time to think about what action you may need to consider this weekend .



I have already started my hurricane stash, I start in June and add to it each time I go shopping. Of course, since this is still June, not completely stocked, but ahead of many others around here who wait until it's heading directly at us with landfall in a couple of hours and evacuations going on. Rita caught many here by surprise because she wasn't supposed to be hitting here, then she turned and did. Many were caught at work (like me) and the stores were empty by the time they got off. Since I had my stash already, I was good, but ended up splitting stash for three with six people, helping out a friend. Always better to prepare ahead and not have to worry.
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:
This higher percentage with an earlier time-frame really changes the game plan so to speak if is means more time over the central gulf to strengthen and tighten up this rather large area.....


Yes and I'm not liking these very early forecast tracks by the euro. Sure there will be lots of changes in that model next few days.
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Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 16038
1509. scott39
Whats the wind shear over the Invest at present time?
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6961
Quoting RTSplayer:


It's channel 10 on my cable, but It's WAFB 9 news out of Baton Rouge.

He's usually pretty conservative, but for some reason seemed to be using stronger than average language; even using the phrase "potentially deadly" twice in his discussion! That's pretty aggressive to say before it's even classified.


Im to far to get baton rouge news..
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6541
lol
Quoting weatherh98:
what happeneed to 90 :P
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1506. Patrap
Orleans Parish

Coastal Flood Advisory

Statement as of 2:38 PM CDT on June 21, 2012

... Coastal Flood Advisory now in effect until 7 PM CDT Saturday...

* coastal flooding... minor coastal flooding of less than one
foot expected.

* Timing... flooding will occur during each high tide cycle.
Highest tides will occur in the afternoon hours.

* Impacts... minor overwash of low lying roadways in the immediate
vicinity of the coast. Tide levels will peak at 2.5 to 3.5 feet
at time of high tide. Actual flooding will be less than one
foot.

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

A coastal Flood Advisory indicates that onshore winds and tides
will combine to generate flooding of low areas along the shore.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 437 Comments: 134795
Quoting Tazmanian:
i think we could see 80 or 100% at the next two
what happeneed to 90 :P
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6541

Quoting RTSplayer:


It's channel 10 on my cable, but It's WAFB 9 news out of Baton Rouge.

He's usually pretty conservative, but for some reason seemed to be using stronger than average language; even using the phrase "potentially deadly" twice in his discussion! That's pretty aggressive to say before it's even classified.
Who was this? Jay Grimes?
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 603 Comments: 21863

Quoting MoeWest:
So....
To prevent tunnel vision and keep our eyes on the big picture:

I start a poll about El Nino. Will this year be:

X) Full blown El Nino
Y) Modiki El Nino
Z) No El Nino
A) None of the above

Difficult to say. I'll say Z.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 603 Comments: 21863
Quoting weatherh98:


what channel i live in mandeville remember


It's channel 10 on my cable, but It's WAFB 9 news out of Baton Rouge.

He's usually pretty conservative, but for some reason seemed to be using stronger than average language; even using the phrase "potentially deadly" twice in his discussion! That's pretty aggressive to say before it's even classified.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
1501. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
11:54 PM GMT on June 21, 2012
POSS T.C.F.A.
96L/INV/XX/XX
MARK
22.11N/86.68W
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 192 Comments: 59575
1500. weathermanwannabe
11:53 PM GMT on June 21, 2012
This higher percentage with an earlier time-frame really changes the game plan so to speak if is means more time over the central gulf to strengthen and tighten up this rather large area.....
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 11115

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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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