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 intampa:
the guy on channel 13 fox tampa just said a low moving over north central part of the state and likely just to be heavy rain... but it was fox news so. i mean uhhhhhhhh... what


Have you notice that all that precipitation will head northeast towards Florida in the next Three days. Which means that we could see the bulk of the heavy rain forecast for Florida on Wednesday.
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Quoting DavidHOUTX:


You have a point there with Beryl, but he fact that the Euro jumped West after the invest was established kind of has to make a statement. I do think the GFS is a good model but I just cannot see this storm splitting into 2 lows. That just does not sound feasible to me. However, anything is possible.

All true, the Euro went West with one run, it is a huge difference from its 00z counterpart that was headed to the big bend of FL. But it is just one run, I am not sure it made a statement though just that it thought the High would push it back West, it is a change though but will the trend continue? Still many unanswered questions that won't be answered today.
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Quoting KoritheMan:
Cody, are you doing a blog today?

Yeah, I'll do one after the TWO comes out.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 34208
Quoting TampaBayStormChaser:


I had a few drops of rain but strong wind gusts to 35 mph here in Pinellas County. Just 4 mph shy of TS Force. While it is more likely this will go West towards TX, I'd keep an eye out just to be certain.



Im sorry I live in central Florida and I am sorry to say, none of the Local weather stations said that there would be winds that high, unless you are in a thunderstorm, and they all said areas of heavy rain.. NOT your back yard.. might listen a little more.. I dislike people who stretch the truth.
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1295. Gorty
Hey Kori, sorry to be a bother again but do you have something where to look at the current steering in the atmosphere?
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lol
Quoting intampa:
the guy on channel 13 fox tampa just said a low moving over north central part of the state and likely just to be heavy rain... but it was fox news so. i mean uhhhhhhhh... what
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5004
Quoting ncstorm:
For those in Texas, having a hurricane in the heat wave that they are currently having will be awful..rain lasts 24-48 hours with a hurricane but that power outage will most likely be 4-5 days..aint nothing pretty about the aftermath..


Agree. I went 4 weeks w/o power,water,gas, phone etc after Katrina and 2 1/2 weeks w/o after Ike....I am not a happy camper w/o power! (neither are the fish in my 140 gallon aquarium) LOL
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Quoting SETexas74:
It's funny how those from Florida are convinced it's heading northeast and those from Texas just know that it's going west, even though the path is highly uncertain. It seems to happen with every storm!
I am from South Central Texas I dont have a clue which way this possible storm is going, makes sense either west under ridge or northeast picked up by trough though. I know storms go around High Pressure because I was under high pressure most of 2011 and watched storms go around me, LOL. My forecast starting this weekend and for next 7 days after that is 100 to 105 with clear skies and heat index above 110, it really sucks being west of a tropical system. No rain in June so far and this dryest June ever unless the tropical system moves this way. Florida is going to get alot of rain this Summer, Texas probably not much of anything unless a tropical system moves into this state. This isnt Florida against Texas in weather :) Best Wishes to everyone.
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Quoting Patrap:





Hey Patrap you're a long time blogger on Dr. Masters Blog, how do you see things shaping up with 96L?
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Cool!!:)
Quoting ncstorm:
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5004
1289. intampa
the guy on channel 13 fox tampa just said a low moving over north central part of the state and likely just to be heavy rain... but it was fox news so. i mean uhhhhhhhh... what
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Cody, are you doing a blog today?
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Quoting Hurricanes101:
LOL all of this back and forth bashing is pointless

we still do not know where this storm will go, it could go to Texas, Louisiana, Mexico, Mississippi, Alabama or yes even Florida

heck the thing may not develop at all or even if it does it may not make landfall.

To rule out any area along the coast at this point is plain stupid





I agree
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1286. ncstorm
For those in Texas, having a hurricane in the heat wave that they are currently having will be awful..rain lasts 24-48 hours with a hurricane but that power outage will most likely be 4-5 days..aint nothing pretty about the aftermath..
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1285. dearmas
Quoting KoritheMan:


With the exception of the Canadian, NOGAPS, UKMET, and ECMWF, the global models are run four times a day: at 0z, 6z, 12z, and 18z. 0z would be 8:00 PM eastern, 6z 2:00 AM eastern, 12z 8:00 AM eastern, and 18z would be 2:00 PM eastern. It generally takes a few hours after each cycle before we actually get them though. The 18z ones are already out, but it'll be several hours before have access to the 0z runs.

Mr. Masse, go here.



Thanks so much!!!!
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LOL all of this back and forth bashing is pointless

we still do not know where this storm will go, it could go to Texas, Louisiana, Mexico, Mississippi, Alabama or yes even Florida

heck the thing may not develop at all or even if it does it may not make landfall.

To rule out any area along the coast at this point is plain stupid
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There is a high likelihood the National Hurricane Center will go Code Red at 8PM EDT based on recent trends. They may even go 70%.

48 hours from 8PM EDT is 8PM EDT Saturday. We may very well have a moderate tropical storm on our hands by then.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 34208
Quoting ncstorm:
Seems to me like CV season may start a little early.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3906
1281. j2008
Blog feels very troll-ish this afternoon, I think I will be back around next update.... I'm expecting about 60% for 96L and 60-65 MPH for Chris with continued weakening for Chris tonight into tomorrow.
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i find that everyone on here wants the storm to come to wherever they live maybe it will just go to miss or alabama how about that
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1278. Patrap
Storm Relative 1km Geostationary Visible Imagery

22:15 UTC

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 434 Comments: 133461
Anticyclone right over the LLC

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
The very end of the 18Z GFS.

florida.system.from.the.east?E.one
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1273. Patrap





Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 434 Comments: 133461
Quoting dearmas:
when do the next set of model runs come out??

Thanks ;)


With the exception of the Canadian, NOGAPS, UKMET, and ECMWF, the global models are run four times a day: at 0z, 6z, 12z, and 18z. 0z would be 8:00 PM eastern, 6z 2:00 AM eastern, 12z 8:00 AM eastern, and 18z would be 2:00 PM eastern. It generally takes a few hours after each cycle before we actually get them though. The 18z ones are already out, but it'll be several hours before have access to the 0z runs.

Mr. Masse, go here.
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1269. ncstorm
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The very end of the 18Z GFS.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 34208
In Merida, MX (Gulf side), the wind is out of the NW. In Cancun, MX (Caribbean side), the wind is out of the SSE.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10285
Wish-casting... crystal balls, ouiji boards, tea leaves... my oh my, what has weather forecasting come to? lol
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IF the CMC has called this right all along, then we know those model updates over the past few years has done wonders for it. Just had to put that out there.
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1263. ncstorm
Quoting DavidHOUTX:


You have a point there with Beryl, but he fact that the Euro jumped West after the invest was established kind of has to make a statement. I do think the GFS is a good model but I just cannot see this storm splitting into 2 lows. That just does not sound feasible to me. However, anything is possible.


I post the models about er' day on here..the Euro ensembles is still showing two lows..the Euro just yesterday was showing two lows..its not out of play yet..I however have not been a fan of the GFS but the Euro will have to be consistent with runs showing texas before saying so..The CMC also was showing two lows..I think this is a complex system that will test even the PROs forecasting abilities..I just say anyone that lives in the GOM areas needs to watch, wait and see..whatever forms will probably be a huge storm..
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Quoting SETexas74:
It's funny how those from Florida are convinced it's heading northeast and those from Texas just know that it's going west, even though the path is highly uncertain. It seems to happen with every storm!


I live in FL. This ain't heading NE buddy!
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Quoting louisianaboy444:
I think this will be the night we see 96L make strides by popping heavier convection near the Yucatan center. The anticyclone has set up right over this area and the big swath of convection looks to be moving off to the east and becoming non-significant. This will give the convection greater concentration near the LLC. As was just stated strong convection is already beginning to pop in that area


Not likely its over land it needs to move over water and closer to those non-significant convection if it wants to develop.
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1260. Gorty
Anyone have a tropical cmc and nogaps? If so. can you please link? thanks in advance.
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1259. dearmas
when do the next set of model runs come out??

Thanks ;)
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It's funny how those from Florida are convinced it's heading northeast and those from Texas just know that it's going west, even though the path is highly uncertain. It seems to happen with every storm!
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

I'm glad you can honestly rule out Florida when the system isn't even developed yet. May I borrow your crystal ball for the rest of the season? ;-)


Just notice their join date. You can tell what their motives are.
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Some people are posting just to get replies and everyone's dander up. If the post is outrageous, rediculous or just nonsense, ignore and move on. Don't feed them by replying. Back to lurking.
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Quoting Methurricanes:
Has a storm in the GOM ever not make landfall? either dissapating, or slipping out.


These three did:







Henri (1979), Jeanne (1980), and Ida in 2009, which became extratropical just prior to striking the Mississippi coast. It's rare, but it does happen.
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Quoting ncstorm:
Pretty good low that rolled off Africa..



That one is hitting Texas too! Notice the Ridge expanding westward...
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Quoting ncstorm:
Pretty good low that rolled off Africa..


That's no low, that's an actual tropical depression/storm.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 34208
1252. icmoore
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

I'm glad you can accurately rule out Florida when the system isn't even developed yet. May I borrow your crystal ball for the rest of the season? ;-)


Also, could you give one to the NHC and all the pros LOL!!
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Quoting sporteguy03:

So it failed with Beryl too? It had Beryl pegged very well. I mean really guys, The GFS is an excellent model as is the Euro. It has been persistent in its track. It is just offering a different solution I would not call it trash. Just another possibility.


You have a point there with Beryl, but he fact that the Euro jumped West after the invest was established kind of has to make a statement. I do think the GFS is a good model but I just cannot see this storm splitting into 2 lows. That just does not sound feasible to me. However, anything is possible.
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Quoting seriousman1:


florida people need to be more mature about these things...debby is heading to states in play ...texas louisiana mississippi or alabama..florida is not in the mix anymore..


I wouldn't go that far, I would say that Florida is less likely now but as the models show, it can change every run. As one of those "Florida people" I think we all need to wait and see what happens when the models get data from the HH and stop calling names:)
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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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