Boulder's 1-in-100 Year Flood Diminishing; Ingrid a Dangerous Flood Threat for Mexico

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:43 PM GMT on September 13, 2013

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Colorado's epic deluge is finally winding down, as a trough of low pressure moves across the state and pushes out the moist, tropical airmass that has brought record-breaking rainfall amounts and flooding. Devastating flash floods swept though numerous canyons along the Front Range of Colorado's Rocky Mountains Wednesday night and Thursday morning, washing out roads, collapsing houses, and killing at least three people. The flood that swept down Boulder Creek into Boulder, Colorado was a 1-in-100 year event, said the U.S. Geological Survey. A flash flood watch continues through noon Friday in Boulder. According to the National Weather Service, Boulder's total 3-day rainfall as of Thursday night was 12.30". Based on data from the NWS Precipitation Frequency Data Server, this was a greater than 1-in-1000 year rainfall event. The city's previous record rainfall for any month, going back to 1897, was 9.59", set in May 1995. Some other rainfall totals through Thursday night include 14.60" at Eldorado Springs, 11.88" at Aurora, and 9.08" at Colorado Springs. These are the sort of rains one expects on the coast in a tropical storm, not in the interior of North America! The rains were due to a strong, slow-moving upper level low pressure system to the west of Colorado that got trapped to the south of an unusually strong ridge of high pressure over Western Canada. This is the same sort of odd atmospheric flow pattern that led to the most expensive flood disaster in Canadian history, the $5.3 billion Calgary flood of mid-June this summer. The upper-level low responsible for this week's Colorado flood drove a southeasterly flow of extremely moist tropical air from Mexico that pushed up against the mountains and was lifted over a stationary front draped over the mountains. As the air flowed uphill and over the front, it expanded and cooled, forcing the moisture in it to fall as rain. Balloon soundings from Denver this morning continued to show levels of September moisture among the highest on record for the station, as measured by the total Precipitable Water (PW), which is how much water would fall at the ground if the entire amount of water vapor through the depth of the atmosphere was condensed. Four of the top eight all-time September highs for Precipitable Water since records began in 1948 have been recorded over the past two days:

1.33" 12Z September 12, 2013
1.31" 00Z September 12, 2013
1.24" 12Z September 13, 2013
1.23" 12Z September 10, 1980
1.22" 00Z September 2, 1997
1.21" 00Z September 7, 2002
1.20" 00Z September 13, 2013

Wunderground weather historian Christopher C. Burt discusses how this year's flood compares to previous Colorado floods in his latest post.

A map of Boulder flood zones and detailed history of previous floods in the area may be found here.


Figure 1. A torrent of water rushes alongside a swamped house following flash flooding near Left Hand Canyon, south of Lyons, Colo., Sept 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)



Figure 2. Observed rainfall for the Colorado's Front Range from the September 11 - 13 rain event. Rainfall amounts greater than 10" (pink colors) were indicated near Boulder. Image credit: NWS Denver.

Tropical Storm Ingrid a Dangerous Rainfall Threat for Mexico
Tropical Storm Ingrid, the ninth named storm of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, has formed in the Southwestern Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche. Ingrid is the most dangerous Atlantic tropical cyclone of 2013 thus far, due to its rainfall potential. Ingrid is embedded in an exceptionally moist environment, and is already bringing heavy rains to the Mexican coast in Veracruz state, as seen on Mexican radar. Satellite loops show that Ingrid is not well-organized, and has only a modest area of heavy thunderstorms. However, the Friday morning hurricane hunter mission found 45 mph winds, prompting NHC to upgrade Ingrid. Moderate wind shear of 15 - 20 knots is interfering with development, but ocean temperatures are a very warm 29 - 29.5°C (84 - 85°F).


Figure 3. Percent chance of receiving more than 16" of rain during a five day period, from the Friday 2 am EDT run of the experimental GFDL ensemble model for Tropical Storm Ingrid. More than 16" of rain are predicted for the Oaxaca and Tampico areas of Mexico. Image credit: NOAA/GFDL.

Forecast for Ingrid
The soils along the Mexican Gulf Coast are already saturated from the rains of Tropical Depression Eight and Tropical Storm Fernand, and it won't take much additional rain to generate dangerous flash floods and mudslides. An added danger is the presence of tropical disturbance 90E in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, on the other side of Mexico. If Ingrid intensifies sufficiently, it could draw in the moisture from 90E across Southern Mexico, resulting in torrential rains on both the Pacific and Atlantic sides of Southern Mexico. Ninety-E represents a threat to develop into a tropical depression in its own right; in their 8 am EDT Friday Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave 2-day odds of development of 70% for the disturbance, and predicted a north to northwest motion of the storm towards the coast. This morning's 2 am EDT run of the experimental GFDL ensemble model predicted that a some areas of Mexico are at high risk of 16+ inches of rain due to the combined effects of Ingrid and 90E. The greatest danger is on the Pacific side in Oaxaca state, where the combined effects of the circulations of Ingrid and 90E will pull a flow of very moist air upwards over the mountains, creating torrential rains. All of the models predict a west-northwest to northwest track for Ingrid into Mexico, but heavy rains of 2 - 4" may also affect extreme South Texas by early next week.

Today is the 25th anniversary of the intensification of Hurricane Gilbert into the strongest hurricane ever observed in the Atlantic (at the time.) I was on the hurricane hunter flight into Gilbert that day, and will be posted an account of the mission later today.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting 584. TropicalAnalystwx13:

I've not seen any winds that strong. Appears to be 40kt still, for now anyways.


They're investigating to the south and west of the COC now it looks like. I think there may be some stronger winds there.
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Quoting 584. TropicalAnalystwx13:

I've not seen any winds that strong. Appears to be 40kt still, for now anyways.




you got noaa and recon flying in there right now at the same time so may be its the noaa that reporting that and not the recon or it could be the recon reporting it and not the noaa
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Quoting 584. TropicalAnalystwx13:

I've not seen any winds that strong. Appears to be 40kt still, for now anyways.


The NHC will probably give it the benefit of the doubt by 8pm, as it's more than likely the winds will begin to catch up soon - unless the wind field drastically increases. However there is evidence to support at least 50mph.
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Man-Yi

Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
Quoting 583. CybrTeddy:
991.1 mb
(~ 29.27 inHg)

Guess is 50-60mph, 991mb at 8pm.

I've not seen any winds that strong. Appears to be 40kt still, for now anyways.
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991.1 mb
(~ 29.27 inHg)

Guess is 50-60mph, 991mb at 8pm.
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582. FOREX
Quoting 547. Bluestorm5:
Seriously?
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hey now wood tick thats quite a prediction 40mb drop?
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< Return to Decoder | Recon Archive | Refresh Page
Tropical Atlantic Live Reconnaissance Decoder
Decoded data from last 30 minutes: AF HDOB (URNT15) (11), NOAA HDOB (URNT15) (1), NOAA Dropsonde (UZNT13) (1), AF Trop. RECCO (URNT11) (19), NOAA Vortex (URNT12) (24) (Minutes since ob are noted)

Product: NOAA Vortex Message (URNT12 KWBC)
Transmitted: 13th day of the month at 21:42Z
Corrected: This observation corrected a previous observation.
Aircraft: Lockheed WP-3D Orion (Reg. Num. N43RF)
Storm Number & Year: 10L in 2013
Storm Name: Ingrid (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 4
Observation Number: 01
A. Time of Center Fix: 13th day of the month at 21:26:18Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 19°09'N 95°19'W (19.15N 95.3167W)
B. Center Fix Location: 176 miles (283 km) to the WNW (297°) from Villahermosa, Tabasco, México.
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: 3,019m (9,905ft) at 700mb
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 46kts (~ 52.9mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 91 nautical miles (105 statute miles) to the ENE (76°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 167° at 44kts (From the SSE at ~ 50.6mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 47 nautical miles (54 statute miles) to the ENE (63°) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 993mb (29.32 inHg)
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 14°C (57°F) at a pressure alt. of 2,343m (7,687ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 18°C (64°F) at a pressure alt. of 2,431m (7,976ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 12°C (54°F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Not Available
M. Eye Shape: Not Available
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Level: 700mb
O. Navigational Fix Accuracy: 1 nautical mile...(nautical mile unit assumed since the unit was not noted for this line)
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 1 nautical mile...(nautical mile unit assumed since the unit was not noted for this line)
Remarks Section - Remarks That Were Decoded...
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 44kts (~ 50.6mph) which was observed 47 nautical miles (54 statute miles) to the ENE (63°) from the flight level center at 21:14:05Z
Remarks Section - Additional Remarks...
SONDE SPLASHED WITH 14 KTS SFC WIND
EXTRAP SLP 991 MB FROM 8000 FT RADAR ALT


General Notes About Vortex Messages:
- Reported winds are usually averaged over a 10 second period. (NHC advisory wind speeds are the highest expected winds averaged over a 1 minute period.)
- The maximum flight level temperature outside the eye (item I.) "is taken just outside the central region of a cyclone (i.e., just outside the eyewall or just beyond the maximum wind band). This temperature may not be the highest recorded on the inbound leg but is representative of the environmental temperature just outside the central region of the storm."
- The maximum flight level temperature inside the eye (item J.) is the "maximum temperature observed within 5 nm of the center fix coordinates. If a higher temperature is observed at a location more than 5 nm away from the flight level center (item BRAVO), it is reported in Remarks, including bearing and distance from the flight level center."
(Quotes from National Hurricane Operations Plan - NHOP)
Member Since: June 11, 2013 Posts: 20 Comments: 3383
The radioactive pool in Reactor no. 3 will feel those winds.... They better place extra shutters....

Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882

Member Since: June 11, 2013 Posts: 20 Comments: 3383
Gilbert was a Cat 3 when it made landfall at Tamaulipas according to the National Hurricane Center Report. 110 kts and 955 mb pressure. Very respectable but not a Cat 5.
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Member Since: June 11, 2013 Posts: 20 Comments: 3383
Not very friendly....Lets hope it keeps weak....Over Fukushima

Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
Link
The link above is some pics around my house. I posted yesterday about my evacuation and wanted to give an update. The neighborhood is still inaccessible by road though I was able to hike in. My house and most in the neighborhood did not flood though it was close. The water level is dropping, so I am feeling good. Hope to be back in the house tomorrow.

Getting to firestone from greeley was an adventure. Lots of searching to find a usable bridge over the Platte. Had to find an alternate route on the way back as 85 closed behind us. Ended up going about 15 miles east to find an open bridge. The Platte is still rising at Evans and my uncle was just evacuated. Hopefully things will work out for him.

Longer term there is a lot of concern for the foothill communities. Early reports seem to indicate many towns including Estes Park are essentially cut off. Sections of roads miles in length are completely gone in the canyons. I don't know how long it will take to repair. It is not just pouring in gravel and pavement to fix those. These are engineered structures with retaining walls. It is not clear how they will supply those communities with food and fuel moving forward. Trail ridge road is the only way into Estes. I am not sure it can support trucks and winter is coming.
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Quoting 569. sunlinepr:


That doesn't look very friendly to Japan.
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I'd say pressure is around 991 based on that information
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Pressures are more realistically around the 990-993mb range. Still a decent drop.
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Quoting 567. mojoelvis:
Amazing how time flies... 25 years ago, I was a Journalist and parked myself into the path of Hurricane Gilbert.

I rode out the Cat 5 in Tamaulipas where Gilbert came ashore ( after devastation Cozumel and entering the Gulf of Mexico )

That night at the eye of the Cat 5 passed over the Hotel I was hunkered down it, I though maybe this might be the night I die...

Many of the images of devastation you saw on Television from Gilbert I recorded.

Trip down memory lane... I see that we are getting a strong tropical flow into Texas now and Austin could sure use the rain.

mel

The gulf flow has helped to enhance scattered afternoon thunderstorms across central and southeastern Texas for almost a week now, been a great thing to have lately.
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Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
568. hamla

maybe trying to form a new center??
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Amazing how time flies... 25 years ago, I was a Journalist and parked myself into the path of Hurricane Gilbert.

I rode out the Cat 5 in Tamaulipas where Gilbert came ashore ( after devastating Cozumel and entering the Gulf of Mexico )

That night at the eye of the Cat 5 passed over the Hotel I was hunkered down it, I though maybe this might be the night I die...

Many of the images of devastation you saw on Television from Gilbert I recorded.

Trip down memory lane... I see that we are getting a strong tropical flow into Texas now and Austin could sure use the rain.

mel
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566. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #24
Storm Warning
TROPICAL STORM MAN-YI (T1318)
6:00 AM JST September 14 2013
======================================

SUBJECT: Category One Typhoon In Sea South Of Japan

At 21:00 PM UTC, Tropical Storm Man-yi (990 hPa) located at 23.6N 138.2E has 10 minute sustained winds of 40 knots with gusts of 60 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west northwest at 12 knots.

Gale Force Winds
================
300 NM from the center in northeast quadrant
210 NM from the center in southwest quadrant

Dvorak intensity: T2.5

Forecast and Intensity
=======================
24 HRS: 28.2N 135.1E - 55 knots (CAT 2/Severe Tropical Storm) Sea South Of Japan
45 HRS: 31.9N 135.8E - 55 knots (CAT 2/Severe Tropical Storm) Kii Peninsula
69 HRS: 40.7N 147.8E - 50 knots (CAT 2/Severe Tropical Storm) East of Hokkaido
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 52 Comments: 46590
Quoting 560. Envoirment:
I wouldn't call it rapid intensification until they find higher winds. But it does look like it went under/is going under rapid deepening.



....MB's dropping is the first sign that RI is underway.

Winds can take a while to catch up
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Quoting 552. MiamiHurricanes09:
Shoaling may be the reason the pressure reading is so low. The shallow surface usually biases the pressure instrument.

I doubt Ingrid is at 989mb, although it wouldn't be surprising.

50 Mph ; 993 MB
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989 going to 946....tonight......then north
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Quoting 552. MiamiHurricanes09:
Shoaling may be the reason the pressure reading is so low. The shallow surface usually biases the pressure instrument.

I doubt Ingrid is at 989mb, although it wouldn't be surprising.


I never heard of that. How does shallow water bias the pressure reading?
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Something is buffing up da Mojo in Ingrid's Center o Circ'



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I wouldn't call it rapid intensification until they find higher winds. But it does look like it went under/is going under rapid deepening.
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Quoting 552. MiamiHurricanes09:
Shoaling may be the reason the pressure reading is so low. The shallow surface usually biases the pressure instrument.

I doubt Ingrid is at 989mb, although it wouldn't be surprising.


Dropsonde got 993 mb I believe.
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Never mind, a dropsonde revealed the pressure to be in the ~990mb range. Winds have definitely not caught up, as they still appear to be 40-45kts.
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Quoting 528. TropicalAnalystwx13:
Big pressure drop.


Pressure drop here too. 24 hour pressure down by 5 mb to 1008 mb. Too bad it's just a front approaching and not a tropical depression.
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Product: NOAA Vortex Message (URNT12 KWBC)
Transmitted: 13th day of the month at 21:42Z
Corrected: This observation corrected a previous observation.
Aircraft: Lockheed WP-3D Orion (Reg. Num. N43RF)
Storm Number & Year: 10L in 2013
Storm Name: Ingrid (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 4
Observation Number: 01
A. Time of Center Fix: 13th day of the month at 21:26:18Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 19°09'N 95°19'W (19.15N 95.3167W)
B. Center Fix Location: 176 miles (283 km) to the WNW (297°) from Villahermosa, Tabasco, México.
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: 3,019m (9,905ft) at 700mb
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 46kts (~ 52.9mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 91 nautical miles (105 statute miles) to the ENE (76°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 167° at 44kts (From the SSE at ~ 50.6mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 47 nautical miles (54 statute miles) to the ENE (63°) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 993mb (29.32 inHg)
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 14°C (57°F) at a pressure alt. of 2,343m (7,687ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 18°C (64°F) at a pressure alt. of 2,431m (7,976ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 12°C (54°F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Not Available
M. Eye Shape: Not Available
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Level: 700mb
O. Navigational Fix Accuracy: 1 nautical mile...(nautical mile unit assumed since the unit was not noted for this line)
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 1 nautical mile...(nautical mile unit assumed since the unit was not noted for this line)
Remarks Section - Remarks That Were Decoded...
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 44kts (~ 50.6mph) which was observed 47 nautical miles (54 statute miles) to the ENE (63°) from the flight level center at 21:14:05Z
Remarks Section - Additional Remarks...
SONDE SPLASHED WITH 14 KTS SFC WIND
EXTRAP SLP 991 MB FROM 8000 FT RADAR ALT

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Note the Convective CDO Tops split and swell on Ingrid




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Quoting 553. Bluestorm5:
I meant seriously as in "OMG IT'S GETTING STRONGER, IT'S RI-ing!!!" part... don't need to type in caps. Jeez.

Oh.
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Quoting 549. 62901IL:

Yeah, seriously!

Time: 21:25:30Z
Coordinates: 19.1833N 95.2667W
Acft. Static Air Press: 753.1 mb (~ 22.24 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 2,399 meters (~ 7,871 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 989.0 mb (~ 29.21 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 146° at 16 knots (From the SE/SSE at ~ 18.4 mph)
Air Temp: 17.9°C (~ 64.2°F)
Dew Pt: 12.2°C (~ 54.0°F)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 18 knots (~ 20.7 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 23 knots (~ 26.4 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 1 mm/hr (~ 0.04 in/hr)
(*) Denotes suspect data
I meant seriously as in "OMG IT'S GETTING STRONGER, IT'S RI-ing!!!" part... don't need to type in caps. Jeez.
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Shoaling may be the reason the pressure reading is so low. The shallow surface usually biases the pressure instrument.

I doubt Ingrid is at 989mb, although it wouldn't be surprising.
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Quoting 550. Thrawst:


Calm down, my goodness.

Time: 21:25:30Z
Coordinates: 19.1833N 95.2667W
Acft. Static Air Press: 753.1 mb (~ 22.24 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 2,399 meters (~ 7,871 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 989.0 mb (~ 29.21 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 146° at 16 knots (From the SE/SSE at ~ 18.4 mph)
Air Temp: 17.9°C (~ 64.2°F)
Dew Pt: 12.2°C (~ 54.0°F)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 18 knots (~ 20.7 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 23 knots (~ 26.4 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 1 mm/hr (~ 0.04 in/hr)
(*) Denotes suspect data
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Quoting 540. 62901IL:

It's RAPID INTENSIFICATION dudes! RAPID INTENSIFICATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Calm down, my goodness.
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Quoting 547. Bluestorm5:
Seriously?

Yeah, seriously!

Time: 21:25:30Z
Coordinates: 19.1833N 95.2667W
Acft. Static Air Press: 753.1 mb (~ 22.24 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 2,399 meters (~ 7,871 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 989.0 mb (~ 29.21 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 146° at 16 knots (From the SE/SSE at ~ 18.4 mph)
Air Temp: 17.9°C (~ 64.2°F)
Dew Pt: 12.2°C (~ 54.0°F)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 18 knots (~ 20.7 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 23 knots (~ 26.4 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 1 mm/hr (~ 0.04 in/hr)
(*) Denotes suspect data
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Vortex Headlines
Ingrid Vortex (9/13 21:26:18Z): MSLP: 993mb; Inbound Flt. Lvl. Wind (Item F.): 44kts (~50.6mph); Max Flt. Wind (from Remarks): 44kts (~50.6mph) (View Data)
Member Since: June 11, 2013 Posts: 20 Comments: 3383
Quoting 540. 62901IL:

It's RAPID INTENSIFICATION dudes! RAPID INTENSIFICATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Seriously?
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Quoting 501. sunlinepr:


Wow, what a monster about to come off Africa? Also, fantastic satellite loop. Why does NHC not use this for far-east atlantic floaters?
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Quoting 524. maxgerhe:
Time: 21:25:30Z
Coordinates: 19.1833N 95.2667W
Acft. Static Air Press: 753.1 mb (~ 22.24 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 2,399 meters (~ 7,871 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 989.0 mb (~ 29.21 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 146° at 16 knots (From the SE/SSE at ~ 18.4 mph)
Air Temp: 17.9°C (~ 64.2°F)
Dew Pt: 12.2°C (~ 54.0°F)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 18 knots (~ 20.7 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 23 knots (~ 26.4 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 1 mm/hr (~ 0.04 in/hr)
(*) Denotes suspect data

RI?

Oh my! :O
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No buoys close by. This one is about 200 miles NE of Ingrid's center. Notice that the significant wave heights are going down.

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Pretty decent pressure gradient. Ingrid may be starting a period of rapid intensification.

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Quoting 540. 62901IL:

It's RAPID INTENSIFICATION dudes! RAPID INTENSIFICATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And I didn't mean to yell.
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Quoting 538. JrWeathermanFL:
989mb 48 minutes after 999 at the 5PM update....
What?

It's RAPID INTENSIFICATION dudes! RAPID INTENSIFICATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Quoting 532. Envoirment:


Might be a contaminated reading?


No way did it drop that quickly.

Has to be contaminated
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989mb 48 minutes after 999 at the 5PM update....
What?
Member Since: July 19, 2011 Posts: 12 Comments: 2532

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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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