Sunshine Aids Colorado Evacuations; 38 Dead in Mexico From Manuel and Ingrid

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:42 PM GMT on September 17, 2013

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After nine consecutive days with rain, skies have finally cleared over flood-ravaged Boulder, Colorado. Flooding from the past week's rains have killed at least seven, destroyed over 1,500 homes, damaged 18,000 homes, and caused close to $1 billion in damage, according to insurance broker Aon Benfield. Over 70 bridges have been damaged or destroyed, and hundreds of roads damaged, including major sections of U.S. Highways 34, 36 and 72. Clear skies are forecast for the remainder of the week, which will allow rescue helicopters to safely operate to evacuate the hundreds of people still trapped in mountain towns cut off by the rockslides, collapsed bridges, and destroyed roads. The rains that fell early Monday morning in Boulder officially put the city over its all-time annual precipitation record with three and a half months left in the year. Boulder has been deluged with 30.13" so far this year; the previous record was 29.93", set in 1995.


Figure 1. A raging waterfall destroys a bridge along Highway 34 east of Estes Park, Colorado, on September 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Colorado Heli-Ops, Dennis Pierce)


Figure 2. Damage to Highway 34 along the Big Thompson River, on the road to Estes Park, Colorado. Image credit: Colorado National Guard.


Figure 3. A field of parked cars and trucks sits partially submerged near Greeley, Colorado, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, as debris-filled rivers flooded into towns and farms miles from the Rockies (AP Photo/John Wark).

A 1-in-1,000 year flood and rainfall event
The Colorado Emergency Management Agency reported that “Some areas in Larimer County experienced a 100-year flood and other areas experienced a 1,000-year flood. It all depends on where the heaviest rain fell. Areas with more extensive damage experienced the 1,000 year flooding.” The U.S. Geological Survey office in Colorado called the flood of Boulder Creek in the city of Boulder as at least a 1-in-100-year event. In the towns of Lyons and Estes Park, officials separately described the current event in each area as a 1-in-500-year flood. According to Bob Henson of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, 17.16" of rain fell in the past week in Boulder. Using about a century of precipitation records, NOAA has constructed a Precipitation Frequency Data Server, which estimates how often we might expect to see extreme rainfall events recur. For Boulder, a 5.87" rain event in one week has an average recurrence interval of once every 1,000 years. The city received almost triple that amount of rain over the past week--a truly extreme and rare weather event.

As extreme as the 2013 Colorado flood was, there are two flood events in Colorado history that compare. One was the June 1965 flood that hit the Colorado Front Range, causing $4 billion in damage (adjusted for inflation.) Colorado's deadliest flood on record was the Big Thompson Flood of 1976, which killed 145 people between Estes Park and Loveland. More than 12" of rain fell in just three hours, causing a flood rated at between a 500-year and 1,000-year event.


Figure 4. The rains that fell in a 24-hour period ending at 12 pm MDT September 13, 2013 over regions near Boulder, Colorado were the type of rains with a 0.2% chance of falling in a particular year, or once every 500 years (purple colors), according to MetStat, Inc. (http://www.metstat.com.) MetStat computed the recurrence interval statistics based on gauge-adjusted radar precipitation and frequency estimates from NOAA Atlas 14 Volume 8, published in 2013 (http://dipper.nws.noaa.gov/hdsc/pfds/.) MetStat does not supply their precipitation recurrence interval forecasts or premium analysis products for free, but anyone can monitor the real-time analysis (observed) at: http://metstat.com/solutions/extreme-precipitation-index-analysis/

Colorado's rains set to cause record flooding in Nebraska
Much of the water from the past week's record rains in Colorado have funneled into the South Platte River, which flows eastwards in Nebraska. A 10 - 11' high flood crest is headed downriver, and is setting all-time flood height records as it heads east. By Wednesday night, the crest will reach western Nebraska at Roscoe, where the flood waters may cover Interstate 80, unless sandbagging efforts to protect the highway are done. Interstate 80 is one of the two most heavily traveled transcontinental highways in the United States.


Figure 5. Observed and predicted flood heights on the South Platte River in Western Nebraska, where an all-time record flood is expected on Wednesday. Records at this gauge go back 30 years. Image credit: NOAA/

Links
Bob Henson of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder summarizes the great flood.

Wunderblogger Dr. Ricky Rood has a home in Boulder, and discusses his take on the flood.

Colorado’s ‘Biblical’ Flood in Line with Climate Trends by Andrew Freedman of Climate Central.

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.


Video 1. A slow-motion mudslide pours into Boulder Creek, Colorado on September 14, 2013.

Ingrid and Manuel kill 38 in Mexico; Invest 95L headed for Bay of Campeche
Flooding from the combined one-two punch of Hurricane Ingrid on the Atlantic coast and Tropical Storm Manuel on the Pacific coast is being blamed for the deaths of at least 38 people in Mexico, according to AP. The two storms hit Mexico nearly simultaneously on Monday, packing sustained winds of 65 - 70 mph and torrential rains. Hardest hit was the Acapulco region on Mexico's Pacific coast, where the airport is closed, many roads flooded and blocked, and much of the city without water or power.

The waterlogged Gulf Coast of Mexico has yet another tropical rain-making system to worry about this week. An area of disturbed weather (Invest 95L) over the Yucatan Peninsula will emerge into the Southwestern Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche on Wednesday. Belize radar and satellite loops show that 95L already has a pronounced spin and a respectable area of heavy thunderstorms. Wind shear is low and is expected to stay low over the next five days. There is some dry air over the Bay of Campeche, but I doubt this will be an impediment to development, given the low wind shear. NHC gave the disturbance 2-day development odds of 30% and 5-day odds of 50% in their 8 am EDT Tuesday Tropical Weather Outlook. The disturbance is likely to stay trapped in the Bay of Campeche and take a slow west-northwest path towards the same region of coast affected by Hurricane Ingrid. On Saturday, a cold front is expected to push southeastwards over the Gulf of Mexico, and moisture from 95L will likely stream northeastwards along the cold front over much of the U.S. Gulf Coast, bringing heavy rains on Saturday and Sunday. A non-tropical low pressure system could form along this front and move northeastwards into the Florida Gulf Coast, bringing heavy rains to the Southeast U.S. on Sunday and Monday.

Jeff Masters

Lefthand Creek Flood (TigerKOD)
Aftermath
Lefthand Creek Flood
Day 4 (Railheel)
Clear Creek is normally a small clear creek that runs from Golden to Denver. Floods have changed it's look.
Day 4
Lefthand Creek Flood - Aftermath (TigerKOD)
Wash out
Lefthand Creek Flood - Aftermath

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Quoting 124. clwstmchasr:


Love Barcelona. Been there three times over the past year on business.


Any advice?

Quoting 122. daddyjames:


Have a blast .

We won't ask, but that'll only lead us to wonder - and you know how that could go ;)


Yeah, yesterday was a horrible day. I'll leave it at that. The girl I'm meeting is there by herself right now. No bueno!
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For those unaware of how the peer review process works in academia:

After the research is complete and the paper written, the researcher(s) submit their paper to a journal for publication. The editor of the journal makes a decision on the relevancy of the paper to the journal. If accepted the paper is submitted to a peer review panel. Most journals use single-blind peer review (in which the author's name is known, but the peer reviewers are not) or double-blind peer review (in which neither the author or the reviewers are known). The peer review panel then submits it's critiques and suggestions to the editor of the journal. At that point the paper is either rejected, returned to the researcher for editing or clarification, or accepted.

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Quoting 128. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
well we been getting higher than normal rain totals all over the place I figure snow will do the same thing

guess its the side effect of increased water vapour


I expect to see more snowy winters like 2012-2013 in the future.
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2893
NHC info
THE LOW IS LIKELY TO DRIFT TOWARD
THE WEST-NORTHWEST OVER THE SOUTHWESTERN GULF OF MEXICO LATER IN
THE WEEK...AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS SHOULD CONTINUE TO BE
GENERALLY CONDUCIVE FOR SOME ADDITIONAL DEVELOPMENT DURING THAT
TIME. THIS SYSTEM HAS A MEDIUM CHANCE...50 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A
TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 5 DAYS.

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Quoting 62. SouthernIllinois:

Thanks for the update. :) That IS early for that region! Looks like it will be early for probably most of the species of hickories, maples, and oaks up there. What I would do to take a road trip through the Smokey's and Blue Ridge Mountains right now!!!!

Morning Joe. :)
You will see pictures over the next month of leaves changing in area :) It is little early considering mid to late October average peak date, but it look like it's going to peak around 10th to 20th. Mountains had already started to change and the balds are 50% full of colors at 6,000 feet when I went on Blue Ridge Parkway Saturday.
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Quoting 131. ncstorm:
183 hours
Good old subtropical jet.
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Quoting 131. ncstorm:
183 hours


Possibly the first one will be a hyrbid tropical mix and the second system is pure tropical potentially maybe a hurricane heading toward FL.
Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 10 Comments: 5409
its not even tropical when it affects florida it becomes part of a front nothing special
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Cape Verde currently and probably permanately dead for the year but activity close to U.S.

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Weather Conditions for:
Sunshine Summit, CA (SSSSD)
Elev: 3244 ft; Latitude: 33.344; Longitude: -116.732

Current time: Tue, 17 Sep 9:30 am (PDT)
Most Recent Observation: Tue, 17 Sep 9:10 am PDT (PDT)
Time Temp. Dew Relative Wind Wind Quality
Point Humidity Direction Speed Control
(PDT) (f) (f) (%) (mph)
17 Sep 9:10 am PDT 75 40 28 ENE 2G04 OK

A little warm yesterday Hi 94 Lo 63
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12Z GFS is showing 2 tropical systems impacting FL over the next 7 to 8 days. Talk about a deluge Florida is about to get flooded out big time!

Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 10 Comments: 5409
183 hours
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16284
I'm just wondering, but has any other season had as many BOC systems as this year? We've so far had TD08 and 3 named storms: Barry, Fernand, and Inrid. And it looks like we may be getting another system in the BOC which will develop into a tropical cyclone.
Member Since: June 16, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 1031
Quoting 125. HurricaneHunterJoe:


95L is going to Florida?
Based on the 12z GFS, yes.
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Quoting 100. FunnelVortex:


I think we will have more snow with GW...
well we been getting higher than normal rain totals all over the place I figure snow will do the same thing

guess its the side effect of increased water vapour
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Quoting 116. TropicalAnalystwx13:

Straightforward as in not complicated.

The blog would love it if that NHC suggestion happened, right?
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A lot of action in the Straights, and offshore S.W.Fl.
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Quoting 57. StormTrackerScott:


This is going to be an interesting track as most models want to recurve this NE once it gets into the Gulf but at the moment 95L is stationary. Which be even worse news for FL down the road in terms of intensity as 95L looks pretty good right now.

This is a much different set than the one we had with Ingrid.




95L is going to Florida?
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180 hours

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16284
Quoting 117. GatorWX:
Hola from Philly.

Missed my flight to Barcelona yesterday and now waiting to board the same flight today. Don't ask!

I see the GFS has a good handle on 95L.



Have a blast .

We won't ask, but that'll only lead us to wonder - and you know how that could go ;)
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Thanks for the updated post Dr. Masters..
Great links and video..
Excellent blog as usual..
Thanks again
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its about to go down...

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16284
Quoting 103. yoboi:


are you saying they make stuff up to get funding????


Nope, i'm just saying a peer review article is not necessarily a fact because peers agree.
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Hola from Philly.

Missed my flight to Barcelona yesterday and now waiting to board the same flight today. Don't ask!

I see the GFS has a good handle on 95L.

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Quoting 99. bappit:

Someone at the NHC disagrees. From this morning's discussion.

THE DISTURBANCE IS EXPECTED TO MOVE TO THE BAY OF CAMPECHE LATER TODAY BRINGING SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS. THIS AREA OF LOW PRESSURE IS EXPECTED TO STALL IN THE BAY OF CAMPECHE FOR SEVERAL DAYS.



Straightforward as in not complicated.
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Ascat got a good pass on Usagi earlier, with quite a few 45kt wind barbs and a couple 50kt wind barbs:



Definitely looks to be intesifying faster than expected. The forecast for 12z today expected it to be a 40kt TS, but based on ASCAT I would think it was a 45kt TS, possibly even 50kts if the whole circulation was caught by ASCAT.

Usagi has some very cold cloud tops too!



Current forecast has it reaching a peak intensity of 95kts (110mph). I think that'll be upped to 100-105kts (cat 3) in the next forecast update. Rather exciting stuff! Hopefully it won't do much damage or take many, if any, lives.
Member Since: June 16, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 1031
Quoting 108. FunnelVortex:


Flordians sure hate rain.


Haha. The sunshine state may have to turn in that title this year. Amazing how just a few hundred miles of distance can mean 180 degrees difference in climate...and for some folks around here just as many degrees in temp increase. :)
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Quoting 62. SouthernIllinois:

Thanks for the update. :) That IS early for that region! Looks like it will be early for probably most of the species of hickories, maples, and oaks up there. What I would do to take a road trip through the Smokey's and Blue Ridge Mountains right now!!!!

Morning Joe. :)


And down here in the Mississippi Gulf Coast we got lovebugs flying all over the place. A clear sign of fall coming. I love dry cold weather :)

Member Since: August 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 206
Regardless of development it looks like plenty of rain for the Peninsula of FL.

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159 hours
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16284
Quoting 97. rickdove:


My opinion is that a peer review article is a way academia tries to turn a theory into a fact. It goes like this: I have a theory and since my friends agree with me lets just make it a fact and move on. Then politicians take the peer review article and make policy based on it.


This suggestion keep getting brought up that there is a conspiracy within academia. In reality, even after papers are published they are reviewed often. Sometimes retractions need to be issued, sometimes teaching credentials are removed for repeated retractions and plagiarism. Peer-review is not perfect, but it isn't some conspiracy to pass on falsified material either. Link
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Quoting 87. muddertracker:


I know, right? I seriously doubt we understand all the forces at play...but that's just me. I totally believe in "user error."


How accurate are Dr. Gray's seasonal hurricane forecasts? And he's considered an "expert" in the field.
Global climate forecasting still involves a lot of guess work at this point. Way too many factors involved in climate forecasting. Dr. Gray even recently said that.
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Quoting 105. calkevin77:


I'm sure Tampico, MX and Miami will get whatever moisture becomes available. They really need the rain you know.

*removes sarcasm hat*


Flordians sure hate rain.
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2893
Quoting 91. calkevin77:


Haha exactly. Just like the game this last Saturday anything that forms in the BOC will be an "Ole Miss" to us Texans. :-)


Nice. Exactly.
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Quoting 97. rickdove:


My opinion is that a peer review article is a way academia tries to turn a theory into a fact. It goes like this: I have a theory and since my friends agree with me lets just make it a fact and move on. Then politicians take the peer review article and make policy based on it.


You are entitled to your opinion. However, the peer review process is extremely rigorous. It's rather insulting to those individuals who have obtained a Ph.D., and participated in the academic community, to somehow invalidate the process or slap it with some type of imagined agenda.

I wonder how Dr. Masters feels every time he sees one of these posts on his blog?
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Quoting 98. TropicalAnalystwx13:

"BOC trash". Final answer.


I'm sure Tampico, MX and Miami will get whatever moisture becomes available. They really need the rain you know.

*removes sarcasm hat*
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Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16284
103. yoboi
Quoting 97. rickdove:


My opinion is that a peer review article is a way academia tries to turn a theory into a fact. It goes like this: I have a theory and since my friends agree with me lets just make it a fact and move on. Then politicians take the peer review article and make policy based on it.


are you saying they make stuff up to get funding????
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Quoting 98. TropicalAnalystwx13:

"BOC trash". Final answer.


Well, seeing the GFS is forecasting decreasing shear across the Gulf and BOC, I am thinking it may not be "Trash" after all... It could become what Ingrid couldnt and a more serious threat.
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2893
Thanks for the Update,
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Quoting 86. luvtogolf:


Agree on that one. I've also been told that the "peer reviewed" articles tell us that we will have more snow. Oooopps, I mean the "peer reviewed" articles tell us we will have less snow. It just depends on what is happening at that time, then they pull out the "peer reviewed" stuff to support it.


I think we will have more snow with GW...
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2893
Quoting 5. TropicalAnalystwx13:
Invest 95L should take a straightforward track into Mexico given the high presure over the Southeast. [...]

Someone at the NHC disagrees. From this morning's discussion.

THE DISTURBANCE IS EXPECTED TO MOVE TO THE BAY OF CAMPECHE LATER TODAY BRINGING SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS. THIS AREA OF LOW PRESSURE IS EXPECTED TO STALL IN THE BAY OF CAMPECHE FOR SEVERAL DAYS.


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Quoting 60. FunnelVortex:
95L. BOC trash? Texas drought buster? Florida soaker? Gulf wanderer? What do you think?


"BOC trash". Final answer.
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Quoting 86. luvtogolf:


Agree on that one. I've also been told that the "peer reviewed" articles tell us that we will have more snow. Oooopps, I mean the "peer reviewed" articles tell us we will have less snow. It just depends on what is happening at that time, then they pull out the "peer reviewed" stuff to support it.


My opinion is that a peer review article is a way academia tries to turn a theory into a fact. It goes like this: I have a theory and since my friends agree with me lets just make it a fact and move on. Then politicians take the peer review article and make policy based on it.
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129 hours
GFS
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16284
Thanks, Dr. Masters. Excellent blog and links!

The linked summary of the June 1965 flood was quite interesting. From that summary:

"The Plum Creek gauging station near Louviers was destroyed, but observations indicated that the flow increased a thousand fold, from about 150 cfs to 154,000 cfs, in less than three hours. The peak discharge on June 16, 1965 was 20 times the previous maximum discharge in 23 years of record."

That's one heck of a flood!

On another note, DonnieBWK (someone please let me know if I've got his name wrong) predicted a few days ago that the South Platte at Roscoe would exceed 10,000 cfs with the recent rain events. This was prior to the official prediction coming out, as shown in Figure 5 of Dr. Masters' blog. Well done, Donnie!
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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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