Flood walls hold on the Susquehanna

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:09 PM GMT on June 29, 2006

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The Army Corps of Engineers is breathing a sigh of relief today. After the failure of New Orleans' levees during Hurricane Katrina revealed that the Army Corps had failed to properly construct those structures, they must have been very anxiously watching the flood walls restraining the rampaging Susquehanna River in Wilkes-Barre, PA yesterday. The new flood walls, built in response to the record flooding from Hurricane Agnes in 1972, were built 3-5 feet higher at a cost of $200 million. The new walls took 20 years to build, and were completed in 2003. Do to the uncertainty of how long the new walls could hold back such a large volume of water, over 100,000 people were evacuated yesterday from the Susquehanna's flood plain. The Susquehanna crested late Wednesday at 34.4 feet, just six feet below the tops of the new flood walls, and 16 feet above flood stage. The river is slowly declining, and was at 32 feet this morning at 4 am EDT.


Figure 1. Measured rainfall from the week's rains. Tropical moisture streaming north along a stationary trough of low pressure triggered rains as heavy as 3 inches per hour in the mountains of Pennsylvania.

Hurricane Agnes of June 1972 did $8.6 billion in damage to Pennsylvania and surrounding areas. Agnes at the time was the costliest hurricane in history, a distinction it held for 20 years--when Hurricane Andrew came along. Thanks to the recent spate of intense hurricanes hitting the U.S., Agnes has fallen to number nine on the list of costliest hurricanes of all time. Six of the nine costliest hurricanes of all time occurred in the past two years!

Tropical wave in the Caribbean
A strong tropical wave moved through the Windward Islands yesterday, bringing heavy rain and wind gusts up to 36 mph. Strong upper-level winds from the west severely disrupted the wave overnight. This wind shear of 20-30 knots is expected to continue, and no development is likely today. The wave is expected to bring thunderstorms and gusty winds to Puerto Rico and Hispanolia as it moves west-northwest at 20 mph. The wave could get more organized once it gets closer to the U.S., if it can find an area of lower wind shear to take advantage of. The prospects of this happening are low, as most of the ocean areas surrounding the U.S. are expected to have high wind shear over the coming week. None of the computer models develop this wave, and there is really nothing anywhere in the Atlantic that looks to be of concern over the next few days.


Figure 2.Latest satellite image of the tropical wave in the Caribbean.


Figure 3. Model forecast tracks of the tropical wave in the Caribbean.

Thanks to all of you who tuned into my "Tropical Round Table" interview last night on http://radio.nhcwx.com/. I'll be summarizing much of what I said in tomorrow's blog. In particular, I'll focus on how different the large-scale atmospheric patterns for this year's hurricane season are compared to last year's season. This year will not be a repeat of 2005!

Jeff Masters

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Susquehanna River flooding in Endicott (dockwpk)
Flooding afternoon of June 28, 2006 - Endicott. Union Endicott High School athletic facilities
Susquehanna River flooding in Endicott

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481. tornadodude
10:56 PM CDT on June 29, 2006
here is a neat web page about indiana weather.

Link
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480. tornadodude
10:47 PM CDT on June 29, 2006
hi again. I think the weather will be descent for my Northeast trip this week. Except for a chance of T-Storms now and then. so i wont be on for a week or so after tonight.

depressing:(
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479. MZT
3:25 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss either of these systems. The Campeche one isn't very strong but the circulation is visible. The Anilles storm is a disorganized mess, but it's held on for a while now, and I think it will still be open for discussion for at least another day or two.

I say 50% chance of a storm developing from one or the other. We are getting close to July and it looks like the tropics are beginning to bubble regularly in more than one spot at a time.

I do not think this season will be a "bust".
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478. burg1999
3:26 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
For those of you who missed it (including myself), Jeff's appearance on the Tropical Roundtable is now up on the podweather.com site as an MP3. I just downloaded it and will listen tomorrow.
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477. ProgressivePulse
11:22 PM EDT on June 29, 2006
However, I do think the wave moving through south fla this weekend will pack more of a punch than last weekend. Mainly in the way of winds, I was noticing winds of 23kts sustained in the antilles and gusting to 39kts as an unorganized wave.
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476. Baybuddy
3:22 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
I wish it would rain.
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475. ProgressivePulse
11:09 PM EDT on June 29, 2006
Good evening all! Looks like it will be a quiet vacation.
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473. OSHNBLU
3:08 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
good to see ya CosmicE
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472. FLweather
3:03 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
000
ABNT20 KNHC 300210
TWOAT
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
1030 PM EDT THU JUN 29 2006

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

SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS CONTINUE IN THE BAY OF CAMPECHE. THIS
ACTIVITY IS EXPECTED TO MOVE GENERALLY NORTHWESTWARD OVER THE NEXT
DAY OR TWO...BUT SURFACE PRESSURES IN THE AREA REMAIN HIGH AND
UPPER-LEVEL WINDS ARE PRESENTLY UNFAVORABLE FOR SIGNIFICANT
DEVELOPMENT.

CLOUDINESS AND SHOWERS ACROSS THE LESSER ANTILLES ARE ASSOCIATED
WITH A TROPICAL WAVE INTERACTING WITH AN UPPER-LEVEL TROUGH.
TROPICAL CYCLONE DEVELOPMENT IS NOT EXPECTED.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL STORM FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED THROUGH
SATURDAY.
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471. bappit
2:59 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
BayBud:

When two tropical systems are near each other, they create problems for each other. If one is strong and the other weak, the outflow from the strong one shears the weak one. I guess if they are both weak then they steal moisture from each other and limit the possibility of growth.
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470. CosmicEvents
2:45 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
Typical ST modus operandi. Any batch of thunderstorms anywhere in or near the Gulf of Mexico is headed right down the throat of the Mississipi. Must have an ex-wife that lives there. As at least a category 2. Last year he had Katrina as a category 6. Whoops..sorry...I remember nobody can invoke that category except you. Good for a laugh at least. You should go with your very first thought ST. Remember....slow early season. That I find is usually correct. But then you change. These thunderstorms in the Bay of Campeche will probably deflate just like the ex-wife.
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468. Baybuddy
2:54 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
Thanks JF and jp I thought I had body odor or something.
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467. bappit
2:53 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
JFLA, here's the complete sentence.

"Females who had a gonadectomy experienced increased mortality rates, as estrogen is believed to have a protective effect against V. vulnificus."
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466. bappit
2:48 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
These disturbances are very important for south Texas. Here is part of Brownsville discussion.

GFS CONTINUES TO INIT BEST WITH SEMI-TROPICS AND CURRENT BOILING IN THE BAY OF CAMPECHE...WITH MUCH MORE AGGRESSIVE TSTM DEVELOPMENT OVR LONGER PD OF TIME...AND HIER QPF THAN SISTER NAM. WILL CONTINUE TO RUN WITH GFS SOLUTION FOR ALL MASS FIELDS AND NOTE AGREEMENT WITH UKMET AND ECMWF IN BRINGING STRONG PVA NW FM BAY OF CAMPECHE AND ASSOCIATED RAFL. BRO IS DOWN 6 INCHES IN RAFL FOR THIS YEAR...WITH DEFICITS -13.14 INCHES IN BRO FM 2005...-10.75 FOR HRL AND MCALLEN (THANKS TO EMILY) ONLY RAN -5.23 INCH DEFICITS IN 2005. (REMEMBER...SPIRAL BANDS TRAINED OVR MFE...WITH NADA IN HRL/BRO)
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462. bappit
2:45 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
Austin, Texas, forecast discussion:

THE TROPICAL WAVE IN THE BAY OF CAMPECHE CONTINUES TO MOVE NORTHWEST. THIS WILL CLIP THE COUNTIES SOUTH OF THE ESCARPMENT TOMORROW, FRIDAY. ONCE THE AXIS OF THIS TROF MOVES WEST OF US, THE FULL TROPICAL AIRMASS WILL FOLLOW. THE SCENARIO IS FOR THE ITCZ TO FLOW NORTH INTO TEXAS SATURDAY, SUNDAY AND MONDAY.
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460. Ldog74
2:42 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
The problem is that it is not even really an "it" yet. There is not any type of real circulation to go anywhere, until it develops that, it will just be a rather large t'storm and it will jut act like a rather large t'storm. IMO
Member Since: June 11, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 165
459. FLweather
2:42 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
Does the blob in the Bay have a chance of heading more east towards lets say..the yucatan or florida?
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458. watchingnva
2:39 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
i get such a hard laugh out of "....THE NEXT STATEMENT WILL BE ISSUED BY STORMTOPS WEATHER OFFICE WHEN AND IF A DEPRESSION DEVELOPS.....002130............"
everytime. I just find it entirly too amusing. lol, hows everyone else doing this fine evening.
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456. bappit
2:36 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
Cool Wikipedia article JFLORIDA.

It notes:
"estrogen is believed to have a protective effect against V. vulnificus."

More on topic:
"Health officials clearly identified strains of V. vulnificus infections among refugees from New Orleans due to the flooding there caused by Hurricane Katrina."
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453. Baybuddy
2:36 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
I feel as though I'm getting the silent treatment. Should I be more assertive?
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452. bappit
2:35 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
Yeah! The one I was thinking of, turns out. I posted a couple links on Taz's blog.
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450. Tazmanian
7:31 PM PDT on June 29, 2006
evere take a chill pill ok this is not a cat 5 hurricane ok but we need to watch this wave for a few day to see what it dos and do so cool it ok and we need to keep a eye on the gulf wave as well so cool it
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114712
449. STORMTOP
2:24 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
STORMTOPS WEATHER OFFICE 002130......THE DISTURBANCE HAS CHANGED LITTLE THIS EVENING IT IS HOLDING ITS OWN..A RECON PLANE LIKE I SAID EARLIER WOULD BE GOING OUT TOMORROW AFTERNOON TO CHECK THE DISTURBANCE OUT...IM STILL FORECASTING IT TO MOVE NORTHWARD BECAUSE A WEAK WESTERLY FLOW COMBINED WITH THE HIGH SETTING UP OVER TEXAS WILL SLACKEN THE SHEAR IN THE NEXT 24 HOURS AND WE COULD HAVE A TROPICAL DEPRESSION FORM OVER THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND...IM URGING ALL INTERESTS IN THE NORTH AND NW GULF OF MEXICO TO KEEP TUNED PERIODICALLY TO THEIR LATEST FORECAST ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE...PRESSURES ARE CONTINUING TO FALL SLOWLY OVER THE YUCATAN THIS EVENING...THIS HAS THE POTENTIAL EVEN TO DEVELOP INTO BERYL ON SATURDAY OR SUNDAY AS IT MOVES NORTH SLOWLY....THE NEXT STATEMENT WILL BE ISSUED BY STORMTOPS WEATHER OFFICE WHEN AND IF A DEPRESSION DEVELOPS.....002130............
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448. bappit
2:31 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
I've got vacation comin up. Get a little rambunctious lookin forward to it. Pardon me.
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447. FLweather
2:32 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
K8eCane : what do you agree with?
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446. K8eCane
2:31 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
i agree with you
Member Since: April 26, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 3075
445. bappit
2:26 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
Hey, What!

You trollin for a piece of somethin? We should smack you around a bit. (Sounds of: smack, smack ... smack. Grunting and heavy breathing followed by cries of "Allah Akbar!") I don't hear anyone arguing at all, only you. Grow up or leave.

Oh, I get out of breath typing nasty like that.
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444. FLweather
2:29 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
The caribbean wave looks slightly more organized. in the upper antilles, it seems to becoming into a small area of convection. anyone have any opinions?
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442. Ldog74
2:28 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
Right now, this whole blog needs about a chill keg.
Member Since: June 11, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 165
440. K8eCane
2:27 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
wow JP take a chill pill
Member Since: April 26, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 3075
438. Baybuddy
2:22 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
I know this is probably a stupid question:
What would happen if a T.D. from the yucatan made it into the GOM at the same time whatever is left from the carribian straggles in?
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437. K8eCane
2:25 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
aint gonna be anything to argue about...there is no depression, much less storm and i'd say about a 10% chance there will be, if that much
Member Since: April 26, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 3075
436. FLweather
2:23 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
JFLORIDA:

I agree with you. Will that put it closer in the vicinity to us?
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435. WhatHurricane
2:23 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
One more question, What is the point of arguing Over a storm that hasent even formed yet? Do you people have nothing better to do?? Sorry if that came across as rude or obnoxious, but really. Please people... Untill a storm is out there.. Get over Yourselfs.
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434. FLweather
2:16 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
What does everyone think about the eastern caribbean tropical wave?

Lookin at some maps, the wind sheer seems like it is suppost to die down.
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433. K8eCane
2:20 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
this thing aint gonna be a TD, much less a TS
Member Since: April 26, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 3075
432. WhatHurricane
2:19 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
Wow, I'm pro'lly going to leave this blog for a while. I've no motivation to watch anymore.
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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.