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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331. WSI
11:51 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
Shear is beating this system. Water vapor shows that there really isn't an eastern componment to the movement. It's just the shear blowing this thing apart.
330. FLweather
11:51 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
LOOk at the bottom left corner. Right off the mexican coast in the bay.


http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/gmex/loop-vis.html


there seems to be a swirl in the clouds, and it occurs that there is a spin to it
Member Since: June 29, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 18
329. ejstrick
11:50 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
yeah Toyotaman... It will be a slow process if it happens to develop at all.
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328. FLweather
11:50 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
But the clouds are becoming more complex and thicker according to the satellites.
Member Since: June 29, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 18
327. Toyotaman
11:51 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
And I still do not see any spin.
326. Toyotaman
11:47 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
I deffinitly don't see any deepening. the storms are blowing up in the same areas, the tops are being blown off and then new storms develope where the old ones began. They are blowing up along the coast. It needs to move away from land and the shear needs to decrease for it to deepen.
325. FLweather
11:47 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
The spin is making a movement to the east. I cant tell if this is a jog, or a continuous direction. I guess we will just have to wait.
Member Since: June 29, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 18
324. thelmores
11:45 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
what is to be made of the thunderstorms that appear to "streak" across the yucatan towards the bay of campeche and the "flare up" on the gulf visible loop
Member Since: September 8, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3805
323. FLweather
11:47 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
DOES ANYONE SEE THAT SPIN RIGHT OFF THE SOUTHERN COAST OF MEXICO!?
Member Since: June 29, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 18
322. ejstrick
11:47 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
Here jp...Link
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321. FLweather
11:44 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
It is definitly being sheered. But if you look at the satellite imagery, the clouds are beginning to deepen. This is definitly a sign of slow development.

http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/gmex/loop-vis.html
Member Since: June 29, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 18
320. WSI
11:43 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
The Navy site jp.

For those of you looking for weather links, check out weathercore.com. Lots of links there in the link directory, as well as other information. Be sure to check out the tropical page.
319. FLweather
11:42 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
It seems to be being sheered. But i do believe it will overcome the sheer, becuase maps are showing that the sheer is going to die down
Member Since: June 29, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 18
317. StellarCyclone
11:39 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
There does appear to be spin. At what level I don't know. This system will probably have to battle a lot of shear like Alberto. It looks pretty interesting right now.
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315. ejstrick
11:40 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
Still early in the game JP.
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314. ejstrick
11:37 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
Check outn the last few frames...Link...a hint of a spin developing very near the coast.
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312. cajunkid
5:36 PM CST on June 29, 2006
Link
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310. FLweather
11:35 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
Thanks jphurrican2006
Member Since: June 29, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 18
309. FLweather
11:33 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
jphurricane2006: What site do you use for models? The disturbance should begin to move away from the strong sheer, and the rest of the sheer should begin to die down.
Member Since: June 29, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 18
307. ejstrick
11:33 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
Flweather here you go.Link
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304. FLweather
11:31 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
Do you get your models from a site?

So what if this disturbance converges with the vigorous tropical wave in the eastern Caribbean
Member Since: June 29, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 18
302. FLweather
11:27 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
WSI:

So whether it develops or not, it will follow the ridge. WIll that move the disturbance towards the east and towards FLORIDA, or west.
Member Since: June 29, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 18
300. FLweather
11:27 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
Yeah i agree jp.
Member Since: June 29, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 18
299. WSI
11:27 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
I think what you are seeing is the shear making it look like an eastern movement. Look at the water vapor imagery. It actually doesn't look like it is moving too much. Looks like a ridge is forecasted to build into the Gulf in the 72 hour period. If that happens, it should keep this thing from going too far into the gulf, regardless of what it does or doesn't become.
298. FLweather
11:26 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
So does anyone agree with me that the blob is shifting more towards the NE
Member Since: June 29, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 18
296. Buhdog
11:24 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
With that wave in the carib....along with our campeche blob floating a little ne......we could have a little shootout in the gulf near the yucatan sun night......gulf is 88 in Cape Coral FL...
Member Since: July 30, 2005 Posts: 1 Comments: 960
295. FLweather
11:19 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
Even the very bottom of the flare up is apparently shifting to the east. And there is not much sheer where the bottom is.
Member Since: June 29, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 18
294. FLweather
11:15 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
Yeah, i think you are correct jphurricane, but if the sheer dies down within the next day at most, the disturbance may still have some convection to flare up again and reform. Correct?
Member Since: June 29, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 18
293. FLweather
11:14 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
If you click this:

http://www.weather.com/maps/geography/oceans/gulfofmexicosatellite_large_animated.html

or go to it, you will see the gulf of mexico loop. it seems the disturbance is shifting more to the east.
Member Since: June 29, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 18
291. FLweather
11:13 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
Sorry.

This is the correct link to the loop.


http://www.weather.com/maps/geography/oceans/caribbeansatellite_large.html
Member Since: June 29, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 18
290. FLweather
11:11 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
I do agree with you Ldog74. The flare up does seem to be getting shreaded. But models show that the wind shear should die down and relax. If the disturbance does not get fully shredded, it may have a chance to reorganize. Correct?
Member Since: June 29, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 18
288. FLweather
11:09 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
http://image.weather.com/looper/archive/gomex_sat_720x486/3L.jpg?1151632951140
Member Since: June 29, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 18
287. Ldog74
11:09 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
It looks like its about to get sheared to pieces.
Member Since: June 11, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 165
286. FLweather
11:09 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
Does anyone see what I see?
Member Since: June 29, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 18
285. FLweather
11:08 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
Who agrees?
Member Since: June 29, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 18
284. FLweather
11:07 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
The flare up is now showing signs of moving more towards the east. If this is consistant, the disturbance will move towards warmer water and evidently less wind shear. This would take it on a track more to the east and not up towards Texas.
Member Since: June 29, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 18
283. CosmicEvents
11:01 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
Even though ST assured us that nothing would develop until 7/10 I knew he wouldn't be able to resist anything brewing in the Gulf. Be careful ST with those NHC imitation posts. The 2 or 3 people who don't know already that you're an obsessed fool might get nervous. What a trip. LMAO.
Member Since: August 3, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 5528
282. Toyotaman
11:01 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
correction, he is central time.
281. Toyotaman
11:00 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
2200 is 10pm, I believe he is on mountain time now, not sure though.

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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.