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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231. Weather456
5:12 PM AST on June 29, 2006
A SMALL AREA OF SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS HAS DEVELOPED IN THE BAY
OF CAMPECHE THIS AFTERNOON. SURFACE PRESSURES IN THE AREA ARE HIGH
AND DEVELOPMENT...IF ANY...IS EXPECTED TO BE SLOW TO OCCUR.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
230. LSUHurricaneHunter
9:17 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
The latest outlook certainly mentions the blob. Development should be slow to occur. If any.
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229. txweather
4:03 PM CDT on June 29, 2006
That blowup is just that a blowup, remember persisence is a key element in developing a system. Its takes a while for the thunderstorm activity to really spin up a low. Also remember it is common to have flareups of showers as systems approach land. This is caused by friction over land slowing the wind down. This wind then is moving slower than the airbehind it. This causes convergence and thunderstorm activity. We see it practically everyday over central america and this is also why storms(weak ones) often look better on radar AFTER landfall.

Regardless the flow is from SE to NW in the area so the system should just flow on into Stexas and mexico. Thus good needed rains will occur in that area. For the record the pattern for the next week is going to be for a good se to nw flow over the gulf.(This is traditionally a flooding pattern over texas, due to the deep moisture and 0 cap).
TX
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228. StLucieHurricane
9:07 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
Squam, If it has no chance why would they put an Invest up? I dont think it will develop either maybe 5% chance??
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227. Ldog74
9:10 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
Yes, weather, but according to your Scale, you could have a negative chance of development, and i think hes saying that it should be all positive of something to that effect.
Member Since: June 11, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 165
226. Weather456
5:07 PM AST on June 29, 2006
Zaphod

My Development Potential Scale (DPS) as of 3pm EDT

Sea Surface Temps 5 of 5
Wind Sheer -3 of 5
Overall Look 3 of 5
Present to Low Level Center LLC 0 of 1

5/16 Chance of devlopent.


you add 5 + -3 + 3 + 0= 5..

remember shear limits a storm development potential so you subtract more as wind shear increases.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
225. cajunkid
3:04 PM CST on June 29, 2006
before Link after Link
before Link
after Link
just something to look at
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224. KShurricane
3:55 PM CDT on June 29, 2006
We've got TD 4 in the Western Pacific. Expected to be a TS (Ewiniar) in 12 hrs and a typhoon in 48. Looks like a fish storm.
The Gulf Blob has a small area of low shear to work with, but as soon as it moves out of the Bay of Campeche it'll be shredded. I doubt this is anything to get excited about.
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223. Stormy2day
9:00 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
I don't see what you all are talking about - really. I'll give you this - you keep making me look! :-)

Either there are folks really excited to get this season underway and have a system to talk about or my computer monitor needs adjusting...

I see convection ...

now where did I put the warranty papers for this monitor...
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222. Weather456
5:05 PM AST on June 29, 2006
New Hurricane Names
Should the National Hurricane Center or World Meteorological Organization introduce the letters Q, U, X, Y, Z letters into the naming scheme or introduce surnames to storms?

Answer to Sunday's Question: Hurricane Katrina was more intense than Hurricane Camille. Intensity refers to central pressure. But Hurricane Camille winds were higher than Hurricane Katrina.

my blog

leave the answers at my blog or email me
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
218. Ldog74
8:59 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
Were joking Squam, just some of us are secretly hopeful as well.
Member Since: June 11, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 165
215. Zaphod
8:54 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
Weather456,
Don't your numbers add up to 11 out of 16?

GulfScottsman,
There is still room in the Tunnel Party as well, if your particular brand of lunacy spins in that direction.

Zap
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214. Tazmanian
1:56 PM PDT on June 29, 2006
is that a eye poping up
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212. WSI
8:56 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
"please tell me that is not an eyewall in formation!"

It's not an eyewall formation. :)
211. Skyepony (Mod)
8:47 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
I must say I'm a little alarmed as well. All quiet this morning (& forecasted to be for days), go to beach, return to 94L! I could see it go from nothing to now on the satalite loop. What shocks me is how quickly it became an invest, that shows consern from the NHC. Though it rightfully, should be checked out & watched. (move one of the 2 floaters off of 93L...please).

Really developing well, quick...if it got away from those mountains. The shear it nearly none in BOC & shear is forcasted to retreat N in the GOM.
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209. sayhuh
2:51 PM CST on June 29, 2006
Rut roh...look at the TRIMM for 94L

Link
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207. Ldog74
8:48 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
As long as it stays that small, i don't think its proximity to land will be a HUGE factor, when large storms are just off the coast, around half of the storm is already on land. This "blob" does not have that much convection on land because of its lack of size. I don't think it will have much of a chance to develop anyway, but it is sort of interesting if you have been watching the Gulf of Mexico water vapor imagery for the last couple of hours.
Member Since: June 11, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 165
206. cajunkid
2:45 PM CST on June 29, 2006
before and after katrinaLinkLinkLinkLink
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204. Trouper415
8:46 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
WOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO!
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203. sayhuh
2:46 PM CST on June 29, 2006
I see the 93L invest has been dropped.
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201. Baybuddy
8:46 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
Two questions; What defining traits am I looking for in a building storm, and which way do you guys see this system going?
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200. Weather456
4:41 PM AST on June 29, 2006
Arent storms in the bay of campeche known to strenghten in face of wind shear beacuse of the SST's? Isnt the bay of Campeche a "hot spot"?
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
198. sayhuh
2:41 PM CST on June 29, 2006
The visible loop is interesting for it..the west side of the storm seems to show a hair of outflow..but still too close to land for me. Dunno.
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195. Weather456
4:36 PM AST on June 29, 2006
My Development Potential Scale (DPS) as of 3pm EDT

Sea Surface Temps 5 of 5
Wind Sheer -3 of 5
Overall Look 3 of 5
Present to Low Level Center LLC 0 of 1

5/16 Chance of devlopent.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
194. sayhuh
2:37 PM CST on June 29, 2006
Shame on you Gulf! LOL.. What happen to that voice of reason? Who knows, but based on the activity so far this season..I am taking a more conservative approach.
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193. WSI
8:37 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
"most of you are overblowing this. simmer down."

Agreed. It still has shear over it. Well above 10kts.
192. Toyotaman
8:37 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
Besides, the wave is moving to the west which will put it overland in about 24 hours.
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190. turtlehurricane
8:36 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
most of you are overblowing this. simmer down.
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188. snotly
8:26 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
Anyone notice how compared to last year the SST are *warmer* in the gulf. Looks like the persistant high over the Atlantic has "pushed" cold water against Africa and all the warm water into the western Atlantic.
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187. WSI
8:33 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
There is 20+ knots of shear there. High enough.
186. JugheadFL
4:32 PM EDT on June 29, 2006
Link
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184. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
5:32 AM JST on June 30, 2006
lol Weather456 I just read MichaelSTL discuss that as well.
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183. Toyotaman
8:33 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
No shear!!!!!, Look at the cloud movement all around the blob.
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182. Weather456
4:32 PM AST on June 29, 2006
shear is marginal to low
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
181. JugheadFL
4:30 PM EDT on June 29, 2006
what are you talking about, theres almost no shear there!
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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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