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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181. JugheadFL
4:30 PM EDT on June 29, 2006
what are you talking about, theres almost no shear there!
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180. Weather456
4:29 PM AST on June 29, 2006
94L is where bret formed last year.....Dejavu
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179. Toyotaman
8:29 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
Shear is way to high for this to develope right now. Look at the cloud movement to the west and north of it. One big burst of convection does not equal a storm.
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178. TampaCat5
4:28 PM EDT on June 29, 2006
And very high shear!
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177. TampaCat5
4:27 PM EDT on June 29, 2006
Taz, you've been on this blog for a long time, I want you to try and answer that question for yourself.
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176. Weather456
4:20 PM AST on June 29, 2006
hey can someone please assist me....is there another possiple developent?
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175. JugheadFL
4:27 PM EDT on June 29, 2006
yea, definatlety a blow up, but its quite large and in an area of very high SST's!
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174. Tazmanian
1:24 PM PDT on June 29, 2006
could this be come a cat 5 hurricane or a cat 4 and where you think it may be going
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115456
173. sayhuh
2:25 PM CST on June 29, 2006
Easy there Jughead..

Its growing nicely...but lets give it a bit more time. ;-) LOL
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172. TampaCat5
4:24 PM EDT on June 29, 2006
JFlorida, what is there to see? Just a big blow up of convection.
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171. JugheadFL
4:23 PM EDT on June 29, 2006
even alomst looks like some slight rotation, and banding!
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170. sayhuh
2:23 PM CST on June 29, 2006
BWA..lets see about TD..its got some work to do.
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169. JugheadFL
4:21 PM EDT on June 29, 2006
check this out: Link
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167. gvhjghkjg
8:19 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
94L will become Beryl within 24 hours. This year is a repeat of last year, just offset 2 days. As with Bret, this storm will catch the NHC somewhat offguard.
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166. JugheadFL
4:20 PM EDT on June 29, 2006
man, the invest in the southern gulf is starting to bomb!
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163. Weather456
3:56 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
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162. sayhuh
2:13 PM CST on June 29, 2006
I am taking the under on the Gulf disturbance. This year has proven to be more successful for the Eeyore.

Look at the GFS MSLP at 144 hr.
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158. Tazmanian
1:12 PM PDT on June 29, 2006
: Randrewl thank you what all say hi to TD2
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115456
154. Tazmanian
1:07 PM PDT on June 29, 2006
and look where 94L is lol
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151. Tazmanian
1:03 PM PDT on June 29, 2006
94L.INVEST this pop up
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149. Tazmanian
12:45 PM PDT on June 29, 2006
Trouper415 i am doing vary well
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115456
148. sayhuh
1:38 PM CST on June 29, 2006
Lots of rain to be in TX, but not a TD of any kind..it will be similar in structure to the nearly departed "Tropical Disturbance" on the East Coast.

Above is just my opinion.
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147. Trouper415
7:34 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
The SSTs are sure warm. They are on different scales Taz. I like the one Ldog posted because its easier to tell the SST in the temperature range we are currently in.

Thanks for posting those Taz, i was looking for them. How are you doing 888888889?
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146. Tazmanian
12:25 PM PDT on June 29, 2006
: Ldog74 yes but it had a lot more red on there
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115456
145. Ldog74
7:22 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
U mean like this Taz
Link
Member Since: June 11, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 165
144. Tazmanian
12:14 PM PDT on June 29, 2006
can you find some in more like this but for sea temps only for the gulf
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115456
142. Tazmanian
12:00 PM PDT on June 29, 2006
eeeeeeek oh could you all find me some in like this?
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115456
140. txweather
1:39 PM CDT on June 29, 2006
sayhuh, this is just speculation(i am not one to study in detail heat budgets, maybe Dr. Knows someone), my instinct is that you are right and if 2 seasons were EXACTLY the same but for this it could be seen. However, I suspect in the real world that this is hidden in the noise so to speak. Imagine another example, if there were more bugs flying wouldn't that effect your cars speed, yes because everytime you hit one it slows you down. But the effect is so small relative to other factors you just wouldn't see that. That also my view on "Is global warming affecting storm strength". I believe if it is we can't see it as of now. Any effect is probably within the margin of error we have for estimating windspeed.

Another way to look at it is that this is a subtle effect that has an impact on the generally climate etc. So in a way it might we just don't know to what degree. The fact the best climatolgist is standing on a low island in the sea of ignorance. Sorry for the long reply that says I really don't know, but good question.

A questions to all. We heard so much about the #'s of 5 last year. But ask this question, if this were the 30's how many of these would we have known were 5.
TX
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139. StormJunkie
6:53 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
David, Check my blog for year to year SST comparisons.

See ya'll in a couple of hours

SJ
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138. Tazmanian
11:52 AM PDT on June 29, 2006
: WSI ok thank you i went you no
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115456
137. WSI
6:47 PM GMT on June 29, 2006
Taz, I have a lot of SST maps in the tropical section of the link directory at weathercore.com. Let me know if you don't find what you want.

I am sure you already know about the ones here on wunderground, correct?
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133. Tazmanian
11:38 AM PDT on June 29, 2006
any no some good sea temps maps for the gulf and Caribbean if so link me some thannk you
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115456
131. txweather
1:30 PM CDT on June 29, 2006
Jflorida,
becareful reading too much into those mexican coastal stations. Due to mountains almost going to the ocean theyhave local effects. Often during storms you'll see winds and direction sigificantly different that the overall flow. Generally this applies to all coastal staions with mountains nearby.
Tx
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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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