Historic flooding hits Iowa

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:07 PM GMT on June 13, 2008

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Truly extraordinary flooding has hit the Cedar River in the town of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Rainfall amounts in excess of 12 inches have fallen in the past ten days over the Cedar River watershed, which extends to the northwest of Cedar Rapids into southern Minnesota. The rains that fell during the weekend of June 7-8 were fueled in part by moisture from Tropical Storm Alma/Arthur, which affected Central America May 29 - June 2. The Cedar River is expected to crest today at 31.8 feet, which is an amazing 19.8 feet above the flood stage of 12 feet. During the historic 1993 flood, the worst in recent history, the river hit only 19.27 feet, 7 feet above flood stage. Nine rivers in Iowa are at all-time record flood levels, and Iowa Governor Chet Culver has declared 83 of the state's 99 counties state disaster areas. Additional heavy rainfall is not expected over the Cedar River watershed over the next two days, so today should mark the peak of this year's historic flooding.


Figure 1. Total rainfall for the period June 2 - June 12, 2008, as estimated by NASA's TRMM satellite. An additional three inches fell over portions of eastern Iowa in the 24 hours since this image was created.

New way to track river flooding on wunderground
Wunderground has added a way to track local river forecast levels and assess flood risk at www.wunderground.com/wundermap/rivers. Using data from the USGS (the U.S. Geological Survey), the product plots river data and forecasts on top of our interactive "WunderMap". Users can scroll across the country and zoom in and out to view in-depth observations from all major rivers in the U.S. Alternatively, one can click an option to view only the rivers with current flood alerts. Each river observation is color coordinated to reflect its dry/wet percentile and users can click on each observation point to view data and graphs that display Flow Rate, Percentile, Current Stage, Forecast Stage and Flood Stage. Flood Alert symbols will appear on every river icon whenever a river is in danger of flooding.

The WunderMap™ also allows one to choose from a variety of layers including current conditions, animated radar, severe weather and tornado warnings, live webcam images and animated infrared or visible satellite imagery showing cloud coverage. WunderMap™ is available as a link on every U.S. forecast page, just under the small radar image.

Tornado outbreak update
The tornado that stuck the Little Sioux Scout Ranch Boy Scout camp in western Iowa Wednesday night, killing 4 and injuring 48, was rated an EF-3 on the Enhanced Fujita scale. The tornado that hit Manhattan, Kansas the same day, causing major damage at Kansas State University, has been rated an EF-4. This is the tenth violent (EF-4 or EF-5) tornado this year, the most number of violent tornadoes since 13 were observed in 1999.

The Storm Prediction Center is calling for a "Slight" risk of severe weather across the Midwest today, from Michigan to Oklahoma. We can expect a few more tornadoes today in the affected region, although the primary severe weather threat will be damaging thunderstorm winds and large hail. The "Slight" risk of severe weather continues Saturday and Sunday across a large portion of the Midwest.

Tropics
It's quiet in the tropics. There is some disorganized thunderstorm activity in the southern Gulf of Mexico associated with a surface trough of low pressure, but this activity is not likely to develop. None of the models are forecasting tropical storm formation in the next seven days.

Jeff Masters

Sandbagging (Bubbly)
Great volunteer work on sandbagging in Coralville
Sandbagging
Flooding in Coralville (Bubbly)
Roads closed and houses evacuated; today multiplied both of these with floodwaters still rising and more rain coming.
Flooding in Coralville
Mammatus Clouds at Sunset (RCPlains)
Mammatus Clouds at Sunset

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430. sporteguy03
1:29 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
As JP Says,
Be patient not everything will develop right JP?
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429. viman
1:22 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Weather456 -- Don't want to seem stupid but what is AEJ?
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428. TampaSpin
9:26 AM EDT on June 15, 2008
1007mb is the lowest pressure i could find in the area.
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426. HurakanPR
1:08 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Is amazing that a cape verde wave so low in latitude and in mid June is so strong. Maybe gloval warming? Just want to hear your opinions.
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425. txalwaysprepared
1:16 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Happy Father's Day!

Interesting wave. Something to keep an eye on.
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424. Weather456
8:48 AM AST on June 15, 2008
my blog is updated on the tropics
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
423. viman
1:07 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Morning everyone. Happy Father's Day to all. Watching that wave out to the east as everyone else is I guess. It's left to be seen if it survives across the Atlantic, but it's something to watch for right now.
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422. IpswichWeatherCenter
1:05 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
420. and 419.
It looks a-lot better on the one with the different colors
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421. SLU
12:54 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
This wave at 7n 21w is EXTREMELY impressive for this time of year. Almost all the tropical waves so far this month have looked quite threatening between Africa and the Islands but they seem to fall apart instantly upon reaching the E. Caribbean. The wind shear throughout the MDR continues to be way below normal and add the warmer than normal SST's, then its no wonder why they have been so well organised. Certainly it could be a terrible sign of what might confront us later on in the year.

About the E ATL wave, it could be an invest anytime soon. The cyclonic envelop is large and it has held together for 24hrs already. The SST's in its vinicity are between 82F - 86F but the get progressively cooler past 30w until 50w. Also there is dry air ahead of it which it will have to try to mix out. Development is still unlikely but this one bears watching. It is expected to race across the Altantic and be approaching 55W by about 96hrs.
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420. TampaSpin
9:02 AM EDT on June 15, 2008
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419. TampaSpin
8:58 AM EDT on June 15, 2008
The most recent Sat. Pic.
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417. guygee
12:58 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Good morning all. Thanks to everyone providing the updates on the very organized and strong wave that came off of Africa into the EAtl. Will be interesting to watch. As of now the high that is set-up under the large cross-Atl trough looks to be driving everything south of it into the SA continent. We will have to see if that persists.

I remember how amazed everyone was when Bertha formed in early July 1996. A lot of early strong waves coming off of Africa this year. Even with the strong waves, there is a great dependence on how conditions evolve further west as the season progresses as to whether we will have a comparable Cape Verde season.
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416. TampaSpin
8:57 AM EDT on June 15, 2008
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415. IpswichWeatherCenter
12:53 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
413. I have seen tropical storms worse than that at D-max.....

So the N.H.C should be happy to call it an invest
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414. barbadosjulie
12:47 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
thanks
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413. Weather456
8:44 AM AST on June 15, 2008
DMIN

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
412. IpswichWeatherCenter
12:45 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
92L?

Tropics are dead today. No formed storms or nothing BUT.....


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411. Weather456
8:43 AM AST on June 15, 2008
406,

Link
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
410. Thundercloud01221991
12:42 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
it is falling apart according to that image
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409. guygee
12:31 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
(Accidental Post Deleted)
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408. cchsweatherman
8:40 AM EDT on June 15, 2008
Latest Visible Satellite Image (Source: Penn State Department of Meteorology 2008)
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407. barbadosjulie
12:40 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
sorry i meant of the new twave
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406. barbadosjulie
12:39 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Morning all :) Is there a link that give up to date imagery? so far i can only find every six hours, is this because of its location?
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405. Weather456
8:32 AM AST on June 15, 2008
402. cchsweatherman 8:27 AM AST on June 15, 2008

We need some good evidence of a LLCC, and peristence through the DMIN, which is occuring as we type.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
404. TampaSpin
8:28 AM EDT on June 15, 2008
Little to no shear below the 15N line...wow smooth sailing.
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403. TampaSpin
8:14 AM EDT on June 15, 2008
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402. cchsweatherman
12:19 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Good morning all! Great to be back after getting an unexpected call into work yesterday afternoon. Happy Father's Day to all the dads in the Wunderground community!

Damn! That is indeed a very impressive tropical wave. There is definite lower level cyclonic turning occuring with this wave and even an outflow patter becoming established. At this rate, we should start noticing some banding features developing. How this is not already an invest is beyond me, but I understand that the NHC needs to see persistence. Does anyone think that this could just jump invest status into tropical depression or maybe even tropical storm status? I may be jumping the gun here, but I don't see this as a tropical wave, but more like a rapidly developing tropical low.
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401. extreme236
12:25 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
I will BBL...I'm starting to get to the point where I'm just sitting here waiting for new imagery to come in so I will be back in a couple hours or so.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
400. all4hurricanes
12:13 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Wait which thing in the West pacific is the invest
theres a low SE of the Philippines or the low SW of Taiwan

Also what are the chances the wave off Africa is going to form
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399. weathersp
8:02 AM EDT on June 15, 2008
Side by Side Comparison:

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398. extreme236
12:11 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Tropical storm Vamei in the Western Pacific formed at 1.4 degrees North, so anything can happen lol
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
397. extreme236
12:08 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
The low latitude of the system is keeping it in favorable conditions, however it also makes it very hard for a circulation to form, not impossible, but hard.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
396. Thundercloud01221991
12:07 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
it actually looks like a tropical depression but there have been many waves that have looked like that before and have fallen apart
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395. thelmores
12:06 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
looks more than a wave to me! LOL

Guess they just want to make sure it doesn't go "poof" like all the rest have this year!
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394. thelmores
12:04 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
not to mention, it is closer to Dmin than Dmax!
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393. extreme236
12:03 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Well the NHC just mentioned it was a wave on their 8am TWD, so I guess we have to give them some time to take a look at this thing.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
392. thelmores
12:02 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
391

well, lets face it, we have seen much less classified this year! LOL
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391. Weather456
7:58 AM AST on June 15, 2008
390. thelmores 7:58 AM AST on June 15, 2008

It actual fits the criterion of an invest.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
390. thelmores
11:57 AM GMT on June 15, 2008
I would say this should be an invest??


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389. weathersp
7:50 AM EDT on June 15, 2008
This is the most current image I could find.. It was taken 45 minutes ago.

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388. extreme236
11:51 AM GMT on June 15, 2008
This thing is holding up like the wave that became Dean did, except when the Dean pre-cursor first emerged off Africa the convection weakened, and this one didn't.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
387. IKE
6:48 AM CDT on June 15, 2008
That must be the wave the 00Z ECMWF has picked up on at the end of the 8 frame run.......

Link
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
386. weathersp
7:44 AM EDT on June 15, 2008
Really Nice image of it here in a 24 hr loop updating every hour.

Link
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385. Weather456
7:49 AM AST on June 15, 2008
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
384. Weather456
7:44 AM AST on June 15, 2008
381. weathersp 7:40 AM AST on June 15, 2008
When's the next SCAT time for this wave?


QuikSCAT missed it but ASCAT is usually behind QuikSCAT so I'll check ASCAT.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
383. extreme236
11:41 AM GMT on June 15, 2008
EUMETSAT also has some great imagery to view this wave, and updates frequently. Looks impressive.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
382. extreme236
11:40 AM GMT on June 15, 2008
If they made 91L an invest it shouldn't take much for this thing to become one lol
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
381. weathersp
7:39 AM EDT on June 15, 2008
When's the next SCAT time for this wave?
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380. extreme236
11:38 AM GMT on June 15, 2008
I think one of the most significant things about this wave is that it is the first wave of the season to emerge off Africa and hold together and retain convection.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234

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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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