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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580. moonlightcowboy
12:12 PM CDT on June 15, 2008
...weak vorticity in the present. Better vorticity presence out in front of the twave.



TROPIC-wide 850mb VORTICITY
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579. moonlightcowboy
12:10 PM CDT on June 15, 2008
Hey, JFV, thanks. Proud dad of two! Good to see you!

This twave may be the only game in town right now, but admittedly, it's fairly impressive!
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578. Tazmanian
10:11 AM PDT on June 15, 2008
bump
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577. eye
5:05 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
this time Monday the wave will have lost most of its convection, like all previous impressive waves. The last one to become invest refired close to the islands (SSTs warmer) but then got blown apart by shear.

I know this is the only game in town, but forcasting developing off Africa in June is a bit of a stretch for anyone.

Lets see what the good Dr says about this wave on Monday.......

The warm SSTs temps on all the graphs in the mid Atlantic, it is very shallow and the cooler waters would easily come back up to the top. It gives the false appearance that the SSTs are suppportive for systems. (this is why the area isnt considered for development until late July and beyond)
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575. moonlightcowboy
12:04 PM CDT on June 15, 2008
Yeah, the somewhat cooler SST's have even warmed in the wATL. SST's won't be an inhibitor I don't think. For this twave it's gonna be latitude and organized convection with a closed low level center developing. When it gets out to about 40, we can tell then, I think, if it's going to be a player. Let's see how much convection it holds during the rest of the day, too.
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573. Drakoen
4:59 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
571. JFV 4:59 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Good Sunday afternoon and Happy Father's Day to all of the fathers in here, including myself who just recently found out is going to be a father himself, but anyways, that's clearly besides the point here. So Drak, is this latest well-defined tropical low yet another indicator of a potentially super hyper and dangerous Cape Verde Season to come my friend?


I don't know about "super hyper" but it looks to be an active Cape Verde season if the waves can continue to maintain their aggression or perhaps even get stronger to the point of genesis 12-24hrs after exiting the coast. One thing I have noticed is that the 27 degree isotherm has been lifting northward of the African coast which is probably the reason why this wave is/was able to maintain the heavy convection seen on earlier AVN and rainbow imagery.
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572. moonlightcowboy
11:46 AM CDT on June 15, 2008
561. Good point, too. It'll need to ride at low latitude like it is, until about 40,45w. From there a little gain in lat. The ICTZ area in front of twave(GOES water vapor loop) is providing some moisture west of it.

Not much dust. LINK Dust is fairly thin. EUMETSAT loop.
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570. plywoodstatenative
4:47 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
appears to be some type of frontal system sweeping down, any chance of it sweeping up the dry air like a broom into the dust pan?
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569. Drakoen
4:48 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
564. IKE 4:46 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
556. extreme236 11:40 AM CDT on June 15, 2008
554. Good point. I can't let him get to me like last year.

Good luck. LOL.


Ignore list is the easiest solution.
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568. extreme236
4:47 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
566. I agree. Unless something changes with that dry air it would have to develop before then. If it does develop then it won't be as bad and it would probably do what Dean did when he got near dry air.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
567. Weather456
12:44 PM AST on June 15, 2008
561. stormdude77 12:43 PM AST on June 15, 2008

Yeah, that is true....but remember, dry air is not fixed, we'll have too see what it looks like in 4 days time. Remember how quickly the Caribbean moisten up during Alma-Arthur. Bot saying it might in this case, but water vapor is rather an operational tool.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
566. Drakoen
4:46 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
If it doesn't develop before 35W it probably won't stand a chance with all that dry air.
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565. plywoodstatenative
4:46 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
well I see this wave has woken up the bloggin community. Good morning to all the regulars that are popping in here.
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564. IKE
11:45 AM CDT on June 15, 2008
556. extreme236 11:40 AM CDT on June 15, 2008
554. Good point. I can't let him get to me like last year.


Good luck. LOL.
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563. extreme236
4:45 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
That dry air doesn't look to bad IMO
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562. Tazmanian
9:44 AM PDT on June 15, 2008
hi moon
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561. stormdude77
12:33 PM AST on June 15, 2008
I haven't seen anyone mention this, but there's a large area of dry air (subsidence), to the north and west of this wave...



But yes...very impressive wave (and holding it's convection together, for now)
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560. Weather456
12:41 PM AST on June 15, 2008
553. extreme236 12:37 PM AST on June 15, 2008
I just think this wave confirms most people's thoughts on the upcoming season...its looking like an active CV season.


I was confirmed in May...this is just writing it in stone...lol
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
559. Weather456
12:38 PM AST on June 15, 2008
The tropics
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558. Drakoen
4:37 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
552. CaneAddict 4:36 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
534. Drakoen 4:16 PM GMT on June 15, 2008


Horrifying to know the waves are this impressive, Come July...i don't want to know what happens to these waves.


It wouldn't surprise me to see multiple successive waves in the CATL come July-August-September.
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557. Hellsniper223
4:38 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Do we have any idea what steering currents are setting up to be this year?
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556. extreme236
4:37 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
554. Good point. I can't let him get to me like last year.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
555. moonlightcowboy
11:30 AM CDT on June 15, 2008
541. Hey, Taz. I saw that eddy spinning off the loop current last week. When I saw it, it hadn't fully broken loose. Yep, that adds to problems with GOM storms. Nice post. There's also a couple more eddys spinning around in the BOC and cGOM, too. Here's another look:

Photobucket
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554. Weather456
12:35 PM AST on June 15, 2008
549. extreme236 12:32 PM AST on June 15, 2008

Why bother explain to him...he's just gonna find something else to comment about.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
553. extreme236
4:36 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
I just think this wave confirms most people's thoughts on the upcoming season...its looking like an active CV season.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
552. CaneAddict
4:29 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
534. Drakoen 4:16 PM GMT on June 15, 2008


Horrifying to know the waves are this impressive, Come July...i don't want to know what happens to these waves.
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551. plywoodstatenative
4:33 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
extreme, you read the mind again.
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550. plywoodstatenative
4:31 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Blue, you were asking me about when the carib was going to pop. The way the models are waking up, I would say soon.
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549. extreme236
4:20 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
536. Eye its Dmin out there right now as well, so that is why convection is decreasing.
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548. Drakoen
4:30 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
545. moonlightcowboy 4:29 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
534. 538. Nice updates on that strong twave, gentlemen. Thanks.


No problem. I put together that animation since we can't access RAMSDIS loops.
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547. plywoodstatenative
4:29 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
drak, you giving it a percentage usually means that it will. I do not remember many storms that you have percentaged that have not formed.
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546. IKE
11:28 AM CDT on June 15, 2008
542. plywoodstatenative 11:27 AM CDT on June 15, 2008
Ike, as what may I ask. If its able to survive that long, with the temps in the caribbean what would we be talking about then.


Not sure....best to keep watching it...

The 00Z ECMWF has what appears to be another system behind this one cruising through the Caribbean that's even stronger......

Link
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545. moonlightcowboy
11:27 AM CDT on June 15, 2008
534. 538. Nice updates on that strong twave, gentlemen. Thanks.
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544. Drakoen
4:27 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
The wave has shown the potential to consolidate the convection which showed up well on this mornings AVN and satellite imagery. Will see what happens. I give it a 10% chance to develop into a tropical depression.
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543. plywoodstatenative
4:27 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Taz, Ike was talking it would be around either of those two loop eddys out there. I hate to think about that.
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542. plywoodstatenative
4:24 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Ike, as what may I ask. If its able to survive that long, with the temps in the caribbean what would we be talking about then.
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541. Tazmanian
9:25 AM PDT on June 15, 2008
whats hop we dont get any thing in the gulf any tme soon what the low wind shear we got out there in the gulf with in the past few days wish i dont no why i think i sould be a little higher this look at the 2 loop eddys and that one big one

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540. sporteguy03
4:17 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Happy Father's Day to the Dads at the NhC and NWS
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539. IKE
11:22 AM CDT on June 15, 2008
Latest 12Z GFS has the eastern Atlantic wave in the Caribbean in 126 hours...around and south of PR and DR/Haiti...

Link
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538. Weather456
12:10 PM AST on June 15, 2008
529. extreme236 12:06 PM AST on June 15, 2008

When I evaluate TC formation possibility I look at the inhibiting factors.

Within 500 km of the ITCZ or other convective disturbance.
Within 10 degrees of the Equator
No substantial evidence of a LLCC

Despite, this, it has persisted for than 24 hrs relative to the diurnal variation, high SSTs, humidity and low wind shear.

All this place it within pre-genesis stage and it should be monitored for increase organization over the next 48 hrs.

But damn goodness, what an impressive wave! The DMIN is nearing peak....sunset Cape Verde Time which is 3 pm EDT/AST



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537. plywoodstatenative
4:19 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
eye, its in the diurnal min. i would expect it to do that/
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536. eye
4:13 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
As the good Dr said a week or so ago, the mid Atlantic is slightly below normal in SSTs. Of all the graphs I have seen posted, the one that the Dr. uses hasnt been. The SSTs are not "plenty" warm in the mid atlantic, if they were, then the June tropical formation area would be all the way out to Africa....it isnt because there is usually shear and the SSTs are not supportive for development. I am almost sure that that if imagies show the mid atlantic SSTs support system formation, it is very very very shallow. If it did support develop, the many impressive waves would of developed. Even this one is loosing its convection.
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535. plywoodstatenative
4:14 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
blue, I am going to be in the carib during the heart of the season.

Patrap, same to you.

What is the movement in the basin right now, as well as what happened to our blob near the BOC?
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534. Drakoen
4:13 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Nice tropical wave to the South of the Cape Verde Islands. Satellite imagery indicated the wave is exhibiting broad cyclonic turning as it moves quickly to the west. Will monitor this area for tropical cyclone development as an upper level anticyclone has developed over the system bringing 5-10 knots of vertical wind shear and favorable Sea-surface temperatures. This morning's quicksat suggested the wave is already producing winds of tropical depression strength.

make avatar
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533. moonlightcowboy
11:08 AM CDT on June 15, 2008
Happy Father's Day, dads! :)
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532. Patrap
11:13 AM CDT on June 15, 2008
Happy Fathers Day to Ya'll!

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531. extreme236
4:12 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
530. Well it will likely stay at a brisk speed of 15-20 mph or so, maybe a tad faster. Most African waves move fast until they get farther west but this one is moving a bit faster than most do.
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530. blueranch1
4:09 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
So you think it will continue to be a fast mover? Nothing to really slow it down right now?
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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.