Midwest flood price tag $8 billion; Extreme Weather magazine review

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:54 PM GMT on June 27, 2008

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The American Farm Bureau, a lobbying group that represents American farmers, estimated yesterday that crop damage from the Midwest's Flood of 2008 has amounted to $7 billion. More than half of this total--$4 billion--was in Iowa. Other states taking a hit from excessive wetness and flooding were: Illinois, $1.3 billion; Missouri, $900 million; Indiana, $500 million; Nebraska $500 million; and an additional $1 billion in remaining wet states. When added to the at least $1 billion in property damage the floods wrought (including $762 million in Cedar Rapids, Iowa), the $8 billion price tag of the Midwest Flood of 2008 ranks as the second most expensive U.S. non-hurricane flooding disaster on record. America's worst flood, the Midwest Flood of 1993, caused $26.7 billion in damage (adjusted to 2007 dollars).

The damage will continue to rise in coming days, as major flooding continues along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. A levee broke along the Mississippi just north of St. Louis this morning, sending flood waters towards the small town of Winfield. Heavy rains in excess of five inches have hit much of northern Missouri this week (Figure 1), and NOAA's Hydrometeorological Prediction Center is forecasting a high probability of heavy rain in the region today through Saturday morning. The culprit is a slow-moving low pressure system over Minnesota, which will drag a cold front through Missouri tonight. An additional 2-4 inches of rain will fall in some areas along the front. The additional rain should keep the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers in Missouri above flood stage for an extra day or two. Currently, these rivers are expected to reach their highest crests sometime between Monday June 30 and Wednesday July 2. The forecast looks somewhat drier for the Midwest next week, thankfully. The jet stream has regularly been taking a major dip southward into the Central U.S. the past two months, putting the favored track for rainy low pressure systems over the Midwest. The jet often gets "stuck" in a high-amplitude trough-ridge pattern which causes drought in one part of the country (California in this case) and floods in another. This "stuckness" often lasts for 3 months. The current 2-week forecast from the GFS and ECMWF models predicts a continuation of the "stuck" jet stream pattern, but decreasing in amplitude and sliding more to the east. This should result in the favored storm track moving more towards the East Coast, relieving flooding in the Midwest.


Figure 1. Precipitation for the 7 days ending on Friday, June 27, at 8am EDT. Image credit:NOAA.

Review of the new magazine, Extreme Weather
A beautiful new weather magazine called Extreme Weather has hit the bookstores this month. Published by Astronomy magazine, the new magazine features some truly spectacular weather photos, including a 12-page "Weathergallery" with awesome shots of tornadoes, lightning, floods, supercells, hail, hurricane winds, and waterspouts. The first article of the magazine features the equally fantastic photos of storm chaser Warren Faidley, who also happens to be the best writer among professional storm chasers, in my opinion. Additional articles in Extreme Weather include a balanced and interesting look at the hurricanes/global warming connection, plus some quality articles on dust storms, super cell thunderstorms, lightning, and the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900.

Extreme Weather is not yet a regular publication; the editors are gauging interest to see if they wish to make it so. I whole-heartedly encourage them to do so--this magazine rocks! You can order a copy at their website, it's $7.95.

Tropics
It's quiet in the tropical Atlantic. There are no threat areas to discuss, and none of the models are forecasting tropical storm formation in the next seven days.

Jeff Masters

500 Year Flood 2008 (UlaratheBard)
Iowa Flooding - Palo Iowa - The entire town of Palo Iowa was evacuated and was told to abandon due to flooding during the recent flooding of the the Cedar River and local water ways. During it's abandonment it was under military control. A week later the towns folk were allowed to re-enter their town to assess damage and begin clean-up. The town was devasted as you can see. Due to the fact the entire town was under water, their have been no coordinated efforts for donations, volunteer work, etc... plus, they've just been allowed back into their town and only during daytime hours. I'm sure they could use all the help they could get.
500 Year Flood 2008
()

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1562. Drakoen
1:05 AM GMT on June 30, 2008
1556. beell 1:02 AM GMT on June 30, 2008
Oh yeah, the weather. My two cents.

Strictly talking GFS. The wave exiting Africa now shows good continuity almost all the way across the ATL. Then it gets picked up by a CONUS trough. The wishcast/downcast turns to fishcast.

The TUTT is a player. The following two frames are from todays 18Z GFS at 250mb-way up high in "TUTTville" with an amateur representation of this Tropical Upper Atmospheric Trough in yellow


LOL. TUTTville is one windy dry city.
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1561. Drakoen
1:03 AM GMT on June 30, 2008
1553. JFV 12:57 AM GMT on June 30, 2008
So then the models continue to be at a fair overall consensus in regards to then developing a system immediately right of off the African coast then Drak?


For the most part; however, the amount of moisture will be key for the systems sustenance.
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1560. beell
1:03 AM GMT on June 30, 2008
Evening Drak, JFV.
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1559. surfmom
12:51 AM GMT on June 30, 2008
1538 - Wow -- that will be so exciting!
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1558. beell
1:02 AM GMT on June 30, 2008
1552.
ROFLMAO press.
Qualified!!!
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1557. presslord
9:02 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
mel...Who won?
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1556. beell
1:00 AM GMT on June 30, 2008
Oh yeah, the weather. My two cents.

Strictly talking GFS. The wave exiting Africa now shows good continuity almost all the way across the ATL. Then it gets picked up by a CONUS trough. The wishcast/downcast turns to fishcast.

The TUTT is a player. The following two frames are from todays 18Z GFS at 250mb-way up high in "TUTTville" with an amateur representation of this Tropical Upper Atmospheric Trough in yellow

Note the difference in the location of the base of the TUTT and also the higher shear on the east/right hand side of the TUTT trough.

The whole thing pulls up to the NE leaving a fairly mild looking southern NATL with a window of reduced shear maybe for something or other

Timing I guess.

250mb 06/29 18z GFS at 0hrs
Photobucket

250mb 06/29 18z GFS at 96 hrs
Photobucket


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1554. melwerle
12:57 AM GMT on June 30, 2008
Just got home from sailing in St. John's River in Jax...MAN those thunderstorms come up quick...glad I'm such a weather freak and kept an eye on the clouds building...one boat wasn't lucky enough to get in before it hit
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1552. presslord
8:53 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
beell...we'll need ballast...and bartenders.....
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1551. Drakoen
12:50 AM GMT on June 30, 2008
The NOGAPS 18z run looks like it briefly develops the system of Africa but thinks there won't be enough moisture for the system.

Here are the latest NCEP Ensembles:

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1549. beell
12:40 AM GMT on June 30, 2008
gulfcoast!
I'm chargrined.
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1548. conchygirl
8:35 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
Very interesting conversations/debates going on!
PAC looking interesting and perhaps helping the ATL!
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1547. beell
12:35 AM GMT on June 30, 2008
1544.
but if I do make it, I'm comitted to a WU crew.....

Brave. You should be commited...nah, I know wu has some true sailors. I'll save you the trouble of turning me down for a ride lol.

I remember the little red boat Shen. Maybe in the Doc's blog archive.
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1545. GeoffreyWPB
8:34 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
What happened to our massive wave coming off of Africa?
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1544. presslord
8:29 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
actually...I'm not yet 100% commited to making the race...but if I do make it, I'm comitted to a WU crew.....
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1543. ShenValleyFlyFish
8:16 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
1532. beell

Hey back at you. Thanks will check it out. Looks like a great resource.

Don't think that's what I had in mind though unless they changed format. What I had in mind was more targeted to insurers and media. Think maybe Dr. Masters posted it when those folks ran into the iceberg in that little red cruse ship that sank. Think maybe some Law Firm or Underwriter bunch was hosting the online edition.
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1541. zoomiami
12:24 AM GMT on June 30, 2008
I don't remember the name of the person who posted the shipping site - but her husband works on the ships, and that was what she used to track where they were.

Evening everyone
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1540. beell
12:22 AM GMT on June 30, 2008
Awesome press! Saw a few posts from you in the recent past regarding the race.
Look forward to watching over your shoulder via this link.
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1539. atmoaggie
12:21 AM GMT on June 30, 2008
And I forgot my manners.
Good Afternoon wulanders...


As did I...greetings earthlings.
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1538. presslord
8:19 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
next year when our WU crew is competeing in the Charleston to Bermuda race..everyone on the blog can track us at sailwx.info.....
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1537. beell
12:16 AM GMT on June 30, 2008
Evening press and TS.
I wish I could remember who posted it last year. Which is where I first saw it.
Very cool and usually very up to date.

I just get lost looking at all that info and forget why I went to the site in the first place lol.
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1536. atmoaggie
12:09 AM GMT on June 30, 2008
pearlandag,

TCHP discussion here.

Some more gory details here.
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1535. TampaSpin
8:12 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
beell i use that site also for shipping i think it is the best one out there.
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1534. presslord
8:12 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
beell...that's my 2nd favorite weather site...excellent source....
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1533. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
12:09 AM GMT on June 30, 2008
National Hurricane Center
Tropical Cyclone Warning Number TWELVE
0:00 AM UTC June 30 2008

==========================================
At 23:00 PM UTC, Tropical Storm Boris (992 hPa) located near 14.8N 117.8W or 660 NM southwest of the southern tip of Baja California Peninsula has sustained winds of 60 knots with gusts up to 75 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west at 9 knots.

Storm Force Winds
===============
100 NM from the center

Forecast Position and Intensity
=================================
24 HRS: 14.6N 120.0W - 50 knots (Cyclone)
48 HRS: 14.5N 122.5W - 35 knots (Cyclone)
72 HRS: 14.5N 124.5W - 30 knots (Depression)


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1532. beell
12:05 AM GMT on June 30, 2008
Hey Shen!
I think it's this one.
sailwx.info
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1531. TampaSpin
7:56 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
Hello everyone......pearl did you do the police work on the blog and pass out heavy drinking tickets.....lol
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1530. ShenValleyFlyFish
7:41 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
1505. presslord
Point well taken.

I had a link to the Shipping Report but I lost it. Anyone want to save a lazy guy a search?
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1529. beell
11:34 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
1527.
I'll share some of that conversation killing with you.
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1528. beell
11:18 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
1525.
Ok, I understand what you were driving at (i think)and true enough THCP ultimately will fuel a storm. Enough fuel to sustain or grow a particular storm in a particular part of the ocean. Aint got a clue lol. My saving grace here is that I was attempting only to answer your question:
so then how is TCHP measured?
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1527. pearlandaggie
11:20 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
well, now that i've completely killed the conversation, i think i'll call it a night.

take it easy, folks!
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1526. pearlandaggie
11:16 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
1523. yeah, i saw a few on Clear Lake when i owned the Catalina. however, i have to say that it seems a dumb sailor is less dangerous than a dumb powerboater!
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1525. pearlandaggie
11:13 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
beell, i was talking about the oceanic water column. i was wondering how they arrive at a value of TCHP and how that can relate to tropical cyclone formation and strength. you're correct that the satellites measure the temperature and depth of the water column, and with those parameters and a few others along with some assumptions, they can calculate a value. i presume that a higher TCHP (water column enthalpy) then plays into TC formation through enhanced evaporative processes.
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1524. GeoffreyWPB
7:13 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
That's cool Pearland..I enjoy reading your posts.
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1523. presslord
7:13 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
oh dude,,,while I deeply appreciate the compliment...I've gotta tell ya...there are some astonishingly dumb sailors runnin around out there....
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1522. pearlandaggie
11:11 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
Geoff...sorry about that, i'll tone down the intensity a bit. as far as the smart part, i fear i'm chronically deficient in that category!!
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1521. beell
11:08 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
Well, I'm confused then pearland. I thought the stuff you were posting was talking about the atmospheric water column. THCP is strictly ocean. But in any event higher THCP values can allow for a stronger storm. Please let me off the hook neighbor before I forget this lol

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1520. pearlandaggie
11:10 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
press, somehow i doubt it! LOL, afterall, you're a sailor and it takes a very intelligent person to competently sail a vessel, especially offshore!
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1519. presslord
7:09 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
or...it may just be that I'm a moron....
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1518. GeoffreyWPB
7:09 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
Wow....some really intense and smart people in here...
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1517. pearlandaggie
11:08 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
press, sorry about that....a little too nerdy, i suppose!
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1516. GeoffreyWPB
7:07 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
1512.....huh??????
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1515. pearlandaggie
11:07 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
i wonder if we're going to see a typhoon in the WPac before long...


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1514. beell
11:06 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
And I forgot my manners.
Good Afternoon wulanders...

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1513. presslord
7:06 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
peaarland...thanks for clearing that up....ahem...
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1512. pearlandaggie
11:02 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
1508. actually, it looks like TCHP is calculated as the integral of the enthalpy of the water column. given certain mixing, density, and velocity boundary layer assumptions, the integrated vertical enthalpy reduces to a measure of the amount of energy per unit surface area (kJ/sq. m.). the 2004 Emmanuel paper was very helpful.
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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.