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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1461. hurricane23
6:02 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
Afternoon!

Wondering what in the world is going why the E-pac is now producing almost 3 TC'S well here is a small graphic showing what a favorable MJO can do as far as provide that extra spark meaning upward motion for tropical cyclone formation.As the favorable MJO moves into the GOM/Caribbean look for chances of development to go up in the first 2 weeks of july.

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1459. pearlandaggie
9:59 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
hey StormW....is there any correlation between TCHP and maximum potential intensity of a storm? in other words, can a strong storm (>Cat3) form in an area of low TCHP?

i think it's true that an existing strong storm can survive for a while in areas of low TCHP.
Member Since: September 14, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 3963
1458. mississippiwx23
9:53 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
Thanks all. So it looks decent over near Africa...interesting. But it doesn't look so great if the system were to more west-northwest.
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1456. pearlandaggie
9:56 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
looks like the EPac storms may have to contend with some shear...

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1455. hurricane23
5:54 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
.
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1454. TerraNova
4:48 PM EST on June 29, 2008
Question: How does the shear look over the next 7-10 days in the Atlantic? Will it support a storm? Also, can someone give me a link to modeled shear forecasts?

GFS 850-200mb Shear Forecast

Shear can be expected to relax in the Eastern Atlantic with the development and expansion of a Sub Equatorial Ridge over the Cape Verde Islands and the weakening of the double barrel high pressure system in the South Hemisphere. Shear in the Caribbean should stay on the unfavorable side for the immediate future, according to the GFS forecast.

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1453. Drakoen
9:52 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
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1452. FLWeatherFreak91
5:51 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
Crown Wx = amazing site. PROPS to anyone involved with it :)
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1451. all4hurricanes
12:57 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
Link
This is Crown weather it shows all current and expected shear in the atlantic
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1450. mississippiwx23
9:42 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
Oh no, I stalked it and found out there is no storm after 24 hours...

Oh wait, we already knew that.

Question: How does the shear look over the next 7-10 days in the Atlantic? Will it support a storm? Also, can someone give me a link to modeled shear forecasts?
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1449. FLWeatherFreak91
5:45 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
I was researching some dates of CV Storms and the majority of them form during the first half of September, while a few have formed at the end of August. So, this could be a fairly rare event for a CV Hurricane to form this early in the season- especially if it happens to affect land.
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1448. pearlandaggie
9:41 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
tropical cyclone formation potential...

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1447. TerraNova
4:33 PM EST on June 29, 2008
1446. Drakoen 4:32 PM EST on June 29, 2008
Lets not stalk the GFS now. Let it do it's job...


Stalking? I wasn't aware you could stalk a piece of computer software LOL. You're right, let's not clog the blog up with minute-by-minute reports on the GFS's progress.
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1446. Drakoen
9:32 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
Lets not stalk the GFS now. Let it do it's job...
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1445. TerraNova
4:31 PM EST on June 29, 2008
18z GFS
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1444. pearlandaggie
9:27 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
1443. hey, man, it's cool. i just wanted to make sure i wasn't spreading bad information!
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1443. Drakoen
9:25 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
1440. pearlandaggie 9:23 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
1439. i fail to see how my statement was inaccurate...???


I was confirming your statement lol. I guess I didn't need the first statement...
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1442. pearlandaggie
9:25 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
alright, it's cool...i was just confused for a sec...
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1441. JLPR
9:24 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
yep I think Drak misunderstood =P
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1440. pearlandaggie
9:22 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
1439. i fail to see how my statement was inaccurate...???
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1439. Drakoen
9:18 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
1433. pearlandaggie 9:15 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
JLPR...that's awfully interesting, isn't it? my understanding has always been that high TCHP is required for rapid intensification, but low TCHP doesn't necessarily preclude formation. but, i could be wrong....


Again the misconception of the TCHP. TCHP gives you an idea of how fast a storm will intensify it does not necessarily dictate to how strong a storm can become. Category 5 hurricanes can be maintain in mid to upper 80 degree waters. Waters rarely get above 90 degrees due to the ocean thermostat. As long the as Sea-Surface temperatures are above 26C a warm-core system can develop.
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1438. pearlandaggie
9:21 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
hop on the wavy train!

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1437. TerraNova
4:21 PM EST on June 29, 2008
18z GFS should begin within the next 25 minutes.
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1436. pearlandaggie
9:20 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
1435. yeah, that dayum loop current has pumped a lot of deep, warm water into the GoM.
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1435. JLPR
9:16 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
yep thats it =)
TCHP is rather on the low side in the Atlantic so we shouldnt be expecting a big cane to suddenly appear lol
that could happen only in the West Caribbean and in the Gulf =P
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1434. pcola
4:18 PM CDT on June 29, 2008
Wow, a great line of thunderstorms in Pensacola right now! Lots of lightening & thunder. Lost the power for a couple of seconds. Stay safe in Pcola.
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1433. pearlandaggie
9:14 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
JLPR...that's awfully interesting, isn't it? my understanding has always been that high TCHP is required for rapid intensification, but low TCHP doesn't necessarily preclude formation. but, i could be wrong....
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1432. presslord
5:13 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
terra...that description looks just like what I saw...thank God it wasn't my house....
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1431. eye
9:11 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
if it was split into, look for signs of a lightening strike, should be obvious....or it was the wind and one side of the tree was heavier than the other and the tree being 200 years old finally.....snapped....was it shapped like a sling shot sorta? My grandmother had a tree that grew kinda like a slingshot, and finally it got so big and that it snapped into.
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1430. JLPR
9:11 PM GMT on June 29, 2008


So I guess this means we don't need high TCHP for a system to form =P
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1429. pearlandaggie
9:13 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
i guess it could have been c.) the foot of god squashing your tree. hehehe :)
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1428. TerraNova
4:11 PM EST on June 29, 2008
1426. presslord 4:08 PM EST on June 29, 2008
okay...for all you experts...I'm curious about what just happened at my house...thunder, lightening for about 30 mins..then instant downpour...and my oak tree gets vaporized...not blown over..more like split down the middle...I'm pretty sure it wasn't lightening...a couple other things blown around in the yard...no other damage anywhere near here...so..Was most likely it: a.) tornadic activity overhead...or b.) some sort of random downburst....????


Sounds like a classic microburst.
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1427. pearlandaggie
9:10 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
man, press, i wish i could help ya. seems to me like tornadic activity, but with nothing else getting damaged, i don't really know. when i lived in Dallas, my neighbor lost a tree during a downpour...the tree looked like it had been simply pushed over.
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1426. presslord
5:02 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
okay...for all you experts...I'm curious about what just happened at my house...thunder, lightening for about 30 mins..then instant downpour...and my oak tree gets vaporized...not blown over..more like split down the middle...I'm pretty sure it wasn't lightening...a couple other things blown around in the yard...no other damage anywhere near here...so..Was most likely it: a.) tornadic activity overhead...or b.) some sort of random downburst....????
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1425. pearlandaggie
9:04 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
hmmmm...i wonder where the storms are on this one? :)

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1424. pearlandaggie
8:57 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
SSTs seem favorable for continued development...

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1423. pearlandaggie
8:55 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
doris....errr, douglas? LOL

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1422. pearlandaggie
8:53 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
nice outflow on boris....

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1421. pearlandaggie
8:46 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
LOL, i hear ya, press! LOTS of work there :)
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1420. presslord
4:45 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
oh...fear not...I'm gonna be the one to use it...I'm just not gonna be the one who cuts it and cleans it up...
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1419. pearlandaggie
8:43 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
press, do you have a fireplace or a really BIGA$$ barbeque pit? couldn't you use some of the wood for those? if not, you might be able to sell some of the wood to offset your expenses. oak is in high demand here in texas for fireplaces and barbeques.
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1418. presslord
4:41 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
thanks pearland...the tree guy's gonna make a nice chunk of change off this mess....
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1417. pearlandaggie
8:39 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
now, press, that would be too easy, wouldn't it? LOL...by the way, sorry to hear about your tree...that really sux! i hate seeing old trees reach the end of the line, even if there's nothing we could do about it.
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1416. presslord
4:37 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
this entire website is available in several dozen languages...I'm pretty sure Spanish would be one of them
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1415. HurricaneGeek
4:31 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
1413. That's pretty funny! LOL =)
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1414. pearlandaggie
8:32 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
eye, you had better watch it or you're going to be accused of being a xenophobe! LOL
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1413. pearlandaggie
8:29 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
1412. Roger, Roger. What's your vector, Victor? LOL
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1412. HurricaneGeek
4:26 PM EDT on June 29, 2008
1410. That kinda reminds me of. "When are we going to have the birth of Bertha?" LOL
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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.