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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1212. IKE
10:25 AM CDT on June 29, 2008
1210. JFV 10:25 AM CDT on June 29, 2008
Where's Drak our voice of reason when we need him!!!


Someone tried to run him off yesterday..... told him he spent too much time on here and needed a "life".
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1211. Nolehead
3:23 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
Space i'll take "Z" for a $1,000.00 please. i'm calling it now!! place your bets, place your bets.
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1209. IKE
10:23 AM CDT on June 29, 2008
Extended discussion from NO,LA....

"Next significant rain chances
develop as flow become more srly again and convection spreads north
from Gulf of Mexico starting Thursday night into Friday. This trend
continues through weekend into early next week...as another cold
front pushes into pcwa."
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1208. SpaceThrilla1207
3:24 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
A
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1205. IKE
10:21 AM CDT on June 29, 2008
1203...there's suppose to be another front coming down. Moisture surge again from the Caribbean....in a week or so over the gulf coast.
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1204. Nolehead
3:20 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
cane23...WOW!! yeah next week this blog will be quite busy, if that's the case.
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1203. BahaHurican
11:15 AM EDT on June 29, 2008
Wednesday's forecast high location from OPC. Looks to me like anything coming off the WAfrican coast this week is likely to head for the ECar. Of course this depends on what kind of modification we can expect in the AB high after Wed.

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1202. IKE
10:15 AM CDT on June 29, 2008
1200...that'll fire everyone up!

Waiting on the new GFS run..........
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1201. BahaHurican
11:09 AM EDT on June 29, 2008
OPC current NATL analysis:



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1200. hurricane23
11:14 AM EDT on June 29, 2008
Indeed watch this loop been busy doing some work around the house.

06z GFS takes futher west then previous runs.

348hrs lol...

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1199. TerraNova
10:11 AM EST on June 29, 2008
1193. JFV 10:10 AM EST on June 29, 2008
Really TerraNova, that far out? WOW, where would our system most likely be located those 300 hours away? Any guesstimates?


Anywhere between Panama and Nova Scotia! It could be in the Caribbean, out to sea in the north (again assuming it develops, and that's a big assumption) or in the Gulf. It's impossible to say for sure where it'll be, especially that far out when steering will likely be completely different. Taking the current steering patterns into mind, and let's say they do not change in the long term (which is highly unlikely) my guess (and that's all it is, a guess) would be between Bermuda and the Greater Antilles.
Member Since: July 30, 2007 Posts: 76 Comments: 4063
1198. IKE
10:13 AM CDT on June 29, 2008
Waiting on the docs new blog...will it say/have pasted?....

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


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1196. NC0WX0Man
3:09 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
The large African wave that is now moving offshore (and loosing convection) did it have a low with it or no?
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1195. Nolehead
3:10 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
looks like this could be a very early cape season?? if this does hold up, wow what a year this might be..
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1194. SpaceThrilla1207
3:07 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
I can't believe that people are already discussing the location of where our future cyclone will go in the long-term future...It's hilarious! It's not even a TD yet for pity's sake!!
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1192. BahaHurican
11:04 AM EDT on June 29, 2008
Morning everyone. I notice some dust / dry air across the CATL this morning. (The pink areas are the dust.)



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1191. IKE
10:08 AM CDT on June 29, 2008
1187. sporteguy03 10:05 AM CDT on June 29, 2008
Actually JP I did,
but that was when there no one around just me and Ike. I told told him to keep it on the down low. Besides if I said more vultures er trolls would be pecking at me.


True....I'm lurking......
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1189. TerraNova
3:05 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
-
Member Since: July 30, 2007 Posts: 76 Comments: 4063
1188. weathersp
11:03 AM EDT on June 29, 2008
CMC 00z Track:
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1187. sporteguy03
3:03 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
Actually JP I did,
but that was when there no one around just me and Ike. I told told him to keep it on the down low. Besides if I said more vultures er trolls would be pecking at me.
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1186. hurricane23
11:05 AM EDT on June 29, 2008
Here some views from the models!

GGEM @ 168Hrs...



06z GFS @ 264Hrs...



00z ECMWF though weaker but still has it.

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1183. SpaceThrilla1207
2:57 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
it would be fun to watch a cat 3 fish storm in early july wouldn't it??


also, is the wave at 10W the one that the models develop or is it the one behind it?
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1182. sporteguy03
2:57 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
JFV,
Your guess is as good as mine if it develops or not, just watch and see and not jump to conclusions until the title page starts.
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1181. weathersp
10:59 AM EDT on June 29, 2008
1178. JFV

Heck the storm hasn't even formed yet, and how long does it take for a system to travel some 4,000 odd miles across the atlantic also?

Best option right now is to wait and see.
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1180. TerraNova
2:46 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
1174. JFV 2:45 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
Good Sunday morning everyone! WOW, what a surprise! It appears that all of the global forcast models have finally reached a consensus on developing a tropical system of off the African coastline in a couple of days from now. What does everyone on here think this morning think about this? Is it safely a sure bet that this situation will indeed materialize? If so, where would this little critter go, and could it potentially pose a threat to anyone down the road? I would greatly appreciate replies to my asked questions!


Morning JFV! You may want to look back a page or two, we've been talking about a lot of what you have questions about.

It's difficult to ignore a situation with four models all predicting much of the same thing. CMC, ECMWF, UKMET, and GFS all forecast the same wave to develop and at around the same time period. According to the GFS forecast, the suspect wave (currently existant as an area of PV west of Ghana) will emerge from the coast tomorrow or Tuesday. It's a slow moving system, steering currents are relatively weak in this area. Any development in the Cape Verde area will have the appropriate upper level support needed to propagate, with a Sub Equatorial Ridge (SER) setting up and throwing shear down to 5-10 knots. Still, I wouldn't bet on a development in the East Atlantic, just because they are computer models forecasting a hypothetical situtation, and as far as I know none of the forecasters behind the programming codes have crystal balls.

As for the track, a general westward or northwestward motion can be expected out of any wave that emerges off the coast under the current patterns. Steering currents at the 700-850mb level (the level of currents followed by systems having a minimum central pressure of greater than 1000mb, which is what the GFS is showing) stream to the west and generally curve around the southern edge of the Bermuda high. It depends on what the steering currents have in mind and how strong the system (assuming it develops) will be. The GFS has the system nearing the Leewards under the current pattern... Of course steering currents change day to day as weather systems in the north change positions, so long range track forecasts from the models beyond 150 hours can be thrown away.

As for precise threat areas, I can't say. It's next to impossible to predict affected areas for a system that hasn't even formed yet.
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1179. weathersp
10:57 AM EDT on June 29, 2008
3 options down the road.

A. It dies
B. Fish Storm (optimal)
C. Potential Mid-Atlantic Storm (6z GFS 6/29/08)(This option is the least likely)

This is all an educated guess the storm hasn't even formed yet!
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1177. Kexnicious
2:56 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
The difference in size.
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1175. weathersp
10:47 AM EDT on June 29, 2008
From the global models it looks like the path that Isabel took in 2003. except much weaker. Isabel has the same setup except it was much later in the year. climatology has this system pushing against it.
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1173. hurricane23
10:44 AM EDT on June 29, 2008
Morning!

Wave about to move off the african coast likely to be the one the GFS/ECMWF/GGEm models have been trying to develope but again i see a few inhibiting factors for development.Overall i dont see to much happeing here but its something to keep an eye on as we are getting closer to that time of the year were we move into cape-verde season.
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1172. weathermanwannabe
10:38 AM EDT on June 29, 2008
"Madsen-Jullian-Oscillation"........BBL
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1171. pearlandaggie
2:38 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
i'm out, too, for a while. BBL

take it easy, folks!
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1170. TampaSpin
10:35 AM EDT on June 29, 2008
1163. stormlvr 10:33 AM EDT on June 29, 2008

I believe you are correct this is why the up and down cycles occur from the Pacific to the Atlantic.....is from MJO pulses....
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1169. weathermanwannabe
10:34 AM EDT on June 29, 2008
1163. stormlvr 10:33 AM EDT on June 29, 2008
The increase in activity in the EPAC is a response to the MJO pulse which will also enhance activity in the Atlantic. As the pulse moves east activity will decrease in the EPAC and eventually the Atlantic as we move back into the suppression phase of the pulse.


That (the Mojo thingy) makes perfect sense....Kids want breakfast, Be Back Later.....WW
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1168. pearlandaggie
2:35 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
1166. i was just curious. don't worry, i won't hold your feet to the fire! LOL
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1167. pearlandaggie
2:34 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
1162. judging by the shape of the loop current in the GoM, it wouldn't surprise me if another eddy is spun off.
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1166. weathermanwannabe
10:30 AM EDT on June 29, 2008
1158. pearlandaggie 10:29 AM EDT on June 29, 2008 1156. what's your observation on the activity level in the GoM when activity is high in the EPac? same as the CAtl?

I think about the same, but, do not quote me....Hopefully, StomW/Drak/456,etc will step in soon and give me some scientificaly based "back up" for this general observation...Lol

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1165. pearlandaggie
2:33 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
it takes so long for those eddies to dissipate that the eddy will be around for most of the season. the only thing that will really change is its position.
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1164. TampaSpin
10:32 AM EDT on June 29, 2008
Gotta run everyone stay civil today :)
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1163. stormlvr
2:27 PM GMT on June 29, 2008
The increase in activity in the EPAC is a response to the MJO pulse which will also enhance activity in the Atlantic. As the pulse moves east activity will decrease in the EPAC and eventually the Atlantic as we move back into the suppression phase of the pulse.
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1162. aquak9
10:31 AM EDT on June 29, 2008
1155, 1160

yeah been watching those currents for a coupla weeks...figured a loop eddy was gonna pinch off here pretty soon, and there it is.

Yeah, ouch.
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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.