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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912. atmoaggie
8:21 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
So yeah, it's been a bad year for storms, at least in Prairieville. And don't forget the tennis ball size hail in Baton Rouge a couple months back. Rough stuff.

Yeah...friend of mine getting a new roof out of that hailstorm.
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911. Drakoen
8:21 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
898. KoritheMan 8:12 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
Very interesting, Drak. A possible early start to the Cape Verde season? I'm not buying into development just yet, as I'd like to see some more model agreement, as you yourself just said. Although conditions are forecast to be favorable for that wave to develop, so maybe it'll happen. Definitely worth keeping an eye on.


Yes. Will continue to monitor the area of convection currently just west of the prime meridian over Africa for the potential for tropical cyclone development. The current wave is giving a big moisture surge. If it pans out it could take care of the SAL as far north as 20N in the TRPL ATL.
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910. atmoaggie
8:19 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
Sounds like it...Doppler is also good at picking up outflow boundries from a gust front.

But what hydrometeors are there in a gust front well ahead of the precip?
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909. KoritheMan
8:15 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
Didn't realize you guys got a real storm. Although getting the convective stuff daily, our last storm strong enough to take down small branches was about a week ago...maybe 10 days, in Covington.

Hi, BTW. Familiar with your next of the woods. Grew up off Perkins between Highland and Seigen.


Although yesterday's storm was the first one strong enough to take down small branches this summer, earlier in the year, Prairieville experienced numerous strong thunderstorms, and even some severe ones. Let's see... In February, I had a severe storm that caused winds of 60 mph and caused a cancellation of my haircut appointment. In March, I had a squall line move through and knock out the power, and in fact, lightning split apart a tree just at the end of the road of where my dad lives. In April, I had a significant lightning storm, one of the worst I've seen in years. In May, another severe thunderstorm produced 60 mph winds and knocked down a tree onto a power line, which knocked out power to the apartment complex where I live.

So yeah, it's been a bad year for storms, at least in Prairieville. And don't forget the tennis ball size hail in Baton Rouge a couple months back. Rough stuff.

And as for the rest of your comment, I myself was originally from Baton Rouge, but then lived in Gonzales until 2006, at which point I moved to Prairieville.
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908. atmoaggie
8:16 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
The NOGAPS can never get anything right lol. It's usually the last model to pick up on anything so when it showed some with Arthur it was refreshing. I remember last year it had undermined the intensity of the hurricanes that formed. Also had to remember it's inaccuracy in track.

We run COAMPS, built by the Navy, in my shop, but after some of our experiences with NOGAPS, we have modified the input boundary conditions. We now drive the boundaries of our COAMPS runs with GFS. The only drawback is the 3 hour assimilation period causing the model output data to lag.
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907. BajaALemt
8:18 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
OFB shows up nicely on base & composite
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904. surfmom
8:09 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
pray for surf, waiting for surf--

Worked the horses out east in the AM. very hot and humid. They broke a real sweat very quickly so just a long walk, trot --too hot to ask more of them. Thanks to what rain we did have, pastures around the polo club have gone to seed. now they get mowed and hopefully more rain will come to get those seedlings started.

Then my son & I came home grabbed the surfboards and paddled in 86 degree water. keeping fit for when one of those blobs in the gulf gets big enough to get those buoys rocking and send some swell to the Gulf coast of FL. Hope something get going soon. Too much $ for gas to get over to the east coast where there are chest high waves through the weekend

Buoy 42036 1.3ft@ 5 sec, this AM glassy flat on the gulf (great for the fishermen)winds Ese - this afternoon it was slightly bumpy winds to the west.

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902. BajaALemt
8:15 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
OFB
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901. Drakoen
8:16 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
897. philliesrock 8:11 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
FWIW, all models (except the NOGAPS) have a good area of low-level vorticity coming off the African coast. But still, only the GFS and CMC develop it.


The NOGAPS can never get anything right lol. It's usually the last model to pick up on anything so when it showed some with Arthur it was refreshing. I remember last year it had undermined the intensity of the hurricanes that formed. Also had to remember it's inaccuracy in track. Guess which model did the best last year? The GFS and the BAM suite associated with the GFS.
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900. nolaweather12
8:12 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
look at the rain about to hit nolaLink
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899. atmoaggie
8:10 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
This. For the past few days, it's done nothing but rain here in Prairieville. In fact, yesterday we had a hell of a storm, with winds gusting to 40 mph and lightning all around, along with heavy rain.

Didn't realize you guys got a real storm. Although getting the convective stuff daily, our last storm strong enough to take down small branches was about a week ago...maybe 10 days, in Covington.

Hi, BTW. Familiar with your next of the woods. Grew up off Perkins between Highland and Seigen.
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898. KoritheMan
8:10 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
Very interesting, Drak. A possible early start to the Cape Verde season? I'm not buying into development just yet, as I'd like to see some more model agreement, as you yourself just said. Although conditions are forecast to be favorable for that wave to develop, so maybe it'll happen. Definitely worth keeping an eye on.
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897. philliesrock
8:10 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
FWIW, all models (except the NOGAPS) have a good area of low-level vorticity coming off the African coast. But still, only the GFS and CMC develop it.
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896. Drakoen
8:09 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
The current MIMIC-TPW and the GFS TPW are almost identical with possible the biggest moisture surge yet of the coast of Africa associated with a wave now coming of the coast. This is not the wave to watch for tropical cyclone development, likely to be the one behind it as seen on the GFS 925hpa vorticity. Lower to mid level cyclonic turning can be seen on MIMIC-TPW just east of the CV islands. This matches well with the GFS TPW and the latest lower to mid level wind vector analysis from cimss. The affects of the moisture can already be seen on cimss SAL, and mid to upper level water vapor imagery. So far the conditions are panning out as the GFS depicts; however, still would like some more model support before buying the solution.

GFS TPW:
Photobucket



MIMIC-TPW:




CIMSS SAL

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895. KoritheMan
8:05 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
Praying for rain in Dallas? You can have ours...getting our daily downpour in SE LA right now. I'll get the box fan and put it outside blowing to the NW...back in a sec.

This. For the past few days, it's done nothing but rain here in Prairieville. In fact, yesterday we had a hell of a storm, with winds gusting to 40 mph and lightning all around, along with heavy rain.

And this afternoon as I stepped out the door, the wind started blowing heavily once again, although the storm turned out to not be as bad as yesterday's.

On a tropical weather note, Boris's intensity may be lowered on the next advisory, as northeasterly shear continues to affect the cyclone. I just looked at the visible satellite imagery, as well as data from the NRL, and the circulation is becoming even more exposed than it was earlier, north of the deep convection. In addition to the exposed LLC, the heaviest thunderstorm activity, and likely the strongest winds as well, are confined to the southern portion of the circulation due to the shear.
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894. atmoaggie
8:05 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
StormW, I have a question.

In this radar loop, there is a light blue streak ahead of the convective precip (Especially evident over the middle of Lake Pontchartrain). Now I can tell you that the timing for that line is about when the gust front was here. Just what is the radar reflecting off of at the edge of the gust front? Birds?

Not hydrometeors...or is it?
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893. atmoaggie
8:03 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
Praying for rain in Dallas? You can have ours...getting our daily downpour in SE LA right now. I'll get the box fan and put it outside blowing to the NW...back in a sec.
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892. MasterForecaster
7:59 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
Storm and Melly sitting in a treeeee...


discussing weather tee hee hee.
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891. melly
7:55 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
Storm....I actually learned to fly-fish in Alaska....Caught many Grayling....Now I still have the fishing bug.......I fish in the keys
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889. Weather456
3:47 PM AST on June 28, 2008
Models all over the place

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888. melly
7:47 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
Storm....Lost the man.Gained the weather....Spent two years at Eielson AFB.North Pole Alaska....Saw -67 degrees.......Ice fog, tires freezing, mooses on the road, dark all the time.....But I loved it
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886. melly
7:43 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
Such nasty thunderstorms here in Palm Beach county, and the Treasure Coast the last few weeks....Finally the sea-breeze is moving them inland....Lake Okechobee has quite a bit of rain this week.But I am sure the "experts" will open the gates to keep their "scare" in tact
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884. melly
7:42 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
strom..Storm...Guess I was thinking of a guy name Thurmond..... sorry ¿¿
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883. melly
7:39 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
Strom.My ex was a weather observer in the USAF many many years ago.I got to see Chanute AFB, Myrte Beach AFB, Eieson AFB, And I became proficient with the 27 catagories of clouds.............Very interesting
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882. BajaALemt
7:39 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
LOL @ next. Afternoon Storm
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881. melly
7:39 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
Your'e welcome storm
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879. BajaALemt
7:33 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
Looking at the METs from Brownsville to Lake Charles...winds generally out of the SE veering to more southerly going over towards LC. 15-20kts (I'd think because of the gradient?)
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878. LuckyLuch
7:35 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
Chicklit:

I agree, that swirl looks like the type that could turn into something if the shear in the area is low enough.

we should keep an eye on that one.
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877. melly
7:38 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
StormW.Not only are you smart....You're cute
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876. Skyepony (Mod)
7:34 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
Cloudsat of Boris forming yesterday. Interesting is the blue in the upper layer.
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874. TexasGurl
7:27 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
This is what my local weather man says:
It will be partly sunny hot and humid today with isolated t-storms popping up, but coverage less than 20%. The main rain event will be tonight as a cold front moves into North Texas. Strong to severe storms will fire along the Red River and push slowly south. Damaging winds and very heavy rain will be the main threat. The storms will not be as strong as they move into DFW, but they should hold together long enough to provide a 60% coverage of rain to the area. Showers and storms will linger into Sunday with the best of the rain south of I20. Hot and mainly dry weather will the prevail for the rest of the coming week.

So we have cold front from the north and GOM storms from the south....hmmmmmm what is to be expected?????????
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873. OUSHAWN
7:26 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
871

Yes, I realize it's the ULL...I asked if it looked like it may be trying to spin down to the surface?
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872. TexasGurl
7:21 PM GMT on June 28, 2008

Current Radar...Rain all around but here.
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871. BajaALemt
7:20 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
That's the ULL that was down in the SW GOM. It's been moving NNW/NW over the past couple of days
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870. TexasGurl
7:15 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
PRAYING FOR RAIN, PRAYING FOR RAIN Dallas/Fort Worth Area, TX
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869. stoormfury
7:08 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
is this an LLC wirh the catlwave at 11N 36W
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868. Chicklit
2:00 PM EST on June 28, 2008
Hi Shawn. I'm looking at that too.
Waiting for better minds to comment.
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867. Chicklit
1:56 PM EST on June 28, 2008
Anyone think anything's brewing in the southwestern GOM?
Link

94/24
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866. OUSHAWN
6:55 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
Does anyone see the ULL in the western gulf trying to possibly spin down to the surface?
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865. JRRP
6:44 PM GMT on Junio 28, 2008
y entonce ?
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863. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
6:42 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
862. atmoaggie
6:39 PM GMT on June 28, 2008
Use the ignore feature and dont fan the fools,,, that is a good way to stay out the Drama Club

Exactly, Pat...I would have no clue of the flaming comments here today without the reposting and reactions. Use the button if you cannot resist the urge to respond to the garbage...that is why I use it.
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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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