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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1712. aquak9
9:23 AM EDT on June 30, 2008
Sorry to hear that, Press. If I was in the area, I'd love to go at it w/my trusty Husqvarna.

Ya oughtta at least try to get one cross slice of the trunk to save. Count the rings, y'know?
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1711. aroughleague172
1:24 PM GMT on June 30, 2008
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1710. IKE
8:23 AM CDT on June 30, 2008
1707. txalwaysprepared 8:21 AM CDT on June 30, 2008
IKE -- ok.. stomach turning even more now lol.


Just keep an eye or 2 on it...may not amount to much, but you never know.......
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1709. aroughleague172
1:21 PM GMT on June 30, 2008
I just don't see any surface cold-fronts or blobs from the Yucatan that would hint at development in the Gulf in 3-4 days. Right now there's a big upper-level trough extending down into the GOM rearing its ugly head. Not conducive for development. Also the shear is pretty high.

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1708. presslord
9:20 AM EDT on June 30, 2008
hey aqua...it may have been at the end of the line....and the wind just finished it off
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1707. txalwaysprepared
1:19 PM GMT on June 30, 2008
IKE -- ok.. stomach turning even more now lol.
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1706. IKE
8:17 AM CDT on June 30, 2008
Sounds pretty out of the question to me; I don't really see anything forming in the Gulf in the next couple weeks.......per aroughleague172.


What are you basing that on?
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1705. aquak9
9:15 AM EDT on June 30, 2008
hey press- what's the situation w/that tree? 200 year old oak, so sad. Did it have degradation inside the trunk that weakened it?

Lost my grandfather's oak, over 100 years old, about 3 years ago, Very sad.
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1704. IKE
8:15 AM CDT on June 30, 2008
1701. txalwaysprepared 8:14 AM CDT on June 30, 2008
IKE can you explain to me what 1969. means?


I was referring to post #1696...talks about possible development in the western GOM this coming July 4th weekend.

In other words...keep an eye on it~
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1703. aroughleague172
1:12 PM GMT on June 30, 2008
Umm, so we have 5 different models predicting we'll get at least a weak TS out of this coming African wave? That seems like evidence to me...


However, I don't agree with the GFS/CMC about a GOM storm. Sounds pretty out of the question to me; I don't really see anything forming in the Gulf in the next couple weeks.
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1702. FLWeatherFreak91
9:13 AM EDT on June 30, 2008
CMC has two Atlantic Storms popping up one after another. I don't know, but it was right about that happening in the Pac last week...
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1701. txalwaysprepared
1:12 PM GMT on June 30, 2008
IKE can you explain to me what 1969. means?
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1700. presslord
9:06 AM EDT on June 30, 2008
crownwx...thank you for a nice, pedestrian friendly synopsis...if it makes sense to me...then anybody can understand it....
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1699. IKE
8:09 AM CDT on June 30, 2008
1696...interesting......
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1697. txalwaysprepared
12:54 PM GMT on June 30, 2008
You guys are making my stomach turn. The thought of storms possibly coming close to the conus just makes me sick and nervous.

Can anyone post the GFS or ECMWF?
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1696. nrtiwlnvragn
9:05 AM EDT on June 30, 2008
PRELIMINARY EXTENDED FORECAST DISCUSSION
NWS HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL PREDICTION CENTER CAMP SPRINGS MD
818 AM EDT MON JUN 30 2008

VALID 12Z FRI JUL 04 2008 - 12Z MON JUL 07 2008


...

An upper trough is expected to lie down inland of the gulf coast
this period...with various runs of the gfs/ecmwf showing a
possible closed upper cyclone near the western gulf coast next
sunday and monday. On the 06z gfs/00z canadian...this generated a
non-frontal surface cyclone in the western gulf of mexico. Either
way...moderate to heavy rains are possible across the central and
western united states gulf coast this period. Placed a surface
trough offshore the louisiana and texas coasts for the time being
until this part of the forecast can be hashed out with nhc during
the daily noon medium range call.
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1695. melwerle
12:55 PM GMT on June 30, 2008
Maybe Shen - always come here first but I go there for the hour by hour...trying to see how much time I have to get my boat packed up before it rains here...I'd like to get everything in the garage before my boat cover takes on water and all the stuff inside the boat gets soaked (I hate laying sails all over the yard to dry out).
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1692. weathermanwannabe
8:33 AM EDT on June 30, 2008
1684. crownwx 8:28 AM EDT on June 30, 2008....Yeah nice post Crown; if this system does come to pass, then it will be a bit of an early start to the Cape Verde season and the position of the Bermuda High will make all the difference in the world in the coming weeks.........I hope it does not end up (as it looks right now) like in 2004 with several storms traversing through the Caribbean and up into Florida.......Yikes........Well, gotta get some work done (and travel throughout the Panhandle today) so I'll be back on this evening....Hope everyone has a great day...WW
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1691. crownwx
8:35 AM EDT on June 30, 2008
Thanks jp and aquak!!

I'm also becoming more suspicious about the western Gulf of Mexico this weekend. 06Z GFS and Canadian model forecast the development of a tropical system there. I'm not quite ready to jump on this scenario just yet. If the model runs over the next 24 to 36 hours continue to hint at this or if there is more model consensus....then I will really take a closer look at this possible scenario.
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1690. ShenValleyFlyFish
8:32 AM EDT on June 30, 2008
1686. melwerle

Do you come to WUground first? Maybe it can tell and is mad. LOL
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1689. TerraNova
7:32 AM EST on June 30, 2008
Morning everyone.

The GFS and ECMWF are in close agreement with each other in terms of track, however, the ECMWF is considerably more aggressive with this system than in previous runs.
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1688. aquak9
8:29 AM EDT on June 30, 2008
The REAL CrownWx. Thank you, sir, for posting here. I was afraid you'd taken leave.

(aqua paddles away)
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1687. ShenValleyFlyFish
8:25 AM EDT on June 30, 2008
1678. JFV

fiance?! Somebody better be thinking about a well paying job.

Enough off topic if you want to tell me all about it send me an eMail.
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1686. melwerle
12:30 PM GMT on June 30, 2008
Does anyone else have a problem with the weather.com site? Every time I go on it, it locks up my computer...no other site, just theirs.
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1684. crownwx
8:23 AM EDT on June 30, 2008
Here are my thoughts this morning:
I am going to be watching the eastern
Atlantic very closely this week for signs
of tropical cyclone development. Infared
satellite imagery from that area showed
a strong tropical disturbance located over
west-central Africa. This tropical disturbance
is expected to emerge into the eastern
Atlantic within the next 48 to 60 hours. All
of this morning's computer forecast
guidance, including the GFS model and
the European model agree that this system
will become a tropical cyclone later this
week as it tracks westward to west-
northwestward across the central and
eastern Atlantic. It is very interesting
to note that the GFS model has been
forecasting this scenario for about a week
now and it seems that this may turn out to
be true. With this said, none of the forecast
guidance is forecasting this system to
affect any land masses over the next week or
so. After that, I really do not like to
look at the forecast guidance more than one
week out as its forecast error rate is
quite high.

Here are my thoughts on this potential
system: As I have already mentioned, there
seems to be real-time support for the model
guidance forecasts of the formation of a
tropical cyclone in the far eastern Atlantic
later this week. This real-time support
comes in the form of a strong tropical
disturbance now over west-central Africa,
which will emerge over the eastern Atlantic
within 48 to 60 hours. Also, the sea surface
temperatures near the coast of Africa have
been warmer than normal this year. So, at
this point, there is really nothing else to
do or say except that I will be monitoring
this system very closely over the coming
days and I will keep you all updated on the
latest information regarding it.

In conclusion, tropical cyclone development
is not expected through Wednesday, however,
tropical cyclone development is possible
later this week in the far eastern Atlantic.
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1682. BajaALemt
12:21 PM GMT on June 30, 2008
1674. ShenValleyFlyFish
Wonder how much weight MOJ is given in the equations



Now, THERE'S something interesting to ponder. How DO the models handle the MJO. Off to google-land. LOL
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1680. weathermanwannabe
8:14 AM EDT on June 30, 2008
1674. ShenValleyFlyFish 8:12 AM EDT on June 30, 2008 Don't know as I have not become an "expert" on the models yet (maybe by next season...lol)...What I posted about a month ago (which would take too much time to figure out retroactively) was how many times the models were right/wrong as to cyclogenesis in past seasons?.........I think that the real fun begins around here when an invest actually develops and, then, we look at real time development and then track issues....As said many times before on here, the models, in terms of cyclogenisis, should be used as a guide and Dr. M and other "pros" don't usually jump on board until a model consensus is reached a few days before a system actually develops.........Seems like some of the models have been pointing towards that near Africa in the coming days but, again, I think someone else (Strom/Drak, etc,) will come along soon and answer your question as to how the models run...............
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1679. ShenValleyFlyFish
8:15 AM EDT on June 30, 2008
Hey JFV

you're up early for a young man out of school
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1677. ShenValleyFlyFish
8:01 AM EDT on June 30, 2008
Poof
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1676. aquak9
8:08 AM EDT on June 30, 2008
G'morning all

Ike- someone had mentioned gas prices a coupla weeks ago, and the effect it would have on folk's ability to evac. Literally, many people would not be able to afford to evac.

Another friend- a K_ survivor- was appalled at how so many coastal regions have nothing in the way of a VERTICAL evac plan. Yes, I said VERTICAL.

Gut feeling? known as the GI model around here...
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1674. ShenValleyFlyFish
8:01 AM EDT on June 30, 2008
1670. weathermanwannabe

Interesting point. Are models set to run on a global basis or case by case? Wonder how much weight MOJ is given in the equations.
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1673. weathermanwannabe
8:04 AM EDT on June 30, 2008
1672. gulfcoastdweller 8:03 AM EDT on June 30, 2008 WMW, good post!

Thanks; just my "laymans" observation that I discussed with Tampa Spin and a few others yesterday; the tendancy, as Stormlover pointed out yesterday as to the MJO, is for things to activate in Epac for a little bit, die down, and then things heat up in the atlantic basin as the pulse travels east......I think that may be happeneing right now so we may still be a few weeks away from a stong system developing closer to home.....
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1671. ShenValleyFlyFish
7:54 AM EDT on June 30, 2008
1668. hcubed

For both of you? If you know someone is on a bunch of ignore lists only reason for reposting their stuff I can think of is to start more trouble.

STRIKE ONE!
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1670. weathermanwannabe
7:48 AM EDT on June 30, 2008
Good Morning Folks.....Looking pretty calm right now in the tropical atlantic and I just don't know what to tell you about the models (until there is model consensus)....However, for me, the models are almost a form of "magic 8 ball" as we scramble to see what they tell us several days in advance, and, it sometimes does not happen due to the many variables that can suddenly pop up so to speak; my point it, I'll believe it when I see it (along with the rest of us).............As I mentioned yesterday, the Epac is rather active right now and (MJO related) and I think that things will have to queit down over there (Boris and Christina) before we see a significant system form in the Gulf or closer to the US/Caribbean)..........My guess is that once B & C spin off, things will quiet down in Epac and the window for cyclogenisis will open up in the Atlantic/Caribbean (as the MJO pulse moves over to the Atlantic basin)...Question is of course how long that will take....My clue will be when Christina and Boris die off for whatever that is worth.........
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1669. IKE
6:52 AM CDT on June 30, 2008
Back in a little while......
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1668. hcubed
11:44 AM GMT on June 30, 2008
STROMTOP said:

"YOU CAN EXPECT A MUCH BUSIER THAN NORMAL SEASON FOR THE GOMEX AND A SLIGHTLY BUSIER THAN NORMAL SEASON FOR THE EAST COAST.

SMART MONEY IS STILL PREDICTING THE ARRIVAL OF BERTHA ON JULY 10 +/- 2 DAYS."

Smarter money says (sure bet, folks), that the second storm of the season will be on Sept 1, +/- 90 days.

This is why they make the "report to admin", "ignore user" and "hide" buttons...
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1667. BajaALemt
11:48 AM GMT on June 30, 2008
ROFL Shen! My bad *grins sheepishly*, I forgot!! *laffin*
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1666. BajaALemt
11:43 AM GMT on June 30, 2008
Probably, Ike...probably.

We had a big tree out in front of the store and when I walked in yesterday morning, the thing was laying on the ground...busted at the roots. That little MCS that went thru in the wee hours took it out. Lots of wind reports yesterday
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1665. ShenValleyFlyFish
7:40 AM EDT on June 30, 2008
1633. BajaALemt 1633.
*gets off 'Devil's Advocate stump*


Now stay off. Didn't you see that brass plate with my name on it?!
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1664. IKE
6:42 AM CDT on June 30, 2008
1662. BajaALemt 6:42 AM CDT on June 30, 2008
Bet it goes up again before the holiday weekend :|


That's exactly what I was thinking...probably a dime a gallon....
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1663. IKE
6:41 AM CDT on June 30, 2008
leftovers....I live out in the country...trees everywhere...next door neighbors has trees everywhere....this is no place to be with winds over 50...
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1662. BajaALemt
11:41 AM GMT on June 30, 2008
Bet it goes up again before the holiday weekend :|
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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.