Dolly's rains continue to inundate Texas and Mexico

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:41 PM GMT on July 24, 2008

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Tropical Storm Dolly continues plowing west over South Texas, dumping huge quantities of rain. Radar-estimated rainfall amounts as high as 25 inches (Figure 1) have already been reported, and Dolly will probably rank as one of the the ten rainiest tropical cyclones to affect Texas. At its peak, Dolly delivered five inches of rain per hour to the coast at landfall. AIR Worldwide insurance company estimates that the total insured damage from Dolly will run $300 million - $1.2 billion, mostly due to flooding and wind damage (total damage is typically estimated as double the insured damage, and would thus be $600 million - $2.4 billion). One bright spot to Dolly's rampage--the storm's rains brought an end to the moderate to severe drought gripping extreme South Texas, and will help with drought conditions along coastal Texas northwards to Corpus Christi.

Dolly's total damage is difficult to estimate at this point, because much of it has yet to occur. Dolly is dumping prodigious rains, thanks to its very slow forward speed of about 7 mph. The rains from Dolly may rival those of Hurricane Beulah of 1967. Beulah, a huge and powerful Category 3 hurricane, dumped up to 27 inches of rain inland, triggering major flooding throughout South Texas and Northeast Mexico. Beulah did over $1 billion in damage to Texas, due in part to failure of levees on the Rio Grande River. Considerable damaging flooding will affect South Texas over the next few days, as Dolly's rains continue to pound the state. However, the levees on the Rio Grande River are expected to hold.


Figure 1. Radar estimated rainfall from Dolly.


Figure 2. Rainfall measured during Hurricane Beulah of 1967. Beulah caused over $1 billion in damage to South Texas, mostly due to serious flooding from rains that totaled up to 27 inches. Image credit: NOAA.

Elsewhere in the tropics
The tropical wave (97L) off the coast of Africa, a few hundred miles west of the Cape Verde Islands, is now over cool water of 25°C. The wave still has a large circulation, but has lost all of its heavy thunderstorm activity. Until 97L can find some warmer water (which should happen by Saturday), there is little chance of it developing. Wind shear is expected to be around 15 knots on Saturday, which is marginal for development, and there is plenty of stable, dry air for it to contend with. None of the reliable computer models show development of this system.

The four reliable computer models are not predicting development anywhere else in the Atlantic for the next 7 days.

Last blog until August 6
With the tropics relatively quiet now, I'm going to take some time off and do some hiking in Colorado (I've spent the past 3 days blogging from the back seat of a heavily loaded rental car, driving cross-county!) The peak part of hurricane season is almost a month away, and if the behavior of the tropics in July is any indication, it will be a long and severe hurricane season. So, I'm going to get some R&R in, and let Bryan Woods blog for me while I'm gone. I will be keeping an eye on things, and can jump back in if anything nasty pops up.

Jeff Masters

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2056. CATfour
1:00 AM GMT on July 27, 2008
When are we expecting things to get going again?
2055. CATfour
10:46 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
What is 97L doing??
2054. fire831rescue
5:50 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Hey, all. Dr. Masters has a new blog out...
Member Since: August 18, 2007 Posts: 5 Comments: 1807
2053. clamshell
5:40 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
"Down here", if you live in a flood zone, you are required to carry 'Flood Insurance'.

Try to buy a home and the flood insurance is right there in the contract. I made sure to buy my home outside the flood zone and when I read the mortgage contract, it had that requirement for flood insurance in it. Fortunately for me, I had brought governmental proof that I was outside the zone and they deleted it from the contract.

Governmental buffoonery is still alive and well. Check out the arrest in Naples of a man for stealing 42 cents from a fountain in a mall. Yet the same paper did not think it of importance to report a 26 year old handicaped man left in a sweltering van for over an hour while the counselor went bowling. A government worker was responsible in both instances.

To paraphrase the song in Wizard of Oz...'if they only had a brain'.
Member Since: June 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 125
2052. fire831rescue
5:33 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
I atill say Katrina DID NOT hit N.O. Look at where she made landfall. By far, Where I live (Mississippi Gulf Coast) got the brunt of the storm. You try going without water, sewer and electricity for three weeks, then you can speak. What hit N.O. was the WEST side of the storm. Granted, any part of a hurricane is bad, but if I remember corectly, the EAST side is the WORST side to be on. N.O. didn't flood till AFTER Katrina, not during, like the media would have you believe. Katrina's eye crossed near the MS/LA state line. N.O. was spared, in my opinion. Waveland, MS doesn't exist anymore. Yes, the community is still there, but the city buildings are still gone. Bay St. Louis, MS was hit hard as well, leaving very little left to come to. Long Beach, MS got pounded. There were DOCKSIDE casino BARGES on the NORTH side of Hwy. 90 in Gulfport, MS and Biloxi, MS. The bridges that connected Bay St. Louis, MS to the rest of the coast and the Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge were both washed completely out. Pascagoula, MS lost a LOT of houses on it's beach front. Three years after Katrina and we still have people living in FEMA trailers here because there is STILL NO HOUSING. The U.S.S. Alabama in Mobile, AL was shifted to the port side due to the surge and winds from Katrina. 4/5ths of Mississippi's counties were declared disaster areas due to the widespread damage. The reason for N.O. not being back to par yet is due to their pure laziness, IMO. They've had three years to do something. Go to N.O. It looks like Katrina hit yesterday.
Member Since: August 18, 2007 Posts: 5 Comments: 1807
2051. JRRP
5:29 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
more west???
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5481
2050. clamshell
5:28 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Orca,

Maybe not; but, I do lurk extensively. ;-)
Member Since: June 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 125
2049. Orcasystems
5:22 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Quoting clamshell:
orca,

The only one who could be offended is me, since you were answering my post, and I do not find what you said to be offensive.

Everyone else should mind their own business.


ROFLMAO, you don't post often on here do you..
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
2048. Orcasystems
5:21 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Quoting clamshell:
orcasytems,

Buffoonery is a polite term for what they actually are responsible for doing or not doing.


I don't know how it works down there, but I know how it works up here. If you build in a Flood plane.. you cannot get flood insurance..and if you can, you pay for it thru the wazzo.

Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
2047. clamshell
5:21 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
orca,

The only one who could be offended is me, since you were answering my post, and I do not find what you said to be offensive.

Everyone else should mind their own business.
Member Since: June 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 125
2046. clamshell
5:18 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
orcasytems,

Tell me. Did those people build their homes and businesses with or without permits?

Allowing people to build in 'below sea level' areas seems a bit on the 'buffoonery' side wouldn't you say? Weren't the levees built to protect those stupid enough to settle in those 'below sea level' areas. Didn't that make the government folks responsible to maintain the levees at peak design specifications?

From what I have personally read and seen on the media outlets, as well; the levees were woefully maintained and they failed as a result.

Buffoonery is a polite term for what they actually are responsible for doing or not doing.
Member Since: June 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 125
2045. Orcasystems
5:17 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Me thinks I might get a 24 for that last one.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
2044. cajunkid
5:07 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
whats even scarier about Katrina...the west side died right before she got to nola, and had she not lost that convection, and passed just ten or fifteen miles more west...it could have been a hell of a lot worse.Link
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1279
2043. Orcasystems
5:05 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Quoting clamshell:
fldude99

Well mate...

Where was the majority of the $81 billion damage supposedly claimed to have been done? It was from flooding. Had it been simply a wind event, the damage would have been much less.

My point was and is that yellow journalism coupled with yellow science distorted the observations of what actually happened with Katrina. Katrina was not a rain event, she was a wind event.

The flooding was the result of governmental buffoonery. Katrina was only responsible in tipping it over the edge so to speak.

Meteorology is a science and we must always remind ourselves that by allowing yellow journalism to color the glasses through which we observe the weather, we jeopardize many lives.


The flooding was not due to "governmental buffoonery". It was due to peoples stupidity to believe they can make a river go where its not suppose to go, and their belief they can cheat mother nature.

If your foolish enough to believe you can live below sea level..and somehow the "governmental buffoonery" is going to change mother nature and keep you safe... your at best, a fool.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
2042. clamshell
5:01 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
fldude99

Well mate...

Where was the majority of the $81 billion damage supposedly claimed to have been done? It was from flooding. Had it been simply a wind event, the damage would have been much less.

My point was and is that yellow journalism coupled with yellow science distorted the observations of what actually happened with Katrina. Katrina was not a rain event, she was a wind event.

The flooding was the result of governmental buffoonery. Katrina was only responsible in tipping it over the edge so to speak.

Meteorology is a science and we must always remind ourselves that by allowing yellow journalism to color the glasses through which we observe the weather, we jeopardize many lives.
Member Since: June 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 125
2041. BahaHurican
4:59 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
2037.

Yeah, 23, it's about the only place I know of that archives. I've never tried making my own loop. Maybe I should do it one of these days . . .
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21556
2040. Orcasystems
4:57 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Quoting BahaHurican:
Thanks Orca and zoo.


Now if I could only get her to add my location to it :(
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
2039. BahaHurican
4:54 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Thanks Orca and zoo.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21556
2038. tornadododger
4:54 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Thanks BahaHurican. I have quite a few links, but not that one. Thanks - have a great weekend!
2037. hurricane23
4:52 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
For archived NRL imagery go HERE.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13636
2036. BahaHurican
4:49 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Say, did u guys notice that NRL is now including KML links with most every storm? Way cool . . .
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21556
2035. Orcasystems
4:48 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Quoting zoomiami:
Baha- from what I can see you cannot send files on WU mail. I have several email addresses, so I'm using my gmail which I don't use often. If it gets to be an issue I can just start another.

Check your mail.

Orca - check reg email - let me know if it works.


Here is the link for anyone else to use



Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
2034. BahaHurican
4:45 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
2032. tornadododger 12:39 PM EDT on July 26, 2008

Welcome, tornadododger. I think most of the satlinks I have do realtime loops but not archived ones. I guess if you want a loop you may be able to build one from archived sat stills . . .

I would suggest checking out NRL as your best bet on the archived loops.

Sorry I can't help more.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21556
2033. BahaHurican
4:42 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
The reality on Katrina and NOLA is no two storms are the same; no two landfalls are the same. The other reality is that NOLA can't build levees that will stand up to EVERY possible storm that it will see over the years. I think if that city is going to stay where it is, there's going to have to be some radical alternative to the way storms / evacutations etc. are handled. While I think there wasn't much to be done about Katrina's physical effects, I do believe more could have been done to reduce the death toll from that storm. I don't think as much could have been done along the MS coast; the effects there were unprecedented. However, many of the NOLA deaths COULD have been prevented.

I'd like to say a special thanks to Patrap, who got me thinking beyond the obvious and simplistic about Louisiana and New Orleans, not just with the link hookups, but also by talking about his own opinions and experiences in a very clear and vivid way.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21556
2032. tornadododger
4:39 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Good afternoon everyone. I'm a new person here and have a question I hope someone can answer. Does anyone have a link to a site with long-period, archived satellite animations? An example would be a loop that followed a hurricane's path from beginning to end, but that is taken from the actual satellite passes. Thanks.
2031. BahaHurican
4:30 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
2023. clamshell 11:48 AM EDT on July 26, 2008

The major part of the damage done to New Orleans and the surrounding area was due to the poor governmental management of the levees that were supposed to protect those areas. Had they been properly managed, Katrina would have been the wind event she was and not much else. Certainly not the $81 billion storm that she is falsely being blame for.



You made some good points about the hyperbolic tendencies in the reporting of storms (also basketball games)these days. And I have to agree with you that Katrina was strengthening from the very moment she popped the TS category until she came onshore (I tend to view EWRCs as strengthening indicators, though I may be wrong to do so). The comments about Katrina and NOLA are, though, a bit oversimplified.

The problem with the levee situation in NOLA is that it WAS precarious. There were some chronic problems, recognised problems that weren't - and still aren't - as easy to fix as it might appear to someone looking in from the outside. I agree that these problems did contribute in a major way to the impact Katrina had on the city.

OTOH, not just any storm would have created the damage Katrina did. In fact, the last time was back in 1965, when Billion Dollar Betsy went through. It was Katrina's combination of angle, strength, and in particular, that extravolume storm surge, that did NOLA in. A quote from Wikipedia: "It was the sixth-strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded and the third-strongest hurricane on record that made landfall in the United States." Don't forget Katrina also had most storms that have hit NOLA in the last 50 years beat in terms of size. Plus most of the notable strikes in the area prior to this point were by relatively fast-moving storms. Don't forget that Katrina wiped out parts of the MS coast that Camille, a much stronger storm at landfall, left standing. Katrina was no "ordinary" hurricane.

In a lot of ways Katrina was a worst-case scenario for NOLA in particular, and not just any storm would have caused the havoc Katrina did there. In fact, if people hadn't been expecting another "Betsy" or something similar, some of those who stayed at home in the lower areas might have gone to higher ground or even out of town. I think a lot of them had faith in the new, improved infrastructure that had indeed withstood blows from other storms like Andrew and Georges.

But they weren't ready for Katrina.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21556
2029. fldude99
4:17 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Katrina would have been the wind event she was and not much else. Certainly not the $81 billion storm that she is falsely being blame for.

I can remember the weather channel talking about how Katrina had spared the area of major damage and the report being interupted by a report of the first of many 'small leaks in the levees' which turned into major leaks later in the day.

And that takes me to another example, which was the silly claim that Dolly 'has slammed' into the Texas coast. Katrina, Donna or Andrew...now they slammed into the coast. Dolly 'came ashore' in Texas. According to the Weather Channel, the highest winds recorded were less than 90 mph.

How can we, as observers of the weather, ever hope to get an even better understanding of the weather and hurricanes, if we resort to yellow journalism and yellow science as well?

One last thought. Didn't Katrina brush South Florida as a TS and only in the GOM did it ramp up to a monster. And didn't it ramp down its winds from a CAT5 to a CAT3 or less, as it closed in on the coast as well.

Tell that to the folks in MS..don't recall any levees giving way there mate
Member Since: July 14, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 574
2027. extreme236
4:01 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
2024.

Still about 15-20kts of wind shear keeping that center from joining up with the convection. Tomorrow should present the disturbance with more favorable conditions. We will have to see if it takes advantage of those.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
2026. extreme236
4:00 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
2023.

I understand what you are saying about the poor-governmental management of the situation and of failed levees. All of that was a disaster waiting to happen but Katrina is what triggered the disaster. It was a disaster waiting anyhow. However, remember NOLA was not the only place destroyed by Katrina, there were many other places that were part of the 81 Billion in damages.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
2025. Michfan
3:54 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
I hate when the tropics die down like this. Makes for a boring weekend.
Member Since: September 7, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1666
2024. Stormchaser2007
3:53 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Exposed:
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15790
2023. clamshell
3:48 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Quoting extreme236:

I would never say never. Before 2004 we never had a time since the 1800's (if then) that Florida was hit by 4 major hurricanes. We never had a storm on record intensify from TD to Hurricane in 12 hours (Lorenzo). Before Bertha we had never had a storm form so far east this early in the season.

Also, NOLA never thought they would get hit by a storm as bad as Katrina...they did...and it was 81 billion dollars in damage. We had never had a storm cause so much damage in the Atlantic before Katrina either.


**********
Sadly, yellow science and yellow journalism team up to mis-represent the weather once again.

The major part of the damage done to New Orleans and the surrounding area was due to the poor governmental management of the levees that were supposed to protect those areas. Had they been properly managed, Katrina would have been the wind event she was and not much else. Certainly not the $81 billion storm that she is falsely being blame for.

I can remember the weather channel talking about how Katrina had spared the area of major damage and the report being interupted by a report of the first of many 'small leaks in the levees' which turned into major leaks later in the day.

And that takes me to another example, which was the silly claim that Dolly 'has slammed' into the Texas coast. Katrina, Donna or Andrew...now they slammed into the coast. Dolly 'came ashore' in Texas. According to the Weather Channel, the highest winds recorded were less than 90 mph.

How can we, as observers of the weather, ever hope to get an even better understanding of the weather and hurricanes, if we resort to yellow journalism and yellow science as well?

One last thought. Didn't Katrina brush South Florida as a TS and only in the GOM did it ramp up to a monster. And didn't it ramp down its winds from a CAT5 to a CAT3 or less, as it closed in on the coast as well.
Member Since: June 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 125
2022. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
3:47 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
all quiet in the tropical atlantic for the next 5 to 10 days cchs enjoy the calm
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
2021. BahaHurican
3:47 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Quoting Chicklit:
Hello, checking in now and then to see if anything is 'spinning up.'
Drakoen must be out backpacking with Dr. Masters.
Drak needed a break - it was pretty intense in here the last 4-5 days of Dolly. I took one myself, and I was only on the "periphery" of things . . . :o)

I'm going to be checking in and out myself today. Got some computer related housecleaning to do, along with watching the weather. If we get any interesting sights weatherwise, I may get out with my camera later.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21556
2020. extreme236
3:43 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Quoting IKE:
Actually CCHS...97L appears headed for the fish graveyard and that's about it. Quiet time in the Atlantic basin.


Yep that sounds about right...it might as well develop and add some ACE to the season total so its not completely useless lol
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
2019. Orcasystems
3:42 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Quoting BahaHurican:
Nice website, Orca. And you may have STARTED checking the tropics for business . . . lol


Thats why I watch this blog.. storms cost me money.

BRB have to go to work in my other business, be back in about 45
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
2018. uptxcoast
3:39 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
1964 Bite your tongue! How very unlikely that would be (Or near enough to impossible) we learned the hard way in Houston to watch the remains of these storms. Nobody predicted the remains of Allison would do a loop and come back south dumping 20 inches of rain. That's about 4 times as much as when it first came onshore! While the winds are no factor at that point, the moisture in the remains of these systems can cause worse problems.
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 234
2017. IKE
3:39 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Actually CCHS...97L appears headed for the fish graveyard and that's about it. Quiet time in the Atlantic basin.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
2016. zoomiami
3:39 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
I'm out for a while - will check back this afternoon.

I agree with Baha - if you don't want a regular email available to trolls etc - just send me a WU mail & I will pick it up there.

Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 10 Comments: 4141
2015. extreme236
3:38 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Well CCHS 97L is out there but I don't expect anything interesting from it today...not until at least tomorrow when things should become more favorable.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
2014. BahaHurican
3:37 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Nice website, Orca. And you may have STARTED checking the tropics for business . . . lol
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21556
2013. IKE
3:36 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Quoting cchsweatherman:
Good morning all! Haven't had time to check the latest satellite imagery and computer models lately, so could someone catch me up on the latest happenings. Thanks.


Okay...here's what's going on in the tropical Atlantic.....


...........


There ya go!
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
2012. Chicklit
3:34 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Hello, checking in now and then to see if anything is 'spinning up.'
Drakoen must be out backpacking with Dr. Masters.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11186
2011. BahaHurican
3:34 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Quoting Orcasystems:
Quoting BahaHurican:
Suggestion: If u are giving out email-related info, why not send it to that persons WUmail rather than posting it on the blog . . . just a thought.


True, but if you google my nick you end up at my website.. which also gives you my name and phone number.. then again, as a habit, trolls are not to bright. Mind you, they might figure it out after this post.
But did they figure it out, or did you let them cheat off your crib sheet . . . LOL

Actually Orca, it was really too late for you anyhow, seeing u had already given out your info . . . LOL. I was really thinking about others who might want to pass on their info but not do it in such a public setting.

And now I have to go look at your website . . . ;o)
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21556
2010. stormdude77
3:33 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
NM
2009. stormdude77
3:25 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Zoo, did you receive my mail?
2008. zoomiami
3:22 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Baha- from what I can see you cannot send files on WU mail. I have several email addresses, so I'm using my gmail which I don't use often. If it gets to be an issue I can just start another.

Check your mail.

Orca - check reg email - let me know if it works.
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 10 Comments: 4141
2007. Orcasystems
3:17 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
Quoting BahaHurican:
Suggestion: If u are giving out email-related info, why not send it to that persons WUmail rather than posting it on the blog . . . just a thought.


True, but if you google my nick you end up at my website.. which also gives you my name and phone number.. then again, as a habit, trolls are not to bright. Mind you, they might figure it out after this post.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
2006. BahaHurican
3:16 PM GMT on July 26, 2008
vabe, I'm just paranoid about that stuff . . . LOL
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21556

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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.