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Wet, windy Nor'easter slams Northeast; season's first Category 5 storm is Ului

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:25 PM GMT on March 15, 2010

An extremely wet and windy Nor'easter whipped through the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern U.S. over the weekend, dropping rains in excess of six inches over some regions, and driving high winds gusting near hurricane force. On Saturday afternoon, JFK Airport in New York City recorded sustained winds of 45 mph, gusting to hurricane force--75 mph. Soils already saturated from run-off due to all the melting snow from the heavy winter snows have been unable to absorb the heavy rains. As a result, there is widespread minor to moderate river flooding, and many power poles have toppled due to the high winds and wet soil. Over half a million people were without power in the region over the weekend. The Nor'easter will continue to bring strong winds and moderate rain to the region today, then gradually weaken and move away from the Northeast on Tuesday.


Figure 1. Estimated precipitation from the weekend Nor'easter over the Northeast. Rainfall amounts in excess of six inches (pink colors) occurred in New York and Connecticut.

Ului: first Category 5 storm of the year
The first Category 5 tropical cyclone of the year has arrived. Over the weekend, Tropical Cyclone Uliu intensified into a lower-end Category 5 storm with 160 mph winds in the open waters of the South Pacific, east of Australia. Ului has weakened slightly into a still-powerful Category 4 storm with 150 mph, but is projected to significantly decay as the week progresses, due to high wind shear. Some of the models foresee that Ului will be a long-range threat to the Queensland coast of Australia by the end of the week, but the storm should be in a much weakened state by then, and may also turn out to sea without hitting land. Australia has had a remarkably easy hurricane season so far--no tropical cyclones entered Australian waters during the month of February, the first time that has happened since 1944. That would be equivalent to the U.S. having no tropical storms near our coast in the hurricane-prone month of August.


Figure 1. Tropical Cyclone Ului at peak strength at 22:22 UTC Saturday, March 13. At the time, Ului was a Category 5 storm with 160 mph winds and a minimum pressure of 918 mb. Image credit: NRL Monterey.

Tropical Cyclone Tomas
Meanwhile, Category 3 Tropical Cyclone Tomas is causing trouble in the Fiji Islands, where the cyclone's 125-mph sustained winds are being felt in the less populated eastern islands. Tomas has already claimed one life, ripped off roofs, and caused extensive power outages in the Fiji Islands, according to news reports. However, the cyclone is missing the two largest and most populated islands.

I'll have a new post on Tuesday.
Jeff Masters


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

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496. Skyepony (Mod)
3:02 PM GMT on March 16, 2010
Jeffs~Good point..
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
495. weathermanwannabe
2:56 PM GMT on March 16, 2010
Good Day Folks. Pretty quiet out there accross the US weather wise and looks the next significant weathermaker is the system about to head into the Pacific Northwest.......A nice spring week for most; a little on the cool side, but very nice. I'm just waiting on the temps to rise a little more in North Florida before I begin re-seeding the lawn.......... :)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
494. Bordonaro
2:56 PM GMT on March 16, 2010
NEW BLOG EVERYBODY!!!!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
493. TampaTom
2:55 PM GMT on March 16, 2010
Some hurricane preparedness questions you need to ask now:

Do I know my evacuation zone?

If I have to evacuate, where will I go? (public shelters can be a last minute choice... but you should have another plan as your first option)

Do I have a pet? Is it a cat or a dog, or, is it some other more 'exotic' pet (bird, fish, snake, ferret, etc?) Do you have a plan for them?

Is your car ready? Does it run well enough for you to rely on it? Do you have the basics in the car? (Paper map in case the GPS batteries run low, flashlight, can of fix-a-flat, first aid kit, jumper cables, working jack, rain gear, etc.)

Do you rent? Do you know what your evacuation zone is? Is your landlord going to board up the windows and take other protective actions, or are they going to collect an insurance check after the storm? If the later, you have to have a better plan.

Are you on medications? If so, talk with your doctor about hurricane season, and don't let your supply of maintenance drugs run too low.

Do you have elderly family members? What's their plan? How about kids? What's the plan for them?

Are your important papers somewhere you can get to? Are they organized and up-to-date? Now's a good time to write your homeowners and auto insurance info on a small card and tuck it into your pocket in case you need it and don't have access to your home.

Any others?

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
492. jeffs713
2:53 PM GMT on March 16, 2010
Quoting Skyepony:
Jeffs~ not getting your point.. Oceanic high-nitrate, low-chlorophyll environments is refuring to the quickly growing dead zones in the ocean. This paper points a quick fix as a disaster. Nitrates aren't coming from the air..that is fertilizers from run off. We are changing our climate & environment in more ways than one.

What I was pointing out is that the phytoplankton mentioned (diatoms) are also being touted as a reservoir of CO2. But as a byproduct, they also secrete a toxin into the environment. So while we are cleaning the air of excess CO2, and reducing the dead zones caused by high nitrates, we are also adding a toxin to the waters.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
491. Bonedog
2:49 PM GMT on March 16, 2010
whats up folks? =)

Glad to see the regulars still here =)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
490. WxLogic
2:36 PM GMT on March 16, 2010
484. Sky...

Quite interesting indeed...
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
489. Skyepony (Mod)
2:34 PM GMT on March 16, 2010
Jeffs~ not getting your point.. Oceanic high-nitrate, low-chlorophyll environments is refuring to the quickly growing dead zones in the ocean. This paper points a quick fix as a disaster. Nitrates aren't coming from the air..that is fertilizers from run off. We are changing our climate & environment in more ways than one.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
488. AussieStorm
2:32 PM GMT on March 16, 2010
Evening all
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
487. Skyepony (Mod)
2:28 PM GMT on March 16, 2010
Death toll in devastating Kazakhstan floods rises to 37

In this Saturday, March 13, 2010, photo the remains of a house, which destroyed by a torrent that was unleased after a dam in a reservoir ruptured Thursday evening, seen in the southern Kazakh village of Kyzyl-Agash. The government said in a statement Tuesday that the casualties included nine men, 17 women and 11 children.


Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
486. jeffs713
2:25 PM GMT on March 16, 2010
Quoting Skyepony:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online before print March 15, 2010; doi: 10.1073/pnas.0910579107
Iron enrichment stimulates toxic diatom production in high-nitrate, low-chlorophyll areas

Charles G. Trick* (Departments of Biology, and Microbiology and Immunology, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6A5B7, Canada), Brian D. Bill (Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies, San Francisco State University, Tiburon, CA 94920, and Marine Biotoxin Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, WA 98112, U.S.A.), William P. Cochlan (Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies, San Francisco State University, Tiburon, CA 94920, U.S.A.), Mark L. Wells (School of Marine Science, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469, U.S.A.), Vera L. Trainer (Marine Biotoxin Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, WA 98112, U.S.A.) and Lisa D. Pickell (School of Marine Science, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469, U.S.A.)

Edited by Penny W. Chisholm, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, and approved February 1, 2010 (received for review September 23, 2009)

1.

Abstract
Oceanic high-nitrate, low-chlorophyll environments have been highlighted for potential large-scale iron fertilizations to help mitigate global climate change. Controversy surrounds these initiatives, both in the degree of carbon removal and magnitude of ecosystem impacts. Previous open ocean enrichment experiments have shown that iron additions stimulate growth of the toxigenic diatom genus Pseudonitzschia. Most Pseudonitzschia species in coastal waters produce the neurotoxin domoic acid (DA), with their blooms causing detrimental marine ecosystem impacts, but oceanic Pseudonitzschia species are considered nontoxic. Here we demonstrate that the sparse oceanic Pseudonitzschia community at the high-nitrate, low-chlorophyll Ocean Station PAPA (50° N, 145° W) produces approximately 200 pg DA L−1 in response to iron addition, that DA alters phytoplankton community structure to benefit Pseudonitzschia, and that oceanic cell isolates are toxic. Given the negative effects of DA in coastal food webs, these findings raise serious concern over the net benefit and sustainability of large-scale iron fertilizations.

*Ccorrespondence e-mail: trick@uwo.ca.

Link to abstract: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/02/24/0910579107.abstract

Link to complete, open-access paper: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/02/24/0910579107.full.pdf+html

So to remove something from the air, we poison the water. Yeah, thats a good tradeoff. /sarcasm
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
485. StormChaser81
2:24 PM GMT on March 16, 2010
Disaster Supplies or (Hurricane Supplies) by NOAA, FEMA, NWS.

Water - at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days

Food - at least enough for 3 to 7 days
non-perishable packaged or canned food / juices
foods for infants or the elderly
snack foods
non-electric can opener
cooking tools / fuel paper plates / plastic utensils

Blankets / Pillows, etc.

Clothing - seasonal / rain gear/ sturdy shoes

First Aid Kit / Medicines / Prescription Drugs

Special Items - for babies and the elderly

Toiletries / Hygiene items / Moisture wipes

Flashlight / Batteries

Radio - Battery operated and NOAA weather radio

Telephones - Fully charged cell phone with extra battery and a traditional (not cordless) telephone set

Cash (with some small bills) and Credit Cards - Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods

Keys

Toys, Books and Games

Important documents - in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag
insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.

Tools - keep a set with you during the storm

Vehicle fuel tanks filled

Pet care items
proper identification / immunization records / medications
ample supply of food and water
a carrier or cage
muzzle and leash

Disaster Supplies
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
484. Skyepony (Mod)
2:21 PM GMT on March 16, 2010
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online before print March 15, 2010; doi: 10.1073/pnas.0910579107
Iron enrichment stimulates toxic diatom production in high-nitrate, low-chlorophyll areas

Charles G. Trick* (Departments of Biology, and Microbiology and Immunology, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6A5B7, Canada), Brian D. Bill (Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies, San Francisco State University, Tiburon, CA 94920, and Marine Biotoxin Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, WA 98112, U.S.A.), William P. Cochlan (Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies, San Francisco State University, Tiburon, CA 94920, U.S.A.), Mark L. Wells (School of Marine Science, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469, U.S.A.), Vera L. Trainer (Marine Biotoxin Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, WA 98112, U.S.A.) and Lisa D. Pickell (School of Marine Science, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469, U.S.A.)

Edited by Penny W. Chisholm, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, and approved February 1, 2010 (received for review September 23, 2009)

1.

Abstract
Oceanic high-nitrate, low-chlorophyll environments have been highlighted for potential large-scale iron fertilizations to help mitigate global climate change. Controversy surrounds these initiatives, both in the degree of carbon removal and magnitude of ecosystem impacts. Previous open ocean enrichment experiments have shown that iron additions stimulate growth of the toxigenic diatom genus Pseudonitzschia. Most Pseudonitzschia species in coastal waters produce the neurotoxin domoic acid (DA), with their blooms causing detrimental marine ecosystem impacts, but oceanic Pseudonitzschia species are considered nontoxic. Here we demonstrate that the sparse oceanic Pseudonitzschia community at the high-nitrate, low-chlorophyll Ocean Station PAPA (50° N, 145° W) produces approximately 200 pg DA L−1 in response to iron addition, that DA alters phytoplankton community structure to benefit Pseudonitzschia, and that oceanic cell isolates are toxic. Given the negative effects of DA in coastal food webs, these findings raise serious concern over the net benefit and sustainability of large-scale iron fertilizations.

*Ccorrespondence e-mail: trick@uwo.ca.

Link to abstract: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/02/24/0910579107.abstract

Link to complete, open-access paper: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/02/24/0910579107.full.pdf+html
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
483. jeffs713
2:10 PM GMT on March 16, 2010
Quoting Chicklit:

Good morning.
Sun's out and no sign of rain here in ECFL this a.m., and then I looked at this map. Huh?!

A lot of those colder cloud tops are likely cirrus and such. The lower layers are dry as a bone.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
482. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
2:06 PM GMT on March 16, 2010
Tropical Cyclone Warning Center Brisbane
Tropical Cyclone Warning
Severe Tropical Cyclone Ului, CAT 4
11:00 PM EST March 16 2010
=====================================

At 12:00 PM UTC, Tropical Cyclone Ului, Category 4 (938 hPa) located at 13.5S 157.8E has 10 minute sustained winds of 100 knots with gusts of 140 knots. The severe cyclone is reported as stationary.

Dvorak Intensity: T5.5/5.5/W0.5/24hrs

Hurricane Force Winds
=====================
45 NM from the center

Storm Force Winds
==================
90 NM from the center

Gale Force Winds
================
160 NM from the center

Forecast and Intensity
=======================
12 HRS: 13.7S 157.7E - 100 knots (CAT 4)
24 HRS: 14.8S 158.1E - 100 knots (CAT 4)
48 HRS: 16.7S 158.8E - 100 knots (CAT 4)
72 HRS: 19.3S 156.7E - 100 knots (CAT 4)

Additional Information
==========================
Eye pattern with LG surround and DG centre and banding feature of 0.5, giving DT of 5.5. MET and PT both suggest 5.0. Final T based on DT as it appears clear.

Expect upper steering winds associated with the system to become more northerly during the next 24 hours as an upper trough erodes the mid level ridge to the south. From Thursday onwards a new mid-level ridge will develop south of the system and steering winds should become more NE'ly and turn the Tropical Cyclone on a more westerly course.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
481. WxLogic
1:37 PM GMT on March 16, 2010
Quoting Chicklit:

Good morning.
Sun's out and no sign of rain here in ECFL this a.m., and then I looked at this map. Huh?!


Hehe... is a bit too dry Chick... for rain.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
480. WxLogic
1:37 PM GMT on March 16, 2010
Good morning...
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
479. Chicklit
1:29 PM GMT on March 16, 2010

Good morning.
Sun's out and no sign of rain here in ECFL this a.m., and then I looked at this map. Huh?!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
478. Orcasystems
1:23 PM GMT on March 16, 2010



AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI

Humor in Comments
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
477. severstorm
12:41 PM GMT on March 16, 2010
Quoting StormW:


Not learnin'...assisting professor.

And we all know you will still do a great job.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
476. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
12:40 PM GMT on March 16, 2010
good morning all great day in the 60's today near 70 tomorrow warming up too fast normals for this time of year should be low to mid 40's for highs
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
474. msgambler
12:28 PM GMT on March 16, 2010
Quoting StormW:


Doin' well...just getting prepared for class today.
We all know you'll do a great job!!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
471. msgambler
12:18 PM GMT on March 16, 2010
Good morning StormW, KOTG, and all others. Hope everyone is well this beautiful am.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
470. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
12:03 PM GMT on March 16, 2010
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
469. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
12:01 PM GMT on March 16, 2010
Quoting aspectre:
Felt weird the night before last, what with all the earthquake talk then realizing that I hadn't been in one for.....well, long enough that I don't remember the when, not even vaguely
This morning, 4.4 earthquake.

Feeling much better now.
foreshock
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
467. mikatnight
11:51 AM GMT on March 16, 2010
Good morning from Lantana, Florida! (7:45am)

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
466. severstorm
11:42 AM GMT on March 16, 2010
Quoting StormW:


Doing good! WOW! I only got 2.37"

Great to here your doing ok. My sister lives in south z-hills and she had 8.31in. something right.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
465. aspectre
11:24 AM GMT on March 16, 2010
Felt weird the night before last, what with all the earthquake talk then realizing that I hadn't been in one for.....well, long enough that I don't remember the when, not even vaguely
This morning, 4.4 earthquake.

Feeling much better now.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
462. stormsurge39
11:04 AM GMT on March 16, 2010
Can anyone on here give a short explanation, in layman terms, how anybody can predict how many storms we are going to have for hurricane season? Thank you
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
461. severstorm
11:03 AM GMT on March 16, 2010
Good Morning all,StormW how are you today. You get alot of rain from that system last week. I got 5.77 up here in z-hills.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
459. xcool
6:28 AM GMT on March 16, 2010
:0
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
458. Levi32
4:45 AM GMT on March 16, 2010
Ok I'm out for the night too. See y'all tomorrow.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
457. wunderkidcayman
4:40 AM GMT on March 16, 2010
Hi guys whats up
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
456. BenBIogger
4:33 AM GMT on March 16, 2010
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
455. Levi32
4:31 AM GMT on March 16, 2010
Quoting Skepticall:
Thanks Levi,
Yea it was off topic but I went to see my forecast for tomorrow said 60% chance of thunderstorms and don't know whether to believe it or not.


Oh it might happen, like the SPC said maybe some scattered light convection, but definitely nothing severe.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
453. TampaSpin
4:28 AM GMT on March 16, 2010
Nite Atmo
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
452. MTWX
4:26 AM GMT on March 16, 2010
goodnight atmo.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
451. Levi32
4:26 AM GMT on March 16, 2010
Quoting atmoaggie:

Right. The opposite of what I was thinking.

They said "westerly QBO, inhibit El Nino". Seems that would be other way around in my head...

Man I am saying "I dunno" a lot tonight. Bedtime. Nighty-Nite.


That's funny.....I thought maybe westerly winds would inhibit the upper tropospheric easterlies during El Nino or something. Who knows lol. Oh well. Night :)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
450. Levi32
4:25 AM GMT on March 16, 2010
Quoting atmoaggie:

Lemme go wake him up...
...
...
...
he said Sponge Bob had a grease accident at Crusty Crab's and spread a thin sheen of oil over the whole MDR. No evaporation, thus, no CV storms this year. He said that's partly why it is above average temps right now, too, that and the weak trade winds.
(his words...lol)

Hi AIM!
G'Nite, all.


LOL! That's awesome.

'Night Atmo. Good discussions tonight.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
449. atmoaggie
4:25 AM GMT on March 16, 2010
Quoting Levi32:


Yeah I suppose so, but I have a hard time believing the effect is that strong. Also, the '02, '04, and '06 ninos all took place during a westerly QBO.

Right. The opposite of what I was thinking.

They said "westerly QBO, inhibit El Nino". Seems that would be other way around in my head...

Man I am saying "I dunno" a lot tonight. Bedtime. Nighty-Nite.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
447. AwakeInMaryland
4:23 AM GMT on March 16, 2010
G'nite Atmo -- sounds like your boy is at least smart enough to know how to dress for the weather! (Or maybe my son forgot that March doesn't REALLY mean it's spring quite yet!)

'nite all!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
446. Levi32
4:22 AM GMT on March 16, 2010
Quoting atmoaggie:

That bit jumped out at you, too, I see. I am going to say that, though I am not familiar with a study on the link between the two, it makes sense that a westerly QBO phase would help disrupt the Walker circulation.

Typical:


El Nino:


Yeah I suppose so, but I have a hard time believing the effect is that strong. Also, the '02, '04, and '06 ninos all took place during a westerly QBO.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:

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Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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