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The nine billion-dollar weather disasters of 2011 (so far); Invest 90L rises again

By: Angela Fritz , 4:12 PM GMT on July 26, 2011

It's been an unprecedented year for weather disasters in the United States, with the dangerous portion of hurricane season still to come. We've already seen nine billion-dollar weather disasters so far in 2011. The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) June disaster report estimates that, through May, 2011 is the costliest year since they began tracking billion-dollar disasters in 1980. The cost of the disasters through May could be as high as $32 billion, compared to a typical year-to-date cost of $6 billion. 2011 to-date now ties the entire year of 2008 for the most billion-dollar weather disasters in one year. Of course, this number could go up if we see some hurricane landfalls this year.

Here are NCDC's estimates of the top-end damages from 2011's billion-dollar weather disasters so far:



Missouri River Flooding
Snowfall was abnormally heavy in the Rocky Mountains of Montana and Wyoming this past winter (over 200% of average), and record rains fell over the Upper Midwest this Spring, the effects of which continue to be felt along the Missouri River. In May, the Army Corps of engineers began releasing a record amount of water through the dams above Gavins Point, including the Garrison Dam in Central North Dakota. The flooding has kept many bridges closed, making it impossible to cross the river for a hundred miles at a time in some places.

Texas Drought & Wildfires
Texas is in the midst of one of the worst droughts of its history. As of June 28, 2011, 91% of Texas was in extreme or greater drought, and 47% of the state was in an "exceptional drought," the most severe category. In April and May of 2011, wildfires burned over 3 million acres across the state. The governor of Texas, Rick Perry, has declared a State of Disaster every month since December 2010. As of June 16, NCDC estimates that the drought and fires in Texas have cost $3.0 billion—an amount that is likely to rise as the event continues.

Mississippi River Flooding
Between the spring snow-melt and two storms that dumped massive amounts of rain in the Mississippi watershed in April, the Mississippi was in for a flood of record proportions. The river began to bulge by the beginning of May, flooding every state from Illinois to Louisiana and Mississippi. A federal disaster was declared by the President in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi. In an effort to save Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana, the Army Corps of Engineers opened the Morganza Spillway on May 14, which flooded 4,600 square miles of Louisiana. The NCDC estimates $4 billion in damages from this flood, although the final amount might not be fully realized yet.

Mississippi River Flood 2011 Memphis
An overflowing Mississippi River at Memphis, Tennessee on May 8, 2011.

Midwest/Southeast Tornado Outbreak (May 22-27)
This six-day tornado outbreak killed approximately 180 people, and includes the EF-5 tornadoes that rolled through Joplin, Missouri on May 22, and El Reno, Oklahoma on May 24. Tornadoes in this storm were spawned from central Texas to the Upper Midwest. The whole event is estimated to have done $7 billion in damages.

2011 Super Outbreak (April 25-30)
Most of the tornadoes spawned in this storm happened in the Southeast, from Mississippi to Virginia, though a total of 334 tornadoes have been confirmed in 21 states from Texas to New York. April 27th, in particular, was a notably destructive and deadly day, as 188 tornadoes touched down in the Southeast, four of which were rated EF-5. The NCDC estimates that the Super Outbreak resulted in at least $5.5 billion in damages.

Mississippi River Flood 2011 Memphis
Just a portion of the aftermath from the EF-4 tornado that devastated Tuscaloosa, Alabama
on April 27, 2011. Image credit: Wikipedia

Midwest/Southeast Tornado Outbreak (April 14-16)
This storm generated at least 200 tornadoes across 16 states in mid-April, leading to 38 deaths. The system moved quickly from the Plains to the Mid-Atlantic, where the most notable tornado of the outbreak occurred near Raleigh, North Carolina. This tornado was rain-wrapped as it headed in the direction of Raleigh, and was later rated an EF-3. The NCDC estimates that this outbreak resulted in $2 billion in damages.

Southeast/Midwest Severe Storms (April 8-11)
Tornadoes were reported in Virginia and Iowa from April 8-11. A significant day of severe weather occurred on April 9th, as a powerful storm over the Upper Midwest spawned tornadoes in Iowa. The strongest of these tornadoes was the huge, 3/4 mile-wide tornado that plowed through the tiny town of Mapleton, Iowa on Saturday evening, leaving a trail of destruction 3.5 miles long. The tornado, preliminarily rated as an EF-3 with 136 - 165 mph winds, flattened 20% of the town of 1200 residents and damaged half of the buildings. The NCDC estimates that this weekend of severe weather caused $2.2 billion in damages.

Midwest/Southeast Severe Storms (April 4-5)
Damaging straight-line winds and tornadoes were spawned by a storm that pushed through the central U.S. in early April. Power outages were extensive across the southern and eastern U.S., and many people were killed by falling trees and branches. Tornadoes touched down in Arkansas, Kentucky, and Mississippi. 1,318 reports of damaging wind were submitted to local Weather Service offices on April 4th alone. The NCDC estimates that this tornado and wind event caused $2 billion in damages.

Groundhog Day Blizzard of 2011
This storm stretched from northeast Mexico to Canada, but is most memorable for its effect on Chicago, where 1-2 feet of snow fell, combined with winds over 60 mph which led to blizzard conditions. 21.2 inches of snow fell at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, making it the third largest snowfall total in Chicago history. Blizzard conditions were reported in many other large cities during the storm's lifetime, including Oklahoma City, St. Louis, Detroit, Cleveland, and New York. This storm also brought ice and wintry mix as far south as Albuquerque, Dallas, and Houston. At least 36 deaths were caused by this storm, most of which were vehicle-related. NCDC estimates this storm did at least $3.9 billion in damage.

Chicago Blizzard 2011
The Windy City on February 1, 2011 during the Groundhog Day Blizzard.

NHC Invest 90L, Born Again

Invest 90L spiked in thunderstorm activity and circulation yesterday, leading NHC to re-invest the system. 90L is still south of Cuba moving ever-so-slowly to the west. While low level (850mb) circulation has increased since yesterday morning, the system is tilted southeast with height. This is likely due to the westerly wind shear it's facing right now. As the system moves into the Gulf, shear will become more favorable (if there's shear present, easterly is better than westerly). The wave is still moist and moisture is expected to remain high (4 to 5.5 g/kg specific humidity) as it tracks into the Gulf of Mexico.



Again this morning, none of the models are suggesting meaningful development of Invest 90L. However, the GFS (finally) has come around to resolving the circulation at all. Dr. Rob Carver and I spoke this morning, and we came to the conclusion that the lack of observations in this region, combined with the small size of the system, is causing the models to not have the best handle on the situation. The Hurricane Center has a Hurricane Hunter mission scheduled for 18z (2pm EDT) tomorrow, after which we could see the models starting to favor development again. Today the Hurricane Center is forecasting a 20% chance of development over the next 48 hours. I agree with that, but I also think that beyond 48 hours this wave is going to have a better shot at developing a closed circulation at the surface.

Angela


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

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1467. chevycanes
12:37 AM GMT on July 27, 2011
looks like some westerly shear coming off the Yucatan is hitting it.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1466. AussieStorm
12:37 AM GMT on July 27, 2011
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

Whoa, I almost forgot that storm existed.

Obviously you missed my updates.

Quoting JrWeathermanFL:
Whats up with the W-PAC's weird names like Ma-on and Nock-ten?


In 2000, the JTWC(Joint Typhoon Warning Centre) began receiving names contributed by places in the Asia-Pacific region. Taiwan is not on the list, for the usual political reasons. The names are used in the order given here. After all 140 have been used, the names are recycled, beginning with the top of the list. An especially destructive storm's name, however, is withdrawn, with a new name being chosen to fill the vacant spot on the list.
Full list can be found here
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1465. Stormchaser2007
12:36 AM GMT on July 27, 2011
35 knot ship report...

Odd.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1464. Patrap
12:34 AM GMT on July 27, 2011
Quoting taco2me61:


OMG Pat I'm so sorry I do hope you can shake it off for real....

I gess the NWS here in Mobile does not want us to know we are having a "Severe Thunderstorm" because my weather radio only told me of Maritime Warning....

we are getting 3" of rain an hour.....

Taco :O)


Been a watching that on the NOLA Long Range,,soaker fer sure
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1463. Civicane49
12:34 AM GMT on July 27, 2011
Feel free to check out my first blog:
Invest 90L, a threat to develop
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1462. scott39
12:34 AM GMT on July 27, 2011
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Here's my prediction:

Tomorrow afternoon: Recon investigates the system, finds Tropical Depresion #4 has formed.

Thursday morning: NHC finds that TD #4 is now TS Don.
Thursday afternoon: Don strengthens a little

Friday morning: Don strengthens further, now a moderate tropical storm.
Friday afternoon: Don continues to strengthen, now nearing hurricane status

Friday night/Saturday morning: Don makes landfall as a minimal hurricane.
You told me that you didnt have a crystal ball. LOL/JK
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1461. aquak9
12:34 AM GMT on July 27, 2011
Quoting Patrap:
I feel faint,, I had a FACEBOOK JFV encounter on someones wall.

I must stand a second and shake it off.


And that is why I don't have facebook. (gets shivers just thinking about it)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1460. RukusBoondocks
12:33 AM GMT on July 27, 2011
US might finally get hit kinda hard after a few years of nothing
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1459. TropicalAnalystwx13
12:32 AM GMT on July 27, 2011
Quoting Patrap:
I feel faint,, I had a FACEBOOK JFV encounter on someones wall.

I must stand a second and shake it off.


hahaha.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1458. taco2me61
12:32 AM GMT on July 27, 2011
Quoting Patrap:
I feel faint,, I had a FACEBOOK JFV encounter on someones wall.

I must stand a second and shake it off.


OMG Pat I'm so sorry I do hope you can shake it off for real....

I gess the NWS here in Mobile does not want us to know we are having a "Severe Thunderstorm" because my weather radio only told me of Maritime Warning....

we are getting 3" of rain an hour.....

Taco :O)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1457. TropicalAnalystwx13
12:31 AM GMT on July 27, 2011
Here's my prediction:

Tomorrow afternoon: Recon investigates the system, finds Tropical Depresion #4 has formed.

Thursday morning: NHC finds that TD #4 is now TS Don.
Thursday afternoon: Don strengthens a little

Friday morning: Don strengthens further, now a moderate tropical storm.
Friday afternoon: Don continues to strengthen, now nearing hurricane status

Friday night/Saturday morning: Don makes landfall as a minimal hurricane.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1456. theshepherd
12:30 AM GMT on July 27, 2011
Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog
The nine billion-dollar weather disasters of 2011 (so far); Invest 90L rises againPosted by: JeffMasters, 12:12 PM EDT on July 26, 2011
It's been an unprecedented year for weather disasters in the United States, with the dangerous portion of hurricane season still to come. We've already seen nine billion-dollar weather disasters so far in 2011. The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) June disaster report estimates that, through May, 2011 is the costliest year since they began tracking billion-dollar disasters in 1980. The cost of the disasters through May could be as high as $32 billion, compared to a typical year-to-date cost of $6 billion. 2011 to-date now ties the entire year of 2008 for the most billion-dollar weather disasters in one year

************************************************* *******

UH??? Did we adjust for inflation on this one?

Or did we just post another factoid?

Everyone must agree it was a helluva tornado experience this past spring and hopefully we'll never see another like it, but let's make sure we're comparing apples to apples when we represent costs.

Being in construction, I can attest that it cost a lot more to build today than it did in 1980.

Just saying...





Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1455. stormwatcherCI
12:29 AM GMT on July 27, 2011
Quoting Patrap:
I feel faint,, I had a FACEBOOK JFV encounter on someones wall.

I must stand a second and shake it off.
I saw that LOL.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1454. Patrap
12:29 AM GMT on July 27, 2011
Hooorah,,


I may go to sick call in da morning now.


: )
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1453. HarryMc
12:28 AM GMT on July 27, 2011
Quoting Patrap:
I feel faint,, I had a FACEBOOK JFV encounter on someones wall.

I must stand a second and shake it off.


Steady Marine. Hoorah.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1452. Patrap
12:27 AM GMT on July 27, 2011
I feel faint,, I had a FACEBOOK JFV encounter on someones wall.

I must stand a second and shake it off.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1451. FrankZapper
12:26 AM GMT on July 27, 2011
The channel 6 weather lady said the steering for 90L will be towards Texas. Did you see her in that tight yellow outfit? WOW!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1450. Patrap
Last Viz Frame b4 Night IR Sweeps in

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1448. ncstorm
Quoting TxHurricanedude11:
only see one model plot in that


WU is updating their map..we have to wait on the new one
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1447. xcool
26/2345 UTC 20.9N 83.0W T1.0/1.0 90L
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Seems the majority of the major models are still to forsee 90L feeling that weakness and moving more poleward...the 18Z GFS has a landfall in South Central La while the 18Z GFDL has a Sw LA landfall and the NOGAPS has a TX/LA border landfall...quite interesting hope the models arent grasping this thing better that would mean more rain on the way for me...we already getting soaked here everyday
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1444. ncstorm
I know this one is old but look at the ensemble members..some looking at the panhandle..

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1443. DEKRE
Quoting Grothar:


I don't know. You might want to ask Dong Wa Ling and Soon-la Tec who works at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. They might have a clue.


Ouch!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1442. Patrap
Quoting bappit:

High TCHP values are significant only if the storm is significant already--or stationary. TCHP reaches its highest values only when the depth of warm water is greatest which matters only if the storm is vigorously mixing the surface water. If shear or dry air is acting on a system, knocking down its topwinds, then the high TCHP values are less important.


Thanx for the lesson,,bappit.


I feel most refreshed now.



Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1441. Grothar
Quoting JrWeathermanFL:
Whats up with the W-PAC's weird names like Ma-on and Noc-ten?


I don't know. You might want to ask Dong Wa Ling and Soon-la Tec who works at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. They might have a clue.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
am happy that i gave 90L the RIPS and its march more happer
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1439. Patrap
Quoting louisianaboy444:
Where is the 18Z GFDL taking it it wont open for me


Lake Charles or a tad East
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting louisianaboy444:
Where is the 18Z GFDL taking it it wont open for me


Where Rita hit
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I'll be back in like an hour. When I get back, I'm gonna write a blog entry.

EDIT: nevermind.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Where is the 18Z GFDL taking it it wont open for me
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AussieStorm:

Is the sun still out there? It's out here and been out for 3hrs. 10:15am Wednesday Morning here.

We're in the moonlight. It's 8:15pm here.
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


I would expect some future "windshield wipes" before a consensus is reached.
Certainly.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1430. bappit
Quoting Patrap:



Vector from A-Z is a bad one as it traverse the GOM Highest TCHP,regardless of Uppers.

That

High TCHP values are significant only if the storm is significant already--or stationary. TCHP reaches its highest values only when the depth of warm water is greatest which matters only if the storm is vigorously mixing the surface water. If shear or dry air is acting on a system, knocking down its topwinds, then the high TCHP values are less important.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1428. Patrap
18Z runs,earlier..

Awaiting the 00Z Statistical and Dynamic Runs from ATCF within the Hour

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting alfabob:
HWRF shows TS in 6 hours
6 hours from 18 UTC...as in right now.



Looks like HypercaneWRF is back at it. I still think it's ultimate solution of a strong TS or minimal cat 1 is plausible, too, though.
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Quoting Patrap:



That Vector from A-Z is a bad one as it traverse the GOM Highest TCHP,regardless of Uppers.



Good God; surly not
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1424. ncstorm
Quoting HCW:


this will be back in the panhandle by tomorrow this time..the models are doing a eastward trend each run..
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:
Why must it rain on me? I know I'm in a tropical island but can't I get some tropical sun?

Is the sun still out there? It's out here and been out for 3hrs. 10:15am Wednesday Morning here.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
So, we can say that we are out of the woods in Tampa regarding 90L .
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Is it me or are the models moving more north now?
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Why must it rain on me? I know I'm in a tropical island but can't I get some tropical sun?
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cuban radar link here you go
Link
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GFDL

Link

HWRF

Link
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