Boulder's 1-in-100 Year Flood Diminishing; Ingrid a Dangerous Flood Threat for Mexico

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:43 PM GMT on September 13, 2013

Colorado's epic deluge is finally winding down, as a trough of low pressure moves across the state and pushes out the moist, tropical airmass that has brought record-breaking rainfall amounts and flooding. Devastating flash floods swept though numerous canyons along the Front Range of Colorado's Rocky Mountains Wednesday night and Thursday morning, washing out roads, collapsing houses, and killing at least three people. The flood that swept down Boulder Creek into Boulder, Colorado was a 1-in-100 year event, said the U.S. Geological Survey. A flash flood watch continues through noon Friday in Boulder. According to the National Weather Service, Boulder's total 3-day rainfall as of Thursday night was 12.30". Based on data from the NWS Precipitation Frequency Data Server, this was a greater than 1-in-1000 year rainfall event. The city's previous record rainfall for any month, going back to 1897, was 9.59", set in May 1995. Some other rainfall totals through Thursday night include 14.60" at Eldorado Springs, 11.88" at Aurora, and 9.08" at Colorado Springs. These are the sort of rains one expects on the coast in a tropical storm, not in the interior of North America! The rains were due to a strong, slow-moving upper level low pressure system to the west of Colorado that got trapped to the south of an unusually strong ridge of high pressure over Western Canada. This is the same sort of odd atmospheric flow pattern that led to the most expensive flood disaster in Canadian history, the $5.3 billion Calgary flood of mid-June this summer. The upper-level low responsible for this week's Colorado flood drove a southeasterly flow of extremely moist tropical air from Mexico that pushed up against the mountains and was lifted over a stationary front draped over the mountains. As the air flowed uphill and over the front, it expanded and cooled, forcing the moisture in it to fall as rain. Balloon soundings from Denver this morning continued to show levels of September moisture among the highest on record for the station, as measured by the total Precipitable Water (PW), which is how much water would fall at the ground if the entire amount of water vapor through the depth of the atmosphere was condensed. Four of the top eight all-time September highs for Precipitable Water since records began in 1948 have been recorded over the past two days:

1.33" 12Z September 12, 2013
1.31" 00Z September 12, 2013
1.24" 12Z September 13, 2013
1.23" 12Z September 10, 1980
1.22" 00Z September 2, 1997
1.21" 00Z September 7, 2002
1.20" 00Z September 13, 2013

Wunderground weather historian Christopher C. Burt discusses how this year's flood compares to previous Colorado floods in his latest post.

A map of Boulder flood zones and detailed history of previous floods in the area may be found here.


Figure 1. A torrent of water rushes alongside a swamped house following flash flooding near Left Hand Canyon, south of Lyons, Colo., Sept 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)



Figure 2. Observed rainfall for the Colorado's Front Range from the September 11 - 13 rain event. Rainfall amounts greater than 10" (pink colors) were indicated near Boulder. Image credit: NWS Denver.

Tropical Storm Ingrid a Dangerous Rainfall Threat for Mexico
Tropical Storm Ingrid, the ninth named storm of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, has formed in the Southwestern Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche. Ingrid is the most dangerous Atlantic tropical cyclone of 2013 thus far, due to its rainfall potential. Ingrid is embedded in an exceptionally moist environment, and is already bringing heavy rains to the Mexican coast in Veracruz state, as seen on Mexican radar. Satellite loops show that Ingrid is not well-organized, and has only a modest area of heavy thunderstorms. However, the Friday morning hurricane hunter mission found 45 mph winds, prompting NHC to upgrade Ingrid. Moderate wind shear of 15 - 20 knots is interfering with development, but ocean temperatures are a very warm 29 - 29.5°C (84 - 85°F).


Figure 3. Percent chance of receiving more than 16" of rain during a five day period, from the Friday 2 am EDT run of the experimental GFDL ensemble model for Tropical Storm Ingrid. More than 16" of rain are predicted for the Oaxaca and Tampico areas of Mexico. Image credit: NOAA/GFDL.

Forecast for Ingrid
The soils along the Mexican Gulf Coast are already saturated from the rains of Tropical Depression Eight and Tropical Storm Fernand, and it won't take much additional rain to generate dangerous flash floods and mudslides. An added danger is the presence of tropical disturbance 90E in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, on the other side of Mexico. If Ingrid intensifies sufficiently, it could draw in the moisture from 90E across Southern Mexico, resulting in torrential rains on both the Pacific and Atlantic sides of Southern Mexico. Ninety-E represents a threat to develop into a tropical depression in its own right; in their 8 am EDT Friday Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave 2-day odds of development of 70% for the disturbance, and predicted a north to northwest motion of the storm towards the coast. This morning's 2 am EDT run of the experimental GFDL ensemble model predicted that a some areas of Mexico are at high risk of 16+ inches of rain due to the combined effects of Ingrid and 90E. The greatest danger is on the Pacific side in Oaxaca state, where the combined effects of the circulations of Ingrid and 90E will pull a flow of very moist air upwards over the mountains, creating torrential rains. All of the models predict a west-northwest to northwest track for Ingrid into Mexico, but heavy rains of 2 - 4" may also affect extreme South Texas by early next week.

Today is the 25th anniversary of the intensification of Hurricane Gilbert into the strongest hurricane ever observed in the Atlantic (at the time.) I was on the hurricane hunter flight into Gilbert that day, and will be posted an account of the mission later today.

Jeff Masters

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1738. GatorWX
10:50 AM GMT on September 16, 2013
Forecast for Barcelona:

Mid 70's/mid 60's, other than Tues @ 40%, no chance of rain. Yeeeah! San Diego-ish. See ya!
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 4397
1737. GatorWX
10:48 AM GMT on September 16, 2013
Morning everyone!

On to the next.



Off to Spain!! I'll post pictures on my blog in a few days if anyone is interested. Keep it real, ; )
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1736. Wunderwood
7:58 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Quoting 1397. pcola57:


Gulf Current-

From Wiki..

"A parent to the Florida Current, the Loop Current is a warm ocean current that flows northward between Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula, moves north into the Gulf of Mexico, loops east and south before exiting to the east through the Florida Straits and joining the Gulf Stream. Serving as the dominant circulation feature in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, the Loop Currents transports between 23 and 27 sverdrups[1] and reaches maximum flow speeds of 1.5 to 1.8 meters/second.[2]"

Link

To address Your next point..
There is very little steering air flow and shear at the moment and these storms being heat seeking engines that convert that energy , seems to me,the Loop Current attraction, to be a likely source for Ingrid after cooling off the BOC for several days and up welling causing it to to suffer temp drop as that area lays in a part of the gulf that the Gulf Current,or more correctly Loop Current, has very little influence..

Like I said in my post..
Agree or dis-agree..
It's just my Opinion.. :)



Again, tropical cyclones are steered by rivers of air in the atmosphere, not ocean currents.
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1735. winter123
5:39 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
It has to be said..
"I think I see a eye!" :)
Member Since: July 29, 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 1849
1734. sar2401
4:44 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Quoting barbamz:
Numbers of unaccounted people are still rising.

Live coverage 7news


Flood-weary Colorado awaits more rain; 218 people remain unaccounted for
By Ben Brumfield and Nick Valencia, CNN
September 14, 2013 -- Updated 1423 GMT (2223 HKT)

Last day total precipitation




Hi Barb. From my experience in emergency management, the vast majority of those "missing" are only missing because their families or friends don't know where they are. One of the first things to fail in an area-wide disaster is the cell phone system. Since Boulder is a big college town, many of the students are kind of befuddled about what to do if their cell phones don't work. I imagine that Verizon and AT&T are bringing in, or already have on scene, their disaster satellite trailers. These allow a limited number of people to use their cell phones per hour by using their satellite system rather than the normal cell phone over the air towers. Once people are able to use their cell phones, the numbers of missing will go down drastically. We had over 300 missing after the Oakland Hills firestorm, and that ended up with 25 of those missing actually being dead. It won't be that many in Colorado, I hope, but there are lots of people who live in really isolated places by choice, and it will take a number of days to reach some of those areas and confirm their status.
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1733. Thrawst
3:58 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
.
Member Since: July 18, 2010 Posts: 52 Comments: 2016
1732. sunlinepr
3:51 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Very interesting clash of forces and variables around Ingrid....

Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 22 Comments: 10206
1731. sunlinepr
3:47 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Would be a good thing that this debilitates....

Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 22 Comments: 10206
1730. barbamz
3:43 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Numbers of unaccounted people are still rising.

Live coverage 7news


Flood-weary Colorado awaits more rain; 218 people remain unaccounted for
By Ben Brumfield and Nick Valencia, CNN
September 14, 2013 -- Updated 1423 GMT (2223 HKT)

Last day total precipitation



Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 93 Comments: 11056
1729. CaneHunter031472
3:42 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Moving due north.

Member Since: August 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 278
1727. belizeit
3:40 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
I guess once the HH are to the N of Ingrid we will know how much she is sheared looking at the current dropsond data the shear is helping her if its shear that we are seeing
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1726. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
3:38 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
1725. sar2401
3:37 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
I already have all of the people who think they are blog police on ignore. I you feel you really must reply to them, it would help if you removed their message text from your reply. I can only take so many heartburn pills in a day. :-)
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1723. Pensa2woodtx
3:35 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Quoting 1686. tater5500:
Why do some of the models have it go due north - up to S TX? Do they not recognize the front?
...The front will move north and east
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1722. Envoirment
3:35 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Well, Ingrid strengthened quickly! I wouldn't be surprised if Ingrid made a run for a Cat 2 hurricane. I really hope it doesn't do too much damage or take any lives, especially with all that rain!
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1721. ILwthrfan
3:33 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Quoting 1719. VR46L:


img src="">


Go by the RECON, those maps are not very accurate for this case.
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1719. VR46L
3:32 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Quoting 1703. all4hurricanes:
Does anyone have shear maps for the BOC?


img src="">
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1718. MiamiHurricanes09
3:32 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 131 Comments: 21689
1717. ncstorm
3:31 PM GMT on September 14, 2013

A man walks through a flooded street during heavy rains caused by Tropical Storm Ingrid in the Gulf port city of Veracruz, Mexico, Friday Sept. 13., 2013. Mexican authorities rushed to evacuate neighborhoods located near riverbanks in eight Veracruz townships as Ingrid lashed the coast with heavy rains, threatening more damage in a state where landslides and flooding have killed dozens of people in recent weeks. (AP Photo/Felix Marquez)



Tropical Storm Ingrid strengthening off Mexico
By RODRIGO SOBERANES SANTIN
%u2014 Sep. 14 10:48 AM EDT


MIAMI (AP) %u2014 Tropical Storm Ingrid is becoming a bit stronger off Mexico's Gulf coast, with forecasters predicting further increases in speed and a possible hurricane warning.

The National Hurricane Center said early Saturday that the storm has maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (105 kph). It's about 130 miles (205 kilometers) northeast of Veracruz and 195 miles (310 kilometers) east-southeast of Tuxpan.

A hurricane watch is in effect north of Cabo Rojo to La Pesca. A tropical storm warning is in effect from Coatzacoalcos to Cabo Rojo.

Off Mexico's Pacific coast, Tropical Storm Manuel has maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph). It's 150 miles (245 kilometers) off Lazaro Cardenas and 255 miles (410 kilometers) south-southeast of Manzanillo. A tropical storm warning is in effect from Acapulco to Manzanillo.

Elsewhere, Tropical Storm Humberto swirls in the Atlantic, far from land, and is expected to become a remnant later Saturday.
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1716. redwagon
3:30 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Quoting 1695. CybrTeddy:
No doubt in my mind that this will be a hurricane by days end.


I think the reason for her slow speed is all the mass she's attaining from Manual (thanks, amigo!) but like Pat said, once she breaks the frictional bonds of the coast and can tighten up, she's going to go from cute to scary within 4 or 5 hours. I expect an intensity update soon.
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1715. Abacosurf
3:27 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Link
Loop d Loop coming more into play. Wow...tons of moisture for Mex.
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1714. ILwthrfan
3:27 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Quoting 1708. MiamiHurricanes09:
It's a mission collecting upper air data.

F. 41,000 TO 45,000 FT


So far all readings less than 15 knots for the most part. Thanks for the info.
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1713. nrtiwlnvragn
3:27 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Today's Gonzo proposed flight pattern


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1712. Sfloridacat5
3:27 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Ingrid wind speed estimates (10am central time)

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1711. ILwthrfan
3:26 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Quoting 1706. MiamiHurricanes09:
Marked. ;)


There will be a lag time (12-24 hrs)for that outflow to die off as the cyclone degenerates though. So even after landfall, Ingrid will be still feeling the outflow for a marked amount time after, though gradually diminishing in the time frame.
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1710. belizeit
3:26 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Acording to dropsondes being dropped TS winds extend outwards to a great distance .
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1709. Tazmanian
3:25 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Quoting 1707. Thundercloud01221991:
why do they have a 7 hour gap in times that recon is going to be in the center of the storm. I guess the only way for a Hurricane by 2 PM is if an eye starts to form



they likey have re ful up and head back out and that takes time
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5101 Comments: 118560
1708. MiamiHurricanes09
3:25 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Quoting 1705. ILwthrfan:
What level are they at? Very light winds on Ingrids South and east sides.

It's a mission collecting upper air data.

F. 41,000 TO 45,000 FT
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 131 Comments: 21689
1707. Thundercloud01221991
3:24 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
why do they have a 7 hour gap in times that recon is going to be in the center of the storm. I guess the only way for a Hurricane by 2 PM is if an eye starts to form
Member Since: August 1, 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 3716
1706. MiamiHurricanes09
3:24 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Quoting 1702. TropicalAnalystwx13:
Notice how Manuel is expected to make landfall tomorrow morning while the landfall for Ingrid has been pushed back significantly to Tuesday morning. It does not make logical sense for Ingrid to be sheared after tomorrow morning, if its even going to be, since Manuel will be inland by then.

This isn't going to be a 70kt peak, mark my words.
Marked. ;)
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 131 Comments: 21689
1705. ILwthrfan
3:23 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
What level are they at? Very light upper level winds on Ingrids south and east sides.

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1704. Tazmanian
3:23 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
I like too say sorry too the hole blog for that little out burst did not mean too went that get out of hand



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1703. all4hurricanes
3:23 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Does anyone have shear maps for the BOC?
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1702. TropicalAnalystwx13
3:23 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Notice how Manuel is expected to make landfall tomorrow morning while the landfall for Ingrid has been pushed back significantly to Tuesday morning. It does not make logical sense for Ingrid to be sheared after tomorrow morning, if its even going to be, since Manuel will be inland by then.

This isn't going to be a 70kt peak, mark my words.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 128 Comments: 35751
1701. MiamiHurricanes09
3:22 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Quoting 1696. HurricaneCamille:
When will recon be there?
The next NOAA plane:

FLIGHT TWO --NOAA 43--
A. 14/2100Z
B. NOAA3 0910A INGRID
C. 14/1800Z
D. 20.9N 95.8W
E. 14/2030Z TO 14/2330Z
F. SFC TO 15,000 FT

The next TEAL plane:

FLIGHT THREE --TEAL 70--
A. 15/0000Z
B. AFXXX 1010A INGRID
C. 14/2100Z
D. 21.3N 96.0W
E. 14/2300Z TO 15/0300Z
F. SFC TO 15,000 FT

The first one should be getting there around 5p.m. EDT and the second one around 8p.m. EDT.
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1700. Sfloridacat5
3:22 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
10am/11 east updated cone
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1699. Neapolitan
3:22 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Quoting 1694. VR46L:


Wow !!

Those Ace figures this year ... ya would never think we are on storm 9....
Yeah, pretty amazing to have an average ACE around 2.0 per storm. Of course, a major storm or two can cause those numbers to skyrocket--for instance, there were days in 2010 when ACE shot up by more than 11 points--but, as it looks today, a below-average season (in terms of ACE, not number of named storms) seems likely.
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1698. barbamz
3:22 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Quoting 1696. HurricaneCamille:
When will recon be there?


Recon already is there but encircling the center, not passing.

Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 93 Comments: 11056
1697. Tazmanian
3:21 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Quoting 1695. CybrTeddy:
No doubt in my mind that this will be a hurricane by days end.



I think it could get two 120mph
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1696. HurricaneCamille
3:19 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
When will recon be there?
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1695. CybrTeddy
3:19 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
No doubt in my mind that this will be a hurricane by days end.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 26103
1694. VR46L
3:18 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Quoting 1690. Neapolitan:
2013

2013

2013


Wow !!

Those Ace figures this year ... ya would never think we are on storm 9....
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1693. GatorWX
3:18 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Annual deviations from long term average. A good thing for now. Not necessarily a sign of things to come I'm afraid.



Espanya aquí vinc, al costat d'una bonica noia! Feliç sóc jo!

...and I get a hurricane to look at for the time being.
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1692. TropicalAnalystwx13
3:18 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Quoting 1689. interstatelover7165:
You mean it will be higher, or lower than 80?

Higher.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 128 Comments: 35751
1691. GetReal
3:18 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Quoting 1678. sebastianflorida:
CHILDREN GO TO YOUR ROOMS; YOU ARE GROUNDED!


and unplug the internet!!!
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1690. Neapolitan
3:16 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
2013

2013

2013
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 15276
1689. interstatelover7165
3:16 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Quoting 1680. TropicalAnalystwx13:
Yeah, that 80 mph peak isn't going to turn out. Shear was already expected to increase according to the ECMWF and GFS but it hasn't.
You mean it will be higher, or lower than 80?
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1688. GetReal
3:16 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 9118

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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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