Flood walls hold on the Susquehanna

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:09 PM GMT on June 29, 2006

The Army Corps of Engineers is breathing a sigh of relief today. After the failure of New Orleans' levees during Hurricane Katrina revealed that the Army Corps had failed to properly construct those structures, they must have been very anxiously watching the flood walls restraining the rampaging Susquehanna River in Wilkes-Barre, PA yesterday. The new flood walls, built in response to the record flooding from Hurricane Agnes in 1972, were built 3-5 feet higher at a cost of $200 million. The new walls took 20 years to build, and were completed in 2003. Do to the uncertainty of how long the new walls could hold back such a large volume of water, over 100,000 people were evacuated yesterday from the Susquehanna's flood plain. The Susquehanna crested late Wednesday at 34.4 feet, just six feet below the tops of the new flood walls, and 16 feet above flood stage. The river is slowly declining, and was at 32 feet this morning at 4 am EDT.

Figure 1. Measured rainfall from the week's rains. Tropical moisture streaming north along a stationary trough of low pressure triggered rains as heavy as 3 inches per hour in the mountains of Pennsylvania.

Hurricane Agnes of June 1972 did $8.6 billion in damage to Pennsylvania and surrounding areas. Agnes at the time was the costliest hurricane in history, a distinction it held for 20 years--when Hurricane Andrew came along. Thanks to the recent spate of intense hurricanes hitting the U.S., Agnes has fallen to number nine on the list of costliest hurricanes of all time. Six of the nine costliest hurricanes of all time occurred in the past two years!

Tropical wave in the Caribbean
A strong tropical wave moved through the Windward Islands yesterday, bringing heavy rain and wind gusts up to 36 mph. Strong upper-level winds from the west severely disrupted the wave overnight. This wind shear of 20-30 knots is expected to continue, and no development is likely today. The wave is expected to bring thunderstorms and gusty winds to Puerto Rico and Hispanolia as it moves west-northwest at 20 mph. The wave could get more organized once it gets closer to the U.S., if it can find an area of lower wind shear to take advantage of. The prospects of this happening are low, as most of the ocean areas surrounding the U.S. are expected to have high wind shear over the coming week. None of the computer models develop this wave, and there is really nothing anywhere in the Atlantic that looks to be of concern over the next few days.

Figure 2.Latest satellite image of the tropical wave in the Caribbean.

Figure 3. Model forecast tracks of the tropical wave in the Caribbean.

Thanks to all of you who tuned into my "Tropical Round Table" interview last night on http://radio.nhcwx.com/. I'll be summarizing much of what I said in tomorrow's blog. In particular, I'll focus on how different the large-scale atmospheric patterns for this year's hurricane season are compared to last year's season. This year will not be a repeat of 2005!

Jeff Masters

Susquehanna River flooding in Endicott (dockwpk)
Flooding afternoon of June 28, 2006 - Endicott. Union Endicott High School athletic facilities
Susquehanna River flooding in Endicott

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581. guygee
5:46 PM GMT on June 30, 2006

1130 AM EDT FRI JUN 30 2006

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580. guygee
5:40 PM GMT on June 30, 2006
NHC not very bullish in the system nearing the Bahamas at this time. It seems they think it will get caought up more in the trough to the east and miss the pocket of low shear just east of the Bahamas. From the Tropical Weather Outlook Statement as of 11:30 am EDT on June 30, 2006:
Disorganized cloudiness and showers extend from the southeastern Bahamas northeastward into the Atlantic Ocean for several hundred miles. Upper-level winds are strong in this area and development of this system is not anticipated as it moves generally northwestward at 10 to 15 mph.
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579. guygee
5:27 PM GMT on June 30, 2006
FLweather - Sounds just about right, the part of the wave moving west towards the Bahamas has escaped the shear farther south and looks like a seperate system now, in a more favorable environment. The low-level ridge is building towards the west. The high-level shear over FL and the immediate FL east coast is the big question: will it relax enough to allow the Bahamas system to develop this holiday weekend? Stay tuned, it's Deja Vu all over again.
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578. MahFL
2:21 PM GMT on June 30, 2006
Junkie, your link is screwed up.
Member Since: June 9, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 6103
577. FLweather
2:03 PM GMT on June 30, 2006
After continuously watching the wesatrd moving caribbean wave, it seems now like the wave split in 2. The northern part of the wave that is west of the Bahamas seems to be gettinf better organized this morning. The wave will be driven by the strong high pressure that s building to its east. If the storm will linger about those warm waters, and saty away from hispanola, it may have the potential to form into a tropical cyclone. If it continues moving WNW, it will be in an area that models are forecasting low sheer. This could cause a problem for south florida. Who agrees?
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575. StormJunkie
1:48 PM GMT on June 30, 2006
Morning all.

Just got done adding a new page to StormJunkie.com. I hope this page will be very useful for the storm tracker. The rest of the site is great for learning and finding information, but when you need it quickly this is the place to get it.

StormJunkie.com Quick Links

I am going to update the SST comparison maps in my blog, then I am off to do some yard work. Will have to take some time to look at the tropics as I have been busy getting the new page up.

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573. sails1
1:49 PM GMT on June 30, 2006
Everyone....what are your thoughts about the fact that the tropical wave entering the Carb split in two? Looks like the portion near the western Bahamas is getting better organized. It there a surface low developing there?
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572. Stormy2day
1:31 PM GMT on June 30, 2006
Thanks. I would love to stay but have to get the boat and supplies ready. The pressure of being responsible for 3 other people and their safety while on an island is big – I have to think cautious without being paranoid. Paranoia has a tendency to kill the fun! In an attempt to balance, I look carefully at the official forecasts. I also understand that valid discussion happens here, on this blog. The type of discussion that often plays out with validity in an official forecast – official forecasts often don’t happen until all the pieces are in place.

I guess my point is that in collecting information – official data and discussion on this blog (both conservative and extreme speculation) are all valuable. When someone on this blog uses intimidation/slamming with another’s line of discussion that blogger is choosing the validity of that discussion for others.

PS – K8, when it comes to weather, I AM ignorant – if I knew it all, I wouldn’t be here.

You all have a fun and safe weekend.
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570. newt3d
1:20 PM GMT on June 30, 2006
Any thoughts on the blob at 6N, 79W in the East Pacific? Shear looks really really low.
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567. WSI
1:04 PM GMT on June 30, 2006
Stormy2day, ignore the crap on here and stay. Many of us have good weather discussions on other blogs without all the "stuff" you see on here.
564. Weather456
8:46 AM AST on June 30, 2006
New Hurricane Names
Should the National Hurricane Center or World Meteorological Organization introduce the letters Q, U, X, Y, Z letters into the naming scheme or introduce surnames to storms?

Answer to Sunday's Question: Hurricane Katrina was more intense than Hurricane Camille. Intensity refers to central pressure. But Hurricane Camille winds were higher than Hurricane Katrina.

my blog

leave the answers at my blog or email me
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563. Stormy2day
12:51 PM GMT on June 30, 2006
For weather advisories and planning, I will check out NWS. For speculation, discussion, and to be involved in watching a system develop - I'll visit this blog.

Yes, I am fascinated by the weather and find it odd that I would have to explain that on a WEATHER blog ...this is like Group Therapy gone bad.

For now, I'll exit and return later when the blog is without the self-appointed monitors imposing their standards of a valid discussion.

Dragonfly - enjoy your weekend and the launch!

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562. PBG00
12:48 PM GMT on June 30, 2006
Watch and Learn? For those who just see a mess on a sat frame..what exactly is they are supposed to learn..how arrogant are you?
Member Since: October 20, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 6650
561. WSI
12:46 PM GMT on June 30, 2006
"i say trust what you see on the satellite pic more than anything else....watch and learn"

Not everyone understands what they see on a sat image.
560. K8eCane
12:43 PM GMT on June 30, 2006
i say trust what you see on the satellite pic more than anything else....watch and learn
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559. guygee
12:36 PM GMT on June 30, 2006
IKE - Agreed it is worth keeping an eye on, it could turn out to be an area of potential development in the next few days.

Talk to everyone later (I'm late for work now)!
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558. guygee
12:29 PM GMT on June 30, 2006
Just a couple of quick posts, now I'm off to work...a lot of "bickering" going on here still ;(

Agree with WSI we should put the occasional disclaimer on this site, because it seems a lot of people lurk here, and some might not know any better. Trust the links and the reports posted here from the NWS and NHC, the rest is just mostly amateur prognosticating. This is obvious to most poesters here, but maybe not to some of the peole lurking...
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557. PBG00
12:34 PM GMT on June 30, 2006
I think we are in for some good rain in any case...
Member Since: October 20, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 6650
556. IKE
7:30 AM CDT on June 30, 2006
It's gonna have to sit there and fester for a couple of days....then it might be able to go west with lower shear.

It's worth keeping an eye on. Not sure it has any other place to eventually go, but toward the west, with a strong high building in.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37995
555. earthlydragonfly
8:24 AM EDT on June 30, 2006

Before you make any assumption on the 2 lines that I wrote before. 1 you have been through more of anything than me. 2 you are more of an expert than me or 3 you have anything more than me. is just rediculous. And based on what I said. I was talking about lightning and not 5 on the safer simpson. and I WAS hoping for rain! because we need it didnt you there in ground zero?
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554. guygee
12:24 PM GMT on June 30, 2006
IKE - Agreed it isn't much at this time, but it does seem to be entering a area of low shear. We would have to see if it flairs up again (and again) like the last BB. Even then, it seems that shear will prevent the system from developing if the low-level feature moves west of the Bahamas.
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553. IKE
7:21 AM CDT on June 30, 2006
Here's what the NHC says about the blob east of the Bahamas in their 8:05 am EDT tropical weather discussion..." A
surface trough reflection extends from 27n63w SSW to near
21n71w. Scattered moderate/strong convection is within 150/180
nm either side of the surface trough from 21n-27n."........

The bark must be worse than the bite.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37995
552. guygee
12:22 PM GMT on June 30, 2006
Here is the link for the NOAA NESDIS Western Atlantic satellite loop. Turn on HDW-High to see what I am talking about.
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551. thelmores
12:18 PM GMT on June 30, 2006
randrewl, how can you possible know you have been through more storms than anybody!

think you should lighten up just a bit bro..... dragonfly i am sure, meant no harm or disrespect to anybody.... what i got out of his post, is that he enjoys photography..... NOT KILLER HURRICANES!
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550. WSI
12:20 PM GMT on June 30, 2006
"that want true information that could save their lives. "

This is where the NHC, NWS, and other official sources of information come in. No one should base decisions on information only from this blog. To do so would be foolish.

549. guygee
12:11 PM GMT on June 30, 2006
Looks like we will have a BB#2 soon. Take a look on NOAA NESDIS Western Atlantic loop, with HDW-High turned on. That area north of Hispanolia looks to be the northern extension of the tropical wave in the Eastern Carribean that has entered more a favorable low shear zone. But there is strong shear in the upper levels curving in an anti-cyclonic band extending through the Gulf of Mexico over FL and extending offshore the FL east coast just west of the Bahamas. The local Melbourne FL forecasters are calling for a "weak wave" to pass over the state on Sunday, which is presumably the sheared BB#2. The surface winds are forecasst to turn more easterly over the FL peninsula due to surface high pressure building, but that band of upper-level shear I mentioned above has been persistant for the past several days.
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548. earthlydragonfly
8:17 AM EDT on June 30, 2006

I'll be on the other coast watching the shuttle launch and clicking my shutter. I think it will be spotty at best.
Canon 5D.
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546. WSI
12:17 PM GMT on June 30, 2006
Good morning all. 94L still getting torn up by shear it looks like. At this point I don't think it has much of a chance with that shear, and the proximity to land.
545. Stormy2day
12:13 PM GMT on June 30, 2006
I'm leaving, in a few hours, for an island off the coast of St. Pete Florida - I will be there through Monday morning. I would appreciate you having a talk with your camera so we have clear skies for the weekend.

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544. earthlydragonfly
8:13 AM EDT on June 30, 2006
Thank you Thelmores! Well said!
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543. earthlydragonfly
8:10 AM EDT on June 30, 2006
Lol Stormy.... Your right I do have the magic camera. It is predicting the energy from the (antillis) wave to slide up to north of puerto rico where the shear is lower. Thats what it told me last night anyway.
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542. thelmores
12:07 PM GMT on June 30, 2006
just because you like tropical weather, like to study it, like to photograph it, have fun watching it form..... DOES NOT necessarily mean that you wish harm or destruction to anyone.....
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541. IKE
7:09 AM CDT on June 30, 2006
I think that BB#2 won't get picked up by the exiting trough to the north....maybe it goes west??? According to the shear values on WU it's in a favorable area...
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37995
540. Stormy2day
12:07 PM GMT on June 30, 2006
Dragonfly -
Come on, fess up - we know you control the weather with that camera ...magic, pure magic. I read that on a blog somewhere...
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539. earthlydragonfly
8:08 AM EDT on June 30, 2006
I dont hope for any bad weather! I just take advantage of it!
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538. earthlydragonfly
8:05 AM EDT on June 30, 2006
Excuse me??? I watch your post hoping for tropical weather all the time so when did you become Holyer than though?
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537. earthlydragonfly
8:03 AM EDT on June 30, 2006
Are there any threats with the blob north of Puerto Rico?
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535. thelmores
11:54 AM GMT on June 30, 2006
dang, i'm not sure ehat the heck i was looking at this morning! :D

seems the "disturbance" n. of Hispaniola is looking a little better this morning..... has the sheer decreased, at least for the short term?

Will the trough pick this up and carry it out to sea?

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534. earthlydragonfly
7:59 AM EDT on June 30, 2006
I loved BB#1 it brought a ton of lightning to me for my Photography
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531. IKE
6:56 AM CDT on June 30, 2006
What is that impressive blob east of the Bahamas??? BB#2??? Looks more impressive then anything out there....plus with high pressure building in doesn't it have to head west young man???
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37995

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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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