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Historic flooding hits Iowa

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:07 PM GMT on June 13, 2008

Truly extraordinary flooding has hit the Cedar River in the town of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Rainfall amounts in excess of 12 inches have fallen in the past ten days over the Cedar River watershed, which extends to the northwest of Cedar Rapids into southern Minnesota. The rains that fell during the weekend of June 7-8 were fueled in part by moisture from Tropical Storm Alma/Arthur, which affected Central America May 29 - June 2. The Cedar River is expected to crest today at 31.8 feet, which is an amazing 19.8 feet above the flood stage of 12 feet. During the historic 1993 flood, the worst in recent history, the river hit only 19.27 feet, 7 feet above flood stage. Nine rivers in Iowa are at all-time record flood levels, and Iowa Governor Chet Culver has declared 83 of the state's 99 counties state disaster areas. Additional heavy rainfall is not expected over the Cedar River watershed over the next two days, so today should mark the peak of this year's historic flooding.

Figure 1. Total rainfall for the period June 2 - June 12, 2008, as estimated by NASA's TRMM satellite. An additional three inches fell over portions of eastern Iowa in the 24 hours since this image was created.

New way to track river flooding on wunderground
Wunderground has added a way to track local river forecast levels and assess flood risk at www.wunderground.com/wundermap/rivers. Using data from the USGS (the U.S. Geological Survey), the product plots river data and forecasts on top of our interactive "WunderMap". Users can scroll across the country and zoom in and out to view in-depth observations from all major rivers in the U.S. Alternatively, one can click an option to view only the rivers with current flood alerts. Each river observation is color coordinated to reflect its dry/wet percentile and users can click on each observation point to view data and graphs that display Flow Rate, Percentile, Current Stage, Forecast Stage and Flood Stage. Flood Alert symbols will appear on every river icon whenever a river is in danger of flooding.

The WunderMap™ also allows one to choose from a variety of layers including current conditions, animated radar, severe weather and tornado warnings, live webcam images and animated infrared or visible satellite imagery showing cloud coverage. WunderMap™ is available as a link on every U.S. forecast page, just under the small radar image.

Tornado outbreak update
The tornado that stuck the Little Sioux Scout Ranch Boy Scout camp in western Iowa Wednesday night, killing 4 and injuring 48, was rated an EF-3 on the Enhanced Fujita scale. The tornado that hit Manhattan, Kansas the same day, causing major damage at Kansas State University, has been rated an EF-4. This is the tenth violent (EF-4 or EF-5) tornado this year, the most number of violent tornadoes since 13 were observed in 1999.

The Storm Prediction Center is calling for a "Slight" risk of severe weather across the Midwest today, from Michigan to Oklahoma. We can expect a few more tornadoes today in the affected region, although the primary severe weather threat will be damaging thunderstorm winds and large hail. The "Slight" risk of severe weather continues Saturday and Sunday across a large portion of the Midwest.

It's quiet in the tropics. There is some disorganized thunderstorm activity in the southern Gulf of Mexico associated with a surface trough of low pressure, but this activity is not likely to develop. None of the models are forecasting tropical storm formation in the next seven days.

Jeff Masters

Sandbagging (Bubbly)
Great volunteer work on sandbagging in Coralville
Flooding in Coralville (Bubbly)
Roads closed and houses evacuated; today multiplied both of these with floodwaters still rising and more rain coming.
Flooding in Coralville
Mammatus Clouds at Sunset (RCPlains)
Mammatus Clouds at Sunset

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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880. weathermanwannabe
9:26 AM EDT on June 16, 2008
Well; I'm out for now to get some work done but would urge all in harms way this season to take advantage of the next two weeks to get your evacuation plans in order; get hurricane supplies if you have not done so; and, perhaps buy some extra quantities of gasoline (you might save few bucks later by hoarding up now before a potential storm threatens the Gulf and sends prices through the ceiling come August and September).....BBL
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879. Weather456
9:18 AM AST on June 16, 2008
So I feel that the waves being this strong has everything to do with the fact that we could see an active CV season.


Figure 3: a) Easterly wave variations during wet versus dry years in Western Sahel, b) 90-day rain accumulations % of normal, showing wetter than normal conditions along Western Sahel and c) TRMM rainfall anomalies over the past 30 days showing average to slightly above normal rains over the Eastern Atlantic Ocean.

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878. weathermanwannabe
9:14 AM EDT on June 16, 2008
876. Weather456 9:13 AM EDT on June 16, 2008.....Nice, Short, Concise......I suspect Dr. M (if he does a blog today) will "echo" the calm week and probably state that we might not see any signifant development until the begining of July.....June will be quiet (Mid-July/August may be another story with plenty of impressive waves breaking free of the ITCZ and heading our way......)..
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877. 69Viking
8:05 AM CDT on June 16, 2008
Good morning everyone! I have to agree with JP, the chances are better than not that the CV season is going to be active this year.

Happy Father's day to all the dads. I enjoyed a good one watching NASCAR and the US Open Golf Tournament with my family. Weekends are too short.
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876. Weather456
9:03 AM AST on June 16, 2008
Tropics Update

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874. ShenValleyFlyFish
8:52 AM EDT on June 16, 2008
You don't need the high-dollar marine grade plywood either. Sheathing grade perfectly adequate if you seal it well. You're weathering a storm, not building an ark.
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873. weathermanwannabe
8:52 AM EDT on June 16, 2008
871. ShenValleyFlyFish 8:52 AM EDT on June 16, 2008...That is exactly right....Several coats on the edges is particularly important...Take your time on this project (don't rush it) and do the multiple coats over several days so each coat is fully dry before you apply the next coat........
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872. all4hurricanes
12:52 PM GMT on June 16, 2008

I think the blob in the down right corner is the blob we're talking about it looks like it gained a lot of convection
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871. ShenValleyFlyFish
8:44 AM EDT on June 16, 2008
869. weathermanwannabe

Good points. Pay particular attenton to getting the edges sealed that's where watter gets in and causes swelling which can delaminate plywood over time.
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870. all4hurricanes
12:46 PM GMT on June 16, 2008
the blob fizzled but could it reform?
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869. weathermanwannabe
8:32 AM EDT on June 16, 2008
868. melwerle 8:32 AM EDT on June 16, 2008I didn't either until I read up on it before I cut my boards seven years ago; makes perfect sense in that it fights off mold and mildew while in my garage (they still look like new after seven years in my garage), and, holds up well after any storm with minimal water damage to the boards.....Several coats of paint is a good idea also and they will last for years...
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868. melwerle
12:30 PM GMT on June 16, 2008
Thanks WW - never thought about the marine paint...

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866. weathermanwannabe
8:14 AM EDT on June 16, 2008
859. melwerle 7:34 AM EDT on June 16, 2008 If you do not have the money to install metal/aluminum shutters, and need to go with the plywood, that Plylox concept (with the wood basically secured "inside" the window frame against the windows) is pretty good and based upon one gentleman down at ground zero during Andrew whose house survived because of similar placement of his plywood shutters..While I am relatively safe in Tallahassee (as opposed to when I lived in South Florida and had a Rolladen system on my home), I used that gentleman's model for this home, have pre-cut boards for every window on my home to fit inside the window frame, and attached deadbolt locks to each shutter (with corresponding drill holes in each window frame)......Keep them in the gargage and would probably take about 4 hours to secure the house.........Also make sure that you "paint" the shutters with a good waterproof marine paint (or equivalent) to preserve them during storage in the long term..............WW
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865. weathermanwannabe
8:04 AM EDT on June 16, 2008
Good Morning All....Had a great Father's day, the tropics are quiet right now, and parts of Florida may get some more needed rain this week;.....Per NHC, no development expected in the upcoming 48 period and that decent looking "lowrider" wave in the CATL is still embedded in the ITCZ (does not look good for tropical development as it is presently headed on a crash course with SA).....Guess we'll have to wait on some significant frontal remnants closer to CONUS in the coming weeks so we can resume blob watching in June.........
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864. extreme236
12:07 PM GMT on June 16, 2008
Just popping in for a bit this morning...looks like the convection redeveloped some with the wave, however it isn't very organized now.
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863. biff4ugo
11:43 AM GMT on June 16, 2008
Good morning.
I like the new water level link from USGS. Florida is in for a wet week, but in a good way.
Since we get about 80% of our water from ground water sources, it's recharge is vital to Floridians. Even some small lakes are starting to come back.
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862. ShenValleyFlyFish
7:48 AM EDT on June 16, 2008
861. melwerle

Glad to help. Got to hate Homedepot,especially with storm situation. We had power out for over 2 weeks in parts of VA a while back. Brothere in Williamsburg had my other brother who lives here pick up a generator and run it down as non could be had for love or moey down there so I know how it goes.

Can't believe I beat Patrap with a link. Must be sleeping in. Must be getting old. ;)
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861. melwerle
11:45 AM GMT on June 16, 2008
Very cool Shen - thank you. Figured we might as well have the clips and wood just in case - everyone tells us Savannah never gets hit but I would rather have them on hand instead of being at home depot for twenty seven hours in line.

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860. ShenValleyFlyFish
7:35 AM EDT on June 16, 2008
Here is a link to Plylox site.
Should have all the information you need.
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859. melwerle
11:32 AM GMT on June 16, 2008
Yep - had a good day - sent him out golfing for the third day in a row so I guess he had no complaints.

Pondering whether it's a beach day today - they say possible rain but not too sure.

Ok - so I have a REALLY stupid question...we have no plywood and such for the windows of the house...how does one measure for that? We were planning on getting the plylex clips but not sure how to measure for the plywood - do you measure a bit smaller than the window?

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857. melwerle
11:27 AM GMT on June 16, 2008
Morning Storm! Hope you had a great father's day!
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854. IKE
5:13 AM CDT on June 16, 2008
00Z ECMWF..........

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853. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
8:47 AM GMT on June 16, 2008
India Meteorological Department
Tropical Cyclone Advisory
8:30 AM IST June 16 2008

At 8:30 AM IST, Depression BOB02-2008 formed over north Bay of Bengal off Bangladesh coast and lays near 21.5N 90.0E or 220 kms southeast of Calcutta, India. The system is likely to move in a northwesterly direction and cross Bangladesh coast near 89.5E today evening.

Maximum 10 minute sustained winds near the center is 25-30 knots. Sea condition is rough to very rough.

The strong low level westerlies to the south of the system and upper level divergence continues to support the deep convection, However, the moderate to high vertical wind shear is not supportive for any further intensification.

In association with the system, broken intense to very intense convective clouds are seen over the Bay of Bengal to the north of 15.5N.

Tropical Cyclone Bulletin for Coastal India
Under its influence, rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places and extremely heavy falls (>25 cm) at isolated places is likely over Gangetic West Bengal and north Orissa during next 48 hours. Fairly widespread rainfall with isolated heavy to very falls is also likely over south Orissa and Jharkhand during the same period

Squally winds speed reaching 45-55 km/h are likely along and off north Orissa and West Bengal coasts during next 24 hours. Sea condition is rough to very rough along and off these coasts. Fishermen are advised not to venture into the sea.
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852. BahaHurican
4:09 AM EDT on June 16, 2008
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851. TampaSpin
3:48 AM EDT on June 16, 2008
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850. yamil20
5:39 AM GMT on Junio 16, 2008
in my opinion,the tropical wave in central atlantic is gaining some convection during the overnight hours,lets see what happens tomorrow morning.the wave does not want to poof.
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849. moonlightcowboy
12:02 AM CDT on June 16, 2008
Sound investments! Good to see you, Baroness. I'm out for the evening! :)
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848. cattlebaroness
4:50 AM GMT on June 16, 2008
Never seen one quite so close. Decided I definitely need a storm shelter here. The original farm house had one, but an egit working with a bulldozer decided to fill it in. And a weather radio. First thing that goes out here is the TV. No weather channel.
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847. moonlightcowboy
11:38 PM CDT on June 15, 2008
Well, sounds like you had some intense moments and damage, too! Ugh! They've been bad this year!

CV = Cape Verde storms.
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846. cattlebaroness
4:26 AM GMT on June 16, 2008
Just couldn't resist going outside to see if I could spot it. Saw it churning in the clouds. Realized the 100 year old farm house does not have a single interior room or even any load bearing walls. That was when the scare crept in. Ceilings that had never leaked before starting leaking like a collinder. Ripped the metal roofing on my coral. Made me appreciate the real storm chasers. Must have balls of steele. :) CV, I forget.
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845. moonlightcowboy
11:22 PM CDT on June 15, 2008
Whoa! A tornado? Ugh, there's been too many of those things this year! I trust you faired well through it. It's just getting summertime here, a few late afternoon thunder poppers, but nothing as serious as the mid-west and all that.

Yeah, not much tropical happening in the present. Some of us are watching that twave out in the cATL, but there's a bunch of liquid real estate in front of it, and it's not looking that sporty right now anyway. But, we're watching. It's beginning to look like mid-July unless we have a sneeker; but, the CV season is likely to be quite active.

Good to see ya back around! :)
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844. cattlebaroness
4:20 AM GMT on June 16, 2008
MLC, I am good. Hard to believe it is hurricane season again. So Dr. M is saying it will be quiet for a while I guess. Had a tornado go right across my ranch a couple of weeks ago. Very exciting/scary. How is your neck of the woods?
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843. moonlightcowboy
11:18 PM CDT on June 15, 2008
Hey, Baroness! Long time no see! How are you?
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842. cattlebaroness
4:08 AM GMT on June 16, 2008
Evening all.
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841. hahaguy
11:55 PM EDT on June 15, 2008
It looks that way Florida.
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840. weatherfromFlorida
3:34 AM GMT on June 16, 2008
Looks like another burst going on.
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839. WeatherfanPR
3:24 AM GMT on June 16, 2008
that wave it's not done. expect the unexpected.
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838. cchsweatherman
11:22 PM EDT on June 15, 2008
Guess everyone has left for the night! Good night and Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there.
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837. 0741
3:03 AM GMT on June 16, 2008
METEOSAT-8 is outdated it only update every 6 hour
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836. weathersp
2:58 AM GMT on June 16, 2008
About half-way between D-Min and D-Max.

Consistency is key...
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835. 0741
3:02 AM GMT on June 16, 2008
833. cchsweatherman were did you get sat pic ?
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834. cchsweatherman
10:57 PM EDT on June 15, 2008
Here is the cool Water Vapor shot from the LSU Satellite site.
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833. cchsweatherman
10:53 PM EDT on June 15, 2008
There is a nice convective flare developing right over the circulation center right now. Maybe this thing still has more to offer.
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832. weatherblog
2:44 AM GMT on June 16, 2008
For now, most of the caribbean has too much wind shear for anything entering it to survive. Until shear relaxes, don't expect Bertha...the only thing worth watching is the EATL...but that still will not "heat" up until July at earliest.

So, for now, enjoy the calm tropics before most of the caribbean becomes supportive for tropical development...around a week or two. I'm still expecting 1 (maybe 2) more storms to form this June, but that would only happen on the last week of June when the tropics becomes more favorable.
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831. JLPR
10:40 PM AST on June 15, 2008
Yep waves sure are hard to predict
Like what happened to the wave that became Jeanne it was all weak in the East Atlantic but by the time it reached the islands it was looking a lot more interesting =P
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830. presslord
10:38 PM EDT on June 15, 2008
...that's why I said 'waning'....
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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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