Flood waters recede in Cedar Rapids

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:58 PM GMT on June 16, 2008

The rampaging Cedar River is falling today, after cresting at an amazing 31.1 feet Friday in the town of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The National Weather Service said the flow on the Cedar River through Cedar Rapids peaked at 149,500 cubic feet per second Friday, more than double the previous record of 73,000 in 1961. During the historic 1993 flood, the river hit only 19.27 feet, and the record flood of 1929 hit only 20.5 feet. The 2008 flood has hit levels expected only once every 500 years. The river was at 23 feet this morning, which is down 8 feet, but still 11 feet above flood stage, and 2.5 feet above the record high observed in 1929.

Figure 1. Total rainfall for the period May 16 - June 16, 2008. About 2/3 of the state has seen rainfall amounts in excess of 10 inches in the past month. Image credit: NOAA.

Eighth warmest May on record
May 2008 was the 8th warmest May for the the globe on record, according to statistics released by the National Climatic Data Center. The spring season--March, April, and May--ranked as the seventh warmest spring for the globe. La Ni├▒a continued to weaken in May, and near neutral conditions now prevail in the tropical Eastern Pacific.

For the contiguous U.S., May was the 34th coolest May since 1895, and spring season was the 36th coolest spring on record. For the spring, Missouri had its fourth wettest, Arkansas its sixth wettest, Indiana and Iowa their eighth wettest and Illinois its 10th wettest. California had its driest spring on record, while Nevada and Utah had their 10th and 11th driest on record.

Sea ice extent
May 2008 Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent was the tenth lowest on record for the month of May, 6% below its extent in 1979 when satellite measurements began, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. May was the sixth straight month that a new monthly minimum arctic sea ice record was not set, following a string of five months in a row where monthly records were set.

It's quiet in the tropics. There are no threat areas to discuss, and none of the models are forecasting tropical storm formation in the next seven days.

Jeff Masters

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732. Drakoen
5:25 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
I just found this while look through the UKMET site. This takes seasonal forecast takes into account the Met Office System or a combination of the MOS/ECMWF. A few things I want to point out after looking through the multi-model products for the July-August-September period is the strong probability of: low pressures through the tropical atlantic, above-normal precipitation of the African coast, below normal 500hpa heights.

Global Season Probability Maps
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731. Weather456
1:21 PM AST on June 17, 2008
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728. KrazyKaneLove
5:17 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
I believe UKMET was the only one that saw TS Dean staying south last year as well..while others predicted NE/SE conus landfall..so I give em kudos for that
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727. Drakoen
5:15 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
Tomorrow at 1000 BST the UKMET office will issue their 2008 Altantic Hurricane forecast. The UKMET office started releasing hurricane forecasts in 2007. Their forecast is based on the Glosea model, which is a climate model. The model runs from June to November and takes into account the current state of the atmosphere at June 1st. The forecasters count how many storms form on the model run. Slightly different variations are run to produce ensemble means which makes the basis of their forecast. The UKMET office did a good job last season calling for 10 named storms for the period of July-November which is only 2 less than the actual amount and within 70% range they had calling for the probability of 7 to 13 storms.

I will be very interested to hear what the forecast is for this season.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 32594
725. conchygirl
5:09 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
Accuweather states:

Three Tropical Waves
There are currently no organized tropical systems in the Atlantic Basin. In fact, westerly flow aloft extends much farther south than normal for this time of year from the southern Gulf, east across Hispaniola and Puerto Rico into the south-central Atlantic waters. This westerly flow is unfavorable for tropical development because of the shear environment. Its ITCZ is also far south, generally south of 10 north from the African Coast to the northern coast of South America.

For those of us NOT hoping for storms, this is good news but obviously very early in the season.
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724. cchsweatherman
12:54 PM EDT on June 17, 2008
Personal Tropical Wave Analysis

Over the past few days, we have all been watching an impressive tropical wave cross the Central Atlantic Ocean. Thus far, the structure has remained very much intact, if not improved.

During the last few visible images, there has been a remarkable development. It appears that the tropical wave has formed a closed low-level circulation, albeit partially exposed. Throughout its history, it only had a lower mid-level circulation, but now it appears that it has become a vigorous low-level circulation.

Despite this development, the abundant dust and dry air surrounding the system has disrupted most convective development to the north and west. It appears this circulation is currently attempting to wrap some moderate to strong convection from its south up towards the center as to cover itself. This will have to be monitored, but thus far, it lacks the necessary convection to warrant consideration for tropical development. If this convection manages to wrap around the circulation and covers it, we may have to pay much more attention.

So, right now, it appears that we will need to watch this, but tropical development is not expected AT THIS TIME. It all depends upon convective activity.
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723. TerraNova
12:50 PM EDT on June 17, 2008
Afternoon Storm, Drak, cchs, all others.

Circulation is exposed but considerable banding of cirrus clouds is visible to the northwest of the exposed center where dry air is prevalent. However, there is weak to moderate convection to the center's SE and a weak anticyclone just to the SE of the exposed center at the 200mb level.

Weak low level convergence (negative numbers) and upper level divergence won't do much to support more convection as the center heads further into dry air territory. Even if the new convection managed to engulf the center it's likely itll diminish and the system will face the same problem over again. Although it's unlikey this will develop into anything it is probably one of the (if not the most) impressive African wave we've had yet.

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722. cchsweatherman
12:49 PM EDT on June 17, 2008
720. NoNamePub 12:46 PM EDT on June 17, 2008
CCHS - Not looking to shabby at the FLL airport?

Bare in mind I live about 25 to 30 miles west of FLL Airport. Just started to rain right now here in Cooper City. Doesn't look like any severe weather with these storms, just very heavy rainfall will be the main threat (for once).
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720. NoNamePub
4:46 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
CCHS - Not looking to shabby at the FLL airport?
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719. BoynSea
4:42 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
Some of you were posting earlier about waterspouts; just before noon (local) a good one walked through my backyard!

Where do I look to learn how to post a photo?

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717. cchsweatherman
12:34 PM EDT on June 17, 2008
South Florida going to become a microwave with storms popping all over the place. It has already begun and the sky has become ominously dark over my house. Getting ready for one nasty afternoon.
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715. NoNamePub
4:33 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
Hey all -
Anything of interest out there?
: )
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714. CJ5
4:30 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
It appears the COC has pulled away from the main body, is above 10N and as mentioned, it is pulling in some cover. Dry air does rule but this is the most impressive structure we have seen thus far this season.
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713. Weather456
12:28 PM AST on June 17, 2008
712. 305st0rm 12:26 PM AST on June 17, 2008

Use the ascending pass...that pass is from 4 pm yesterday.
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712. 305st0rm
4:25 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
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711. 305st0rm
4:18 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
Is it just me or is the COC for CATL wave getting a little more defined??
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710. Drakoen
4:18 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
RAMSDIS center visible
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709. Weather456
12:12 PM AST on June 17, 2008
707. cchsweatherman 12:09 PM AST on June 17, 2008

Yea...I saw it. I agreed but I was just adding on an observation.
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708. Patrap
11:08 AM CDT on June 17, 2008
Does it seem like 100 and 500 year events are becoming ever more frequent? If your answer is yes, your impression fits with the scientific analysis. Link

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707. cchsweatherman
4:08 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
Read my last sentence 456.
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706. TropicTraveler
4:03 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
Thanks Patrap.
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705. Weather456
12:02 PM AST on June 17, 2008
701. cchsweatherman 11:59 AM AST on June 17, 2008

Look at the Ramdis floater visible. Notice the stratocumulus cells get even smaller as one travels NWward. That indicates even more stable air outta ahead of this wave.
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704. lcurran
4:01 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
Just a brief comment on 500 year flood plain. Doesn't it mean there is a 1 in 500 chance that it will occur in any given year? In that case there would be a 63.2% chance that it would occur in any given 500 year period and an 18.1% chance that it would occur in any given 100 year period.

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703. Floodman
10:59 AM CDT on June 17, 2008
684. TampaSpin

I'm happy for the company...LOL
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702. Floodman
10:56 AM CDT on June 17, 2008
681. beell 10:28 AM CDT on June 17, 2008
Note to self:
Send poltergeists and locust plague to floodman.

Outstanding...my demons were getting lonely...perhaps this will give me a break from handling them all...
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701. cchsweatherman
3:48 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
Watching satellite loops, it appears the convection is attempting to surge northward and around the well-defined circulation. This tropical wave remains very structurally sound and it appears that we may have a developing low-level circulation. The reason I say this is watching the stratocumulus clouds on the visible imagery. Recalling from basic meteorology and cloud types, marine stratocumulus clouds exist in the lowest level in the atmosphere, sometimes only about 500 to 1000 feet above the ground. If you watch the visible imagery closely, you will notice the stratocumulus clouds feeling the pull from the circulation. Even though this is definitely not good for a developing tropical system, it indicates that you have a low-level circulation.
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700. Patrap
10:54 AM CDT on June 17, 2008

Be sure to wear Protective clothing and the Proper MSA Respirators when gutting out flooded homes and work places.

Smells and bio hazards will be Plentiful..from grocery stores and Home refrigerators.
Be advised it's also good to have some vic's vapor rub available for those odors.
It helps some.
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699. TampaSpin
11:53 AM EDT on June 17, 2008
Gotta run but do a close up off the tip of Honduras. I think something will try to develop if the shear relaxes as forcasted to do so.
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697. TampaSpin
11:50 AM EDT on June 17, 2008
Drak south of Cuba is not dry.
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696. weathermanwannabe
11:42 AM EDT on June 17, 2008
IMHO, in just looking at the WV loops, I think that the dry air will be an issue in the CATL for a little while; me thinks that the best chance for tropical development (in the next two-three weeks) will be closer to CONUS (from a frontal remnant) or in the Western Caribbean (provided that that sheer remains low).....Guess we'll be looking at model consensus pending any visible clues in the next few weeks?
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695. moonlightcowboy
10:49 AM CDT on June 17, 2008
689. Sounds accurate.
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693. Drakoen
3:40 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
The Caribbean is too dry to support development.
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691. Weather456
11:34 AM AST on June 17, 2008
Wont it be better to look at the steering flow in which TWs are embedded in, which is the 700 mb level. LINK
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689. TampaSpin
11:34 AM EDT on June 17, 2008
I would suggest the most concerning area of concern would be South of Cuba in a few days.
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687. Weather456
11:31 AM AST on June 17, 2008
The whole wave is enveloped within a dry air mass.
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686. TampaSpin
11:31 AM EDT on June 17, 2008
683. jphurricane2006 11:30 AM EDT on June 17, 2008
true tampa, but its only at 35W it had plenty of time to get north of SA

Steering maps do not suggest so....but things are changing quickly with the exit of the big ULL in the Atlantic heading NE.
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685. TropicTraveler
3:10 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
Thanks to Patrap for the comments on what to do after a flood. Just received a call from my son-in-law whose 80 year old mother is in Cedar Rapids trying to deal with a flooded basement. He's flying back to help her and requested advice. I sent him directly to this website and your remarks. I know lots of folks are dealing with disaster aftermath and the information is specific and useful. Thanks again!
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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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