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Great earthquake rocks Chile; NYC gets 4th greatest snow ever; Xynthia batters Europe

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 5:26 PM GMT on February 27, 2010

A great earthquake with magnitude 8.8 rocked the coast of Chile at 6:34 GMT this morning, generating a potentially dangerous tsunami that is racing across the Pacific Ocean. The great quake is the 7th most powerful tremor in world history (Figure 1). Preliminary tsunami wave heights for the California coast near Santa Barbara are 2 - 2.5 feet. The wave is expected to arrive between 12:15 - 12:35 pm PST. The tsunami is expected to arrive in Hawaii between 11:05 - 11:42am HST, with a wave 8.2 feet high expected in Hilo, on the Big Island. A tsunami from the 9.5 Magnitude 1960 earthquake in Chile killed 61 people in Hilo. Today's quake was so strong, that it triggered a seiche in Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, over 4,500 miles (7,000 km) away. The lake sloshed back and forth, creating a wave 0.4 - 0.51 feet on either side of the lake.


Figure 1. Wikipedia's list of strongest earthquakes of all-time.

Preliminary tsunami amplitude forecasts:

La Jolla, CA 2.3 ft
Los Angeles, CA 2.0 ft
Malibu, CA 2.6 ft
Pt. San Luis, CA 2.3 ft
Half Moon Bay, CA 2.6 ft
Crescent City, CA 1.7 ft
Morro Bay, CA 2.2 ft
Santa Monica, CA 3.3 ft
San Francisco, CA 0.7 ft
Pismo Beach, CA 4.6 ft

Hilo, HI 8.2 feet 11:5am HST
Honolulu, HI 1.6 ft 11:37am HST
Kahului, HI 7.2 ft 11:26am HST
Nawiliwili, HI 3.0 ft 11:42am HST
Haleiwa 1.6 ft
Kawaihae 2.0 ft

Port Orford, OR 0.7 ft

Moclip, WA 1.3 ft

Seward, AK 1.3 ft
Stika, AK 1.3 ft
Kodiak, AK 2.3 ft

Tofino, British Columbia 1.7 ft

Today's great quake occurred at the boundary between the Nazca and South American plates about 325 km southwest of the capital Santiago (population 5.3 million). The depth was estimated at 35 km. At least four aftershocks of magnitude 6 or higher have occurred, the largest being a 6.9 aftershock. Fortunately, the area close to the epicenter is relatively sparsely populated, but there may be heavy damage in Concepción (est. pop. 300,000) and Chillan (est. pop. 170,000), which lie 115 km and 100 km to the south of the epicenter, respectively.


Figure 2. NOAA's preliminary forecast of tsunami wave energy for today's earthquake. Image credit: NOAA Tsunami Warning Center.

New York City slammed with its 4th largest snowstorm on record
The snow from the fourth extreme snowstorm to wallop the Northeast U.S. this winter dumped a remarkable 20.9" of snow on New York City's Central Park yesterday and Thursday. This is the 4th largest snowstorm for the city in recorded history. According to the National Weather Service, the top ten snowstorms on record for New York City's Central Park are:

26.9" Feb 11-12, 2006
26.4" Dec 26-27, 1947
21.0" Mar 12-14, 1888
20.9" Feb 25-26, 2010
20.2" Jan 7-8, 1996
19.8" Feb 16-17, 2003
18.1" Mar 7-8, 1941
17.7" Feb 5-7, 1978
17.6" Feb 11-12, 1983
17.5" Feb 4-7, 1920

The storm also helped New York City set a new all-time snowfall record for the most snow ever recorded in a month--36.9". The old record was 30.5", set in March 1896. However, the old Lower Manhattan WB Station recorded 37.9" in February 1894. Yesterday's snowstorm puts New York City's snow for the 2009 - 2010 season at 51.4", making it the 11th snowiest winter since 1869. Chris Burt, author of Extreme Weather, lists the city's all-time seasonal snowfall record at 81.5", set in the winter of 1867 - 1868. This measurement came before official records began in Central Park, and were done be the NY Park Commissioners (see "Annual Report NY Park Commissioners", 1868, by John B. Marie). The second snowiest winter in NYC occurred during the winter of 1995 - 1996, when 75.6" fell.

Destructive Winter Storm Xynthia battering Portugal and Spain
A powerful 969 mb low pressure system named "Xynthia" is rapidly intensifying of the coast of Spain, and stands poised to deliver a devastating blow to Portugal, Spain, and France today and tomorrow as it powers through Europe. Sustained winds of 60 mph (96 km/hr) were reported today at a Personal Weather Station in Costa del Morte, Spain. The pressure fell to 969 mb as Xynthia passed overhead. For comparison, Winter Storm Klaus had a minimum pressure of 967 mb. Klaus, which hit northern Spain and southwest France January 23 - 25, was Earth's most costly natural disaster of 2009, causing $5.1 billion in damage and killing 26. Models predict that Xynthia will continue to intensify today, reaching 962 mb as it moves into the west coast of France Sunday morning. Sustained winds of 50 - 65 mph (80 - 105 km/hr) with hurricane-force gusts up to 100 mph (160 km/hr) are possible along the north coast of Spain tonight and the west coast of France on Sunday as Xynthia barrels through. The storm is also bringing an exceptionally moist plume of tropical moisture ashore, as seen in precipitable water imagery from NOAA (Figure 4). This moisture is likely to cause moderate to severe flooding in portions of Europe over the weekend.


Figure 3. Visible satellite image at 12 GMT of Xynthia.


Figure 4. Satellite measurements show a region of extremely high atmospheric moisture is associated with Winter Storm Xynthia. This moisture will surge over Portugal and Spain today, potentially creating serious flooding. Image credit: Sheldon Kusselson, NOAA/NESDIS.

Links to follow:
Wundermap for Northwest Spain
Spanish radar
Meteo-France
Portugese radar

Jeff Masters
Central Park 26Feb10
Central Park 26Feb10
the BIG one Taken in Manhattan
Tree 1, House 0
Tree 1, House 0
This cottage was no match for 65 mph wind and an old pine tree.

Winter Weather

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

Reader Comments

Quoting MrstormX:
Whats going on in the longterm GFS for March 15, something over the GOM?

Disregard this, completely.

---------------------

Let's not forget that 2005 was originally predicted to be only a barely above-average season.
1002. Grothar
Quoting misanthrope:


Yuck, yuck, yuck.


Come on now; you can't go from Soupy to McGoo to the Three Stooges without confusing all of us. Stay in character for just a little while longer.

goodnight.
1004. Grothar
Quoting altesticstorm10:

Disregard this, completely.

---------------------

Let's not forget that 2005 was originally predicted to be only a barely above-average season.


This question was already answered in 997.
Quoting Grothar:


Come on now; you can't go from Soupy to McGoo to the Three Stooges without confusing all of us. Stay in character for just a little while longer.


Stooges would be nyuck, nyuck, nyuck.

Good to know that someone recognizes Soupy though. He's one of my idols.

"Why is it that every time I write "F" you see ....?"
1006. Grothar
'K I get it!! He was born 50 years too early. Very funny and way ahead of his time. I can remember almost every episode. It was even shown in Europe. Unless people knew English quite well, they did not get all the "humor" Most considered it a normal children's TV show. It demonstrates how good he truly was.
1007. beell
Eastern half of TX showing some impressive looking cold high clouds but not much going on underneath yet. Dry air underneath I think.

1008. Grothar
Quoting beell:
Eastern half of TX showing some impressive looking cold high clouds but not much going on underneath. Dry underneath I think.



Hey, my old friend beel. How far is that supposed to go into the Gulf? I keep seeing conflicting reports. At least 3 different versions of that system.
Quoting Grothar:


Hey, my old friend beel. How far is that supposed to go into the Gulf? I keep seeing conflicting reports. At least 3 different versions of that system.


Ok, i'm here.
1010. Ossqss
Oops :)
1012. beell
Evening, Grothar,
Pretty good consensus that the surface low drags along the northern part of the gulf coast coming ashore in the big armpit area of FL.

Not as clear cut after an exit to the ATL. A close brush with OBX and then out to sea as a guess.
NWS has that ULL deepening over TX moistening from the top down. Seems a little ahead of the 18Zgfs but about the right place. Trending away from swinging down deep into the gulf, more a little off the coast. Snow line down to about Waco tomorrow but the bottom layer well above freezing so no accumulation that far south. More northern track I think ups the chance & snow totals for my place in WNC. Best chance for severe weather in FL~ south of I-4.
If we do go into a La Nina. Do you guys think it'll be western based(La Nina Modiki, Central Pacific cooling)?

If so, how will that effect our weather patterns?
Quoting timpatio:
Welcome to Jeff Masters "Global warming propaganda Board".- sponsored by Al Gore


Masters like many meteorologists doesn't understand that the atmosphere is only the tail of the dog. The solid and liquid portions of the planet are the dog itself. The tail doesn't wag the dog. Unfortunately, the only thing most meteorologists understand is the atmosphere so they try to claim that the atmosphere is somehow in charge of everything. Many of them don't seem to understand that the atmosphere keeps the ground from getting as hot as it would if there were no atmosphere.

They talk about the atmosphere blocking radiation from the ground but what actually happens is that the atmosphere significantly reduces the amount of radiation the ground can produce by cooling it. The equation for the amount of radiation produced depends upon the temperature in degrees Kelvin raised to the fourth power. For example, the resulting number for 300 Kelvin (about 28 C) is over 100 million lower than the number for 301 K.

1016. Levi32
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


The low pressure expected in the Caribbean also means that there will be less rain over the Amazon, which is bad for the Brazilian forest fire season.



Volcanic activity? You mean Mount Redoubt? Most of the eruption consisted of water vapor, which should have enhanced a positive feedback near the pole but not in the tropics, which is the area studied in which a negative feedback resulted in nearly flat temperatures after 2000. Mount Redoubt erupted previously in 1989-1990, and I see no similar spike in global temperatures from 1990-1991. Whatever caused the rapid warming, it appears to have broken the decadal lull in global warming.


More volcanoes erupted than just Redoubt. There were a few in Russia as well. The SO2 released from these eruptions is an effective absorber of sunlight, and heated the upper atmosphere, which aided in the amazing blocking we have seen this winter. Joe Bastardi has commented on this as well.
1017. Levi32
Quoting weatherbro:
If we do go into a La Nina. Do you guys think it'll be western based(La Nina Modiki, Central Pacific cooling)?

If so, how will that effect our weather patterns?


No, this kind of El Nino starts cooling from the east to west, so we will see a cool tongue develop near South America and work its way west across the equatorial Pacific.
heading for another beautiful day too bad its monday 52f hr later dropped almost cold full moon bright and sunny later e cen florida
Quoting IKE:


I hope their okay. Maybe it's just the communication lines that are down?

Surprising that I haven't seen the outpouring for donations for Chile like I saw for Haiti.

Kind of swept under the rug compared to Haiti.

Two reasons, IMO:

1. An earlier post gives several reasons why Chile is less likely to need huge outpourings of international aid, mainly due to geography (location and type of quake) and history (Chile's previous experience w/ quakes, Haiti's poor building standards quake-wise)

2. Setting: a weekend quake in the southern hemisphere isn't going to get into the news cycle in our neck of the woods as quickly.

I have a feeling we'll be hearing more about aid as the week progresses.

I wonder if this was the "big one" the western hemisphere has been building up to since January, or if there's more major earthquake activity to come.....

Morning all, It sure is amazing how long this cold weather has lasted.God be with Chile!!
1021. aquak9
Good Morning WU-Bloggers worldwide, and welcome to March.
Severe weather tomorrow in Orlando followed by cooler wx, then near 80 degree temps by Sunday or Monday and lasting for a few days. The Florida heat & humidity is around the corner now we can start expecting near 90 degree temps later this month with a higher severe wx potential down the road.
Good Morning jeff9641, I've been watching for that bad weather really looks like it could be bad around w c fl Tuesday.
jeff9641, hows your moms mother-in-law?
Quoting severstorm:
jeff9641, hows your moms mother-in-law?


Not good.
IKE...the devastation pales in comparison...also, Chile is not a Third World country...they have great resources for this sort of thing...and their government hasn't asked for a lot of assistance...
jeff9641 how are you holding up?
Today starts the 64th Interdepartmental Hurricane Conference. Lots of interesting information listed for presentation in the agenda. A pdf contains many of the abstracts.

Looking forward to when the actual presentations are published on the web.
Spruce Creek Fly-In, Daytona Beach, Florida (PWS)Updated: 1 sec ago
47.5 F
Clear
Windchill: 47 F
Humidity: 97%
Dew Point: 47 F
Wind: 0.0 mphfrom the NW
Wind Gust: 1.0 mph
Wish we could bottle the cool air and release it when we need it.


1030. WxLogic
Good morning...

Tomorrow shaping up to be quite a windy day across the FL Peninsula specially CFL and points north the low pressure intensifies rather quickly across the NE GOM.

If DWPT are able to recover later today enough to get into the mid 60's then we'll definitely be in quite a bit of SFC based TSTM development and rotation with them.
1031. WxLogic
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
Today starts the 64th Interdepartmental Hurricane Conference. Lots of interesting information listed for presentation in the agenda. A pdf contains many of the abstracts.

Looking forward to when the actual presentations are published on the web.


Nrt... I must agree with you. Definitely makes up for a quite informative reading.
Quoting BahaHurican:
Two reasons, IMO:

1. An earlier post gives several reasons why Chile is less likely to need huge outpourings of international aid, mainly due to geography (location and type of quake) and history (Chile's previous experience w/ quakes, Haiti's poor building standards quake-wise)

2. Setting: a weekend quake in the southern hemisphere isn't going to get into the news cycle in our neck of the woods as quickly.

I have a feeling we'll be hearing more about aid as the week progresses.

I wonder if this was the "big one" the western hemisphere has been building up to since January, or if there's more major earthquake activity to come.....

3. Chile is an economic powerhouse int hat reason with a stong military and government. It would be comparable to Canada needing an outpouring of assistance after a quake.
well today is march 1st there is 20 days of winter left till first day of spring
1034. P451



1035. P451
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
well today is march 1st there is 20 days of winter left till first day of spring


Looking like below normal temps for most going out 14 days....but then a pattern shift to warmer than normal seems possible.

Winter may indeed be over....except for the one last curve ball such intense winters usually give us. Myself I'm around 90-95" on the year. My average is 26". Four big storms 28-18-24-13. 3 3" storms. A handful of 1-2" slushes. What a season.

Good Morning.....That low over Texas headed towards the Northern Gulf is looking very healthy this morning.
we had two storms the whole winter i think we are around 40 cm for entire winter so we are well below for snowfall but hey with 20 days left anything is possible but as you stated in 14 days looks like a good warm up coming so yay winter is on its last legs not this weekend but next weekend time goes ahead to EDT
1038. P451
Past 14 days.

is there still the potential for another tsunami with any of these aftershocks?
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
well today is march 1st there is 20 days of winter left till first day of spring

Today is the 1st day of Autumn here.
Quoting P451:
March 2-8 Tropical Hazards Map


Good Year for folks in the SE US to lay down sod/plant grass and plants this Spring if you need to with a healthy rain forecast....
Quoting Thundercloud01221991:
is there still the potential for another tsunami with any of these aftershocks?


They usually need to be a great earth quake to get the land moving enough to cause them. 8.0 and above. The 1960 quake in Chile which was 9.5 caused a 35 ft Tsunami in the Hawaiian Islands.
1044. xcool
gomx loooking to me heat upp mmm?
Quoting StormChaser81:


They usually need to be a great earth quake to get the land moving enough to cause them. 8.0 and above. The 1960 quake in Chile which was 9.5 caused a 35 ft Tsunami in the Hawaiian Islands.

there can also be unstable undersea cliff/land area that can fall due to even a relatively small quake.
1046. NEwxguy
These huge East coast storms continue to ignite off the coast,luckily for today's its far enough off to only give us a slushy mess.
Quoting AussieStorm:

there can also be unstable undersea cliff/land area that can fall due to even a relatively small quake.


Very True
Quoting xcool:
gomx loooking to me heat upp mmm?

The Gulf Stream current feeds into the SE GOM, noting that is the warmest area of the GOM.

The GOM is fairly shallow, although temps right now appear to be cooler than normal, I don't see that lasting much longer, as Spring is right around the corner.

The Atlantic Ocean from the coast of Africa westward, into the Caribbean Sea has temps above normal, that is the biggest concern, as the El Nino will continue to weaken, setting the stage for an active Atlantic Hurricane season.
Raw Security Cameras show impressive 8.8 Chile Earthquake:

Chile Security Camera's
Quoting AussieStorm:

there can also be unstable undersea cliff/land area that can fall due to even a relatively small quake.


Yep, these can be the most dangerous because they're not immediately recognized. A small tremor could topple the undersea cliff. There's a big concern that one could happen just off the cost of some large cities that have small islands off the coast, like Los Angeles.
DATE LAT LON MAG DEPTH REGION
01-MAR-2010 10:37:37 18.44 -72.75 4.6 10.0 HAITI REGION


DATE LAT LON MAG DEPTH REGION
01-MAR-2010 08:43:37 5.36 -82.55 4.8 35.0 SOUTH OF PANAMA

01-MAR-2010 12:48:22 -38.38 -73.87 4.8 35.0 NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 12:27:15 -34.22 -71.82 5.3 35.0 NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 12:20:18 -34.51 -73.64 5.2 35.0 OFF COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 10:17:29 -36.39 -71.86 4.8 35.0 CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 09:23:00 -35.62 -71.76 4.8 35.0 CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 08:58:33 -37.70 -74.39 5.3 35.0 OFF COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 08:46:59 -35.40 -71.03 4.9 35.0 CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 07:49:07 -35.00 -72.86 5.3 35.0 NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 07:39:17 -35.97 -72.70 4.9 35.0 NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 07:29:15 -33.83 -72.25 4.7 35.0 OFF COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 06:53:20 -24.72 -65.15 4.9 35.0 SALTA PROVINCE, ARGENTINA
01-MAR-2010 06:24:52 -33.93 -73.09 4.8 35.0 OFF COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 06:16:11 -37.58 -74.53 5.1 35.0 OFF COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 05:36:57 -36.80 -73.52 4.9 35.0 NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 05:30:36 -34.45 -73.48 5.2 35.0 OFF COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 03:53:16 -38.64 -73.12 5.0 35.0 NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 03:07:50 -36.12 -72.80 5.1 40.0 NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 02:44:42 -35.09 -72.61 5.8 26.0 NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 01:10:58 -35.16 -71.70 5.4 42.6 CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 00:49:15 -34.66 -72.56 4.8 35.3 NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 00:01:27 -38.31 -73.75 5.0 35.0 NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE



Looks like Florida is in for some active weather tomorrow. There is a strong jet over the central peninsula and it will act to enhance the squall line as it moves out of the gulf onto the peninsula early tomorrow morning. I see the most dangerous area from hernando county east to brevard county.
The lack of Earthquake activity near West Coast from the US to Canada looks scary to me. Lets hope the big one is not sticking really bad and ready to Snap.

Looks like most of the energy will stay off shore...until Florida gets in the way.

CAPE from RUC for 5 pm CST:



And the sounding for NOLA; just not enough warm at the surface for any buoyancy-induced instability.
(also for 5 pm CST...from RUC)
Quoting FatPenguin:


Yep, these can be the most dangerous because they're not immediately recognized. A small tremor could topple the undersea cliff. There's a big concern that one could happen just off the cost of some large cities that have small islands off the coast, like Los Angeles.

In Lituya bay Alaska a small quake called a landslide that created a huge tsunami 1,700ft high! 2 fisherman were dead, one boat rode on top of the wave and the two people on board lived
That frontal lift will have to be vigorous for this system to produce any lightning for us in SE LA...and is expected to be enough for that. But don't be surprised if this is a relatively quiet "thunder"storm.
Big 45+ dBz area (NW LA):


No lightning anywhere near:
Gettin pretty cold again....Gettin pretty cold!



Warm up coming after this one.....then it looks like a Cold break coming one last time.....UNREAL
1060. xcool
cold nooo
Quoting TampaSpin:
Gettin pretty cold again....Gettin pretty cold!



Warm up coming after this one.....then it looks like a Cold break coming one last time.....UNREAL

Wife keeps asking when she can plant some bulbs...I keep saying we could still see a night in the mid-20s in the next 3 weeks.
1062. hydrus
Quoting all4hurricanes:

In Lituya bay Alaska a small quake called a landslide that created a huge tsunami 1,700ft high! 2 fisherman were dead, one boat rode on top of the wave and the two people on board lived
Was that the 1964 earthquake? If it was, that was a big tremor.
1063. Levi32
Good morning all.

The Canary Current (the current that brings cold water southward along the west African coast) looks to be struggling lately due to the weak subtropical high this year. This is another thing aiding warm SSTs in the eastern Atlantic.

1064. Ossqss
Psst, new blog
New Blog
Home Run Leaders
Athlete GP AB HR
Brooks Beisner 21.0 77.0 4.0


Brooks Beisner stats

My Nyphew. Will be going to Aubrun next year but, will like be drafted in MLB.