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Patricia’s Remnants to Fuel Dangerous Rains in Texas

By: Jeff Masters and Bob Henson 6:09 PM GMT on October 24, 2015

After growing extraordinarily quickly to Category 5 strength, and striking the Mexican coast less than a day later, Tropical Depression Patricia is rapidly dissipating--leading to one of the most abbreviated life cycles on record for any Category 5 tropical cyclone. At 11 am EDT Wednesday, Patricia was a minimal tropical storm, with 40 mph winds. A mere 36 hours later, Patricia packed winds of 160 mph, eventually reaching 200 mph--the highest reliably measured surface winds in any tropical cyclone on Earth. After 36 more hours (at 11 am EDT Saturday) Patricia’s sustained winds were back down to 35 mph. As with all tropical cyclones, Patricia’s landfall was its downfall: the hurricane slammed into rugged coastal terrain while accelerating northeastward, which quickly shredded its low-level circulation. At 11 am EDT Saturday, Patricia’s low-level center was located in central Mexico, about 100 miles northeast of Zacatecas. Unimpeded by the mountainous terrain, Patricia’s upper-level circulation is racing more quickly to the northeast, on its way to help generate a large area of torrential rain tonight across southern Texas.


Figure 1. MODIS image of Hurricane Patricia as seen from NASA's Aqua satellite just before landfall at 4:35 pm EDT Friday, October 23, 2015. At the time, Patricia was a Category 5 storm with 190 mph winds. Image credit: NASA.


Figure 2. Rainfall from Hurricane Patricia for the 24 hours ending at 8 am CDT October 24, 2015. The maximum rainfall was 11.43" (290.2 mm) in Nevado de Colima, marked by a triangle. Note: 1" = 25.4 mm. Image credit: Conagua.

Why didn't Patricia cause more death and destruction?
After a landfall by a Category 5 storm that was the strongest landfalling hurricane ever recorded in the Eastern Pacific, many were expecting today to hear reports of huge swaths of mind-boggling devastation in Mexico. While it is too soon to be confident that major loss of life was avoided until we hear from the hardest-hit areas, there is reason to be optimistic that the death toll from Patricia will be low. The storm hit a relatively sparsely populated area, missing the cities of Puerto Vallarta (population 380,000) to its left and Manzanillo (population 100,000) to its right. The region of coast most affected by the storm surge did not have a large area of shallow water offshore conducive for piling up a huge storm surge. Patricia's Category 5 winds were confined to a relatively narrow swath about fifteen miles in diameter, and this swath missed major cities. While Patricia did dump torrential rains along its path, the storm was moving fast enough at landfall--about 20 mph--that these heavy rains did not stay in place long enough to generate the kinds of devastating floods we've seen in the past from Mexican hurricanes.


Figure 3. Soldiers evacuate residents to a shelter in Zoatlan, Nayarit state, about 150 km northwest of Guadalajara, Mexico, on Saturday, October 24, 2015, as Hurricane Patricia brought heavy rains to the region. Image credit:  Eduardo Verdugo/AP.


Credit also needs to be given to Mexican civil defense efforts, which have historically been among the best in the world at getting people out of harm's way from approaching hurricanes. In 2005, Hurricane Emily made landfall on the Mexican coast near Cozumel Island as a Category 4 storm with 135 mph winds and a storm surge of up to 15 feet. Emily went on to cross the Gulf of Mexico and slam ashore on the Mexican coast south of Brownsville, Texas, as a Category 3 hurricane. Only three people died in Mexico from Emily's double strike on the country as a major hurricane--two of the deaths from a helicopter that crashed while evacuating offshore oil rigs. In addition, Mexico suffered only eight deaths from Hurricane Wilma's $7.5 billion four-day pounding in 2005. Wilma started out as a Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph winds when it hit Cozumel Island, and gradually weakened to a Category 2 hurricane as it plowed north over Cancun and eventually into the Gulf of Mexico. Mexico's feat of surviving two strikes from a Category 4 hurricane, plus a Category 3 strike to populated areas, with only eleven deaths, is a civil defense success unparalleled in hurricane history.

Life-threatening floods possible through Sunday in central Texas
While not as dramatic as an approaching Category 5 hurricane, a mammoth heavy-rain episode this weekend in Texas has real potential for harm and damage. The locations at greater risk include from the Hill Country west of Austin and San Antonio, extending through these major metro areas to the Houston area. Rainfall amounts in some areas have already exceeded the top amounts produced by Hurricane Patricia’s landfall in Mexico, and more is on the way.


Figure 4. Rainfall amounts (in inches) observed in the 24 hours from 12Z Friday, October 23, through Saturday, October 24. Image credit: NOAA Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service.


Figure 5. Rainfall amounts predicted for the 3-day period from 12Z (8:00 am EDT) Saturday, October 24, through Tuesday, October 27. Some local amounts will be significantly higher than the larger-scale totals shown here. Image credit: NOAA/NWS Weather Prediction Center.


Several ingredients are converging across the heart of Texas to produce an event that will be unusually intense and prolonged even for this flood-familiar region. Heavy rains have been lumbering across the northwestern two-thirds of the state since Thursday, the result of a large upper-level trough over the Rockies coupled with strong, moist southerly flow. Showers and thunderstorms intensified across central TX on Friday night along an east-west surface boundary just south of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. From Thursday morning through noon CDT Saturday, a total of 19.07” of rain fell at Corsicana, where Interstate 45 was closed in both directions at midday Saturday.

Coastal low could produce noteworthy flooding on Texas coast
With the main upper trough lifting out, a stronger cold front will plow southeast tonight, colliding with the upper-level remnants of Patricia over central and southeast Texas. A low-level jet will likely develop, importing even more moisture into the area. The upper-level energy from Patricia will help focus a new surface low near the middle Texas coast tonight that will translate slowly northeast near Houston on Sunday and into Louisiana on Monday. Models suggest that winds along the Texas coast could approach tropical storm strength near this surface low, and it may exhibit some subtropical characteristics, but the low will be driven mainly by nontropical processes and it is unlikely to be classified or named by the National Hurricane Center. The prolonged, strengthening southeast flow ahead of the low will lead to some coastal and tidal flooding, especially in the Houston-Galveston area.


Figure 6. WunderMap depiction of surface winds (in knots; multiply by 1.15 for mph) predicted by the 06Z Saturday run of the GFS model for 18Z (1:00 pm CDT) Sunday, October 25, 2015.


Storm surge expert Hal Needham, who is in the area this weekend for a conference, notes that water levels at Galveston have been running more than a foot above normal for several days, and a three-foot surge is possible on Sunday as the coastal low strengthens. In a blog post on Saturday morning, he warned: “Although a 3-foot (0.91 m) storm surge is not phenomenal for Galveston, a prolonged 2-3 foot (0.6-0.91 m) surge could have dire impacts if accompanied by 10 or more inches of rain. Most drainage around the Houston- Galveston area is gravity-fed, meaning the drainage depends on a noticeable slope between the ground and the water body into which the rainwater is discharged, like a bayou, channel, Galveston Bay or the Gulf of Mexico. If Galveston Bay is elevated 2-3 ft (0.6-0.91 m) above normal, the slope between land and water is reduced considerably, making rainfall drainage less efficient. This becomes a major concern when looking at the extraordinary rainfall in the forecast.” Needham (@Hal_Needham on Twitter) will be in the Houston-Galveston area through the weekend and invites readers to send him questions, comments, photos, or videos related to this event.

Record atmospheric moisture at hand
Atmospheric moisture is already at record levels for late October across far south Texas (see Figure 7), and rainfall rates as high as 4.5”/hour have already observed. With the factors above converging after dark on Saturday, extremely intense rains can be expected over a large part of southern Texas from Saturday night into Sunday. People in flood-prone areas such as the Hill Country will need to be especially vigilant. Urban flooding is a particular concern tonight in Austin and San Antonio and on Sunday in Houston, where it could be compounded by the surge issues mentioned above. Isolated tornadoes are also possible on Saturday afternoon and evening, especially near the Texas coast, as highlighted by the Storm Prediction Center in its latest convective outlook.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson


Figure 7. Precipitable water (water vapor) in the atmosphere above Brownsville, TX, in soundings from all radiosondes launched from Brownsville, TX, from Jan. 1, 1948, through Oct. 26, 2014. The spiky red line shows the record-high values observed on each date. Depicted with the starburst at upper right is the record value of 2.62” measured at 12Z on Saturday morning, October 24, 2015. This is the highest value ever observed in Brownsville on any date between September 16 and June 19. At Corpus Christi, TX (not shown), Saturday morning’s value of 2.52” is a record for any date between October 20 and June 20. Image credit: NOAA Storm Prediction Center.

Hurricane Flood

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 987. aislinnpaps:

Breakfast's on the sideboard: creamed chipped beef over biscuits, scrambled eggs with cheese and peppers, bagels with cream cheese and jelly or lox, cinnamon streusel coffee cake, omelets with cheese, mushrooms, peppers and dice ham or bacon, honey ham and sausage links, oatmeal cookie oatmeal, yogurt, fresh fruit and orange, apple or pineapple juice. Tea, Regular and decaf coffee with flavored creamers to the side. Enjoy!


Breakfast is back!! Oh, what a glorious day. :D
pre satellite days yesterdays storm in the gulf. it would of been classified?
1004. hydrus
If we see more storm tracks like this over the winter, get ready for ice storm havoc interior and New England. Resembles a nor'easter with an interior track. I remember 1997-1998 winter in NY/NJ. There were some wild and wooly southerly wind producing storms over that winter. Lots of south swells. Also there was the Jan, 1998 ice storm VT, NY, NH ME and Canada.
1006. hydrus
Quoting 987. aislinnpaps:

Good morning and afternoon, all. West Central LA ended up with 5.7 inches of rain with a few spots getting upwards of 7 inches. It's still raining, but a light rain now.

Breakfast's on the sideboard: creamed chipped beef over biscuits, scrambled eggs with cheese and peppers, bagels with cream cheese and jelly or lox, cinnamon streusel coffee cake, omelets with cheese, mushrooms, peppers and dice ham or bacon, honey ham and sausage links, oatmeal cookie oatmeal, yogurt, fresh fruit and orange, apple or pineapple juice. Tea, Regular and decaf coffee with flavored creamers to the side. Enjoy!
Greetings...May I have two of everything...?
1007. hydrus
Quoting 1005. HaoleboySurfEC:

If we see more storm tracks like this over the winter, get ready for ice storm havoc interior and New England. Resembles a nor'easter with an interior track. I remember 1997-1998 winter in NY/NJ. There were some wild and wooly southerly wind producing storms over that winter. Lots of south swells. Also there was the Jan, 1998 ice storm VT, NY, NH ME and Canada.
Good morning Surf..I remember that. Canada got whacked something fierce with ice too..It is my belief November will be very cold and stormy for some, and ice for folks who usually never get it in November.
Good Morning; a little rough out there across Conus today:


Many thanks to pcola57 for sharing this link with us yesterday:
Real-Time U.S. Composite Satellite Animation - 7 day movie Link
Quoting 987. aislinnpaps:

Good morning and afternoon, all. West Central LA ended up with 5.7 inches of rain with a few spots getting upwards of 7 inches. It's still raining, but a light rain now.

Breakfast's on the sideboard: creamed chipped beef over biscuits, scrambled eggs with cheese and peppers, bagels with cream cheese and jelly or lox, cinnamon streusel coffee cake, omelets with cheese, mushrooms, peppers and dice ham or bacon, honey ham and sausage links, oatmeal cookie oatmeal, yogurt, fresh fruit and orange, apple or pineapple juice. Tea, Regular and decaf coffee with flavored creamers to the side. Enjoy!
Yeah .... good start to the day, this ....
Can't say the last time I've had chipped beef for breakfast ....

Weather continues lovely here, only 77 with practically no wind and partly cloudy skies ... if the high stays in the mid-80s, it will be about as good as it gets ....
Quoting 1001. capeflorida:


Amazing how clearly the centre of this low shows on the radar.


Enjoy Monday as much as you can, folk.....
1011. Inyo
Quoting 1007. hydrus:

Good morning Surf..I remember that. Canada got whacked something fierce with ice too..It is my belief November will be very cold and stormy for some, and ice for folks who usually never get it in November.


Yeah this is a bad winter storm track for Vermont... thaws and ice. I hope it changes and well, it probably will in some way or another.Not for the next week or two though,
As noted by another blogger below, the low currently centered across the Northern Gulf coast looks like the classic El Nino low trajectory Gulf low; lots of these to come over the Winter and Spring. The Winter ones will often morph into East Coast Nor'Easters and ice storms across the SE and the Spring ones often bring severe weather and tornado outbreaks in tornado alley and Florida....................This one looks to be a relatively mild one compared to those that will follow down the road over the next six months.
1013. hydrus
Quoting 1011. Inyo:



Yeah this is a bad winter storm track for Vermont... thaws and ice. I hope it changes and well, it probably will in some way or another.Not for the next week or two though,
Primary storm track this year should stay the same throughout the winter, with a periodic shift after the larger storms have past. jmo
Quoting 1012. weathermanwannabe:

As noted by another blogger below, the low currently centered across the Northern Gulf coast looks like the classic El Nino low trajectory Gulf low; lots of these to come over the Winter and Spring. The Winter ones will often morph into East Coast Nor'Easters and ice storms across the SE and the Spring ones often bring severe weather and tornado outbreaks in tornado alley and Florida....................This one looks to be a relatively mild one compared to those that will follow down the road over the next six months.
These "low riders" sometimes bring very stormy wx to the NW Bahamas, especially in the January and February periods.
1015. hydrus
Quoting 1014. BahaHurican:

These "low riders" sometimes bring very stormy wx to the NW Bahamas, especially in the January and February periods.
Was in S.W.Florida 1982-83....The storms were brutal and long lasting...Rough for people that lived aboard.
anyone see any photos of damage to confirm a intense major hurricane came ashore western mexico? i have not yet
Quoting 1016. islander101010:

anyone see any photos of damage to confirm a intense major hurricane came ashore western mexico? i have not yet


What are you suggesting?
1" of rain all of October here in S.W. Florida. It would be nice if we could get some of that rain down here.
If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there, does it make a sound?
Photos of Jalisco, Mexico which was nearly leveled. More photos here of damage.
Quoting 1016. islander101010:

anyone see any photos of damage to confirm a intense major hurricane came ashore western mexico? i have not yet


I did see some pretty good footage on NBC's Today Show this morning. It was the first footage I've seen of true hurricane forced winds in progress. It was from a small village type region.
Folks enjoy that eye like feature in the NW Gulf yesterday? classic!
I'm drooling from the breakfast post.The chopped beef over biscuits sounds really good!
Quoting 1017. Naga5000:



What are you suggesting?


I'm pretty sure they are suggesting that, as usual, the blog comments on Friday were filled with predictions of unprecedented doom, total destruction, immeasurable loss of life, hints of incompetence among any non-US civil defense organizations, and the need for a new hurricane classification scale.

Quoting 1024. LouisPasteur:



I'm pretty sure they are suggesting that, as usual, the bog comments on Friday were filled with predictions of unprecedented doom, total destruction, immeasurable loss of life, hints of incompetence among any non-US civil defense organizations, and the need for a new hurricane classification scale.


Well that is certainly one interpretation. Another would be that the blogger doubts Patricia was an "intense major hurricane that came ashore [in] western Mexico". So, I'm just looking for some clarification on an abnormally vague comment that is quite open to various understandings. Thanks for sharing yours.
1026. ariot
We're 5-10 above normal and our lovely office complex flipped the boilers on Friday. It's going to be a warm Nov.-Dec. period in the mid Atlantic, from what I've read. We'll see if icy doom shows up in early '16.
Gotta run. Have a good one...
Quoting 1016. islander101010:

anyone see any photos of damage to confirm a intense major hurricane came ashore western mexico? i have not yet


We know somewhere the eye and core went through. Went through in a very isolated area. A 5-10 mile swath of worst damage is out there. Just takes awhile to get all the details in such a situation. Thanks Naga, hadn't see those pictures.
Quoting 1018. Sfloridacat5:

1" of rain all of October here in S.W. Florida. It would be nice if we could get some of that rain down here.


Only 0.59" for me in October. It's getting dry around here even after all the rain we had this summer.
Quoting 1026. ariot:

We're 5-10 above normal and our lovely office complex flipped the boilers on Friday. It's going to be a warm Nov.-Dec. period in the mid Atlantic, from what I've read. We'll see if icy doom shows up in early '16.
I know during the last el nino November was really warm and much above average.
It's been relatively dry here the past couple of weeks probably because we are transitioning out of summer and into fall. If we do start feeling the effects of El Nino in FL. it would probably come in December onward.



Link
Deaths, damage reported in powerful Afghanistan quake

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN)A magnitude-7.5 earthquake struck southern Asia on Monday afternoon, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

"Reports coming of damage and injuries in north eastern Afghanistan," Abdullah Abdullah, chief executive of Afghanistan, said in a tweet. "Disasters authorities to meet within the hour and respond to the needs."

The USGS issued an orange alert on the quake. "Significant casualties are likely and the disaster is potentially widespread. Past events with this alert level have required a regional or national level response," the USGS said.

Quake strikes South Asia
10 photos: Quake strikes South Asia
Local news agencies quickly reported death tolls in the dozens.

Afghan broadcaster Tolo TV showed images of collapsed structures.

Twelve schoolgirls were killed in a stampede in northern Afghanistan as they tried to exit their school,police said.

The girls, between 10 and 15 years old, were crushed in their Taluqan city school's stairwell, between the first and second floors, said Abdul Khalil Asir, a spokesman for Takhar province police.

The epicenter was 45 kilometers (28 miles) south-southwest of Jarm, Afghanistan, near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. CNN teams in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan all felt strong tremors. A USGS map showed that shaking traveled into Tajikistan as well.

The quake's epicenter was at a depth of 213.5 kilometers (132.7 miles). The USGS initially reported it as magnitude 7.7 and then revised it to 7.5.

Kabul: 'It was really bad'
"It was really bad," said Masoud Popalzai, CNN's producer in Kabul. "In 30 years of my life, it was the worst I experienced myself."

Everyone ran out into the streets. The walls of his compound shook so hard, they looked like they might fall over.

"In the bathroom everything swayed," he said. "Things fell to the ground in the office's kitchen."

But he has seen no signs of damage in Kabul, even after driving a few miles around the city.

Some 60 miles southwest of Kabul, in the town of Ghazni, there were reports that the historic gate had collapsed, accompanied by photos on social media.

Quoting 967. beell:

Well, good luck & g'nite to ya'll.
Ending the two-day rain event here with 10.5".
(that's 1. 6 coffee cans if you're counting)


i think i broke the blog
:(



Coffee cans? You need a real rain gauge!
Wind Chill!!
Quoting 1029. tampabaymatt:



Only 0.59" for me in October. It's getting dry around here even after all the rain we had this summer.


Pretty amazing how the rain just stopped about 4 weeks ago. We had over 10" in September here.
Yes, along with those nasty temp inversions where it is warmer at the top of your run than at the base. Attack of the snow-eating fog.

Quoting 1011. Inyo:



Yeah this is a bad winter storm track for Vermont... thaws and ice. I hope it changes and well, it probably will in some way or another.Not for the next week or two though,
1037. sar2401
Quoting 1020. Naga5000:

Photos of Jalisco, Mexico which was nearly leveled. More photos here of damage.
Not all of Jalisco, which is a big state, but the villages right along the coast a couple of kilometers north and south of Cuixmala. That's where Patricia made landfall and, as usual, the poor suffered the most. The utility trucks in the one picture are driving along Federal Route 200. The road cuts through some pretty thick forest/jungle, but it mostly runs a 5-10 kilometers inland, and you can see how much less tree damage there was there. Overall, a pretty impressive response by the government, utilities, and the people to the hurricane.
The Conus nutshell:

Forecast valid Monday 18Z
I can't find that video clip anywhere online of Hurricane Patricia from the Today Show this morning. Not even on the Today Show's website?
But it was amateur video from a small village and the wind was causing pretty significant damage.
1040. Patrap
What a wild and wooly bully 36 it was here.

Really setteled the 29 day drought.
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
Quoting 1035. Sfloridacat5:



Pretty amazing how the rain just stopped about 4 weeks ago. We had over 10" in September here.


This pattern is also unusually dry though even for October. The reason is unusually strong and persistent ridging over the area. The response is unusually dry weather here, and amplified troughing and moisture pooling stalled to the west.
1044. sar2401
Still no rain in my deluxe, but unofficial, rain gauge in Eufaula AL. Birmingham NWS has the chance of rain today, tonight, and tomorrow at 100% (!). The predicted rain amounts through Wednesday have gone from 2.69" on Saturday to 1.75" Sunday to now at 1.15". This is not a good looking trend. There's another batch of showers headed NE from the Gulf, just like the last batch early this morning that evaporated before they got here. If this batch doesn't make it, I'm going directly to Madam Maria, world famous psychic and curse removing lady (who just happens to live here) along with the Magic 8 Ball to get the rain curse removed from my yard. I've had 0.30" of rain since September 28, so desperation is starting to set in. :-)
1046. sar2401
Quoting 1044. sar2401:

Still no rain in my deluxe, but unofficial, rain gauge in Eufaula AL. Birmingham NWS has the chance of rain today, tonight, and tomorrow at 100% (!). The predicted rain amounts through Wednesday have gone from 2.69" on Saturday to 1.75" Sunday to now at 1.15". This is not a good looking trend. There's another batch of showers headed NE from the Gulf, just like the last batch early this morning that evaporated before they got here. If this batch doesn't make it, I'm going directly to Madam Maria, world famous psychic and curse removing lady (who just happens to live here) along with the Magic 8 Ball to get the rain curse removed from my yard. I've had 0.30" of rain since September 28, so desperation is starting to set in. :-)


Son of a ... did it again. Wasted my time with a post no one will read.
So how many Cat 5s has the world had in 2015?
1049. vis0
Quoting 1044. sar2401:

Still no rain in my deluxe, but unofficial, rain gauge in Eufaula AL. Birmingham NWS has the chance of rain today, tonight, and tomorrow at 100% (!). The predicted rain amounts through Wednesday have gone from 2.69" on Saturday to 1.75" Sunday to now at 1.15". This is not a good looking trend. There's another batch of showers headed NE from the Gulf, just like the last batch early this morning that evaporated before they got here. If this batch doesn't make it, I'm going directly to Madam Maria, world famous psychic and curse removing lady (who just happens to live here) along with the Magic 8 Ball to get the rain curse removed from my yard. I've had 0.30" of rain since September 28, so desperation is starting to set in. :-)
[zilly] Its time to get sar2401 a tin (not even coffee) can with holes for sar2401s rain measurements.

For every plus this comment receives i'll think of getting sar2401 the tin can for half a second, whose with me...maybe an empty can of evaporated milk so sar2401 just crosses off the milk.

...never say vis0 does not have a heart, i do ...i just keep forgetting to take it out of the chickens giblets package [zilly]


Back to the real world:: Stay updated on any weather and/or natural disasters (#1034, Floods, Hurricanes) and any method one can think of/afford as to help those in need, please do so. This help can be food, clothing even money IF YOU MAKE SURE IT GOES THROUGH THE PROPER official organizations that help. 
Quoting 1048. JrWeathermanFL:

So how many Cat 5s has the world had in 2015?

Bansi
Eunice
Marcia
Pam
Maysak
Noul
Dolphin
Soudelor
Atsani
Patricia

and maybe Joaquin