WunderBlog Archive » Category 6™

Category 6 has moved! See the latest from Dr. Jeff Masters and Bob Henson here.

TD 16 organizing; Mexican landslide kills hundreds; hottest day ever in Los Angeles

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 7:25 PM GMT on September 28, 2010

The large area of low pressure centered just south of Cuba's Isle of Youth has developed enough of a well-defined circulation to be classified as Tropical Depression Sixteen, and is likely to become Tropical Storm Nicole by Wednesday. The depression has a very broad center, with little heavy thunderstorm activity near the center, and is this very dissimilar to the usual types of tropical depressions we see in the Atlantic. The large size, broad center, and lack of heavy thunderstorm activity near the center of TD 16 will limit the storm's ability to rapidly intensify. TD 16 resembles the "monsoon depressions" common in India's Bay of Bengal or the Western Pacific. A monsoon depression is similar to a regular tropical depression in the winds that it generates--about 30 - 35 mph near the outer edges (and usually stronger on the eastern side of the circulation.) Monsoon depressions have large, calm centers, and can evolve into regular tropical storms, if given enough time over water to develop a tight, closed circulation. Today's monsoon-like depression in the Caribbean was able to form because the atmospheric flow pattern of the Eastern Pacific has shifted eastwards into the Western Caribbean, bringing in the Eastern Pacific ITCZ (Intertropical Convergence Zone, a region of converging surface winds that creates a band of strong thunderstorms). This unusual flow pattern is forecast to remain in place for at least the next ten days.

An Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft has been flying at 700 feet in TD 16 since 1:30pm EDT, and has thus far found a central pressure of 999 mb. The strongest winds at flight level seen as of 3:20pm EDT were 32 mph, located about 100 miles east of the center of TD 16. Surface observations show that the strongest winds at any surface station continue to be at Buoy 42057, several hundred miles to the southeast of TD 16's center. Winds were 27 mph, gusting to 34 mph at 2:43pm EDT this afternoon. Rotation of TD 16 can be seen on radar loops out of Pico San Juan, Cuba, and well as satellite imagery. The heavy thunderstorms are currently quite disorganized, but a curved band is beginning to wrap around the north side of the center, signaling that TD 16 is growing more organized. TD 16 has brought torrential rains to the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Cuba, and Honduras today.


Figure 1. Radar-estimated precipitation for South Florida and Cuba. TD 16 has brought 2 - 4 inches of rains to the region.

Forecast for TD 16
Because TD 16 is so large, it will take more time than a typical depression for it to spin up into a strong tropical storm. Given that the steering currents are expected to pull TD 16 north-northeastwards over Cuba and into South Florida and the western Bahamas on Wednesday, the storm lacks sufficient time over water to be any stronger than a 50 mph tropical storm for Florida. TD 16 is organizing pretty slowly this afternoon, and I think the top winds in Southeast Florida are most likely to be in the 25 - 35 mph range on Wednesday. Winds are likely to be stronger in the western Bahamas, perhaps 30 - 40 mph, since they will be in the stronger right front quadrant of the storm. By the time TD 16 makes landfall in South Carolina or North Carolina on Thursday morning, it could be as strong as a 50 - 60 mph tropical storm. However, wind shear will increase sharply on Thursday as TD 16 gets caught in an upper-level trough of low pressure, and NHC is giving TD 16 only a 9% chance of making it to hurricane strength before it becomes an extratropical storm on Thursday. The primary danger from TD 16 is not wind, but heavy rainfall. A potent upper-level low and stationary front over the U.S. East Coast have been pulling moist, tropical air from the Caribbean northwards over the past few days, bringing heavy rains that have saturated the soils. This is called a Predecessor Rain Event, or PRE, since it comes in advance of the actual rain shield of the storm. (A PRE from Hurricane Karl brought southern Wisconsin the heavy rain that caused the levee on the Wisconsin River to fail yesterday.) Wilmington, NC received 10.33 inches of rain yesterday, its second greatest one-day rainfall since record keeping began in 1871. Only the 13.38" that fell during Hurricane Floyd on September 15, 1999 beat yesterday's rainfall total. With TD 16 expected to bring another 6 - 8 inches of rain to the region later this week, serious flooding is likely, and flash flood watches are posted for the North Carolina/ South Carolina border region. South Florida is also under a flood watch, for 3 - 5 inches of rain. Flooding rains of similar magnitude can also be expected in Cuba, the Cayman Islands, and the Western Bahamas through Wednesday night. Both the GFDL and HWRF models are predicting that TD 16 will dump rains in excess of eight inches along narrow portions of its path in eastern Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina.


Figure 2. Forecast precipitation for the 5-day period from 8am today through 8am EDT Sunday, October 3, 2010. Image credit: NOAA Hydrometeorological Prediction Center.

Up to 1,000 feared dead in Mexican landslide
Mexico has taken the brunt of the devastation from the hurricane season of 2010, thanks to the landfalls of this year's two deadliest and most damaging storms, Hurricanes Alex and Karl. But Mexico's worst blow yet hit this morning, when heavy rains from the remnants of Tropical Storm Matthew triggered a landslide in Mexico's mountainous Oaxaca state that buried as many as 1,000 people in Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec, a town of 9,000. Rescuers have not reached the area yet, but hundreds are feared dead in the 300 homes that were buried by the early morning landslide. Matthew hit Belize on Saturday as a minimal tropical storm with 40 mph winds, and dissipated Sunday over southern Mexico. However, Matthew's remains stalled out over the region of Mexico that had already received torrential rains from Hurricane Karl, which hit on September 18. Satellite estimates of Matthew's rains over southern Mexico (Figure 3) show that a foot of rain may have fallen in the landslide area. Matthew's remains still linger over the region, but are probably only capable of bringing 1 - 2 inches of additional rain through Thursday.


Figure 3. Satellite-estimated rainfall for the five-day period ending at 8pm EDT Monday September 27, 2010. The dark green colors show where rainfall amounts of 300 mm (about 12 inches) fell, due to the remnants of Tropical Storm Matthew. Image credit: Navy Research Lab, Monterey.

Elsewhere in the tropics
Once TD 16 moves out of the Caribbean, the GFS model predicts that the Western Caribbean will "reload" and produce another tropical disturbance capable of developing into a tropical depression early next week. The GFS also predicts a tropical or subtropical storm will form over the Bahamas late this week, and move north-northeast along the U.S. East Coast, missing hitting land. The NOGAPS model hints at the Bahamas storm, and also predicts development of a tropical wave a few hundred miles northeast of the Lesser Antilles Islands, about a week from now.

Hottest day in Los Angeles history
The mercury hit a blistering 113°F (45.0°C) at 12:15 pm PDT yesterday in downtown Los Angeles, making it the hottest day in Los Angeles history. It may have gotten hotter, but the thermometer broke shortly after the record high was set. The previous record in Los Angeles was 112°F set on June 26, 1990; records go back to 1877. Nearby Long Beach tied its hottest all-time temperature yesterday, with a scorching 111°F. And Christopher C. Burt, our new featured blogger on weather records, pointed out to me that a station in the foothills at 1260' elevation near Beverly Hills owned by the Los Angeles Fire Department hit 119°F yesterday--the hottest temperature ever measured in the Los Angeles area, tying the 119°F reading from Woodland Hills on July 22, 2006. Yesterday's record heat was caused by an unusually large and intense upper-level high pressure system centered over Nevada that generated winds blowing from the land to the ocean, keeping the ocean from exerting its usual cooling influence. Remarkably, Los Angeles had its second coldest summer on record this year, and temperatures just five days ago were some the coldest September temperatures in the region for the past 50 years.

The remarkable summer of 2010
Wunderground is pleased to welcome a new featured blogger--weather historian Christopher C. Burt. Chris is a leading expert in the U.S. on weather records, and is author of the world's most popular weather records book published to date, Extreme Weather: A Guide and Record Book. He's spent a lifetime collaborating with like-minded individuals from around the world, and no one--including official sources such as the National Climatic Data Center and the National Extremes Committee--has done as thorough a job correlating the various weather records available and determining the most accurate extreme values of such. Each month he'll be reporting on the notable records for heat, cold, and precipitation set world-wide, and his first post takes a look at the remarkable summer of 2010. It's great to have someone like Chris who stays on top of weather extremes, and I hope you'll pay a visit to his blog and welcome him to the wunderground site!

"Hurricane Haven" airing this afternoon
My live Internet radio show, "Hurricane Haven", will be airing again today at 4pm EDT. The call in number is 415-983-2634, or you can post a question to broadcast@wunderground.com. Be sure to include "Hurricane Haven question" in the subject line.

Today's show will be about 30 minutes, and you can tune in at http://www.wunderground.com/wxradio/wubroadcast.h tml. The show will be recorded and stored as a podcast.

I'll have updates as the situation with TD 16 requires.

Jeff Masters
Alone again, naturally
Alone again, naturally
Lonely Seagull, as a storm associated with TD 16 is approaching.

Hurricane

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 IKE:
TWC showing the opening bell on Wall Street. Why? What happened to...The Weather Channel? If I want business news I'll switch to CNBC.


At least you are loyal to NBC.
2502. HCW
Quoting reedzone:
Models have shifted west... again..



Do you mean East ?

2503. divdog
Quoting reedzone:
Models have shifted west... again..

Most of the lobsided mess is going to miss florida. this things looks terrible for a tropical depression.
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Good morning. can you please give me an update on conditions in Jamaica ? My son and his girlfriend flew out from Cayman around 7:30 EST to Kingston and I am getting kind of worried.


Here are the current conditions in Kingston.
2505. MahFL
Quoting reedzone:
Models have shifted west... again..



Show us a link please, the models I saw were all east.
lots of rain coming up to the east coast,....someone will get over 10 inches of rain.
Quoting reedzone:
Models have shifted west... again..



If by west you mean east...

Then yeah.
Link
Kingston Conditions.
Quoting cat5hurricane:
That's great!

I've been turning stuff upside down in the shed that I haven't used in years...just trying to find whatever can help.

Never hurts to be prepared!


While you're in the shed, if you come across any LED Christmas lights, take them indoors and bunch them in a suitably sized glass bowl or casserole dish. They take very little power to run, of course, would run for a good long time off one of those portable power things (mine are charging to top up as we speak)--and, important in an area like ours, LEDs don't add heat to the house. I have the big-bulbed ones strung around the garage so I can see where I'm going, power or no power--the main light switch was co-opted for a garage door opener which is inoperative at the moment. So I leave the Christmas lights on all the time, mostly so they keep me from falling over one of the cats.
2510. divdog
Quoting HCW:


Do you mean East ?

I was wondering the same thing .. center relocated east .. storm is moving nne .. where is the west in that.
New Blog
2512. HCW
UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.1
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 29 SEP 2010 Time : 124500 UTC
Lat : 24:02:31 N Lon : 81:07:15 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
2.7 /1003.0mb/ 39.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
2.7 3.0 3.2
Quoting divdog:
Most of the lobsided mess is going to miss florida. this things looks terrible for a tropical depression.


Honestly I dont think its so lopsided anymore. I think the center is right in that blowup of convection over Cuba. Well toward the western side of it but more in it than the NHC has it.
Quoting OctaviaStreet:


While you're in the shed, if you come across any LED Christmas lights, take them indoors and bunch them in a suitably sized glass bowl or casserole dish. They take very little power to run, of course, would run for a good long time off one of those portable power things (mine are charging to top up as we speak)--and, important in an area like ours, LEDs don't add heat to the house. I have the big-bulbed ones strung around the garage so I can see where I'm going, power or no power--the main light switch was co-opted for a garage door opener which is inoperative at the moment. So I leave the Christmas lights on all the time, mostly so they keep me from falling over one of the cats.
Good idea...I'm gonna have to try that!! Gotta love them big-bulbed lights too. lol
"rain accumulations of 4 to 8 inches are possible over portions of extreme southern Florida and the Florida Keys. These rains could cause life-threatening floods and mud slides."

Are they serious? First off you need dirt, not sand, to have a mud slide. Second you need elevation, something we don't have in South Florida. Could I get a raise of hands from everyone that has heard of a mudslide in "extreme south Florida or the Florida Keys"? I don't know, maybe they were counting Mt. Trashmore?
Newport/Morehead, NC Radar up to 4 inches of rain in two hours..wow..
Thank you everyone for their replies. I was getting very worried because of course their phones are off.
Quoting surferjoe5899:
"rain accumulations of 4 to 8 inches are possible over portions of extreme southern Florida and the Florida Keys. These rains could cause life-threatening floods and mud slides."

Are they serious? First off you need dirt, not sand, to have a mud slide. Second you need elevation, something we don't have in South Florida. Could I get a raise of hands from everyone that has heard of a mudslide in "extreme south Florida or the Florida Keys"? I don't know, maybe they were counting Mt. Trashmore?

I think that was read wrong, that was for Cuba and Jamaica, "ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 20 INCHES ARE
POSSIBLE OVER THE HIGHER ELEVATIONS OF CUBA AND JAMAICA. THESE
RAINS COULD CAUSE LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND MUD SLIDES."
Quoting leelee75k:
Why do people drive 10mph in light rain?
More danger from bad drivers today than there is from TD16 in South Florida.


Try here in DFW...it rains and they do 90mph...
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Thank you everyone for their replies. I was getting very worried because of course their phones are off.

Is this the flight? If it is NMIA says it's delayed:

CAYMAN AIRWAYS - KX600 fr GRAND CAYMAN
[08:00 am]Delayed[9]
Many here on the blog appear to not pay any attention at all to what the NHC has to say. Oh, well, it is that way with every system every year. They have this one nailed pretty well. It is expected to become a tropical storm prior to the center reaching So. Florida. It is far too broad to gain a whole lot of organization before rolling across the peninsula. Nicole will strengthen somewhat more as it re-approaches the mainland and begins transforming to a baroclinic system. We have so many here that trash the NHC and make such moronic claims that it really is amusing.
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


If by west you mean east...

Then yeah.


Nope we are both wrong, some shifted east and some shifted west. The GFS ensemble runs shifted west, one of the Bams and HWRF shifted slightly east.
Quoting HCW:


Do you mean East ?



Both west and east, we're both wrong.
Quoting reedzone:
Photobucket


Go look at cuban radar...there is no spin at all in your location and with the convection there, you should see the spin if it is the center. There is no evidence of a circulation at "your spot" on the SW floater, the Vis floater or any of the others. While I agree that the structure looks best with that as center.....and maybe the center "should" be there.....its not or at least one has n ot developed there yet. Yours is the "obvious" should be center...I am 1000 percent sure that "structure has been noted as a center" by the nhc, but the fact is one is not there meaning E - W - N -S closed wind circulation.
2527. 7544
calling for winds to reach 40 mph latter this evening in so fla it hasnt got there yet lol 200+ miles to the south stay tuned
if this deos make it to ts things will change fast we all know how all the systems surpise us this year so far
Actually, by clicking the last frame, the HWRF jumped slightly west.. Not by much though.
.
NEW BLOG, for those who haven't noticed yet...
2531. MZT
Some really sloppy lanfalling systems that did get names:

Erin


Allison
Quoting MahFL:


In JAX they drive at 75 mph.


No kidding! And 5 feet or less from the rear bumper of the car in front.
2533. surfmom
Quoting Orcasystems:


Remember you said that :)
how could I forget with you around to poke me? : )
It seems the TD is riding on the edge of a large converging low and is moving southward as this low closes.

Satellite observations show that a low located north east of Grand Cayman 20N 80W travelling to 17N 82.5W is slowly closing.

I think that in this area we will see some real action in the coming days.
WoW that image is crazy!