Irene's rains heaviest on record in Vermont; Tropical Storm Katia forms

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 03:40 PM GMT am 30. August 2011

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Record flooding continues in the Northeast from Irene's torrential rains. Hardest hit was Vermont, where heavy rains in the weeks prior to Irene's arrival had left soils in the top 20% for moisture, historically. Irene dumped 5 - 8 inches of rain over large sections of Vermont, with a peak of 11.23" at Mendo. The reading from Mendo was the greatest single-day rainfall in Vermont's history, according to wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt, beating the 9.92" that fell at Mt. Mansfield on 9/17/1999 during the passage of Tropical Storm Floyd. The 13.30" that fell on East Durham, NY during Irene was just shy of New York State's all-time 1-day rainfall record: 13.70" at Brewster on 9/16/1999, from Tropical Storm Floyd.


Figure 1. Wunderphotographer 43BJAGER recorded this image of a house in Sharon, Vermont, that started out the week on the other side of this underpass.

According to the final Hurricane Irene summary from the NWS, the storm dropped 20" of rain in two locations, one in North Carolina and one in Virginia. Here are the highest rain amounts from the hurricane for each state:

Virginia Beach, VA: 20.40"
Jacksonville, NC: 20.00"
East Durham, NY: 13.30"
Freehold Twp, NJ: 11.27"
Mendon, VT: 11.23"
Ellendale, DE: 10.43"
New Hartford, CT 10.15"
Baxter St. Park, ME: 9.91"
Savoy, MA: 9.10"
Lafayette, PA: 8.82"
Pinkham North, NH: 7.33"
Warren, RI: 5.37"

Tropical Storm Katia forms
Tropical Storm Katia formed this morning in the far Eastern Atlantic off the coast of Africa. Katia will be in a moist, low wind shear environment with ocean temperature 1 - 2°C above the threshold needed to support a hurricane, and should be able to intensify to major hurricane strength when it passes to the north of the Lesser Antilles Islands 5 - 6 days from now. It is possible that some of the outer spiral bands of the storm might bring heavy rain squalls to the northern Lesser Antilles, but it would be a surprise if the core of the storm passed through the islands. The long term fate of Katia is unknown. Dr. Bob Hart's Historical Tropical Cyclone Probability web page suggests shows that tropical storms in Katia's current position have a 19% chance of hitting North Carolina, a 16% chance of hitting Canada, an 11% chance of hitting Florida, and a 47% chance of never hitting land.


Figure 2. The morning run of the GFS Ensemble prediction. The ensemble prediction was done by taking a lower-resolution version of the GFS model and changing the initial distributions of temperature, pressure, and humidity randomly by a few percent to generate an ensemble of 20 different computer projections of where Katia might go. The operational (highest-resolution) version of the GFS model (white line) is usually more accurate, but the ensemble runs give one an idea of the uncertainty in the forecast.

Katia is the 11th named storm this year, and comes a full twelve days before the half-way point of the Atlantic hurricane season. Climatologically, September 10 marks the half-way point. A typical hurricane season has just 10 - 11 named storms, so we've already had a whole season's worth of storms before reaching the half-way point. At this rate, 2011 will see 25 named storms, making it the 2nd busiest season on record, behind 2005. Katia's formation date of August 30 puts 2011 in 5th place for earliest date of arrival of the season's 11th storm. Only 2005, 1995, 1936, and 1933 had an earlier 11th storm.

Gulf of Mexico development possible late this week
Several of our best computer models for predicting formation of tropical cyclones, the GFS and ECMWF, are predicting that an upper level pressure interacting with a tropical wave now over the the Western Caribbean could combine to spawn a tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico late this week or early next week. The formation location is likely to be off the coast of Louisiana or Texas, but the track of the system is hard to predict at this point.


Figure 3. Portlight volunteer Thomas Hudson clears a driveway yesterday in Hollywood, Maryland.

Portlight disaster relief effort in Maryland
Hurricane Irene heavily damaged the town of Hollywood, Maryland, when a tornado cut off electric power, water, and phone service. Portlight and Team Rubicon volunteers arrived before emergency personnel, after following up on a local tip. What they found was an isolated area whose plight was unknown to the larger community. Most residents were trapped at their homes by heavy debris. Portlight and Team Rubicon worked for two days to clear paths to each address, extract vehicles from debris, and cut down trees that constituted safety hazards. Portlight also instructed local residents how to operate and maintain chainsaws and safely clear debris. No other volunteer organizations or emergency personnel arrived at any time, and Portlight succeeded in meeting the specific needs of the underserved, unserved, and forgotten. Visit the Portlight blog to learn more; donations are always welcome.

I'll have a new post on Wednesday discussing if the evacuations and media hype surrounding Irene were excessive.

Jeff Masters

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Check out the Tropical Storm Katia FanPage on Facebook
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Quoting Dakster:


Funny thing about statistics.... If you say something has a 1% chance of doing something and it does it - you are still technically "correct".

The higher odds are that this will go out to sea and not affect land - however, there are still chances that it could affect anywhere from Florida to Maine... And he wouldn't be "wrong". Now if it goes into Texas -- his odds didn't address that possibility so I can only "assume" (and we know what happens when we do that) that this scenario has never happened.


FWIW, 1900 or 1915 started out there:



After a second look, that appears to be 1915.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
Quoting kmanislander:


The two oceans are interconnected at the atmospheric level. The pattern is trough, ridge, trough, ridge and so on. These features produce "waves " in the atmosphere. Thus, a trough over the Eastern Pacific will be followed by a ridge over the Western US and then a trough over the eastern seaboard and so on. Of course, the strength of each trough and ridge determines where exactly they are centered and how much influence they are capable of exerting on a tropical cyclone.

If you look at the image below you will see a huge high pressure over the Pacific followed by a trough over the NW US coastline ( notice the isohypse lines "dip" to the South which is how a trough looks on a map like this ), then a ridge ( isohypse rise in a clockwise fashion ), then a trough approaching the East coast

Thanks for this explanation, How strong do you think the trough will be coming off the E Coast, in relation to breaking down the High in the Atlantic? In reference to Katia and possible developement in the GOM tracks?
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61. bwi
I know that the end of the model run stuff is very speculative, but I wish the 0z ECMWF had run out another day -- I'd like to see what it did with that small area of low pressure in the eastern gulf.
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It seems they they are still hinting at something in the western GOM coming up but I will still believe it when I see it.

We need it to come into TX and go through TX. Not edge up to us ,hang at the coast and go north to LA.

Not trying to take away from LA if they need the rain to, just saying in order for most of TX to benefit that is what it needs to do.

sigh...
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Quoting goldenpixie1:
How accurate has Dr. Bob Hart's Historical Tropical Cyclone Probability chart been this year?


Funny thing about statistics.... If you say something has a 1% chance of doing something and it does it - you are still technically "correct".

The higher odds are that this will go out to sea and not affect land - however, there are still chances that it could affect anywhere from Florida to Maine... And he wouldn't be "wrong". Now if it goes into Texas -- his odds didn't address that possibility so I can only "assume" (and we know what happens when we do that) that this scenario has never happened.
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I really dont need another storm to threaten my vacation. I really hope Katia will catch that trough, if it makes it
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114 Hours 12Z GFS
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16222
12Z GFS 102 Hours


Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16222
Actually, if you are in the NE you should be happy the LONG, LONG range models predict a hit. They are very rarely correct that far out. Look at Irene...

Irene was going to be a Gulf Storm this far out. As usual, we need to just sit back and watch and anything can happen.
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Quoting StitchnWench:


Long time lurker. First time poster.

THANK YOU for that clear explanation and the graphic that truly helps the understanding.


You're welcome.
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How accurate has Dr. Bob Hart's Historical Tropical Cyclone Probability chart been this year?
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10.3n28.2w, 10.8n29.4w, 11.5n30.8w have been re-evaluated&altered for TS.Katia's_12pmGMT_ATCF
10.6n28.1w, 11.0n29.4w, 11.5n30.9w, 12.0n32.6w are now the most recent positions
Starting 29August_12pmGMT and ending 30August_12pmGMT

The 4 eastern line-segments represent TropicaStormKatia's path
and the westernmost line-segment is the straightline projection.

Using straightline projection of the travel-speed&heading derived from the ATCF coordinates spanning the 6hours between 6amGMT then 12pmGMT :
TS.Katia's travel-speed was 20mph(32.2k/h) on a heading of 286.8degrees(WNW)
TS.Katia was headed toward passage over LasGaleras,DominicanRepublic ~5days from now

Copy&paste nto, 9.9n26.9w-10.6n28.1w, 10.6n28.1w-11.0n29.4w, 11.0n29.4w-11.5n30.9w, 11.5n30.9w-12.0n32.6w, azs, 11.5n30.9w-19.36n69.22w into the GreatCircleMapper for more info

The previous mapping (for 30August_6amGMT)
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Gonna have to have a large system from the gulf and a front stalled out over TX and have the tropical system stall as well. Giving TX a soaking and nothing but a continuous flow from the tropics pouring into the state.
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Quoting NoVaForecaster:


Into Texas/west or Louisiana/north.
It needs to go into W texas for Central Texas to get some good rain. If it goes into W or N LA. they would be left out. More than likely the bulk of the heavy rain will be on the N, NE and E side of the storm. Time will tell.
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Quoting kmanislander:


The two oceans are interconnected at the atmospheric level....


Long time lurker. First time poster.

THANK YOU for that clear explanation and the graphic that truly helps the understanding.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Good work, Portlight.

"Portlight volunteer Thomas Hudson clears a driveway yesterday in Hollywood, Maryland."
Someone get that guy a real chain saw...the tree shown is more than that one can handle, I think.

Good point; chopping up a 30" hardwood trunk with a 16" saw is gonna take a while...
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Quoting bohonkweatherman:
Only areas of Texas getting rain soon I feel will be along the Coast an inland 50 to 80 miles or so unless something moves into Central or West Texas, Texas will remain mostly dry and still above normal with temps like they have all year.


Basically a non event for most of TX
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Already sounding like hype on a GOM system. Not good to get TX residents up in a frenzy of soaking rains when everything fizzles out and nothing happens. Don did it, and I'm not about to jump on the bandwagon until I see actual evidence of a system! (that doesn't exist yet!)
Only areas of Texas getting rain soon I feel will be along the Coast an inland 50 to 80 miles or so unless something moves into Central or West Texas, Texas will remain mostly dry and still above normal with temps like they have all year.
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Seems to me that Irene caused serious damage and hearing about the aftermath makes it even more substantial. The images I have seen show exactly why people need to take any hurricane seriously. I called my relatives in CT to get them ready.Glad I did.
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Quoting CaribBoy:
Katia looks to have relocated down at 11.5N and moving more toward the West. Interesting.


Yes, I posted about that just before the blog updated.
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Already sounding like hype on a GOM system. Not good to get TX residents up in a frenzy of soaking rains when everything fizzles out and nothing happens. Don did it, and I'm not about to jump on the bandwagon until I see actual evidence of a system! (that doesn't exist yet!)
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Quoting kshipre1:
can someone please answer this question? in the previous blog, there was an excerpt of Henry Marguisty from Accuweather and he was quoted as saying" if no trough in the pacific, then no trough in the atlantic". Then he went on to say say "no trough or something.

what is the relation between the pacific troughs and atlantic troughs?

all indications right now look to have a strong trough recurve Katia around or near Bermuda.

If not?? If I were living on the east coast, I would be terrified


The two oceans are interconnected at the atmospheric level. The pattern is trough, ridge, trough, ridge and so on. These features produce "waves " in the atmosphere. Thus, a trough over the Eastern Pacific will be followed by a ridge over the Western US and then a trough over the eastern seaboard and so on. Of course, the strength of each trough and ridge determines where exactly they are centered and how much influence they are capable of exerting on a tropical cyclone.

If you look at the image below you will see a huge high pressure over the Pacific followed by a trough over the NW US coastline ( notice the isohypse lines "dip" to the South which is how a trough looks on a map like this ), then a ridge ( isohypse rise in a clockwise fashion ), then a trough approaching the East coast

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29. Speeky

Way too early to tell. As of now, everything suggests Bermuda would be the only worry.

As is always said (same as "too early"), things can and do change.
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Quoting ncstorm:


Here is his video..he explains it more thoroughly there.

Link
That makes perfect sense.
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Katia looks to have relocated down at 11.5N and moving more toward the West. Interesting.
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Who thinks that Tropical Storm Katia will hit any land?

I think it may run up the east coast like Irene.
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Teleconnections Wiki
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Quoting angiest:


My thought is that the trough has to come from somewhere, so a trough off the east Asian coast could possibly take 10 days to make it to the east coast of the US.
I think he means they mimic each other so to speak. I think,anyway.
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Is it still up in the air, just exactly where a TC would go if one formed in the GOM this week?
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Hi-Galvestonian here. Just got an email from the city to watch trop disturbance 35. Expecting tropical storm for tx or la by Sunday. Just wanted to share what we are hearing fom city emergency mgmt.
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thanks! will view this video

just imagine if there were no trough to recurve this lady out to sea!!!!
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Because it is so far out, anything goes at this point, its hard to really pinpoint what will happen with steering currents so far out. However, the fact that models currently do steer Katia out sea makes me lean toward Katia not going out to sea. Often, the actual tracks of tropical cyclones end up much different then early guidance, even if that guidance is in agreement. Irene is a more recent example of this. But you might notice that early computer guidance loves to take tropical cyclones to Tampa, when in reality, hurricanes only on extreme rarity make landfall in Tampa Bay.

Of course, its not like its some rule that wherever long term, early guidance takes a storm, it won't go that way. But most of the time, long term, early guidance means very little to do with where it will actually go, historically. Therefore, I discount the guidance for now until it becomes within accuracy range.

My conclusion? We gotta watch Katia closely too, especially because the potential exists for it to be a major hurricane by the end of the week.
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Quoting kshipre1:
can someone please answer this question? in the previous blog, there was an excerpt of Henry Marguisty from Accuweather and he was quoted as saying" if no trough in the pacific, then no trough in the atlantic". Then he went on to say say "no trough or something.

what is the relation between the pacific troughs and atlantic troughs?

all indications right now look to have a strong trough recurve Katia around or near Bermuda.

If not?? If I were living on the east coast, I would be terrified


I believe it is related to teleconnections, where weather patterns from distant points are related somehow.
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thanks!
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Quoting kshipre1:
can someone please answer this question? in the previous blog, there was an excerpt of Henry Marguisty from Accuweather and he was quoted as saying" if no trough in the pacific, then no trough in the atlantic". Then he went on to say say "no trough or something.

what is the relation between the pacific troughs and atlantic troughs?

all indications right now look to have a strong trough recurve Katia around or near Bermuda.

If not?? If I were living on the east coast, I would be terrified


Here is his video..he explains it more thoroughly there.

Link
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16222
Quoting kshipre1:
can someone please answer this question? in the previous blog, there was an excerpt of Henry Marguisty from Accuweather and he was quoted as saying" if no trough in the pacific, then no trough in the atlantic". Then he went on to say say "no trough or something.

what is the relation between the pacific troughs and atlantic troughs?

all indications right now look to have a strong trough recurve Katia around or near Bermuda.

If not?? If I were living on the east coast, I would be terrified


My thought is that the trough has to come from somewhere, so a trough off the east Asian coast could possibly take 10 days to make it to the east coast of the US.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
Quoting atmoaggie:
Good work, Portlight.

"Portlight volunteer Thomas Hudson clears a driveway yesterday in Hollywood, Maryland."
Someone get that guy a real chain saw...the tree shown is more than that one can handle, I think.


I noticed that as well. He will be there quite a while just cutting up that one tree.
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12z Run of the GFS is coming out.
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Good work, Portlight.

"Portlight volunteer Thomas Hudson clears a driveway yesterday in Hollywood, Maryland."
Someone get that guy a real chain saw...the tree shown is more than that one can handle, I think.
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T.C.F.W.
012/TS/K/CX
MARK
11.381N/34.03XW



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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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