Flooding from record rains kills 11 in Tennessee; oil spill update

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:52 PM GMT on May 03, 2010

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Nashville, Tennessee remains virtually paralyzed this morning thanks to that city's heaviest recorded 1-day and 2-day rainfall in its history. A remarkable 7.25" of rain fell on the city Sunday, breaking the record for most rain in a single day (previously 6.60", set September 13, 1979.) Nashville's third greatest day of rainfall on record occurred Saturday, when 6.32" fell. Nashville also eclipsed its greatest 6-hour and 12-hour rainfall events on record, with 5.57" and 7.20", respectively, falling on Sunday. And, remarkably, only 2 days into the month, May 2010 is already the wettest May on record for Nashville.

Rainfall records were smashed all across Tennessee and Kentucky, with amounts as high as 17.73" recorded at Camden, TN, and 17.02" at Brownsville, TN. According to Chris Burt, the author of the excellent book Extreme Weather, the 13.30" that fell on Camden in 24 hours just missed eclipsing the state's all-time 24-hour precipitation record, the 13.60" inches that fell on Milan on September 13, 1982. Jackson, Tennessee had its rainiest day in its 63-year weather history on Sunday, 7.93". Bowling Green, Kentucky had its heaviest 2-day precipitation event on record, 9.67". Records in Bowling Green go back to 1870. The University of Wisconsin GOES Satellite Blog has some excellent imagery showing the remarkable plume of tropical moisture that crossed over Central America from the Eastern Pacific and fed the record rains.


Figure 1. Radar estimated rainfall for May 1 - 2, 2010 from the Nashville, Tennessee radar. A large region of the Tennessee and Kentucky received over ten inches of rain, with many areas receiving more than fifteen inches.


Figure 2. Flood forecast for the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee. Image credit: NOAA.

The record rains triggered massive flooding that has killed at least eleven people in Tennessee, with two missing. The Cumberland River in downtown Nashville has surged to a height of 51', which is 11' over flood height, and the highest level the river has reached since a flood control project was completed in the early 1960s. The river is expected to crest this afternoon at 11.5' above flood stage, bringing flood waters to a large portion of the downtown area. The mayor has ordered all schools, parks, and libraries closed today, and commuter bus and train services have also been suspended. Five people died in Nashville due to the flooding. The Harpeth River at Bellevue, Tennessee to its greatest flood height since record keeping began in 1921. The river had a depth of 2 feet early Saturday morning before the rains began, and was running at a depth of 29' early this morning, breaking the record of 24.34' set in 1948. (To check out the flood heights, use our wundermap for Nashville with the "USGS River" layer turned on.) The Duck River at Hurricane Mills reached 28.7' yesterday morning before its streamgage stopped operating, its 2nd greatest flood height since record keeping began in 1926 (record: 30.7' in 1948.)

The record rains were accompanied by a surge of very warm air that set record high temperature marks at 21 major airports across the Eastern U.S. on Saturday; 19 more records were set on Sunday. This is not surprising, since more moisture can evaporate into warmer air, making record-setting rainfall events more likely when record high temperatures are present.


Figure 3. A portable classroom building from a nearby high school floats past submerged cars on I-24 near Nashville, TN on May 1, 2010. One person died in the flooding in this region of I-24. Roughly 200 - 250 vehicles got submerged on this section of I-24, according to wunderphotographer laughingjester, who was a tow truck operator called in to clear out the stranded vehicles.

Funding issues to take 17 Tennessee streamgages offline
According to the USGS web site, seventeen Tennessee streamflow gages with records going back up to 85 years will stop collecting data on July 1 because of budget cuts. With up to thirteen people in Tennessee dying from flooding this weekend, now hardly seems to be the time to be skimping on monitoring river flow levels by taking 17 of Tennessee's 94 streamflow gages out of service. These gages are critical for proper issuance of flood warnings to people in harm's way. Furthermore, Tennessee and most of the northern 2/3 of the U.S. can expect a much higher incidence of record flooding in coming decades. This will be driven by two factors: increased urban development causing faster run-off, and an increase in very heavy precipitation events due to global warming. Both factors have already contributed to significant increases in flooding events in recent decades over much of the U.S. According the landmark 2009 U.S. Climate Impact Report from the U.S. Global Change Research Program, "the amount of rain falling in the heaviest downpours has increased approximately 20 percent on average in the past century, and this trend is very likely to continue, with the largest increases in the wettest places." The USGS web site advertises that users who can contribute funding for the non-Federal share of costs to continue operation of these streamgages should contact Shannon Williams of the USGS Tennessee Water Science Center at 615-837-4755 or swilliam@usgs.gov. Tennessee is not the only state with streamgages at risk of closing down; fully 276 gages in 37 states have been shut down or will be shut down later this year (Figure 4.)


Figure 4. Streamgages that have been discontinued or are being considered for discontinuation or for conversion from continuous record discharge to stage-only stations. Funds for these 276 threatened streamgages are from the U.S. Geological Survey and other Federal, State, Tribal, and local agencies. For those streamgages that have already been discontinued, extensive efforts were made to find another funding source; however, when no funding was made available the streamgages had to be discontinued. For those streamgages at risk for discontinuation, the current funding source has indicated that it can no longer fund the streamgage. Efforts are currently underway to identify another funding source for the operation of these streamgages; however, if no funding is identified, then these streamgages will have to be discontinued also. If you have questions about specific streamgages, click on the state of concern on the USGS web page of threatened stream gages.

Oil spill update
The oil slick from the April 20 explosion and blowout of the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon has retreated from the coast, thanks to a slackening of the persistent onshore winds that have affected the northern Gulf of Mexico over the past week. Onshore winds of 10 - 15 knots will continue today, according to the latest NWS marine forecast, then shift to sideshore (out of the west) on Tuesday, as a cold front passes. Winds will then resume a weak onshore flow at 5 - 10 knots, Wednesday through Friday. These winds should cause only a slow transport of the oil slick towards the coast. I don't expect the spill will affect any land areas for the remainder of the week, with the possible exception of the mouth of the Mississippi River in Louisiana and the Chandeleur Islands. The latest forecast of Gulf currents from the NOAA HYCOM model (see also this alternative view of the HYCOM ocean current forecast) show weak ocean currents affecting the region during the remainder of the week. These currents will not be strong enough to push any oil southwards into the Loop Current over the next five days, so the Keys and South Florida are safe from oil for now.


Figure 5. Previous location and forecast location for tomorrow of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Image credit: NOAA Office of Response and Restoration. See also the trajectory maps available at State of Louisiana web site.

Jeff Masters

Flooding on I-24 (XMLP)
Flooding on I-24
Lick Creek Bridge (Wingman100)
God is cleaning out the creek and I think making a statement about cleanliness
Lick Creek Bridge
Removing the flood damaged cars and trucks. (laughingjester)
I am a wrecker driver for Martin's wrecker service. We were called to remove the vehicles that got caught in the flooding on interstate I 24 westbound near the Bell Road exit in Nashville Tennessee. Of course this is after the waters had subsided. It was roughly 200, 250 cars and trucks that got caught up in the flood. The debris to left is actually the remnants of a portable classroom that floated alongside the interstate and eventually rolled over and disintegrated.
Removing the flood damaged cars and trucks.

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These are the North Carolina State University numbers (released 4/26/10)

Named Storms: 15-18

Hurricanes: 8-11

Major Hurricanes: N/A
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting twistermania:


Sure are taking their sweet time.
i thought you were in chat... :D (matt)
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Sornchaser? Lol. Sounds like snortchaser.
I changed it its spelled right now.
Member Since: April 8, 2010 Posts: 15 Comments: 2572
502. and 504. Thanks
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Quoting alexhurricane1991:
Thanks for the answer sornchaser2007
Sornchaser? Lol. Sounds like snortchaser.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting cyclonekid:
When does NOAA issue 2010 Hurricane Season Predictions?


Sure are taking their sweet time.
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Quoting cyclonekid:
When does NOAA issue 2010 Hurricane Season Predictions?
Normally Mid-May

Quoting alexhurricane1991:
Isnt .5 considered neutral already or is it less than .5?
I consider neutral 0.0. Read Post 501 for a better explanation.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Well, the graph I just posted shows that all nino regions have cooled over the past 2 weeks. By the next ENSO update we'll likely be below .5C (Neutral)
Thanks for the answer stormchaser2007
Member Since: April 8, 2010 Posts: 15 Comments: 2572
Quoting cyclonekid:
When does NOAA issue 2010 Hurricane Season Predictions?


Late May I believe.

They're usually pretty vague with their forecast numbers so Ill be more interested in CSU and TSR.
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:


Some key El Nino regions continue to warm: the equator region directly west of 100W, an area north of the Galapagos, and the coastal border between Peru and Chile.


Well, the graph I just posted shows that all nino regions have cooled over the past 2 weeks. By the next ENSO update we'll likely be below .5C (Neutral)
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When does NOAA issue 2010 Hurricane Season Predictions?
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Nino 3.4 is officially at .5

Isnt .5 considered neutral already or is it less than .5?
Member Since: April 8, 2010 Posts: 15 Comments: 2572
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


Some key El Nino regions continue to warm: the equator region directly west of 100W, an area north of the Galapagos, and the coastal border between Peru and Chile.
Drak just posted a graph that shows that the El Niño 1+2 is cooling considerably, and if you look at an animation of the last 30 days of the SST's in that region you will notice cooling.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
496. beell
The chamber is actually a converted coffer dam that was used after Hurricane Katrina to facilitate the repair of shallow-water wellheads

Oughta put that one in the Smithsonian if it works, CRS.

And I bet those are some proud welders who want it to work just as much as anyone.

Thanks.
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 145 Comments: 16921
Quoting HurricaneSwirl:
472. Laurence?

correct, BOM Cat 5 made landfall, TD, went off shore, intensified to Cat 5 and made landfall again, was cat 1 900km's inland. produced enough rain to make water falls stream down the side of Ayres Rock.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Amazing warmth.



Some key El Nino regions continue to warm: the equator region directly west of 100W, an area north of the Galapagos, and the coastal border between Peru and Chile.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Nino 3.4 is officially at .5

It should be neutral at the start of the season, imo.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting TexasGulf:
StormW: You never did answer the million dollar question... Will the Bermuda High stay to the West where it is now, or will it tend toward the East later in the season?

Please break out your crystal ball and see what image appears.
I say it will stay to the west, it might wobble east/west as the season progresses, but you get it. 2004 will be very similar to this season.
Quoting StormW:


Darn Storm, you beat me to it, lol.
Quoting alexhurricane1991:
Dont worry people will reconize me with the avitar i will put up.
I like the new avatar.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Nino 3.4 is officially at .5

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StormW: You never did answer the million dollar question... Will the Bermuda High stay to the West where it is now, or will it tend toward the East later in the season?

Please break out your crystal ball and see what image appears.
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Amazing warmth.

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Earlier today, we had a heavy rainstorm with pea-sized hail. The storm later turned into a thunderstorm that rained itself out.


Winds pushing oil spill eastward, towards Florida.
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472. Laurence?
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we guys are saying down here "BRING THE WAVE BRING THE WAVE!!!!!!!!!!!!"
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http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2010/05/03/2292747.aspx

Plan B: Put a lid on it
Putting a lid on the leaks appears to be the most promising medium-term strategy. Workers from Louisiana-based Wild Well Control are currently slaving over a 125-ton, 40-foot-high chamber that would be set on top of the largest leak source, toward the end of the bent-up pipeline now lying on the sea floor.

Oil flowing into this chamber would be collected and brought up through a new 5,000-foot pipeline to a ship floating on the surface, the Deepwater Enterprise. The oil would be separated from seawater and gas, and then offloaded to an onshore oil terminal. As explained in this fact sheet, the Deepwater Enterprise can process 15,000 barrels of oil a day and store as much as 139,000 barrels. The system could collect as much as 85 percent of the oil rising from the seafloor.





The chamber is actually a converted coffer dam that was used after Hurricane Katrina to facilitate the repair of shallow-water wellheads. This first containment structure could be ready to put down from the Deepwater Enterprise in a week or so, and a second structure would be built for Leak No. 2. As for Leak No. 3, the smallest of the breaks, BP plans to use a robo-sub to install a shutoff valve on the pipe as early as today.

Doing all this may sound simple, but the containment strategy has never been used in a deep-water situation before. Ocean currents and oil-rig wreckage will complicate the coming effort to place the chambers precisely over the leaks, and it remains to be seen whether the structures will collect the leaking oil the way BP hopes they will.



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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Don't change your avatar, people begin to get used to it and when you change it nobody recognizes you, it happened to me with Patrap when he changed the blue angel to "IRONMAN'! lol.
Dont worry people will reconize me with the avitar i will put up.
Member Since: April 8, 2010 Posts: 15 Comments: 2572
Quoting Tazmanian:



Polo


Not loud enough Taz. Put some feeling into it!!! LOL
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NOAA graphic showing the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone as it was on July 27, 2009. It covered an area of about 6,000 sq.miles South of Louisiana coast. This is about average size for the summer dead zone during the last 5-years.

The dead zone is an area of low-oxygen water due to overgrowth of algae caused by runoff from agriculture fertilizers and other discharges from the waterways. In this area, most of the water from just above sea floor to just below the surface is oxygen deprived and cannot support most fish life.

This year's 2010 dead zone should be just as large. Fish cannot flee in that direction to escape the oil-filled water. Birds cannot fish in the oxygen starved waters. Basically, this forms a barrier to the West of the oil slick.

Just FYI, but the two effects may combine to do a real number on fish populations this year.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Ului???

Nope
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Link

worth reading
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Quoting SQUAWK:
MARCO!!!!



Polo
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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
Calif. governor ends support for offshore drilling

Link
By SAMANTHA YOUNG (AP) – 1 hour ago

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday withdrew his support of a plan to expand oil drilling off the California coast, citing the massive oil spill that resulted from a drilling rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.

The announcement assures that no new drilling will take place off the state's coastline in the foreseeable future because Schwarzenegger would have to include the drilling proposal in his May revision of the state budget.

Speaking at a news conference near Sacramento, the governor said television images of the oil spill in the Gulf have changed his mind about the safety of ocean-based oil platforms.

"You turn on the television and see this enormous disaster, you say to yourself, 'Why would we want to take on that kind of risk?'" Schwarzenegger said.

The Republican governor had proposed expanding oil drilling off the coast of Santa Barbara County to help close the state's $20 billion budget deficit. Democrats last year blocked a similar proposal, but Schwarzenegger renewed his support this year, saying it was a reliable way to increase revenue as the state grapples with an ongoing fiscal crisis.

...


a lot of people think that those rigs down there in santa barbara are not in use. to be honest with you they look really cool at night.
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 3 Comments: 1749
.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting AussieStorm:
Guess this Cyclone.

Ului???
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Calif. governor ends support for offshore drilling

Link
By SAMANTHA YOUNG (AP) – 1 hour ago

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday withdrew his support of a plan to expand oil drilling off the California coast, citing the massive oil spill that resulted from a drilling rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.

The announcement assures that no new drilling will take place off the state's coastline in the foreseeable future because Schwarzenegger would have to include the drilling proposal in his May revision of the state budget.

Speaking at a news conference near Sacramento, the governor said television images of the oil spill in the Gulf have changed his mind about the safety of ocean-based oil platforms.

"You turn on the television and see this enormous disaster, you say to yourself, 'Why would we want to take on that kind of risk?'" Schwarzenegger said.

The Republican governor had proposed expanding oil drilling off the coast of Santa Barbara County to help close the state's $20 billion budget deficit. Democrats last year blocked a similar proposal, but Schwarzenegger renewed his support this year, saying it was a reliable way to increase revenue as the state grapples with an ongoing fiscal crisis.

...
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Quoting Patrap:



i'm sorry but what these things? it reminds me of a lava lamp or those bubble things that keep the temps?
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 3 Comments: 1749
Guess this Cyclone.

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If that wave that emerged off of Africa can get away from the ITCZ and into the Caribbean we might get things cookin'!

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56089
469. beell
TROPICAL WEATHER DISCUSSION
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
805 PM EDT MON MAY 03 2010

...ITCZ...

ITCZ AXIS IS CENTERED ALONG 6N10W 7N22W 6N30W 6N45W 4N51W. AN
EMBEDDED SURFACE TROUGH IS ALONG 22W FROM 2N-10N
. SCATTERED
SHOWERS ARE WITHIN 90 NM OF THE TROUGH AXIS. ELSEWHERE...
SCATTERED MODERATE CONVECTION IS FROM 5N-8N BETWEEN 14W-17W.
WIDELY SCATTERED MODERATE CONVECTION IS FROM 5N-8N BETWEEN
38W-41W...AND FROM 1N-7N BETWEEN 48W-50W.
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 145 Comments: 16921
Quoting alexhurricane1991:
how do you change your avitar? thanks
Don't change your avatar, people begin to get used to it and when you change it nobody recognizes you, it happened to me with Patrap when he changed the blue angel to "IRONMAN'! lol.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Pretty warm in Houston today. Got up to 94 here in Humble on the NE side of the city up by the big airport. Long range shows NOTHING in the way of rain or any system moving in to give us relief. We're running 5 to 6 inches behind in rain now. It was crystal clear all day long. This keeps up the GOM is gong to warm up real fast!
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Click it,use Modify image,delete .. upload another following the upload form.

..be sure to click the Primary Portrait thingee ma bog
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how do you change your avitar? thanks
Member Since: April 8, 2010 Posts: 15 Comments: 2572
Chile earthquake rather close to the surface, makes the shaking much more intense. I hope everyone is safe and sound.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting StormW:


Hard to say right now how far it will shift...with a negative NAO, and going into a possible La Nina, I would expect more of a bridging high, as opposed to a single center shifting too far east.
Problem with the westward building B/A high is the Cape Verde systems which tend to border it, that could spell trouble of the SE U.S, Florida specifically.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56089
sirmaelstrom, I have ignored you. 3 posts exactly the same.
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Magnitude: 6.4

Date/Time: Monday, May 03, 2010 at 23:09:45 UTC

Location: 38.110°S, 73.648°W

Region: OFFSHORE BIO-BIO, CHILE

Depth: 20.6 km (12.8 miles)

Distances: 55 km (35 miles) S of Lebu, Bio-Bio, Chile
115 km (70 miles) NW of Temuco, Araucania, Chile
135 km (85 miles) WSW of Los Angeles, Bio-Bio, Chile
585 km (360 miles) SSW of SANTIAGO, Region Metropolitana, Chile



*There has been one report of very strong shaking and moderate damage.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194

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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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