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

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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 (ftogrf)
Lonely Seagull, as a storm associated with TD 16 is approaching.
Alone again, naturally

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Quoting Bordonaro:
Is the EDT? And may I please have the link to that specific site? And what does IIRC stand for?


EDT yes, right here.. scroll down to AL16 Link and IIRC = If I remember correctly.
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Quoting nash28:


LOL!!! Pat... You've reduced Press to two words/two syllables!


You dont know what delight that can bring me nash..

LOL

J/K
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"OBSERVATIONS FROM NOAA DATA BUOY 42057 FROM EARLY
THIS MORNING AND ASCAT DATA FROM AROUND 1500 UTC SUGGESTED THAT THE
SYSTEM MAY HAVE BEEN A MARGINAL TROPICAL STORM EARLIER TODAY
. THERE
IS SOME QUESTION...HOWEVER...AS TO WHETHER THOSE WINDS WERE
REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CYCLONE SCALE. IN ANY EVENT...RECENT
HURRICANE HUNTER DATA SHOWS NO EVIDENCE OF TROPICAL STORM
FORCE WINDS AT THIS TIME."
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Quoting Patrap:
ooofh,,...



Hey, knock that catapillar off Fl on that map!
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Is the EDT? And may I please have the link to that specific site? And what does IIRC stand for?
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting presslord:


Stop it!!


LOL!!! Pat... You've reduced Press to two words/two syllables!
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Another fun fact. I have never seen a subtropical system produce cloud tops of -80C. It doesn't happen. Why? Because subtropical cyclones are partially cold-core, and partially cold-core systems do not contain enough heat to push thunderstorms that high.

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Nash, I agree completely. Trends are definitely moving towards the heaviest rain being very close to the Charleston area. Not good at all for us. Luckily tides are not too high.
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Quoting Seastep:


Clarifying because it might be taken wrong.

I'm not the only one to fall on my face in my attempts at humor around here...


Ah LOL

I was gonna say...
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Quoting Patrap:
ooofh,,...



Stop it!!
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Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts
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Great shot of the "Perfect Storm" becoming subtropical.

FULL IMAGE

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Quoting sammywammybamy:


For TD16 To make TS Status


All this talk of left shifting models and school closings is getting me all hyped up! I could use a day off, I work with 5 schools. But I do not want to spend the day seeing where water has found it's way into my 1926 house from TS winds.
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Quoting Seastep:


LOL. So I'm not the only one!


Clarifying because it might be taken wrong.

I'm not the only one to fall on my face in my attempts at humor around here...
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It will be interesting to see how much 16L intensifies once it is over the Florida straights/Gulf stream.
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ooofh,,...

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Quoting Patrap:
THE HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL PREDICTION CENTER


MODEL DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSION


...CYCLONE TRACKING OVER THE NORTHEASTERN U.S. DAY 1...
PREFERENCE: NON-NAM CONSENSUS

BASED ON THE 12Z NAM INITIALIZATION ISSUES...USE OF THE NAM FOR
THIS SYSTEM IS DISCOURAGED. THE 12Z GFS...12Z ECMWF...AND 12Z
UKMET ARE IN GOOD AGREEMENT WITH THE PLACEMENT AND DEPTH OF BOTH
THE UPPER-LEVEL AND SURFACE LOWS. THE ECMWF MEAN ALSO HANDLES THE
SURFACE LOW WELL.


Fine...GFS? Shows the same thing.

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Quoting pilotguy1:


Is this gutcasting?


Yes. A system of forecasting that is unique to the forecaster based upon previous observations, influenced sometimes by the content of their most recent meal. Thsi technique causes no harm to the forecaster, as opposed to and not to be confused with the highly scientific method, "goat-casting".
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 856
Looking at the frontal boundary "moonwalking" back over us tomorrow and the possible shift west with "Nicole" we could get some obscene rainfall amounts in the next two days.
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Quoting Bordonaro:
When does the new ACTF report come out on 16L??


8:00 - 8:30 IIRC.
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THE HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL PREDICTION CENTER


MODEL DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSION


...CYCLONE TRACKING OVER THE NORTHEASTERN U.S. DAY 1...
PREFERENCE: NON-NAM CONSENSUS

BASED ON THE 12Z NAM INITIALIZATION ISSUES...USE OF THE NAM FOR
THIS SYSTEM IS DISCOURAGED. THE 12Z GFS...12Z ECMWF...AND 12Z
UKMET ARE IN GOOD AGREEMENT WITH THE PLACEMENT AND DEPTH OF BOTH
THE UPPER-LEVEL AND SURFACE LOWS. THE ECMWF MEAN ALSO HANDLES THE
SURFACE LOW WELL.
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When does the new ATCF report come out on 16L??
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
STS Olga

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Quoting sailingallover:

Hows that work there? I mean I have been down through there Myrtle beach ICW etc and you guys have creeks and sloughs everywhere but also those 3-6'+ tides. I'd think in most places it would run off with the tide. But I've never experienced a really have rain even there. IN NC I did in the Pamlico and it was just gone with the tide the next day. Now when inland rains came and flood the rivers that was different along the rivers above the tidal areas.
Also watch out for snakes if there is flooding.

it's called the Lowcountry...'cause it's low...there's nowhere for the water to go
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dont really post at all but just hope that somehow someway we get some rain in the riverview fl area( near tampa)need rain bad at my place. no rain at my place for a couple of weeks now and very dry. even with all the action around today.. barely got a sprinkle.
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SAB says TD16 has gone from a bad disease to a space shuttle.
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


then how come we have seen Sub tropical systems in the Gulf of Mexico and tropical systems by the Azores?


because when they form, water temps are around the low 70s and 60s at times..

then again water temps are not the ONLY thing that dictate whether or not a system is tropical or subtropical
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76 degrees, heat index 82 degrees, 99% humidity, 0.91 inches of rain, currently: light rain, 1005 mb pressure

West palm beach, fl
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


That is not a fair comparison due to the fact that most systems in the WPAC are larger in size than they are here regardless of what kind of development it is


Relatively though you'll see the same thing. It is not a size issue here.

There are exactly two ways this could be subtropical.

1. It is cold-core aloft (i.e. upper low...) No it doesn't have one it has an upper ridge over it.

2. It is being baroclinically enhanced by a temperature gradient boundary (front).

18z NAM initialization shows the front still well north of the system. It is warm-core at all levels. There is no evidence to the contrary.

Let me clarify something....winds displaced from the center are not a criteria for subtropical storms. They are a result of the criteria, which are cold-core characteristics. Some will try to pass off the displaced wind maxes as an actual criteria but they are not. They are a result due to how such systems are designed and the physical processes involved. It is possible to have a warm-core system with winds spread out from the center.

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Quoting Stormchaser2007:





It was a sad attempt at some humor.


LOL. So I'm not the only one!
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Quoting leo305:


SST tend to moderate the air temperature..


then how come we have seen Sub tropical systems in the Gulf of Mexico and tropical systems by the Azores?
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
TD-16/Caribbean - Rainbow Loop

TFP's are available
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


right but that is not dictated by SSTs


SST tend to moderate the air temperature..
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Quoting cat5hurricane:
Yep...flooding is a great potential here. Someone's gonna easily see local amounts in excess of 12...and watch...it'll be over my house.

Hows that work there? I mean I have been down through there Myrtle beach ICW etc and you guys have creeks and sloughs everywhere but also those 3-6'+ tides. I'd think in most places it would run off with the tide. But I've never experienced a really have rain even there. IN NC I did in the Pamlico and it was just gone with the tide the next day. Now when inland rains came and flood the rivers that was different along the rivers above the tidal areas.
Also watch out for snakes if there is flooding.
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Subtropical Cyclone:
A non-frontal low pressure system that has characteristics of both tropical and extratropical cyclones. This system is typically an upper-level cold low with circulation extending to the surface layer and maximum sustained winds generally occurring at a radius of about 100 miles or more from the center. In comparison to tropical cyclones, such systems have a relatively broad zone of maximum winds that is located farther from the center, and typically have a less symmetric wind field and distribution of convection.

Glossary of NHC Terms
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 856
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Quoting leo305:
is it just me or is cantore being a bit bitter towards chieft met bryan norcross?
i can see the same tension in the air. Cantore's bad at hiding his displeasure with his demotion of sorts at TWC.
Member Since: August 3, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 5655
i have a gut feeling TD 16 will consolidate tonight and moving over south florida as a 50-55 Mph Tropical storm
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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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