All Weather News

Isaac Pushes Flooding Rains Toward Ohio Valley

31 Aug 2012, 6:40 am

Soggy Swirl. The soggy remains of “Isaac” are pushing north across the Mississippi River Valley, soaking Arkansas and southern Missouri. Thursday evening IR image courtesy of the Naval Research Lab.

Isaac: A Drought-Denting Extra-Tropical Rainstorm. The models are in pretty good agreement that what’s left of Isaac will push toward Kansas City and St. Louis, then veer east into Peoria and Indianapolis, unleashing excessive rains on drought-parched counties across the Midwest and Ohio River Valley. Rain is coming too late to help farmers this year, but Isaac’s soggy remnants may help to recharge soil moisture and underground aquifers.

Instant Deluge. When you move to St. Louis, Louisville or Cincinnati, the last thing you probably think about is a washed-up hurricane washing out your Labor Day plans. NOAA HPC is printing out some 4-8″ rainfall amounts from Missouri to West Virginia from Saturday into Monday of next week.

Washout! Here’s what a tropical storm can do, turning creeks into raging rivers, washing out highways from the sheer force of moving water. Photo courtesy of WKRG.

Not Recommended. This is how many people mee their maker, crossing flooded-out roads. All it takes is 2 feet of rapidly-moving water to turn your vehicle into a boat, with potentially tragic consequences. As the NWS likes to say, “turn around, don’t drown!” Find a detour or stay put until waters recede. Thanks to Anna Mills and WeatherNation TV for passing on this pic taken near Mobile, Alabama.

Not Again. Although the new and improved ($14.5 billion) levee system protected metro New Orleans, the outlying parishes didn’t fair nearly as well, in fact in some areas flooding rivaled Katrina, 7 years ago (almost to the day). Details: “Residents evacuate their flooded neighborhood, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in LaPlace, La. Isaac staggered toward central Louisiana early Thursday, its weakening winds still potent enough to drive storm surge into portions of the coast and the River Parishes between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.” (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Isaac Headlines:

* Flooding areas north and south of New Orleans, and officials had to scramble to evacuate and rescue people as waters quickly rose.
* Along the shores of Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans, officials sent scores of buses and dozens of high-water vehicles to help evacuate about 3,000 people as rising waters lapped against houses and left cars stranded
* Floodwaters rose waist-high in some neighborhoods, and the Louisiana National Guard was working with sheriff’s deputies to rescue people stranded in their homes.

Severe Flooding. Details: “A submerged cow is stranded amid debris in floodwaters after Isaac passed through the region, in Plaquemines Parish, La., Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. Isac staggered toward central Louisiana early Thursday, its weakening winds still potent enough to drive storm surge into portions of the coast and the River Parishes between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.” (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

* The LouisianaNational Guard ceased rescue operations in Plaquemines Parish, saying it felt confident it had gotten everyone out. There were no serious injuries. National Guard spokesman Capt. Lance Cagnolatti said guardsmen would stay in the area over the coming days to help.
* To the east, evacuations were ordered in a sparsely-populated area as a lake dam threatened to break near the MississippiLouisiana border. Officials in Tangipahoa Parish, La., feared the water it would pour into the already swollen river would flood low-lying areas downstream. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said officials there would release water at the dam.
* The hardest-hit area was Plaquemines Parish, southeast of New Orleans, where floodwaters overtopped at least one levee on Wednesday and left many homes under about 12 feet of water.

Entire Louisiana Parishes Submerged. Details: “A car sits submerged after Isaac passed through the region, in Plaquemines Parish, La., Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. Isaac staggered toward central Louisiana early Thursday, its weakening winds still potent enough to drive storm surge into portions of the coast and the River Parishes between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.” (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

* Parish President Billy Nungesser said U.S. Army National Guard troops and local sheriff’s office officials were going house to house through the area on Thursday to ensure that there were no deaths or injuries.
* Clearing weather permitted the use of military helicopters, mostly UH-60 Blackhawks, to aid in the operation.
* In St. John the Baptist Parish, northwest of the city, about 3,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes before dawn on Thursday due to storm surges from Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas, authorities said.
* In Slidell, a town of about 27,000 people northeast of New Orleans, storm surge from Lake Pontchartrain left the Eden Isle community under about a foot of water.
* Emergency services rescued about 350 people from Slidell homes and neighboring communities hit by more severe flooding, local authorities said.

A Lonely Walk. Although downtown New Orleans dodged a bullet with Isaac, surrounding suburbs (not protected by the new levee) weren’t nearly as lucky. Details: “A man walks through floodwaters from Tropical Storm Isaac in Jean Lafitte, La., Aug. 30, 2012. The storm’s once fierce winds slowed to 45 miles per hour on Thursday as it moved out of southern Louisiana and headed north, continuing to bring heavy rains and flooding.” (Michael Appleton/The New York Times)

* Nearly half of Louisiana electrical customers lost power and another 150,000 were out in neighboring Mississippi. Louisiana’s Public Service Commission said 901,000 homes and businesses around the state — about 47 percent of all customers — were without power Thursday. Utility company Entergy said that included about 157,000 in New Orleans.
* New Orleans’ biggest problems seemed to be downed power lines, scattered tree limbs and minor flooding. One person was reported killed, compared with 1,800 deaths from Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi.
* Multi-billion dollar defenses built to protect New Orleans itself, after it was ravaged by Katrina almost exactly seven years ago, passed their first major test, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Storm Surge Aftermath. Tides rose 8-12 feet across coastal Mississippi and Louisiana, and although water levels dropped slightly today as Isaac’s winds diminished, coastal areas remained engulfed in water. Details: “Debris lines the parking lot of the Pass Christian Harbor on Thursday, August 30, 2012.” (Amanda McCoy/Biloxi Sun Herald/MCT)

* A Coast Guard helicopter hoisted a couple and their dogs early Thursday from a home in LaPlace, between the Mississippi Riverand Lake Ponchartrain, The couple was taken to New Orleans and reported in good condition.
* The oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico region has so far reported no major storm-related damage to infrastructure. Energy production was expected to start ramping up again, after nearly grinding to a halt as Isaac closed in on Louisiana on Tuesday.
* President Barack Obama declared federal emergencies in Louisiana and Mississippi late Wednesday, allowing federal aid to be freed up for affected areas.

Mystery Ship Near Fort Morgan. Look what washed up on the beach at Gulf Shores, Mississippi – whipped along by Isaac’s storm surge, wreckage of an old shipwreck. Details from Meyer Vacation Rentals via Facebook: “Look what Isaac uncovered! The first recent appearance of this mystery ship, believed to have been a blockade runner during the Civil War, was during Hurricane Ivan in 2004. In 2008, Hurricane Ike gave us a bigger glimpse. And now in 2012, Hurricane Isaac is giving us a nearly full view. Hmmm . . . 2004, 2008, 2012. All hurricanes with names beginning with I. All within a couple of weeks on the calendar. While we hope it’s the end of the pattern, we must admit it sure is interesting to see it appear!

Hurricane Leslie? Still a tropical storm, “Leslie” is forecast to become a hurricane, and then recurve to the north/northwest, posing some risk to Bermuda. The map above shows a strong Category 3 Hurricane Leslie next Friday, September 7. Odds are it will stay out to sea, but an approaching trough of low pressure may nudge Leslie farther to the northwest. New England will probably experience strong swells from this major hurricane; right now the odds of landfall over the USA are small, less than 1 in 10.

 

Hurricane Isaac Drives Up Gas Prices. Could That Affect The Election? The Washington Post has the story; here’s an excerpt: “According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Isaac has forced 93 percent of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico to come to a halt. That’s a loss of 1.3 million barrels daily of crude, about 22 percent of all U.S. oil production. Five gasoline refineries in the Gulf and four crude pipelines have also closed temporarily. It’s not surprising, then, that gas prices are now jumping even higher, to about $3.80 per gallon. Gas prices had already risen 40 cents per gallon in the last two months after the United States tightened oil sanctions against Iran and a refinery exploded in Venezuela. Isaac is adding even new pressure. So, could these higher fuel prices sway the November election?

Severe Weather Warnings: Twitter, Text or TV? Here’s an interesting story from Information Week: “NOAA awarded four grants, worth a total of $879,000, in an attempt to understand and improve the use of various media in delivering timely information in a way that encourages people to take action to protect themselves.  The grants are in support of NOAA’s Weather-Ready Nation initiative. Experts from the agency’s Storm Prediction Center, National Severe Storms Laboratory, and weather and river forecast centers will work with the award recipients. Twitter, text, email, the Web, or traditional media–what’s the best source of information in the face of life-threatening weather conditions like Hurricane Isaac? The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded four research grants to find out.

Advanced Tornado/Hurricane Shelter Panels From Recycled Materials. Here’s an interesting post from Clean Technica: “Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham have designed new storm shelter panels made from recycled materials that have passed the National Storm Shelter Association’s tornado threat test. The new panels are a part of a new high-tech shelter they are designing.”

Sony’s 84″ 4K TV In Stores By The End Of The Year. HDTV is so 2005. According to Sony and other TV manufacturers it’s almost obsolete, because now there’s 4K TV! They have to come up with a better name though. Details from gizmag.com; here’s an excerpt: “The biggest announcement from Sony’s IFA press conference, if you’re going purely by the size of the device, was the unveiling of its KD-84X9005 BRAVIA LCD TV. Packing an 84-inch LCD panel with 3,840 x 2,160 pixels (that’s a total of 8.29 megapixels), the KD-84X9005 is Sony’s first 4K television and outdoes Sharp’s AQUOS LC-90LE745U in resolution, although not in size. In another first, the edge-lit LED unit also features passive 3D instead of the active 3D seen in the company’s previous 3D models.”

* if you really have your heart set on a monstrous 145″ 4K TV, check this out. Only one small problem: there’s no 4K content…yet.

Galactic Service: Virgin Airlines Offers One Frequent Flier A Trip To Space. It’s pretty high up on my bucket list: seeing Earth (and weather) from 200 miles above the ground; at some point the prices will come down, right? No time soon, I fear. TechCrunch has the story; here’s an excerpt: “Virgin America is one of my favorite airlines to fly on — it’s kind of like the airline of the future, with interactive displays in every headrest, cool lighting, an animated safety video, and there’s almost always WiFi on board. But Virgin is looking to be even more futuristic, promising the customer with the most miles at the end of the year a chance to upgrade to Galactic status. That’s right, the person who flew the most on Virgin Airlines will win a ride to space courtesy of Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. Starting now through August 7, 2013, the contest will allow the most frequent flier to take a trip on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, a carbon composite commercial space craft.”

Experimental Device May Keep Trucks From Jack-Knifing. Technology will save us! Maybe not, but I found this entry from gizmag.com interesting: “If there’s one thing that truck drivers don’t want their articulated tractor/trailer rigs to do, it’s jack-knifing. This typically occurs when the tractor skids on the road, and the momentum of the trailer causes it to swing out from behind, ultimately resulting in the tractor and trailer being folded up against one another – not unlike a jack knife’s body and blade. The folded rig usually ends up blocking the road, and the tractor can’t undo the situation under its own power. Fortunately, Greek researchers have recently created a system that they claim could greatly reduce jack-knifing.”

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Welcome to the WeatherNation blog. Every day I sift through hundreds of stories, maps, graphics and meteorological web sites, trying to capture some of the most interesting weather nuggets, the stories behind the forecast. I’ll link to stories and share some of the web sites I use. I’m still passionate about the weather, have been ever since Tropical Storm Agnes flooded my home in Lancaster, PA in 1972. I’ve started 5 weather-related companies. “EarthWatch” created the world’s first 3-D weather graphics for TV stations – Steven Spielberg used our software in “Jurassic Park” and “Twister”. My last company, “Digital Cyclone”, personalized weather for cell phones. “My-Cast” was launched in 2001 and is still going strong on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. I sold DCI to Garmin in 2007 so I could focus on my latest venture: WeatherNation. I also write a daily weather column for The Star Tribune startribune.com/weather And if you’re on Twitter, you’ll find me @pdouglasweather

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