New England Flood Risk (severe threat Central Plains)
Labor Day Severe Threat. A ripple of low pressure tracking along the leading edge of drier air may set off a few severe storms with large hail from Omaha to Des Moines later today. Map: SPC.
“Leslie”. The latest tropical storm northeast of Puerto Rico is forecast to become a hurricane, possibly threatening Bermuda by the end of the week. Odds favor a turn out to sea, but a few models are pulling Leslie closer to the east coast of the USA. Map: NHC and Ham Weather.
Lack Of Warning On Drought Reflects Forecasting Flaws. There are limits to how well we’ll ever be able to predict devastating droughts in advance. It’s true that La Nina patterns (Pacific cooling phases) often nudge the jet stream into a pattern that favors drought for the southern USA, but it’s a sometimes unreliable signal. More on the limits of drought prediction from Climate Central meteorologist Andrew Freedman: ” In May, the U.S. Agriculture Department predicted a record corn yield after farmers planted the largest area of corn and soybeans since 1937. Three months later, after a searing drought engulfed a wide swath of the continental U.S., those crops lie in ruin. Despite all of the resources at forecasters’ disposal, the worst drought to strike the U.S. in nearly 50 years came on largely without warning across the fields of the Midwest and High Plains during late spring and early summer. Between May 1 and July 24, the drought footprint in the lower 48 states expanded from an already high 38 percent to a devastating 64 percent, engulfing more than a dozen states in the process, including nearly the entire corn and soybean growing region. Judging by past droughts, the drought of 2012 will likely cost the U.S. somewhere on the order of tens of billions of dollars.”
* the latest U.S. Drought Monitor is here.
Hurricane Isaac Highlights Gaps In Flood Protection, U.S. Senators Say. NOLA.com has the story; here’s an excerpt: “A group of high-ranking elected officials and top Army brass Saturday hailed the first major test of the New Orleans metropolitan area’s new flood protection system during Hurricane Isaac as a heartening success. But they attached several sobering caveats to their celebratory speeches during an afternoon news conference overlooking the Mississippi River….Even though the officials spoke at length about needed improvements, they also devoted considerable time to praising the metropolitan area’s new system, which cost about $14.6 billion. Col. Edward Fleming, commander of the corps’ New Orleans district, said “we clearly would have had overtopping of floodwalls” if Hurricane Isaac had hit before the new system was in place. He said storm surge that came up as high as 14 feet on the flood defense system’s new 26-foot barrier would have spilled over old barriers.”
Photo credit above:
Hurricane Isaac Storm Surge Reversed Flow Of Mississippi River. Just when you thought you’d read everything about Isaac, along comes this story from The Christian Science Monitor; here’s an excerpt: “As hurricane Isaac reached southeastern Louisiana as a Category 1 storm earlier this week, it did something unusual to the Mississippi River: It threw the river into reverse. For nearly 24 hours, according to the US Geological Survey, Isaac’s storm surge drove upriver at a pace nearly 50 percent faster than the downstream flow. This backflow produced a crest some 10 feet above the river’s prestorm height at Belle Chasse, La., in flood-beleaguered Plaquemines Parish southeast of New Orleans. The surge added eight feet to the river’s height at Baton Rouge, father north. Isaac had help. A scorching, rain-starved summer in the middle of the country sent river levels to lows not seen since a similar drought struck the region in 1998, easing the Mississippi‘s flow.”
Photo credit above: “High winds from hurricane Isaac toppled signs and caused flooding and power outages in New Orleans Wednesday.” Ann Hermes/The Christian Science Monitor.
Site Suggestion: American Weather. If you’re interested in digging into the meteorology behind “Isaac” check out this web site, American Weather. Estimating hurricane landfall is still as much an art as it is a science – which model do you believe? Do you put your trust in an ensemble of models, a weighted average, or go on a limb with a favorite simulation? If you’re a true weather geek (um..enthusiast) you’ll like this one. Thanks to Randy Peterson for teeing this one up!
- Paul Douglas
- 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/weatherAnd if you’re on Twitter, you’ll find me @pdouglasweather