Monday, May 28, 2018

Another Destructive Flash Flood in Ellicott City, Md.; Tropical Cyclone Mekunu Aftermath in Oman and Yemen; & Subtropical Storm Alberto

Phenomenal cataracts of flood waters tumble over rugged desert terrain in southern Oman near Salalah following Tropical Cyclone Mekunu, May 26, 2018.

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Apologies for no updates on Sunday. In addition, today is Memorial Day and I am off and would like to take advantage of that fact, so my plan is to post an entry tonight. However, entries after I visit one of my usual two bars on these sorts of days tend to not happen, which would mean no entry until late tomorrow night (after the gym).

Wreckage and debris following highly destructive flash flooding in Ellicott City, Md., May 28, 2018.

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2018 Maryland Flood?

I do want to note that Ellicott City, Maryland was struck by a incredible flash flood yesterday -- possibly with loss of life -- as a series of drenching thunderstorms trained over that part of Howard County. Rainfall amounts of 4 to 8 to 12 inches (with one place recording 13 inches) fell in just three hours.

Flood waters and a destroyed vehicle along Main Street, Ellicott City, Md., May 27, 2018.

Yes, the "EC Strong" on the marquee is the city's adopted motto following the July 2016 flash flooding, which makes this image a bit darkly humorous. That event is known as the 2016 Maryland Flood, so I guess this one will be called the 2018 Maryland Flood.

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This is the second such "1,000 year flood" (or whatever you want to call it) in less than two years -- the other having occurred on July 30, 2016. Chester -- who lives not far from historic Ellicott City -- said that this rainfall event was even more severe in his area than 2016 event.

A parking lot with vehicles is turned into a swirling flood zone, Ellicott City, Md., May 27, 2018.

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Below are three Washington Post articles about it including two from the CWG gang (links embedded) and separated by flood-related images:

Still image of the flood waters raging down Main Street at their worst, Ellicott City, Md., May 27, 2018.

When my mother told me (on the phone) that this was going on, I thought she was seeing old footage from 2016, but no, this very much happened yesterday.

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Radar for central Maryland focused on Ellicott City late afternoon May 27, 2018 showing the training of cells.

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Radar-estimated precipitation totals for central Maryland for May 27, 2018 with a maximum amount at Ellicott City put at 9.56 inches.

That 9.65 inches fell within a 5-hour period -- and most of it within a 3 to 4 hour period -- and all getting sluiced down those steep, semi-impermeable channels in that part of Ellicott City.

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Kelli Myers and her son, Sam, after having been rescued from the flood waters in Ellicott City, Md., May 27, 2018.

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Official rainfall totals for May 27th, 2018 at the four main regional ASOS stations were as follows:

KDMH: 3.17"
KBWI: 1.04"
KIAD: 0.02"
KDCA: Trace (screw you)

KDMH's monthly total is now 8.83 inches, which is probably its wettest May on record (it was commissioned on April 29, 1998, making May 1998 its first full month of obs). As a result, it does not yet have a full 30-year data set for form a baseline average.

Both KDCA and KBWI are over 7 inches of rain for the month at 7.40 inches and 7.01 inches, respectively, while KIAD is at 6.52 inches (through May 27th).

Why can't a 1,000-year rain event hit frickin' National Airport's rain gauge?

Speaking of Baltimore, read this.

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Cyclone Mekunu Aftermath …

Raging flood waters cataract over a steep embankment in Salalah, Oman following Cyclone Mekunu, May 26, 2018.

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I also haven't yet posted a follow-up entry about Tropical Cyclone Mekunu striking Oman as a category 3 equivalent hurricane.

Onlookers survey a destroyed roadway in or near Salalah, Oman following Cyclone Mekunu, May 26, 2018.

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The death toll is put at 13 in both Oman and Yemen (including the hard hit island of Socotra) with another eight missing (see here).

Four men walk on a flooded roadway on the Yemeni island of Socotra in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Mekunu, May 26, 2018.

The largest loss of life appears to have been on this island famous for its freaky-looking "dragon blood tree."

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Flooded roadway with partially submerged cars, Salalah, Oman, May 26, 2018 following Tropical Cyclone Mekunu.

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There was considerable damage, of course, as raging torrents of floodwaters destroyed buildings and roadways. Places in Yemen were also hard hit, and that country is in rather bad shape to begin with in terms of infrastructure and ability to handle natural disasters.

A destroyed roadway in Salalah, Oman as a result of Tropical Cyclone Mekunu, May 26, 2018.

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According to the Times of Oman, Salalah -- near where the tropical cyclone came ashore -- received an incredible 617 mm or 24.29 inches of rain. The city's annual average is 131 mm or 5.16 inches, so that's nearly five years' worth of rain in a single event. I'm unsure if Muscat itself recorded any rainfall.

A nearly submerged car in a flooded part of Salalah, Oman as a result of Tropical Cyclone Mekunu, May 26, 2018.

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Yes, this is the desert sultanate of Oman …

Chocolate brown floodwaters fill a normally dry stream bed from the torrents of rain unleashed by Tropical Cyclone Mekunu in the hilly terrain near Salalah, Oman, May 26, 2018.

It will be interesting to see satellite imagery of the southern Arabian peninsula in the coming days as all of this mud/sand/debris-filled water washes into the Arabian Sea.

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NOAA satellite image -- in night band mode -- showing the southern Arabian peninsula including parts of Oman and Yemen as Tropical Cyclone Mekunu approached the coastline, May 25, 2018.

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Subtropical Storm Alberto (VO5?)

Lastly about the weather, Tropical Storm Alberto -- the first Atlantic basin tropical system of the season, although it appears to be more of a hybrid system and, in fact, NHC is called it "Subtropical Storm Alberto," is coming ashore on the Florida panhandle.

SECONUS sector composite radar mosaic looped 0728 - 0838 UTC May 28, 2018.

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SECONUS sector composite radar mosaic looped 1608 - 1718 UTC May 28, 2018.

Alberto isn't in any big hurry, is he?

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Here is the info from the 10AM CDT update:

Location: 29.5N 85.8W

Placement: About 50 miles (80 km) WSW of Apalachicola and about 50 miles (80 km) S of Panama City.

Maximum sustained winds: 60 mph (90 km/h)

Present movement: N or 360 degrees at 8 mph (13 km/h)

Minimum central pressure: 992-mb or 29.30 inches Hg

NWS weather advisories (without legend) for the eastern half of the United States, 1735 UTC May 28, 2018.

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There are widespread flash flood watches out across Georgia, Alabama, eastern and central Tennessee, and the Carolinas. The moisture from Alberto is expected to reach the "DMV" including the Metro D.C. area during the upcoming week in the form of frequent rain showers but right now, there are no weather advisories in effect.

OK, that's all for now.

--Regulus

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