Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Flooding Rains, Violent Squalls, Meteotsunamis, and Active Volcano Golfing Tee Time: Nature & Humans, Always Perfect Together

Lightning strikes the transmission tower atop One World Trade Center during a ghostly-beautiful sunset following violent thunderstorms that crossed the New York City area, May 15, 2018; Picture by Twitter user Max Guliani and reposted in this CWG entry.

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Wednesday evening.

Well, after all that dryness and low/occasionally moderate drought extending back into last winter -- and, for that matter, into last year and the year prior that was punctuated by the widely-spaced wet spell -- we are now in a bona fide rainy period here in the Mid-Atlantic that should looks to last in earnestness through Saturday and possibly into/through next week.

NWS/NCEP/WPC QPF forecast for the Lower 48 valid days 1 - 3 valid 0Z May 17, 2018 - 0Z May 20, 2018.

Yes, that is a bull's eye of 4 to 5 inches of rain over the immediate D.C. area. 

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Sterling (LWX) has raised a flash flood watch for the Baltimore/Washington corridor and west into the piedmont region while Mt. Holly/Philadelphia (PHI) has put one in effect for much of its county warning area. Especially heavy rainfall is progged for Friday into Saturday with models -- and even the official NWS forecasts -- showing 3 to 6 inches of rainfall in the watch areas.

NWS/NCEP/WPC QPF forecast for a portion of the eastern U.S. valid through day 7, May 24, 2018, as prettied up by Pivotal Weather for the Washington Post CWG.

This is basically a remade version of the map above focused on a portion of the eastern U.S. centered on the D.C. area and through day 7 instead of day 3.

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NWS Sterling (LWX) county warning area (CWA) weather advisories updated 6:27PM EDT May 16, 2018.

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NWS Philadelphia / Mt. Holly (PHI) CWA weather advisories updated 6:27PM EDT May 16, 2018.

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Also as noted in the above-linked CWG entry, here's how much rain today's models are predicting through Friday night in Washington:

GFS: 3.1 inches
Canadian: 4.6 inches
European: 4.7 inches
NAM: 6.3 inches

12Z 5/16/2018 NAM total quantitative precipitation forecast (QPF) for part of the eastern U.S. through hour 84 / 0Z May 20, 2018, as prettied up by Pivotal Weather.

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Some additional imagery:

NWS/NCEP/WPC National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD) surface weather map forecast for the Lower 48 U.S. valid 12Z May 17, 2018.

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NWS radar-estimated rainfall for the past 7 days through earlier today, May 16, 2018, for the D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia region.

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Today's weather is being driven by a quasi-stationary boundary draped east-west across Maryland back into West Virginia and Ohio and that is acting as a focusing mechanism for abundant moisture being fluxed up from a disorganized area of low pressure in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico and aided by the return flow around a large subtropical (Bermuda) ridge in the western Atlantic.

NWS high-resolution surface weather map for much of the eastern United States, valid 18Z May 16, 2018.

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NECONUS sector NWS composite radar mosaic looped 2018 - 2128UTC May 16, 2018.

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Of note, there were severe thunderstorms that struck parts of New York and Connecticut yesterday that killed at least five people due to falling trees (including an 11-year old girl who died when a tree fell onto her mother's SUV) and caused enough damage to warrant county-level state disaster declarations. Stories here and here.

Scary looking squall line engulfs lower Manhattan in a severe thunderstorm outbreak May 15, 2018; photo by AP photographer Denis Paquin.

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Last night, the D.C. area mostly avoided severe weather or torrential rains -- although there was some spectacular lightning -- but Frederick, Maryland was deluged with 4 to 6 inches of rain and resulting destructive flash flooding.

Very noteworthy, as a result of yesterday's severe thunderstorms from New Jersey into New England, a "meteotsunami" formed along the adjacent / just offshore of the coastline.

Tweet issued by NWS Boston/Taunton (BOX) at 2AM May 16, 2018 concerning the meteotsunami yesterday with an image of the tidal gauge at New Haven, Conn.

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The local CBS affiliate in Philadelphia has a surprisingly detailed and informative article on it as written by CBS 3 meteorologist Matt Peterson (link embedded): 'Meteotsunami' Was Reported Off Jersey Coast Yesterday, But What Exactly Is It?

Key points:

"The National Weather Service defines a meteotsunami as a large wave that is driven by air pressure changes associated with fast-moving weather systems." In this case, it was due to the line of thunderstorms and amplified by the depth of continental shelf waters.

Also ...

"At 10 p.m. on Tuesday, the ocean buoy off the coast of Atlantic City reported some strange readings. At a time when water and the tide should have been heading out to sea there was a reading of a water level rise.

From 10 p.m. to 10:12 p.m. the water level rose from 3.79 feet to 4.59 feet. That is a water level rise of just shy of 1 foot at a time when the tide is moving away from the shore."

Wild.

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Volcano Golfing ...


Changing subjects, here is a Washington Post article -- complete with pictures by Getty photojournalist Mario Tama -- showing people blissfully unconcernedly golfing at the aptly-named Volcano Golf and Country Club while Kilauea's Halemaumau Crater hiccupped explosively (link embedded): People are golfing in Hawaii while the Kilauea volcano erupts and the photos are nuts.

Above and below are three of Tama's pictures.

Haha

This one is kind of hilarious looking. Look, I know that Kilauea erupts practically all the time in some fashion or other, but that really is nutty to be that close and unconcerned during such an explosive eruption.

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OK, that's all for now. For tonight, I would like to go to Macy's at Metro Center and buy the first of my planned two new pair of shoes, and thereafter, I'll perhaps get dinner at Baan Thai (back bar) and then go to Trade before heading home.

I want to watch Perry Mason on MeTV tonight to see the second of the 3 criminal cases that he loses -- namely, "The Case of the Witless Witness." Last night's was "The Case of the Terrified Typist" and tomorrow night's is "The Case of the Deadly Verdict."

(Mason loses two civil cases as well, and it is suggested he lost a capital case in another episode.) This is all part of the MeTV Perry MAYSon marathon of memorable episodes that MeTV is showing this week.

Tomorrow night is a gym night, and I post an entry thereafter. Of note, I went to the gym last night but it was kind of a mediocre workout, and when I got home, I just didn't feel like posting anything.

--Regulus

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