Record storm surges hit Mid-Atlantic coast

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 04:22 PM GMT on Νοέμβριος 13, 2009

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Record storm surges have caused major flooding along the North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware coasts over the past 24 hours, thanks to the powerful winds of a slow-moving Nor'easter energized by the remains of Hurricane Ida. Norfolk, Virginia, suffered its highest storm surge on record last night, when a surge of 5.96 feet hit the Sewells Point tide station. The previous record was 5.62' during Hurricane Isabel of 2003, with the Chesapeake-Atlantic Hurricane of 1933 close behind at 5.61'. Last night's peak surge did not hit at high tide, and the storm tide--the combination of surge plus the tide--peaked at 7.74' above Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW), slightly below the 7.89' storm tide of Hurricane Isabel.


Figure 1. Rain gauge-measured precipitation from Ida-extratropical for the 24 hours ending at 7 am EST this morning. The storm dumped copious amounts of rain over a wide swath of coast. Image credit: NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service.

The highest storm surges at Sewell's Point tide gauge in Norfolk, Virginia since 1927:

5.96' Nov 2009 Ida-extratropical
5.62' Sep 2003 Hurricane Isabel
5.61' Aug 1933 Chesapeake-Atlantic Hurricane
4.73' Sep 1933 Hurricane 13, Cat 1)
4.66' Mar 1962 Ash Wednesday Nor'easter
4.05' Sep 1936 (Hurricane 13, Cat 2)

Top storm tides in Norfolk history:

1933 hurricane (Aug 23rd 1933)..............8.9 feet MLLW
April 11th 1956 Nor'easter..................8.0 feet MLLW
Hurricane Isabel (Sep 18th 2003)............7.9 feet MLLW
Ida-extratropical (Nov 12th 2009)...........7.8 feet MLLW
Ash Wednesday storm (Mar 7th 1962)..........7.8 feet MLLW

Serious coastal flooding is occurring from northern North Carolina to the Delaware/New Jersey border, with record high storm surges recorded at many locations. The storm surge at Lewes Point, Delaware at 9:48 pm EST last night reached 4.63 feet, beating the record high of 4.17' set during the January 4, 1992 Nor'easter. Tide records go back to 1919 at Lewes Point. The highest surge at any of the NOAA-maintained tide gauges from Ida-extratropical was 6.74' at 9:24 pm EST at Money Point, Virginia, located on an inlet about five miles south of downtown Norfolk.

Ida-extratropical also brought hurricane-force wind gusts to the Virginia coast yesterday, with a gust of 75 mph recorded at the Oceana NAS. The Norfolk airport recorded sustained winds of 52 mph, gusting to 70 mph, at the height of the Nor'easter last night. Heavy rains of 6 - 11 inches since Tuesday have created flooding on most of the the rivers along the entire North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland coasts. Ida-extratropical is slowly weakening and pulling away to the northeast, and the rains have ended along most of the coast, though. Virginia has now seen its highest storm surges, but this afternoon's high tide cycle is likely to bring another round of record or near-record storm tides to the coasts of Maryland, Delaware, and extreme southern New Jersey. This afternoon's high tide is forecast to bring a storm tide of 7.6' to Atlantic City, NJ, which would be the 10th highest tide there since 1911, but well short of the record 8.98' storm tide during the December, 1992 Nor'easter. By Saturday, Ida-extratropical will be on its way out to sea, and the storm surges and rains will finally abate.


Figure 2. Predicted storm tide (height above Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW, the lowest tide measured in a full 19-year natural tidal cycle, black line) for Lewes, Delaware (at the mouth of Delaware Bay), as predicted by the GFS model. A storm tide of 8.0 feet is forecast this afternoon during the high tide. For a full description of this plot, see the NOAA Extratropical Surge web site.


Figure 3. Tide gauge trace from the Sewell's Point gauge in Norfolk, VA, shows a storm surge of nearly 6 feet (green line) hit at 8:30 pm EST, with a maximum storm tide of 7.8 feet above MLLW occurring at high tide. Image credit: NOAA Tides and Currents.

Storm surges and sea level rise
The storm surge flooding in the Norfolk area was exacerbated by the fact that sea level has risen and the land has subsided significantly over the past century. Over the past 60 years, absolute sea level along the coast of Virginia has risen by about 2.6 mm/year. However, the relative sea level has risen by 4.44 mm/year since 1927 (Figure 4), meaning that the land has sunk by about 1.84 mm/year. The net result is that the ocean is now about 1.16 feet higher at Norfolk than it was in 1927. The Norfolk tide gauge shows the highest rate of relative sea level rise of any gauge on the U.S. East Coast (though relative sea level rise is much higher along the Gulf Coast, with rises near 3 feet/century at New Orleans). Thus, today's 5+ foot storm surge brought water more than a foot higher in Norfolk than the 5+ foot storm surge of the 1933 hurricane. Storm surge damages will steadily increase along the entire coast this century as sea level rise accelerates and coastal development continues. It is urgent that government take action in coming years to limit development in vulnerable coastal regions. The ocean is going flood our sand castles that we are building in harm's way, at an ever increasing rate.


Figure 4. Monthly mean sea level at the Sewells Point, VA tide gauge in Norfolk, without the regular seasonal fluctuations due to coastal ocean temperatures, salinities, winds, atmospheric pressures, and ocean currents. The long-term linear trend is also shown, including its 95% confidence interval. Relative sea level has increased by 1.16 feet since 1927, the highest rate of rise on the U.S. East Coast. Image credit: NOAA Tides and Currents.

Portlight responding to the flooding in Virginia
Portlight.org is deploying up to 3 self-sufficient mobile kitchens capable of feeding over 2000 people a day to the Virginia coast. They will be providing meals for first responders, volunteers, and, of course, affected residents. Donations are welcome--visit the portlight blog to learn more and make a PayPal donation. Thanks!

Take action: sign the QuikSCAT letter
The QuikSCAT satellite, launched in 1999, provides crucial measurements of surface wind speed and direction over Earth's oceans twice per day. Forecasters world-wide have come to rely on data from QuikSCAT to issue timely warnings and make accurate forecasts of tropical and extratropical storms, wave heights, sea ice, aviation weather, iceberg movement, coral bleaching events, and El Niño. QuikSCAT's antenna is expected to fail within the next six months, according to engineers at NASA/JPL, and QuikSCAT data has already been removed from our global weather forecast models, due to concerns about data reliability.

There exists a narrow window of opportunity in the next few days to get the wheels in motion to launch a QuikSCAT replacement instrument on a Japanese satellite in 2015. The funding for this must start within the next budget cycle, and there is currently no funding in place for a replacement QuikSCAT. If we miss this this opportunity, it may be ten years or more before a QuikSCAT replacement can be launched. To this end, I urge all of you to sign the QuikSCAT funding letter being presented to John Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The letter is at: http://coaps.fsu.edu/scatterometry/statement/.

If you agree with the letter, please sign it (via the web site) as soon as possible: there is a very small window of opportunity to influence the next budget cycle, with this window closing within a few days.

Note that to validate your signature you must type the validation code in the bottom box. This code is the word that appears after 'code =', then click on the sign button.

For more information on QuikSCAT, see my post, The case for a new QuikSCAT satellite.


Figure 5. NASA's QuikSCAT satellite, launched in 1999. Image credit: NASA.

Expect a new blog until Monday, when I'll discuss the outlook for the remainder of hurricane season. It is finally over?

Jeff Masters

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Quoting P451:


I think that is long gone. I think that got booted to the NE or flat out ran over by XIda's outer reaches. Possibly even absorbed.


November 11th: (98 in the lower right)



November 13th: (98 = gone)

IMG alt=""

src="http://i38.tinypic.com/6pswad.jpg">






451, I agree with you on I98L. I beleive that when Ida transfered her energy to the new Ida off the SC coast, 98 got pulled into it. What we are calling the XIda near Bermuda was the circulation that was off the VA, NC coast for the last few days.
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Ida = I da ho I da freak.

A little research that is pertinent to some of our discussions here. I was reading in BAMS this morning...about lightning fatalities.

I think this confirms that Florida's status as the lightning capitol of the US is at least partly a function of population.

Top 10 states by lightning fatalaties per million residents per year: Wyoming, New Mexico, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Mississippi, Utah, Arizona, Louisiana, Montana.

Uses data 1960 to 2000.

Adapted from Table 3 in:
Ashley, W.S., and C.W. Gilson, 2009: A Reassessment of U.S. Lightning Mortality. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 90, 1501-1518.

http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175%2F2009BAMS2765.1
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Gotta run but you can see the Kicker to finally put Ida to sleep and out of here coming in the WaterVapor loop (The last Loop). The Trough is in Texas and very far south. Looks like Cold Temps coming to the south also.
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Quoting P451:


The nor'easter that formed was an area of low pressure that developed off of SC in response to Ida's leftovers. Those leftovers were probably absorbed into the deepening nor'easter which also merged with a front.

I would guess that is where the entity was no longer Ida...yet I think it's up for debate either way.

Since then it's been a decaying remnant low until this AM.

So I doubt they'd re-initialize Ida. It would get a new name I would think.

Personally, I still track it as "Ida" because there has been continuity with the energy transfers. Yet, officially, it hasn't been "ida" for a couple of days.


You know I am usually very agreeable, but again, I would have to agree with you and Weather456 on this one. Only because most of the energy, at least on the maps showed most of Ida move North. Besides, it would bring the total storms this season to 10, if it were to be named Joaquin, which would make it an average year. TampaSpin has been commenting on this feature for a few days as well, with the different scenarios which might occur. It would seem you all were correct.
Member Since: Ιούλιος 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27115
Quoting P451:


The nor'easter that formed was an area of low pressure that developed off of SC in response to Ida's leftovers. Those leftovers were probably absorbed into the deepening nor'easter which also merged with a front.

I would guess that is where the entity was no longer Ida...yet I think it's up for debate either way.

Since then it's been a decaying remnant low until this AM.

So I doubt they'd re-initialize Ida. It would get a new name I would think.

Personally, I still track it as "Ida" because there has been continuity with the energy transfers. Yet, officially, it hasn't been "ida" for a couple of days.


Is not the "entity" actually still Invest 98? the one they had posted for a day or two... I think the number was 98
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Lot of dry air to the East, but it is moving near warmer waters. Checked you Link, TampaSpin. Hey, when do you and P451 sleep???
Member Since: Ιούλιος 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27115
Quoting Grothar:


Is that because the main circulation went North and this feature broke off? Not really ex-Ida then?


I went on the assumption, other energetics were incorporated after Ida went Extra-tropical.
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Quoting Weather456:


Let's say she did become subtropical, she won't be called Ida, rather Joaquin.


Is that because the main circulation went North and this feature broke off? Not really ex-Ida then?
Member Since: Ιούλιος 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27115
708. beell
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Quoting Weather456:
Good Morning

Blog Update

Shaken but not stirred


Playing James Bond? How you doing??
Member Since: Ιούλιος 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27115


Seismic Monitor

AOI

AOI

Humor in Comments
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ex Ida close to Bermuda & taking on subtropical characteristics
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Quoting TampaSpin:



I tell what she is doing....she is trying to become Tropical again......Probably more SubTropical initially tho.......Unbelievable.


Let's say she did become subtropical, she won't be called Ida, rather Joaquin.
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Quoting TampaSpin:



I tell what she is doing....she is trying to become Tropical again......Probably more SubTropical initially tho.......Unbelievable.


Your right about the SSTs, further south Ida goes the warmer they get.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
I really am not sure what Ex-Ida's doing..




I tell what she is doing....she is trying to become Tropical again......Probably more SubTropical initially tho.......Unbelievable.
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I really am not sure what Ex-Ida's doing..

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Quoting P451:


Unbelieveable. Looking at the IR loop this AM I was thinking...is this thing really trying to go Tropical again?

Nothing surprises me at all.



Good to see you back.



She is in about 25.5Cel water....the further south she goes the warmer the water becomes....if you go to the Interactive loops and click the SST you can see that! Unreal she just won't die!
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Good Morning

Blog Update

Shaken but not stirred
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Ok I'll tell you what our weather was like today... Max temps for the upcoming week.
Monday 93°F Tuesday 77°F Wednesday 81°F Thursday 91°F Friday 97°F Saturday 93°F Sunday 86°F

Min temps for the upcoming week
Monday 59°F Tuesday 63°F Wednesday 59°F Thursday 61°F Friday 70°F Saturday 68°F Sunday 68°F

At least your hot is still cooling off at night...could be worse (and prolly will be in a couple of months).

Fog in S Louisiana...
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Quoting leftovers:
beautiful weather over here in e cen fl right now 64 and sunny

Ok I'll tell you what our weather was like today... Max temps for the upcoming week.
Monday 93°F Tuesday 77°F Wednesday 81°F Thursday 91°F Friday 97°F Saturday 93°F Sunday 86°F

Min temps for the upcoming week
Monday 59°F Tuesday 63°F Wednesday 59°F Thursday 61°F Friday 70°F Saturday 68°F Sunday 68°F
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GOOD MORNING Wunderground!

Wow. Glad Anja is not near us... Hopefully she goes to fishland.
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P451
I appreciate the response yesterday about the BOC ULL. Looks like its about gone this morning but it concentrated a lot of dust in the BOC. Think the GOM is going to have a dust storm now? j/k Thanks
Jesse
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Loop
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Amazing!

ANJA is a Cat. 4

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35kt to 100kt in 24 hours...

Is ANJA the tropical cyclone which has grown faster?
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Quoting HadesGodWyvern: 681 thanks for the updater.
I know that ANJA is almost stationary.... and may start to move to the NE. I was just wondering where they take all the planes to that are on Diego Garcia...any guesses?
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681. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)


if you can read the names (small print, i know) there smaller islands listed
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680. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Madagascar Weather Services shows most of the Indian Ocean. The only land Anja is near is Diego Garcia (north) and Rodrigues (southwest)

GENERAL SITUATION :
(A) THE SEVERE TROPICAL STORM ' A N J A ' HAS INTENSIFIED FURTHER
AND IS NOW A TROPICAL CYCLONE. AT 1000 HOURS, THE TROPICAL CYCLONE
' A N J A ' WAS QUASI-STATIONARY AROUND THE POINT 13.1 DEGREES
SOUTH AND 70.5 DEGREES EAST AT ABOUT 1020 KM TO THE NORTH-EAST OF
RODRIGUES.
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Quoting HadesGodWyvern:
LOL



cyclone map from Madagascar Weather Services


how is that LOL? It's a fish but it's kind of cloase to madagascar. if that hit land it would destroy homes and lives
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678. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
LOL



cyclone map from Madagascar Weather Services
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Quoting HadesGodWyvern:
ya a system forecasted to be a category 4 on the Meteo France cyclone scale so early in the season is surprising.


Global cooling :D
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676. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
ya a system forecasted to be a category 4 on the Meteo France cyclone scale so early in the season is surprising.
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Quoting HadesGodWyvern:
Mauritius Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Advisory Number FIVE
TROPICAL CYCLONE ANJA (04-20092010)
10:00 AM Runion November 15 2009
=========================================

At 6:00 AM, Tropical Cyclone Anja (960 hPa) located at 13.1S 70.4E has 10 minute sustained winds of 80 knots with gusts of 115 knots. The cyclone is reported as nearly quasi-stationary

RSMC Dvorak Intensity: T5.0

Hurricane Force Winds
=====================
within the center

Storm Force Winds
===================
20 NM from the center

Gale-force winds
==================
30 NM from the center

Near Gale-force winds
======================
60 NM from the center extending up to 120 NM from the center in southeastern quadrant and up to 140 NM in the southwestern quadrant

Forecast and Intensity
======================
12 HRS: 13.2S 69.7E - 90 kts (Cyclone Tropical Intense)
24 HRS: 13.6S 68.4E - 80 kts (Cyclone Tropical)
48 HRS: 15.9S 66.0E - 60 kts (Forte Tempte Tropicale)
72 HRS: 18.9S 65.3E - 40 kts (Tempte Tropicale Modere)

Additional Information
========================
Tropical Cyclone Anja is a midget which reacts quickly to the excellent environmental conditions, therefore the dvorak constraints are difficult to respect. Due to the small size of the system, MSLP is estimated higher. The system is deepening rapidly and is quasi-stationary.

Environmental conditions remain very favorable, with a good equatorward inflow, and very good poleward inflow thanks to the subtropical high moving just south of the system. The system is still under an upper level ridge, with a main efficient upper level poleward outflow. Environmental conditions are expected to remain very favorable within the next 36 hours. Then monsoon and trade flows are expected to weaken and sea surface temperatures become cooler, limiting intensification.

This system is expected to track slowly generally west southwest within the next 24 hours, and then accelerate southwest. The steering flow is a mid latitude ridge in the south of the system which will move gradually in the east of the system.


OMFG. This is an impressive early season southern hem. storm. So tiny yet with a massive eye. Amazing that as soon as the norther hem. dies we have a near major storm in the southern.



can someone post a animated gif, or link to a loop?
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674. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Mauritius Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Advisory Number FIVE
TROPICAL CYCLONE ANJA (04-20092010)
10:00 AM Réunion November 15 2009
=========================================

At 6:00 AM, Tropical Cyclone Anja (960 hPa) located at 13.1S 70.4E has 10 minute sustained winds of 80 knots with gusts of 115 knots. The cyclone is reported as nearly quasi-stationary

RSMC Dvorak Intensity: T5.0

Hurricane Force Winds
=====================
within the center

Storm Force Winds
===================
20 NM from the center

Gale-force winds
==================
30 NM from the center

Near Gale-force winds
======================
60 NM from the center extending up to 120 NM from the center in southeastern quadrant and up to 140 NM in the southwestern quadrant

Forecast and Intensity
======================
12 HRS: 13.2S 69.7E - 90 kts (Cyclone Tropical Intense)
24 HRS: 13.6S 68.4E - 80 kts (Cyclone Tropical)
48 HRS: 15.9S 66.0E - 60 kts (Forte Tempête Tropicale)
72 HRS: 18.9S 65.3E - 40 kts (Tempête Tropicale Modereé)

Additional Information
========================
Tropical Cyclone Anja is a midget which reacts quickly to the excellent environmental conditions, therefore the dvorak constraints are difficult to respect. Due to the small size of the system, MSLP is estimated higher. The system is deepening rapidly and is quasi-stationary.

Environmental conditions remain very favorable, with a good equatorward inflow, and very good poleward inflow thanks to the subtropical high moving just south of the system. The system is still under an upper level ridge, with a main efficient upper level poleward outflow. Environmental conditions are expected to remain very favorable within the next 36 hours. Then monsoon and trade flows are expected to weaken and sea surface temperatures become cooler, limiting intensification.

This system is expected to track slowly generally west southwest within the next 24 hours, and then accelerate southwest. The steering flow is a mid latitude ridge in the south of the system which will move gradually in the east of the system.
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Quoting 789:
my sister lives in that area her husband was air force (retired)i remember they were there about a year she flooded the auto around 1986?

666. 789 6:21 AM GMT on November 15, 2009

hahah too random.
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Quoting 789:
towing is 24/7 love it or hate it tough with the economy but im good ! fema is not always understood kinda like 120,000 dollars in equipment to do 50.00 tow people dont understand that either know what i mean ?

LOL, you mean like the $100 Pentagon toilet seats! Oh, it never ends!
And I'm glad you're doin' ok.
Good night again!
Member Since: Αύγουστος 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
Quoting Orcasystems:


Ohhh I like that :)

Sometimes I just LOVE the internet!

Okay, all my guys are asleep here (1 human, 2 canine), so I best get to sleep, too.
I'm looking forward to a day without Ida- remnants gloominess, I have to tell you.
Good night!
Member Since: Αύγουστος 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918

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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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