Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Tropical Trouble: Florida, Hawaii Most Under Threat Now

Thunderstorms are firing up big time in that
weather disturbance heading toward Florida.
It's an indication that there's a good chance it
will be upgraded to Tropical Storm Hermine later today 
I know I've been posting awfully frequently about tropical disturbances and hurricanes ane such, but it is the peak of the hurricane season.

Things are busy and heating up even more, so it's a good idea to stay up to date.

The biggest threats for bad tropical weather right now are in Florida and Hawaii.

There's now even a slight chance a wannabe tropical storm could bring some drought relief to southeastern New England. That's a long shot, but it's something to hope for.

Here are the details:


That hyped storm that we've been talking about that came across the Caribbean and into the southern Bahamas, Cuba and south of Florida never developed as so many had forecasted.

Now this thing has gotten into the Gulf of Mexico and looks like it's finally getting its act together. Upper level winds that had been tearing the wannabe tropical storm apart have waned a bit. The water beneath the storm is incredibly warm.

Satellite photos this morning show that this thing has really revved up, with big thunderstorms now nearer to the center of the little storm's circulation. I really think the National Hurricane Center later today will upgrade this - finally - to a tropical storm and name it Hermine.  (Not to be confused with Hermoine from the Harry Potter series.)

Forecasts call for Wannabe Hermine to move north, then northeastward toward the Big Bend of Florida. That's the spot in Florida on the northwestern side of the state where the peninsula ends and turns west to form the state's panhandle.

There's a chance that Wannabe Hermine could strengthen into a hurricane by the time it hits that northwestern corner of Florida.

So, that region is under a hurricane watch and a tropical storm warning. At this point, the storm cold cause storm surges in low-lying sections of northwestern Florida of three to five feet in some spots

Worse, Wannabe Hermine could easily drop five, ten, even 15 inches of rain on northwestern Florida, which would create a big flash flood problem.

Things are getting a little more interesting regarding what happens after that with Wannabe Hermine.

It looks like it will emerge into the Atlantic Ocean along the Georgia and South Carolina coasts. If it remains offshore and not inland in those states, it could restrengthen after crossing northern Florida, or at least maintain its power.

Heavy rains could set off flooding in parts of Georgia and South Carolina over the weekend.

Most computer models take Wannabe Hermine off the coast and away from the United States after it gets past North Carolina. But a few computer models want to take it toward coastal New England.

Though that would wash out Labor Day plans in southeastern New England, that area is experiencing an nasty drought and could use a good dousing.  The chances that Wannabe Hermine would make it to New England seem low at the moment, but it's something to watch.

Another thing to consider that's VERY IMPORTANT: If you're planning a beach trip anywhere along the East Coast, including all of New England's shoreline, there's going to be dangerous rip currents, waves and such will make going in the water dangerous

What with Wannabe Hermine, powerful Hurricane Gaston way off the coast and Tropical Depression #8 heading away from North Carolina, the seas along the East Coast are going to be way, way stirred up. Be careful!!


Hurricane Madeline is going to go just south of the Big Island of Hawaii this afternoon. It was a major hurricane, but luckily, it's rapidly weakening.
Hurricanes Madeline and Lester churning toward
Hawaii yesterday. They're both on a weakening
trend today but still pose a big threat to Hawaii.  

Still, this is a big deal for Hawaii. The Big Island in particular can expect damaging winds, storm surges on the coast and nasty flash floods today as Madeline goes by. The rest of the Hawaiin chain is in for rough weather today, too.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Lester is expected to pass just to the north of the Hawaiian Islands later Friday and Saturday, with more wind, flooding and trouble like that.

I don't think there's ever been an occasion before where two hurricanes threaten Hawaii so much within just a few days of each other. Really nasty.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

This Will Be Burlington, Vermont's Hottest August On Record

Boaters seek cool Lake Champlain breezes on
a very warm evening on August 8 near Burlington,
Vermont. This will be the area's hottest August on record.
Did you sweat much this month? Even in normally cool and comfortable Vermont?

There's a reason for that. August, 2016 is a shoo-in for the hottest August on record.

It looks like the average temperature for the month will come in somewhere in the ballpark of 73.5 to 73.7 degrees, depending on what the temperature does today and tomorrow.

Either way, that would comfortably (or maybe uncomfortably) exceed the previous record for the hottest August, which was 73.1 degrees in 1947.

That might come as a surprise, since we didn't have too much in the way of extreme heat. Oh, sure it was 96 degrees on August 11. But only one other day this month made it above 90.

This month, the warmth and heat was consistent. There weren't any blasts of cool Canadian air that we normally get on occasion during the summer.

So far, 23 days made it to 80 degrees or more in Burlington during August It hasn't gotten any cooler than 52 degrees, in a month that historically has been as chilly as 35 degrees (in 1965.)

A warm August, 2016 evening along the shores of
Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont.  
May, June and July were warmer than average, too. Which prompted a remark by somebody where I work that I don't think I've ever heard in Vermont before, given our long winters: "I'm done with summer. We've had too much of it."

Personally, I wouldn't go that far, but it has been a pretty warm summer. It's gotten to 90 degrees or more 12 times, not a record, but twice the number we normally get in a summer.

By the way, although I haven't examined it closely, I'm sure other cities in the Northeast will also have their hottest August on record this year, or at least come close.

For those of you who DO want a break from summer, I have some good news. A cold front will coem through Wednesday, and September will open with a spell of sort of autumnal weather.

Highs Thursday and Friday in Vermont will only get into the 60s to maybe a few low 70s and overnight lows will drop down into the 40s. Such weather is perfectly normal for early September, but still, it will be the chilliest it's been since about the third week in May.

Summer partisans can also cheer: It'll warm up again as we go through the Labor Day weekend.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Torrential Thunderstorms In Far Northern Vermont, Rest Stays Dry

A stromg thunderstorm with an impressive
shelf cloud rolls into St. Albans, Vermont Sunday evening. 
Some impressive thunderstorms blossomed ahead of a fairly weak cold front Sunday afternoon, prompting a flurry of severe storm and flash flood warnings.

The most intense aspects of the storms was the rainfall, which was absolutely torrential. South Hero, Vermont reported 2.1 inches of rain in just one hour.

Although it has been quite dry, the incredible rainfall rates with these storms prompted flash flood warnings across a stripe of far northern Vermont near the Canadian border.

Another reason for the warnings is that a few waves of thunderstorms went over the same general region.. Ultimately, all I found in the form of flooding was small streams at bank full and relatively minor erosion along the sides of some roads and many driveways.

The force of the water popped manhole covers off in downtown St. Albans.

The thunderstorms stayed far to the north. Burlington, Vermont, just 30 or so miles south of the drenching rain zone, received just a trace of rain. Pretty much all of Vermont, south of Route 2 had no rain, so the dry times continue.

Shelf cloud, omimous scud clouds and a heavy rain
shaft behind them Sunday evening, St. Albans, Vermont.  
Some of the storms got severe, especially a last wave that came through in the evening.

That wave prompted a pretty amazing, fast moving shelf cloud that many saw coming in northwestern Vermont.

 Raw video of it that I took as it came through St. Albans, Vermont is at the bottom of this post.

The storms took down trees and power lines along a long path through northern Vermont, all the way from  South Alburgh on Lake Champlain, where falling tree branches pierce a roof, to Lunenburg, on the New Hampshire border, where fallen trees blocked Route 2.

The intensity of the storms came as a surprise, at least to me. We did know ahead of time that the presence of the cold front and favorable upper level winds would create an environment that would favor isolated severe storms.

But these were more widespread and intense than I thought they'd be.

The cold front has passed through, and no severe weather is expected in Vermont in the foreseeable future.

Here's the video of the St. Albans shelf cloud. Especially starting midway through the video, you can see how fast the cloud rolled in.:

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Five Years Ago Today, Irene Caused Epic Vermont Disaster

People try to save produce from a Waitsfield, Vermont
farm stand during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. 
Five years ago today,  Hurricane Irene, weakening to a tropical storm, unleashed almost unprecedented torrents of rain on upstate New York and Vermont, leading to one of the worst weather disasters in the region's history.

The storm killed six Vermonters, left 531 miles of state roadways impassable and closed no fewer than 34 state highway bridges.

The Winooski River blasted through the Vermont State Office complex in Waterbury, where much of the state's government functions happen.

There's a good series of articles and photos on the Vermont Disaster Recovery site you should take a look at.

While there are still signs of damage, it's hard to see vestiges of the destruction now that five years have gone by.  Homes have been repaired, or if they were destroyed, torn down.

Some places near rivers will never hold homes or businesses again: They've been turned into parkland. Why rebuild in a place that might flood again?

 Certain repairs were incredibly fast. Vast stretches of Route 4, the main east-west highway through central Vermont, washed away.

Yet, I remember just two and a half weeks after the disaster, Rachel Maddow declared Route 4 in Mendon that day's nominee for  "Best New Thing In The World" 

What had been a gaping canyon left by Irene was now a functioning two lane road again.

You can still sense a certain unease. Will there be another Irene? Has the weather gone out of whack? Has climate change brought us a new normal? After all, we've had lots of weirdness in the weather since Irene.

We've had other floods, most notably in central Vermont in 2013. We just had by far the warmest winter on record earlier this year. What's with this long, long, long spell of dry weather that's been going on for months now?

Whether or not any of this has anything to do with global warming, Irene certainly got Vermonters talking about climate change.

New England has had other tropical systems as strong as Irene, so the storm itself was not unprecedented.

But 2011 was wet, wet, wet, even before Irene. That's what made the flooding so destructive. The ground couldn't take much more water as Irene's downpours arrived. The rain just rushed off Vermont's hills and mountains, creating the state's worst disaster since 1927

That year -- 2011 -- had already brought disastrous weather to Vermont. Several flash floods caused extensive damage during the spring of 2011, especially in the Lamoille River Valley and around Barre, Vermont.

Lake Champlain rose to a record flood, causing additional multi millions of dollars in flood damage along its shores.

Ironically, on the fifth anniversary of Irene, Lake Champlain seems to be closing in on a record low level, due the winter that wasn't earlier this year, and consistently dry, hot, sunny weather since early spring.

Just recently, a Congressional Budget Office report warned that damage from severe weather in future decades is expected to get worse and worse as climate changes. That echoes many other scientific and government reports.

It does so even as we watch other parts of the nation get wrecked in big weather disasters, like what we saw in Louisiana this month.

"When it comes to addressing climate change, the most expensive option is to nothing at all.....We have a financial and moral obligation to combat climate change. We must aggressively transition away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy," Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said recently.

Vermont tried to rebuild  - to the extent the federal government allowed -- with bigger culverts, stronger bridges, better protections against floods, since the assumption from Gov. Peter Shumlin's administration is storms would just keep getting worse in Vermont and everywhere else from climate change.

The state legislature approved measures that would get towns to build larger culverts or, even better, open bottom structures that would allow road beds overhead to better withstand future forceful floods like the one Irene unleashed.

The other shoe will drop at some point, and Vermont will face another disaster. We are resilient and have proven ourselves more than capable of recovering.

But still, every threatening storm does raise that Irene fear just a tiny bit, doesn't it?

Another Tropics Update: Things Are Damn Busy!

That tropical disturbance that has been hyped for a week
now is still NOT a big deal now that it's gotten south
of Florida. But now it's showing signs of spinning up
a little better and could become a tropical storm
in the next few days in the Gulf of Mexico.  
As of Sunday afternoon, the activity regarding tropical storms, hurricanes and wannabe tropical storms and hurricanes is getting fast and furious.

All KINDS of things are happening. Whether any of these will be a huge threat to life and property, especially here in the United States, is open to question, but it's all something that we should watch.


Let's start with that thing everybody in Weather Land has been talking about for days and days, known as Invest 99L.

The National Hurricane Center gives an "Invest" name to anything it's watching that could develop into a tropical storm.

Invest 99L has been the subject of all the buzz for days. That's because at least a week ago, some of the weather models have been saying it could be a HUGE threat to the United States. Other computer models said, "Pffft." but it's more fun to hype catastrophe than a big yawn.

Anyway, Invest 99L has been making its way westward across the tropical Atlantic. By the time it got near the Bahamas Friday, some computer models said it would be a monster, but of course it isn't.

Right now it's getting into the Florida straights and heading toward the Gulf of Mexico.

Soon, the time might be ripe for Invest 99L to get going. Upper level winds had been tearing apartany attempts by Invest 99L to develop into a tropical storm.  But as it enters the Gulf of Mexico, those high level winds will diminish a little bit.

Plus, the Gulf of Mexico water is very, very warm, which could help this thing get going. The National Hurricane Center, which had been sort of bored by this system as it was in the Atlantic, is perking up with some concern.

They now give Invest 99L a high chance of developing into a tropical storm in the next few days. That could pose a wind and especially heavy rain threat, most likely to some spots in the eastern half of the U.S Gulf Coast in the coming days.

Once it reaches the Gulf Coast in a few days (if it does actually make landfall) nobody has a clue as to what it will do after that.

Everybody thought this would be the next tropical storm, and it would be named Hermine. However, a surprise happened west of Bermuda overnight.


An area of showers and thunderstorms not far from Bermuda was sputtering and struggling the past few days as dry air prevented things from getting going.
You can see a swirl in the middle of this satellite shot from Sunday
where the center of the tropical depression is, but that big
white clump you see is thunderstorms being torn westward
away from the center by strong upper level winds. That
means this thing probably won't get much stronger. A 

But in a bit of a surprise, this weather disturbance grew into a tropical depression, which is a step shy of a tropical storm.

Chances are it will strengthen to Tropical Storm Hermine in the next day or so, but it won't get super ultra strong. Upper level winds are ripping thunderstorms away from its center, which is hurting it, and the air is still kinda dry nearby.

Still, it could side swipe the North Carolina Outer Banks with gusty winds, rough seas, rip currents and locally heavy rains Tuesday or Wedneday before it turns and heads out to sea.


The bad news is Hurricane Gaston out in the Atlantic Ocean is strong and getting stronger. The good news is it doesn't appear to be any kind of threat to the United States. At last check, it was well east of Bermuda with sustained winds of 105 mph. Yikes!

Hurricane Gaston looking strong and healthy out in the
middle of the Atlantic Ocean Sunday. No threat to the United States, though. A 
It might strengthen a bit more as it sort of hangs out there not going much of anywhere for the next few days, but then it will head off into the North Atlantic to die.


A strong wave of stormy weather is in Nigeria this weekend and will soon head westward, head out of Africa and into the eastern Atlantic. There's a strong chance this thing could develop into a hurricane, but don't believe any hype on this one yet

If it does end up threatening the United States, which is iffy, it would do so in about 10 to 14 days.
Don't worry about this one yet.


There's a couple potential tropical storm threats for Hawaii over the next week or so.

Hurricane Lester with 85 mph sustained winds, is chugging westward across the Pacific Ocean, and is sort of headed toward Hawaii. If it makes it there, it would be sometime next weekend, so people in the Aloha State will have to keep an eye on our buddy Lester.

Before Lester gets near Hawaii, the islands will have to contend with Tropical Storm Madeline, which will be near Hawaii midweek. It should weaken by the time it gets there, but it could unleash some torrential rains and flash flooding to parts of Hawaii in the next few days.


A typhoon named Lionrock is threatening Japan. Isn't that a great name for a typhoon or hurricane?

This isn't so great for Japan, though. It's threatening to hit the central or northern parts of Japan with winds of up to 75 or 80 mph and torrential, flooding rains this week. Could be big trouble for them.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Weird Climate Deniers Now Literally Stalking Climate Activists

Climate activist and founder Bill McKibben
says he's being harassed by people from a climate denying
organization. It's all weird. 
Fellow Vermonter Bill McKibben is well known internationally as an activist on climate change.

Many people support his activism and a few do not and that's all good.

What isn't good is the weird lengths a few in the climate change denial crowd do to try to shut him up.

They're literally stalking McKibben and other climate activists, and that should be a concern to everyone. That includes people who think the world's climate is not warming up.

This has made life bizarre for McKibben and other climate activists. On August 5 in a New York Times op-ed, he wrote:

" days in public have often involved cameramen walking backward and videotaping my every move. It's mostly when I travel. (I've encountered them in at least five states so far, as well as Australia), and generally when I'm in a public or semipublic place.

They aren't interested in my arguments; instead, these videos, usually wordless, are simply posted on Twitter, almost always with music. One showed me sitting in a church pew, accompanied by the song 'Show Me That Smile,: The tweet read, 'Ready for his close-up."

According to Politico, this paparazzi nonsense is the work of America Rising Squared, an arm of the the Republican research group America Rising.

Says Politico:

".....the push will include trackers with video cameras to follow the activists, a significant effort to research them and their work, a six-figure digital ad campaign focused on social media, and a website - - that will serve as a hub for the group's content."

It would be one thing if America Rising Squared were actually analyzing the words and deeds of McKibben and other activists.

After all, McKibben thrust himself in the public spotlight with his work, so it's perfectly acceptable to judge his words: Is he accurate? Does his work make sense? Are there any holes in his logic? Does he have his facts straight? All fair game.

But this is different. This seems to be an effort to silence McKibben and others, by making his life weird and uncomfortable and scary, and unleashing the zillions of wackos on the Internet to troll and harass and even endanger him.

Which is a sign that America Rising Squared and its supporters are bankrupt in terms of facts.

If McKibbon and his buddies were that wrong, it would be easy to shut him down with facts that contradict his arguments. Instead, they're just trying to shut McKibbon up through any means necessary.

I guess America Rising Squared thinks its little videos of climate activists supposed hypocrisies will win the political battle over climate change.

After all, McKibben has been seen carrying (EEK!) plastic bags and driving a car, which burns fossil fuel, contributing to climate change.

So McKibben is supposed to be so ideologically pure that he can't burn any fossil fuel at all? He's not supposed to live in the real world?

Or as McKibben wrote in the New York Times:

"My house is covered in solar panels, and I plug my car into a socket those panels power. But environmentalists also live in the world we're trying to change: We take airplanes and rent buses for rallies; we make a living, shop for groceries. None of this should demand an apology. 

Changing the system, not perfecting our own lives, is the point. 'Hypocrisy is the price of admission in this battle." 

America Rising Squared argues that McKibben is a public figure and can be monitored, photographed and filmed. I bet even McKibben would agree with that.

But when does quote, unquote holding him accountable become harassment to shut him up?

Of course, as McKibben concluded in his New York Times op-ed:

"A good thing about movements is that you really do have brothers and sisters, and they do have your back. The fossil fuel industry may threaten us as a planet, as a nation, and as individuals, but when we rise up together, we've got a fighting chance against the powers that be. 

And perhaps that realization is just a little bit scary for them."

Friday, August 26, 2016

Hurricane Hermine? So Far, Pffft! So Much For The Hype. At Least For Now

Those little patche of thunderstorms near
Cuba and south of the Bahamas was supposed to
be a nasty hurricane or tropical storm, the
hype went. But not so.
That bigger patch of clouds on the right side
of the satellite pic is Tropical Storm Gaston,
which is not a threat to the United States.   
For the past week or more, some of us weather nerds on Twitter and elsewhere on social media have been hyping the idea of a big hurricane hitting Florida by this weekend.

I wasn't one of of the hypsters because I knew long range hurricane forecasts were iffy at best.

So do many meteorologists. The saner heads were saying wait and see, and if it gets to the point where we should be alarmed, we'll let you know.

Meanwhile, just chill.

So, this morning the thing that's headed toward Florida is --- not much at all.

The would-be Hurricane Hermine is just a disorganized patch of thunderstorms heading into the Bahamas. No Category 3 or 4 winds, no massive storm surge, just..... unpleasant weather.

That's not to say we should all just completely relax. The weather disturbance, such as it is, could still cause flooding in the Bahamas and Florida. Thunderstorms around this disturbance did start to increase in size and intensity late this morning, so it might be trying again to form into something, we'll see.

(It does look a bit healthier as of noon than the pic in this post from early this morning.)

Plus, the National Hurricane Center says this disturbance will probably eventually make its way to the Gulf of Mexico, where it still could develop into a tropical storm or even hurricane, since atmospheric conditions might be a little better to allow a tropical storm to get going.

It's something we'll have to watch, but no panic yet.

 I'm also a little disappointed on my Twitter feed this morning that there's an air of disappointment and frustration that this thing, the Non-Hermine, is so lame.

I thought it was good news. A tropical storm or hurricane threat that so far has not materialized. We should all be happy that Miami is not being blown away and drowned.

Us weather geeks love our atmospheric excitement, I'll give you that. But let's not actually hope for a destructive storm.

I hope Non-Hermine continues to choke and fizzle and sputter and die as it heads toward the Gulf of Mexico.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Tornado Outbreak Blasts Indiana, Ohio, And Still Watching the Tropics

Large tornado near Defiance, Ohio Wednesday
Photo by Jaycee Riley.  
We're past the time in the spring and early summer when we get those terrible Midwest tornado outbreaks, but as yesterday proved, you can get these tornado swarms any time of year.

Wednesday, numerous tornadoes touched down in Indiana and Ohio, and some of them were quite large, and as you'd expect, there was a LOT of property damage.

Surprisingly and happily, there are no reports of any serious injuries. About 15 to 20 people did receive relatively minor injuries caused by flying debris.

It didn't hurt that the National Weather Service kept issuing timely warnings, so people were able to take cover ahead of the twisters.

Such was the case in hard-hit Kokomo, Indiana, where a Starbucks restaurant manager hustled patrons into a rest room just before the tornado hit, flattening the building.

The stronger interior walls of restrooms held, so everybody in there was fine. It wouldn't have been the case had they been out in the main area of the Starbucks. There's dramatic video of the Starbucks blowing over from a worker inside a nearby Chile's restaurant, which stayed intact during the tornado.

The Kokomo Tribune reported roughly 500 people displaced from their tornado-damaged homes. The tornado there was considered a quite strong EF3 with winds of 165 mph or so.

Electricity is still out in parts of Kokomo and schools are closed today. Wednesday's tornado took a path similar to another destructive tornado that damaged some of the same neighborhoods in November, 2013.

The supercells that scattered the tornadoes in Indiana continued on into Ohio, where there were more large ones, mainly over rural areas.

That region is not out of the woods. Indiana and especially Ohio are at risk for tornadoes and severe storms today, but the threat of tornadoes is lower today than it was yesterday.


Forecasters are still watching a big patch of showers and storms entering the Caribbean Sea today for signs that it could develop into Tropical Storm Hermine.

The thing is still totally disorganized, but is producing enough huge thunderstorms to raise the risk of severe flash flooding and mudslides in Puerto Rico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic today.

Forecasts are pretty consistent that this thing will eventually head toward the Bahamas and Florida, but what will this "thing" be?

Heat content in the ocean water east of Florida is at record highs, and that would tend to help a tropical storm or hurricane develop.

But that's not the only ingredient. If upper level winds are wrong, it won't develop. Still, Florida, the Bahamas and possibly eventually the Gulf of Mexico coastline should watch and see what this thing does.

Here's the view from inside a Chili's Restaurant in Kokomo, Indiana as a tornado blew over the Starbucks next door on Wednesday:

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Pilot Takes Awesome Photo Of Haboob In Phoenix

Aerial view of thunderstorm and haboob
approaching Phoenix Sunday.  
Ryan Vermillion was piloting a Southwest Airlines flight Sunday that departed the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

His was the last flight that departed before the airport closed for a time, due to a haboob, says the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang. 

A haboob is a big wall of dust that often accompanies a gust front from a thunderstorm in desert locations during monsoon season, which is now.

The dust is blinding and dangerous, so they always close the airport when one hits.

Once Vermillion got the plane up to 11,000, he steered east, back toward Phoenix and on to his destination.

He got a great view of the haboob and the thunderstorm causing it, and the photo is in this post. Click on it to make it bigger and easier to see.

Sometimes haboobs can cause pileups on local freeways since visibility drops to such low levels, but in this instance, there were no reports of serious problems in and around Phoenix.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tropical Trouble: The Latest On A Now Busy Atlantic Hurricane Season

Tropical Depression Fiona looked, well, depressing
Tuesday morning, taking the form of just a few
thunderstorms over the open Atlantic. 
Yesterday, I noted how we shouldn't trust long range forecasts for tropical storms and hurricanes because a lot can change.

Of course I stand by that, but since there is a lot of activity in the Atlantic Ocean right now, I should give an update.


Tropical Storm Fiona weakened to a tropical depression yesterday and was still barely hanging on as a depression as of early this morning, says the National Hurricane Center.

Strong upper level winds keep tearing apart any efforts by Fiona to generate new thunderstorms, and dry air surrounding the storm - if you can really call it a storm.

The strong upper level winds are going to weaken, says the NHC, which might suggest Fiona would want to make something of a comeback. But it's still going to be embedded in dry air, which would make regeneration that much harder.

Fiona is headed toward the northwest, and theoretically it could reach North Carolina eventually,  but at this point at least, it doesn't look like it will turn into much of anything.

Unlike, say Tropical Storm Gaston


Tropical Storm Gaston didn't look like a classic
hurricane yet Tuesday morning, but you can see
it has lots of vigorous thunderstorms and it
is spinning up pretty well.  
Ever since it emerged off the African coast the other day, what would become Tropical Storm Gaston looked like it really had a future and still does.

Gaston has been developing rapidly, and looks great on satellite imagery.

 By great I mean well organized. And it's already trying to develop an eye, which is impressive since the storm was still a 50 mph tropical storm Tuesday morning.

The bad news is Gaston looks like it has the potential at least to grow into a powerful hurricane. The good news at this point is it looks like, at least for now, Gaston is going to avoid hitting land.

Gaston wants to head toward the northwest, into the middle of the open Atlantic Ocean.  Given the uncertainly of long range forecasts, there's a slight chance it could slightly impact New England or maybe more so eastern Canada eventually, but that's a long shot. Don't hold your breath on this one, especially you New Englanders.

I won't hazard a guess on whether Gaston will have any effect on North America or not. But the southeast coast, and the islands in the Caribbean are safe from Gaston, I'm pretty sure of that.

Unlike something else brewing down in the Atlantic.


There's a disorganized area of showers and thunderstorms heading westward toward the Leeward Islands. This is the disturbance that's generating all the Internet clickbait.

That's because a few models have this thing growing into a hurricane that would hit somewhere in the southeastern United States.
This big patch of thunderstorms heading westbound
toward the Leeward Islands could develop
into a tropical storm later this week.  

Don't count on that. Especially not yet. It's still highly uncertain how big this disturbance will get and where it will head.

Right now, the National Hurricane Center says environmental conditions are good enough so that it might slowly develop into a tropical depression or tropical storm in the next few days.

It's heading in a direction such that regardless of how strong it gets, it has a good shot of dumping heavy rain and possible flash floods on the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola.

From there, what could become a tropical storm or even hurricane might threaten the Bahamas or the southeastern United States in a week or so.

Again, that's not a promise or a guarantee. It could move harmelessly out to sea, or not develop much or do any number of things. It's just something to keep an eye on, in case it does become a threat to the United States

Monday, August 22, 2016

Hurricane Hype On Internet Is Blowing At Catagory Five Now

The two X's on the Natonal Hurricane Center map
show where two tropical disturbances are
that could develop into tropical storms or hurricanes
Despite some hype on the internet, it's
impossible now to determine whether these
will pose any threat to the United States.  
Anybody with a passing interest in the weather, and the Atlantic hurricane season might be forgiven for being horrified and scared.

For the past couple of days, people have been posting pictures of computer forecast models that show, variously, major hurricanes eight to 14 days from now destroying Miami, New Orleans, Houston, North Carolina, New York  and/or New England.

Why all the scares?

They are coming right on schedule. We're entering the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season and there indeed some tropical systems out there to watch.

There's three of them at the moment. One is struggling Fiona, which was downgraded to a tropical depression from a tropical storm overnight, and two other disturbances way out over the eastern Atlantic that might develop.

It's impossible to tell whether any of these systems will affect the United States.. Even the sad remnants of Fiona might or might not affect the United States. Plus Fiona could regenerate or stay just a cluster of thunderstorms, who knows? 

There are many computer models that try to hit at where these tropical disturbances will go and whether they will grow into hurricanes.

But data for the computer models is scant. Garbage in, garbage out, which means the models are all over the place as to what will happened to these storms a week or two or more down the road.

So you get the hype. One computer model this weekend had a major hurricane moving up the East Coast a couple weeks from now, then, Poof! The next run of that same computer model that came out 12 hours later had no sign of a hurricane near us.

The computer models, understandably, don't have any idea what these systems will do toward Labor Day weekend. Neither does any human.  So just chill.

You get views and Internet clicks if you show the computer models with major hurricanes along the coast of the United States. If you show a photo of a computer model with no threats, then, sorry, no clicks for you!

The way to handle things this time of year is, yeah, keep track of advisories from the National Hurricane Center and other reputable weather forecasting organizations. If a hurricane does threaten the United States, we'll get three or four days warning of possible impending trouble, and you'll hear about it.

Otherwise, ignore the clickbait.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Louisiana Post-Script. Storm Was Massive, Seven States Had 10 Inches Or More Of Rain

As we all well know, Louisiana took the brunt of that terrible flood last week with some areas getting two and a half feet of rain.

The widespread rains last week. Areas in deep red
had five or more inches of rain. Yellow areas had two inches
or more. Pink areas exceeded 10 inches. 
The intense moisture from that storm spread far and wide, though. Locations in seven states had 10 or more inches of rain, notes Jesse Farrell at AccuWeather

Flooding extended from Louisiana all the way to northern New England, though the flooding up there was definitely minor,  unlike the South.

Here's a list of top rainfall amounts in selected states from that storm last week, as noted from Farrell's blog post:  

Watson, LA: 31.39"
Gloster, MS, 22.84"
Ellsinore, MO: 17.50"
Panama City Beach, FL; 14.43"
Walnut Ridge, AR: 10.85"
South Bend, IN: 10.67"
Bonnie, IL: 10.10"
Gloster, AL; 9.94"
Lima OH: 8.38"

For that amount of rain to fall in such a huge area is truly remarkable.

The moisture from the storm made it all the way to Vermont, where I live.

Although nothing remotely like other places, we actually experienced a bit of flooding when nearly three inches of rain dumped onto parts of central Vermont in just a few hours.

Roads and culverts in Duxbury, Moretown and Fayston, Vermont were washed out during the deluge, which hit during an otherwise quite dry summer. 

By the way, the toll from the flooding in Louisiana keeps getting worse. The Advocate of Baton Rouge now reports that 110,000 or so homes were damaged or destroyed in the flooding, causing a huge $20 billion in damage.

A Hot Summer Worldwide And Some Resultant Chaos

A house burns in Cajon Junction,  California during
a wildfire this past week. Photo by Eugene Garcia/EPA 
Thursday afternoon, a torrential thunderstorm rumbled through Lafayette, Louisiana.

Not exactly what they needed, as renewed flash flooding was unleashed on a disaster zone of extreme flooding.

It takes awhile to recover from two feet of rain that destroyes 40,000 homes. Since that rainfall hit last weekend, the last thing Louisiana needs is more rain.

Meanwhile, out in California, wildfires rage. More than 80,000 people were evacuated ahead of a fast moving wildfire in the rugged hills and canyons between Los Angeles and San Bernardino, though some have since been allowed to return to their homes.

At least the people who still had homes. At least 100 homes were destroyed in that fire. Another 160 homes and businesses were destroyed in another wildfire further north in California.

August is often a month of terrible weather disaster in the United States. It's the start of hurricane season, so there's that threat.

The dog days of August, with all its high humidity in the eastern half of the nation, can set off some big flash floods.

Out West, the sun has been baking the landscape all summer, so wildifires typically break out about now.

This year seems worse than usual, though.  Maybe part of it is because of our increasingly hot planet, who knows?

Earlier this week, we learned that July, 2016 was the Earth's hottest month on record, at least since they started keeping reliable track of this in the late 1800s.

Most of the world's land masses are in the northern hemisphere. Land masses heat up more and faster in the summer than oceans do, so July is normally the hottest month of the year if you look at the Earth as a whole.

Since July was the hottest on record, it also means July was the hottest of any month on record. It was also the 15th consecutive month of record high global temperatures.

It stands to reason, then, that it's possible that this summer's weather extremes could in part be tied to climate change.

Extremes happen all the time, of course. Always have, always will. If I look back far enough, I could probably find floods somewhere in the distant past as bad as the one Louisiana just had. Or I could find wildfires worse than the ones California is experiencing.
Enormous flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana last week
Photo from Picayune  

The question is, this: Is the frequency of these events revving up?  After all, climate change's effects on day-to-day weather has been often famously likened to that of a Major League Baseball slugger who's juiced up on steroids.

You know that some of this guy's home runs would have happened anyway - he's that good. But some of those home runs might have been aided and abetted by steroids.

Same with weather and climate change. Bad things happen with the weather every once in awhile just because that's the way it is. But global warming is like those steroids, possibly making the weather woes more frequent and more scary.

This summer has been unsettling, to say the least. You never know when the next disaster is going to come crashing down on us. Is that little tropical disturbance off the coast of Africa going to turn into a monster that threatens the United States? Or will it sputter to nothing as it meanders out in the open Atlantic?

Will the next round of thunderstorms be just the usual summertime crash, pour and dash or will they unleash torrents to flood out everything in their path?

When and where will the next western wildfire explode and how many homes will it destroy this time?

Where I live in Vermont, there's been a lot of nice, hot sunny weather in August. A perfect New England vacation month. When will the other shoe drop?

Here's a good, engaging video that explains further that weather on steroids analogy:


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Why Is Everybody Ignoring Louisiana?

Louisiana is experiencing the nation's worst
disaster since Superstorm Sandy. Why haven't we
paid more attention to this calamity? 
The question in the headline of this post is being asked more and more in weather geek circles.

The ongoing flood disaster in Louisiana has certainly been in the news, but it hasn't gotten the attention of other calamaties of similar size.  

Louisiana is probably on par with Superstorm Sandy in 2012 in terms of how widespread the destruction is.

The Weather Channel has the latest tally: 

So far, 11 people have died. The flooding had destroyed or damaged at least 40,000 homes. About 30,000 people and 1,000 pets have been rescued. So far, at least 40,000 people have sought FEMA disaster assistance.

In Ascension Parish (parishes are akin to counties in other states) at least 15,00 homes and businesses are flooded. In Livingston Parish, home to 138,000 people before the flood, it's estimated taht 75 percent of the homes are total losses.

I'm sure the death toll will rise. reports that they haven't even really begun door to door searches yet, and there are probably victims in some of these flooded houses.

Bottom line: This is huge.

So why has the media sort of yawned over this one?

Marshall Shepherd, writing in Forbes, has several theories.  Among them: The storm didn't have a catchy name like a hurricane, i.e Katrina.

The news cycle is full of other big stuff: Trump, unrest in Milwaukee, the Olympics are all competing for news viewers. Marshall also says the flood evolved over the weekend, when news organizations aren't nearly as staffed or engaged as they are during the workweek.

Marshall brings up a rather scary, sad reason Louisiana might have been downplayed in the national conscience: There have been so many huge floods lately that this one seems like old hat.  We've had a ever-lengthening string of enormous so-called 500 year floods. South Carolina. Texas. (twice!) West Virginia, Maryland.

And here we go again, another flood. When something becomes routine, it's not news anymore. Of course, if big floods become so common that they aren't news, something's wrong.

It's probably a combination of climate change, which makes epic rain storms and floods more likely, and the fact that we're paving over flood plains that is causing this. (If you pave over forests, marshes and fields with shopping centers and neighborhoods, the water will no longer harmlessly fill up a bayou. It will flow into people's houses instead. )

The fact that floods that wreck thousands of homes, affect thousands of people at one time has become routine and a "new normal" should be frightening to a lot of us.

If this "new normal" means all these victims are ignored, then they don't get the help they need. As put it in a headline: "National Media Fiddles While Louisiana Drowns."

People are doing heroic work in Lousiana to help flood victims. But it takes the glare of the national spotlight to force as much aid into the disaster zone as possible. If the general public is more aware of a catastrophe like Louisiana, the more likely they are to dig into their pockets to help.

Or as put it: "As Louisiana well knows, the loosening of the recovery purse strings is directly commensurate to the number of people who are made aware of the scope of the devastation. In this case, where national news coverage has been scarce, locals have every reason to worry that recovery funds will be just as scarce."

Let's just hope lots of attention, and relief money and supplies for Louisiana flow into the state faster than the flood waters did.


But broaden the focus a little, and some links appear. The frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall events have increased globally, said Kenneth Kunkel, a climate scientist at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.
“Each decade, it has been higher than the previous decade, for about the last 30 to 40 years,” he said.
Both the land and the oceans have been warming up, which has increased the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, he said. The oceanic moisture feeds into the storms that form over land. It is likely that the storm in Baton Rouge last week produced more rainfall than it would have 40 years ago, Kunkel said.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Oddly, A Bit Of A Tornado Threat Today In Parts Of Northeast

Area in yellow has a slight, but definite chance of
severe storms today. There's even a very slight
chance of a tornado or two in this area.  
Today's going to be a rather interesting day for weather in New England, with bouts of heavy rain, and maybe some severe thunderstorms, and even maybe a couple of supercells and tornadoes

Yes, tornadoes.  But just a very slight risk of them.

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has most of Pennsylvania, New York and the southwestern half of New England in a slight risk zone for severe storms today. '

A warm front will sweep north through New England today. It will be accompanied by a swath of rain, heavy at times.

If the front moves to the north fast enough, some sun might break out in its wake, and destabilize the atmosphere. Winds will veer with height, which could set off some rotating supercell thunderstorms, capable of producing brief tornadoes

Whether this happens or not is very, very iffy, as conditions have to be just right. Also, if the warm front doesn't move as far north as predicted, or as quickly, the severe storm risk would be further south of New England.

Also, if there's no breaks of sun in the wake of the warm front passage, that would lessen the chance of storms later today.

As of early Tuesday morning, the best chances of a spin up, according to the Storm Prediction Center, is much of central and eastern New York, especially the Hudson Valley, southern Vermont, southwestern New Hampshire, western Massachusetts and Connecticut

The chances of a twister even there are admittably quite low. Anyone in the area I just described has a  five percent chance of having a tornado within 25 miles of their location. So it's not as if the whole area is going to be flattened.

But just be aware of the weather, and take shelter, as any storm can produce strong, damaging winds, hail, dangerous lightning and torrential downpours.

That warm front will get hung up near the International border, so the heaviest rain generally will be up in northern New York, Vermont and New Hampshire where one to as much as two inches of still-needed rain could fall.

 Even more might fall in southern Ontario and southern Quebec, so there could be localized flash flood problems north fo the border.

Because of the proximity of the front in northern areas, and the fact there will be lots of clouds all day, northern areas have almost no chance of getting severe storms later. There could be rumbles of thunder up there, but nothing scary.

It's possible a torrential downpour associated with the thunderstorms in the Northeast could touch off localized flash floods, but those won't cover a huge area.

Things will settle down Wednesday as weather disturbances and the warm front move off to the east and north.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Strange Destruction Continues: Tornado In Downtown Manilla, The Philippines

A tornado struck Sunday in Manilla, the Philippines.  
As if the extreme weather in the United States wasn't enough (epic, spreading floods and intense heat and humidity,) we get news from Manilla, the Philippines of a tornado smashing pretty much right through downtown.

Early reports indicate at least five died and many were injured either in the tornado or the severe flooding that accompanied the storm.

Following are videos of the Manilla twister:

View from a high rise building:

Here's quite a close view, right before the twister heads downtown:


Vermont Dodges Storm Bullet, Many Other Areas Still Don't

The inside of a flooded Lafayette, Louisiana home Saturday.  
Here in Vermont this morning, I awoke to air that was still oppressively humid and awful, but with few signs of any storm damage.

There was a flash flood watch, and numerous severe storm warnings across the southern half of Vermont Saturday, but we don't have many reports of flooding and storm damage.  

Other parts of the nation aren't nearly so lucky, and I have an update below, since the weather across most of the eastern half of the nation has really gone off the rails this weekend.

First, we'll get through the local stuff for our Vermont readers.  

Oh, sure, some streets and basements flooded in Tupper Lake, New York, and where the bands of heaviest rains were, across north central Vermont and the southwest corner of the state, I'm sure some driveways  and the sides of dirt roads eroded amid rainfall totals of two or three or even more inches.

Some hail was reported in the stronger storms, and gusty winds as well. But given how soupy and wet the airmass was, flooding could have been much worse, despite the drought and near-drought conditions in place right before it started raining.

Today, a cold front of sorts will move through New England, so you'll start to notice the humidity this afternoon and evening.

It won't turn bone dry or autumnal, but you'll notice the refreshing difference tonight and tomorrow.

The cold front will trigger a few scattered showers and thunderstorms today, some with locally torrential rain, but they won't be widespread or long-lasting enough to trigger any more real flood alerts.

The weather in Vermont will turn unsettled again Tuesday through Thursday as bits and pieces of that awful flood storm in the South come up this way.
Family stranded on the roof of a flooded
house overnight in Louisiana. 

It's possible we'll get some locally heavy rain in and near Vermont later Tuesday, Tuesday night or Wednesday, which could cause some local water problems. But don't expect anything like Louisiana, that's for sure.

Besides, despite the rain we did get over the past couple of days, we could still use more, as long as it doesn' come down in torrential bursts.


The extreme flooding in Lousiana is beyond description. One town, Watson, got more than 30 inches of rain. There have been some entire years here in Vermont with less than 30 inches of precipitation.

Thousands of people have been evacuated, rivers are still rising, many exceeding record crests. Hundreds of residents were stranded on flooded Interstate 12 overnight. Many of these people are out of food and gasoline. Rescues are ongoing.  (Check out that dramatic rescue of a woman from a submerged car in my previous post.)

Still, a lot of people still need to get out. Twitter and Facebook are rife with photos of people stuck in attics, or families with children and dogs spending the night on their roof, still awaiting help.

Tragically, I think the death toll will rise above the current level of three because people have not bee able to get back into flooded areas to check on everybody yet.

By the way, this is the third major flood Louisiana has endured so far this year.


Even if the rain in Louisiana begins to taper off today, moisture streaming northward is threatening big new flooding in Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois and Ohio.

Some parts of this area are expected four to nine inches of additional rain, on top of heavy rains that started flooding in this region Saturday.

Meanwhile, in the big cities on the East Coast, incredible humidity is accompanying heat. High temperatures yesterday were in the mid and upper 90s there - quite hot, but not unprecedented. However, dew points, a way of defining the amount of moisture in the air, were near 80s degrees.

That translated to heat indexes in the 105 to 112 range. More of the same will happen today. 

I actually fear the real disaster might be these high heat indexes. It's been going on for three days now. People with pre-existing conditions, or the young, or the elderly, can die easily in such situations.

While heat waves are not as photogenic as destructive floods, they're deadlier. I bet more people will perish in the East Coast heat than in the southern and central United States floods.

The heat in the East will ease this week, but some of the heavy rain in the Midwest could make its way to the East Coast later in the week, causing some new flooding.

Here's an drone's eye view of one Louisiana town:

Here's a video of a guy walking around and inside his Youngsville, Louisiana house:

Dramatic Flood Rescue Caught On Tape

The man on the right has just pulled the woman on the
left from a submerged Louisiana car, in a still
from the dramatic video in this post. Her dog was
also saved.  
The epic flooding in Louisiana over the past few days has claimed three lives, though 1,000 or so people were rescued.

One of the most dramatic rescues was caught on video: Rescuers on a boat came to a nearly submerged car. You can hear a woman inside yelling, "I'm drowning! I'm drowning."

The rescuers frantically try to break car windows and rip the convertible top off the car as it sinks.

Finally, the car completely submerges, but at the last second one of the rescuers pulls the woman - alive -- out of the car via the convertible top, which the men have ripped apart with a knife.

Bonus: They initially tell the woman her dog had been swept away, but then you see a rescuer has actually grabbed the dog and it survives, too.

You have to see this dramatic video:

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Saturday P.M Vermont/New England/New York Storm Update

Areas in green, yellow red and pink are at risk for flooding
the rest of today. Green has the lowest chance of flooding
pink the highest. 
If any dangerous storms or flooding develop in Vermont, New York or the rest of New England, we've reached the beginning of the most likely period of this as of 3:30 p.m.

The weather front separating relatively cool but very humid air to the north vs. hot and humid air to the south has barely moved north, but is now just south of Burlington to around St. Johnsbury.

It'll probably inch forward a little more to the north over the next few hours.

Nevertheless, thunderstorms are erupting like crazy south of the front, so expect rapidly changing conditions the rest of the day.

In other words, some steamy sun, then a torrential downpour, then steamy sun in these areas. The storms, especially the ones moving from the Lake George, New York region into southern Vermont, are producing torrential rains, so local flash floods are a possibility

There's already a flood advisory for areas in and near Lake George because of dumping thunderstorms that have been passing through that area.

I haven't seen this yet today, but some areas might get repeated torrential thunderstorms, so those local areas stand the best chance of getting a flash flood.

Some storms might produce locally damaging wind gusts, too. And these southern Vermont storms will often have LOTS of lightning.

The more north you go, the more likely it will stay overcast the rest of the day. However, even though the chance of thunderstorms is less up north, there's still a good chance of some torrential rains later today and tonight as a small storm ripples east-northeastward along the front.

If the front stays stalled and storms keep riding west to east along it, that too, could set the stage for local flash floods in northern New York, Vermont and/or New Hampshire.

Not everyone will see a flash flood, of course. It will be spotty. But be careful driving out there, because you could hit waves of blinding rains from time to time.

Terrible Floods In Louisiana Now, And New Ones Coming, Hint At Climate Change

Flood chaos in Louisiana Friday, from television
station WBRZ  
Boy, this is a month of flooding in the Grand Ole USA, with Louisiana the latest big victim. 

Recently, we've seen some nasty monsoon flooding in the Desert Southwest, and other bad floods yesterday in parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota.

It got much worse Friday, with an epic flood ongoing in  Louisiana as thunderstorms and torrential rains have pretty much stalled over the area since Thursday night.

The Louisiana floods are epic, and joining a lengthening list of off the charts floods we've had in different parts of the nation over the past year. (Think South Carolina last October, Texas in the winter, West Virginia in June, Maryland a couple weeks back.)

The extreme misery in Louisiana is continuing today, and spreading into the western part of that state, and into east Texas, and eventually Arkansas.

A moisture plume eminating from this mess  -- an atmospheric river - is extending northeastward, prompting flash flood watches in a long stripe from Missouri to Vermont.

(Further down in this post, I'll have a specific Vermont-area update for my fellow Green Mountain Boys and Girls)

The Louisiana floods have killed at least two, but I'm sure the death toll will rise, unfortunately. Many homes that never before came close to flooding are inundated. There have been hundreds of water rescues.

In Livingston Parish, Louisiana, 911 dispatchers managed zillions of flood-related calls even as flood waters surged into the 911 dispatch center.' No fewer than 3,000 homes were flooded in Livingston Parish alone.

Some people were evacuated to two churches, but had to be evacuated again when the churches flooded.

A few areas received two FEET of rain, and some of those areas can expect up to a foot more today.

Even when the rain stops, rivers will keep rising. Many of them in Louisiana are going to have record high crests.

Precipitable water in the air,  a measure of how efficiently showers and storms can drop rainfall, was near record highs even for normally wet Louisiana. The stalled, semi tropical system overhead used this excess water in the air to deadly effciency.

The higher the precipitable water is in a given spot, the heavier the rain will fall if a shower or storm moves over that area.
One of many water rescues in Louisiana Friday.  

That the nearby Gulf of Mexico has record high water temperatures doesn't help, since the higher the water temperature, the more efficient the evaporation is into the air, and that means more water feeding into the sluggish storm.

As I've noted in the past, the number of extreme precipitation events is increasing in much of the world, including the majority of the United States.

With every new flood event I offer this disclaimer and it's appropriate here: While I can't conclusively blame  Louisiana floods - and the potential floods to follow soon elsewhere - on global warming, these events are consistent with what scientists say is happening.

As the world warms, these events will probably only get worse.

On top of all that, more and more of the landscape is getting paved over in many areas, so water can't soak in. That means less water can soak into the ground during storms, so it runs off into creeks, rivers, roads, houses and businesses instead.

Right now, most of the eastern United States has high levels of precipitable water in the atmosphere. As heat waves go, this one in the U.S. isn't that extreme as far as actual temperatures. But the extraordinarly high humidity covering such a wide area poses the potential for trouble.

Even in drought-stricken areas of the Northeast, this high humidity now in place can cause thunderstorms to unleash incredible amounts of rain. There's the risk that lines of these storms can repeatedly go over the same area, causing flash floods even in formerly dry areas.

One such storm unloaded four inches of rain on a few towns near the Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts border on Friday.

Another similar storm inundated dozens of cars and RV's at the Illinois State Fair Friday.

A slow moving weather front interacting with Gulf of Mexico wet air and all that super humid air in place will continue the risk of flooding in various places over the next week in the mid-Mississippi Valley, Ohio and maybe Tennessee Valley and parts of the Northeast.

For many, this isn't going away anytime soon.


The nearly stalled weather front that I mentioned above sagged southward into Vermont Friday, creating some relief from the heat in the northern parts of the state, and triggered some much needed rain.

Bonus: Nobody got excessively heavy rain, so it was all good.

However, the front is still around, and has become more active today, so the risk of flash flooding in parts of the region is real today into Sunday. There is a flash flood watch in effect for the northern two thirds of Vermont and much of northern New York into Sunday evening.

That semi-stalled front is drifting back north, and we will be in the thick of the humid air again today and tonight. Most of Vermont already was in the soup early Saturday morning.

Given the previous dry conditions, not everybody will get flooded in Vermont today - this is no Hurricane Irene - but local areas might get some dangerous flash flooding..

Here's why: Remember that high level of precipitable water I mentioned in the above national summary?  It's here now in Vermont, too. So any showers and storms that get going will be efficient rain makers.

So the usual heavy rain in thunderstorms today will be doubly torrential. Worse, there's the potential for training: That's when a narrow band of thunderstorms follows one another over one spot, like boxcars on a moving freight train.

Anyone stuck under that narrow band can get many inches of rain, and a flash flood can develop in no time.

That's true even if the ground is dry and dusty right before it rains. If it rains super hard, the water will run off into creeks and small streams, and you get sudden blasts of fast moving water coming off the hills. Very dangerous.

Also, in urban areas, like the middle of Burlington, Rutland, St. Albans, Montpelier, Barre and other towns, streets can very quickly flood in the type of downpour that's possible today and tonight, so be careful there.

The time period with the strongest risk of very heavy rain and flash floods is this afternoon and tonight.

Major rivers in Vermont and eastern New York are running low. The areas that get the flash flood rains will be relatively small, even if the potential for three to six inches of rain is there in those local areas.

The majority of Vermont and eastern New York will only get about one to two inches of rain. The bottom line is the big rivers might rise, but they probably won't flood.

The risk of flooding will decline Sunday afternoon as drier air moves in from the northwest.

Though there may be periods of unsettled weather midweek, at this point, I think we're safe from flooding in Vermont after Sunday. But I still want to watch that midweek stuff: If things stall again, there could conceivably be more trouble.   

Here's a video from Louisiana showing a truck being swept off a road by floodwaters. The driver was later rescued.