October 2015 North American storm complex

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
October 2015 North American storm complex
October 3, 2015 US East Coast nor'easter.jpg
Satellite image of the storm over the Eastern United States on October 3, with Hurricane Joaquin to the southeast.
Type Extratropical cyclone; nor'easter
Formed September 29, 2015
Dissipated October 7, 2015
Lowest pressure 998 mbar (hPa; 29.47 inHg)[1]
Maximum rainfall 26.88 in (683 mm) near Mount Pleasant, South Carolina[2]
Damage $2 billion (2015 USD)
Total fatalities At least 25 deaths
Areas affected Eastern United States (especially South Carolina), Atlantic Canada

The October 2015 North American storm complex was an extratropical storm that triggered a high precipitation event, which caused historic flash flooding across North and South Carolina. The incipient cold front traversed the Eastern United States on September 29–30, producing heavy rain in multiple states. The system subsequently stalled just offshore. Tapping into moisture from the nearby Hurricane Joaquin, a developing surface low brought heavy, continuous rain to southeastern States, with the worst effects concentrated in South Carolina where catastrophic flooding occurred. The event culminated in South Carolina on October 4 when numerous rivers burst their banks, washing away roads, bridges, vehicles, and homes. Hundreds of people required rescue and the state's emergency management department urged everyone in the state not to travel.[3] Some areas of the state saw rainfall equivalent to a 1-in-1000-year event.

At least 25 deaths have been attributed to the weather complex: 19 in South Carolina, 2 in New York, 2 in North Carolina, 1 in Florida, and 1 in New Brunswick. Damage reached $2 billion dollars.[4]

Meteorological synopsis[edit]

Infrared satellite animation from October 1–5 depicting the evolution of the rainfall event over South Carolina.

On September 29, 2015, a cold front moved southeast across the Eastern United States and produced widespread heavy rain.[5] By October 2, the frontal system stalled offshore and a 1000 mbar (hPa; 29.53 inHg) surface low developed just east of the FloridaGeorgia border. The cyclone interacted with Hurricane Joaquin—situated over the Bahamas at the time—with moisture streaming north from the hurricane into the Southeastern United States.[6] This moisture interacted with the surface low, frontal boundary, and a strong upper-level low to produce prolonged, heavy rains over the region with training bands situated over South Carolina.[1] A strengthening ridge to the northeast created a tighter pressure gradient, resulting in a large area of onshore gales.[6]

Preparations[edit]

The South Carolina National Guard loading up sandbags for distribution across the state on October 3

On September 30, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency for the entire state owing to heavy rains and the threat of Hurricane Joaquin.[7] The City of Norfolk also declared an emergency.[8] On October 1, Governors Larry Hogan, Chris Christie, Pat McCrory, and Nikki Haley declared a state of emergency for Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, and South Carolina respectively.[9]

By October 3, approximately 22 million people were under flood warnings or watches. The storm prompted the cancellation of 145 flights nationwide.[10]

Impact[edit]

Southeastern states[edit]

One person was killed in North Carolina on October 1 when a tree fell on her car. Flooding in Brunswick County, North Carolina prompted the evacuation of 400–500 people. More than 10,000 people were without power in the state.[10] A second death was confirmed on October 5.[11]

A pole at a park in Cheraw, South Carolina. The ring around the pole indicates the height of the Pee Dee River during the 2015 flood.

On October 4, a 9-year-old drowned after being pulled out to sea by rip currents near St. Pete Beach, Florida.[12]

South Carolina[edit]

Rainfall accumulations across the Carolinas and surrounding states from October 1–4, ending at 6:24 p.m. EDT (22:24 UTC). Areas in white indicate accumulations in excess of 20 in (510 mm).

Rainfall across parts of South Carolina reached 500-year event levels,[13] with areas near Columbia experiencing a 1-in-1000 year event.[14] Accumulations reached 24.23 in (615 mm) near Boone Hall by 11:00 a.m. EDT (15:00 UTC) on October 4.[15] Charleston International Airport saw a record 24-hour rainfall of 11.5 in (290 mm) on October 3. Nearly 30,000 people were without power in the state.[13] One woman drowned in Spartanburg on October 1 after her car was overwhelmed by flooding in an underpass.[16] On October 2, a plane crashed along the South Carolina side of Lake Hartwell, killing all four occupants. The cause is currently unknown though there was light rain at the time of the incident.[17] On October 3, the Charleston Historic District was brought to a virtual standstill with most roads closed because of flooding.[18] Three deaths were confirmed in the state on October 2 and 3. Through the evening of October 3, highway patrol reported 500 traffic accidents and 104 flooded roads.[19]

Early on October 4, the National Weather Service issued flash flood emergencies for Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties.[20] From 4:00–7:30 a.m. EDT (08:00–11:30 UTC), Gills Creek in Columbia rapidly rose to 17.08 ft (5.21 m) before the river gauge stopped reporting; this shattered the previous record crest of 9.43 ft (2.87 m) in July 1997.[21] The state's Emergency Management Division issued a statement later that morning via Twitter at 6:59 a.m. EDT, stating: "... remain where you are if you are safely able to do so."[22] They reiterated this at 8:20 a.m., stressing that residents should not travel: "Remain. Where. You. Are. Dangerous flooding conditions through the state for most of the day."[23] The State's Emergency Management division also issued a statement not to move or drive around barricades blocking flooded roads, yet drivers still moved and/or drove around barricades. Three subjects died after someone else removed a barricade from a road; in the darkness, the three were unable to see that the road had been washed out, and they drove into a chasm.[24] A dam along Semmes Lake at Fort Jackson collapsed.[13] More than 140 rescues were made during the overnight hours; the United States Coast Guard was deployed to assist in rescue missions.[25]

A levee breach near Columbia, South Carolina, on October 5

As of 10:54 a.m. EDT (14:54 UTC), 211 state roads and 43 bridges were closed.[21] On October 4, Georgetown County Emergency Management closed all roadways in the county because of severe flooding; the South Carolina Emergency Management Division announced the closure of Interstate 95 between Interstate 20 and Interstate 26, a 70 mi (110 km) stretch.[26] A mandatory curfew was put in place for Columbia beginning at 6:00 p.m. EDT (22:00 UTC).[27] All residents in the city were also advised to boil water as water lines suffered damage.[28] One person died in the city after her car was swept away.[29] Multiple school districts and colleges across the state were closed the week of October 5th, including Horry County Schools, Georgetown County Schools, Williamsburg County Schools, Sumter County Schools, Charleston County Schools, University of South Carolina, Coastal Carolina University and College of Charleston.

Eighteen dams were breached or collapsed across the state.[30] A mandatory evacuation was issued for areas downstream of the Overcreek Dam on October 5 after the structure was breached.[11] The head of the South Carolina National Guard compared damage from the floods to Hurricane Hugo in 1989, which caused $9.5 billion in economic losses. Reinsurance company Aon Benfield indicated losses from the floods would be well in excess of $1 billion, with a large portion coming from uninsured homeowners.[31]

At least 19 deaths were confirmed in relation to the storm as of the evening of October 9.[32]

The fallout from the flooding forced the South Carolina Gamecocks to move their October 10 home game against the LSU Tigers to Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. While Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia was not heavily damaged, school officials felt the damage to the area's infrastructure was too severe to host the game.[33]

Northeastern states[edit]

Minor street flooding in Ocean City, New Jersey

In Virginia, heavy rains resulted in numerous traffic accidents; state police responded to 375 incidents on October 3. Police received more than 1,200 calls that day. Power outages affected 7,300 customers at the height of the storm.[34] The James River approached flood levels, and hundreds evacuated low-lying areas in Lancaster County on Virginia's Northern Neck.[35]

Tidal flooding in Ocean City, Maryland prompted road closures.[13] Rainfall in the state peaked at 4.67 in (119 mm) near Bishopville.[15] In Delaware, the storm caused coastal flooding, with Delaware Route 1 between Bethany Beach and Dewey Beach closed on October 2 due to flooding and not reopened until October 4.[36]

Several days of continuous onshore flow caused significant coastal flooding and beach erosion in New Jersey.[37] The worst erosion took place in Ocean County, specifically around Mantoloking, where 15 ft (4.6 m) of sand was washed away; Ortley Beach saw up to 10 ft (3.0 m).[38] Wind gusts up to 62 mph (100 km/h)—the highest observed winds in relation to the nor'easter—were measured at Cape May.[15] Coastal flooding in New Jersey destroyed at least one home.[10] Stone Harbor sustained millions of dollars in damage to the beach.[37] At least 3,600 residences lost power in the state.[39] Despite severe coastal erosion, structural damage was limited.[38]

On October 2, a fishing boat with five crew capsized amid 10 to 15 ft (3.0 to 4.6 m) swells in Jamaica Bay, near Floyd Bennett Field along the south coast of Long Island, New York. Two people were able to swim to shore and signal rescue for the other three; two later died in the hospital.[40]

Flooding in Portland, Maine stranded several vehicles.[41]

Atlantic Canada[edit]

Heavy rains associated with the incipient frontal boundary extended into Atlantic Canada, with 6.3 in (160 mm) of rain observed in parts of New Brunswick. Widespread flooding washed out roads and bridges, impairing travel; Hoyt was rendered inaccessible. One person died in Berwick after a retaining wall collapsed on him.[42]

Aftermath[edit]

President Barack Obama declared parts of South Carolina a disaster area, making federal aid available in Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry, Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland, and Williamsburg Counties.[43] Calhoun, Clarendon, Kershaw, Lee, and Sumter counties were later added to the list of federal disaster areas.[44] More than 1,300 National Guard soldiers and 250 state troopers were mobilized across the state.[11] The United States Department of Transportation released $5 million in emergency funds to the South Carolina Department of Transportation on October 6.[45] On October 16, the following counties were added to the list of federal disaster areas: Abbeville, Anderson, Bamberg, Colleton, Darlington, Fairfield, Florence, Laurens, McCormick, and Newberry counties.[46]

Looting was reported in some areas of Columbia that had been evacuated.[47]

On October 5, 541 roads were closed.[48]

It was announced October 9, that 18 bridges along 13 miles of Interstate 95 had foundation damage that still needed repairs, which would start October 10. Until the repairs were done, drivers had to make a detour of 94 extra miles by Columbia.[49] Southbound lanes on the final 16 miles of Interstate 95 opened October 12[50] and all of the interstate reopened as of 8 A.M. October 13 after structural repairs to 13 bridges.[51]

As of November 25, 2015, 69 roads were closed. 26 of those needed repair or replacement of private dams to take place. A South Carolina Department of Transportation report said 221 bridges were affected and 18 would have to be replaced. Workers removed 2000 truckloads of debris from roads.[48] The estimated cost of road repairs was $137 million.[52]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Allison Santorelli (October 3, 2015). Storm Summary Number 04 for Southeast U.S. Heavy Rain and Coastal Storm (Report). College Park, Maryland: Weather Prediction Center. Archived from the original on October 4, 2015. Retrieved October 3, 2015. 
  2. ^ Jason Krekeler (October 5, 2015). Storm Summary Number 13 for Southeast U.S. Heavy Rain and Coastal Storm (Report). Weather Prediction Center. Archived from the original on October 6, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015. 
  3. ^ Ben Brumfield, Nick Valencia & Greg Botelho (October 4, 2015). "Flash flood emergencies spread in South Carolina; motorists stranded in water". CNN. Turner Broadcasting System. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  4. ^ https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/events
  5. ^ Jason Krekeler (September 30, 2015). Storm Summary Number 4 for Eastern U.S. Heavy Rainfall Event (Report). College Park, Maryland: Weather Prediction Center. Archived from the original on October 3, 2015. Retrieved October 3, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Michael Ryan (October 2, 2015). Storm Summary Number 01 for Eastern U.S. Mountain and Coastal Storm (Report). College Park, Maryland: Weather Prediction Center. Archived from the original on October 3, 2015. Retrieved October 3, 2015. 
  7. ^ Darcy Spencer (September 30, 2015). "Hurricane Joaquin: Virginia Declares State of Emergency". WRC-TV. NBCUniversal. Retrieved October 3, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Joaquin has been upgraded to a major category 3 hurricane". WVEC. Norfolk, Virginia: Tegna, Inc. September 30, 2015. Retrieved October 3, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Christie Declares State of Emergency in New Jersey Ahead of Hurricane Joaquin". WPVI-TV. Trenton, New Jersey: American Broadcasting Company. October 1, 2015. Retrieved October 1, 2015. 
  10. ^ a b c Jason Cumming & Elizabeth Chuck (October 3, 2015). "Flash Floods, 'Once in 200 Years Rainfall Event' Loom in South Carolina". NBC News. NBCUniversal. Retrieved October 3, 2015. 
  11. ^ a b c Michael Pearson; Holly Yan & Joe Sutton (October 5, 2015). "South Carolina flooding: 'We have lost everything'". CNN. Turner Broadcasting System. Retrieved October 6, 2015. 
  12. ^ Lauren Rozyla (October 5, 2015). "St. Pete mother dealing with likely drowning death of young son at beach". WFTS-TV. E. W. Scripps Company. Retrieved October 6, 2015. 
  13. ^ a b c d F. Brinley Bruton; Gabe Gutierrez & Elisha Fieldstadt (October 4, 2015). "East Coast Flooding: 'Once in 500 Years' Downpour Threatens South Carolina". NBC News. NBCUniversal. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  14. ^ Chris Scott [@ChrisScottWx] (October 4, 2015). "Once in 1000 years rainfall event unfolding now in South Carolina. Columbia thru Sumter has seen 12–20" #SCFlood" (Tweet). Retrieved October 4, 2015 – via Twitter. 
  15. ^ a b c Allison Santorelli (October 4, 2015). Storm Summary Number 08 for Southeast U.S. Heavy Rain and Coastal Storm (Report). College Park, Maryland: Weather Prediction Center. Archived from the original on October 4, 2015. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  16. ^ Dal Kalsi (October 1, 2015). "Coroner: Woman killed when flood waters submerge her vehicle in Spartanburg". WHNS. Spartanburg, South Carolina: Meredith Corporation. Retrieved October 3, 2015. 
  17. ^ Kayla Crandall & Eric Dutkiewicz (October 2, 2015). "4 dead in S.C. plane crash; aircraft registered to Warsaw councilman". WPTA. Oconee County, South Carolina: Granite Broadcasting. Archived from the original on October 3, 2015. Retrieved October 3, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Flooding Shuts Down Charleston's Historic District". WTVD. Charleston, South Carolina: The Walt Disney Company. Associated Press. October 3, 2015. Retrieved October 3, 2015. 
  19. ^ "SC emergency operations increased to OPCON 1". The State. October 3, 2015. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Flash flood emergency declared for Tri-County area". WCSC-TV. Charleston, South Carolina: Raycom Media. October 4, 2015. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  21. ^ a b Heather Janssen (October 4, 2015). "Record-Breaking Rain Delivers Devastating Flooding to Parts of South Carolina". Accuweather. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  22. ^ South Carolina Emergency Management Division [@SCEMD] (October 4, 2015). "EMERGENCY ALERT: SCEMD asks you to remain where you are if you are safely able to do so. Call 911 for life-threatening emergencies #alert" (Tweet). Retrieved October 4, 2015 – via Twitter. 
  23. ^ South Carolina Emergency Management Division [@SCEMD] (October 4, 2015). "Remain. Where. You. Are. Dangerous flooding conditions through the state for most of the day. #SCFlood #SCtweets" (Tweet). Retrieved October 4, 2015 – via Twitter. 
  24. ^ "The 1,000 Year Flood: Two Years Later". WLTX. Columbia, South Carolina: Tegna, Inc. October 4, 2017. Retrieved October 4, 2017. 
  25. ^ "Coast Guard Joins Flood Rescue Efforts in South Carolina". Charleston, South Carolina: KTSA. October 4, 2015. Archived from the original on October 5, 2015. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  26. ^ Jo brown (October 4, 2015). "Extreme flooding causes road closures, evacuations". WBTW. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  27. ^ Jeremy Turnage (October 4, 2015). "Mandatory curfew imposed for City of Columbia". WIS. Raycom Media. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  28. ^ Jeremy Turnage (October 4, 2015). "System-wide boil water advisory issued for all City of Columbia water customers". WIS. Raycom Media. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  29. ^ Clif Leblanc (October 4, 2015). "Flood death: Woman dies when SUV washes off Columbia street". The State. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  30. ^ Chappell, Bill (October 6, 2015). "18 Dams Breached And Death Toll Rises In S.C. Flooding". NPR. Retrieved October 6, 2015. 
  31. ^ Ben Berkowitz (October 6, 2015). "South Carolina flood losses: $1 billion and rising". CNBC. NBCUniversal. Retrieved October 6, 2015. 
  32. ^ "5 Recovery Centers Open, 19 Dead After Floods". WLTX. Columbia, South Carolina: Tegna, Inc. October 9, 2015. Retrieved October 10, 2015. 
  33. ^ Patterson, Chip (October 7, 2015). "Flood moves LSU-South Carolina game from Columbia to Baton Rouge". CBS Sports. Retrieved December 10, 2015. 
  34. ^ "Update: 4,600 without power in Virginia". Richmond Times-Dispatch. October 4, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015. 
  35. ^ Bill McKelway (October 4, 2015). "Hundreds evacuate in Lancaster County; no injuries reported". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved October 6, 2015. 
  36. ^ Flood, Chris; Lauria, Maddy (October 3, 2015). "Route 1 from Bethany to Dewey Beach reopens". Cape Gazette. Retrieved September 20, 2017. 
  37. ^ a b Annie McCormick (October 4, 2015). "Storm Brings Beach Erosion, Flooding at Jersey Shore". WPVI-TV. The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved October 5, 2015. 
  38. ^ a b Alex Napoliello (October 6, 2015). "Nor'easter eroded N.J.'s beaches, but major property destruction averted". NJ.com. Advance Digital. Retrieved October 6, 2015. 
  39. ^ "Storm Continues to Soak New Jersey, Sends House Into Water". WABC-TV. Sea Bright, New Jersey: The Walt Disney Company. October 3, 2015. Retrieved October 3, 2015. 
  40. ^ Brynn Gingras (October 2, 2015). "2 Men Dead After Fishing Boat Capsizes in Jamaica Bay: NYPD". WNBC. NBCUniversal. Retrieved October 3, 2015. 
  41. ^ "Cars submerged in water behind Marginal Way in Portland". WCSH. Portland, Maine: Tegna, Inc. September 30, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015. 
  42. ^ "Intense storm in Maritimes blamed for death of N.B. man". CTV News. Bell Media. October 1, 2015. Retrieved October 3, 2015. 
  43. ^ "'Fire hose' of moisture slams South Carolina; 12 killed". Winston-Salem Journal. Associated Press. October 5, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015. 
  44. ^ "THE LATEST: What You Need to Know About the Disaster". WLTX. Columbia, South Carolina: Tegna, Inc. October 9, 2015. Retrieved October 9, 2015. 
  45. ^ Amanda Shaw & Dal Kalsi (October 6, 2015). "SCDOT considering partial reopen of I-95". WHNS. Columbia, South Carolina: Meredith Corporation. Retrieved October 6, 2015. 
  46. ^ "FEMA approves 11 more SC counties for public assistance". WOLO. Columbia, South Carolina: Bahakel Communications. October 16, 2015. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  47. ^ Holly Yan & Ray Sanchez (October 6, 2015). "South Carolina flooding: dams breached, more trouble ahead". CNN. Turner Broadcasting System. Retrieved October 6, 2015. 
  48. ^ a b Weaver, Emily (November 30, 2015). "Milder hurricane season comes to an end, South Carolina still recovering from flood". The Sun News. Retrieved December 1, 2015. 
  49. ^ "SC Flooding: Repairs to begin soon on I-95 after floods". WCBD-TV. Associated Press. October 9, 2015. Retrieved November 19, 2015. 
  50. ^ Smith, Bruce (October 12, 2015). "Interstate 95 reopening in South Carolina as flooding ebbs". WCBD-TV. Associated Press. Retrieved November 19, 2015. 
  51. ^ Bazzle, Kelly (October 23, 2015). "Road Updates: I-95 now open in both directions; over 4,000 hours worked". WCBD-TV. Retrieved November 19, 2015. 
  52. ^ Cope, Cassie (December 12, 2015). "South Carolina set to replace ruined bridges". The State. Retrieved December 17, 2015.  As of August 2017, almost 2 years to the date, there are still several roads and private dams that are in disrepair.