Severe weather outbreak in the South; 2008 the 2nd busiest tornado season

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:45 PM GMT on December 09, 2008

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A major severe weather outbreak is possible today across portions of Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and surrounding states, in association with a strong cold front expected to sweep through the region. The Storm Prediction Center has placed portions of Louisiana and Mississippi under the "moderate Risk" category for severe weather today, and supercell thunderstorms with tornadoes are likely today along the cold front. Several tornado warnings have already been issued for Louisiana this morning, though no confirmed touch-downs have been reported yet.

Links to follow
Severe weather map
Interactive tornado map


Figure 1. Cumulative tornadoes for 2008, compared to the five most recent years. The confirmed tornado count for 2008 through September is 1600, making it the second busiest tornado season on record. Only 2004, with 1817 twisters, has had more. Image credit: NOAA Storm Prediction Center.

Tornado season update
As the end of the year approaches, the tornado season of 2008 has already established itself as the second busiest tornado season on record. The 1600 confirmed tornadoes this year through September are second only to the record 1817 tornadoes recorded in 2004. Reliable tornado records began in 1950, but tornado reports have grown steadily over the years due to an increase in population and an increase in interest and reporting ability. With just a few weeks left in the year, it seems unlikely 2008 will break the record for most tornadoes. The preliminary count for October and November was 46 tornadoes, which means we would need at a minimum 171 tornadoes over the the next three weeks to set a new record. This is pretty unlikely, unless we get a major outbreak today and two additional outbreaks later this month. Tornado deaths so far this year are at 125--the most since 1998, when 130 people died in tornadoes.

Jeff Masters

Water Spout in Man of War Harbor - Key West (BilgeH2OMgt)
This 4pm waterspout was spectacular! It was SW of Fleming Key , moved into a cove and then the base looked like it exploded when it hit the land with dirt and bushes flying.
Water Spout  in Man of War Harbor - Key West
Tornado near Oshkosh, NE. (msteinbeck)
This is the tornado that was reported near Oshkosh, Nebraska on 8/13/08.
Tornado near Oshkosh, NE.

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124. futuremet
8:54 PM GMT on December 09, 2008
Severe Weather Blog
Member Since: July 19, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 4051
123. Drakoen
8:51 PM GMT on December 09, 2008
119, 700-500mb lapse rates looks conditional unstable. There isn't much different in lower to mid level (0-3km) shear. Looks like my forecast lol.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30841
122. TheDawnAwakening
8:50 PM GMT on December 09, 2008
How about the nor'easter Bonedog?
Member Since: October 21, 2008 Posts: 248 Comments: 3970
121. CybrTeddy
8:45 PM GMT on December 09, 2008
Quoting keywestdingding:
looks like el nina might be starting


La Nina*
And yes it
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24580
120. futuremet
8:43 PM GMT on December 09, 2008
Severe Weather Outlook

The conditions today are ideal for a possible severe weather outbreak. A vigorous sub-synoptic scale cyclone developing along a baroclinic zone will greatly contribute to a possible severe weather conditions today. Wind shear levels are quite high because, wind speeds vary greatly at both speed and direction at different altitudes. For example, the surface winds are mostly blowing from the south at the west side of the ana front, while the upper level jet winds are blowing relatively from the west. The substantial shear will enhance horizontal vorticity levels around 5000 feet. If the updraft is sufficiently potent, it will cause the air to acquire vertical vorticity, and thus stimulate supercellular thunderstorm formation and tornadogenesis. Now residents in Louisiana should continue to monitor closely, because tornado warnings having posted, and radar is detecting rotation within some of the supercellular thunderstorms. The sub-synoptic scale cyclone near Northwestern Lousiana is expected to continue to intensify, move northeast, and become the dominant low pressure system in the mid-west by tomorrow. Subsequently, cyclogenesis is expected to occur along a baroclinically destabilized zone in the gulf of Mexico about 30 hours from now. This system is expected to deepen rapidly; it bring welcome rains for folks in Florida.
FutureMet
Member Since: July 19, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 4051
119. atmoaggie
8:43 PM GMT on December 09, 2008
Decent amount of shear and CAPE at Slidell from 18 UTC radiosonde:



Profile looks great for a supercell...moderate for a nado...keep yer heads up!
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
118. keywestdingding
8:42 PM GMT on December 09, 2008
looks like el nina might be starting
Member Since: March 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 91
117. CybrTeddy
8:42 PM GMT on December 09, 2008
Quoting IKE:
12Z ECMWF still shows a low heading north of PR....December invest coming up?

Link


Lets get some model support first, although I wouldn't rule out an Olga.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24580
116. SicPlanet
8:35 PM GMT on December 09, 2008
I knew we had a lot of tornadoes this year, but second most??? Wow. Well, I'm in mississippi and keeping my eye on the sky. Power outages likely of course, and I'm guessing we'll have HP supercells with a few rain-wrapped twisters. Need to see windshear maps now!!
115. Stormchaser2007
8:30 PM GMT on December 09, 2008
Pretty addicting to watch....lotta good people on here.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
114. IKE
8:29 PM GMT on December 09, 2008
12Z ECMWF still shows a low heading north of PR....December invest coming up?

Link
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
113. Drakoen
8:28 PM GMT on December 09, 2008
Southeast Weather Blog
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30841
112. CybrTeddy
8:27 PM GMT on December 09, 2008
2008 has been the 2nd most destructive Hurricane season and the 2nd most active Tornado Season.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24580
111. fireflymom
8:26 PM GMT on December 09, 2008
Lets Say Thanks.com Thank you 'bonedog, Sent mine and shared it with family and friends on a bird board too.
Member Since: June 5, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 595
110. atmoaggie
8:12 PM GMT on December 09, 2008
That Alexandria nado took out a cinder block wall...

From SPC:

1645 ALEXANDRIA RAPIDES LA 3129 9246 ACME REFRIGERATOR ON EMPRIRE DRIVE HAD A CINDER BLOCK WALL ALMOST COMPLETELY BLOWN OUT. REPORTED BY KALB TV5 IN ALEXANDRIA. (LCH)
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
109. conchygirl
8:11 PM GMT on December 09, 2008
Quoting Bonedog:
hey folks this is somehting great the Xerox is doing. I just found out about it, please take a few seconds and do it.

Xerox is sending christmas cards to the troops. Just click the link, pick the card (all are drawn by young students) pick the message and hit send. Xerox does the rest, and its FREE.

Please take a second and send a soldier a card.

Lets Say Thanks.com
Thanks Bonedog -I sent mine. Nice thing!
Member Since: June 11, 2008 Posts: 24 Comments: 5910
108. IKE
7:30 PM GMT on December 09, 2008
TVS's.....

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
107. Joanie38
7:14 PM GMT on December 09, 2008
Is there any live stream from SW LA storm spotters??
Member Since: June 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 507
106. Joanie38
6:45 PM GMT on December 09, 2008
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
live webcam stream from skywarn spotters
http://www.ladeltaweather.com/webcast/webcast.html



OMG WOW!!! ty so much!!!
Member Since: June 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 507
105. TheDawnAwakening
6:43 PM GMT on December 09, 2008
Ok its quite warm right now in the mid to upper 40s with the sunshine trying to peak out from time to time.
Member Since: October 21, 2008 Posts: 248 Comments: 3970
104. CaicosRetiredSailor
6:37 PM GMT on December 09, 2008
live webcam stream from skywarn spotters
http://www.ladeltaweather.com/webcast/webcast.html

Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6069
103. CaicosRetiredSailor
6:27 PM GMT on December 09, 2008
Statement as of 12:17 PM CST on December 09, 2008

The National Weather Service in Shreveport has issued a

* Tornado Warning for...
southern Caldwell Parish in north central Louisiana...
northern La Salle Parish in north central Louisiana...

* until 1245 PM CST

* at 1211 PM CST... National Weather Service Doppler radar indicated a
severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado near midway... or
about 29 miles southeast of Winnfield... moving northeast at 35 mph.

* The tornado will be near...
7 miles southeast of hollum by 1240 PM CST...
8 miles southeast of Copenhagen by 1245 PM CST...

http://www.wunderground.com/US/LA/021.html
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6069
102. Joanie38
6:22 PM GMT on December 09, 2008
HI EVERYONE!!! my parents live in Alexandria, LA. I live in SW LA. Any radar images showing the bow echo on radar in the Alexandria area?? Does anyone have storm reports from this area as well?? I am a storm spotter and would like to look at these!:) Thank you in advance!

Joanie
Member Since: June 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 507
At what time today can we expect the heaviest stuff around baton rouge?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
hey folks this is somehting great the Xerox is doing. I just found out about it, please take a few seconds and do it.

Xerox is sending christmas cards to the troops. Just click the link, pick the card (all are drawn by young students) pick the message and hit send. Xerox does the rest, and its FREE.

Please take a second and send a soldier a card.

Lets Say Thanks.com
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
97. Skyepony (Mod)
If nov was warmer than Oct it would be in the top 7 for nov since 1880.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good afternoon... :P Nice shots Dr. M.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The one good thing is at least the feedyards don't stink when it's cold. No smell from a poopsicle. When it thaws, now that's a different story
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
81. Skyepony 8:55 AM PST on December 09, 2008
This was from yesterday in TX..

300 POUND PORTA POTTIES WERE BLOWN ACROSS AN INDUSTRIAL
YARD NEAR CARLSBAD. WINDS WERE ESTIMATED TO BE 70 MPH.
BILLBOARD SIGNS WERE ALSO BLOWN DOWN ON HWY 285


so, the "S" hit the fan, so to speak...

;)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Well, talk about getting cheated. The snow is very dry here and blowing, looks more like fog. It's about 20f and the wind is blowing. YIPPY!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
That really sucks. No snow for NC this CHristmas. Hopefully the temps will be cold enough to sustain man made snow.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Dopler indicated tornado hopefully they can get some eyes on this system, espcially with a metro area under the gun
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I'll take a short break from the computer and will be back in a hour or so.
Member Since: October 21, 2008 Posts: 248 Comments: 3970
that is an impressive hook echo!

looking on the net now for spotter reports
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Sounds good bonedog.
Member Since: October 21, 2008 Posts: 248 Comments: 3970
You have a possiblity of thunder tomorrow yes. The jet combined with reminants of the convection from today might be the fuel needed.

You will also be under a wind advisory for sure, 25 to 35 sustained gusts to 45
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Alexandria, LA radar shows a hook echo approaching from the SW. Likely passing north of the city.
Member Since: October 21, 2008 Posts: 248 Comments: 3970
Wow 70mph winds or higher are quite intense. I didn't personally go through the 100mph winds that day of the microburst but trees were down everywhere with a coating of snow on the ground. That was one hell of a day. Bonedog, will we see any thunderstorms tomorrow?
Member Since: October 21, 2008 Posts: 248 Comments: 3970
the tornado for Alexandria, is it doppler indicated or do we have eyes on it?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
81. Skyepony (Mod)
This was from yesterday in TX..

300 POUND PORTA POTTIES WERE BLOWN ACROSS AN INDUSTRIAL
YARD NEAR CARLSBAD. WINDS WERE ESTIMATED TO BE 70 MPH.
BILLBOARD SIGNS WERE ALSO BLOWN DOWN ON HWY 285.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
in a little bit the MM5 HiRes models will be out, will see better resolution for the Cape Dawn, then you will be able to tell the winds better.

Thats what sulli and I have been waiting for are the HiRes models to come out. Only problem is none go past 60hrs most are only 48hrs so we ahve to wait for later model runs to get to glimpse the system then only until we are within 48hrs do we get to see the complete picture

FYI the MM5 is only initalized to 33hrs right now so it will be some time for it
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hey Doc!

Any word yet on november 2008 temperature anomalies? Will you be doing a write up?

Thanks for all the great posts the past few weeks. Great education!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
78. Skyepony (Mod)
...A Tornado Warning remains in effect until 1100 am CST for northern
Rapides Parish...

At 1038 am CST...National Weather Service Doppler radar continued to
indicate a tornado. This tornado was located near Alexandria...
moving northeast at 25 mph.

The tornado will be near...
Pineville by 1045 am CST...
Ball by 1055 am CST...

This tornado is currently moving into Metro Alexandria. Residents should
take shelter immediately!



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
wow Dawn OK so your up Cape Cod way.

yes you would want the storm to pass to your west. Looking at the charts it does appear as of this run 70mph gusts are possible maybe a little higher.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Outer Cape Cod, MA, (Harwich, MA).
Member Since: October 21, 2008 Posts: 248 Comments: 3970
The Dawn where are you located so I can look at the charts and help more
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
About three years ago today, one of the worst wind events hit the Cape Cod, MA region and Block Island, RI in a matter of three hours. On December 9th, 2005 a large potent storm system entered the Northeast after originating over the tennessee Valley and combining with the snowstorm that hit chicago, Il just a day before. The low took on explosive cyclogenesis as it passed through southeastern MA producing thunderstorms as the low passed overhead. The day started out pretty cool and raw and warmed up as the day went on. Towards the afternoon Cape Cod, MA saw some peaks of sunshine and temps reached 50F according to eyewitnesses as I was off Cape in school. It turned very windy and winds gusted from 95mph to 120mph from Block Island, RI to Cape Cod, MA. The low passed into Cape Cod Bay as the winds increased out of the northwest. The rain changed to snow and blizzard conditions were occurring from West to east. As we reached the Cape Cod Canal on the way home from school the rain changed to snow and the snow was falling very heavily with 2" an hour rates were occurring as traffic almost came to a standstill. As I got home power was out that whole weekend and was not restored until Sunday evening. The power workers said that a microburst struck the region. Some people believed there was a weak tornado that hit Eastham, MA but after viewing that damage myself a day later with my dad, after just taking a glimpse of it, it appeared it was only straight line wind gusts, because the NWS did not say a tornado was here.
Member Since: October 21, 2008 Posts: 248 Comments: 3970

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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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