Vortex2 tornado study finally gets some twisters to study

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:56 PM GMT on June 08, 2009

Share this Blog
5
+

A proven way to reduce the incidence of dangerous weather phenomena is to schedule a multi-million dollar field experiment to study the phenomena. Up until this past weekend, that has certainly been true of this year's $10 million Vortex2 tornado study. The 7-week study (which also runs next year) has deployed an armada of over 100 storm chasing vehicles across the Great Plains this Spring, but has largely been frustrated by an exceptionally quiet tornado season. Tornado activity in May was less than half of what was observed last year in May, thanks to a ridge of high pressure that has dominated the weather. The residents of Tornado Alley ran out of luck over the weekend, though, as a strong low pressure system and associated cold front brought severe weather and multiple tornadoes to the region. Sixteen tornado reports were received by NOAA's Storm Prediction Center yesterday, and three on Friday. The team of University of Michigan students that has been writing our featured Vortex2 blog caught some excellent pictures of tornadoes on both Friday and Sunday. Yesterday was probably the last best chance for the Vortex2 project to document a strong tornado, since the project ends this Saturday and no significant tornado outbreaks appear likely for the remainder of this week.

Aurora, Colorado tornado yesterday
A tornado with a 3/4 mile wide debris cloud swept through Aurora, Colorado yesterday, staying on the ground for 8 - 11 miles and damaging a shopping mall, but causing no deaths or injuries. The tornado passed close to one of the high-resolution Terminal Doppler Weather Radars (TDWRs) that we now feature on our web site (see the radar FAQ for more details on these great new additions to our radar offerings). Posted below are the reflectivity and Doppler velocity images from the tornado, showing the amazing fine-scale details these high-resolution radars offer.



Figure 1. Radar reflectivity (top) and Doppler velocity (bottom) from the Denver, Colorado Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR), which caught the classic signature of a supercell thunderstorm tornado over Aurora, Colorado. A tornado dropped down from the low-level mesocyclone inside the parent supercell thunderstorm at the time of these images. Yellow colors located right next to greens/blues indicate that winds are moving towards and away from the radar in close proximity, the signature of strong rotation at low levels. Also visible on the plot are the winds spreading out from a downdraft on the rear side of the tornado. Black arrows denote the direction of wind flow. The dryline was bent back into a E-W orientation near Denver, creating an area of moisture convergence, which triggered thunderstorm formation.

Western Caribbean disturbance unlikely to develop this week
As area of disturbed weather over the Western Caribbean has brought rains of 2 - 3 inches over portions of Nicaragua and Honduras over the past few days. Wind shear is a high 20 - 30 knots over the disturbance, and no computer models are indicating that the disturbance will develop this week.

Jeff Masters, with help from wunderground's tornado expert, Dr. Rob Carver

Dying out after an official 24 minutes on the ground
Tornado (Fungus)
Tornado
Twisted (rrose1)
This was taken approximately 30 minutes after a brief tornado passed through South Hutchinson, KS tonight. The building is a bus manufacturing facility.
Twisted

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 1237 - 1187

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35Blog Index

convection is really trying to refire

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1236. gator23
1233.

!!! I must have missed that!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1235. gator23

Quoting clwstmchasr:


Quoting clwstmchasr:
I guess I got caught up in the excitment of a potential system that everyone here was talking about instead of paying attention to the few who really know what they are talking about.


Patience. Patience
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting gator23:


You mean JFV

he admitted it
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1232. gator23
Quoting Vortex95:
Yo Ikesta u concur with Weather Students observations?


You mean JFV
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CatastrophicDL:

Flood, humidity is only at 25%? Wow, that's a nice day. Now if it was 95 and 65%+ humitidy that would suck! :o)


Lol. Its 90 with 61% humidity. Winds gusting out of SSE at 19. Actually not too bad for this time of year. At least we have a breeze. Usually in the summer we...uh let me rephrase that...in the summer we used to pray for so much as a breeze to stir this soup around and couldnt get a breath of wind. God sure has a sense of humor. Lol. 3 hurricanes and 4 named storms in 3 years. He showed us wind! Lol. And this deep in SE TX we don't usually get the dry winds off the plains. But earlier this year we were dry enough for a fire warning. And the locals said we are needing rain again already. Thats not unusual for summer though. Ick! Gonna be a long hot one ahead.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CatastrophicDL:
Jeffs, by the way, I'm an Arizona native. I LOVE the heat, it is the humidity that I can't stand. We are in the 100's several times a year here in Utah as well, but it is no where near as bad as TX since it is a dry heat.

I'm the same way. I was born in northern Colorado (Greeley, to be exact), and lived there for 8 years. I loved the dry heat up there. Down here in the Houston area... bleh. In dry heat, when you sweat, it actually does something. In humid heat, like Houston, when you sweat, it just makes you stink.

Last week there was actually a couple of days where it hit 90, but the humidity was abnormally low, and I was astonished how nice it felt. (it had been a while since it was last hot and dry here)

I still miss my mountains, though.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1226. Levi32


Quoting clwstmchasr:
Throughout the day I've been watching the visible satellite loops for the disturbance off the Nicaraguan coast in the Western Caribbean. As the day has progressed, it has become evident that some mid-level circulation has developed, but it now appears that even the circulation has been struggling through the early afternoon in the face of rather strong wind shear. Will continue to watch this disturbance since some computer models continue to suggest more favorable conditions coming down the road in about 4 to 5 days.

I thought 4 to 5 days ago that the models suggested that conditions would become more favorable for development in 4 to 5 days.


That's actually untrue. The GFS alone was being erratic forecasting development around this time 4-5 days ago under hostile upper-level winds. The other global models, even the GFS, 4-5 days ago were predicting unfavorable conditions until 10-15 days from then, which is 5-10 days from now.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting Floodman:


I'm in DFW: 95, humidity about 25%, light convection oven winds turning the yard into wicker...it's Texas, man, what did you expect?


SE winds and seabreeze storms off the Gulf
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Jeffs, by the way, I'm an Arizona native. I LOVE the heat, it is the humidity that I can't stand. We are in the 100's several times a year here in Utah as well, but it is no where near as bad as TX since it is a dry heat.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting clwstmchasr:
Throughout the day I've been watching the visible satellite loops for the disturbance off the Nicaraguan coast in the Western Caribbean. As the day has progressed, it has become evident that some mid-level circulation has developed, but it now appears that even the circulation has been struggling through the early afternoon in the face of rather strong wind shear. Will continue to watch this disturbance since some computer models continue to suggest more favorable conditions coming down the road in about 4 to 5 days.

I thought 4 to 5 days ago that the models suggested that conditions would become more favorable for development in 4 to 5 days.


You make a valid point. Been skeptical about the computer models thus far this hurricane season and continue to be, but I report what I see unless it seems too unrealistic or doesn't have any support.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
What is the odds we will see a named system by early to mid week out of the "blob" area.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting jeffs713:

Actually, its not that bad. You just go from an air conditioned house to an air conditioned car to an air conditioned office... and back. You only have to deal with the heat for a few minutes at a time, and when you have a heart attack upon getting your electric bill.

Jeffs, I know, I lived there for years. Four of my seven kids were born there. I could never get them to play outside in the summer for some reason :o)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CatastrophicDL:

Now if it was 95 and 65%+ humitidy that would suck! :o)

Actually, its not that bad. You just go from an air conditioned house to an air conditioned car to an air conditioned office... and back. You only have to deal with the heat for a few minutes at a time, and when you have a heart attack upon getting your electric bill.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weatherwatcher12:
can we expect more rain and wind in Jamaica

got my answer:

NEWS RELEASE

Monday 08, 2009 – 5:00 p.m

*** FLASH FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT FOR ALL PARISHES ***

The Meteorological Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch for low-lying and flood-prone areas of all parishes until 5:00 p.m. tomorrow.

A FLASH FLOOD WATCH means that flash flooding is possible and residents are advised to take precautionary measures, keep informed by listening to further releases from the Meteorological Service and be ready for quick action if flooding is observed or if a Warning is issued.

A persistent Trough over the Caribbean continues to influence weather conditions over Jamaica. Today the island experience cloudy conditions with periods of showers affecting mainly western parishes. A strong Tropical Wave currently east of Jamaica is expected to interact with this Trough tomorrow.

Consequently, a significant increase in showers and thunderstorms which may be heavy at times is expected across the island tomorrow through Thursday. Flash flooding of low lying and flood prone areas is therefore expected.

Fishers and other marine interests are advised to exercise caution as gusty winds and rough seas may be encountered in areas of showers and thunderstorms north and south of the island.


The Meteorological Service will continue to monitor the situation.
vtj/lpb
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Doing good and really glad I'm in a state with no humidity :o) I couldn't stand it when I lived there. You'd walk outside and melt!

We are super cool here so far for the year, I haven't had to turn my A/C on once. Usually I have it on in mid May, but I've got cool temps for at least another week. We've gotten so much rain my lawn is growing thousands of mushrooms!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CatastrophicDL:

Flood, humidity is only at 25%? Wow, that's a nice day. Now if it was 95 and 65% humitidy that would suck! :o)


I lived in New Orleans for four years and I grew up in St Louis; yep, that's a nice day...I love it when the weatherman here says "Humidity is going to be brutal today, 30% or thereabouts". Try 95 at 80%///LOL

So how are you, DL?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Bastardi's "Year without a summer"?...Nope:

Mostly Hype
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Floodman:


I'm in DFW: 95, humidity about 25%, light convection oven winds turning the yard into wicker...it's Texas, man, what did you expect?

Flood, humidity is only at 25%? Wow, that's a nice day. Now if it was 95 and 65%+ humitidy that would suck! :o)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RitaEvac:
Got a friggin blow dryer going on here in TX. Hot in the 90s and 20 mph winds out of the S and SW. Drought conditions spreading rapidly again and moving into SE TX. And to top it off the damn mosquitos are still out in full force. Crazy man.


I'm in DFW: 95, humidity about 25%, light convection oven winds turning the yard into wicker...it's Texas, man, what did you expect?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
can we expect more rain and wind in Jamaica
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RitaEvac:
Got a friggin blow dryer going on here in TX. Hot in the 90s and 20 mph winds out of the S and SW. Drought conditions spreading rapidly again and moving into SE TX. And to top it off the damn mosquitos are still out in full force. Crazy man.

Welcome to SE Texas? Its going to be like that for the next 3-4 months, might as well get used to it.

On the subject of blog font size... when I typed up my latest entry (a personal review of Hurricane Ike's impacts, 9 months later) on Sunday, it was in the smaller font. (both here at work on IE6, and at home, on Firefox 3) Now, it is in the larger font here at work (haven't looked from home today). But... the comments are still in the smaller font.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


coming at me...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Howdy, Amy, DestinJeff...folks...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1206. NRAamy
Just say "poot".....

;)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Bastardi is worried about a hurricane on the eastern seaboard? Let me guess...the Northeast is especially vulnerable???
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1203. Ossqss
Quoting Vortex95:
Orca how dare you call me a grumpy old man!!!

They are not pleased



Humm, if I had to guess who that was in the picture, I would say Tampa and Orca when they were younger :)
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8188
you can make it bigger if you want :)


Try "Enzyte"....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Orcasystems:


Gasp.. I see a weather phenomena coming on... yup.. there it is... poof.


Careful, Orca, my friend...that word can get you into a lot of trouble around here...seems some trolls have thin skins...LMAO

By the way, it's all in the follow through:

*POOF!*

LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Orcasystems:
you can make it bigger if you want :)


Can you email how to use different font size. By the way, the font size on my blog and how others see it is larger. I would of preferred the old size.

Thanks
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Throughout the day I've been watching the visible satellite loops for the disturbance off the Nicaraguan coast in the Western Caribbean. As the day has progressed, it has become evident that some mid-level circulation has developed, but it now appears that even the circulation has been struggling through the early afternoon in the face of rather strong wind shear. Will continue to watch this disturbance since some computer models continue to suggest more favorable conditions coming down the road in about 4 to 5 days.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Ugh I'll be back IE8 is giving me problems again

this time tabs won't close when I want them to >:(
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Vortex95:
Orca how dare you call me a grump old man!!!

They are not pleased



Who me.. call you a grumpy old man... now where would I ever get an idea like that :P

I would ask for a show of hands.. but it could be dangerous :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
More like slow days of no rain
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1189. Makoto1
Ah, thanks guys. I'll be sure to get things better with the input on there. I'll be working on my posts and hopefully get better over time.

I love how we're talking about this, slow day for sure.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RitaEvac:
Got a friggin blow dryer going on here in TX. Hot in the 90s and 20 mph winds out of the S and SE. Drought conditions spreading rapidly again and moving into SE TX. And to top it off the damn mosquitos are still out in full force. Crazy man.


I know what's with the mosquitoes here they are out even during the day O_o I thought they only come out at night

Jogging around here is not only murder due to the heat but also them >:(
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Hurricane4Lex:


You can also change the text size by pressing and holding the ctrl button while using your mouse wheel


IBD, it worked
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 1237 - 1187

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Lake Effort Snow Shower Over Windsor, Ontario
Sunset on Dunham Lake
Pictured Rocks Sunset
Sunset on Lake Huron