Vortex2 tornado study finally gets some twisters to study

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

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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

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Quoting Hurricane4Lex:


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


IBD, it worked
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Quoting Vortex95:


I read it :) and Commented


I commented on your comment :)
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Quoting Weather456:
I really do not like the text size of the blogs.


You can also change the text size by pressing and holding the ctrl button while using your mouse wheel
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no I was raised in the city of Warren, Trumbull County, dont have a clue where Warren County is. but I been in Houston 31 years. getting old now and hate the heat.
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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.
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1182. Makoto1
Quoting robinvtx1215:
Diana - makoto I read yours as you are in Ohio, I am from warren, was just there memorial day week, loved the weather. your blog cant be as bad as mine, i dont post anything


Thanks! Wow, I'm not the only one from the area. I remember last time I was down in Warren County I was in 2-inch hail.. lol

By the way, I was surprised at how anemic 91E looked when I got up.
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1/2 inch hail in Berkeley Springs, WV.. a rarity for sure. Maybe 1 hailstorm a year here in the hills.
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Diana - makoto I read yours as you are in Ohio, I am from warren, was just there memorial day week, loved the weather. your blog cant be as bad as mine, i dont post anything
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Quoting Levi32:


I thought they wouldn't let you use the html font tag?



It works, they must of upgraded.

After trying, it only works in "preview", once you "modify entry" it not longer works and the code disapears.
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1177. IKE
Quoting Vortex95:
Yo Ikesta u concur with Weather Students observations?


No.
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What did I miss yesterday in terms of that poofer? LOL
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Quoting Levi32:


I thought they wouldn't let you use the html font tag?


the old HTML type big and /big

Go take a look at my blog.. I use most of them there.. for colour also.
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Quoting Weather456:
I really do not like the text size of the blogs.


Are you using the new Internet Explorer? (IE8)

if you are click the compatibility button next to the refresh button that's what I did and things are fine with me
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I will say this storm in the Caribbean is done for. R.I.P!!!!!!
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1171. Levi32
Quoting Orcasystems:


there are numerous different ways of changing it.. do you mean here.. or in your own home blog?


I thought they wouldn't let you use the html font tag?
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
1170. Makoto1
Quoting Levi32:


I would really rather be able to choose my own font size. This larger size probably makes some of our entries easier to read, but it also makes my paragraphs look longer lol.


lol The only reason I don't care is because my blog's pretty bad and no one reads it.
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you can make it bigger if you want :)
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Quoting Weather456:
I really do not like the text size of the blogs.


there are numerous different ways of changing it.. do you mean here.. or in your own home blog?
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1166. Levi32
Quoting Weather456:
I really do not like the text size of the blogs.


I would really rather be able to choose my own font size. This larger size probably makes some of our entries easier to read, but it also makes my paragraphs look longer lol.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting NRAamy:
pin hole eye anyone?

;)

LOL Amy!
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1164. Levi32
Quoting IKE:
12Z ECMWF


Thanks. Looks like it forms a shorter-lived low than before but it keeps low pressures in the western Caribbean signifying the build-up of heat and the need to watch the area for trouble-making later this week and into next week.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
I really do not like the text size of the blogs.
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1161. IKE
12Z ECMWF
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Sal peak is June and July. But in my June outlook, the reduction in tropical waves (healthy strong ones) and drier than normal conditions for Sahel will reduce dust outbreaks but when they occur they will be strong.

Drier than normal conditions across Sahel mean strong dust particle concentration

At the same time:

Fewer waves mean fewer dust outbreaks.
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1159. beell


MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 1006
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0134 PM CDT TUE JUN 09 2009

AREAS AFFECTED...SWRN INTO S-CNTRL KS AND PARTS OF NRN OK

CONCERNING...SEVERE POTENTIAL...TORNADO WATCH LIKELY

VALID 091834Z - 092000Z

THE POTENTIAL FOR SEVERE STORMS INCLUDING TORNADIC SUPERCELLS IS
EXPECTED TO INCREASE THROUGH THE AFTERNOON. CONVECTIVE TRENDS ARE
BEING MONITORED FOR A TORNADO WATCH.

LATEST VISIBLE SATELLITE IMAGERY INDICATES A GROWING CUMULUS FIELD
FROM ERN FINNEY COUNTY ESEWD THROUGH FORD...EDWARDS AND AT LEAST
INTO PRATT COUNTY. MESOANALYSIS SUGGESTS THAT THIS DEVELOPMENT IS
OCCURRING ALONG THE MERGING OF CONVECTIVE OUTFLOW ATTENDANT TO KS/MO
MCS WITH NWD RETREATING WARM FRONT. HERE...LOW-LEVEL BAROCLINICITY
HAS BEEN ENHANCED...BUT THE LIGHT ELY/ENELY WINDS IN THE COLD AIR
SUGGEST LITTLE IF ANY SWD PUSH. AS SUCH...COMPOSITE BOUNDARY SHOULD
BE QUITE FAVORABLE FOR THE INITIATION OF STORMS WITH ANY MATURE
SUPERCELL MOTION LIKELY REMAINING LARGELY PARALLEL TO THE BAROCLINIC
ZONE.

DEEP-LAYER BULK SHEAR IS ALREADY SUFFICIENT FOR SUPERCELLS WITH THE
THREAT FOR VERY LARGE HAIL AND LOCALLY DAMAGING WINDS.
CURRENTLY...LOW-LEVEL SHEAR IS SOMEWHAT MARGINAL...BUT IT IS
FORECAST TO INCREASE LATER THIS AFTERNOON INTO EVENING. THIS WOULD
SUGGEST THAT ANY CORRESPONDING TORNADO THREAT SHOULD INCREASE
THROUGH THE AFTERNOON WITH ANY INTENSE SUPERCELLS THAT MAY DEVELOP.

..MEAD.. 06/09/2009
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1158. JRRP
Quoting CybrTeddy:


Boy the SAL's really non-existent.

below average ?
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Quoting JRRP:


Boy the SAL's really non-existent.
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1156. Levi32
Earthquake on Redoubt seismograph, but it shows up on the Augustine seismograph as well so it is not related to Redoubt.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
1155. NRAamy
pin hole eye anyone?

;)
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Quoting Levi32:


No....YOU asked for that :P


Semantics.
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Quoting scottsvb:


thats down near the columbia coastal low..its usually like that.


Thanks, I just didn't notice it before.
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1152. Levi32
Quoting Orcasystems:


can't be.. we asked for that at 830 last night when you said you were bored.


No....YOU asked for that :P
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Blog Update
Reflector site for those at work, which now also includes Weather456, daily updates


AOI #1

AOI #2
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Quoting Orcasystems:
<
Quoting Levi32:
Hm just got a good shake here in Homer, Alaska. I hope that's not the volcano lol.


can't be.. we asked for that at 830 last night when you said you were bored.
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1149. Levi32
Hm just got a good shake here in Homer, Alaska. I hope that's not the volcano lol.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
1148. GatorWX
Quoting 69Viking:


Been like that up here in NWFL for a couple days now, simply beautiful weather for this time of year! It won't last long but it sure has been nice!


for sure, I saw it was only 59 a day or two ago in crestview. Perfect!
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Quoting Vortex95:
1139. just to make sure Orca I believe savanna was joking.


Oh oh... ok
Reverse weather.... un poof


See just like the models... change the inputs.. and the output goes wonky
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1145. Levi32
Quoting TheCaneWhisperer:


Zoom out and put the Caribbean in perspective, focus around 13N directly south of Jamacia. Very broad cyclonic flow which I believe is the surface low taking shape.


Yeah there's a small area of 850mb vorticity there but that's usually there all the time anyway. I don't really sense the beginnings of a surface low yet. We'll see how it evolves. The low will likely form when the wave axis moves through tomorrow.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting TheCaneWhisperer:


Zoom out and put the Caribbean in perspective, focus around 13N directly south of Jamacia. Very broad cyclonic flow which I believe is the surface low taking shape.


thats down near the columbia coastal low..its usually like that.
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1723


Lower Level IR - North Atlantic - Latest Available - Large Scale
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1141. beell
TROPICAL WEATHER DISCUSSION
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
205 PM EDT MON JUN 09 2009


BASED ON 1200 UTC SURFACE ANALYSIS AND SATELLITE IMAGERY
THROUGH 1715 UTC.

...TROPICAL WAVES...

A TROPICAL WAVE IS OVER THE CENTRAL ATLC S OF 10N ALONG 34W
MOVING W 10-15 KT. NO SIGNIFICANT CLOUD CURVATURE OR CONVECTION
ASSOCIATED WITH THE WAVE. CURRENT POSITION IS BASED ON
CONTINUITY.

A TROPICAL WAVE IS OVER THE CENTRAL CARIBBEAN S OF 20N ALONG 74W
MOVING W 10-15 KT. SIMILAR TO THE CENTRAL ATLC WAVE...THERE IS
NO DEEP CONVECTION ASSOCIATED WITH THE WAVE. CURRENT POSITION IS
BASED ON CONTINUITY AND A WEAK SURFACE WIND SHIFT FROM AVAILABLE
SURFACE OBSERVATIONS.

...THE ITCZ...

THE ITCZ AXIS IS CENTERED ALONG 8N13W 6N21W 6N32W 4N43W AND INTO
THE NE COAST OF BRAZIL NEAR 1N50W. SCATTERED MODERATE/ISOLATED
STRONG CONVECTION IS FROM 3N-6N BETWEEN 11W-16W. SCATTERED
MODERATE CONVECTION IS FROM S OF 7N BETWEEN 37W-48W.

...DISCUSSION...

GULF OF MEXICO...
UPPER LEVEL NW-N FLOW AND STRONG RIDGING OVER MEXICO IS
PRODUCING SUBSIDENCE ACROSS THE ENTIRE GULF OF MEXICO BRINGING
FAIR WEATHER THROUGHOUT THE BASIN. CLEAR SKIES PREVAIL OVER THE
MAJORITY OF THE GULF WITH SOME UPPER LEVEL CLOUDS PUSHING INTO
THE NW PORTION ASSOCIATED WITH UPPER LEVEL MOISTURE CRESTING THE
RIDGE OVER MEXICO. A WEAK PRESSURE GRADIENT IS SUPPORTING SE
WINDS OF AROUND 10 KT ACROSS MUCH OF THE GULF...THOUGH SURFACE
TROUGHING OVER THE SRN PLAINS OF THE UNITED STATES AND MEXICO IS
SUPPORTING SE TO S 15-20 KT WINDS ACROSS THE NW PORTION OF THE
GULF. THESE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO PERSIST OVER THE NEXT FEW
DAYS.

CARIBBEAN SEA...
UPPER LEVEL DIVERGENCE AND MOIST SWLY FLOW ALOFT BETWEEN AN
UPPER LEVEL TROUGH IN THE W CARIBBEAN AND AN UPPER LEVEL RIDGE
IN THE E AND CENTRAL CARIBBEAN IS SUPPORTING SCATTERED SHOWERS
AND THUNDERSTORMS IN THE CENTRAL CARIBBEAN ESPECIALLY OFF THE
COASTS OF NICARAGUA AND HONDURAS. SUBSIDENCE ASSOCIATED WITH THE
UPPER LEVEL RIDGING IN THE GULF OF MEXICO IS PRODUCING FAIR
WEATHER ACROSS THE FAR NW CARIBBEAN. THE PRESSURE GRADIENT
BETWEEN A SURFACE RIDGE OVER THE CENTRAL ATLC AND BROAD LOW
PRESSURE OVER NRN S AMERICA IS SUPPORTING E TO SE WINDS OF 20-25
KT ACROSS THE E CARIBBEAN NEAR THE LEEWARD ISLANDS.

ATLANTIC OCEAN...
A SURFACE TROUGH IN THE FAR W ATLC EXTENDS NE FROM SE FLORIDA
NEAR 26N80W TO 32N79W TO A SURFACE LOW OUTSIDE THE DISCUSSION
AREA NEAR 33N78W. THE SURFACE TROUGH ALONG WITH UPPER LEVEL
DIFFLUENCE AND MOIST SWLY FLOW ALOFT IS SUPPORTING SCATTERED
SHOWERS AND TSTMS N OF 28N W OF 76W. ISOLATED SHOWERS AND
POSSIBLE THUNDERSTORMS ARE ALSO ACROSS PORTIONS OF THE BAHAMAS.
ACROSS MUCH OF THE CENTRAL AND E ATLC...A BROAD SURFACE RIDGE IS
RESULTING IN GENERALLY FAIR WEATHER ANCHORED ON A 1020 MB
SURFACE HIGH NEAR 29N65W AND A 1024 MB HIGH NEAR 28N27W. ACROSS
THE TROPICAL ATLC...AN UPPER LEVEL LOW IS NEAR 23N48W AND AN
UPPER LEVEL RIDGE IS S OF 20N E OF 46W WITH AN UPPER LEVEL HIGH
NEAR 10N23W. THIS PATTERN IS SUPPORTING ISOLATED SHOWERS S OF
20N ACROSS THE CENTRAL AND EASTERN ATLANTIC.

$$
WALTON/SANDOVAL
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Quoting GatorWX:
what a change here in swfl, you can really feel (finally) the passage of that front. Very springlike feel today. Last few days have been miserably hot and muggy! although almost 90 now, only 50% humidity and what a difference!


Been like that up here in NWFL for a couple days now, simply beautiful weather for this time of year! It won't last long but it sure has been nice!
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Quoting SavannahStorm:
"2009- THE YEAR OF THE FISH STORM
COUNT ON IT. IT IS SET IN STONE.

-STORMTOP WEATHER OFFICE"


Gasp.. I see a weather phenomena coming on... yup.. there it is... poof.
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Quoting Levi32:
Upon close inspection of high-resolution visible loops, you can see the the circulation in the Caribbean is purely at the mid-levels.

It takes some staring at the screen for a while but if you work at this long enough you'll be able to pick out the low-level clouds and see where they are going. Here they are predominately moving towards the WNW and there is no evidence of a surface feature.


Zoom out and put the Caribbean in perspective, focus around 13N directly south of Jamacia. Very broad cyclonic flow which I believe is the surface low taking shape.
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"2009- THE YEAR OF THE FISH STORM
COUNT ON IT. IT IS SET IN STONE.

-STORMTOP WEATHER OFFICE"
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

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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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