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 stormpetrol:


nice spin near 15/83
Mid levels
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Quoting TheCaneWhisperer:
SEVERE BICKERING WATCH OUTLINE UPDATE FOR WB 349 CALAMITY PREDICTION CENTER JUPITER, FL
1:03 PM EST TUE JUN 9 2009

SEVERE BICKERING WATCH 349 IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 1:03 PM EST WED JUN 10 2009 FOR THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS - DR. MASTERS WUNDERBLOG.

AT 1:03 PM EST CAREFUL ANALYSIS INDICATED THE POSSIBILITY OF A SURFACE LOW DEVELOPING IN THE WESTERN CARIBBEAN IN THE NEXT 24 TO 48 HRS. FOLLOWED BY INTENSE BICKERING, BRIEF BUT HEAVY WISHCASTING AND FREQUENT DOWNCASTING. SHOULD THIS LOW DEVELOP A WARNING MAY BE ISSUED AND POSSIBLY 24HR BANS FOR THE EFFECTED PARTIES. SHOULD YOUR NERVES BE ADVERSELY AFFECTED BY THE BICKERING, PLEASE GO OUTSIDE AND ENJOY YOURSELF AND REMAIN THERE UNTIL THE BICKERING PASSES.


LMAO!!!
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nice spin near 15/83
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SEVERE BICKERING WATCH OUTLINE UPDATE FOR WB 349 CALAMITY PREDICTION CENTER JUPITER, FL
1:03 PM EST TUE JUN 9 2009

SEVERE BICKERING WATCH 349 IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 1:03 PM EST WED JUN 10 2009 FOR THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS - DR. MASTERS WUNDERBLOG.

AT 1:03 PM EST CAREFUL ANALYSIS INDICATED THE POSSIBILITY OF A SURFACE LOW DEVELOPING IN THE WESTERN CARIBBEAN IN THE NEXT 24 TO 48 HRS. FOLLOWED BY INTENSE BICKERING, BRIEF BUT HEAVY WISHCASTING AND FREQUENT DOWNCASTING. SHOULD THIS LOW DEVELOP A WARNING MAY BE ISSUED AND POSSIBLY 24HR BANS FOR THE EFFECTED PARTIES. SHOULD YOUR NERVES BE ADVERSELY AFFECTED BY THE BICKERING, PLEASE GO OUTSIDE AND ENJOY YOURSELF AND REMAIN THERE UNTIL THE BICKERING PASSES.


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Quoting scottsvb:
With a developing ridge with alot of dry air in the GOM this week and into the weekend..the mid-level and surface trough-low will enter a region of higher shear and dry air coming down from the GOM..this dry air and rising pressures in the carribean from also a ridge building in from the eastern Carribean will null this from really forming. There is still a small window if it gets north of Cuba near the bahamas by the weekend..but right now models arent showing this. I would though look around the bahamas next week or next weekend..maybe from this or something else.



I still would keep this in mind..(from last night) look around the bahamas ..maybe from a low cut off from a front..aka now GFS 168hrs..but you all know I hate looking more than 3 days.
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1689
the blog is dead!!!
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i see a mid level spin in the area in the Caribbean but it is getting sheared so badly it will probably dissipate in the next 24 hours, imo.
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:


Thanks...Just caught my eye as it was not there this am and it is sitting over the Gulf Stream in a pocket of low shear...Needs some persistence for about 24-48 hours as usual, and, not forecasted in any of the models to my knowledge......You never know; it could be gone by later this evening...
hit or miss right now, i'm not forecasting any development for either of these AOI
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Quoting canesrule1:
yea, nothing important right now, just keep your eyes on it for the next 96 hours to see if there is any development.


Thanks...Just caught my eye as it was not there this am and it is sitting over the Gulf Stream in a pocket of low shear...Needs some persistence for about 24-48 hours as usual, and, not forecasted in any of the models to my knowledge......You never know; it could be gone by later this evening...
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1077. Levi32
QuikSCAT from 11:00UTC this morning. You can see the gradual wind shift associated with the tropical wave which was along 72W in this image.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26652
Quoting stillwaiting:
not a mid level spin,its the combination of WNW moving low clouds and the the shear moving the clouds NE in the UL,presenting the apperance of a mid level circ,which IMO is not there...
that might be so, if you are right you can say good bye to this AOI
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Quoting Weather456:


If I has one it would be a ford mid-size sedan. That is the one my eyes for when I get my DL.
cool! I have a Mercedes.
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not a mid level spin,its the combination of WNW moving low clouds and the the shear moving the clouds NE in the UL,presenting the apperance of a mid level circ,which IMO is not there...
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:
Afternoon; working all morning and just got back from lunch.....Any thoughts on that little blob of convection that has developed just off the coast of GA/SC?.....Looks a little detached from the trof over the past few hours...
yea, nothing important right now, just keep your eyes on it for the next 96 hours to see if there is any development.
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Quoting Weather456:


I don't have a DL as yet. It's on the to-do list though.


If I has one it would be a ford mid-size sedan. That is the one my eyes for when I get my DL.
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Quoting Weather456:


I don't have a DL as yet. It's on the to-do list though.
What are you planning to get?
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Afternoon; working all morning and just got back from lunch.....Any thoughts on that little blob of convection that has developed just off the coast of GA/SC?.....Looks a little detached from the trof over the past few hours...
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Quoting canesrule1:
what car do you drive?


I don't have a DL as yet. It's on the to-do list though.
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Quoting Vortex95:
unfriendly you got mail.
what?
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what car do you drive?
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Quoting canesrule1:
can i ask you a random question?


shoot
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Quoting Weather456:
Tropical Update

can i ask you a random question?
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Tropical Update

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Quoting Weather456:


I would not say "well ahead" because 1 depression so far isn't significant compared to 2004. Ana could easily form August and we would not be any better off than 04.
true
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the blob extending from South Carolina to Central Florida should be watched for the next 96 hours to see if anything develops.
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Quoting Vortex95:
2009 is already well ahead of 2004. 2009 had an offseason TD, 2004, nada until July 31.


I would not say "well ahead" because 1 depression so far isn't significant compared to 2004. Ana could easily form August and we would not be any better off than 04.
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Quoting scottsvb:


CCHS your a nice guy and everything..but there been mid-upperlevel lows over Nicaragua and the Western Carribean for a few days now.. Most blow ups of convection produce a mid-level vortex which will then die out in 18hrs or so. There have been like 4-5 now so far in the past 3 days!Just like the 1 you saw the other night that you thought was @ the surface.
yesterday there was a mid level spin in the morning and then it went back to the upper levels. Now its at the mid levels and will probably get to the lower levels in about 72 hours or maybe less( doubt it that it will ever make it to the lower levels, though.)
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Surface showing trough offshore SE USA

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Quoting Weather456:
Low level winds -1500 UTC

on the QuikSCAT you can clearly see with the AOI in the Caribbean that there is so LLC and right now winds at the surface are not exceeding 17mph.
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Quoting IKE:


LOW-LEVEL CONVERGENCE....




ROFLMAO I think the wisc guys are playing a joke on us... those lines near the lesser antilles are rather... suggestive. Almost NC-17.
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Quoting cchsweatherman:
By the way, in viewing this visible satellite loop, you can clearly see the mid-level spin that I have been observing all morning and now early afternoon. With this existing in the mid-levels, no tropical development can occur at this time. But it could work its way down to the surface in a couple days if it persists and interacts with the tropical wave.


CCHS your a nice guy and everything..but there been mid-upperlevel lows over Nicaragua and the Western Carribean for a few days now.. Most blow ups of convection produce a mid-level vortex which will then die out in 18hrs or so. There have been like 4-5 now so far in the past 3 days!Just like the 1 you saw the other night that you thought was @ the surface.
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1689
Low level winds -1500 UTC

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Quoting cchsweatherman:
By the way, in viewing this visible satellite loop, you can clearly see the mid-level spin that I have been observing all morning and now early afternoon. With this existing in the mid-levels, no tropical development can occur at this time. But it could work its way down to the surface in a couple days if it persists and interacts with the tropical wave.
i think this is under to much shear to develop into anything, and if it does develop into anything (probably in about 48-96 hours) it will be quickly destroyed.
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cchs:I don't think I've ever really seen you out of line on here,never considered you even close to rud, my friend:)....
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By the way, in viewing this visible satellite loop, you can clearly see the mid-level spin that I have been observing all morning and now early afternoon. With this existing in the mid-levels, no tropical development can occur at this time. But it could work its way down to the surface in a couple days if it persists and interacts with the tropical wave.
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1047. Patrap

The Safety Forecast
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the Caribbean AOI is very compact and it was a very strong spin in the Mid-Levels as seen in the animated visible satellite imagery.
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1044. Levi32
Quoting Vortex95:
wouldn't that graphic indicate more moisture in the carribean?


Yes, overall. The dry air Scot was mentioning will only be around for a couple of days before a new surge of moisture enters the Caribbean.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26652
2mr morning regardless of development.

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Quoting cchsweatherman:


Dom't mean to be rude here, but people really need to read what I write and learn how to comprehend things better. Nowhere did I say this morning that something tropically was forming. All I was showing was that I had been seeing a mid-level spin developing.
that is true, you only stated it was a spin in the mid levels which is a fact.
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Quoting stillwaiting:
cchs:I can see how your eye's could trick you w/sat presentation,next time check shear maps first,nothing can form tropically under that much shear:)


Don't mean to be rude here, but people really need to read what I write and learn how to comprehend things better. Nowhere did I say this morning that something tropically was forming. All I was showing was that I had been seeing a mid-level spin developing. And by the way, whenever I do analysis, I go through all CIMSS products and take that into account.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
till the end of the month
i dont think so, i think we might have a TS this month.
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1038. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting tcane:
This is going to be a quiet hurricane season.
till the end of the month
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1037. Levi32
Quoting Vortex95:


am I missing somthing?


What do you mean?
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26652

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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.