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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The pressure drop is normal and back on the rise now. 3 day trend is lower though, tomorrow will be the day to look, IMO.

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936. IKE
I see a spin between the Caymans...south coast of Cuba and Jamaica. That must be what some of these models are hinting at for a low to start up?
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
When was that because I just checked it and pressure is rising.



I was looking at the last buoy update
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Quoting 2010hurricane:



Pressure is really DROPPING!!!
When was that because I just checked it and pressure is rising.
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933. IKE
Quoting 2010hurricane:



Pressure is really DROPPING!!!


It was. It isn't now....Link

Wind Direction (WDIR): E ( 80 deg true )
5-day plot - Wind Speed Wind Speed (WSPD): 15.5 kts
5-day plot - Wind Gust Wind Gust (GST): 17.5 kts
5-day plot - Wave Height Wave Height (WVHT): 4.3 ft
5-day plot - Dominant Wave Period Dominant Wave Period (DPD): 6 sec
5-day plot - Average Period Average Period (APD): 4.7 sec
5-day plot - Atmospheric Pressure Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 29.89 in
5-day plot - Pressure Tendency Pressure Tendency (PTDY): +0.04 in ( Rising )

5-day plot - Air Temperature Air Temperature (ATMP): 81.3 °F
5-day plot - Water Temperature Water Temperature (WTMP): 81.9 °F
5-day plot - Dew Point Dew Point (DEWP): 75.0 °F
5-day plot - Heat Index Heat Index (HEAT): 87.4 °F
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i think the SPC may go too high risk today
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115379
Quoting IKE:
buoy 42057 in western Caribbean


Wind Direction (WDIR): ENE ( 70 deg true )
5-day plot - Wind Speed Wind Speed (WSPD): 13.6 kts
5-day plot - Wind Gust Wind Gust (GST): 17.5 kts
5-day plot - Wave Height Wave Height (WVHT): 3.9 ft
5-day plot - Dominant Wave Period Dominant Wave Period (DPD): 8 sec
5-day plot - Average Period Average Period (APD): 4.5 sec
5-day plot - Atmospheric Pressure Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 29.84 in
5-day plot - Pressure Tendency Pressure Tendency (PTDY): -0.05 in ( Falling )

5-day plot - Air Temperature Air Temperature (ATMP): 81.5 °F
5-day plot - Water Temperature Water Temperature (WTMP): 81.9 °F
5-day plot - Dew Point Dew Point (DEWP): 76.1 °F
5-day plot - Heat Index Heat Index (HEAT): 88.5 °F



Pressure is really DROPPING!!!
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Our blob storms look to be going clockwise...tropical in nature they would be going counter right?
Link
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Quoting beell:
Today looks pretty righteous for the Vortex2 crew. It just ain't gonna get any better than today.



DAY 1 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0100 AM CDT TUE JUN 09 2009

VALID 091200Z - 101200Z

...THERE IS A MDT RISK OF SVR TSTMS ACROSS PARTS OF KANSAS...
...THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS ACROSS PARTS OF THE CNTRL AND
SRN PLAINS...OZARKS AND MID-MS VALLEY...

...THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS ACROSS PARTS OF NEW YORK...ERN
PA...MD AND NJ...

...CNTRL AND SRN PLAINS...
SOUTHWEST FLOW WILL BE IN PLACE ACROSS THE CNTRL PLAINS TODAY AS A
60 TO 70 KT MID-LEVEL JET MAX APPROACHES THE REGION FROM THE
SOUTHWEST. AT THE BEGINNING OF THE PERIOD...AN MCS WITH ELEVATED
THUNDERSTORMS SHOULD BE ONGOING IN WRN KS WITH THIS CONVECTIVE
SYSTEM MOVING EWD ACROSS CNTRL AND ERN KS BY EARLY AFTERNOON. IN THE
WAKE OF THE MCS...STRONG DESTABILIZATION SHOULD OCCUR ALONG A MOIST
AXIS WITH SFC DEWPOINTS IN THE LOWER 70S F EXTENDING NNWWD FROM
CNTRL OK INTO WCNTRL KS. NAMKF FORECAST SOUNDINGS ALONG THIS
CORRIDOR BY 00Z SHOW EXTREME INSTABILITY IN CNTRL OK WITH MLCAPE
VALUES APPROACHING 5000 J/KG.
FURTHER NORTHWEST...MLCAPE VALUES DROP
INTO THE 3000 TO 4000 J/KG RANGE INTO NW KS. IN ADDITION...THE
MID-LEVEL JET MAX SHOULD MOVE OVER THE INSTABILITY AXIS DURING THE
LATE AFTERNOON
AND EARLY EVENING CREATING STRONG VERTICAL SHEAR
PROFILES WITH 0-6 KM SHEAR VALUES IN THE 50 TO 60 KT RANGE. THIS
ENVIRONMENT WILL BE A VERY FAVORABLE RAPID SUPERCELL DEVELOPMENT
ONCE SFC-BASED STORMS INITIATE JUST WEST OF THE MODERATE RISK AREA
IN THE LATE AFTERNOON OR EARLY EVENING. MODEL FORECASTS ARE IN
AGREEMENT ORGANIZING A CLUSTER OF INTENSE THUNDERSTORMS IN NRN KS
AND DRIVING A WELL-DEVELOPED MCS EWD ACROSS NERN KS INTO NRN MO
OVERNIGHT.

CONCERNING THE SEVERE THREATS...A 30 TO 40 KT LOW-LEVEL JET WILL
INCREASE FROM NRN OK INTO CNTRL KS DURING THE EARLY EVENING FEEDING
INTO SUPERCELLS ONGOING IN THE NRN PART OF THE MODERATE RISK AREA.
FORECAST SOUNDINGS AROUND HUTCHINSON KS AT 00Z SHOW IMPRESSIVE
LOW-LEVEL SHEAR WITH SUBSTANTIAL DIRECTIONAL SHEAR BELOW 800 MB AND
0-1 KM SHEAR VALUES OF 25 KT
. THIS COMBINED WITH LCL HEIGHTS AROUND
500 METERS
WILL BE FAVORABLE FOR TORNADOES WITH SUPERCELLS THAT
TRACK EWD ACROSS THE MODERATE RISK AREA. WITH THIS VERY FAVORABLE
ENVIRONMENT IN PLACE...THE POTENTIAL EXISTS FOR A FEW LONG TRACK
SUPERCELLS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING ISOLATED STRONG TORNADOES
. THE
CORRIDOR WITH THE GREATEST THREAT FOR STRONG TORNADOES SHOULD EXIST
FROM HAYS KS EWD ALONG THE I-70 CORRIDOR TO MANHATTAN KS AND SWD
ALONG THE I-35 CORRIDOR
. SUPERCELLS SHOULD BE MORE ISOLATED SWD INTO
FAR SRN KS AND NRN OK WHERE A CAPPING INVERSION WILL BE INCREASINGLY
INFLUENTIAL. SUPERCELLS THAT DEVELOP IN THIS STRONG INSTABILITY
SHOULD ALSO BE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING VERY LARGE HAIL. THE WIND DAMAGE
THREAT SHOULD BE FOCUSED FURTHER EAST ACROSS ERN KS INTO NW MO AS
THE MCS BECOMES WELL-DEVELOPED.

...NRN OZARKS/MID-MS VALLEY/SRN OH VALLEY...
AN AXIS OF MODERATE TO STRONG INSTABILITY IS FORECAST ACROSS MO
EXTENDING EWD INTO THE SRN OH VALLEY. MODEL FORECASTS AGREE WITH
DEVELOPING SCATTERED TO NUMEROUS THUNDERSTORMS BY LATE THIS
AFTERNOON. THIS DEVELOPMENT SHOULD BE STRONGLY TIED TO SFC HEATING.
FORECAST SOUNDINGS AT 21Z ACROSS SRN MO INTO WRN KY SHOW MODERATE
VERTICAL SHEAR PROFILES SUGGESTING ISOLATED SUPERCELLS AND/OR
ORGANIZED BOWING LINE-SEGMENTS WILL BE POSSIBLE. THE STRONG
INSTABILITY SHOULD BE ADEQUATE FOR LARGE HAIL WITH THE MORE INTENSE
STORMS. IN ADDITION...LOW-LEVEL LAPSE RATES WILL BE QUITE STEEP
SUGGESTING A THREAT FOR ISOLATED WIND DAMAGE WILL ALSO EXIST.

...NY/ERN PA/MD...
A WELL-DEFINED MOIST AXIS WILL BE IN PLACE TODAY FROM THE
MID-ATLANTIC NEWD ACROSS ERN PA INTO CNTRL NY. THE MODELS DEVELOP
MODERATE INSTABILITY ALONG THE CORRIDOR WITH STORMS INITIATING IN
THE HIGHER TERRAIN OF ECNTRL PA AND SRN NY. FORECAST SOUNDINGS LATE
THIS AFTERNOON ALONG THIS CORRIDOR SHOW 0-6 KM SHEAR VALUES IN THE
35 TO 40 KT RANGE SUGGESTING SHEAR WILL BE FAVORABLE FOR ORGANIZED
SEVERE STORMS. THE LATEST NAM AT 18Z SHOWS 0-3 KM LAPSE RATES OF 8.5
TO 9.5 C/KM SUGGESTING DOWNDRAFT MOMENTUM WILL BE QUITE EFFICIENT
AND FAVORABLE FOR WIND DAMAGE. HAIL WILL ALSO BE LIKELY WITH THE
MORE INTENSE CELLS GIVEN THE AMOUNT OF INSTABILITY FORECAST.

..BROYLES.. 06/09/2009




bete me too it
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115379
919. moonlightcowboy 12:52 PM GMT on June 09, 2009


Good morning to you too. No swirls out there today. Just the usual wait and see which is typical for June.

Of interest to me is the fact that the EPAC has been very slow out of the gate. Where this has happened in prior years we have seen a few corresponding periods of higher than average activity in the Atlantic. Something else to watch for.
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the last time the E pac had a late start was 1965 when the season 1st name storm did not get name it tell july
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115379
Quoting P451:
Just finished going through Orca's AOI2 here in central jersey. Lots of lightning. Lots of it. About 30 minutes of just steady heavy rain. Interesting radar presentation watching the leading edge race forward.

Link


It sure looked mean .. thats why I posted it.. not to mention you Northerners don't make it very often into a Tropical AOI.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
923. IKE
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
I have an uncle who lives in Gulf Breeze but I have never been up there. I have mostly gone up the East coast of Florida but my father lives outside of Tampa.


That's not too far from here.

77 degrees outside.
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What the heck is going on in the EPAC? Another invest bites the dust.
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we got 97W
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115379
Heads up for Florida folks.
Shuttle launch Saturday @ 7:17 AM. Space Shuttle Endeavour.
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Quoting kmanislander:
Good morning

It looks like the NHC still stand by their long term forecast of a low in the NW Caribbean by the end of the week.

Although shear has risen somewhat off Nicaragua we do have the tropical wave about to enter that area and there are signs that the disturbed weather is trying to seperate itself from the trough to the N.




G'morning, K'man and all.

K'man, good to see you on here with that good swirl-spotting eye of yours, friend! Have a good day. :)
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Is the High over the Florida panhandle gonna be there long? I am afraid of entering drought mode again. It's been so nice with all this rain.
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Quoting IKE:


Panhandle of FL....inland about 30 miles....it gets hot here....especially w/a boiling high building over you.

Our only hope...the ghost storm....odds 1 in 100.
I have an uncle who lives in Gulf Breeze but I have never been up there. I have mostly gone up the East coast of Florida but my father lives outside of Tampa.
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Blog Update
Reflector site for those at work, which now also includes Weather456, daily updates


AOI #1

AOI #2
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Good morning

It looks like the NHC still stand by their long term forecast of a low in the NW Caribbean by the end of the week.

Although shear has risen somewhat off Nicaragua we do have the tropical wave about to enter that area and there are signs that the disturbed weather is trying to seperate itself from the trough to the N.


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Just as I thought. Wednesday was going to be the day to start looking at this area.

It's going to be like waiting for a pot of boiling water today, no thanks, lol. All the players should be in the game tomorrow.
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912. IKE
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Where are you cuz even in Cayman the high is only forecast for 88 today and that is more than hot enough for me.


Panhandle of FL....inland about 30 miles....it gets hot here....especially w/a boiling high building over you.

Our only hope...the ghost storm....odds 1 in 100.
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Quoting Weather456:
91E was so healthy looking, it seems the EPAC is really off to a slow start.


The old cliché, when the EPAC is quiet the ATL is not?
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Quoting sporteguy03:


Ike you need a cold front yet?? lol.
Where are you cuz even in Cayman the high is only forecast for 88 today and that is more than hot enough for me.
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909. IKE
Quoting sporteguy03:


Ike you need a cold front yet?? lol.


Heck yes. Doesn't look likely anytime within 7-10 days....maybe 2-3 months...lol....
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Quoting IKE:


Here's my WU forecast for tomorrow....


Wednesday
Mostly sunny. West winds around 10 mph. Highs 94 to 99.


Ike you need a cold front yet?? lol.
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907. IKE
91E looks pretty bad.....

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just had some pretty nice t-storms roll through Baltimore just now!
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91E was so healthy looking, it seems the EPAC is really off to a slow start.
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Quoting IKE:
I see the low at the surface attached to the wave. How does it survive the upper-air feature to it's west and NW?

Maybe it's moving in tandem. I read where a cut-off low was suppose to form with that trough to the west.


1. Some model shift the cut off low back west allow regions of low shear - the two models that develop the system

2. The others show the upper trough/low causing wind shear over the system

These 2 factors cause the uncertainity in shear forecast
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902. IKE
East-PAC has been s-l-o-w to start.
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901. IKE
Quoting weatherwatcher12:

well it is getting windy here


They must be up on a mountain.
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900. IKE
91E in trouble...next!

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
500 AM PDT TUE JUN 9 2009

FOR THE EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC...EAST OF 140 DEGREES WEST LONGITUDE..

SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS IN ASSOCIATION WITH A BROAD AREA OF LOW
PRESSURE LOCATED ABOUT 1000 MILES SOUTH-SOUTHWEST OF THE SOUTHERN
TIP OF BAJA CALIFORNIA HAVE BECOME LESS ORGANIZED SINCE YESTERDAY.
DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM...IF ANY...WILL BE SLOW TO OCCUR AS IT
MOVES SLOWLY WEST-NORTHWESTWARD TO NORTHWESTWARD. THERE IS A LOW
CHANCE...LESS THAN 30 PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL
CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER KIMBERLAIN/AVILA

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Quoting IKE:
WTH?

Kingston,JA. for Friday....who writes their forecasts....what R they smokin?

"Friday
Thunderstorm. High: 86 °F . Wind SE 55 mph . Chance of precipitation 80% (water equivalent of 0.97 in). Heat Index: 96 °F ."

well it is getting windy here
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Highs for me hovering right around 95 all week. Lows near 70. Beautiful weather if you ask me. I love that I get to spend my lunch break at the pool for the next couple weeks. As long as the rain stays at bay until later in the afternoon.
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897. IKE
I see the low at the surface attached to the wave. How does it survive the upper-air feature to it's west and NW?

Maybe it's moving in tandem. I read where a cut-off low was suppose to form with that trough to the west.
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Illustrations to my update


30 hrs - Surface and upper



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895. IKE
This entire system...from Central-America to Bermuda is kind of trapped. It isn't going away anytime soon.

According to the GFS and NAM, moisture should be increasing between Cuba, Jamaica and maybe the Caymans within 48 hours....then a low forms and tries to maybe move west or get sheared to death or both.
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893. IKE
WTH?

Kingston,JA. for Friday....who writes their forecasts....what R they smokin?

"Friday
Thunderstorm. High: 86 °F . Wind SE 55 mph . Chance of precipitation 80% (water equivalent of 0.97 in). Heat Index: 96 °F ."
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kingston forecast:
uesday
Thunderstorm. High: 29 °C . Wind ESE 61 km/h . Chance of precipitation 100% (water equivalent of 44.73 mm).

Tuesday Night
Thunderstorm. Low: 25 °C . Wind East 25 km/h . Chance of precipitation 100% (water equivalent of 40.89 mm). Heat Index: 31 °C .

Wednesday
Thunderstorm. High: 30 °C . Wind SE 57 km/h . Chance of precipitation 100% (water equivalent of 93.69 mm). Heat Index: 34 °C .

Wednesday Night
Thunderstorm. Low: 26 °C . Wind SSE 25 km/h . Chance of precipitation 100% (water equivalent of 95.10 mm). Heat Index: 31 °C .

Thursday
Thunderstorm. High: 30 °C . Wind SE 61 km/h . Chance of precipitation 100% (water equivalent of 173.53 mm). Heat Index: 33 °C .

Thursday Night
Thunderstorm. Low: 26 °C . Wind SE 25 km/h . Chance of precipitation 100% (water equivalent of 32.00 mm). Heat Index: 32 °C .

Friday
Thunderstorm. High: 30 °C . Wind SE 90 km/h . Chance of precipitation 80% (water equivalent of 24.73 mm). Heat Index: 36 °C .
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Quoting weatherwatcher12:
It's very overcast and windy here.
the winds are picking up
Same here. Looks like the blob is trying again. We'll see what happens.
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It's very overcast and windy here.
the winds are picking up
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889. IKE
Quoting MahFL:
95 is too hot for me, beach or no beach.


Here's my WU forecast for tomorrow....


Wednesday
Mostly sunny. West winds around 10 mph. Highs 94 to 99.
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888. MahFL
95 is too hot for me, beach or no beach.
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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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