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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SJ,

Sometimes other systems take the spot light but they wre still being observed.
I will comment on the area 2mr in my blog but this is from accuweather:



Another area we are watching is a cluster of thunderstorms over the Bahamas for possible development. If a low-level center were to become better organized, it would most likely move to the northeast and stay off the Southeast coast. Strong, southwesterly upper-level shear should keep this feature from intensifying, but a system like T.D. 1 would not be out of the question.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Afternoon 456, good to see ya.

Guess it just hasn't been mentioned often
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Quoting Patrap:
Greetings back from a City with a Shanghaied Mayor..LOL



New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, wife and security guard still quarantined in Shanghai hotel
by staff and wire reports
Monday June 08, 2009, 2:19 PM


rofl That is one crazy story.

Wait I live in Dayton, a pet food company didn't even find us good enough.
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ok why hasnt my pic changed to the new one.... its the primary one I chose.
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Quoting StormJunkie:
I know the Carib system has been the "thing" to talk about recently, but can't believe no one is even mentioning the outside shot that some sort of weird system develops in the Bahamas, or off the E coast in the next day or two...


It has been mentioned. I've been watching the area.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting RitaEvac:
low level swirl on the coast of SC??


Yea, but that is old news; and dissipating. It's the Florgia low from a few days ago. Few runs of the nogaps and GFS have showed a weak warm core system moving N from the Bahamas.

Evening press, glad you mentioned that.
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low level swirl on the coast of SC??
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Greetings back from a City with a Shanghaied Mayor..LOL



New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, wife and security guard still quarantined in Shanghai hotel
by staff and wire reports
Monday June 08, 2009, 2:19 PM
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
Check out the latest NHC surface forecast for 48 and 72 hrs.
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Pat! Greetings from "the Carolinas"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Quoting weatherwatcher12:

the nhc took off yellow alert
I have seen that happen a few times on the same system so I would wait to see what happens later on.
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Latest IR Loop shows the Disturbed area Se of the,er North Carolina,South Carolina,.and that Lil Spot in Between,Middle Carolina area.


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
Quoting StormJunkie:
I know the Carib system has been the "thing" to talk about recently, but can't believe no one is even mentioning the outside shot that some sort of weird system develops in the Bahamas, or off the E coast in the next day or two...


Not even 91E has really gotten enough of a look either. I know it's not going to affect anyone unless something crazy happens but it's the best thing we have to watch.
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BTW y'all...I notice there's an outside shot that some sort of weird system develops in the Bahamas, or off the E coast in the next day or two...
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I know the Carib system has been the "thing" to talk about recently, but can't believe no one is even mentioning the outside shot that some sort of weird system develops in the Bahamas, or off the E coast in the next day or two...
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Looks like the disturbance in the carotbean is gone..also noticed King Tut over and east of the Pajamma Islands..Boring tropics
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Yeah..thats does sound good.

It's torrid here today.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
Quoting Patrap:
Its Margarita Monday in a certain Blog.

Everyone's there.

Plus all the real folks live in the Central Time Zone and west.


I could sure use a margarita right now...
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Big line of storms heading towards Palm Beach, Broward and northern Dade counties......

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Find out how to develop a winning game plan in the event of a hurricane. Get A Game Plan.org includes tips from the Louisiana Governor's Office of Emergency Preparedness

getagameplan.org

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
Its Margarita Monday in a certain Blog.

Everyone's there.

Plus all the real folks live in the Central Time Zone and pernts west.

Snort,snicker..grin. LOL
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
shear decreasing
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
Quoting weatherwatcher12:
where did every one go


I was wondering the same thing, I guess everyone in the Eastern time zone is off work and stuck in traffic or something!
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Quoting weatherwatcher12:

the nhc took off yellow alert


It still may be worth watching long-term though. No threat to the NHC in the next 48 hours, however.
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Quoting weatherwatcher12:
where did every one go
just like the blob they went poof

lol
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
I was wondering the same thing. Have you read the latest Marine Forecast on NHC. Seems the models are still developing the blob at some point while it is still in the Caribbean.

the nhc took off yellow alert
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
LOL - Yes Dr. M
my sentiments exactly over the last 10 days or so - can we now deploy the same amount of personnel into the *hurricane field* and see if we get similar results?
Have watched V2 with interest both on TWC and MSNBC... the one shot into the *eye* was incredible.
kathy
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Quoting weatherwatcher12:
where did every one go
I was wondering the same thing. Have you read the latest Marine Forecast on NHC. Seems the models are still developing the blob at some point while it is still in the Caribbean.
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where did every one go
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231


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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Looks like it is trying to locate further east like maybe around 78W


I suspect in a few hours it will blossom again, then again it might not , nobody really knows, but I suspect we have not seen the last of this "blob".
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353. P451 3:41 PM EDT on June 08, 2009

That's why the term SURECAST is not in the AMS dictionary :)

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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
91E doesn't look too hot either.
Quoting stormpetrol:
I'm not turning my back on the Caribbean Blob, I've seen these "blobs" written off as dead bounce back and become real deals. Looks like its growing in size , breaking off from the trough extending to the Bahamas, , slowly drifting east where the shear appears lower, my take and its my opinion only it will flare back up south of Jamaica in a day or two and could be a player in 3-4 days,JMO,not a weather expert by any means, just years of watching the tropics and you almost develop a 6th sense of what these systems are capable of regardless of what the computer models spit out.
Looks like it is trying to locate further east like maybe around 78W
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Maximum Potential Hurricane Intensity


The maps display potential minimum pressure and maximum winds, calculated according to a method developed by Dr. Kerry Emanuel. Dissipative heating is handled according to a method described in Bister and Emanuel (1998). The maps are based on data from the 00Z global operational analysis from NCEP for the date shown on the plot. The top panel shows the potential minimum central pressure for a hurricane at any given location (in millibars). Only values less than 1000mb are shaded. Cyan squares indicate grid points where the algorithm failed to converge. Also shown are the sea surface temperatures (°C). The bottom panel shows the potential maximum wind speed expressed in terms of the type and severity of storm they would represent (TD = Tropical Depression, TS = Tropical Storm, H1-H5 = Hurricanes of category 1-5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale).



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
Quoting stormpetrol:
I'm not turning my back on the Caribbean Blob, I've seen these "blobs" written off as dead bounce back and become real deals. Looks like its growing in size , breaking off from the trough extending to the Bahamas, , slowly drifting east where the shear appears lower, my take and its my opinion only it will flare back up south of Jamaica in a day or two and could be a player in 3-4 days,JMO,not a weather expert by any means, just years of watching the tropics and you almost develop a 6th sense of what these systems are capable of regardless of what the computer models spit out.


I agree with you. It could be 93L by Friday or Saturday once the shear dies down.
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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


Infrared NHC Enhancement - North Atlantic -> GOES-East
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
I'm not turning my back on the Caribbean Blob, I've seen these "blobs" written off as dead bounce back and become real deals. Looks like its growing in size , breaking off from the trough extending to the Bahamas, , slowly drifting east where the shear appears lower, my take and its my opinion only it will flare back up south of Jamaica in a day or two and could be a player in 3-4 days,JMO,not a weather expert by any means, just years of watching the tropics and you almost develop a 6th sense of what these systems are capable of regardless of what the computer models spit out.
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91E doesn't look too hot either.
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347. eddye
i just saw a tornado outside my house
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Hanna you should see your average June stuff..nothing Tropical to worry about....Just periods of Rain Showers in the Hit and miss kind.

Now that is the kinda news I can live with. Thanks again Tampa!
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Quoting hurricanehanna:


Hey Tampa - thanks! Nope - in S. Louisiana. Appreciate it!


Hanna you should see your average June stuff..nothing Tropical to worry about....Just periods of Rain Showers in the Hit and miss kind.
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344. beell
The Wave at 1815Z. Not very strong.

Photobucket
SSD Central Atl Vis Loop
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Just alot of Rain for Florida late in the week possibly....your in SE Florida correct.


Hey Tampa - thanks! Nope - in S. Louisiana. Appreciate it!
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One by one each model is dropping this system. The ECMWF seems to be doing in the 12z run.
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Looks like it's trying for a little flare up again.
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340. Skyepony (Mod)


Behold greenland 6-6-2009


We've already well past last year's peak melt... july 28, 2008


Maybe that's why the SST are so cold on the west side of Greenland to north america..

This summer a calving off one of Greenlands glaciers is expected & a huge one. 5Xs bigger than the large island that calved last summer.
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Upper level conditions just are not there in the western caribbean.Not much left.
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Quoting hurricanehanna:
Hey gang! Sorry to just drop in and out - but I am running a camp this week and will be w/o a computer. Anything to worry about through this Sunday? Info is much appreciated! Hope everyone is well!


Just alot of Rain for Florida late in the week possibly....your in SE Florida correct.
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Hey gang! Sorry to just drop in and out - but I am running a camp this week and will be w/o a computer. Anything to worry about through this Sunday? Info is much appreciated! Hope everyone is well!
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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.