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 TheWeatherMan504:


Have you seen the latest Quick Scat?


For one thing it only shows up on high-resolution and I think it's just inflow into the MCC thunderstorm bomb we saw last night. If maintained it might have had a shot at forming a surface low but it is already falling apart.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26611
Anyone remember this horror?

August 29th 2008.
It's time to leave New Orleans
Today is the 3rd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's catastrophic hit on the Louisiana/Mississippi/Alabama coast. Unfortunately, I think that people living in New Orleans should mark the anniversary of Katrina by getting the heck out of the city. You live at the bottom of a bowl, much of it below sea level. While New Orleans must exist where it is, this is not natural. Nature wants to fill up this bowl with huge quantities of Gulf of Mexico sea water. There is a storm capable of doing that bearing down on you. If you live in New Orleans, I suggest you take a little Labor Day holiday--sooner, rather than later, to beat the rush--and get out of town. Gustav is going to come close to you, and there's no sense messing with a major hurricane capable of pushing a Category 3 storm surge to your doorstep. Don't test those Category 3 rated--but untested--levees. Conventional pre-Katrina wisdom suggested that the city needed 72 hours to evacuate. With the population about half of the pre-Katrina population, that lead time is about 60 hours. With Gustav likely to bring tropical storm force winds to the city by Monday afternoon, that means that tonight is a good time to start evacuating--Saturday morning at the latest. Voluntary evacuations have already begun, which is a good idea.
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Quoting winter123:


And don't forget about Humberto... in like 12 hours went from nothing to this:



Imagine if Humberto had 5 hours longer over water.
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Quoting winter123:


And don't forget about Humberto... in like 12 hours went from nothing to this:



That's what happens when you offer Perfect Conditions to a TD.
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Any time you have two directly opposing air currents, something's gonna start spinning.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 18 Comments: 2337
Quoting Levi32:


There is no wind shift at this time. It's all confined to the mid-levels.


Have you seen the latest Quick Scat?
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Quoting JRRP:

I understand that you have me on ignore list


?? No i dont
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Quoting TheWeatherMan504:


I'm suspicious of the 12 GFS because it didn't initiate the Wind Shift associated with the disturbance itself...


There is no wind shift at this time. It's all confined to the mid-levels.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Gustav went from invest to Hurricane in 19 hours.
Quoting CybrTeddy:


Gustav went from invest to Hurricane in 19 hours.


And don't forget about Humberto... in like 12 hours went from nothing to this:

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Quoting Levi32:
Even now the GFS is still being a weirdo extending the trough of low pressure into the Bahamas and forming a 2nd low at 96 hours.


I'm suspicious of the 12 GFS because it didn't initiate the Wind Shift associated with the disturbance itself...
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Quoting Orcasystems:
Any idea who this character is?

HurricaneErnesto2006

He just posted the entire Dr Masters blog in the comments section of my blog.


Back in the early days people would do that on this blog, or turn the whole blog bold or italics.
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Even now the GFS is still being a weirdo extending the trough of low pressure into the Bahamas and forming a 2nd low at 96 hours.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26611
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53611
Nothing significant on the GFS 12z
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Quoting IKE:


No, that's smart. This place would drive him to a bottle of JD if he read it all of the time.


ROFLAO!!
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Quoting canesrule1:
what about the purple bars indicating more than 45 knots, yes?


Those are likely contaminated too.
It is just not indicated.
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Quoting Ossqss:
Howdy all,

Question, which of the model fields would be best to view with respect to potential development of the system being looked at?

There are several and I have seen several different ones posted over time. TIA

Link


Either MSLP or 10-meter winds......but that barely shows Cuba you can't track this disturbance very well with that site.
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I have to get some things done, but I'll be back this afternoon to check on "the blob".
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Quoting Orcasystems:
Any idea who this character is?

HurricaneErnesto2006

He just posted the entire Dr Masters blog in the comments section of my blog.
nope
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Quoting IKE:
Hmmmm...

GFS 12Z at 72 hours....crow out of the freezer?



Looks like all it shows is a umm... what looks
to be a 1007 and 1009 mb pressure. They're like
right on top of each other so I can't read it.
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Howdy all,

Question, which of the model fields would be best to view with respect to potential development of the system being looked at?

There are several and I have seen several different ones posted over time. TIA

Link
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
214. IKE
Quoting wxhatt:
That's amazing. I would think he reads much more than that, but there is a lot of blog here to read.



No, that's smart. This place would drive him to a bottle of JD if he read it all of the time.
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213. JRRP
Quoting winter123:


picture or link??

I understand that you have me on ignore list
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Post 204 Chicklit nominated for best post of the week and its only Monday.
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3113
Any idea who this character is?

HurricaneErnesto2006

He just posted the entire Dr Masters blog in the comments section of my blog.
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That's amazing. I would think he reads much more than that, but there is a lot of blog here to read.

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Quoting Patrap:
On avg,,Jeff Masters says he reads about 5% of the Blog Post.
From a recent interview..

Bout 4% of them are arguments. 1% of the time it is a decent discussion, 50% of those times he comments on his blog to us.
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On avg,,Jeff Masters says he reads about 5% of the Blog Post.
From a recent interview..
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Quoting Levi32:


The GFS is finally coming to its senses.


I love it, the GFS can be so inconsistant at times. But we are trying to predict the weather, a great feat in of itself...
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Quoting wxhatt:
I have a question. Does Dr. Masters read the entire blog here every day? because they can get quite lengthy...


Someone posted an interview with Dr. Masters yesterday from a spanish website and he said he reads about 5% of the blog.
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Quoting wxhatt:
I have a question. Does Dr. Masters read the entire blog here every day? because they can get quite lengthy...

I think not. That would be like Mom (or Dad) sending the kids out to play in the yard and then watching them the whole time...not happening.
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Quoting extreme236:


Nah, storm to storm things are different. You cant put a set timer on things. I remember Dr. M mentioned how long it usually took for a system to reach hurricane strength (about 5 days) and we saw many of them last year reach hurricane status in a mere day or two.


Gustav went from invest to Hurricane in 19 hours.
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Quoting extreme236:


Nah, storm to storm things are different. You cant put a set timer on things. I remember Dr. M mentioned how long it usually took for a system to reach hurricane strength (about 5 days) and we saw many of them last year reach hurricane status in a mere day or two.
that is true
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Quoting IKE:
Hmmmm...

GFS 12Z at 72 hours....crow out of the freezer?



The GFS is finally coming to its senses.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26611
Quoting canesrule1:
ok,that could be the case in a rare storm, but i would say 80% of the time it will take more than 2 days.


Nah, storm to storm things are different. You cant put a set timer on things. I remember Dr. M mentioned how long it usually took for a system to reach hurricane strength (about 5 days) and we saw many of them last year reach hurricane status in a mere day or two.
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Quoting wxhatt:
I have a question. Does Dr. Masters read the entire blog here every day? because they can get quite lengthy...


I hope not he would probably need a few Advils after reading some of this stuff.
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Quoting SavannahStorm:


Link


Interesting indeed... it's not weak easterly winds either, it's 3 bars moving east colliding with 3 bars moving west in a line. Very odd.
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Quoting TheWeatherMan504:


The Black Bars are rain contaminated.
what about the purple bars indicating more than 45 knots, yes?
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Good morning all.

Tropical Tidbit from 12:00pm eastern time June 8, 2009
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26611
I have a question. Does Dr. Masters read the entire blog here every day? because they can get quite lengthy...
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194. IKE
Hmmmm...

GFS 12Z at 72 hours....crow out of the freezer?

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Quoting extreme236:


That may be right, but your trying to state that as a fact, rather than an opinion.
look at post 171.
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Quoting extreme236:


Which is incorrect, it may be right for a lot of systems but I've seen circulation circulations spin up in 12-24 hours.
ok,that could be the case in a rare storm, but i would say 80% of the time it will take more than 2 days.
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SSMI/AMSRE-derived Total Precipitable Water - North Atlantic
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Quoting winter123:


picture or link??


Link
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 18 Comments: 2337


Infrared NHC Enhancement - North Atlantic -> GOES-East
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Quoting SavannahStorm:


Very interesting Quickscat pass... We now have due east and due west winds converging under the convection, with some in the 30-35 knot range. (A lot of rain contamination, though)


picture or link??
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Quoting canesrule1:
i believe and i've been taught that at least it will take 48 hours to go from the upper levels to the lower levels.


Which is incorrect, it may be right for a lot of systems but I've seen circulation circulations spin up in 12-24 hours.
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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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