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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I do not think 1992 would be an analog year since the El Nino for that year as ongoing. This potential El Nino being forecasted is expected to be developing.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1336. Seastep
Good evening, kman.
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Quoting zoomiami:


lol - kids are actually baby goats, but in the US we call children, generally younger than 18 "kids". When you get to be a certain age - lots of people look like "kids" to you. I have children older than you! (and two younger, but you get my point)

But Zoo, I'll always be my parents "kid" even though I'm older than half the people on this blog LOL
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Quoting zoomiami:


and getting paid by the hour?


Naturally LOL
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948


Analog Year?
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Quoting kmanislander:


I once heard that the definition of an expert is a person far away from home carrying a briefcase !


and getting paid by the hour?
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Quoting Weather456:
The 2006 El Nino was strange in that few storms developed and track in the Gulf, only Alberto to speak of. The Gulf of Mexico sees more TC formations in July, August and September during El Nino years than La Nina years. For some reason, ssts are anomalously higher in El Nino years in the GOMEX with wind shear lower due the anomalous southern extentsion of the subtropical jet.


Thanks for that info Weather456. That is strange things played out that way then.
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Oh, good evening everyone
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
Quoting futuremet:


haha I am barely an expert lol

I will be a year from now...


I once heard that the definition of an expert is a person far away from home carrying a briefcase !
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
Quoting Weather456:


Its ok. I'm actually not familiar with the word since I live outside the US. I had it to mean a child but now I know it actually means those younger than "us"


lol - kids are actually baby goats, but in the US we call children, generally younger than 18 "kids". When you get to be a certain age - lots of people look like "kids" to you. I have children older than you! (and two younger, but you get my point)
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The sharpest contrast in El Nino years was always the number of storms south of 20N as oppose of north of 20N.





Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting WeatherStudent:


I'll follow your expertise.


haha I am barely an expert lol

I will be a year from now...
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Quoting Weather456:


NOAA predicted average to below normal activity for the EPAC

The eastern Pacific has seen generally suppressed hurricane activity since 1995. During 1995-2008, 64% of seasons were below normal, 29% were near normal, only one was above normal.

The El Niño/ Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is an important climate predictor for eastern Pacific hurricane activity. El Niño generally produces conditions that are more conducive to hurricane activity, while La Niña suppresses the activity. However, these typical impacts can be strongly modulated by conditions associated with a low- or high-activity era.


Watched full force nature while ago. They showed the Pacific ocean waves washing cliffs and homes into the water and taking them out to sea. Don't know what year it was but it was an El Nino. It looked just like a hungry beast feeding on the sea side. What I can only imagine the storm surge of a hurricane might look like. Mother Nature don't play.
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Quoting P451:
Ah, thank you everyone, much better!

And 456, I did not mean any disrespect, it's just that us old men always call those younger than us "kids". It's a term of endearment. :)



Its ok. I'm actually not familiar with the word since I live outside the US. I had it to mean a child but now I know it actually means those younger than "us"
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
The 2006 El Nino was strange in that few storms developed and track in the Gulf, only Alberto to speak of. The Gulf of Mexico sees more TC formations in July, August and September during El Nino years than La Nina years. For some reason, ssts are anomalously higher in El Nino years in the GOMEX with wind shear lower due the anomalous southern extentsion of the subtropical jet.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting WeatherStudent:


Thanks, should we disregard it or take it into account since the NOGAPS is typically such a conservative model when it comes to it forcasting TC formation?


I would disregard it. It needs to show consistency for at least 3 runs.
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1318. Ossqss
Some signatures popin up for the Vortex folks.

Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8188
Quoting Weather456:


NOAA predicted average to below normal activity for the EPAC

The eastern Pacific has seen generally suppressed hurricane activity since 1995. During 1995-2008, 64% of seasons were below normal, 29% were near normal, only one was above normal.

The El Niño/ Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is an important climate predictor for eastern Pacific hurricane activity. El Niño generally produces conditions that are more conducive to hurricane activity, while La Niña suppresses the activity. However, these typical impacts can be strongly modulated by conditions associated with a low- or high-activity era.





Oh!
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The wave just leaving Africa lost all of its convection when it moved over water, but it's still showing up on CIMSS. There is a weaker wave ahead of it (about 30 degrees W) that I hadn't noticed until now that is just now starting to develop some convection.
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Quoting Levi32:


Right now the models are forecasting it to lift up into the southern states. Anything east of Florida would get sheared, but the Caribbean and part of the Gulf of Mexico will have low enough shear to allow tropical development over the next 5-10 days.


Ah I see. Thank you Levi. :) Was wondering if maybe thats what happened in 2006 when we didn't get a storm in my neck of the woods. Trying to find a common thread. Thanks again. :)
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Quoting 2010hurricane:


NOAA predicted average to below normal activity for the EPAC

The eastern Pacific has seen generally suppressed hurricane activity since 1995. During 1995-2008, 64% of seasons were below normal, 29% were near normal, only one was above normal.

The El Niño/ Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is an important climate predictor for eastern Pacific hurricane activity. El Niño generally produces conditions that are more conducive to hurricane activity, while La Niña suppresses the activity. However, these typical impacts can be strongly modulated by conditions associated with a low- or high-activity era.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
This is where I come to get information from very knowledgable people in a way that I can understand it. I am just trying to learn and thanks to so many intelligent people here I can more or less get a handle on what is going on.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8436
1310. Levi32
Quoting Weather456:
The only thing the 12Z models agreed on was some weak vorticity and deep layer in the Western Caribbean, some developed it and others did not. Some track it west over the Yucatan, others over the Eastern Cuba. It seem the TPC is the conensus between all models, CMC, GFS. NOGAPS, UKMET and ECMWF.


Yeah, it's pretty inconsistent at this point. The GFS and ECMWF have been very consistent in at least having something down there though.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting WeatherStudent:


What's it showing, Met?


It is showing possible tropical cyclone development over the southwestern caribbean, but unlike the GFS, it weakens it not due to shear, but because of its close proximity too land. Shear is expected to be highest along the central southwestern caribbean.
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1308. IKE
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


AOI
MARK
12.69N/82.34W


That's about where I see it.
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Quoting Vortex95:
2009 is already MINORLY ahead of 2004. 2009 had an offseason TD, 2004, nada until July 31.


What's going on with the Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season? If an El Nino is developing, then there should be ACTIVITY there!!!
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1306. Levi32
Quoting homelesswanderer:
There are many knowledgeable people on this blog. Luckily for people like me. :) Gotta give Futuremet his props too. He always answered my questions. Thank you.

And now a question for anyone out there who knows...I've been hearing about the jet stream lifting north. Is it going to park itself in the gulf?? If its even going there? If so would that shear apart anything trying to go there? TIA :)


Right now the models are forecasting it to lift up into the southern states. Anything east of Florida would get sheared, but the Caribbean and part of the Gulf of Mexico will have low enough shear to allow tropical development over the next 5-10 days.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
The only thing the 12Z models agreed on was some weak vorticity and deep layer in the Western Caribbean, some developed it and others did not. Some track it west over the Yucatan, others over the Eastern Cuba. It seem the TPC is the conensus between all models, CMC, GFS. NOGAPS, UKMET and ECMWF.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1304. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)


AOI
MARK
12.69N/82.34W
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There are many knowledgeable people on this blog. Luckily for people like me. :) Gotta give Futuremet his props too. He always answered my questions. Thank you.

And now a question for anyone out there who knows...I've been hearing about the jet stream lifting north. Is it going to park itself in the gulf?? If its even going there? If so would that shear apart anything trying to go there? TIA :)
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
They shouldn't call you a kid cuz you are an old man at 21. Be glad they have such respect for the information yiou put out.


21 Old Man?? Geez I feel ancient then...lol Ike what does that make you? lol :)
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The NOGAPS is at it again...


I think this model has been the most inconsistent with this.
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
They shouldn't call you a kid cuz you are an old man at 21. Be glad they have such respect for the information yiou put out.


Ok, I see your point..lol :)
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Our Georgia POOF lost all his clothes.

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1297. Seastep
KOTG - 13/77... based on shear forecast and wave interaction and that is a spot of convergence... think it is the only chance imo.
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1296. Levi32
Quoting IKE:
18Z GFS seems slightly stronger and more in line with the 18Z NAM on track.

If these 2 models have any hope on the "ghost-storm" it's almost now or never...by Thursday at this time something should be happening.

I think:(


The difference between the NAM and the GFS is that the GFS doesn't know how to properly handle the upper trough in the western Caribbean and the trough split that is about to take place. At 84 hours the NAM already has the cut-off low backing away to the SW with the upper ridge nosing into the NW Caribbean, providing a fair environment for its forecasted surface low to develop.



The GFS at 84 hours still has the trough wedged into the NW Caribbean very tightly and still creating 50 knots of shear above anything that could be sitting there.



Regardless of model inconsistencies, favorable conditions are likely still 3-5 days away. Friday and into this weekend will be the time to watch for this particular disturbance to make an appearance.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting hurricaneseason2006:
I think Weather456 and Levi32 need some props. They are the only 2 that seem to had a good handle on the situation in the Western Caribbean. BR>
>img
>>

I've been tracking this wave since it left Africa. It maintain some decent low level vorticity as well as convection all the way across the ATL. It wasn't until it started interacting with SA that it started looking weaker. I agree that it will be the player to watch in the next few days. It is stronger than it looks!
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Quoting Weather456:


No offense but I'm 21 to make 22 soon and I've finished university for now.
They shouldn't call you a kid cuz you are an old man at 21. Be glad they have such respect for the information yiou put out.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8436
Quoting P451:
Okay, I'm really growing tired of this auto-hiding-messages that the Blog does. Can anyone tell me how to stop this? I will determine who I want to read and not read.



Link to Image

Anyone? Thanks in advance. I like to read all comments no matter who is saying what.


Look at the most recent post. It should have a gray thingy above it..It should say Filter, and click Show All, and you are good to go my friend! Good Luck!
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Quoting P451:


Storm is very busy but extremely knowledgeable. 456 is a very smart kidn whose blog I read daily.

Not to leave anyone out... Orca and Tampa are others to follow. Patrap always comes up with the images and links. CCHS although I disagree with a lot that he has to say - does a very good job of presenting his POV.

There are others - apologies for leaving them out.

Just weed out those who constantly bicker and you'll find a good number of people here that you'd want to read up on.


No offense but I'm 21 to make 22 soon and I've finished university for now, lol
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1290. Seastep
Evening all... in surfmom and stillwaiting's neck of the woods on vaca.
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P451, use the filter on the upper right hand part of the blog to have it "show all". I have found that it doesn't save my selection unless after changing the filter I scroll to the bottom of the page and select another page of the blog. It can be totally random, but it doesn't seem to save your setting unless you change pages. At least that is what works for me.
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1280. P451

At the top of reader comments set filter to "Show All". You can also go to your blog and under "Modify My Profile" set the filter level so it doesn't change.
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Quoting P451:
Okay, I'm really growing tired of this auto-hiding-messages that the Blog does. Can anyone tell me how to stop this? I will determine who I want to read and not read.



Link to Image

Anyone? Thanks in advance. I like to read all comments no matter who is saying what.


2 things

The bar where the comments start, called "filter", click show all

Go to your blog and click on modify profile to the right and scroll to "Comment Filter Level:" and choose "show all"
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076

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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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