Polish president dies in plane crash during heavy fog

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:06 PM GMT on April 10, 2010

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Always obey your air traffic controllers. That's the cardinal rule of of aviation, and one apparently violated by the pilot of the aircraft carrying the Polish president and dozens of the country's top political and military leaders, which crashed in heavy fog this morning near Smolensk, Russia. All 96 people aboard perished. According to the New York Times, air traffic controllers had recommended the president's jet land in nearby Minsk because of bad visibility, but the crew decided to land anyway. The Polish news channel TVN24 reported that moments before the crash, air traffic controllers had refused a Russian military aircraft permission to land, but that they could not refuse permission to the Polish plane. Russian media reported that the airplane's crew made several attempts to land before a wing hit the treetops and the plane crashed about half a mile from the runway.


Figure 1. a large patch of fog covers the Russian city of Smolensk and regions to the east in this visible light image captured by NASA's Terra satellite between 08:00 - 11:15 UTC Saturday, April 10, 2010. Image credit: NASA MODIS Rapid Response System, visualized using Google Earth.

At 10 am local time, near the time of the crash, the Smolensk airport reported heavy fog with visibility 0.5 km (3/10 of a mile). As seen in the satellite image taken near this time (Figure 1), a large bank of fog covered Smolensk and neighboring regions of Russia and Belarus.

Jeff Masters

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178. Karlo
Excuse me, but your beginning sentence, "always obey your air traffic controllers. That's the cardinal rule of of aviation"

Is incorrect. The pilot ALWAYS has ultimate authority on how to fly the craft and whether to accept ATC directions. I'm not defending this particular pilot who SEEMS to have been badly operating his plane but we do not yet know precisely what actually happened. I think you should stick to meteorology...a few rides in a hurricane hunter does not in my opinion make you an expert in aviation.
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Just came back on i'm sorry for your loss tampaspin its not easy to lose family members.
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Sorry to hear the bad news Tim. We will be saying our prayers for ya'll.
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175. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting troy1993:
In Hurricane Wilma..many people stated that the backside of Wilma was much worse than the frontside..does anyone have an explanation for this?


Wilma was only like that through FL. A powerful front had just caught her. Not many 'canes are comfortable without AC after like she was..
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 171 Comments: 38111
174. NYX
Quoting Chicklit:

It's all about the shear, dear. We'll see.
The Caribbean is certainly warm and even warmer is the Pacific. So that area would be in for a bruising should something that way go.
Shrek 3 on tonight. Can hardly wait.
Mike Myers fan.


I agree. Last season was a text book example of how shear can be our friend. Potentially powerful storms were ripped to shreds leaving only ghostly low level circulations.
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Quoting troy1993:
In Hurricane Wilma..many people stated that the backside of Wilma was much worse than the frontside..does anyone have an explanation for this?


Just look at the satellite images of her....the western eyewall was much worse than the eastern eyewall.

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Quoting TampaSpin:
Tragety beyond belief has just struck our Family again. Most know my Wifes Mother just died from cancer 1 month ago. Now my Wifes Brother is dying and will not make it unless some Miracle from God.

BeWARE when cutting trees! He injested Mold from Oak trees that he was trimming around the house for this years Hurricane Season. A Victim has been Claimed already. Please take caution if you intend to do the same and use a surgical mask. God Bless Todd! RIP Brother!


I'm so sorry to hear that Tampa....you and your family will be in my prayers as well.
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A nice upward run by the 30 day SOI index with the latest data at plus 1.3. Is the first time since early October that the SOI is at positive.

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In Hurricane Wilma..many people stated that the backside of Wilma was much worse than the frontside..does anyone have an explanation for this?
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Quoting TampaSpin:
Tragety beyond belief has just struck our Family again. Most know my Wifes Mother just died from cancer 1 month ago. Now my Wifes Brother is dying and will not make it unless some Miracle from God.

BeWARE when cutting trees! He injested Mold from Oak trees that he was trimming around the house for this years Hurricane Season. A Victim has been Claimed already. Please take caution if you intend to do the same and use a surgical mask. God Bless Todd! RIP Brother!


I am very sad to learn this Tim, You and yours will all be in my prayers.
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Tragety beyond belief has just struck our Family again. Most know my Wifes Mother just died from cancer 1 month ago. Now my Wifes Brother is dying and will not make it unless some Miracle from God.

BeWARE when cutting trees! He injested Mold from Oak trees that he was trimming around the house for this years Hurricane Season. A Victim has been Claimed already. Please take caution if you intend to do the same and use a surgical mask. God Bless Todd! RIP Brother!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
I am crying for rain now


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54268
I am crying for rain now
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I know, Wunderkid, you keep getting missed!
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54268
Quoting EnergyMoron:
Does anybody have a rainfall prediction for the Texas area this summer? We got lucky today and had a slight rain, but it appears that we are settling into the same disgusting pattern (if you like gardening) we had last summer.

Thanks


Hmmm? I just found this site. Looks to be hotter than normal and dryer than normal for us (Texas that is) now through July. And the opposite August thru September. Especially on the coast.
Link
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Quoting EnergyMoron:
Does anybody have a rainfall prediction for the Texas area this summer? We got lucky today and had a slight rain, but it appears that we are settling into the same disgusting pattern (if you like gardening) we had last summer.

Thanks

The EMCWF models pointed at a drier and warmer than normal summer for TX, sorry!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
160. xcool
Confirmed now that Dr. Steve Lyons is leaving TWC for Texas! He'll be at the San Angelo NWS as Meteorologist in Charge /huh i'm lost



Link
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guys we need rain wish that trough of low pressure would come over us
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Does anybody have a rainfall prediction for the Texas area this summer? We got lucky today and had a slight rain, but it appears that we are settling into the same disgusting pattern (if you like gardening) we had last summer.

Thanks
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Whoa...I sense someone here has back pain...and there's rockets in the sky, and a huge family tree.

Wow I'm getting some crazy signals....overwhelming, like a levee break...

I hope none of us has to deal with horror this year.
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http://gazettextra.com/news/2010/apr/08/con-earth-never-equilibrium/

Article by Dr. Richard Lindzen Phd. Atmospheric Sciences
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Quoting Bordonaro:


Exactly, the climate is changing, appears to be warming, and if things pan out as forecasted, we are looking at an active, above normal Atlantic Hurricane Season.

It's all about the shear, dear. We'll see.
The Caribbean is certainly warm and even warmer is the Pacific. So that area would be in for a bruising should something that way go.
Shrek 3 on tonight. Can hardly wait.
Mike Myers fan.
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Quoting Bordonaro:


Exactly, the climate is changing, appears to be warming, and if things pan out as forecasted, we are looking at an active, above normal Atlantic Hurricane Season.


I was wondering about the where any storms will go more than the how many or how strong. (As I'm sure most people are.) And while I know there is absolutely no way we can know where a storm will go ahead of time, I was wondering if there is any early indicator of the steering patterns.

I remembered something DRM said last year.

From his June 1, 2009 blog...

Steering currents
The steering current pattern over the past few weeks has been typical for June, with an active jet stream bringing many troughs of low pressure off the East Coast of the U.S. These troughs are frequent enough and strong enough to recurve any tropical storms or hurricanes that might penetrate north of the Caribbean Sea. Steering current patterns are predictable only about 3-5 days in the future, although we can make very general forecasts about the pattern as much as two weeks in advance. At present, it appears that the coming two weeks will maintain the typical June pattern, bringing many troughs of low pressure off the East Coast capable of recurving any June storms that might form. There is no telling what might happen during the peak months of August, September, and October--we might be in for a repeat of the favorable 2006 steering current pattern that recurved every storm out to sea--or the unfavorable 2008 pattern, that steered Ike and Gustav into the Gulf of Mexico.

And then on his July 31, 2009 blog...

Steering currents
The steering current pattern has remained virtually the same all summer. A persistent trough of low pressure has remained entrenched over the Eastern U.S., bringing cool and relatively moist weather to the northeastern portion of the country. This trough is strong enough to recurve any tropical storms or hurricanes that might penetrate north of the Caribbean Sea. Steering current patterns are predictable only about 3 - 5 days in the future, although we can make very general forecasts about the pattern as much as two weeks in advance. At present, it appears that the coming two weeks will maintain the strong trough over the Eastern U.S., which decreases the hurricane risk to the U.S. Gulf Coast. It is often difficult to break a months-long steering current pattern like the current one, and it's reasonable to forecast that the current steering pattern will continue to dominate into September.

So my question is, is there any pattern now such as the troughs he mentioned last year? I know it's earlier in the year than when he posted those last year, does anyone know how far before hurricane season last year that we got stuck in that pattern? And are we stuck in a pattern so far this year?
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Quoting hamla:
thanks that is what i was thinking and since we are going thru CLIMATE CHANGE only MOTHER NATURE HAS THE ANSWERS
RICK
N1RG


Exactly, the climate is changing, appears to be warming, and if things pan out as forecasted, we are looking at an active, above normal Atlantic Hurricane Season.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785

latest surface pressure 1000mb winds gfs anal.
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149. hamla
thanks that is what i was thinking and since we are going thru CLIMATE CHANGE only MOTHER NATURE HAS THE ANSWERS
RICK
N1RG
Quoting Bordonaro:


Many of the ingredients for a busy 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season are coming together. The SST over the Tropical Atlantic and Caribbean Sea are a few dreees above normal, the El Nino is beginning to wind down, the wind shear is below seasonal average already this year.

This is a developing situation, the ECMWF long range models are forecasting below normal atmosphere pressure and above normal sea surface temperatures in the Tropical Atlantic/Caribbean basin area. The ITCZ (Inter-tropical Convergence Zone) has been quite active. We will have to wait and see what happens with El Nino, and where the Bermuda High sets up this late spring/early summer, then we'll have a better idea how active the season will be.
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Quoting hamla:
with all the record high temps i wonder when el nino will leave and la nina will be the big factor for the gulf of mexico???
the only cold ssts are in the nern gulf and the carribean is getting quite warm/hot a little early this 2010 trop season.maybe we will have smething devlop in late apr/early mayany comments.tnks
rick
n1rg


Many of the ingredients for a busy 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season are coming together. The SST over the Tropical Atlantic and Caribbean Sea are a few degrees above normal, the El Nino is beginning to wind down, the wind shear is below seasonal average already this year.

This is a developing situation, the ECMWF long range models are forecasting below normal atmosphere pressure and above normal sea surface temperatures in the Tropical Atlantic/Caribbean basin area. The ITCZ (Inter-tropical Convergence Zone) has been quite active. We will have to wait and see what happens with El Nino, and where the Bermuda High sets up this late spring/early summer, then we'll have a better idea how active the season will be.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Sad story DRM. :(

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146. hamla
with all the record high temps i wonder when el nino will leave and la nina will be the big factor for the gulf of mexico???
the only cold ssts are in the nern gulf and the carribean is getting quite warm/hot a little early this 2010 trop season.maybe we will have smething devlop in late apr/early mayany comments.tnks
rick
n1rg
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Fantastic time exposure of Discovery's fiery pre dawn Launch from KSC
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128617
Mission Extended for Late Inspection, False Alarm on Station
Sat, 10 Apr 2010 02:11:39 AM EDT


Mission Control informed space shuttle Discovery Commander Alan Poindexter that mission managers are extending the flight by one day to enable a standard late inspection of the shuttle heat shield to occur while the shuttle is docked to the International Space Station. Landing now is targeted for 8:54 a.m. EDT Monday, April 19.

Since Discoverys Ku-Band communications system is not functioning correctly, the space stations Ku system will transmit the heat shield video and laser scan to Mission Control for imagery experts to analyze.

At 1:24 a.m. EDT, a smoke alarm sounded aboard the International Space Stations Zvezda service module. Expedition 23 Commander Oleg Kotov quickly assessed that it was a false alarm that occurred while he was cleaning air filters in the module.



This nadir, 800mm view of the portside top part of Discovery's cabin was provided by one of the Expedition 23 crew members onboard the International Space Station.

The shuttle was in the midst of a back-flip, performed to enable the station's cameras to survey it for possible damage.

April 7, 2010
Photo credit: NASA/JSC

Super Hi-REZ image
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128617
remember we live in a minute world therefore things change minute to minute
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54268
Quoting Chigz:
Can anyone explain how come the caribbean has cooled dramatically from 5th April to 9th April?
AOML maps were available between 5th and the 8th inclusive, and today's map (9th April) show a sunstantial cooling....!! Something wrong with the data/analysis?

No, the information is most likely correct! The NE trade winds have been blowing quite hard across the Tropical Atlantic and Caribbean Sea, dropping temps about 2 degrees F or so. There is a weak Low pressure area over the nation of Columbia and the Bermuda High over the W Central Atlantic are creating stronger winds.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
What a disaster for the Polish people.
hanks Dr. Masters for giving us the reason that plane went down.
I cannot believe a pilot flying that many important people would ignore Standard Operating Procedure!
Crapola. Really terrible.
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Alright guys im going out to eat so i will see you guys later today.
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Well i do know that in april of 2003 we had subtropical/tropical storm anna so it can happen this early.
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138. Chigz
Can anyone explain how come the caribbean has cooled dramatically from 5th April to 9th April?
AOML maps were available between 5th and the 8th inclusive, and today's map (9th April) show a sunstantial cooling....!! Something wrong with the data/analysis?
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137. afj3
Quoting JRRP:

is too early to say.


True. We've had several April systems in the recent past.
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136. JRRP
Quoting afj3:


Can't be heating up this early, can it?

is too early to say.
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128617
134. xcool
lol
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Quoting weatherwatcher12:
Is that our AOI around 8n and 38w?

oops, sorry about that. I didn't realize that that imagery stopped updating last year. I'll take down that post now.
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132. afj3
Quoting JRRP:


Can't be heating up this early, can it?
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Thanks guys you have been a great help.
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130. JRRP

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:)
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54268
ya copy and paste image url in the image pop up you can make in the post your comments area
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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.