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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Quoting Drakoen:


I don't think it has an implication of it staying warmer. How long it stays warm will depend upon the strength of the A/B high and the amount of troughs that pass through. The CFS wants to keep you guys around average while the the ECMWF wants to take SSTs .5C-1C above average in the Bahamas. The shear forecast doesn't favor the development of storms over the Bahamas but it does very much so favor it over the Caribbean.
Hmmm.... guess we will see how things progress. I think I'd almostprefer development of storms over the Bahamas as opposed to development over Caribbean, for 2 reasons. 1, development in our area means at least a chance for a fish vs landfalling cane down the road. In the CAR, it's got to come out somewhere.... 2, development here means much smaller chance of well-developed cat 3+ here... Katrina is an excellent example. I'd rather have TS Katrina forming overhead than cat 4/5 Katrina "just passing through"....

Course, all of this is moot till we see how steering sets up...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22561
Quoting Patrap:
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


always good to read it through to the Last Line KOTG

Just saying..
You aren't either, are you Pat? 3/10 of a mile is enough, depending on equipment and crew qualification...just say'n
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DATE LAT LON MAG DEPTH km REGION
11-APR-2010 22:08:10 37.08 -3.47 6.2 616.7 SPAIN
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370.

Next Post
The next post will probably be Wednesday, and will be a guest post, since I am on vacation this week (I'm going to go experience the weather underground in Mammoth Cave!)

Jeff Masters


He would of said he was back. So I'm guessing it was a guest blogger. I am also a bit surprised with the first sentence.
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Quoting Snowlover123:
Dr. Jeff Masters says...
"Always obey your air traffic controllers."
Right you are Dr. Masters!
You're not a qualified pilot are you?
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Quoting Patrap:
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


always good to read it through to the Last Line KOTG

Just saying..
unless he did a quick update from a laptop in the caves or hotel room
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367. Aware of all that. The name at the bottom of the post is "Jeff Masters". If he authorizes his name to be used, he ought to ensure the ghost is qualified to make the statements they make in his name...or at least he is
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6.1 (Preliminary magnitude — update expected within 15 minutes)
Date-Time Sunday, April 11, 2010 at 22:08:15 UTC
Monday, April 12, 2010 at 12:08:15 AM at epicenter

Location 37.360°N, 3.440°W
Depth 667 km (414.5 miles) set by location program
Region SPAIN
Distances 27 km (17 miles) NE (53°) from Granada, Spain
106 km (66 miles) NW (304°) from Almeria, Spain
112 km (70 miles) NE (50°) from Malaga, Spain
341 km (212 miles) S (176°) from MADRID, Spain

Location Uncertainty Error estimate not available
Parameters NST= 29, Nph= 29, Dmin=0 km, Rmss=0.75 sec, Gp= 94°,
M-type=body wave magnitude (Mb), Version=A
Source NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center

Event ID pt10101006
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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


always good to read it through to the Last Line KOTG

Just saying..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129089
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Dr. Jeff Masters says...
"Always obey your air traffic controllers."
Right you are Dr. Masters!
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Quoting NttyGrtty:
Way late entry to the blog topic, but, hey, I do stuff on the weekend. Jeff Masters, do you really feel qualified to make those opening statements? "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 reason you used to fly was to make weather decisions and RECOMMENDATIONS to the aircraft commander. All qualified pilots, air traffic controllers and accident investigators have a valid input to this topic, but with all due respect, I don't believe your education, training or experience qualify you to make those statements prior to qualifed people investigating the crash to determine the facts behind it. You would, and have, called unqualified people out on your area of expertise. The fog was A factor, but until the investigation is complete, way early to call it THE factor. My $.02 and all comments are welcome, especially from the author.
i hate to be the one to break it to ya but the current blog and previous blog was quite possible to have been posted by a guest blogger dr masters anounced back on monday that he will be on vacation for a week and there was a guest blogger that will update and post blogs till he's rtn this week if i am not mistaken he gets home today and will post tomorrow
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6.2Mw earthquake reported by USGS in Spain:


MAG UTC DATE-TIME
y/m/d h:m:s LAT
deg LON
deg DEPTH
km Region
MAP 6.1 2010/04/11 22:08:15 37.360 -3.440 667.0 SPAIN
MAP 6.2 2010/04/11 22:07:32 37.133 -3.669 108.0 SPAIN
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
ir imagery

KOTG, excellent picture of the dry line firing off heavy thunderstorms over W TX, and an even better picture of the mid-level through over the GOM blossoming with juicy convection.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
ir imagery
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visible imagery
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Way late entry to the blog topic, but, hey, I do stuff on the weekend. Jeff Masters, do you really feel qualified to make those opening statements? "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 reason you used to fly was to make weather decisions and RECOMMENDATIONS to the aircraft commander. All qualified pilots, air traffic controllers and accident investigators have a valid input to this topic, but with all due respect, I don't believe your education, training or experience qualify you to make those statements prior to qualifed people investigating the crash to determine the facts behind it. You would, and have, called unqualified people out on your area of expertise. The fog was A factor, but until the investigation is complete, way early to call it THE factor. My $.02 and all comments are welcome, especially from the author.
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Quoting BahaHurican:


Looks pretty light. We've already had our second "sprinkle" for the afternoon. Looks like more to come later. It's cooled off some, too.



Maybe Caymans'll get some today....
Nothing yet.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
looks like loop current has been cutoff from flow from nw carb

The Caribbean Loop is a constant, large stream of warmer water from the Caribbean Sea, that moves north, then south around the Florida Keys and up the east coast of FL. The Caribbean Loop moves at a pretty good pace, see attached link below.

Link

Here is an article from WU concerning the Loop Current:

Link

Maybe there is some upwelling of slightly cooler waters in that area!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting kimoskee:
Hip Hip Hooray!!! Some well needed R-A-I-N (can't say it, have to spell it, don't want it to stop)here in Norbrook (St Andrew, Jamaica). Only hope it's going in the dam. Serious water crisis here. Heritage Dam at less than 30% of capacity.


send some to Trini please.
Enjoy the showers!
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24646
Hip Hip Hooray!!! Some well needed R-A-I-N (can't say it, have to spell it, don't want it to stop)here in Norbrook (St Andrew, Jamaica). Only hope it's going in the dam. Serious water crisis here. Heritage Dam at less than 30% of capacity.
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looks like loop current has been cutoff from flow from nw carb
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Quoting BahaHurican:
That cool anomaly between 20 and 30 N is pretty startling, too. My question is, if it starts to warm in our area later than usual, does that have implications for STAYING warm later into the season as well? We're thinking about early formation down in the eastern section of the MDR, but what about implications for a longer season at the other end?


I don't think it has an implication of it staying warmer. How long it stays warm will depend upon the strength of the A/B high and the amount of troughs that pass through. The CFS wants to keep you guys around average while the the ECMWF wants to take SSTs .5C-1C above average in the Bahamas. The shear forecast doesn't favor the development of storms over the Bahamas but it does very much so favor it over the Caribbean.
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351. BahaHurican
8:55 PM GMT on April 11, 2010
That cool anomaly between 20 and 30 N is pretty startling, too. My question is, if it starts to warm in our area later than usual, does that have implications for STAYING warm later into the season as well? We're thinking about early formation down in the eastern section of the MDR, but what about implications for a longer season at the other end?
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350. xcool
8:50 PM GMT on April 11, 2010
noo like me here haha
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
349. BahaHurican
8:49 PM GMT on April 11, 2010
Quoting weatherwatcher12:
Getting some good rain. 0.06 inches so far. It's still coming.


Looks pretty light. We've already had our second "sprinkle" for the afternoon. Looks like more to come later. It's cooled off some, too.



Maybe Caymans'll get some today....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22561
348. SevereHurricane
8:47 PM GMT on April 11, 2010
Quoting Drakoen:
SST anomalies



The Eastern Atlantic is scary warm.
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347. Drakoen
8:41 PM GMT on April 11, 2010
SST anomalies

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346. xcool
8:38 PM GMT on April 11, 2010
also look at the astoundingly low tornado season so far ( I thought it would have picked up a bit by now) and the fact we are running behind 2005 for the date.

In the Long Ranger, the amazing forecast of the CFS for another year without a summer is looked at. I was all in favor of a cool summer last year, but not this year, however I admit this is treading on some new turf... cold pdo warm amo dying Nino. What is interesting is the forecast last year was pretty easy to see given the EL NINO COMING ON. The idea the model has the same forecast this year, with the opposite signalling is interesting in that it does not agree with analogs. However the one analog that is coolest, though it got hot late, was summer 03 and it had a cold pdo run up from late 98 into the 02-03 el nino.
by joe
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345. Drakoen
8:29 PM GMT on April 11, 2010
31 day Wind Shear shows anomalously below average shear throughout the majority of the MDR:

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344. weatherwatcher12
8:26 PM GMT on April 11, 2010
Getting some good rain. 0.06 inches so far. It's still coming.

*edit*
Actually got .75 inches today and more is still coming!
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343. Stormchaser2007
8:21 PM GMT on April 11, 2010
12z GFS and GFS ensembles predicted NAO



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342. Drakoen
8:20 PM GMT on April 11, 2010
Quoting presslord:
Monitoring the SSTs daily is of little use in the large view of things.


that sort of rational, responsible, measured approach will simply not be tolerated...


Blasphemy... Heresy...
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341. presslord
8:18 PM GMT on April 11, 2010
Monitoring the SSTs daily is of little use in the large view of things.


that sort of rational, responsible, measured approach will simply not be tolerated...
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340. Bordonaro
8:15 PM GMT on April 11, 2010
Maybe a little bit of wild weather for the Texas Panhandle and West TX this afternoon:

MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 0304
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0243 PM CDT SUN APR 11 2010

AREAS AFFECTED...SERN NM THROUGH PARTS OF WRN TX

CONCERNING...SEVERE POTENTIAL...WATCH UNLIKELY

VALID 111943Z - 112145Z

THUNDERSTORMS WILL LIKELY CONTINUE DEVELOPING OVER PORTIONS OF WRN
TX AND SERN NM THIS AFTERNOON INTO THE EVENING. STRONGER STORMS MAY
BECOME CAPABLE OF PRODUCING ISOLATED MARGINALLY SEVERE HAIL AND
GUSTY WINDS. WW DURING THE NEXT COUPLE HOURS IS UNLIKELY...BUT
TRENDS WILL CONTINUE TO BE MONITORED.

THIS AFTERNOON A DRYLINE EXTENDS FROM A SURFACE LOW IN THE SRN TX
PANHANDLE SWWD INTO SERN NM THEN SWD TO JUST E OF THE DAVIS
MOUNTAINS IN WRN TX. AN OUTFLOW BOUNDARY HAS SPREAD WWD INTO SERN
NM...AND A FEW STORMS HAVE DEVELOPED SOUTH OF CLOVIS ALONG THE
DRYLINE/OUTFLOW BOUNDARY MERGER. OTHER STORMS ARE IN THE PROCESS OF
DEVELOPING ALONG SRN END OF THE OUTFLOW BOUNDARY OVER SERN NM AND
FARTHER SOUTH OVER THE DAVIS MOUNTAINS OF WRN TX. AXIS OF CLEARING
HAS PROMOTED STRONG DIABATIC HEATING FROM FAR WRN TX NWD THROUGH ERN
NM. HOWEVER...12Z RAOB FROM MIDLAND INDICATED ONLY A SHALLOW MOIST
LAYER NEAR THE SURFACE...AND OBSERVATIONAL TRENDS SHOW DEWPOINTS
MIXING DOWN INTO THE 40S. DESPITE THE PRESENCE OF STEEP LAPSE
RATES...THE MEAGER LOW LEVEL MOISTURE IS LIMITING MLCAPE TO AOB 500
J/KG IN THIS REGION.

THE SELY LOW LEVEL WINDS SHOULD ADVECT SLIGHTLY RICHER BOUNDARY
LAYER MOISTURE WWD...RESULTING IN SOME INCREASE IN INSTABILITY
TOWARD EARLY EVENING. STORMS DEVELOPING IN THIS REGION WILL REMAIN
IN A WEAK DEEP LAYER FLOW/SHEAR REGIME FAVORABLE FOR MULTICELLS.
MODEST VERTICAL SHEAR AND INSTABILITY SUGGEST THE STORMS WILL NOT BE
PARTICULARLY ORGANIZED. BUT STEEP LAPSE RATES WILL CONTRIBUTE TO A
THREAT FOR ISOLATED HAIL AND GUSTY WINDS.

..DIAL.. 04/11/2010
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339. Drakoen
8:14 PM GMT on April 11, 2010
On another note you can see how the anomalously higher winds are affecting the areas north of 20N which is normal but we are doing great compared to previous years.





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338. Stormchaser2007
8:13 PM GMT on April 11, 2010
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15945
336. SevereHurricane
8:09 PM GMT on April 11, 2010
Quoting Drakoen:
I think we will be back to 2005 levels perhaps surpassing them as the climate model consensus is for the highest anomalies to propagate westward into the Caribbean with anomalies 1C-2C above average in the ASO period.

Monitoring the SSTs daily is of little use in the large view of things. There are going to be fluctuations but the general trend will be a continuance of above average SSTs.


I agree, the Caribbean will have no trouble making a comeback.
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335. Stormchaser2007
8:08 PM GMT on April 11, 2010
Quoting Drakoen:
I think we will be back to 2005 levels perhaps surpassing them as the climate model consensus is for the highest anomalies to propagate westward into the Caribbean with anomalies 1C-2C above average in the ASO period.

Monitoring the SSTs daily is of little use in the large view of things. There are going to be fluctuations but the general trend will be a continuance of above average SSTs.



Yes, indeed. Aside from the recently declining Caribbean, the Atlantic as a whole has been warming at a decent pace. Most noticeably in the Eastern Atlantic and GOM.

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334. Stormchaser2007
8:05 PM GMT on April 11, 2010
SOI up to 1.3

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333. Drakoen
8:03 PM GMT on April 11, 2010
I think we will be back to 2005 levels perhaps surpassing them as the climate model consensus is for the highest anomalies to propagate westward into the Caribbean with anomalies 1C-2C above average in the ASO period.

Monitoring the SSTs daily is of little use in the large view of things. There are going to be fluctuations but the general trend will be a continuance of above average SSTs.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30601
332. Stormchaser2007
8:00 PM GMT on April 11, 2010
The NAO forecast has been wobbling quite a bit over the past few days so im not that sure about its projections.
Im sure it'll warm though. Just how much is the question. I dont think we'll bounce back to 2005 levels though. Which is a good thing.

Heres a comparison of our SST's in the Caribbean.

March 31st:

Current:
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15945
331. pottery
7:59 PM GMT on April 11, 2010
Good Sunday afternoon, all.
Heading for a siesta after too much good food. But just thought that I would confirm that we have had no showers as yet. There is some cloud about, particularly north-west of here. The 'blob' in the ITCZ is still there, but not looking too healthy..........
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24646
330. SevereHurricane
7:58 PM GMT on April 11, 2010
Quoting Drakoen:
A positive NAO would allow for some cooling in the Caribbean. The NCEP/NCAR reanalysis of April 1-9 reveals anomalously higher tradewind speeds over the Caribbean. The forecast is for a negative NAO as we head into mid April which will resume the warming.


Figure 1. Surface Vector Wind (m/s) Composite Anomaly




Figure 2. Ensemble Forecast of the North American Oscillation



Great Post... The NAO looks to drop off from here on out. The Caribbean will have no trouble bouncing back.
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328. Drakoen
7:49 PM GMT on April 11, 2010
A positive NAO would allow for some cooling in the Caribbean. The NCEP/NCAR reanalysis of April 1-9 reveals anomalously higher tradewind speeds over the Caribbean. The forecast is for a negative NAO as we head into mid April which will resume the warming.


Figure 1. Surface Vector Wind (m/s) Composite Anomaly




Figure 2. Ensemble Forecast of the North American Oscillation

Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30601

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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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