Tornadoes rip Oklahoma, killing 5; oil spill headed towards Texas

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:09 PM GMT on May 11, 2010

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Oklahoma residents are picking up the pieces and surveying the damage after a devastating tornado outbreak that left at least five people dead, dozens injured, and hundreds of millions in damage. Our severe weather expert, Dr. Rob Carver, has some amazing images and videos of the tornadoes in his blog. One solace Oklahomans can take in the disaster is that the data taken by scientists during the tornado outbreak may help forecasters issue better tornado warnings in the future. Usually, a proven way to reduce the incidence of dangerous weather phenomena is to schedule a multi-million dollar field experiment to study the phenomena. This is what happened last year, when the largest tornado field study ever conducted, Vortex2, kicked off. The $10 million study deployed an armada of over 100 storm chasing vehicles across the Great Plains, and were disappointed by one of the quietest tornado seasons in history. But it's pretty tough to have two consecutive record quiet tornado seasons in a row, so the Vortex2 program scheduled the study to run this year as well, beginning on May 1. Unfortunately for the residents of Oklahoma, the atmosphere unleashed one of its classic tornado outbreaks yesterday, in a region NOAA's Storm Prediction Center had outlined at "High Risk" for severe weather. The Vortex2 team was ideally positioned to intercept the tornadoes, according to the team of University of Michigan students that has been writing our featured Vortex2 blog, and I am told that they successfully collected what is probably the best data set even taken of a tornado outbreak. This was no mean feat, since yesterday's storms were moving 60 mph, making it extremely difficult to position the chase vehicles to capture the storm's secrets.


Figure 1. The Wakita, OK multiple-vortex tornado of May 10, 2010.

Oil spill may approach Texas early next week
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill has pushed steadily westward along the Louisiana coast, and is expected to reach central Louisiana near Atchafalaya Bay by Thursday, according to the latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA. Winds over the Gulf of Mexico this week will blow from the southeast at 15 - 20 knots, threatening to bring oil to large portions of the Louisiana coast. The Mississippi and Alabama coasts will also be at risk, but the risk to the Florida Panhandle is lower. It appears quite unlikely that oil will get into the Loop Current anytime over the next two weeks, and spread to the Florida Keys and beyond. However, the strong southeast winds are expected to shift more easterly late this week, and drive a westward-moving ocean surface current with a speed of 1 - 2 mph along the west coast of Louisiana late this week (Figure 2). This current may be capable of transporting oil all the way to the Louisiana/Texas border by Monday. However, the concentrations of oil in the water will be much less than what is present close to the blowout, and it is unclear what the potential danger is for the western Louisiana and eastern Texas coasts. The greatest danger is to the Eastern Louisiana coast.


Figure 2. Surface ocean current in the Gulf of Mexico on Friday, May 14, at 8pm EDT as forecast by the 8pm EDT run of the NOAA HYCOM model at 8pm EDT on Sunday, May 9, 2010. Note that a strong ocean current near 1 m/s (about 2 mph) is forecast to set up along the Western Louisiana coast, which could take oil close to the Texas offshore waters by Monday. Image credit: NOAA RTOFS.

Next Post
I'm in Tucson for the American Meteorological Society's 29th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology. I'll be posting Wednesday morning on some of the latest findings presented at the conference, or discussing yesterday's tornado outbreak.

Jeff Masters

()
Our first OK Tornado (Foamy)
2010-05-10 16:51 CSTD
Our first OK Tornado

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Quoting Jeff9641:


I posted this yesterday when it came out. It definitely does not look good for Florida as tracks may favor that of 2004. This puts the Panhandle and C & S FL in the danger zone.


does not look good for anyone.
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Quoting Jeff9641:


I posted this yesterday when it came out. It definitely does not look good for Florida as tracks may favor that of 2004. This puts the Panhandle and C & S FL in the danger zone.


great.. im starting my stocking this weekend.
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Quoting IKE:
Chief Hurricane Meteorologist Joe Bastardi admits that the Atlantic hurricane season of 2010 looks to be an active one, and he is comparing it to 2005, the year of devastating Hurricane Katrina.

Link


I posted this yesterday when it came out. It definitely does not look good for Florida as tracks may favor that of 2004. This puts the Panhandle and C & S FL in the danger zone.
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864. IKE
Chief Hurricane Meteorologist Joe Bastardi admits that the Atlantic hurricane season of 2010 looks to be an active one, and he is comparing it to 2005, the year of devastating Hurricane Katrina.

Link
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Rainy Season appears to be starting on Monday across the Florida Penisula. Also, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week should yield some strong to severe thunderstorms across C FL with cold temps aloft.
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Drifting satellite threatens US cable programming

Could be the dark ages again soon for cable TV ......
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861. IKE
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Good morning,

Tropical Update

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Quoting gordydunnot:
All right Pat as fortune would have it I was watching the most haunted places in USA and low and behold #2 was the #1 St. Louis cemetery in New Orleans. I think I figured out how you single handled whipped the dolphins. You channeled Marie Lavoe spelling may not be right, but that was not fair.


i went to find marie lavoe (LeVeaux?) grave. I wasnt sure which was it. There were desecrated vaults where you could see the corpses skeletons inside and casket stuffing pulled out etc. So i left and went to the police station just across the street and asked which was her grave and the policemans jaw dropped and he blurted "You actually went in that cemetery alone??!?" seems there are a lot of roberies there because bandits hide behind the crypts to snag people putting money on her grave. He told me "ya outa townahs KILLL me" and told me never go in there again without a gun. !! thats life in the big city I guess.
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A lot of moisture with the wave around 32W.
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Quoting pottery:
Looks like we will get some showers today.
Trinidad, 11n 61w.
Send some for us too please. Cayman Islands 19N 81W.
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Quoting EnergyMoron:
Link

The above link gives known drilling hazards for hydrates.

While I don't know the precise temperature gradient at that location, it would appear that there was uncemented pipe across sections of the hydrate bearing zone in that well.

Unbelievable.

Expansion by X150/170 will do a lot of damage if you are not prepared for that for sure!
But what makes you say that there were sections that were not cemented?
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Link

The above link gives known drilling hazards for hydrates.

While I don't know the precise temperature gradient at that location, it would appear that there was uncemented pipe across sections of the hydrate bearing zone in that well.

Unbelievable.
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Looks like we will get some showers today.
Trinidad, 11n 61w.
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853. IKE
Quoting P451:
MODIS picked up the oil slick again. You can see the heavier slick but you can't pick out the lighter slick that has wrapped all around LA by now.

I highlighted the slick for those who haven't kept up and are unsure what to spot in these images.



Terra and Aqua Modis Imagery


Lou-oil-iana.

Here's hoping the smaller containment dome does the trick.
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852. P451
Quoting pottery:
Good morning.
Looking bad for Oklahoma today again?


Looking bad for OK/KS/MO today.

Rough winter for the mid-atlantic.
Rough spring for the middle of the country.
Rough summer for...the tropics?

We certainly seem to be in a heightened pattern of activity here.
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Good morning.
Looking bad for Oklahoma today again?
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Good morning...
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849. P451
MODIS picked up the oil slick again. You can see the heavier slick but you can't pick out the lighter slick that has wrapped all around LA by now.

I highlighted the slick for those who haven't kept up and are unsure what to spot in these images.



Terra and Aqua Modis Imagery
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848. P451
Good Morning. The big picture, 12 HR WV Imagery, ending 630AM ET.

Tropics getting moist. Again, everything green and above is moist and everything blue and below is dry.




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Good morning guys
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Good morning. The ENSO-Wrap-Up update is out and delivered the obituary to El Nino.

Link
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CycloneOz sigh...
Cat.3 111to130mph or 178to209km/h : : eF2 111to135mph or 179to218km/h
Roofs torn off well-constructed houses; foundations of frame homes shifted; mobile homes completely destroyed; large trees snapped or uprooted; light-object missiles generated; [light] cars lifted* [to be scooted and tumbled across] the ground.
Cat.4 131to155mph or 210to249km/h : : eF3 136to165mph or 219to266km/h
Entire stories of well-constructed houses destroyed; severe damage to large buildings such as shopping malls; trains overturned; trees debarked; heavy cars lifted* [to be scooted and tumbled across] the ground and [light cars] thrown; structures with weak foundations blown away some distance.
Cat.5 more than 156mph or 250km/h : : and ya really don' wanna go there...

The * is meant to indicate editing. Most people view 'thrown' as meaning 'flying through the air'. In the original text, I think the Wiki writers use 'thrown' as meaning 'lifted until the object has only one point of contact with the ground, or is riding on ground effect pressure' when referring in particular to automobiles. My edited use of 'thrown' means 'up in the air and could land on a rooftop'.

Still, an open-air parking structure will not provide safe shelter during a Cat.4 hurricane if there are cars and motorcycles on the same level as you are. Or anywhere outdoors where there are motorcycles, cars, vans, or pickup trucks nearby.

Second thought... Cat.3 winds are equivalent to simple freefall in skydiving, 110to130mph depending on your weight and BodyMassIndex.
Cat.4 winds are in the freefall regime in which skydivers must train themselves to orient their bodies in a manner that allows control over which way the (uprushing)wind pushs them. But still easy compared to
Cat.5 (in the upper eF3 region) winds are in the freefall powerdive regime. And you're talking some serious training to maintain body orientation and control of the flight path.

May I suggest that you head up to LasVegas Indoor Skydiving to get some experience in how to handle yourself in high wind while wearing your hurricane suit.
There may be similar vertical wind tunnels closer to where you live; the simulator has been becoming ever more popular.
And mention that you want to test your hurricane suit when you make an appointment. Don't want to be disappointed after you've already driven that far.

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Just read Dr. Jeff's blog from yesterday concerning the westward movement of the oil. With a flow to the Texas/LA border by Monday, this could put the oil near Galveston beaches by Memorial Day if the currents continue west. This would be devestating to the Galveston tourism economy, which is still trying to recover from Hurricane Ike. Not to mention the cruise lines that arrive and depart from Galveston Bay.

But Galveston lives and dies by oil. You can sit on the beachfront balconies of Galveston hotels and see as many as 15 tankers lined up to travel through Galveston Bay and the ship channel leading to La Porte. Go to the back of your hotel, look across the bay and you can see the "Christmas Tree" lights of the refineries in Texas City, where in 2005 BP had other safety issues when its refinery exploded there, killing 15 people. And while you're in your Galveston beachfront hotel, you're liable to meet plenty of oil workers on their way in and out from the rigs at sea.

And we have our Texas Governor Rick Perry calling the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe "an act of God."

God forbid, the spill doesn't travel further down the Texas Coast wiping out summer revenues from Galveston to Corpus Christi, ruining the pristine coast and wildlife of the Padre Island National Seashore, and eventually hitting the beautiful little tropical-like resort town of South Padre Island.

Maybe Perry will think twice about seceding from the Union. Texas may need plenty of Federal funds to counter this potential disaster.

I've got a bad feeling about this whole thing. I've got tentative plans to be in Galveston weekend after next. I'll report back with plenty of photos if there's anything to see. Hope we won't be saying "oil's up!" instead of "surf's up."
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Quoting Patrap:

KSC Live Feeds


Ch 4


Go Atlantis go!
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After having gone through Katrina, Rita, and Gustav within just a three year span, I don't mind staying for up to about a Category 4. But then, I'm inland, so...

Honestly, I don't think I'd be staying for anything greater than a 2 were I living on the coast, or even living in New Orleans.

xcool, you are certainly braver than I.
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841. xcool
you too
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:o wow that is alot good thing is that u surivied it anyways im tired i'll see you later good night :)
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839. xcool
btwntx08 alot . 9 FEET OF WATER
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yeai know what u mean so how much damage did u get around ur house
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837. xcool
lol . "I Remember" "I Stay for hurricane katrina power go out at 1030pm i say Oh Boy Here We Go...
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so u rather stay while ur gf takes the car and $$ and leaves lol
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lol and the funny part the storm the power did not go out until after the storm passed
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834. xcool
i told my girlfriend's She's can take my money and car.i'm STAY here.
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833. xcool
lmao .
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me 2 i want to stay and watch it live lol but watchin from inside ur house lol i did that with dolly in 2008
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831. xcool
i'm stay not leave.lol
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im glad too im ready for hurricane season to start everyone should get their plans ready now that u can get it out of the way :)
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hey all read this


linux-now-makes-ice-cream-can-your-os-do-that

Link
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828. xcool
i'm good
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827. JLPR
Quoting Relix:
Man this season will be bad for the Caribbean and Antilles. I know it.


You better have knocked on some wood after saying that XD
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hey xcool how r u :)
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Good night all. See you later gators.
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Just as I thought caught you off guard.
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All right Pat as fortune would have it I was watching the most haunted places in USA and low and behold #2 was the #1 St. Louis cemetery in New Orleans. I think I figured out how you single handled whipped the dolphins. You channeled Marie Lavoe spelling may not be right, but that was not fair.
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Read ya 5 x 5 gordy..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129089
Smaller containment dome being lowered toward spill


Second containment dome



Credit: Deepwater Horizon Response web site

This picture of the second, smaller dome was taken earlier in the week.

by Associated Press

wwltv.com

Posted on May 11, 2010 at 9:34 PM

Updated today at 10:21 PM

ON THE GULF OF MEXICO -- A second, smaller oil containment box was lowered into the sea near the blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico.

The box was being slowly submerged to the seabed Tuesday. But it won't be placed over the spewing well right away. BP spokesman Bill Salvin says engineers want to make sure everything is configured correctly and avoid the same buildup of ice crystals that stymied their first attempt at using a larger box that was about 100 tons.

This box will be connected to a ship on the surface by a pipe-within-a-pipe when it's lowered. Crews plan to pump in heated water and methanol so ice won't build up.

Salvin said undersea robots will position the box over the gusher by Thursday.

More than 4 million gallons of oil have spewed from the well since a drilling rig exploded April 20.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129089
Pat are you still out there.
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819. xcool
Seastep lol heybtwntx08
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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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