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 Bordonaro:

Storms are firing up along a low level jet streak.


the (outflow?) boundary is so linear, it looks like it extends from Pittsburgh all the way back to north of OK city,
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I am an active reader of this blog. I have been reading it for the last few years. I listen a lot and don't say too much. Many of the posts I take great amounts of info from. Without getting too technical since there are so many who are doing an excellent job explaining, there is simply too much pent up heat in the atmosphere for something not to happen. Here in Barbados where I live, old folks are saying this hurricane season will be bad as they don't remember the heat being this oppressive... Heat imo = ENERGY which the atmosphere HAS to use. Thing is we've largely been spared since Janet in 1955, so we are OVERDUE for a big one. I remember in 2004 I thought for sure Ivan was the one. It was the only storm I actually told my fam we needed to prepare for since Marilyn in 1995. We largely missed Ivan at the last minute which I was thankful for although I was sad for Grenada. This year is looking relatively ominous for all involved. Wisdom should be the principle thing, in other words, sleep with one eye open.
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Quoting pottery:

What do you know about this 'Step' fellow. Has he been checked out? Can he be trusted? Or do we hang around here all night while he is out having fun?


Sorry, had to step away from Hal for a few minutes to load some tupperware full of chili.

Will read back for info on the whale.
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Quoting Patrap:
Maybe Spock can mind meld with the Whale...?

Find out the real scoop on How he got there.


I saw him do it in a Zoo once.

It's all too much for my head right now.
Have a good evening.......I am out.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24467




Murphy oil spill (Chalmette, Louisiana)


According to US Coast Guard there were about 44 oil spills in the area affected by Hurricane Katrina. Most of these occurred in areas of Plaquemines Parish which do not have large populations. The exception is the Murphy Oil Spill which hit residential areas of Chalmette, Louisiana and Meraux, Louisiana.
The rupture in the tank can clearly be seen in this EPA photograph.



On August 30, 2005, the storm surge from Hurricane Katrina caused massive failure along the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet levee and inundated St. Bernard Parish 4 to 14 feet (4.3 m) of water. Murphy Oil refinery was under 6-18 feet of water. A 250,000-barrel (40,000 m3) above ground storage tank was dislodged, lifted and damaged in flooding associated. The tank contained 65,000 barrels (10,300 m3) of mixed crude oil, and released approximately 25,110 barrels (1,050,000 gallons). The pressure from the flood waters kept the water inside of the tank until the waters had receded to about 4 feet (1.2 m), five days after the storm had passed. As the oil released it flowed along with the flood waters from east to west. The released oil impacted approximately 1700 homes in an adjacent residential neighborhoods of Chalmette; an area of about one square mile. Several canals have also been impacted: the 20 Arpent Canal; the 40 Arpent Canal; the Meraux Canal; the Corinne Canal; the DeLaRonde Canal; and, various unnamed interceptor canals. [1]
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128875
Maybe Spock can mind meld with the Whale...?

Find out the real scoop on How he got there.


I saw him do it in a Zoo once.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128875
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
what happens when you mix oil with surge

A huge disaster!!
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Quoting pottery:
Wow. Did not hear that one.
It's strange, I never think of Israel as having a coastline when it certainly does. A mental blockage on my part.
Hadn't heard about it either, until I did a google search for "whale"..amazing what you can find out there on that internet thingy.
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Quoting snotly:



Is that an inverted warm front rope cloud (if there is such a thing) extending from Evansville to Springfield?

Storms are firing up along a low level jet streak.
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Quoting BrowardJeff:
More likely the gray whale near Israel...first one outside the Pacific since the 18th century, apparently.
They think it swam through the ice-free northwest passage.

You serious? Then into the Med?
Any aquaria there missing a whale, by chance?
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24467
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:



Is that an inverted warm front rope cloud (if there is such a thing) extending from Evansville to Springfield?
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Quoting RTLSNK:


Thank you, thank you, thank you very much. :)

I also liked Atmo's "embraced delirium",
and your "A muddle is a moddle that is not sure of itself", but two uddles and two oodles were too good to pass up! :)
or give up
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Quoting BrowardJeff:
More likely the gray whale near Israel...first one outside the Pacific since the 18th century, apparently.
Wow. Did not hear that one.
It's strange, I never think of Israel as having a coastline when it certainly does. A mental blockage on my part.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24467
Quoting CycloneBoz:
XtremeHurricanes.com Test Update:

This afternoon, a full-scale communications test was conducted. A couple of weeks ago, I got hit in the face by a 2x4, which required me to adjust not only my survival gear, but our communications.

I bought a new helmet and equipped it with two bluetooth devices. One device connects directly to the live hurricane webcam. The other connects to my cell phone and other team members on the ground with me as a hurricane makes landfall.

The following embedded video is the test that was conducted today...



We've also tested our new HD camera equipment. The video below is an extreme test of the two new cameras...



Finally, three weeks ago, Amy and I chased the 1st tornado outbreak that generated the long-track killer tornado in Mississippi. This was a test of the live webcam that was conducted over the course of our Friday evening chase...



That's all for now. Our equipment tests are completed and everything is functioning well.

Stay tuned for our 1st chase of the season...

Hey Oz, nice set-up. A few things, I am sure you considered these things.

1) Cell towers, whether on top of a building, or on a stand-alone tower will probably fail in winds >90 MPH. So consider a satellite phone for communications. Also, I am not sure how reliable of a transmission you will get at 150+ MPH. Winds over 115MPH roar, just like a jet engine, I seen it myself live and in person. How are you going to be able to hear in a 150 MPH storm?

2) I understand you were hit by a 2 x 4, to test the helmet. If a 2 x 4 hits you at 150+ MPH, I don't need to elaborate on what will happen. You need to figure out how to construct a light-weight collar/brace to protect your neck and head. Something in a light-weight, high strength material, that connects securely to your chest and back protector.

Andrew in 1992 pushed a piece of plywood through the center of a mature Palm tree trunk. I know you're a professional, I know you do your best to provide an awesome service to people. I know how much you enjoy your career. You have to find a light-weight composite material suit to protect you.

All I have to say is PLEASE be careful. I/we do NOT want anything bad to happen.
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Eh, this too much of a model for me... g nite...
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Maybe about the grey whale in the Cali harbor, now back out at sea... ?
Or maybe the gray whale near Israel...first one outside the Pacific since the 18th century, apparently.
They think it swam through the ice-free northwest passage.
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Quoting Patrap:
aquaman and the Narwhale are going to replace the BOP at depth.

The just signed a deal with Deep Horizon and BP.

Should be a whale of a story..


Looking forward to the endless reruns LOL
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24467
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Quoting RTLSNK:


Thank you, thank you, thank you very much. :)

I also liked Atmo's "embraced delirium",
and your "A muddle is a moddle that is not sure of itself", but two uddles and two oodles were too good to pass up! :)

What do you know about this 'Step' fellow. Has he been checked out? Can he be trusted? Or do we hang around here all night while he is out having fun?
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24467
Aquaman and the Narwhale are going to replace the BOP at depth.

They just signed a deal with Deep Horizon and BP.

Should be a whale of a story..

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128875
Maybe about the grey whale in the Cali harbor, now back out at sea... ?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I think that Step has gone and left us in the lurch.
What could he have meant?
Was it a code of some kind?
Now, I will never be able to sleep..
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24467
Quoting pottery:
727, BRAVO, Sir.


Thank you, thank you, thank you very much. :)

I also liked Atmo's "embraced delirium",
and your "A muddle is a moddle that is not sure of itself", but two uddles and two oodles were too good to pass up! :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pottery:
Well, I was going to leave, and then..."has the whale been discussed?"
What is that?
what do we have a whale
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


popups maybe more
se kan west ward
east oak panhandle


Them storms is gonna pop a cap.
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On the edge of my cyber-seat in breathless anticipation...
C'mon Step, don't leave us hangin like this!
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Quoting pottery:
Sounds Good, Boz.
I am out. See you all in the pouring rain tomorrow. With any luck...
are you asking for rain again

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Hey pottery. it's been dry here too. Typical wx if alittle on the cool side.....
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Quoting Seastep:
Good evening.

Have not read back, but a few and love the seal. Good folks on.

Has the whale been discussed? I'll read back if so...


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Hi Step!
Quoting Seastep:
Good evening.

Have not read back, but a few and love the seal. Good folks on.

Has the whale been discussed? I'll read back if so...
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Quoting txjac:
looks like we're safe HouGalv08
With regard to post #709, does that mean I can stop building the new storm shutters for the new house, based on their assessment? NOT!
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Well, I was going to leave, and then..."has the whale been discussed?"
What is that?
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24467
Sounds Good, Boz.
I am out. See you all in the pouring rain tomorrow. With any luck...
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24467
Good evening.

Have not read back, but a few and love the seal. Good folks on.

Has the whale been discussed? I'll read back if so...
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
what happens when you mix oil with surge

Sounds Dread. Hope you never see it.
'Nite Aqua.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24467
XtremeHurricanes.com Test Update:

This afternoon, a full-scale communications test was conducted. A couple of weeks ago, I got hit in the face by a 2x4, which required me to adjust not only my survival gear, but our communications.

I bought a new helmet and equipped it with two bluetooth devices. One device connects directly to the live hurricane webcam. The other connects to my cell phone and other team members on the ground with me as a hurricane makes landfall.

The following embedded video is the test that was conducted today...



We've also tested our new HD camera equipment. The video below is an extreme test of the two new cameras...



Finally, three weeks ago, Amy and I chased the 1st tornado outbreak that generated the long-track killer tornado in Mississippi. This was a test of the live webcam that was conducted over the course of our Friday evening chase...



That's all for now. Our equipment tests are completed and everything is functioning well.

Stay tuned for our 1st chase of the season...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
nite friend
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727, BRAVO, Sir.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24467
bwaahahaha- and I even kept it weather-related, RTLSNK!!!

♥ to all of ya
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


popups maybe more se kan west ward
And I think I see that warm air intrusion you spoke of yesterday.....I just tried too imagine how some of those people are feeling right now.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21507
Quoting pottery:
"slurge" ??
nice word. wot it means?
what happens when you mix oil with surge
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slurge? It's an oil-based storm surge, uhm...like sludge and surge combined.

Ya'll have a good evening...the double-stuff oreos are calling my name...
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Quoting aquak9:
WTH is a muddle? I like puddles. I LOVE puddles. I like poodles, too. And Ramen noodles.

And noodles is what I'm gonna hafta deal with this Season™, heh heh heh....


One very seldom gets a chance to use muddles, puddles, poodles, and noodles at the same time. That gets the Word Smith Seal of Approval today! :)
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"slurge" ??
nice word. wot it means?
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24467
"...or have embraced delirium.."
I love it. And will henceforth follow that dictum.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24467
ok, I get it. A muddle is like when a model trips and falls on the catwalk.

I'll add muddle into the new word file with slurge.

thanks, atmo and sir pottery! :)
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popups maybe more
se kan west ward
east oak panhandle
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Quoting aquak9:
WTH is a muddle? I like puddles. I LOVE puddles. I like poodles, too. And Ramen noodles.

And noodles is what I'm gonna hafta deal with this Season™, heh heh heh....

A muddle is a moddle that is not sure of itself. Low esteem and stuff...
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24467
Quoting aquak9:
WTH is a muddle? I like puddles. I LOVE puddles. I like poodles, too. And Ramen noodles.

And noodles is what I'm gonna hafta deal with this Season™, heh heh heh....

Wow, you're in rare form. Seems you had a good day...or have embraced delirium...(j/k)

And, yeah, we could call the spaghetti plots "noodles" if you like.
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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.