Record Atlantic SSTs continue in the hurricane Main Development Region

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:03 PM GMT on May 15, 2010

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Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) in the Atlantic's Main Development Region for hurricanes had their warmest April on record, according to an analysis of historical SST data from the UK Hadley Center. SST data goes back to 1850, though there is much missing data before 1910 and during WWI and WWII. The area between 10°N and 20°N, between the coast of Africa and Central America (20°W - 80°W), is called the Main Development Region (MDR) because virtually all African waves originate in this region. These African waves account for 85% of all Atlantic major hurricanes and 60% of all named storms. When SSTs in the MDR are much above average during hurricane season, a very active season typically results (if there is no El Niño event present.) SSTs in the Main Development Region (10°N to 20°N and 20°W to 85°W) were an eye-opening 1.46°C above average during April. This is the third straight record warm month, and the warmest anomaly measured for any month--by a remarkable 0.2°C. The previous record warmest anomalies for the Atlantic MDR were set in June 2005 and March 2010, at 1.26°C.


Figure 1. The departure of sea surface temperature (SST) from average for May 13, 2010. Image credit: NOAA/NESDIS.

What is responsible for the high SSTs?
As I explained in detail in a post on record February SSTs in the Atlantic, the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and its close cousin, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), are largely to blame for the record SSTs. The AO and NAO are climate patterns in the North Atlantic Ocean related to fluctuations in the difference of sea-level pressure between the Icelandic Low and the Azores-Bermuda High. If the difference in sea-level pressure between Iceland and the Azores is small (negative NAO), this creates a weak Azores-Bermuda High, which reduces the trade winds circulating around the High. During December - February, we had the most negative AO/NAO since records began in 1950, and this caused trade winds between Africa and the Lesser Antilles Islands in the hurricane Main Development Region to slow to 1 - 2 m/s (2.2 - 4.5 mph) below average. Slower trade winds mean less mixing of the surface waters with cooler waters down deep, plus less evaporational cooling of the surface water. As a result, the ocean heated up significantly, relative to normal, over the winter. Negative AO/NAO conditions have been dominant much of this spring as well, resulting in further anomalous heating of the MDR waters. This heating is superimposed on the very warm global SSTs we've been seeing over the past few decades due to global warming. Global and Northern Hemisphere SSTs were the 2nd warmest on record this past December, January, and February, the warmest on record in March, and will likely be classified as the warmest or second warmest on record for April, since NASA just classified April as the warmest April on record for the globe. We are also in the warm phase of a decades-long natural oscillation in Atlantic ocean temperatures called the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO). This warm phase began in 1995, and has been partially responsible for the high levels of hurricane activity we've seen since 1995.

What does this imply for the coming hurricane season?
The high April SST anomaly does not bode well for the coming hurricane season. The three past seasons with record warm April SST anomalies all had abnormally high numbers of intense hurricanes. Past hurricane seasons that had high March SST anomalies include 1969 (0.90°C anomaly), 2005 (1.19°C anomaly), and 1958 (0.97°C anomaly). These three years had 5, 7, and 5 intense hurricanes, respectively. Just two intense hurricanes occur in an average year. The total averaged activity for the three seasons was 15 named storms, 11 hurricanes, and 6 intense hurricanes (an average hurricane season has 10, 6, and 2.) Both 1958 and 2005 saw neutral El Niño conditions, while 1969 had a weak El Niño.

The SSTs are already as warm as we normally see in July between Africa and the Caribbean, and we have a very July-like tropical wave approaching the Lesser Antilles Islands this weekend. However, wind shear is still seasonably high, and the tropical waves coming off of Africa are still too far south to have much of a chance of developing. The GFS model is indicating that shear will start to drop over the Caribbean the last week of May, so we may have to be on the watch for tropical storms forming in the Caribbean then.

For those of you interested in a more detailed look at the early season tropical weather outlook, consult the excellent wunderblogs of StormW and Weather456. I'll be back with a new post on Monday.

Jeff Masters

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619. eddye
i mean africa lol
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618. eddye
where is the wave that just left arica does it look like it will become anything
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Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
616. eddye
everyone go in tropics chat plz
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Quoting backwoodsgurl:
Dr Masters, I realize this is 'way off topic, but could you please review your contracts with the Wunderground advertisers? The John Deere ads and H&R Block ads were horrendous enough, slow to load and exacerbating in content; but now my page loads (according to the little green bar down at the bottom) ALMOST completely (still no weather map pictures)and then sits there, saying 'waiting for arc advertising.com' - this takes longer than a full minute and a half. When your advertising supercedes your intended content, this becomes a problem, and will cause people to say, "The heck with THIS!" and go elsewhere... Please stop the advertisements that are so overloaded that they overwhelm your intended content. Otherwise you become just like the Weather Channel - lots of fluff to wade thru and no real information. Thanks.

While I usually can stand the ads being present, I, too, cannot put up with ads making the page load take forever nor ceasing it completely.

Solution (besides a paid membership): firefox with the add on Ad Block Plus

That add on knows the addresses of the ad servers and disallows loading content from them. Thus, your page load literally is only content specifically not from ad servers. End result is, no ads on page, just a little empty space and any WU page loads in about 1/4th the time.
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614. beell
Quoting tornadodude:



So I'm in a good position in Abilene then?


That's a good question, t'dude. The area SW of Abilene has been active for 2-3 days. Usually a combination of the stalled boundary intersecting with an outflow boundary. The old cold front boundary is getting pretty weak/difuse but it's possible. But there may be a little bit of a ridge building into the area that may put a damper on deeper convection.

I see you have the Day 1 posted. Both areas mentioned. If you're on a budget, it might pay to wait and see if the Big Bend activity leaves a boundary or two for later this afternoon. Like you said earlier. The whole thing is marginal.

Good Luck and be safe!

WHILE FLOW IN MOST AREAS WILL REMAIN FAIRLY WEAK...A 30-40 KT WLY
MID LVL JET WILL PERSIST TODAY OVER OK AND N TX ON SRN SIDE OF
SLOWLY-PROGRESSIVE CNTRL PLNS UPR LOW. THIS FEATURE WILL BE
ACCOMPANIED BY SEASONABLY COOL MID LVL TEMPS /AROUND MINUS 15 C AT
500 MB/. COUPLED WITH PWS OF 1.00-1.25 INCHES AND MODERATE TO
STRONG SFC HEATING...SETUP SHOULD FOSTER THE DEVELOPMENT NUMEROUS
DIURNALLY-ENHANCED STORMS ALONG AND S OF AFOREMENTIONED FRONT


FARTHER S...OTHER
STORMS...INCLUDING SUPERCELLS...MAY REDEVELOP/EVOLVE FROM ONGOING
CLUSTER NOW NEAR THE TX BIG BEND. AVAILABILITY OF RICH MOISTURE IN
THIS REGION MAY COMPENSATE FOR MORE LIMITED DEEP SHEAR TO YIELD A
THREAT FOR LARGE HAIL AND POSSIBLY A TORNADO
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Screenshot
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THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NEW ORLEANS HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
NORTH CENTRAL JEFFERSON PARISH IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA...
THIS INCLUDES THE CITIES OF...TIMBERLANE...MARRERO...HARVEY...
SOUTHERN ORLEANS PARISH IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA...
THIS INCLUDES THE CITIES OF...NEW ORLEANS...EAST NEW ORLEANS...
EXTREME NORTHWESTERN PLAQUEMINES PARISH IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA...
THIS INCLUDES THE CITY OF BELLE CHASSE...
WEST CENTRAL ST. BERNARD PARISH IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA...
THIS INCLUDES THE CITY OF CHALMETTE...

* UNTIL 930 AM CDT

* AT 854 AM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO NEAR HARVEY...
MOVING NORTHEAST AT 15 MPH.

Heads up, Patrap, JFLORIDA, and a few more WU NOLA inhabitants!
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Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Weather456:


In the first image lets look at a couple of things.

First, no closed isobars and second, weak vorticity - broad area of low pressure. But how do I know? Well closed isobars indicate closed circulations or closed lows. Vorticity is greater when a system circulation is smaller and weaker when its broad like an ice skater pulling in her hands and spinning faster.

Second image....vorticity covers a large area across the SW Caribbean and has multiple vort maxs. There is closed isobars here but the outermost isobar indicates a broad area of low pressure.
Oh I see what you're saying.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Dr Masters, I realize this is 'way off topic, but could you please review your contracts with the Wunderground advertisers? The John Deere ads and H&R Block ads were horrendous enough, slow to load and exacerbating in content; but now my page loads (according to the little green bar down at the bottom) ALMOST completely (still no weather map pictures)and then sits there, saying 'waiting for arc advertising.com' - this takes longer than a full minute and a half. When your advertising supercedes your intended content, this becomes a problem, and will cause people to say, "The heck with THIS!" and go elsewhere... Please stop the advertisements that are so overloaded that they overwhelm your intended content. Otherwise you become just like the Weather Channel - lots of fluff to wade thru and no real information. Thanks.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
ECMWF 00z 144 Hours


NOGAPS 00z 180 Hours


*And the GFS you know develops it, and the CMC develops it in the EPAC, as you posted in your blog.


In the first image lets look at a couple of things.

First, no closed isobars and second, weak vorticity - broad area of low pressure. But how do I know? Well closed isobars indicate closed circulations or closed lows. Vorticity is greater when a system circulation is smaller and tighter as you would see with a TD or TS, and weaker when its broad as in a disturbance - like an ice skater pulling in her hands and spinning faster.

Second image....vorticity covers a large area across the SW Caribbean and has multiple vort maxs. There is closed isobars here but the outermost isobar indicates a broad area of low pressure.
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456 did you see the models?
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
GFS 06z 180 Hour shows 1006 MB system in the SW Caribbean.

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On the underwater plumes....

If anybody hasn't noticed yet this whole operation, starting with the drilling, has been a complete and total farce of complete incompetance (or worse).

Of course the only impact of dispersents injected underwater would be to add considerably to the toxicity of the underwater system.

Oil seeps occur naturally and the best thing is to let it come to surface where 1/3 would at least evaporate, including the nastiest stuff, the VOCs.
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Quoting Weather456:


Only the GFS is showing development. What the other models show with a single closed isobar and a "L" is a broad area of low pressure.
ECMWF 00z 144 Hours


NOGAPS 00z 180 Hours


*And the GFS you know develops it, and the CMC develops it in the EPAC, as you posted in your blog.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194



SPC AC 161252

DAY 1 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0752 AM CDT SUN MAY 16 2010

VALID 161300Z - 171200Z

...THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS OVER PARTS OF THE S CNTRL
U.S....

...SYNOPSIS...
BROAD...LOOSELY-ORGANIZED TROUGH WILL CONTINUE E ACROSS THE CNTRL
STATES THIS PERIOD AS UPSTREAM FULL-LATITUDE TROUGH OVER THE E
PACIFIC FURTHER AMPLIFIES AND ASSUMES A NEGATIVE TILT OFF THE W CST
EARLY MON. FEATURES WILL REMAIN WEAK AT THE SFC. A WEAK SFC LOW
WILL MOVE ENE FROM WRN TN TO THE SRN APPALACHIANS THROUGH THE
PERIOD...WHILE A DIFFUSE FRONT PERSISTS IN ITS WAKE FROM NRN AR W/NW
TO THE SRN/CNTRL HI PLNS.

...SRN PLNS INTO SRN OZARKS/ARKLATEX...
WHILE FLOW IN MOST AREAS WILL REMAIN FAIRLY WEAK...A 30-40 KT WLY
MID LVL JET WILL PERSIST TODAY OVER OK AND N TX ON SRN SIDE OF
SLOWLY-PROGRESSIVE CNTRL PLNS UPR LOW. THIS FEATURE WILL BE
ACCOMPANIED BY SEASONABLY COOL MID LVL TEMPS /AROUND MINUS 15 C AT
500 MB/. COUPLED WITH PWS OF 1.00-1.25 INCHES AND MODERATE TO
STRONG SFC HEATING...SETUP SHOULD FOSTER THE DEVELOPMENT NUMEROUS
DIURNALLY-ENHANCED STORMS ALONG AND S OF AFOREMENTIONED FRONT.
SATELLITE LOOP SUGGESTS THAT DEEP FLOW OVER REGION REMAIN CYCLONIC
NATURE THROUGH THE DAY AS ADDITIONAL SMALLER SCALE DISTURBANCES
AMPLIFY ESEWD FROM THE CNTRL/CNTRL RCKYS. WEAK LOW LVL FLOW
SURMOUNTED BY LARGELY UNIDIRECTIONAL FLOW ALOFT SHOULD SUPPORT
SUSTAINED MULTICELL CLUSTERS AND PERHAPS A FEW MARGINAL
SUPERCELLS...WITH A VERY GOOD CHANCE FOR HAIL. FARTHER S...OTHER
STORMS...INCLUDING SUPERCELLS...MAY REDEVELOP/EVOLVE FROM ONGOING
CLUSTER NOW NEAR THE TX BIG BEND. AVAILABILITY OF RICH MOISTURE IN
THIS REGION MAY COMPENSATE FOR MORE LIMITED DEEP SHEAR TO YIELD A
THREAT FOR LARGE HAIL AND POSSIBLY A TORNADO. THE SVR THREAT
THROUGHOUT THE S CNTRL STATES SHOULD DIMINISH ...THOUGH NOT ENTIRELY
VANISH...WITH SUNSET.

...SERN STATES...
OTHER STRONG STORMS SHOULD FROM WITH DAYTIME HEATING ALONG/S OF THE
RESIDUAL FRONTAL ZONE/SFC LOW OVER REGION. MODEST DEEP SHEAR AND
MOIST ENVIRONMENT MAY SUPPORT UPSCALE DEVELOPMENT INTO BANDS/SMALL
CLUSTERS WITH LOCALLY DMGG WIND/MARGINALLY SVR HAIL.

...ORE/SRN WA...
SUBSTANTIAL HEIGHT FALLS WILL OVERSPREAD THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST LATER
TODAY/TONIGHT AS MULTIPLE MID LVL IMPULSES CROSS REGION AHEAD OF
AMPLIFYING OFFSHORE TROUGH. SUFFICIENT MOISTURE/ INSTABILITY AND
MODERATELY STRONG/LARGELY UNIDIRECTIONAL SSW WIND FIELD MAY YIELD
SOME STRONG/SVR TSTMS WITH HAIL/GUSTY WINDS THROUGH EARLY EVE OVER W
CNTRL ORE AND POSSIBLY SRN WA.

..CORFIDI/JEWELL.. 05/16/2010


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I can understand the outrage at potential coverup of subsurface oil, but I think pple are forgetting that in many ways this oil leak is unprecedented. I wouldn't jump to accuse the government of a coverup just yet (though I wouldn't put it past BP) mainly because even the most experienced gov't officials have never had to deal with this situation before. Some of these developments are likely to be as surprising to them as they are to us. Even the oil "experts" are likely finding some unexpected difficulties here.

To me this means that journalists and the wider public need to be ever more vigilant about monitoring what happens with the leak. If ever there IS a potential for cover-up, it's definitely here, where "new" things are happening and pple don't automatically know what to expect.....
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
GFS, CMC, ECMWF, and NOGAPS are developing the wave east of Trinidad in the SW Caribbean. So we definitely got model support.


Only the GFS is showing development. What the other models show with a single closed isobar and a "L" is a broad area of low pressure.
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Quoting Weather456:
BTW, what ever happened to futuremet?


He moved from Key West to Port St. Lucie a while back and became kinna scarce. He popped in last week if memory serves.. I like the lad and feel he has potential in the weather forecast arena.
Member Since: September 23, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 2565
GFS, CMC, ECMWF, and NOGAPS are developing the wave east of Trinidad in the SW Caribbean. So we definitely got model support.
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Hurricane Wilma in the Caribbean 2005

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597. eddye
peoplelets go to tropics chat and talk
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Dont know if this has been posted yet but here's a bit of morning outrage for all...
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/16/us/16oil.html?hp
"Giant Plumes of Oil Found Forming Under Gulf of Mexico"
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ECMWF 00z 144 Hours shows an area of low pressure (1008 MB) in the Southwest Caribbean. Very interesting....

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting beell:
Today's activity will probably occur along the stalled frontal boundary that has been draped across W TX up towards AR.

And probably associated with a bit of a speed max at 500mb from a weak mid level shortwave that is over the TX panhandle and nosing into western OK (on water vapor loop). Activity would favor the southern edge of this feature as it moves east/ENE. Probably responsible for the current convection near the Big Bend area of TX.

So, put that together with the boundary and we might see some storms form up near the ARLATX this afternoon.







So I'm in a good position in Abilene then?
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Quoting Weather456:
BTW, what ever happened to futuremet?

He's been in here just a little lately. Prolly just still on break...

*Pretty sure I saw him in here for a post or 2 a couple of weeks back*
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Quoting Weather456:
BTW, what ever happened to futuremet?
Haven't seen him in the blog recently... last time was not too long after the Port-au-Prince earthquake. He's prolly bogged down in school related stuff - for some reason I'm thinking this is the "apply to college" year....
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Quoting Weather456:
BTW, what ever happened to futuremet?
Gone I guess.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
GOMEX really going to warm, model has verified very well so far, btw.

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BTW, what ever happened to futuremet?
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I have updated my blog with a brief overview of the AOI east of South America. Feel free to comment on your opinions. I will have a more in-depth blog post on the wave later today or tomorrow. Hurricane Season Blog #2: South America AOI
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
587. beell
Today's activity will probably occur along the stalled frontal boundary that has been draped across W TX up towards AR.

And probably associated with a bit of a speed max at 500mb from a weak mid level shortwave that is over the TX panhandle and nosing into western OK (on water vapor loop). Activity would favor the southern edge of this feature as it moves east/ENE. Probably responsible for the current convection near the Big Bend area of TX.

So, put that together with the boundary and we might see some storms form up near the ARLATX this afternoon.




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A tale/read you might find interesting.

The 1502 Hurricane of the Dominican Republic: Columbus’ Hurricane
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Quoting taco2me61:


Yea I went last year, a week earlier and did not even see a thunder cloud. I came back home just in time to see the 'NonTropical Storm"
come across Dauphin Island AL....

Taco :o)


dang, well Ive already driven through a couple storms on my way here, good sign hopefully
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Quoting tornadodude:


Oh ok, I drove through the Joplin area yesterday, I have family just north of Springfield


Yea I went last year, a week earlier and did not even see a thunder cloud. I came back home just in time to see the 'NonTropical Storm"
come across Dauphin Island AL....

Taco :o)
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 3261
Morning all.

Still partly cloudy here, but so far no actual rain. I'm sure that'll change before the week is out. Meanwhile I'm enjoying the last of the high-induced tropical breezes before the summer humidity sets in....

Still watching that Twave near Guyana prove that conditions are not yet conducive to TC development.... maybe next weekend (and I'm thinking maybe a td at most).

I'll be in and out today.... got some work related computer work to do, but have to get that done before I can lounge around the blog.

L8r......
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582. JRRP

see you later
aqui hay elecciones... y es la primera ves que voy a votar
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Quoting taco2me61:


I'm in Mobile AL right now I have to work this week.
My Vacation will start on Saturday and will be there
Saturday night to see my Mom.
Then on Monday the 25th the chase will be on...

Taco :o)


Oh ok, I drove through the Joplin area yesterday, I have family just north of Springfield
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Quoting RTLSNK:


Can't help you with the forecast, but after watching the near accident that OZ almost had on the highway the other day, I think you chase guys need to get yourselves a bigger chase vehicle. I found one for you, but you may need to reconfigure the front end design a little. :)


haha thats awesome!
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Quoting tornadodude:


where are you now?


I'm in Mobile AL right now I have to work this week.
My Vacation will start on Saturday and will be there
Saturday night to see my Mom.
Then on Monday the 25th the chase will be on...

Taco :o)
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 3261
578. JRRP
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Good Morning all!

Yes that 1006 MB low in the southwest Caribbean is the wave to the east of Trinidad and Tobago. The 00z CMC shows the same solution. I think that it will develop to possibly a TD once it gets to the SW Caribbean but a band of high shear lies to the north of it, so not too much development there.

yea

Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5986
Quoting tornadodude:
good morning all

I made it to Abilene, Texas yesterday. Hoping to chase a little today, not a great chance of storms, but should be fun.


any thought on the severe potential around wednesday?


Can't help you with the forecast, but after watching the near accident that OZ almost had on the highway the other day, I think you chase guys need to get yourselves a bigger chase vehicle. I found one for you, but you may need to reconfigure the front end design a little. :)
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Quoting taco2me61:
I'll be up that way on May 25th and hope to chase some that week.
I will be starting around Joplin MO and work
my way around then..... I do hope I get to
see some storms too....

Taco :o)


where are you now?
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I'll be up that way on May 25th and hope to chase some that week.
I will be starting around Joplin MO and work
my way around then..... I do hope I get to
see some storms too....

Taco :o)
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 3261
Quoting beell:


Wednesday is modeled as a typical lee-trough system over the southern plains. A surface low near SW KS and a dryline extending S along the western OK border.

Looks good except the mid-level part of the system appears on the weak side per the models and the SPC. 30 knots bulk shear/LLJ on the order of 25-30 knots also. Still should see a storm or two worth chasing.


I should be in position to chase in that area, thanks!
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Quoting pottery:

Yep! I truly expect the storm to come, sometime before December. LOL


You are so Funny LMBO@ you

Taco :o)
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 3261
572. beell
Quoting tornadodude:
good morning all

I made it to Abilene, Texas yesterday. Hoping to chase a little today, not a great chance of storms, but should be fun.


any thought on the severe potential around wednesday?


Wednesday is modeled as a typical lee-trough system over the southern plains. A surface low near SW KS and a dryline extending S along the western OK border.

Looks good except the mid-level part of the system appears on the weak side per the models and the SPC. 30 knots bulk shear/LLJ on the order of 25-30 knots also. Still should see a storm or two worth chasing.
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Its a classic case of how much time the system has before moving into CA.
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Quoting taco2me61:
Good Morning Everyone,
Pottery you having the calm before the storm this morning?

Taco :o)

Yep! I truly expect the storm to come, sometime before December. LOL
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24399
Good Morning Everyone,
Pottery you having the calm before the storm this morning?

Taco :o)
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 3261

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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.