El Niño is done; Haiti at risk of heavy rains next week; oil spill update

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:09 PM GMT on May 19, 2010

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El Niño rapidly weakened during late April and early May, with sea surface temperatures over the tropical Eastern Pacific in the area 5°N - 5°S, 120°W - 170°W, also called the "Niña 3.4 region", falling a significant 0.65°C in just one month. Temperatures in the region are now in the "neutral" range, just 0.18°C above average, and well below the 0.5°C threshold to be considered an El Niño, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. The speed of the collapse of El Niño makes it likely that a La Niña event is on its way this summer. This is what happened during the last strong El Niño event, in 1998--El Niño collapsed dramatically in May, and a strong La Niña event developed by hurricane season. Six of the sixteen El Niño models (updated as of April 15) are predicting La Niña conditions for hurricane season, and I expect more models will jump on the La Niña bandwagon when the May data updates later this week. The demise of El Niño, coupled with sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic that are currently at record levels, have prompted two major hurricane forecasting groups (tropicalstormrisk.com and Colorado State University) to predict a significantly above average 2010 Atlantic hurricane season. Over the full 160-year period we have records of Atlantic hurricanes, La Niña years have typically had more hurricanes, and more strong hurricanes, compared to neutral years. However, since 1995, there hasn't been any difference between neutral and La Niña years in terms of hurricane activity. La Niña conditions typically cause cool and wet conditions over the Caribbean in summer, but do not have much of an impact on U.S. temperatures or precipitation.


Figure 1. Oil spill edge over the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, May 19, as seen from NASA's M ODIS instrument. Note that a band of cumulus clouds formed along the edge of the oil spill. I theorize this is because the low level wind flow out of the southeast moves faster over the oil, since the oil suppresses wave action. As the winds cross the spill boundary into rougher, clean water, they slow down, forcing the air to pile up and create updrafts that then spawn cumulus clouds. See my post on what oil might do to a hurricane for more information on how oil reduces wave action.

Oil spill update
Clouds over the Gulf of Mexico have again foiled satellite imaging of the extent of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, though through breaks in the clouds it appears that a significant amount of the oil that was pulled southwards towards the Loop Current is now caught in a counter-clockwise rotating eddy just to the north of the Loop Current. However, some oil has escaped this eddy and is on its way south towards the Florida Keys. According to the latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA, the tongue of oil flowing southwards has at most "light" concentrations. The oil will grow more dilute as it travels the 500 miles to the Florida Keys. My present expectation is that the oil entering the Loop Current this week will cause only minor problems in the Keys next week. However, there is a lot of uncertainty about what the oil may do to the fragile Keys ecosystem. See my post yesterday for answers to many of the common questions I get about the spill.

Oil spill resources
My post on the Southwest Florida "Forbidden Zone" where surface oil will rarely go
My post on what oil might do to a hurricane
NOAA trajectory forecasts
Deepwater Horizon Unified Command web site
Oil Spill Academic Task Force
University of South Florida Ocean Circulation Group oil spill forecasts
ROFFS Deepwater Horizon page
Surface current forecasts from NOAA's HYCOM model
HYCOM ocean current forecasts from LSU


Figure 2. Precipitation forecast from today's 8am EDT run of the NAVY NOGAPS model, valid 7 days from now. Precipitation amounts in excess of 70 mm (2.8") in 12 hours are predicted over Haiti, due to a tropical disturbance in the Western Caribbean. Image credit: U.S. Navy.

Potential serious rainfall threat to Haiti next week
Long-range forecasts from the GFS and NOGAPS models over the past few days have consistently been predicting an increase in moisture and decrease in wind shear over the Western Caribbean 5 - 7 days from now, and I expect that a tropical disturbance with heavy rains will develop in the Western Caribbean early next week. A strong subtropical jet stream over the southern Gulf of Mexico will steer the disturbance to the north and east, and the NOGAPS model shows heavy rains in excess of six inches impacting Haiti Wednesday through Thursday of next week. Rains of this magnitude are capable of causing a serious emergency with high loss of life in earthquake-shattered Haiti, and all interests in that nation should closely monitor the situation over the coming week. It is too early to speculate on the possibility of the disturbance becoming a tropical depression. The wunderblogs of StormW and Weather456, who are now featured bloggers for the coming hurricane season, have more information on this potential development, plus the possible development of a subtropical storm between Florida and Bermuda next week.

Major severe weather outbreak over Oklahoma expected tonight
NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has put much of Oklahoma in its High Risk region for severe weather today, warning that "The setup appears most favorable for large, relatively slow moving intense storms with large hail. A couple strong tornadoes also may occur."

I'll be back with a new post Thursday morning.

Jeff Masters

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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128667
Quoting WaterWitch11:


can anyone say 100% for sure that they are not from the bp oil spill?
thanks for posting

Tar Balls are the remains of oil (to put it simply)
Tar does not come from oilwells. The balls are formed when the volatile fluids in the oil evaporate out, or are taken out . What remains is a more solid consistency, not even looking like oil.
It is still dread stuff.
But the transition from oil to tar takes a long time in water.
So I would say that these are not from the sunk well. Although they may very well be from that area.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24390
WW post 356

I read that it was conclusive that it was not from DeepHorizon.. I guess they typed it.. checked it's greasy lil' DNA
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
we even get them in lake ontario pottery maybe they will blame it on the gom as well over the loop up thre coast down the river valley into the lake all in three days

honestly i think its leaking oil from passing ships in the lake

No body of water, anywhere, is immune to garbage as long as it is used for anything- recreation, trade, mining, drilling, shipping you name it.
We get tar on our beaches here from time to time, and although we have platforms off the East coast the currents would not bring tar ashore.
Incidentally, tar is subjected to movement by currents, very little so by wind.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24390
KOG and Patrap, OK is getting SLAMMED by one tornado, after another, after another.

They are not long-track tornadoes, but who knows, they are all rain-wrapped!! They keep forming, roping out, then form a new one. Some of them where in the EF-2 plus range. So far, no major damage. Stillwater, OK had a 1/4 mile wide tornado move through the north side of town!

New Tornado warning SE Oklahoma CO, appears it will miss OKC!!

KFOR is on Live Stream:

Link
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Quoting jazzygal:


http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/05/19/gulf.oil.spill.main/index.html?hpt=T1

The story is about: Tar balls in keys not from BP


can anyone say 100% for sure that they are not from the bp oil spill?
thanks for posting
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353 OK
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24390
Quoting Levi32:


Massive amounts of dry air entrainment from the Arabian Peninsula to the north and Somalia to the south as the system travels up the Red Sea.

Good point thanks.
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upper level ne flow shearing it as it trys to advance west just like the wave before it is having the same problem but sooner i will post an updated nw atl wv image in a minute an you can see it clearly
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The wave in the Atlantic. Boy, is that a Biggy or what! I am beginning to keep a closer eye on it, because if it continues to look like that in a couple of days, I am gonna start worrying about it, rain-wise. Could have some gusting winds too.
You think it will stay south of 10N?
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24390
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Quoting DestinJeff:
Oz, do you have your computer speakers on? I think you are getting bad echo from that


Any oil on the beaches down there?
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348. xcool
MiamiHurricanes09 kool
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Quoting pottery:
TarBall Fixation Syndrome.
we even get them in lake ontario pottery maybe they will blame it on the gom as well over the loop up thre coast down the river valley into the lake all in three days

honestly i think its leaking oil from passing ships in the lake
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Quoting xcool:
MiamiHurricanes09 i post .
I posted that article yesterday. This newer one gives more info.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
is that you stormtop the one and only hows the tropical forecast office setup coming this season are ya still in the basement or what

I thought he was promoted to the outhouse?
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24390
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128667
Statement as of 6:30 PM CDT on May 19, 2010

The National Weather Service in Norman has issued a

* Severe Thunderstorm Warning for...



northeastern Cleveland County in central Oklahoma...
southern Lincoln County in central Oklahoma...
southeastern Oklahoma County in central Oklahoma...
northern Pottawatomie County in central Oklahoma...

* until 730 PM CDT

* at 629 PM CDT... National Weather Service radar indicated a severe
thunderstorm 11 miles southwest of Newalla... moving northeast at 30
mph. Other severe storms were forming over Norman and Chickasha.

Hazards in the warning include...
hail up to the size of quarters...
wind gusts to 60 mph...

* locations in the warning include Aydelotte... Chandler... Choctaw...
Dale... Forest Park... Harrah... Johnson... Jones... Lake aluma...
McLoud... Meeker... Midwest City... Newalla... Nicoma Park... Prague...
southeastern Oklahoma City... Sparks... Spencer and Warwick.

This includes Interstate 40 between mile markers 162 and 190.

This includes Interstate 44 between mile markers 152 and 169.

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

Severe thunderstorms can produce tornadoes with no advance warning.
Move immediately to a storm shelter... basement or sturdy building if
a tornado is sighted.


Lat... Lon 3530 9710 3551 9752 3575 9688 3556 9660
3547 9661
time... Mot... loc 2329z 247deg 24kt 3531 9729
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128667
Quoting StormTop5000:
The Atlantic is a record warmth for this time of year...
is that you stormtop the one and only hows the tropical forecast office setup coming this season are ya still in the basement or what
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TarBall Fixation Syndrome.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24390
Quoting WaterWitch11:
can someone post the link to the cnn.com story with dr masters i can't find it - thanks


http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/05/19/gulf.oil.spill.main/index.html?hpt=T1

The story is about: Tar balls in keys not from BP
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Tornado Warning

Statement as of 6:46 PM CDT on May 19, 2010

... A Tornado Warning remains in effect until 700 PM CDT for eastern
Kingfisher and western Logan counties...

At 646 PM CDT... a thunderstorm with a history of producing tornadoes
and damage was located near Cimarron City... moving east at 30 mph. A
funnel cloud is being reported with this storm. This storm will move
into Guthrie and people in Guthrie need to take shelter now! Hail
the size of tennis balls has also been reported near Cimarron City.

* Locations in the warning include Cedar Valley... Cimarron City...
Crescent... Guthrie... Lovell... Mulhall... Navina... Orlando and
Seward.

This includes Interstate 35 between mile markers 149 and 163.

Lat... Lon 3616 9735 3574 9737 3585 9783 3613 9779
time... Mot... loc 2346z 280deg 26kt 3590 9753



..speg.


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128667
337. xcool
MiamiHurricanes09 i post .
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NOAA numbers to be released on May 27th.

Conference moved from Miami to Washington D.C.

****There is no official word yet but they should tell us tomorrow.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128667
Quoting Floodman:


The find was way too soon. Tarballs form from tanker fuel, petro products dumped into storm drains, and even (dare I say it) naturally occurring oil oozing from the seabed...now that having been said, the seabed rarely oozes a few million gallons of oil in a month


Apparently it does if you jamb a pipe deep into the ground...

(How's it going FLOODMAN!!)
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From the San Diego Tribune

Hurricane forecast delayed
Robert Krier

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Climate Prediction Center has put off until next week a press conference announcing its annual forecast for the hurricane season, which starts June 1. The conference was initially scheduled for Thursday; it is now planned for May 27.

We're usually not too concerned about the forecast; we're not going to get any hurricanes here. But the forecast could be revealing for us, because it could tell us what the forecasters are thinking about the emergence of La Nina conditions.

Hurricanes are more likely to hit the U.S. during La Ninas, because La Ninas reduce wind shear that can inhibit hurricane formation. If the CPC is predicting an active hurricance season, they would be signalling that they think La Nina is on its way. And that means better-than-usual odds for a dry winter for us.

I spoke with the CPC's Mike Halpert this morning. He said the forecasters didn't need any more time to make their predictions; conditions aren't likely to change in the next week. The decision to delay the press conference came from higher up in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He said he was given no reason for the delay.

The announcement has also been moved from Miami to Washington, D.C. There is no official word, but it's safe to assume that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is taking up a lot of NOAA's time and attention. ...

Next week is Hurricane Preparedness Week. The satellite image is of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. ...

NOAA, in a seperate release today, said a study shows that the world's oceans have warmed significantly since 1993, showing a strong climate-change signal. "The energy stored is enough to power nearly 500 100-watt light bulbs per each of the roughly 6.7 billion people on the planet," the release said.

The warmer ocean is causing a rise in sea level, since seawater expands as it heats up. The scientists said the warming accounts for about a third to a half of global sea-level rise.

Measurements were taken using an array of more than 3,200 floats called Argo and other devices dropped from ships to measure temperatures. Temperature readings were taken from the surface to about 2,000 feet down.

The study said that 80 to 90 percent of the planet's increased heat is stored in the oceans. ...
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194


Severe Weather

Tornado Warning

Statement as of 6:38 PM CDT on May 19, 2010

... The Tornado Warning for southwestern Creek County continues...

At 635 PM CDT... Doppler radar continued to indicate a severe
thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado located near Milfay...
moving northeast at 20 mph.

Some locations in or near the path of this storm include... Milfay...
Depew... Bristow and slick.

This includes Interstate 44 between mile markers 178 and 199.

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

If you are near the path of this storm... take cover now! If no
underground shelter is available move to an interior room on the
lowest floor. Mobile homes and vehicles should be abandoned for more
substantial shelter. Avoid windows!

A Tornado Warning remains in effect until 730 PM CDT for southwestern
Creek County.


Lat... Lon 3607 9647 3583 9618 3576 9618 3565 9662
3584 9663
time... Mot... loc 2338z 228deg 19kt 3570 9660
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128667
I've been in the lower keys for over 30 years, fished commercial for over 15 starting in the 80's, haven't seen tar balls in probably 10 years. Growing up in Ocean Springs Ms. we always had plenty on the beach in the late 60's and 70's. My best friends dad used to bring in red snappers from the rigs, occasionally you could actually taste the oil.
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Quoting srada:
Good evening everyone,

they have found tarballs in brunswick county in nc today on the beach..ALREADY??

What, are you serious. Do you have a link to that please.
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The Atlantic is a record warmth for this time of year...
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Quoting StormW:
RGB satellite loop imagery indicates a closed low over the Yucatan Peninsula.

RGB LOOP
so what does that mean???
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327. srada
Good evening everyone,

they have found tarballs in brunswick county in nc today on the beach..ALREADY??
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!
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Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
322. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
India Meteorological Department
Tropical Cyclone Advisory NUMBER EIGHTEEN
SEVERE CYCLONIC STORM LAILA (BOB01-2010)
23:30 PM IST May 19 2010
====================================

At 18:00 PM UTC, Severe Cyclonic Storm Laila over west central and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal moved northwest and lays over west central and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal near 14.5N 81.0E, or about 100 kms east of Nellore, 150 kms southeast of Ongole, and 200 kms south of Machilipatnam.

3 minute sustained winds is 55 knots with a central pressure of 986 hpa. The state of the sea is very high around the system center.

Satellite imagery indicates banding pattern of the system. The Dvorak intensity of the system is T3.5. Associated broken intense to very intense convection over Bay between 11.5 to 17.0N west of 83.0E. The lowest cloud top temperature due to convection is around -90C in association with the system.

Vertical wind shear of horizontal wind over the region is 10-15 knots. The system lies to the south of tropospheric ridge, which roughly runs along 17.0N. System is under the influence of anticyclonic circulation located to the northeast of the system center. Shear tendency over past 24 hours is negative to the north of the system center.

Considering all the above and numerical weather prediction model guidance, the system is likely to move in a northwesterly to northerly direction and cross Andhra Pradesh coast between Kavali and Kakinada close to Machilipatnam by this afternoon.

Forecast and Intensity
=========================
24 HRS: 16.5N 81.5E - 45 knots (Cyclonic Storm)
42 HRS: 18.5N 83.5E - 40 knots (Cyclonic Storm)
66 HRS: 20.5N 86.5E - 30 knots (Deep Depression)

---------------------------------------------------

At 18:00 PM UTC, Depression ARB01-2010 over southwest Arabian sea off Somalia coast remained practically stationary and intensified into a Deep Depression. Deep Depression ARB01-2010 lays centered at 11.5N 53.5E or about 280 kms of Alula, Somalia. The system is likely to intensify further and move slowly in a northwesterly direction towards the Gulf of Aden.

Convective clouds in association with the system has organized during the past 12 hours. The estimated Dvorak intensity is T2.0. 3 minutes sustained winds near the center is 30 knots. Broken intense to very intense convection is seen over west Arabian Sea between 9.0 to 15.0N and west of 59.0E.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 51 Comments: 45620
Yes Orlando OK
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http://www.cvhs.okstate.edu/webcams/index.htm OSU webcam... in stillwater OK. about every 12 second updates.
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Quoting Levi32:


That doesn't undermine the Euro's skill. Tropical depressions form on the edge of land masses all the time. This low's proximity to Florida wouldn't necessarily stop it from becoming warm-core. In fact it is its very proximity to land that brings it over the Gulf Stream, which may be the only means by which it could become fully warm-core, as SSTs anywhere else are still too cold.
Correct.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting splash3392:
Wow news chopper just showed the line of storm chasers traveling with the cell west of Orlando. There must have been 30 to 50 vehicles.


I assume you mean Orlando, Oklahoma correct?
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7823
Quoting weatherbro:
Usually the ECMWF is the most accurate. However, no so much today. It transitions the hybrid low into a fully warm-cored system which is almost impossible since there will be continental dry air wrapping around on it's east side.

All in all, this is shaping up to be identical to Subtropical Storm Andrea next week! First bringing a cold front through the Florida Peninsula. Then finally getting detached from that front.


That doesn't undermine the Euro's skill. Tropical depressions form on the edge of land masses all the time. This low's proximity to Florida wouldn't necessarily stop it from becoming warm-core. In fact it is its very proximity to land that brings it over the Gulf Stream, which may be the only means by which it could become fully warm-core, as SSTs anywhere else are still too cold.
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Edit, he is lit up

http://xtremehurricanes.com/
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
Wow news chopper just showed the line of storm chasers traveling with the cell west of Orlando. There must have been 30 to 50 vehicles.
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Rapidly forming supercells forming just to the SW of Oklahoma City. Might become tornado warned.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
News stream of news in Oklahoma..

Link


Incredible! Thanks for the link
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186

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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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