Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:00 PM GMT on June 07, 2010
The second deadliest tornado of 2010 hit Millbury, Ohio, about 10 miles southeast of Toledo, on Saturday night, killing five. The deaths brought this year's tornado death toll to 23, which is, fortunately, well below the approximately 70 deaths we expect to see by mid-June, based on averages from the past three tornado seasons. The deadliest tornado of 2010 was the EF-4 Yazoo City, Mississippi tornado in April, which killed ten. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center recorded 55 tornado reports on Saturday, plus 104 reports of damaging winds and 16 of large hail. The tornadoes hit Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. Ohio's killer tornado was preliminarily rated a high-end EF-3 with 165 mph winds, but has now been upgraded to an EF-4 with 175 mph winds. An EF-3 tornado also hit Indiana near Grissom Air Force Base on Saturday, and two EF-3 tornadoes were reported in Illinois, one near St. Anne, and one in Livingston County. Here in Michigan, I found myself making some very late night calls at 12:30 am on Sunday to warn relatives about the Doppler radar signatures of rotating supercells bearing down on them. Hardest hit was the town of Dundee, south of Ann Arbor. An EF-2 tornado swept through the town, damaging Michigan's most visited tourist attraction, Cabela's sporting goods store on US-23. An EF-1 tornado also damaged a building at the Fermi II Nuclear Power Plant on Lake Erie, forcing an automatic shutdown of the nuclear reactor.
Figure 1. Severe weather reports for Saturday, June 5, 2010. Image credit: NOAA's Storm Prediction Center.
Oil spill update
Light winds of 5 - 10 knots today will turn to southeasterly Tuesday through Wednesday, then southerly on Thursday through Friday, according to the latest marine forecast from NOAA. These winds will keep oil near the beaches of Alabama, Mississippi, and the Florida Panhandle, according to the latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA and the State of Louisiana. The latest ocean current forecasts from the NOAA HYCOM model show that the ocean currents that have carried oil eastward along the Florida Panhandle coast will weaken this week, making it unlikely that oil will penetrate farther eastwards than Panama City, Florida. Long range surface wind forecasts from the GFS model for the period 8 - 14 days from now show a return to a southeastery wind regime, which would prevent any further progress of the oil eastwards along the Florida Panhandle, and would tend to bring significant amounts of oil back to the shores of eastern Louisiana next week. If you spot oil, send in your report to http://www.gulfcoastspill.com/, whose mission is to help the Gulf Coast recovery by creating a daily record of the oil spill.
Figure 2. The oil spill on June 5, 2010 at 11:49pm EDT, as seen by Sythetic Aperature Radar (SAR) imagery from the European Space Agency's ENVISAT satellite. Image credit: University of Miami Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.
Oil spill resources
My post, What a hurricane would do the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
My post Wednesday with answers to some of the common questions I get about the spill
My post on the Southwest Florida "Forbidden Zone" where surface oil will rarely go
My post on what oil might do to a hurricane
Oil trajectory forecasts from NOAA
Gulf Oil Blog from the UGA Department of Marine Sciences
Oil Spill Academic Task Force
University of South Florida Ocean Circulation Group oil spill forecasts
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery from the University of Miami
Join the "Hurricane Haven" with Dr. Jeff Masters
I'll have a new post on Tuesday. The tropical Atlantic is quiet right now, with no models predicting tropical cyclone development over the next seven days. Also on Tuesday, I'll be continuing our experiment with my live Internet radio show called "Hurricane Haven." The show will be aired at 4pm EDT on Tuesdays during hurricane season. Listeners will be able to call in and ask questions. Some topics I'll cover on the show:
1) What's going on in the tropics right now
2) New advancements in hurricane science presented at this month's AMS Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology last month
Tomorrow's show, which will probably be just 1/2 hour, will be at http://www.wunderground.com/wxradio/wubroadcast.h tml. The show will be recorded and stored as a podcast, as last week's show was.
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