Tornadoes, violent thunderstorms rip the U.S.; Richard dies in the Gulf of Mexico

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:23 PM GMT on October 26, 2010

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Tornadoes, violent thunderstorms, and torrential rains are sweeping through the nation's midsection today, thanks to an explosively deepening low pressure system over Minnesota. The spectacular storm is expected to bottom out at a central pressure of 960 mb later today, the type of central pressure one commonly encounters in Category 2 hurricanes. A powerful cold front trails southwards from the storm, and this cold front has spawned an impressive squall line studded with violent thunderstorms. As many as eleven simultaneous tornado warnings have been issued late this morning for these thunderstorms, from southern Michigan to northern Mississippi. So far, the tornadoes have been embedded within the squall line, and these type of tornadoes are typically weaker EF-0 to EF-1 twisters. However, as the day progresses and the sun's heating adds energy to the atmosphere, strong EF-2 or EF-3 tornadoes are likely, if discrete supercell thunderstorms separate from the squall line and begin to evolve. So far, six reports of tornadoes touching down have been received, but only minor damage has been reported. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has placed much of southern Michigan, eastern Indiana, and western Ohio in their "High Risk" area for severe weather. "High Risk" days occur less than five times per year, on average, and are unusual in the fall. Fall storms this intense only occur perhaps once every 5 - 10 years. You can follow today's severe weather outbreak using our Severe Weather Page and Tornado page.


Figure 1. This morning's severe weather outlook from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center puts most of Indiana and Western Ohio into their highest category for severe weather.

Richard dies
Tropical Depression Richard emerged into the Gulf of Mexico this morning after crossing the Yucatan Peninsula. However, passage over the Yucatan so weakened the storm that it has officially been declared dead by NHC. There was too much dry air and wind shear in the Gulf of Mexico to allow Richard to regenerate. Richard hit central Belize Sunday night as a Category 1 hurricane with 90 mph winds. The storm is being blamed for $18 million in damage, but no deaths were reported. Belize lost about 1/3 of its orange crop to Richard's high winds. Electrical power is still out to 30% of the country, but is expected to be fully restored by tonight.


Figure 2. Visible MODIS satellite image of Hurricane Richard taken at 4:35pm EDT 10/25/10 by NASA's Aqua satellite. At the time, Richard was a tropical depression with 35 mph winds. Image credit: NASA.

Invest 90L
A low pressure system (Invest 90L) in the middle Atlantic Ocean has developed a broad circulation, with a band of heavy thunderstorms in an arc to the north and east of the storm. This hybrid subtropical system is under a moderate 10 - 20 knots of wind shear. Water temperatures are marginal for development, just 26.5 - 27°C (26.5°C is usually the limiting SST that a tropical storm can develop at.) NHC is giving 90L a 30% of developing into a subtropical depression or storm by Thursday.

Next update
I'll have an update on Wednesday morning. I'm at the National Hurricane Center in Miami this week, as part of their visiting scientist program, and will be shadowing NHC forecasters on the evening shift Tuesday - Friday to learn more about their operations. I'll probably talk tomorrow about the severe weather outbreak, but later this week I'll talk about what a shift at the Hurricane Center is like. I also have meetings planned with scientists at NOAA's Hurricane Research Division later this week, and plan to write about some of the research missions performed during this year's hurricane season.

Jeff Masters

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Thank goodness Chaba won't be as strong as it was back in 2004 when it hit Guam as a supertyphoon!
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Quoting twhcracker:


only 3 inches?? thats not much for a tropical place like key west i would think! we had 12 inches here in central fl panhandle in one hour one time. caskets popped out of the ground and floated off. it wasnt even a tropical storm. it was may 7 2000 i think. may 7 for sure. not sure about the year.
I will also be glad to see the cooler weather. This morning when I went outside it was so humid! It felt more like June than October.
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Quoting hydrus:
Potent system for this time of year. If it can avoid South America and the shear slackens, this will have a decent shot.Link


You may very well be right...
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NEW BLOG
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Quoting JFLORIDA:
To explain my comments and why I dont find the glorification of bad behavior amusing:

FlaDewey went online as a woman to seduce stormW then passing the conservation around behind hios back is a wonderful way to treat a retired serviceman. Each of the trolls in that blog knew it too. Then they harassed him.

I dont care or want to know what anyone does in their private bedroom - those guys got off on spreading it.

All of that crew was in on it. I found out about it way after it happened. Admin has it all.

That and the making fun of the disabled, this site and posters in general is why I dont like those trolls. This whole - "where is destinjeff" thing is just a haha - look how stupid these geeks and admin are - inside joke.

No one in here deserves that disrespect.

What is that kind of behavior called Chicklit, what is it called in professional circles when someone becomes involved in a group behaving that way?

How is encouraging that in Dr Masters blog beneficial to this site???

For those on this blog that like to insult each other I've got the perfect place. There's a voicemail system that's free especially if you have unlimited long distance. It's called my telespace They have a bulleton board out there where people love to bash each other so that way you go out there and bash till your heart's content.
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Quoting Neapolitan:

Well, that's what I meant about the burial ground; the bones were apparently left scattered atop the sun-baked coral, or buried so shallowly that birds and other creatures could easily find them and scatter them. The bottom line: I love the Keys, and especially Key West, but it's no jungle-covered rainforest. ;-)


here in north fla we have a lot of desert plant and animal species. like gopher tortoise and diamondbacks and prickly pear and scrub jays. my house is just sand sand sand. thats why the drought is killing us.
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SQUAWK!!!
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
Morning!

Interesting day and night here in the Great North Woods!

Some really good winds whipping off of the Big Lake Superior yesterday and today! Here are some wind speeds from a local report.

... Marine observations...
Rock of Ages /roam4/ 78 10/27/2010 300 am
Stannard rock /stdm4/ 71 10/27/2010 600 am
Northern Lake Michigan buoy 56 10/26/2010 950 PM
W lk Superior buoy /45006/ 63 10/26/2010 700 PM
mid lk Superior buoy /45001/ 51 10/27/2010 505 am
E lk Superior buoy /45004/ 56 10/27/2010 400 am



At my work we have had siding ripped off. Numerous reports around the area of downed lines from trees iwht a great of trees on fire, a couple of trees in apartment buildings and a report of a roof blowing off.

Yeehaw!
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Has a unique appearance.The NAM keeps wanting to spin up yet another system in the Caribbean..Link
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Quoting kwgirl:
Thank you for that tidbit. You are really knowledgable!! I always thought it was called Cayo Hueso because of bones found on the island. Being bone dry makes more sense. I know the Dry Tortugas were originally named tortugas for the turtles the Spainards found nesting there and later the dry was added to indicate no fresh water to be found there for the shipping traffic. I love gaining knowledge even when it is useless trivia that crowds my brain. Never know when it might come in handy.

Well, that's what I meant about the burial ground; the bones were apparently left scattered atop the sun-baked coral, or buried so shallowly that birds and other creatures could easily find them and scatter them. The bottom line: I love the Keys, and especially Key West, but it's no jungle-covered rainforest. ;-)
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The thing at 9N/40W may earn invest status, though it needs to move north a bit or risk dying out over Venezuela. 90L's low-level circulation is very robust, but convection is being ripped off under a constant 20-25 knots of shear, and the mass is moving north toward an even less hospitable neighborhood.

So...my money for now is on the yellow AOI at around 23N / 54W. There was good convection yesterday, but almost no low level spin. However, that's no longer the case: the RGB loop clearly shows that the low has reached to the surface, and is wrapping up as the whole thing moves a bit south of due west. Too, while there is some evident shear, it doesn't appear as high as it is for 90L, and the SSTs are a bit higher and deeper in the area.

Reckon we'll see, though...
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Quoting Jeff9641:
Invest 91L soon to come!

http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/catl/loop-vis.html
Potent system for this time of year. If it can avoid South America and the shear slackens, this will have a decent shot.Link
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Quoting Walshy:



Yep, constant thunder here in Wilkes County. I live just a county or two north. Thank god they moved east more than north.
What's really strange is that it seems that the worst weather tends to occur at night! also I saw that Dayton Ohio got up to 76 degrees yesterday! I hope they enjoyed those temps, because they won't see that again for a while
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Quoting Neapolitan:

Yeah, most folks don't know that the "West" in "Key West" has nothing to do with the cardinal direction. It is, rather, the anglicized sound-alike of the Spanish "hueso", which means "bone"; the island was so dry and barren that it was used as nothing more than a burial ground by early Americans. Lots of people who've never been picture every island in the Caribbean as a lush, verdant tropical paradise, a fact which has led many first-time travelers to disappointment when they find nothing but one bare and arid patch of weathered coral after another... ;-)
Thank you for that tidbit. You are really knowledgable!! I always thought it was called Cayo Hueso because of bones found on the island. Being bone dry makes more sense. I know the Dry Tortugas were originally named tortugas for the turtles the Spainards found nesting there and later the dry was added to indicate no fresh water to be found there for the shipping traffic. I love gaining knowledge even when it is useless trivia that crowds my brain. Never know when it might come in handy.
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Quoting Jeff9641:
Invest 91L soon to come!

http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/catl/loop-vis.html
Chaba looking formidable.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Interesting feature.

That will be an invest soon.
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Interesting feature.

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There is good rotation and moisture associated with the disturbance in the Central Atlantic..
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Quoting kwgirl:
I just read an article by a travel writer who said Key West gets the least amount of rain for being in Florida. Don't know if that is a fact, I haven't had time to check it out.

Yeah, most folks don't know that the "West" in "Key West" has nothing to do with the cardinal direction. It is, rather, the anglicized sound-alike of the Spanish "hueso", which means "bone"; the island was so dry and barren that it was used as nothing more than a burial ground by early Americans. Lots of people who've never been picture every island in the Caribbean as a lush, verdant tropical paradise, a fact which has led many first-time travelers to disappointment when they find nothing but one bare and arid patch of weathered coral after another... ;-)
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Still looks busy out there... Especially since it is late October.
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Quoting NHCaddict:
Thanks to all who answered my question. I appreciate all the great teachers here:)



Thanks for asking it! I was curious as to what some of the Profis on here had to say as well.

If someone doesn't answer your question at first, feel free to ask again. Sometimes it gets overlooked and burried so you need to knock the dust off and repost it.

Welcome to Dr M's Blog!
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Quoting Neapolitan:

NWS says the airport received 3.44" yesterday, breaking the 10/26 record of 2.01" from 1879. Normal is 0.12", so you were a little over that... ;-) FWIW, that takes Key West up to 35.8" for the year, meaning you received nearly 10% of your yearly total yesterday. Woo-hoo...


Thanks for looking that up. Yeah, 3 inches doesn't seem like much until you see Front street with water up to the curbs and ponding in low lying spots. I enjoyed it. That means I don't have to water my plants for a couple of days. Saves on the water bill.
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Thanks all.

Guess what I was looking for was the anomolous ingredient leading to it's unprecendented intensity.

My interpretation from your responses is that it wasn't so much one ingredient, as it was the location and timing of several ingredients...
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Thanks to all who answered my question. I appreciate all the great teachers here:)

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Quoting twhcracker:


only 3 inches?? thats not much for a tropical place like key west i would think! we had 12 inches here in central fl panhandle in one hour one time. caskets popped out of the ground and floated off. it wasnt even a tropical storm. it was may 7 2000 i think. may 7 for sure. not sure about the year.
I should have qualified that with the fact it broke a record for the date. You have to remember, we are out to sea and a little dot in the ocean, so a lot of times, unless it is a storm coming our way, the rain can miss us. Many a summer I have watched the rain hit the ocean and miss us. That said, we have had some torrential downpours in the past. But overall, we are a very arid island. I just read an article by a travel writer who said Key West gets the least amount of rain for being in Florida. Don't know if that is a fact, I haven't had time to check it out.
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Quoting BLee2333:
Someone posted a good question last night and I can't find where it was answered.

Where does a system like the one that spun up in the midwest get all that energy from?

I know the jet stream played a significant role, but I'm curious as to the full dynamics of this one as well. TIA!
Temp differences, along with a moisture boundary.
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Quoting Floodman:


Storms like the one over the upper midwest derive their energy from the pressure differential; in addition the temperature gradient provides energy (a cold front behind nosing into warmer ahead)...if you look at the WV loops you can see that it has beenm pulling moisture in from the GOM to complete the scenario


Yep, simply put Cold air Sinks while Warm air rises. The temparature tries to balance out nearly the same as the Pressure trying to balance, the result is a Strong Low. As, Floodman said in this case its a combination of both things combinded together.
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Quoting BLee2333:
Someone posted a good question last night and I can't find where it was answered.

Where does a system like the one that spun up in the midwest get all that energy from?

I know the jet stream played a significant role, but I'm curious as to the full dynamics of this one as well. TIA!


It gets its energy from the clash of differing air masses... it's referred to as Baroclinic...

BAROCLINIC- Distinct air mass regions exist. Fronts separate warmer from colder air. In a synoptic scale baroclinic environment you will find the polar jet in the vicinity, troughs of low pressure (mid-latitude cyclones) and frontal boundaries. There are clear density gradients in a baroclinic environment caused by the fronts. Any time you are near a mid-latitude cyclone you are in a baroclinic environment. Part of the word baroclinic is clinic. If the atmosphere is out of balance, it is baroclinic, just as if a person felt out of balance they would need to go to a clinic.
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Quoting TampaSpin:
Below is the Next Caribbean STorm that will be named coming toward the Southern Islands.



Should get the Yellow Circle coming soon. Shear is high to its West in the EAstern Caribbean, but conditions will improve as it move toward the Central Caribbean and it appears it should hug near the South American Coast. Models are hinting at something developing in that area in about 7 days. This is the feature to watch.
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Quoting BLee2333:
Someone posted a good question last night and I can't find where it was answered.

Where does a system like the one that spun up in the midwest get all that energy from?

I know the jet stream played a significant role, but I'm curious as to the full dynamics of this one as well. TIA!


Storms like the one over the upper midwest derive their energy from the pressure differential; in addition the temperature gradient provides energy and instability (a cold front behind nosing into warmer ahead)...if you look at the WV loops you can see that it has been pulling moisture in from the GOM to complete the scenario.



Look at how closely packed the lines around the low are in this image...an indication of the pressure gradient and hence, the energy and winds associated with it.

This explanation is really over simplfied, but it gives you a fair idea
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Below is the Next Caribbean STorm that will be named coming toward the Southern Islands.

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Quoting kwgirl:
The mess in the gulf that is streaming over the keys to the Yucatan, I believe, is the remanants of Richard. It gave Key West a record rainfall total yesterday of over 3 inches. I don't have the exact measurement. Of course, the usual streets were flooded.

NWS says the airport received 3.44" yesterday, breaking the 10/26 record of 2.01" from 1879. Normal is 0.12", so you were a little over that... ;-) FWIW, that takes Key West up to 35.8" for the year, meaning you received nearly 10% of your yearly total yesterday. Woo-hoo...


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Quoting twhcracker:
is that storm up north called sub tropical? it looks just like a hurricane. when it gets further east will it be a nor easter?


Nope,its headed up into Canada,we're just getting the cold front moving through
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Someone posted a good question last night and I can't find where it was answered.

Where does a system like the one that spun up in the midwest get all that energy from?

I know the jet stream played a significant role, but I'm curious as to the full dynamics of this one as well. TIA!
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Complete Update



AOI
AOI AOI AOI

AOI AOI AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
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Quoting kwgirl:
Good morning everyone! The mess in the gulf that is streaming over the keys to the Yucatan, I believe, is the remanants of Richard. It gave Key West a record rainfall total yesterday of over 3 inches. I don't have the exact measurement. Of course, the usual streets were flooded. Can't wait for cooler weather. I have heard conflicting accounts whether or not the cool front will make it this far south. I'm hoping it will.


only 3 inches?? thats not much for a tropical place like key west i would think! we had 12 inches here in central fl panhandle in one hour one time. caskets popped out of the ground and floated off. it wasnt even a tropical storm. it was may 7 2000 i think. may 7 for sure. not sure about the year.
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Good Morning everyone. What the heck has happened to the Steering Layer Maps? Anyone Know?
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Quoting BobinTampa:


I'm still all boarded up. Is it safe to come out now?


Depends on the neighborhood you live in!
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After skipping a six-hour update or two, ATCF has renewed their file on 90L. Winds still at 30 knots, pressure still at 1007mb. Creeping slowly NNNE. 26.5N / 40.9W.


AL, 90, 2010102712, , BEST, 0, 265N, 409W, 30, 1007, LO, 34, NEQ, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1014, 150, 60, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, M,
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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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