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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54. JRRP
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I wish this storm was moving through here in January... the blizzard threat would be widespread and it would feature an arctic cold front.. this one is only going to drop temperatures 10-15 degrees
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AEKDB1990 - wouldn't surprise me to see the pressure fall to the 950's. It's still winding up!!! Glad for today that we are on the east/south side, looks like N.D. is expecting blizzard conditions later this afternoon. This really reminds me of the Nov 1998 storm.
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Pressure here in In now 981.
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Link Live Dayton, OH TV
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From Wikipedia:

A pressure deficit of 100 millibars (2.95 inHg) was observed when a violent tornado near Manchester, South Dakota on June 24, 2003 passed directly over an in-situ probe. In less than a minute the pressure dropped to 850 millibars (25.10 inHg), which is the lowest pressure ever recorded at the Earth's surface when adjusted to sea level.

On April 21, 2007, a 194 millibars (5.73 inHg) pressure deficit was reported when a tornado struck a storm chasing vehicle in Tulia, Texas.[17] However, the pressure instrument was inside a vehicle which experienced winds greater than 50 metres per second (110 mph) and therefore this measurement was likely contaminated substantially by dynamic effects. The tornado was small and caused only F2 damage as it passed through Tulia. The reported pressure drop far exceeds that which would be expected based on theoretical calculations (Lee, W.-C. and J. Wurman, 2005: The diagnosed structure of the Mulhall tornado, J. Atmos. Sci., 62, 2373-2393.)
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From Duluth NWS - all time low pressure!

MNZ010>012-018>021-026-270000-

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DULUTH MN
1055 AM CDT TUE OCT 26 2010

...MINNESOTA ALL TIME LOWEST PRESSURE RECORD BROKEN THIS MORNING...
...PRESSURE IS STILL FALLING AND WILL CONTINUE INTO THE AFTERNOON...

REMEMBER THAT THIS INFORMATION IS PRELIMINARY. THE LOW IS STILL
STRENGTHENING SO THE VALUES LISTED BELOW ARE LIKELY TO CHANGE.

AN UNUSUALLY INTENSE LOW WAS AFFECTING THE STATE OF MINNESOTA THIS
MORNING. AT 1013 AM CDT...THE AUTOMATED WEATHER OBSERVING SYSTEM AT
AITKIN MINNESOTA RECORDED A 962.3 MILLIBAR /28.42 INCHES/ PRESSURE.
THIS BREAKS THE ALL TIME MINNESOTA STATE RECORD FOR THE LOWEST
OBSERVED PRESSURE.

THE PREVIOUS RECORD WAS 962.6 MB SET ON NOVEMBER 10 1998 AT ALBERT
LEA AND AUSTIN IN SOUTHERN MINNESOTA.

IT SHOULD ALSO BE NOTED THAT DULUTH BROKE THEIR PRESSURE RECORD. AS
OF 1028 AM...THE PRESSURE AT DULUTH WAS 962.9 MILLIBARS /28.44
INCHES/. THIS BREAKS THE PREVIOUS RECORD OF 964.3 MILLIBARS WHICH
OCCURRED ON NOVEMBER 10 1998.

PRESSURE RECORDS AT INTERNATIONAL FALLS WERE ONLY AVAILABLE BACK TO
1948. THE LOWEST PRESSURE PREVIOUSLY AT THAT LOCATION WAS 971.9
MILLIBARS ON OCTOBER 10 1949. THE PRESSURE AS OF 1024 AM WAS 967.4
MILLIBARS /28.57 INCHES/. THEREFORE...INTERNATIONAL FALLS ALSO BROKE
THEIR PRESSURE RECORD.

THE LOW CONTINUES TO DEEPEN AND THE PRESSURE WILL LIKELY CONTINUE TO
FALL. THEREFORE...THIS STATEMENT IS PRELIMINARY AND WILL BE UPDATED
ONCE THE LOWEST PRESSURE IS FINALLY OBSERVED.

THE LOW WAS AT ABOUT 983 MB ONLY 24 HOURS AGO OVER CENTRAL SOUTH
DAKOTA. THAT IS A PRESSURE DROP OF ABOUT 21 MILLIBARS IN 24 HOURS.

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Spooky thing was the whole front was moving 70 mph. only lastaed about 15 minutes. Still gusting to 50 mph here 2 hours later.
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I dont think people realize how low the pressure can get inside of a tornado. If an area gets directly impacted by a tornado, you would be surprised as to how low that pressure actually is
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Quoting Thundercloud01221991:


that is 930 mb isnt it
it is about that low, and i have a hard time believing it. pressure is still very low state-wide nearing 960mb in many locations.
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Midwest storm just howled through NE Indiana about 2 hrs ago. plenty of tornado warnings, but no tornadoes. Straight line winds of 60 - 70 mph overturned semis on I69 S of Ft wayne and lots of trees down near South Whitley IN. Last I could get info the pressure was 960.
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Quoting alfabob:
Richard has a well defined LLC floating around in the gulf, so I don't see how the NHC can claim that he's dead. Pressure is probably ~1006mb and winds are probably 20-25kts. This is a TD, not nothing.


NHC says it doesn't have enough deep convection to be classed as a tropical cyclone any more. So they are calling it a remnant low - you're right, not nothing.
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Quoting Minnemike:
there are cities in MN reporting under 27.5in pressure.. such as Rochester at 27.46 http://www.wunderground.com/US/MN/Rochester.html

i would think that's an error, but several other cities in the general area report similar readings. hmm...


that is 930 mb isnt it
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rueters reported 12 missing australians on their surf trip to the mentawais. another group of surf adventurers reported there boat violently crashed into another boat anchored at a secluded surf spot and burned up. the surfers grabbed their boards paddled to the beach and climbed trees. a surf resort also was reported destroyed. big bucks to get on those trips
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there are cities in MN reporting under 27.5in pressure.. such as Rochester at 27.46 http://www.wunderground.com/US/MN/Rochester.html

i would think that's an error, but several other cities in the general area report similar readings. hmm...
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Quoting JFLORIDA:
18. Dan the tsunami warning center posted a statement in which one was not eminent except for possibly near the site - which probably occurred within minutes anyway and without warning. I think that is what happened.

It was very close to the epicenter. If I was in the region of an earthquake I would evacuate the coastal area immediately regardless - some tsunami actively always occurs. Surfers and such probably never even felt it however.


You are probably right. Don't know if they had time to evacuate though.
And if things weren't already bad in Indonesia, the volcano Merapi has erupted, with more powerful eruptions possibly to come. Don't know if the earthquake and eruption are associated.

Earthquake:


Volcano:
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NHC reclassifies TropicalDepressionRichard as a a remnant low
TD.Richard
24Oct 03pmGMT - 17.8n90.2w - 35mph (~56.3km/h) - - 1006mb - NHC.Adv.#19
25Oct 06pmGMT - 18.0n90.8w - 30knots(~55.6km/h) -- 1005mb - ATCF
25Oct 09pmGMT - 18.1n91.2w - 35mph (~56.3km/h) - - 1005mb - NHC.Adv..#20
26Oct 12amGMT - 18.1n91.3w - 25knots . (46.4km/h) -- 1003mb - ATCF
26Oct 03amGMT - 18.4n91.6w - 30mph (~48.3km/h) - - 1004mb - NHC.Adv.#21
26Oct 06amGMT - 19.0n92.2w - 25knots . (46.4km/h) -- 1005mb - ATCF
26Oct 09amGMT - 19.4n92.5w - 30mph (~48.3km/h) - - 1005mb - NHC.Adv.#22
26Oct 12pmGMT - 20.0n92.9w - 25knots . (46.4km/h) -- 1004mb - ATCF
(ex)Richard
26Oct 03pmGMT - 20.4n93.1w - 30mph (~48.3km/h) - - 1004mb - NHC.Adv.#23

Copy&paste 17.8n90.2w, 18.0n90.8w, 18.1n91.2w, 18.1n91.3w, 18.4n91.6w-19.0n92.2w, 19.0n92.2w-19.4n92.5w, 19.4n92.5w-20.0n92.9w, 20.0n92.9w-20.4n93.1w tam, rtb into the GreatCircleMapper for a look at the headings&distances traveled over the last 12hours.
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Quoting PcolaDan:
Indonesia tsunami deaths increase after Sumatra quake

More than 100 people have been killed and many are missing after a tsunami triggered by an earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia.


Wow, the tsunami warning yesterday was for a possible swell of 1.1 feet in the area yesterday.
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Special weather statement issued for..
City of Toronto
Windsor - Essex - Chatham-Kent
Sarnia - Lambton
Elgin
London - Middlesex
Simcoe - Delhi - Norfolk
Dunnville - Caledonia - Haldimand
Oxford - Brant
Niagara
City of Hamilton
Halton - Peel
York - Durham
Huron - Perth
Waterloo - Wellington
Dufferin - Innisfil
Grey - Bruce
Barrie - Orillia - Midland
Belleville - Quinte - Northumberland
Kingston - Prince Edward
Peterborough - Kawartha Lakes
Stirling - Tweed - South Frontenac
Bancroft - Bon Echo Park
Brockville - Leeds and Grenville
City of Ottawa
Gatineau
Prescott and Russell
Cornwall - Morrisburg
Smiths Falls - Lanark - Sharbot Lake
Parry Sound - Muskoka
Haliburton
Renfrew - Pembroke - Barry's Bay
Algonquin
Burk's Falls - Bayfield Inlet.

...The wind will be howling over the next couple of days, as a
Pre-Halloween storm scares the province...

A very deep and unseasonably intense storm over Minnesota will move
into Northwestern Ontario tonight and the associated weather will
have far-reaching effects for many parts of Ontario.

While significant rain and wind will affect Northern Ontario over
The next two days..A powerful and sharp cold front will sweep across
southern regions this afternoon and evening. The front is expected
to be accompanied by an active line of heavier showers and a few
thunderstorms. The front will blast into the southwest early this
Afternoon..Toronto early this evening and reach the national
Capital region towards midnight.

Southwest winds of 50 gusting to 80 km/h are widely expected near
the front. However gusts to 100 km/h are also quite possible in
thunderstorms especially if they become organized into a fast
Moving squall line. Severe thunderstorm watches in effect for the
Windsor and Sarnia areas may be expanded northeast this afternoon as
required.

The greatest threat of damaging winds is expected to be across
Southwestern Ontario with a slightly lesser risk around Toronto and
even less so in the east. Since most trees in the southwest are
Still in partial to full leaf..The impact of the strong winds will
Be greater due to the possibility of wind damage to trees. Also..
Late day commuters in and around the greater Toronto area may
experience difficult driving due to the strong gusty winds.

Strong winds are also likely to affect many areas on Wednesday as the
intense storm lingers across the province.

Listen for further statements. Additional information
may also be found by consulting the latest public forecast.
The next public forecast will be issued by 3.30 PM.

END/OSPC


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Any tv stations following the severe weather on ustream?
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We will likely see some 959 readings soon
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Superior, Richard I. Bong Airport 10:35 Rain 54 52 94 NE 15 G 20 28.39
28.39 inches is 961.4 MB

Wonder what Lake Superior looks like right now?
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Quoting HurricaneIsabel:


You lost me, is there another system coming through?


no but out ahead of this line will be major will be absolute caos... this line is already strenthening more
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Well, that doesn't look friendly at all.

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Superior, Richard I. Bong Airport 10:35 Rain 54 52 94 NE 15 G 20 28.39

28.39 inches is 961.4 MB

LOOK at all these WARNINGS:
Link
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Quoting NRAamy:
SQUAWK!!!!

Why you're acting like chicken?

Back to the topic: Wow, that was an incredible storm!
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Quoting lilElla:
Minnemike - how are things over your way?

very quiet here in Minneapolis. pretty much near the 'calm of the eye' so to speak. just under a pivoting point in the precip circulation; a bit drizzly with mild breezes. i'm a storm nut, so while safe and sound, i'm a bit jealous for those who get a nice show. but i pray everyone is safe!
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Quoting HurricaneIsabel:
Pat:

I'm in central missouri, that bad boy hit us lastnight, tornado sirens were going crazy, it was a fun night.


Wait till this afternoon and evening,,itsa gonna be a NOAA Alert Radio Day fer sure
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Quoting HurricaneIsabel:
Pat:

I'm in central missouri, that bad boy hit us lastnight, tornado sirens were going crazy, it was a fun night.

Aitkin NDB Automatic Weather Observing / Reporting 10:13 Light Rain 57 54 88 SW 3 28.42
Check out the laundry list of Tornado Warnings:
Link
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Thanks Jeff...
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SQUAWK!!!!
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946

Mesoscale Discussion 2002


SPC Home
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Minnemike - how are things over your way?
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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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