Tornadoes, huge hail pound the Midwest, but bring little Texas drought relief

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:41 PM GMT on April 20, 2011

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Severe weather blasted the Midwest again yesterday, with NOAA's Storm Prediction Center logging 32 reports of tornadoes, 399 reports of damaging thunderstorm winds, and 325 instances of large hail (including softball-sized hail of 4.25 - 4.5" diameter in Clarkesville, MO and Stringtown, OK.) Fortunately, no deaths or injuries were reported from yesterday's storms. The storm also brought the heaviest snow so late in the season to Green Bay, Wisconsin--9.9 inches. This brought the seasonal total for Green Bay to 92.4", the third most on record.

The storm responsible will trek eastwards today, bringing the threat of severe weather to regions of the Southeast hard-hit by last week's remarkable tornado outbreak. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has placed a wide swath of the country from Eastern Texas to New Jersey under their "slight risk" for severe weather. According to the latest tornado tallies on the excellent Wikipedia page on the April 14 - 16 tornado outbreak, 128 tornadoes are confirmed to have occurred, with 39 of these strong EF-2 and EF-3 twisters. Remarkably, there have been no violent EF-4 or EF-5 tornadoes reported yet in 2011, despite the fact that the preliminary 2011 tornado count as compiled by SPC is 611, which will likely make 2011 the most active tornado season on record for this point in the year.


Figure 1. Satellite image taken at 8pm EDT on Tuesday, April 19, 2011, of the storm system that brought severe weather to the Midwest. Image credit: NASA/GSFC.


Figure 2. Severe weather outlook for today.

Yesterday's storms bring little drought relief for Texas
Yesterday's severe weather outbreak brought a few thunderstorms to the Dallas/Fort Worth area last night, with up to two inches of welcome rain falling in isolated areas. However, the rains missed the areas of Texas where the worst fires area burning, and strong winds associated with the spring storm helped whip up the fires. Winds will not be as strong today, and the latest 1 - 5 day rainfall forecasts show the possibility of isolated thunderstorms bringing drought relief to the same portions of Texas that benefited from last night's rains. These rains will not be enough to significantly slow down the record fires scorching Texas, though, and the latest 2-week forecast from the GFS model shows little chance of drought-busting rains over Texas into early May.


Figure 2. Total rainfall for North Texas from last night's storms brought only isolated drought relief.

Atlantic tropical disturbance
As a reminder that hurricane season is not that far away, an area of disturbed weather has formed in the Atlantic near 23N, 80W, about 700 miles northeast of Puerto Rico. This system is under a hefty 60 knots of wind shear, but does have a surface circulation. The disturbance's heavy thunderstorm activity has been removed well to the northeast of the surface circulation center by the high wind shear. The storm is expected to move northwest into a region of lower wind shear on Thursday and Friday, and should begin building more heavy thunderstorms during the next three days. The storm is not a threat to any land areas, and will likely be ripped apart by high wind shear this weekend. It has perhaps a 10% chance of becoming a subtropical depression before then. Climatology argues against this storm becoming the first named storm of the year; there has only been once named April storm in the Atlantic since 1851, Tropical Storm Ana of 2003.


Figure 4. Morning satellite image of the Atlantic tropical disturbance 700 miles northeast of Puerto Rico.

Jeff Masters

Wildcat Fire (AngeloJoe)
Wildcat Fire near San Angelo, Texas. Pictures taken between 3 and 4 pm just to the south and east of Orient, Texas.
Wildcat Fire
April Showers (novembergale)
SNOW showers!
April Showers

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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


Keeper! what kind of hell is that lightly to unleash on Texas? At post 491?

Or is it just a thermonuclear accident?
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1949
<
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52404
Quoting 1900hurricane:
Dang...


Please be my MCC.
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488. xcool
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603
Quoting sammywammybamy:


Cant wait for the Computer models to come out.


I always look forward to Atlantic hurricane season...... always something new and never seen before every year!

It's like a snow flake, no 2 alike!

You stayin out of trouble Sammy? Doubt it! LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
April normally a little early for me to come out of hibernation..... but if something is "spinning" in the Atlantic, I have to watch! LOL

Best regards to all my wunderground friends! Reports of my demise are GREATLY exaggerated! :D
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XX/INV/91L
MARK
23.78n/59.91w
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52404
482. JRRP
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Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Awww, it's only 852 hours out. ;)


Lol. For general use, it will be interesting if we have some disturbed weather in this area at the end of May. At the very least, the model is fun to look at for those who are bored
Member Since: June 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 53
453 aspectre "So what's spinning at 27n71w?
460 sammywammybamy "91L"
464 sammywammybamy [GOES floater photo]

Looks like 91L is still centered south of 24n and east of 63w
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Dang...

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Quoting sammywammybamy:


When will the other models pop up on here?



We get the feeling that twirlers of the ''cat''-walk might start to get a trifle interesting on or around the 28th April, in time to get there teeth tentatively sunk into the 'Day of May.' Just in time for another dance to a new composer! Who resides in the pit of Africa.

Needless to say,''we have often been mesmerised by passing fantasys.''
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1949
Quoting skook:
From wnep.com

Officials said thousands of gallons of fluid leaked over farm land and into a creek from a natural gas well in Bradford County.

Now there is a massive operation underway to contain the spill of drilling fluids.

The rupture near Canton happened late Tuesday night, contaminating nearby land and creeks.

continue reading here http://www.wnep.com/wnep-brad-leroy-gas-drillingem ergency20110420,0,1884646.story


Oh no. So will there be an EAS?
Member Since: May 15, 2009 Posts: 405 Comments: 675
Hey, everyone. So 91L formed. Interesting
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Quoting StAugustineFL:


Smart model being that's the peak of hurricane season......:)


If you are looking for exact development or exact track you are not going to get it from long range models. The model was quiet during most of August and the start of 2010. The model is pointing to an active start to the season..we will have to see how it works out or what it means for the middle and latter part of the season; especially with the uncertainty of the ENSO.
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Quoting Ivanhater:
Any extreme long range model fans?

CFS model has been consistent the last couple of weeks showing NW Caribbean development at the end of May

Awww, it's only 852 hours out. ;)
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
468. skook
From wnep.com

Officials said thousands of gallons of fluid leaked over farm land and into a creek from a natural gas well in Bradford County.

Now there is a massive operation underway to contain the spill of drilling fluids.

The rupture near Canton happened late Tuesday night, contaminating nearby land and creeks.

continue reading here Link
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Quoting Ivanhater:


Lol. I will say the CFS model is good at picking up trends. Last year it was showing activity picking up substantially by the end of August and September, which is when the season really picked up. What we can take away from the CFS model is probably an active start to the 2011 season.


Smart model being that's the peak of hurricane season......:)
Member Since: March 8, 2011 Posts: 1 Comments: 735
463. JRRP
Quoting sammywammybamy:




When will the other models be updated.

9:30pm more or less
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5085
Quoting StAugustineFL:


Ah, extreme is appropriate. Late May??? Geesh


Lol. I will say the CFS model is good at picking up trends. Last year it was showing activity picking up substantially by the end of August and September, which is when the season really picked up. What we can take away from the CFS model is probably an active start to the 2011 season.
Member Since: June 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 53
The higher moisture has moved into North Central Florida today where the PW is 1.5 to 1.7, still not the classic tropical values during the wet season but enough combined with a strong LI and cold air aloft to produce some strong to severe thunderstorms.

Further south the moisture that was around yesterday has pooled to the north, the PW was around 1.6 here in West Central Florida yesterday now it is only around 1.2 from what Ive seen which is very dry for Florida. From what I know I don't think that's enough to get storms popping today even with high instability. The only chance is that there can be localized higher moisture pooling from surface convergence, otherwise it should be dry tonight in the Tampa Bay area unless some higher moisture moves in this evening.
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91L Floater - Visible Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125736
Quoting Ivanhater:
Any extreme long range model fans?

CFS model has been consistent the last couple of weeks showing NW Caribbean development at the end of May



Ah, extreme is appropriate. Late May??? Geesh
Member Since: March 8, 2011 Posts: 1 Comments: 735
455. JRRP
Quoting Ivanhater:
Any extreme long range model fans?

CFS model has been consistent the last couple of weeks showing NW Caribbean development at the end of May


yea... i saw it
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5085
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933
So what's spinning at 27n71w?
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452. xcool
this season about getting really interesting ;)!noting ~like the 2010 season ~~
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450. xcool
9:33 PM GMT on April 20, 2011
Ivanhater .wow..
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603
449. Ivanhater
9:32 PM GMT on April 20, 2011
Any extreme long range model fans?

CFS model has been consistent the last couple of weeks showing NW Caribbean development at the end of May

Member Since: June 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 53
448. RitaEvac
9:31 PM GMT on April 20, 2011
Those fields and pastures are reaping some rainfall even though it's still a small area


Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9625
447. PlazaRed
9:30 PM GMT on April 20, 2011
Quoting sammywammybamy:
. Guys Ike predicted this would be declared an invest, and I made case for why it should be declared. It's already at 40mph? This thing just needs some thunderstorms and it'll be declared s ts/sts


Well done that man!!

Beware of news-cashers and dee-nigh-ers.

Now whos it going to grace? Sweet 91L
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1949
446. xcool
9:25 PM GMT on April 20, 2011
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603
444. IKE
9:22 PM GMT on April 20, 2011
6-10 day precip outlook....


Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
443. GeoffreyWPB
9:20 PM GMT on April 20, 2011
Miami NWS Discussion

LONG TERM...
HIGH PRESSURE WILL SLOWLY MOVE OFF TO THE EAST OF SOUTH FLORIDA
DURING THE WEEKEND. AN EASTERLY FLOW WILL CONTINUE, HOWEVER, A
LITTLE BIT MORE MOISTURE WILL MOVE INTO THE AREA ON SUNDAY.
THEREFORE ISOLATED SHOWER ACTIVITY WILL BE POSSIBLE ALONG THE
EAST COAST SEA BREEZE. EARLY NEXT WEEK, MODELS CONTINUE TO SHOW AN
INVERTED TROUGH MOVING INTO THE AREA FROM THE SOUTHEAST. WITH
MOISTURE CONTINUING TO INCREASE, SCATTERED SHOWERS AND
THUNDERSTORMS COULD DEVELOP EACH DAY ESPECIALLY DURING THE EARLY
PORTION OF NEXT WEEK.
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442. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
9:18 PM GMT on April 20, 2011
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52404

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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.