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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892. wunderkidcayman
2:45 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Forecast Track
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 11975
891. EYEStoSEA
2:29 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Sorry guys.....but there is still some darn weather out there....


Member Since: September 16, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1492
890. reedzone
2:29 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Quoting SeALWx:
History, huh? Looks like the hyperbole-hype-machine is quite active for April!


Wow, lay off, it would make history by being named, not becoming anything more then a weak system.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7387
889. nrtiwlnvragn
2:28 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
NEW BLOG
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11156
886. palmbaywhoo
2:23 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Not sure this will get named, but 91L will bring some much needed rain to a few areas.
Looking forward to it!
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 393
885. NICycloneChaser
2:21 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Quoting P451:


As it moves northward it is going to enter low enough shear for further development. Question then is borderline water temps I would think. Then the system is expected to slide back southward back into the hostile shear and be torn apart.

It does have about a 36-48 hour window to organize enough to warrant classification.



A bit further west and north and the shear should fall, with SSTs still around 25 degrees celsius. I think it'll get to the point where it could be named, but it's more a matter of whether or not the NHC decide to. There isn't really a certain point at which it will be named, it's pretty much down to the opinion of the NHC.
Member Since: August 10, 2010 Posts: 2 Comments: 1971
884. Neapolitan
2:21 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
NEW BLOG ENTRY
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13526
881. CitikatzSouthFL
2:20 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Good morning, everyone. Had not planned to start "lurking" until JUNE, but looks like mother nature has other plans for me!! I hope it just brings South Florida some much needed rains next week...have too many local wildfires in our area...three counties fighting fires yesterday. Looks like we might have a bumpy ride this season.
Or (and I want to be the first to say it)...."This season was a bust!) LOL
Member Since: August 14, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 459
879. 7544
2:18 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Quoting sammywammybamy:
It has a closed LLC and some convection with 40 mph winds....it should be classified as a TS/STS


agree there sammy but i think the nhc will wait 6 to 12 hours if it holds they would prob call it and thanks taz
Member Since: May 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6812
878. hydrus
2:17 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Quoting NICycloneChaser:


There's certainly a lot coming off Africa, but it's very far south. Would need to be coming out a good bit higher to have a chance of spinning up though. Early signs of a busy Cape Verde season, nevertheless.
They gain some latitude as they track across the ocean..I was very impressed with the size and strength of MCC,s that were moving offshore. This could be a sign the wave machine might be more active than normal.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21183
877. SeALWx
2:17 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Quoting reedzone:
91L is looking very impressive this morning, this may have a decent chance to make history and be named.
History, huh? Looks like the hyperbole-hype-machine is quite active for April!
Member Since: April 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 196
876. Patrap
2:16 PM GMT on April 21, 2011






Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128259
874. RitaEvac
2:15 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Quoting P451:


Since development does not occur that far south I would think it wouldn't impeded the water temps in the development region to the north. As long as that wave train continues once the ITCZ makes that sudden jump 10 degrees northward as it does each season the train would be going over the warmer undisturbed waters in the development zone.


That's the area I'm talking about, the MDR where they normally ride, if it looks like this 10 degrees north where it is now it would keep those water temps down,
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
872. PlazaRed
2:15 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Quoting RitaEvac:
Lady on local news station in Houston was saying water temps where 91L are way too cold for development, and I'm like ok lady, whatever, how the hell has it made it to invest status then? even I know water temps are in the upper 70s to 80 out there. And if atmoshpheric conditions are decent things can develop under 80 degree water.


News-Caster!!
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2076
871. reedzone
2:14 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
91L is looking very impressive this morning, this may have a decent chance to make history and be named.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7387
869. NICycloneChaser
2:12 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Quoting P451:


I think Taz is saying if it were classified it would jump to TS status not TD status based on TS level winds.



True enough. It'll certainly be interesting to see how far it gets....
Member Since: August 10, 2010 Posts: 2 Comments: 1971
868. hydrus
2:11 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Quoting RitaEvac:


Yea, a lot of news weather folks are not that good, there are some but very few
And a lot of them major in broadcasting and minor in meteorology...Minoring in meteorology and explaining dangerous weather to millions of people in not a good combination in my opinion...but that is all it is...My opinion.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21183
867. NICycloneChaser
2:11 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Quoting hydrus:
Have you seen these huge areas of convection moving into the Gulf of Guinea.? If that were to keep up into the season, the Antilles and the Caribbean could be in for a bad year...


There's certainly a lot coming off Africa, but it's very far south. Would need to be coming out a good bit higher to have a chance of spinning up though. Early signs of a busy Cape Verde season, nevertheless.
Member Since: August 10, 2010 Posts: 2 Comments: 1971
865. RitaEvac
2:10 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Quoting hydrus:
Have you seen these huge areas of convection moving into the Gulf of Guinea.? If that were to keep up into the season, the Antilles and the Caribbean could be in for a bad year...


Yea, but wouldn't you think the convection and cloud cover would keep the waters cooler not allowing the sun to heat the waters as long as monster waves and convection constantly ride the Atlantic?...
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
863. NICycloneChaser
2:08 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Quoting Tazmanian:



it has winds of 35KT in other words it is at TS status


Just because it has TS force winds doesn't make it a TS.
Plenty of extra-tropical storms hit winds up to hurricane force, doesn't make them tropical.
Member Since: August 10, 2010 Posts: 2 Comments: 1971
862. SeALWx
2:08 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Joe Bastardi says:
April 21, 2011 at 3:50 am
I posted on this a few days ago on weatherbell. Fact is that we had an April Storm in 2003 and Andrea in early May of 2007. If anyone should get the blame for stirring the pot, its me, not TPC.

Lets remember that tropical cyclones have been seen in almost all months of the year, including a development in late December 1954 then went into Jan of 55 ( Alice the 2cnd) So if anyone is to blame here, it is me and given the chance of quick feedback, borderline water temps ( near 25C) and the fact a low level circulation had developed over 48 hrs ago, I see nothing wrong with TPC outlining this before hand.

I will take full blame ( or credit) for this, but in the end it has nothing to do with global warming..

Now what would be interesting is if we had a classified system tomorrow pm, while its snowing and sleeting in the mtns of pa...

ciao


Saw this little gem in the comments section over at Watts' blog. (I'm not gonna link to WUWT though...)

Classic Bastardi!
Member Since: April 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 196
861. hydrus
2:07 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Quoting RitaEvac:
It's April and were invest watching, crazy year in store for us
Have you seen these huge areas of convection moving into the Gulf of Guinea.? If that were to keep up into the season, the Antilles and the Caribbean could be in for a bad year...
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21183
860. RitaEvac
2:05 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
This is something you might see in August or something, it's April! and the extreme heat hasn't even come yet. Dire situation setting up in the South Central US.

Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
859. RitaEvac
2:03 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Quoting ILwthrfan:


I don't mean any disrespect to the media's profession, but I had girl in one of my basic Atmo classes that just made me shake my head. Now she is on the channel three news here every night in Central Illinois as the weather gal. She struggled mightly in that class, but she majored as a journalist. It baffels me how she got the gig based on her "understanding" of weather. It's funny to see her on the news saying inaccurate facts on some of most basic weather conditions.


Yea, a lot of news weather folks are not that good, there are some but very few
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
858. Tazmanian
2:03 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Quoting 7544:
morning all looks like 91l is still holding on also down 1 mb to 1009 could today be the day it gains some more strengh. ? does anyone thiong think could surpise us and make it to td status



it has winds of 35KT in other words it is at TS status
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115080
857. RitaEvac
2:01 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Widespread drought in the south central US. Oklahoma, Lousiana, getting bad
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
855. ILwthrfan
2:01 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Quoting RitaEvac:
Lady on local news station in Houston was saying water temps where 91L are way too cold for development, and I'm like ok lady, whatever, how the hell has it made it to invest status then? even I know water temps are in the upper 70s to 80 out there. And if atmoshpheric conditions are decent things can develop under 80 degree water.


I don't mean any disrespect to the media's profession, but I had girl in one of my basic Atmo classes that just made me shake my head. Now she is on the channel three news here every night in Central Illinois as the weather gal. She struggled mightly in that class, but she majored as a journalist. It baffels me how she got the gig based on her "understanding" of weather. It's funny to see her on the news saying inaccurate facts on some of most basic weather conditions.
Member Since: February 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1520
854. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
2:01 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


This one






Or this one






???
These are Navy exercises, not actual cyclones
i was just doing a test post of the image clearly marked
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53809
853. RitaEvac
1:58 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
852. hcubed
1:58 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Quoting Neapolitan:

Oh, I'll read almost anything--so long as it's based on scientific facts and logic, and not, say, desperate denialistic dreams of some fantasy fossil fuel future. ;-)

Let's assume the EIA CO2 numbers are correct (though the EIA's mission is to promote increases in domestic energy production--mainly via coal--so the results should be questioned, as always):

--That would be good news; every single ton of CO2 kept out of the environment delays any "tipping point", so that would be welcome;

--It would show that knowledge and regulation, along with a raise in gasoline prices and a slump in the national economy, is helping limit CO2 a bit;

--The United States is no longer the leader in overall CO2 production; that goes to China. However, on a per capita basis, the U.S. is still the Big Hog; we emit a little over 19 tons each per year, while the Chinese emit under five tons per year. (And by comparison, India's per capita CO2 tonnage is 1.31.)

--Overall, global CO2 is still rising, and even were our 5.6% national drop to spread to every country, that's nowhere nearly enough.

--As Toma Taylor noted, it's global warming; we're all in this together.


And, once again, that "per capita" basis can be misleading. The US (last time I looked) was about 11th in that list (at 18.9). In 1990, our per capita rate was 19.1.

There are several countries, with populations less than ours, that have higher per capita rates, and rising faster than us.

Qatar is at the top of Wiki's list, at 55.4 per capita tonnage (up from 25.2 in 1990).

They were (as of 2007), emitting almost 3x the CO2 we are (per capita), and 11x the CO2 of China (per capita).

And WE'RE the "big hogs"?

We've managed to reduce our emissions by 5% since 1990, they've doubled theirs.
Member Since: May 18, 2007 Posts: 289 Comments: 1639
850. jeffs713
1:57 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Quoting RitaEvac:



The drought is going from nasty to evil...
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5881
849. nrtiwlnvragn
1:57 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE



This one






Or this one






???
These are Navy exercises, not actual cyclones
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11156
848. 7544
1:57 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
morning all looks like 91l is still holding on also down 1 mb to 1009 could today be the day it gains some more strengh. ? does anyone thiong think could surpise us and make it to td status
Member Since: May 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6812
847. RitaEvac
1:55 PM GMT on April 21, 2011


Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
846. SouthDadeFish
1:54 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Quoting RitaEvac:
Lady on local news station in Houston was saying water temps where 91L are way too cold for development, and I'm like ok lady, whatever, how the hell has it made it to invest status then? even I know water temps are in the upper 70s to 80 out there. And if atmoshpheric conditions are decent things can develop under 80 degree water.
Water temps are decent enough for subtropical formation. A transition to purely tropical is very unlikely.
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 11 Comments: 2448
845. ILwthrfan
1:53 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
Quoting sammywammybamy:
note day 4-5 rain from 91l is approaching florida


Yes Florida needs its moisture very much, hopefully she stays disorganized enough not to cause any problems. Looks like widespread 1-3 inches of rain is certainly with in the rhelm of possibility next week.

Now we just need to get some moisture over Texas. This Texas situation is extreme and getting worse. By the end of the summer it could go into the record books as one of the worst.
Member Since: February 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1520
844. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
1:52 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53809
843. nrtiwlnvragn
1:52 PM GMT on April 21, 2011
12Z update for BAMs


Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11156

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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.