Tornadoes, floods, and fires assault the nation

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:43 PM GMT on April 26, 2011

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A 1/2 mile-wide tornado smashed through Vilonia, Arkansas last night, killing four and destroying 50 - 80 houses. Vilonia is a small town of 3,800 north of Little Rock. The storm system responsible produced 38 suspected tornadoes yesterday, and also dumped 10 - 15 inches of rain over portions of Arkansas and southern Missouri. Flash flooding from the heavy rains killed four people in Arkansas last night. The heavy rains have also resulted in overtopping of the Black River levee near Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and over 500 homes have been evacuated in the town due to fears that the levee might fail. Poplar Bluff has received 12.86" of rain over the past three days, as of 11am EDT this morning. The greatest rain gauge-measured precipitation from the storm occurred in Springdale, Arkansas, where 17.09" inches has fallen.


Figure 1. Animation of a supercell thunderstorm 45 minutes after it produced the Viloni, Arkansas tornado at 7:25 pm CDT.


Figure 2. Radar-estimated precipitation from last night's storms.

Dangerous tornado outbreak expected today
Yesterday's tornado outbreak was merely a warm-up for today's onslaught, as NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has issued their highest level of severe weather potential, a "High Risk" forecast, for Northeast Texas and Southern Arkansas. This is just the second time this year that SPC has issued a "High Risk" forecast--the other was for the devastating North Carolina tornado outbreak of April 16, which generated 52 tornadoes that killed 26 people. Severe thunderstorms have already rumbled across Louisiana and Mississippi this morning, but today's main action is expected to erupt late this afternoon and early this evening in the "high risk" area. The tornado and severe weather outbreak will continue on Wednesday, when severe weather is expected to be concentrated in Tennessee and Kentucky, with a "moderate risk" of tornadoes. Preliminary tornado reports for the year 2011 show that this year is probably the busiest tornado season on record for this point in the season.


Figure 3. Severe weather threat for Tuesday, April 26, 2011.


Figure 4.
Chaser video of the Viloni, Arkansas tornado of April 25, 2011.

Extremely critical fire danger in Texas and New Mexico today
Spring storms commonly bring high winds to the Midwest this time of year, but today's storm will bring exceptionally high winds--and no precipitation--to the drought-stricken regions of West Texas and eastern New Mexico. As a result, an "extremely critical" fire weather day has been declared by the National Weather Service for the region, where high temperatures, low humidities, and powerful winds gusting to 60 mph will occur. The 24,000 acre Last Chance fire burning 33 miles southwest of Carlsbad, New Mexico near the Texas border is a particular concern, since it is currently 0% contained and is threatening many structures. This fire is expected to rage out of control today, thanks to humidities near 5%, temperatures in the low 90s, sustained winds near 40 mph, and gusts to 60 mph.


Figure 5. Fire weather forecast for today from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center.

2011 sets record for most acreage burned for April
According to the Interagency Fire Center, wildfires in 2011 have already burned nearly 2.3 million acres in the U.S. This is the greatest acreage on record so early in the year, and is more area than burned all of last year. The largest U.S. acreage to burn since 1960 was the 9.9 million acres that burned in 2007, so we area already 25% of the way to the all-time record fire year--with summer still more than a month away. Last night, a line of thunderstorms brought heavy rains of 2 - 3 inches from Dallas southeastwards through Louisiana, providing precious rains to a portion of Texas that was under their worst drought since 1925. However, the portion of Texas that has seen the worst wildfires (the black spots in the image below), received no rain.


Figure 6. Perimeters of the major wildfires in Texas during 2011 as of April 25. Image credit: GEOMAC Wildland Fire Support.

For those who want to lend a helping hand to those impacted by the widespread destruction this month's severe weather has brought, stop by the portlight.org blog.

Jeff Masters

Lambert St. Louis Tornado Damage (WindyCityBob)
Taken after the good friday tornado at Lambert Field St.Louis, MO
Lambert St. Louis Tornado Damage
Super fat rainbow! (murphymom)
I watched as an anvil formed and as it apprached my house, it rained a bit and passed over, I thought to myself, that looks like there will be a rainbow with it, and voila!
Super fat rainbow!

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Quoting MississippiWx:


Wish there were a storm spotter on that storm south of Dallas. Can't tell if it's just a strong echo that's in a circular shape or if it's an actual debris ball showing up on radar. That storm certainly looks tornadic.


I believe there is. Mike Gribble
Link
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Looks like NBC in Dallas thinks that storm isn't producing a tornado yet...so that's good.
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Quoting emcf30:
NBC Dallas live coverage
Link

They have good coverage. Good helicopter shots.


Wish there were a storm spotter on that storm south of Dallas. Can't tell if it's just a strong echo that's in a circular shape or if it's an actual debris ball showing up on radar. That storm certainly looks tornadic.
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Quoting DestinJeff:
C'mon rusty blog. Not only did I say band, but I also said re port.

Both intentional, obviously.

I can't work under these conditions!
I will handily diffuse any adverse blog conditions with the emblem of the generative power. HHHHHAAAAAAAA..
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Photobucket

banner
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NBC Dallas live coverage
Link

They have good coverage. Good helicopter shots.
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1937
Quoting spathy:


OMG
There is a little kitted caught in that storm!


Lol.
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<
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Quoting DestinJeff:
C'mon rusty blog. Not only did I say band, but I also said re port.

Both intentional, obviously.

I can't work under these conditions!
The blog is a little rusty DJ....

We have just forgot we are all DOOM...
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Could be a "debris ball" in that storm south of Dallas. Looks pretty intense on NWS radar.
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The highest I've seen the Mississippi River in my lifetime was 1973. The high water mark on the old Greenville Bridge is at 58.3 and that was in 1973. The experts at NOAA are predicting a river gauge of 60.0 by 5/15/11. The last time The Mississippi saw this much water was in 1927.

RIVER STAGE FORECASTS (A)BV
STATION FS 7AM 24HR ....F O R E C A S T..... (B)LO
STG CHG 0427 0428 0429 0430 0501 CREST/DATE FS
OHIO RIVER
SMITHLAND TW 40 48.5 +1.5 50.0 50.7 50.8 50.9 51.1 52.0 05/03A
PADUCAH 39 49.5 +1.7 51.0 51.7 51.8 51.9 52.1 53.0 05/03A
BROOKPORT 37 51.4 +1.5 52.9 53.6 53.7 53.8 54.0 55.0 05/03A
GRAND CHAIN 42 57.8 +2.2 59.3 61.0 61.2 61.4 61.5 61.5 05/01A
CAIRO 40 56.5 +2.0 58.5 60.2 60.3 60.4 60.5 60.5 05/01A

MISSISSIPPI RIVER
CAPE GIRARDEAU 32 42.3 +2.0 43.6 44.2 44.4 44.5 43.2 44.5 04/29A
THEBES 33 41.5 +2.0 42.7 43.2 43.5 43.8 44.0 44.0 04/30A
NEW MADRID 34 42.1 +2.1 44.0 45.7 47.4 47.6 47.8 48.0 05/03A
TIPTONVILLE 37 43.5 +1.8 45.0 46.6 48.6 49.2 49.8 50.0 05/05A
CARUTHERSVILLE 32 40.0 +1.4 41.8 43.6 45.0 46.5 47.2 48.0 05/07A
OSCEOLA 28 34.6 +1.3 35.7 36.7 38.3 39.6 41.5 45.5 05/08A
MEMPHIS 34 33.5 +1.3 34.7 36.7 38.8 39.8 41.0 45.0 05/10A A.04/26P
HELENA 44 41.0 +1.0 41.9 43.2 44.8 46.7 48.1 52.5 05/12A A.04/28P
ARKANSAS CITY 37 34.0 +0.8 35.1 36.8 38.5 40.0 41.5 48.5 05/14A A.04/28P
GREENVILLE 48 45.5 +0.7 46.3 47.4 49.0 50.5 52.0 60.0 05/15A A.04/28P
VICKSBURG 43 39.6 +0.4 40.1 40.8 41.8 42.8 44.5 53.5 05/18A A.04/30P
NATCHEZ 48 45.9 +0.5 46.4 46.8 47.3 48.0 48.5 60.0 05/20A A.04/30P
RED RIVER LNDG 48 47.2 +0.6 47.6 48.1 48.5 49.0 49.7 60.0 05/21A A.04/28A
BATON ROUGE 35 30.5 +0.5 30.9 31.3 31.7 32.2 32.8 43.0 05/21P A.05/06A
DONALDSONVILLE 27 21.3 +0.4 21.6 21.9 22.2 22.6 23.1 33.5 05/21P A.05/09A
RESERVE 22 16.4 +0.4 16.6 16.8 17.0 17.3 17.6 25.0 05/22A A.05/13A
NEW ORLEANS /17/ 12.0 +0.4 12.2 12.3 12.6 12.8 13.0 17.0 05/22A
/ /LEVEES PROTECT CITY OF NEW ORLEANS TO 20 FT STAGE.

...MAJOR/RECORD FLOODING EXPECTED AT SOME MISSISSIPPI/OHIO RIVER LOCATIONS...
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Trade ya the 8 for the 5- A-12..Thank you for the post....And thank you EMCF30 for the link...
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Quoting hydrus:
For tomorrow already.?..Link?

Link
Forecast for Wednesday, April 27

AL north - 8 to 9
AL south - 6
AR south-central and east - 3 to 4
DC - 2 to 3
FL west panhandle - 4 to 5
FL east panhandle - 3 to 4 night
GA northwest - 6
GA west-central - 4
GA northeast - 3
GA central and south - 4 night
IL south - 3
IN south and east-central - 4
KY east - 7
KY west - 4
LA west - 3 to 4
LA east - 4 to 5
MD west - 2 to 3
MI - southeast 2
MO southeast - 2 to 3
MS west and southeast - 4
MS east -central and northeast- 9
NC west - 3
NC central - 3 night
NY - 2 to 3
OH south - 5
OH north - 3
PA - 3
SC west and central - 3
SC east - 3 night
TN middle - 8
TN west - 4 to 5
TN east - 6
VA west and central - 3
VT - 2
WV west - 5
WV east - 3
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5027
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54623
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hitting 'show severe' on the Little Rock NEXRAD is a strain on my slightly color blind eyes.. those poor folks are having a rough time :(
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Alright. Work that refuses to do itself. L8R.
*lurk-o-graph engaged*
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Oh... There's the tornado warning... at least it's not headed toward Dallas... yet.
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Quoting PcolaDan:


C'mon, I know you've seen FAMU and Southern University bands. ;) Nobody gets from point A to point B swifter.
Ah, true enough.
But I was envisioning a sprinting tuba player hoofing it around, in formation, with tuba blasts timed to his panting breaths.
;-)
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Quoting jitterboy:

Do you have a link for this chart? I would like to blow it up and take a look at it. Thanks


This is a excellent site. Link
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1937
First tornadic signature showing up on radar south of Dallas... I haven't seen a warning yet. Let's hope it's not reaching the ground.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54623
ULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORT WORTH TX
328 PM CDT TUE APR 26 2011

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN FORT WORTH HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
SOUTHERN ELLIS COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL TEXAS...
NORTHWESTERN NAVARRO COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL TEXAS...

* UNTIL 415 PM CDT

* AT 328 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED A
DEVELOPING TORNADO 7 MILES NORTHWEST OF MILFORD...MOVING EAST AT 25
MPH.

* THE TORNADO WILL BE NEAR...
ITALY AROUND 340 PM CDT...
BARDWELL AROUND 410 PM CDT...
ENNIS...GARRETT AND ALMA AROUND 415 PM CDT...

THIS WILL IMPACT THE FOLLOWING INTERSTATES...
I-35E BETWEEN MILE MARKERS 9 AND 27...
I-45 BETWEEN MILE MARKERS 243 AND 256.
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1937
Quoting emcf30:
As the jet streak dives into the base of the trough, it will lead to very strong divergence over Arkansas. This will help provide sufficient lift for the development of severe thunderstorms by the late afternoon and early evening.

The initial wave that affected the region Monday evening should be well out of the area by Tuesday morning. This will help the airmass to quickly recover and become primed once again for severe thunderstorms including strong tornadoes, large hail, and damaging winds.

Shear looks very supportive for the development of supercells, initially. Bulk shears are expected around 50-60 knots (threshold for supercells is >40 knots). Furthermore, shear vectors will be nearly perpendicular to the frontal boundary. This allows storms to be more discrete because the downdrafts and updrafts are better separated from other storms. In addition, low-level shear will rapidly ramp up during the evening hours (similar to Monday evening). 0-1km helicites will quickly become >200m2/s2 in response to a strengthening low-level jet. Also, surface winds will begin to back out of the Southeast in response to the developing surface low. Hodographs are showing a very pronounced looping pattern, which signifies strong directional shear. Furthermore, these ingredients for shear are all conducive for significant tornadoes.

Instability and moisture will also be very sufficient for severe thunderstorms, aided by a strengthening low-level jet during the evening hours. As stronger forcing over spreads the area during the overnight hours, the storms will congeal into a squall line with the threat for embedded tornadoes, damaging straight line winds, and large hail.

Do you have a link for this chart? I would like to blow it up and take a look at it. Thanks
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Quoting atmoaggie:
What kind of band?
A musical band, wrist band, wedding band, a ribbon, a rubber band, a range of frequencies (like a radio band), a band of thieves, a group of animals, a stripe (as in a "banded"-whatever bird)? Afraid that just "band" is far too an ambiguous a word to use the way you did and effectively communicate.

Gee, don't know that I've seen a swift marching band. That could be interesting...


C'mon, I know you've seen FAMU and Southern University bands. ;) Nobody gets from point A to point B swifter.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
ok, first of all, #252... that one's a keeper!
then, i loved the idle banter about no idle banter..
but it looks like fun and games are over, the real deal kickin in now! like a bomb going off, Dallas could possibly get threats from two sides the way the cells are diverging. there be a real clue into the immense instability!!
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Quoting atmoaggie:
What kind of band?
A musical band, wrist band, wedding band, a ribbon, a rubber band, a range of frequencies (like a radio band), a band of thieves, a group of animals, a stripe (as in a "banded"-whatever bird)? Afraid that just "band" is far too an ambiguous a word to use the way you did and effectively communicate.

Gee, don't know that I've seen a swift marching band. That could be interesting...



LOL Agreed. :)
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Good. 18 UTC launch at SHV.

And this is more like it for a PDS...

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Quoting sammywammybamy:
I'm Sorry... I hope she gets better. :/



Seconded!
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Time to tune in

Link
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ULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BINGHAMTON NY
410 PM EDT TUE APR 26 2011

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BINGHAMTON HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
NORTHWESTERN MADISON COUNTY IN CENTRAL NEW YORK...
CENTRAL ONEIDA COUNTY IN CENTRAL NEW YORK...

* UNTIL 445 PM EDT.

* AT 407 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO NEAR
CANASTOTA...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 40 MPH.

* THE STORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING THE TORNADO WILL BE NEAR...
NEW LONDON AND VERONA BY 420 PM EDT...
LEE AND 6 MILES SOUTHEAST OF BLOSSVALE BY 425 PM EDT...
ROME BY 430 PM EDT...
DELTA LAKE BY 435 PM EDT...
STEUBEN AND 8 MILES NORTHWEST OF HOLLAND PATENT BY 445 PM EDT...

WHEN YOU CAN DO SO SAFELY...PLEASE REPORT HAIL...OR DAMAGING WINDS TO
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BY CALLING TOLL FREE AT
1-877-633-6772...OR BY EMAIL AT BGM.STORMREPORT@NOAA.GOV.
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1937
Quoting DestinJeff:
a forum where you must refresh to view comments is no place for idle banter. They delay is like watching a bad satellite interview on TV.

for those of you who insist to engage in OTIB, you will be met swiftly with a band.

re port!
What kind of band?
A musical band, wrist band, wedding band, a ribbon, a rubber band, a range of frequencies (like a radio band), a band of thieves, a group of animals, a stripe (as in a "banded"-whatever bird)? Afraid that just "band" is far too an ambiguous a word to use the way you did and effectively communicate.

Gee, don't know that I've seen a swift marching band. That could be interesting...
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Quoting sammywammybamy:
Why did you move? It's Great down here for Winter? And it is a Great place to live.
Moms got cancer..I love Fl...Born and raised in da glades..:)
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Quoting DestinJeff:
a forum where you must refresh to view comments is no place for idle banter. They delay is like watching a bad satellite interview on TV.

for those of you who insist to engage in OTIB, you will be met swiftly with a band.

re port!


I'm thinking the USC Trojan Marching Band.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54623
Hydrus, TORCON forcast
Link

Sorry,try this. somehow I sent the wrong one. Guess my computer was being stupid
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1937
Quoting KeysieLife:


Rainy season or not, I sure wish during the crazy downpours in FL people would quit turning on their hazard flashers...ARG!


if you can't handle driving the car in the rain get to the right-hand side of the world and find the nearest exit. there are some of use out there that keep proper tires on our cars and understand foul weather driving.....

/rant /firstpostoftheseason


IN other news, I also have seen a that cloud down here in south florida.... x91L seems to have been shrunk a bit lol
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Quoting DestinJeff:
a forum where you must refresh to view comments is no place for idle banter. They delay is like watching a bad satellite interview on TV.

for those of you who insist to engage in OTIB, you will be met swiftly with a band.

re port!


Are you referring to discussion off topic or about animated images? If it's animated images bogging down the blog. My apologies. Still somewhat of a newbe.
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Quoting 1900hurricane:


MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 0592
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0301 PM CDT TUE APR 26 2011

AREAS AFFECTED...EAST-CENTRAL/SOUTH-CENTRAL TX AND TX HILL COUNTRY

CONCERNING...SEVERE POTENTIAL...WATCH POSSIBLE

VALID 262001Z - 262130Z

MONITORING DEVELOPMENTAL TRENDS FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF A TORNADO
WATCH ACROSS PORTIONS OF SOUTH-CENTRAL/EAST-CENTRAL TX AND THE TX
HILL COUNTRY.

VISIBLE SATELLITE IMAGERY REFLECTS AN INCREASING/DEEPENING CU FIELD
IN VICINITY OF A SOUTH-CENTRAL TX/HILL COUNTRY DRYLINE. THE EXACT
COVERAGE OF EVENTUAL DEEP CONVECTION IS A BIT UNCERTAIN WITH
SOUTHWARD EXTENT GIVEN THE PRESENCE OF A STRONG EML...BUT AT LEAST
MODEST HEIGHT FALLS/UPPER FORCING IS EXPECTED TO GRAZE THE REGION.
ALONG THESE LINES...AN ASSORTMENT OF NUMERICAL GUIDANCE...SUCH AS
THE 12Z ECMWF AND VARIOUS 15Z SREF MEMBERSHIP...IMPLY THE
POSSIBILITY OF AT LEAST ISOLATED DEEP CONVECTIVE DEVELOPMENT AS FAR
SOUTH AS THE AUSTIN-SAN ANTONIO AREAS AND ADJACENT HILL COUNTRY.
WHERE SURFACE BASED DEVELOPMENT DOES OCCUR...VERY STEEP LAPSE RATES
AND STRONG INSTABILITY /3000-4000 J PER KG MLCAPE/ COUPLED WITH
STRONG/VEERING WIND PROFILES WILL BE MORE THAN ADEQUATE FOR
SUPERCELLS CAPABLE OF LARGE HAIL AND SOME TORNADOES.

..GUYER.. 04/26/2011


ATTN...WFO...HGX...FWD...CRP...EWX...

LAT...LON 30809503 28359780 29039910 29889884 30529815 30599688
31399533 30809503

I'm on the edge of the bubble! OMG! (While I don't want a severe storm, my wife DID wash the cars with me over the weekend... rain is in order)
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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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