Tornadoes, floods, and fires assault the nation

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

Share this Blog
4
+

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!

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 204 - 154

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18Blog Index

Quoting aquak9:


A. Because this is a weather blog- can you please keep this sort of stuff to private wu-mails? AND

B. You're old and boring.


Leave it to you aqua! LOL
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26502
Quoting Grothar:


How come all of you can engage in idle banter and I am not allowed?


A. Because this is a weather blog- can you please keep this sort of stuff to private wu-mails? AND

B. You're old and boring.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 168 Comments: 26066
Quoting Grothar:


How come all of you can engage in idle banter and I am not allowed?


age discrimination
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting aquak9:
Oh Yeah- happily, Recoon is back, too.

Well worth getting banned for.


How come all of you can engage in idle banter and I am not allowed?
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26502
Nice to see the blog getting back to a little "normality" Curtains, charts, and cashews...all in a days work! =)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting aquak9:
I ain't takin' responsibility for NUTHIN', Press.


you're a wise woman...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Oh Yeah- happily, Recoon is back, too.

Well worth getting banned for.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 168 Comments: 26066
I ain't takin' responsibility for NUTHIN', Press.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 168 Comments: 26066
Quoting jeffs713:

Very true. A 'cane is a 10-20 hour long gang beating, then they leave.

This is more like a person walking up to you, punching and kicking you a few times, then walking away... until tomorrow, when they do it again.


actually....you just described my first marriage...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MrMixon:



Rain every day for more than a year!? Is this a mistranslation? That can't be right... can it?

I think the gentleman from the Red Cross is saying that they've received a year's worth of rain in just the past week or so...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13556
190. If you want to see destruction, I can just take pics of my house after my 2 cats get done with it. They sleep all evening, and based on the destruction my wife and I come home to, I know why - they get ALL their exercise in destroying the house.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting presslord:
at least with a 'cane...when it's over, it's over...this seems unending...

Very true. A 'cane is a 10-20 hour long gang beating, then it leaves.

This is more like a person walking up to you, punching and kicking you a few times, then walking away... until tomorrow, when they do it again.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FLdewey:

Winter hibernation... it was for your own good.

Yes I was certainly sad to see vorticity go, but I has a new kitteh now. I'll post some pictures of debris ball when I get home.
LOL that is funny. I lost my dog last year and have since been feeding two feral cats. I'm trying to tame them and have hopes of the younger one, since she will come into the house, but not the other one. It is nice to have a pet around. What I want to know is the cat called Debris Ball or are you going to show us the destruction the cat makes?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
at least with a 'cane...when it's over, it's over...this seems unending...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting presslord:
Forgot who I was for a moment there...



Howdy, Pal! :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting presslord:
Aqua...Are you the only responsible adult in the room?



That also leaves you out, Bud...

Hehehe
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Forgot who I was for a moment there...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Aqua...Are you the only responsible adult in the room?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting cat5hurricane:


Or it can be unstable enough already in such a dangerous upper-level environment that it doesn't particulary matter if the region takes full advantage of the sun and daytime heating. Therefore, I could be wrong. We'll see how it plays out.
i have a feeling this statement is the case :(
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
keep the cashews away from little DebrisBall...what happened to VorticityKitteh was such a freak accident- but still don't wanna see that happen again.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 168 Comments: 26066
Quoting Jax82:
just a matter of time

i expect by the time i get home at 3pm central, the first real cells will begin firing. i'm seeing the shortwave energy about 1.5-2hrs away on WV loops... imo
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I'm on the very southern edge of this!!!



MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 0589
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0111 PM CDT TUE APR 26 2011

AREAS AFFECTED...NORTHEAST TX AND FAR SOUTHEAST OK/NORTHERN
LA/SOUTHERN AR

CONCERNING...SEVERE POTENTIAL...TORNADO WATCH LIKELY

VALID 261811Z - 262015Z

THE SEVERE THREAT IS EXPECTED TO STEADILY INCREASE THROUGH MID/LATE
AFTERNOON...INITIALLY ACROSS PORTIONS OF NORTHEAST TX AND INTO
SOUTHEAST OK/NORTHERN LA/SOUTHERN AR. A RELATIVELY LONG LEAD
TIME/DURATION PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION /PDS/ TORNADO WATCH
WILL LIKELY BE ISSUED BY MID AFTERNOON.

WITH SURFACE CYCLOGENESIS UNDERWAY ACROSS THE SOUTHERN HIGH
PLAINS...THE WARM SECTOR AIRMASS...EAST OF A NEAR I-35 CENTRAL TX
DRYLINE...AND ALONG/SOUTH OF A SLOW NORTHWARD-RETURNING
SOUTHWEST-NORTHEAST ORIENTED FRONTAL BOUNDARY FROM THE SOUTH DFW
METRO INTO SOUTHERN AR...HAS ALREADY BECOME MODERATE TO STRONGLY
UNSTABLE IN THE PRESENCE OF LITTLE CINH. AFTER A BRIEF BOUT OF
SHORTWAVE RIDGING AT MIDDAY...THE LEADING EDGE OF AN UPPER JET
STREAK APPEARS TO HAVE REACHED THE SOUTHERN HIGH PLAINS...WITH
LIKELY-ASSOCIATED DEEP MIXED CUMULIFORM DEVELOPMENT NOW EVIDENT
ACROSS EASTERN NM/NORTHWEST TX PER VISIBLE SATELLITE IMAGERY.
INCREASING DEEP LAYER WIND FIELD ATOP THE MOIST/UNSTABLE WARM SECTOR
WILL BE HIGHLY FAVORABLE FOR SUPERCELLS WITH AN INCREASING LARGE
HAIL/TORNADO THREAT INTO THIS EVENING. STRENGTHENING LOWER
TROPOSPHERIC WINDS THIS EVENING WILL ACCENTUATE THE RISK OF STRONG
TORNADOES ESPECIALLY ACROSS THE ARKLATEX VICINITY/ADJACENT FAR
SOUTHEAST OK.

..GUYER.. 04/26/2011


ATTN...WFO...JAN...LZK...SHV...TSA...HGX...FWD...O UN...

LAT...LON 31739772 32889727 34059625 34489432 34559322 34019166
32609213 31619336 30579640 31739772
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


Why does the info from the CPC differ from the info from the ABOM?


CPC shows the 3 month running mean of SST anomalies in the Niņo 3.4 region

ABOM just shows the SOI.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Previous neutral years according to the CPC

Hurricanes that hit the USA during those years -

2008 - Dolly, Ike, Gustav
2005 - Cindy, Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Wilma
2001 - no hurricanes hit the USA.
1996 - Bertha & Fran.
1990 - no hurricanes hit the USA.
1989 - Chantal, Hugo & Jerry.


Why does the info from the CPC differ from the info from the ABOM?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FLdewey:

Hola watadawg... how did the frosty season treat you?


where have you been? I don't know what's scarier- heading into neutral, that danged too-familiar list of names- or seeing DOOMCON again.

Did you get a new kitten to replace the one you lost last year? that was so sad...
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 168 Comments: 26066
No way we're getting an El Nino this year at this rate - the SOI is at +30.1.. its actually strengthening against all odds. While the SST's in the Pacific will be neutral this year, the atmosphere will think its still a strong La Nina.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Jax82:
just a matter of time


EWW.. you can see the shear setup on that loop perfectly. In the southern half, in TX/LA, there is a general flow from south to north of lower-level clouds (stratocumulus?). In the northern half (OK and northern half of AR), you can see cirrus clouds streaming from west to east.

Put those together, and you have a large quantity of OUCH.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FtMyersgal:

Thanks for the information CybrTeddy



Seconded. :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FtMyersgal:

Geez thanks! We all remember what 2005 was like. Do you know of other Neutral years that we "normal" or at least less active for the CONUS?



Last Neutral with a semi normal season was 1999 with 12. All others to date feature 15-16.

I did not realize that CybrTeddy. I just looked at the whole year classification here.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Previous neutral years according to the CPC

Hurricanes that hit the USA during those years -

2008 - Dolly, Ike, Gustav
2005 - Cindy, Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Wilma
2001 - no hurricanes hit the USA.
1996 - Bertha & Fran.
1990 - no hurricanes hit the USA.
1989 - Chantal, Hugo & Jerry.

Thanks for the information CybrTeddy
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
m'gundin gah'a bei, Aussie.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 168 Comments: 26066
Quoting AussieStorm:
Ok,,, 4am now,,, back is still not letting up... pain-killer then bed.

Everyone, please if you in any area that is at risk of severe weather, please stick close to your radio. Also, make sure your neighbours know about the warnings especially any elderly neighbours. Please look after yourselves and your community. Today could get really messy.
Goodnight and Ingat(Tagalog for take care)



Thanks, Aussie. Hope you feel better.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
yo DJ, FLD...just not feeling too hip-hoppy right now.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 168 Comments: 26066
Ok,,, 4am now,,, back is still not letting up... pain-killer then bed.

Everyone, please if you in any area that is at risk of severe weather, please stick close to your radio. Also, make sure your neighbours know about the warnings especially any elderly neighbours. Please look after yourselves and your community. Today could get really messy.
Goodnight and Ingat(Tagalog for take care)
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15940
155. JeffMasters (Admin)
I changed the caption on the animation to:

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

Jeff
Previous neutral years according to the CPC

Hurricanes that hit the USA during those years -

2008 - Dolly, Ike, Gustav
2005 - Cindy, Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Wilma
2001 - no hurricanes hit the USA.
1996 - Bertha & Fran.
1990 - no hurricanes hit the USA.
1989 - Chantal, Hugo & Jerry.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 204 - 154

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18Blog Index

Top of Page

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.

Local Weather

Light Rain
61 °F
Light Rain