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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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: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23627
153. Jax82
just a matter of time

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Quoting Skyepony:
Over 29,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in Colombia due to massive floods triggered by torrential rains, the Colombian Red Cross (CRC) said. "The situation remains difficult" as rain continues to fall in 24 of Colombia's 32 provinces, CRC official Cesar Uruena said. The worst affected are people living in the basins of Colombia's two most important rivers - the Magdalena and the Cauca, he said. In La Dorada town on the banks of the Magdalena, 4,200 families have fled. Another 1,700 families were evacuated in Puerto Boyaca town. The level of the Magdalena rose after dam operators began releasing water from a rain-swollen reservoir near the southwestern city of Neiva. "We have had more than a year of daily rains," the CRC official said.



Rain every day for more than a year!? Is this a mistranslation? That can't be right... can it?
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the little upside-down purple triangles are bad, shadoclown.

That's all you need to know.
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148. Skyepony (Mod)
Baha~ With the strength this La Nina had the South American flooding was expected. Same thing happened in 2008.
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Quoting FLdewey:

Try again... :-p


Link

Not sure why it didn't take the first time. Seems fine now.
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:
My DoomCon statement for the day.

The last time we tracked a neutral hurricane season was 2005.


2009 *El Ni%uFFFDo -3.87 * see documentation
2008 La Ni%uFFFDa 10.15
2007 *La Ni%uFFFDa 3.35 * see documentation
2006 El Ni%uFFFDo -8.68
2005 Neutral 1.45


Obviously 2010 was La Nina


Actually - according to this 2008 was a neutral year during the hurricane season. La Nina collapsed in May.
Link
-0.6
-0.4
-0.1
0.0
0.0
0.0
-0.3
-0.6
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23627
Quoting Skyepony:
Plume forecast looks bad for the north 1/2..


That does look bad. :(

Thanks for the graphic, Skye.
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Quoting FLdewey:

MMmmm yes and no. There are Algorithms that determine the likelihood of hail. Storm height is a big factor. A 12,000 feet high storm banging out 70dbz might not contain hail, while a supercell ringing in at 55,000 feet at 55dbz might be 75% hail.

I are no scientist but my experience shows dbz isn't the only factor in play.

Heck at 70dbz you can call it a debris ball. ;-)


Thanks for answering my novice questons.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Here's a nice multi-output quartet of last night's big one:

Click for larger image:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image.
Lower left looks like a mini-hurricane. Obvious difference being scale...

Quoting Minnemike:
i had checked it out to see if old WU was my problem, and noticed those new features :)

gonna keep using 'classic' though..
On my other laptop I'm using classic for blogs and www for everything else. For some reason I can't get the blogs to load the way I want with the older program I'm using there.

Quoting shadoclown45:


:( Feelings can be damaged too.
Think the boo was 4 the storms, not 4 u... don't take it too personal...

@Skyepony.... any thoughts on relationship between the SA flooding and the continued la nina?
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:
My DoomCon statement for the day.

The last time we tracked a neutral hurricane season was 2005.


2009 *El Niño -3.87 * see documentation
2008 La Niña 10.15
2007 *La Niña 3.35 * see documentation
2006 El Niño -8.68
2005 Neutral 1.45

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?
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137. Skyepony (Mod)
Plume forecast looks bad for the north 1/2..
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Levee breaches occurring:

Link
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Blog update! Hope everyone enjoys!
April ending as the signs of the season become more evident 4/25/11
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23627
Quoting FLdewey:
I had a dog named mukluk once...


LOL Just love sayin' that word...
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132. Skyepony (Mod)
OK~ In Adair County, the National Weather Service is reporting catastrophic flooding. A civil emergency was declared for the county. School is not in session tomorrow for Stilwell Public Schools, Westville Public Schools and Skelly Public Schools in Adair County. Rocky Mountain Schools will be in session but busses will not be running their morning routes. With so many roads flooding, officials are encouraging all residents to just stay home. "I've been here 25 years and we've had lots and lots of rain but not like this, the constant rain, and not where we're having the flooding like we're having," said Stilwell Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Bill Roedenbeck. "This is most flooding Stilwell has ever seen. I've known people that lived here 50 years and they've never seen anything like this," said resident James Stockton. It's safe to say the flood waters are not a common sight in Stilwell. According to officials, only one elderly woman had to be evacuated, but many residents plan to wait it out. There have been no significant damage reports. The Civil Emergency means residents are being asked to get to a safe place and avoid travel. "When they get home, stay home, so many of the bridges are flooding, we've got so many low water slabs in Adair County, everyone of them is under water," said Roedenbeck. Portions of roads in Stilwell were closed and then re-opened, along with stretches of Highway 59 and 62. The water levels keep changing. It's too soon to tell if Stilwell is out of the woods just yet. "The water is trying to recede but if it keeps raining it's still gonna go up," said Stockton. The Red Cross has opened a shelter for residents in Adair County at the high school activity center.
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128. Skyepony (Mod)
Some sort of power outage in TX..

Situation Update No. 1
On 26.04.2011 at 12:08 GMT+2

The Houston Chronicle is reporting; An automated shelter-in-place alert was issued and a Level 3 emergency was declared around 11 p.m. Monday after the Texas City BP Plant lost power, The Daily News of Galveston County is reporting on its website. Because of the power outage, BP is flaring to burn off excess product. At least nine large flares could be seen from Interstate 45 and the Texas City Wye.


& TN.

High winds and strong storms caused massive power outages throughout the East Tennessee area on Monday. Patients at UT Medical Center are being diverted to other regional hospitals after a power outage in the building. As of 10:30 p.m., officials are no longer diverting trauma patients, but they are still diverting other patients. There is minimal damage to the building itself, but the hospital was previously operating on emergency power. As of 10:57 p.m. all of the power is back at UT Medical Center. According to KUB's website as of 8:59 p.m., over 44,000 people were without power. By 9:15 p.m. more than 27,000 were without power. According to a KUB release, large numbers of wires are reported to be on the ground. Officials encourage customers to stay away from power lines as some could be live. Officials with KUB expect power restoration efforts to continue into Tuesday morning.Workers will first try to restore the critical communication systems such as waste water stations, hospitals and other stations followed by transmission lines. According to Lenoir City Utilities Board close to as of 9:50 p.m. on Monday, 500 customers in their area are without power. Lightning struck the office and the phones are out. However, workers know where the outages are and are working to restore the power.
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Quoting FLdewey:


They don't take rainfall into account... that doesn't trigger a severe warning. Only hail of 1" and or winds of 58mph can set that off.

Gov'ment criteria must be met! ;-)


But arn't you more likely to have hail 1" in diameter in a storm with reflectivity of 70 dbz than one with 55 dbz?
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Quoting DestinJeff:


DOOMCON HQ is dreadfully underfunded. Many cutbacks have taken place, which I will address after I get back from vacation on the shores of Lake Michigan.



A tad chilly there yet. Bring your mukluks and some warm coats. :)
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My DoomCon statement for the day.

The last time we tracked a neutral hurricane season was 2005.


2009 *El Nio -3.87 * see documentation
2008 La Nia 10.15
2007 *La Nia 3.35 * see documentation
2006 El Nio -8.68
2005 Neutral 1.45


Obviously 2010 was La Nina
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122. Skyepony (Mod)
Situation Update No. 2
On 25.04.2011 at 03:01 GMT+2

At least 12 people have been killed in southern Brazil after heavy rains triggered landslides and floods, reported Sunday. According to Civil defense officials, torrential rains have affected nearly 36,500 people in ten cities in recent days. Since the beginning of the month, 23 municipalities have already declared a state of emergency, while 27 towns are in state care. Seven people died early Saturday after a mudslide buried homes in Igrejinha, where authorities continue searching for missing people. In the state of Rio Grande do Sul, three children were also buried after a mudslide hit their home. The other two deaths include a man, who was electrocuted by toppled power lines, and a farmer, who was killed after a warehouse collapsed on him. According to the National Meteorological Institute, although the torrential rains and winds of up to 74 kph (46 mph) have stopped, heavy rains could continue.
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AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION...UPDATED
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PEACHTREE CITY GA
1242 PM EDT TUE APR 26 2011


.UPDATE...
QUICK UPDATE TO TWEAK CURRENT TRENDS AND UPDATE FCST TIMING FOR
TONIGHT THRU THURSDAY. 12Z MODEL RUNS STILL INDICATE SIGNIFICANT
SEVERE WEATHER MOSTLY FOR WED NIGHT. SIG TOR PARAMETER /STP/
VALUES ARE THE HIGHEST I PERSONALLY HAVE EVER SEEN FROM THE GFS OR
NAM WITH VALUES OF 15 TO 20 PROGGED FOR ERN MS/NRN AL/CENTRAL TN 18
TO 21Z WED. RECALL THAT STP COMBINES MLCAPE..0 TO 1 KM SHEAR AND
LCL. VALUES GREATER THAN 1.0 INDICATE TORNADOES ARE POSSIBLE AND
VALUES GREATER THAN 3.0 INDICATE TORNADOES LIKELY. THESE ARE OFF
THE CHART GUYS. THE HIGHEST OBSERVED VALUES OF STP I HAVE SEEN ARE
14 FOR THE APR 2010 YAZOO CITY OUTBREAK AND 16 FOR THE MAY 10 2010
CENTRAL OK OUTBREAK. WE CAN TAKE SOME COMFORT FOR GA THAT STP IS
PROGGED TO DROP SOME BY THE TIME THE STORMS GET TO NW GA AROUND
00Z BUT...UNFORTUNATELY... WERE STILL TALKING ABOUT VALUES OF 8 TO
11 IN NORTH GA AND EVEN 6 TO 10 IN MIDDLE GEORGIA AFTER MIDNIGHT.
WE REALLY NEED TO BE PREPARED FOR THIS. MORE ON THE REST OF THE
FCST AROUND 4PM.

SNELSON

Oh my, values of 15 - 20.
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933
120. Skyepony (Mod)
Over 29,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in Colombia due to massive floods triggered by torrential rains, the Colombian Red Cross (CRC) said. "The situation remains difficult" as rain continues to fall in 24 of Colombia's 32 provinces, CRC official Cesar Uruena said. The worst affected are people living in the basins of Colombia's two most important rivers - the Magdalena and the Cauca, he said. In La Dorada town on the banks of the Magdalena, 4,200 families have fled. Another 1,700 families were evacuated in Puerto Boyaca town. The level of the Magdalena rose after dam operators began releasing water from a rain-swollen reservoir near the southwestern city of Neiva. "We have had more than a year of daily rains," the CRC official said.
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Just a question why do they put a warning on a storm with reflectivity of 55 dbz and not a storm with 65-70 dbz what is their reason behind this?
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Quoting emcf30:
For those who did not see this earlier. Cool 3D radar image of the Vilonia, Ar tornado



Nice where did you get that from? Link plz Thanks.
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Quoting FLdewey:

Beans and Nachos brother!


Back at ya, brother. :)
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Quoting RastaSteve:
THe squall line is behind these supercells as you can see the warnings on them behind the tornado in Vilonia.

http://ryansmorningblog.blogspot.com/2011/04/vilo nia-radar-images.html


I would have to agree. I was watching it unfold on TV yesterday evening and I believe the image provided is the comma head on the northern end of the squall line w/bow echo that moved through after the supercell.
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Quoting shadoclown45:


:( Feelings can be damaged too.

I would not applaud a warning of any kind. sorry if i hurt your feelings.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932


Quoting FLdewey:
DOOMCON cannot officially be used until the season... paperwork has to be filed, shower curtains have to be hung, chickens fed, etc.

Runs like a Guv`ment op


Then what about this?
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23627
For those who did not see this earlier. Cool 3D radar image of the Vilonia, Ar tornado

Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933
Quoting alfabob:

Check out the 26C depth though; looks like a lot of heat is escaping the Caribbean or is being vertically mixed more than last year:



The heat content of the water is just naturally less because we're in the 2nd year of a La Nina. The heat content is always less.
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Quoting AussieStorm:

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO


:( Feelings can be damaged too.
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Quoting FLdewey:
DOOMCON cannot officially be used until the season... paperwork has to be filed, shower curtains have to be hung, chickens fed, etc.

Runs like a Guv`ment op



Hey there, Big D! :)
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Quoting Skyepony:


Since New WU rolled out the whole tornado page has been reworked. Each tornado has reports, pictures, radar & links to youtube videos of it. Pretty awesome. Old WU like all the other many past versions of WU is no longer being updated with really cool new weather tools.

The hurricane history pages has all sorts of links to footage, radar, sat passes & stuff too.

Looks like there were 2 tornadoes pretty near each other. Perhaps that's the root of the radar dispute..
i had checked it out to see if old WU was my problem, and noticed those new features :)

gonna keep using 'classic' though..
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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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