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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It ain't over yet.

"Weather forecasters are watching a particularly troubling storm that is moving east and expected to hit North Alabama, East Tennessee and much of Kentucky on Wednesday, bringing lots of rain and a high probability of tornadoes.

'It's scary,' said Patrick Walsh, Tennessee Valley Authority's manager for operations analysis. 'I looked at that forecast [Monday] morning and thought it is eerily similar to the forecast last May in Middle Tennessee when the flood hit Nashville.'

Last year, Nashville's Cumberland River crested at 51.86 feet, its highest mark since 1937. Twenty-one people were killed in Tennessee, including 10 in Davidson County.

For now, TVA's Walsh and Jeff House, who works with Walsh, will watch the new storm system carefully, trying to help river flood managers know how much rain the Tennessee River and its tributaries must absorb and how much power might be needed as the system moves in and out of the utility's seven-state region."

timesfreepress
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Quoting FLdewey:
All atmospheric conditions considered yesterday wasn't too bad...


Just wait until that low moves into place with all that cold air aloft. It is going to be a crazy night in the South
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1957
Quoting Neapolitan:
To: The Southern United States
From: Mother Nature
Subj: RE: Weather
Message:
It's only April; I really don't get going in earnest until mid-May.

Sincerely,
Me

P.S. - Hurricane season starts in 34 days. Just so you know.

- - - - - - - - - -

>To: Mother Nature
>From: The Southern United States
>Subj: Weather
>Message:
>UNCLE! We've had enough!
>
>Sincerely,
>The people you've been beating senseless



I thought you said you were gonna keep these pearls...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
To: The Southern United States
From: Mother Nature
Subj: RE: Weather
Message:
It's only April; I really don't get going in earnest until mid-May.

Sincerely,
Me

P.S. - Hurricane season starts in 34 days. Just so you know.

- - - - - - - - - -

>To: Mother Nature
>From: The Southern United States
>Subj: Weather
>Message:
>UNCLE! We've had enough!
>
>Sincerely,
>The people you've been beating senseless

Quoting jeffs713:
To: Mother Nature
From: The Southern United States
Subj: Weather
Message:
UNCLE! We've had enough!

Sincerely,
The people you've been beating senseless
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Quoting IKE:

It's either rained a lot there or the men's toilet is stopped up and over-flowed.

both. The ironic thing this is off River Road
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1957
Hi Morning, understatement to say AL cannot catch a break. Approaching critical mass there.

By the way, please note that "deregulation" does not usually mean better public safety.
Appears whistle blower at Fukushima plant a couple of years ago was subsequently banned from the industry:
Link

When government and business get too cozy, guess who loses?
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To: Mother Nature
From: The Southern United States
Subj: Weather
Message:
UNCLE! We've had enough!

Sincerely,
The people you've been beating senseless
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting stormpetrol:

Wish we could get some here in The Caymans, its been dry as the Sahara here :(
I noticed that..It might be a while..The Caribbean is showing signs of change..
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UPDATE: Widespread damage reported in Murfreesboro

Reports of damage to Murfreesboro from a possible tornado this morning continue to come in... In addition to homes damaged in the Thompson Lane/Haynes Drive area, a Kangaroo station on John Rice Boulevard near Sam's and the Taco Bell on Memorial Boulevard have sustained damage. Main Street at University Street and Highland Avenue are blocked or partially blocked. There are reports of debris throughout the downtown area. The Daily News Journal has sustained some damage to its roof. DNJ photographers are in the field at this hour and will be posting images from the damage later this morning. Check back here for more on this developing story.
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1957
Oh, I really gotta stop casting my pearls before the swine; it's a waste of good pearls, and the swine aren't capable of appreciating them... ;-)

Things are still hot and dry here in SW Florida. According to the NWS, our 10/1-4/26 rainfall should be 15.05", while our 1/1-4/26 rainfall should be 7.93". Instead, however, we're looking at just 5.01" and 2.9", respectively. We did get a very nice shower two days ago, but yesterday's storms stayed well east over the Everglades, pushed that way by the dominant southwesterly flow. Heat-wise, our average should be about 85 this time of year, but we've been around 90 nearly every day for three weeks now, with several daily record highs put into the mix.

Toasty.

Speaking of: for April so far, the U.S. has seen 4,956 record daily high or high minimum temps (3,320 of them new), and 1,665 record daily lows or low maximums (1,075 new). For the year, the numbers are 12,226 highs (8,288 new) and 8,189 lows (6,002 new).


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742. IKE

Quoting emcf30:


Louisville, Ky
It's either rained a lot there or the men's toilet is stopped up and over-flowed.
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Louisville, Ky
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1957
Anyone heading to KSC for the launch on Friday?
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24579
739. IKE

Quoting aquak9:
hi ike! where ya been hiding? haven't seen ya for a coupla days.
Hey. I've been around or lurking.
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Goodmorning, Is most of the severe weather going to stay N of Mobile today and tonight?
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hi ike! where ya been hiding? haven't seen ya for a coupla days.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 178 Comments: 26675
Quoting RastaSteve:


Amazing to see severe wx extend in Canada in April! Is this uncommon Keeper because you always here about it being fairly cool up there this time of year?
our season normally don't start till may 15 ends sept 15 so ya we are about 20 days ahead on this one
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Quoting hydrus:
Dang we just got pounded..Heaviest rain I have seen yet here in mid TN..More coming with a high risk.

Wish we could get some here in The Caymans, its been dry as the Sahara here :(
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733. IKE

Quoting RastaSteve:


Good morning IKE! How are you today?
Doing fine.

75.9 outside my 2nd story window. Mostly cloudy.
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my area forecast

Special weather statement issued for..
City of Toronto
Windsor - Essex - Chatham-Kent
Sarnia - Lambton
Elgin
London - Middlesex
Simcoe - Delhi - Norfolk
Dunnville - Caledonia - Haldimand
Oxford - Brant
Niagara
City of Hamilton
Halton - Peel
York - Durham
Huron - Perth
Waterloo - Wellington
Dufferin - Innisfil
Grey - Bruce
Barrie - Orillia - Midland
Belleville - Quinte - Northumberland
Kingston - Prince Edward
Peterborough - Kawartha Lakes
Stirling - Tweed - South Frontenac
Bancroft - Bon Echo Park
Brockville - Leeds and Grenville
City of Ottawa
Gatineau
Prescott and Russell
Cornwall - Morrisburg
Smiths Falls - Lanark - Sharbot Lake
Parry Sound - Muskoka
Haliburton
Renfrew - Pembroke - Barry's Bay
Algonquin
Burk's Falls - Bayfield Inlet.

..Occasional showers and thunderstorms today and tonight.. ..Dense
Fog around Lake Ontario this morning..
------------------------------------------------- --------------------
==discussion==
A complex area of low pressure systems continues to track
northeastwards into the Central Great Lakes today. Rainfall amounts
over the past few days have been highly variable, with a few regions
seeing as much as 30 millimetres of rain thus far. An area of
showers and possible thunderstorms is expected to move into Southern
Ontario beginning early this morning and spread to remaining regions
during the day. Most regions will see an additional 10 to 20
millimetres of rain today and tonight, but over Eastern Ontario,
amounts of up to 30 millimetres are possible. Locally higher amounts
are possible in regions that see several thunderstorms. There is
also a threat of severe thunderstorms today and tonight.

In addition..Extensive fog is occurring around Lake Ontario this
morning. Very low visibilities down to near zero have been reported.
The fog should lift later this morning.

The low pressure system will move into Quebec on Thursday bringing an
end to the significant rainfall.

Environment Canada will continue to monitor the intensity and track
of the system and watches and warnings may be issued as the situation
warrants.

END/OSPC
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Dang we just got pounded..Heaviest rain I have seen yet here in mid TN..More coming with a high risk.
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DAY 3 ALL CLEAR

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Quoting RastaSteve:
Even strong to severe tunderstorms for C and N FL tomorrow but nothing like what will happen today. I do think that at some point tomorrow afternoon a severe thunderstorm watch could be issued for Tampa to Orlando north. The good news is that radar simulations are spitting 1" to 2" in many areas across the orlando area for tomorrow.
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Quoting Neapolitan:

Yes, northern hemisphere cyclones by definition always spin counterclockwise--so the antonymic term anti-cyclone was developed to denote northern hemisphere storms that spin clockwise. But I bet you already knew that... ;-)

There has been anti-cyclonic tornado's before. I read about them. i'll find the link for ya's.

Update.....
1980 Grand Island tornado outbreak
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724. IKE
More drama this morning on here. Woohoo!
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718. MahFL
It looks like the eye of a huricane.
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Quoting cat5hurricane:

C'mon Neo. Does the toilet water in your apt ever spin the other way after a good flush? It doesn't work that way. Northern hemisphere storms/cyclones always spin counterclockwise.

Yes, northern hemisphere cyclones by definition always spin counterclockwise--so the antonymic term anti-cyclone was developed to denote northern hemisphere storms that spin clockwise. But I bet you already knew that... ;-)
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Thant storm has one heck of a rotation with it. Hope every one in its path is hunkered down
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1957
628 AM CDT WED APR 27 2011

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 700 AM CDT FOR MARSHALL
COUNTY...

AT 625 AM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR CONTINUED TO
INDICATE A TORNADO. THIS TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR HYATT...OR ABOUT 7
MILES SOUTHWEST OF GUNTERSVILLE...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 60 MPH.

OTHER LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO
ALBERTVILLE...HUSTLEVILLE AND COLUMBUS CITY.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15979
MORGAN AL-CULLMAN AL-MARSHALL AL-
633 AM CDT WED APR 27 2011

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 645 AM CDT FOR WEST
CENTRAL MARSHALL...NORTHEASTERN CULLMAN AND SOUTHEASTERN MORGAN
COUNTIES...

AT 630 AM CDT...THE PUBLIC REPORTED TWO BARNS BLOWN DOWN NEAR HOLLY
POND.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15979
FRANKLIN TN-
634 AM CDT WED APR 27 2011

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 645 AM CDT FOR NORTH
CENTRAL FRANKLIN COUNTY...

AT 630 AM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR CONTINUED TO
INDICATE A TORNADO. THIS TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR WOODS RESERVOIR...
OR ABOUT 9 MILES NORTHEAST OF WINCHESTER...MOVING EAST AT 45 MPH.

OTHER LOCATIONS IN THE PATH INCLUDE OAK GROVE AND ALTO.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15979
TORNADO WARNING FOR...
SOUTHEASTERN MADISON COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL ALABAMA...
SOUTHWESTERN JACKSON COUNTY IN NORTHEAST ALABAMA...
NORTHERN MARSHALL COUNTY IN NORTHEAST ALABAMA...

* UNTIL 700 AM CDT

* AT 630 AM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR WAS TRACKING
MULTIPLE TORNADIC CIRCULATIONS NEAR GUNTERSVILLE AND UNION
GROVE...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 60 MPH. THIS STORM HAS A HISTORY OF
PRODUCING DAMAGE WITH WALL CLOUDS CURRENTLY REPORTED NEAR ARAB.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15979
WSI Predicts 15 Named Storms, 8 Hurricanes for Atlantic Season



Excerpt:

Weather Services International reduced its 2011 Atlantic hurricane forecast to 15 named storms from 17, while predicting the chances are high that a storm will strike the U.S.

WSI, based in Andover, Massachusetts, said today that eight of the storms will probably become hurricanes, with winds of at least 74 mph (119 kph), and three will become major cyclones of Category 3 or higher on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale.

In December, WSI called for 17 named storms, nine of them hurricanes and five of those major systems. A storm receives a name when winds hit 39 mph.

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Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1957


BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HUNTSVILLE AL
609 AM CDT WED APR 27 2011

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN HUNTSVILLE HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
NORTHEASTERN CULLMAN COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL ALABAMA...
SOUTHEASTERN MORGAN COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL ALABAMA...
WEST CENTRAL MARSHALL COUNTY IN NORTHEAST ALABAMA...

* UNTIL 645 AM CDT

* AT 606 AM CDT...TRAINED WEATHER SPOTTERS REPORTED DAMAGE
ASSOCIATED WITH A POSSIBLE TORNADO NEAR CULLMAN...MOVING NORTHEAST
AT 70 MPH.

* LOCATIONS NEAR THE PATH OF THIS TORNADO INCLUDE...
HULACO.
RYAN CROSSROADS.
MORGAN CITY

Tornado reported going thru Cullam with reports of people trapped in collapsed buildings

Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1957
704. IKE
My forecast...Florida panhandle.....

Today: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly
after 1pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 87. Windy, with a south wind
10 to 15 mph increasing to between 20 and 25 mph. Winds could gust as
high as 35 mph.

Tonight: Showers and thunderstorms likely.
Some storms could be severe, with hail and damaging winds. Mostly
cloudy, with a low around 71. South wind 5 to 15 mph becoming west
northwest. Winds could gust as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation
is 70%. New rainfall amounts between a half and three quarters of an
inch possible.

Thursday: Rain and thunderstorms likely
before 7am, then a slight chance of rain between 7am and noon. Mostly
cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 81. North
northwest wind between 5 and 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher
amounts possible in thunderstorms.
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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.

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