Joplin tornado toll at 116; dangerous tornado outbreak expected today

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:50 PM GMT on May 24, 2011

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Severe weather is expected again today in storm-torn Joplin, Missouri, as rescuers sift through the rubble of their town that was devastated by the deadliest U.S. tornado since at least 1947. A violent high-end EF-4 tornado with winds of 190 – 198 mph carved a 7-mile long, ¾ to one mile-wide path of near-total destruction through Joplin beginning at 5:41pm CDT Sunday evening. In nine terrifying minutes, the tornado killed at least 116 people, injured 500 more, and obliterated huge sections of the town. Damage from the tornado is so severe that pavement was ripped from the ground, and the level of damage is so extreme that this is likely to surpass last month's Tuscaloosa-Birmingham tornado as the costliest tornado of all-time.


Figure 1. Radar reflectivity image of the supercell thunderstorm that spawned the Joplin, Missouri tornado, one minute before the tornado touched down at 5:41pm CDT. There is a hook echo apparent, though not a classic well-defined one.


Figure 2. Radar-estimated rainfall for the period May 22 – 24 over the region surrounding Joplin. Rains of 1.83" fell on the city yesterday, a record for the date.

The Joplin tornado's place in history
According to our weather historian, Christopher C. Burt in his post, The World's Deadliest Tornadoes, the death toll of 116 from the Joplin tornado ranks as the deadliest U.S. tornado since at least 1947, when a violent F-5 tornado hit Woodward, Oklahoma, killing 181. However, it is now thought that the Woodward tornado was actually one of a series of tornadoes, and the tornado that hit Woodward killed 107 people. If that is true, we have to back all the way to 1936 to find the last U.S. tornado that killed more people than 2011's Joplin tornado. In 1936, violent tornadoes a day apart hit Tupelo Mississippi (216 killed), and Gainesville, Georgia (203 killed.) NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) rates this year's Joplin tornado as the 9th deadliest U.S. tornado of all-time.

This year's tornado death toll now stands at 482, making it the deadliest year for tornadoes in the U.S. since 1953, when 519 people died. That year, three heavily populated cities received direct hits by violent tornadoes. Waco, Texas (114 killed), Flint, Michigan (115 killed), and Worcester, Massachusetts (89 – 94 killed) all were hit by violent F-4 or F-5 tornadoes. A similar bad tornado year occurred in 1936, when violent tornadoes hit Tupelo Mississippi (216 killed), and Gainesville, Georgia (203 killed.)


Video 1. The last year with more tornado deaths than 2011 was 1953, when three great tornadoes killed more than 90 people each. This old newsreel video shows destruction from the first of these deadly 1953 tornadoes, the May 11, 1953 F-5 tornado that hit downtown Waco Texas, killing 114 people. The wunderground youtube channel has almost 300 old newsreel videos of historically significant weather events.

What's going on?
It's been an incredibly dangerous and deadly year for tornadoes. On April 14 - 16, we had the largest tornado outbreak in world history, with 162 tornadoes hitting the Southeast U.S. That record lasted just two weeks, when the unbelievable April 25 – 28 Super Outbreak hit. Unofficially, that outbreak had 327 tornadoes, more than double the previous record. The legendary April 3 – 4 1974 Super Outbreak has now fallen to third place, with 148 tornadoes. Damage from the April 25 – 28, 2011 outbreak was estimated to be as high as $5 billion, making it the most expensive tornado outbreak in history; the Tuscaloosa-Birmingham tornado of April 27 may end up being the most expensive tornado of all-time—until the damage from Sunday's Joplin tornado is tabulated. Officially, 875 tornadoes hit the U.S. In April 2011, making it the busiest tornado month in history. The previous record was 542 tornadoes, set in May 2003. The previous April tornado record was 267, set in 1974, and April has averaged just 161 tornadoes over the past decade.

So what's going on? Why are there so many tornadoes, and so many people getting killed? Well, the high death toll this year is partly just bad luck. Violent EF-4 and EF-5 tornadoes usually miss heavily populated areas, and we've had the misfortune of having two such tornadoes track over cities with more than 50,000 people (the Joplin tornado, and the Tuscaloosa-Birmingham EF-4 tornado in Alabama, which killed 61 people on April 27.) This sort of bad luck occurred in both 1953, when F-5 tornadoes hit Flint, Worcester, and Waco, and in 1936, when F-5s hit Tupelo and Gainesville. However, this year's death toll is more remarkable than the 1953 or 1936 death tolls, since in 2011 we have Doppler radar and a modern tornado warning system that is very good at providing an average of twelve minutes of warning time. The warning time for the Joplin tornado was 24 minutes. The first tornado warning wasn't issued until 1948, and virtually all tornadoes from the 1950s and earlier hit with no warning. On average, tornado deaths in the United States decreased from 8 per 1 million people in 1925 to 0.12 per 1 million people in 2000. Had this year's tornadoes occurred 50 years ago, I expect the death toll would have exceeded three thousand.


Figure 3. Number of strong to violent EF-3, EF-4 and EF-5 tornadoes from 1950 to 2011. There are no obvious trends in the numbers of these most dangerous of tornadoes. Image credit: NOAA/National Climatic Data Center (updated using stats for 2008 – 2011 from Wikipedia.)

Tornadoes require two main ingredients for formation—instability and wind shear. Instability is at a maximum when there is record warm air with plenty of moisture at low levels, and cold dry air aloft. April 2011 sea surface temperature in the Gulf of Mexico were at their third highest levels of the past 100 years, so there was plenty of warm, moist air available to create high instability, whenever approaching storm systems pulled the Gulf air northwards into Tornado Alley, and brought cold, dry air south from Canada. The La Niña event in the Eastern Pacific, in part, caused this spring's jet stream to have very strong winds that changed speed and direction with height. This sort of shearing force (wind shear) was ideal for putting a twist on thunderstorm updrafts, allowing more numerous and more intense tornadoes than usual to occur. Was this year's heightened wind shear and instability the result of climate change? We don't know. Over the past 30 years, there have not been any noticeable trends wind shear and instability over the Lower Mississippi Valley, according to the NOAA Climate Scene Investigations team. Furthermore, there have been no upward trend in the number of violent EF-4 and EF-5 tornadoes over the past 60 years, or in the number of EF-3 and stronger tornadoes (Figure 3.) However, this year's remarkable violent tornado activity—17 such tornadoes, with tornado season a little more than half over—brings our two-year total for the decade of 2010 – 2019 to 30. At this rate, we'll have more than 150 violent tornadoes by decade's end, beating the record of 108 set in the 1950s. In summary, this year's incredibly violent tornado season is not part of a trend. It is either a fluke, the start of a new trend, or an early warning symptom that the climate is growing unstable and is transitioning to a new, higher energy state with the potential to create unprecedented weather and climate events. All are reasonable explanations, but we don't have a long enough history of good tornado data to judge which is most likely to be correct.

More severe weather today
Yesterday, survivors of the tornado endured a 12-hour period with two severe thunderstorm warnings, a record 1.83” of rain, hail, and lightning that struck two police officers. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) recorded 11 preliminary reports of tornadoes yesterday, along with 315 reports of damaging winds and 182 reports of hail up to 3.5” in diameter. The severe weather threat is much higher today, and SPC has placed a large section of eastern Kansas and eastern Oklahoma in their "High Risk" region for severe weather potential, and warn of the potential for long-lived strong tornadoes. This is their third "High Risk" forecast for the year, and the first since the terrible April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak. That day was the busiest tornado day in world history, with 198 tornadoes occurring in a 24-hour period. Over 300 people died. The other "High Risk" forecast by SPC came during the final day of the April 14 – 16 outbreak over the Southeast U.S. Fifty-two tornadoes hit that day, and 26 people died in North Carolina and Virginia. The severe weather threat will continue into Wednesday, when additional tornadoes are likely along a swath from Arkansas to Indiana.


Figure 4. Severe weather threat for Tuesday, May 23, 2011.

Links
The most remarkable audio I've ever heard of people surviving a direct hit by a violent tornado was posted to Youtube by someone who took shelter in the walk-in storage refrigerator at a gas station during the Joplin tornado. There isn't much video.


Video 2. Video of the Joplin, Missouri tornado of May 22, 2011, entering the southwest side of town. Filmed by TornadoVideos.net Basehunters team Colt Forney, Isaac Pato, Kevin Rolfs, and Scott Peake.

Helping out tornado victims
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 Red Cross website, or portlight.org blog. Portlight has been very active bringing aid to the victims of this year's tornadoes. Below is the damage survey from the Joplin tornado:

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SPRINGFIELD MO
938 PM CDT MON MAY 23 2011

...JOPLIN TORNADO GIVEN A PRELIMINARY HIGH END EF-4 RATING...

* DATE...22 MAY 2011
* BEGIN LOCATION...APPROXIMATELY 3 MILES SOUTHWEST OF JOPLIN
* END LOCATION...1 MILE SOUTHEAST OF DUQUESNE
* ESTIMATED BEGIN TIME...541 PM
* ESTIMATED END TIME...550 PM
* MAXIMUM EF-SCALE RATING...EF-4
* ESTIMATED MAXIMUM WIND SPEED...190-198 MPH
* ESTIMATED PATH WIDTH...3/4 OF A MILE
* PATH LENGTH...7 MILES
* FATALITIES...116 REPORTED AS OF 3 PM MONDAY
* INJURIES...400 REPORTED AS OF 3 PM MONDAY
* BEGIN LAT/LON...37.06 N / 94.57 W
* END LAT/LON...37.06 N / 94.39 W

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SURVEY TEAMS RATED THE TORNADO THAT KILLED OVER 100 PEOPLE IN AND AROUND JOPLIN AS A HIGH END EF-4 TORNADO.

BASED UPON SURVEYS COMPLETED TODAY...MAXIMUM WINDS WERE ESTIMATED BETWEEN 190 AND 198 MPH. THE TORNADO HAD A MAXIMUM WIDTH OF 3/4 TO ONE MILE.

THE TORNADO INITIALLY TOUCHED DOWN AROUND 541 PM NEAR THE INTERSECTION OF COUNTRY CLUB AND 32ND STREET. ADDITIONAL SURVEYS ARE EXPECTED TO BE CONDUCTED TO FURTHER DEFINE THE STARTING POINT AND INTENSITY AT THIS LOCATION.

DAMAGE BECAME MORE WIDESPREAD AS THE TORNADO CROSSED MAIDEN LANE...CAUSING SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE TO NEARLY ALL WINDOWS ON THREE SIDES OF ST JOHNS HOSPITAL AS WELL AS TO THE ROOF. THE TORNADO FURTHER INTENSIFIED AS IT DESTROYED NUMEROUS HOMES AND BUSINESSES TO THE EAST AND NORTH OF THE HOSPITAL. THE HIGHEST RATED DAMAGE IN THIS AREA WAS TO A CHURCH SCHOOL THAT HAD ALL BUT A PORTION OF ITS EXTERIOR WALLS DESTROYED AS WELL AS TO A NURSING HOME. WINDS IN THAT AREA WERE ESTIMATED AT 160 TO 180 MPH.

THE TORNADO CONTINUED TO DESTROY OVER 100 HOMES BETWEEN 32ND AND 20TH STREETS. THREE STORY APARTMENT COMPLEXES HAD THE TOP TWO FLOORS REMOVED...OTHER TWO STORY COMPLEXES WERE PARTIALLY LEVELED.

A BANK WAS TOTALLY DESTROYED WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE VAULT.

A DILLONS GROCERY STORE ALSO HAD SIGNIFICANT ROOF AND EXTERIOR WALL DAMAGE. LASTLY...THE EXTERIOR AND INTERIOR WALLS OF A TECHNICAL SCHOOL...A MORTAR AND REBAR REINFORCED CINDER BLOCK BUILDING...FAILED.

THE TORNADO CROSSED RANGELINE ROAD NEAR 20TH STREET. THE MOST INTENSE DAMAGE WAS NOTED JUST EAST OF THIS INTERSECTION WHERE A HOME DEPOT WAS DESTROYED BY AN ESTIMATED 190 TO NEARLY 200 MPH WINDS.
IN ADDITION...THE CUMMINS BUILDING...A CONCRETE BLOCK AND HEAVY STEEL BUILDING...HAD ITS STEEL ROOF BEAMS COLLAPSE. SPORTS ACADEMY AND THE WALMART ALSO SUFFERED SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE.

THE TORNADO CONTINUED TO MOVE EASTWARD ALONG AND SOUTH OF 20TH STREET DESTROYING NUMEROUS WAREHOUSE STYLE FACILITIES AND RESIDENCES THROUGH DUQUESNE ROAD. WINDS IN THIS AREA MAY ALSO APPROACH 200 MPH.

THE TORNADO CONTINUED TO DESTROYING NUMEROUS HOMES BEFORE WEAKENING AS IT TURNED SOUTHEAST TOWARD INTERSTATE 44.

SUBSEQUENT DAMAGE SURVEYS WILL BE REQUIRED TO DETERMINE THE SCOPE OF ADDITIONAL REPORTS ALONG AND SOUTHEAST OF THE INTERSECTION OF HIGHWAY 71 AND INTERSTATE 44.

FOR REFERENCE...THE ENHANCED FUJITA SCALE CLASSIFIES TORNADOES INTO THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES:

EF0...WIND SPEEDS 65 TO 85 MPH.
EF1...WIND SPEEDS 86 TO 110 MPH.
EF2...WIND SPEEDS 111 TO 135 MPH.
EF3...WIND SPEEDS 136 TO 165 MPH.
EF4...WIND SPEEDS 166 TO 200 MPH.
EF5...WIND SPEEDS GREATER THAN 200 MPH.

Jeff Masters

May 22, 2011 (WisconsinCowboy)
Hailstones in Westfield, WI
May 22, 2011
Wall cloud (weatherfanatic2010)
wall cloud with scud clouds rising up into it that looked like a funnel but were actually not ratating with the wall cloud.
Wall cloud
Tornado? (thomasanthony)
This is a shot looking west toward Topeka Kansas, about 5 miles away, as the wall cloud came closer to my position.
Tornado?
Wall Cloud (thomasanthony)
Rotating wall cloud coming through Perry Kansas. That speck towards the top is a helicopter.
Wall Cloud
Cleora, OK Tornado (okeedoky)
Very active tornado day 5/22 was. About the same time as Joplin, MO was getting hit, we had this one come right over the Grand Lake RV park and put down some EF-3 damage on the other side of the hay field you see.
Cleora, OK Tornado

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Wakefield, VA radar

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226. Skyepony (Mod)
For someone with an Ipod or Iphone, until it automatically alerts you...if your traveling & see potentially ill weather come to WU on the Iphone site, forecast/conditions page for what ever town your near & click on the NWS weather radio button.
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Quoting skook:
any links up available to watch these storms live? chasers and or local news channels? thanks.

discovery

tornadovideos
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933
And away from all the action in the Midwest, there is a tornado warning in North Carolina:

SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BLACKSBURG VA
339 PM EDT TUE MAY 24 2011

NCC005-171-193-242000-
/O.CON.KRNK.TO.W.0056.000000T0000Z-110524T2000Z/
ALLEGHANY NC-SURRY NC-WILKES NC-
339 PM EDT TUE MAY 24 2011

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 400 PM EDT FOR
NORTHEASTERN WILKES...WESTERN SURRY AND SOUTHERN ALLEGHANY
COUNTIES...

AT 335 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR CONTINUED TO
INDICATE A TORNADO. THIS TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR HALLS MILLS...OR
NEAR MC GRADY...MOVING EAST AT 30 MPH.

LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
HALLS MILLS...
DOCKERY...
TRAPHILL...
ROARING GAP...
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Afternoon all.... the stories from Joplin are heartbreaking....

Sure hope this is the end of the terrible tornados...
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Quoting IKE:

Latest ECMWF does have a low crossing Florida @ 168 hours.....you're correct....looks to strengthen and then get pushed west and SW toward the BOC....


YEAH!!! I hope it stays together and we get some good rain here in the Keys. I am keeping everything crossed X)
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The effective layer significant tornado index bulls-eye:

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Quoting IKE:

Latest ECMWF does have a low crossing Florida @ 168 hours.....you're correct....looks to strengthen and then get pushed west and SW toward the BOC....




That high pressure does seem to be our savior sometimes. And sometimes the opposite. If there are parallels between last season and this I hope after an early gulf start we'll get the favorable steering again.
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Quoting Jax82:
These storms are forming FAST.

fast and furious hold on
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53835
217. skook
any links up available to watch these storms live? chasers and or local news channels? thanks.
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216. Jax82
These storms are forming FAST. Max radar Echo Top is 64,000 feet on the last frame.

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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
fire away light it up
Fuse is burning.
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Beginning to fire in TX, too.

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Quoting Neapolitan:
A Joplin fire department spokesperson says 1500 are still unaccounted for--though, very obviously, most of them are still alive and well, 'victims' only of the breakdown in telecommunications caused by the massive storm.

Read this earlier: on a deaths-per-capita basis, Joplin's 117 dead would be roughly equivalent to New York City losing more than 19,000 residents in a single disaster.


this just chills me...but...we have a guy there now who told me that they are hearing a fair number of cries for help from within the rubble....that was from early this morning....not sure of the current status...
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fire away light it up
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53835
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53835
A Joplin fire department spokesperson says 1500 Joplin residents are still unaccounted for--though, very obviously, most of them are still alive and well, 'victims' only of the breakdown in telecommunications caused by the massive storm.

Read this earlier: on a deaths-per-capita basis, Joplin's 117 dead would be roughly equivalent to New York City losing more than 19,000 residents in a single disaster.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13531
Water temps finally starting to heat up locally.

Conditions at SBPT2 as of
(2:06 pm CDT)
1906 GMT on 05/24/2011:
Unit of Measure: Time Zone:


5-day plot - Wind Direction Wind Direction (WDIR): S ( 180 deg true )
5-day plot - Wind Speed Wind Speed (WSPD): 14.0 kts
5-day plot - Wind Gust Wind Gust (GST): 21.0 kts
5-day plot - Atmospheric Pressure Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 29.92 in
5-day plot - Air Temperature Air Temperature (ATMP): 81.1 °F
5-day plot - Water Temperature Water Temperature (WTMP): 80.2 °F
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53835
207. IKE

Quoting AtHomeInTX:


It does seem to be trying to start right on cue. Best I could tell from following the EURO it looked to be headed for Mexico sort of like last year.

Latest ECMWF does have a low crossing Florida @ 168 hours.....you're correct....looks to strengthen and then get pushed west and SW toward the BOC....


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Quoting JeffMasters:


higher sst's can have a big difference even better with a strong rtn flow to feed systems coupled with daytime heating well picture is not hard to see and it should be a good picture today
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53835
Quoting kwgirl:
Good afternoon everyone. Forgive me for posting late, especially if someone else responded to this, but I feel that if you are in a severe weather area, and you can see what the sky looks like, that you would make it YOUR responsiblity to be sure to tune into a local station for the weather. I have satelitte TV and cannot get the local radar on TV anymore. But I do tune into the local weather stations when I know the weather will be on. Also, I get on line with the radar so I can keep track of any storm coming my way. Basically, in order to survive extreme weather, you need to be responsbile for yourself.


I agree with this. I have a 75 mile one way commute, I do for the most part listen to local radio on my commute unless listening to ipod or book on tape, but I also have a smartphone with two sources for local alerts as well as alerts in predetermined locations (i.e. work and home). When at home and there is incliment weather, I will tune to local news or weather channel, both of which provide alerts and usually have a few radar sources up to keep an eye on things, ipad, smartphone, computer and TV provide plenty of coverage to know when something is close. Bad part is we don't have a basement here so close to the Chesapeake Bay. About a month ago two tornados crossed my commute route, luckily I wasn't commuting that day or was already home, but the scar remains where all the trees were ripped up. I watched several tornado producing cells on radar and they went around us. I don't care for what's on TV there days anyway with all these lame "reality" shows and "talent contests". I also have a marine VHF handheld radio in the house that has the NOAA alerts.
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Quoting IKE:

It's about time for it to start.


It does seem to be trying to start right on cue. Best I could tell from following the EURO it looked to be headed for Mexico sort of like last year.

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Quoting JeffMasters:
SSTs in the Gulf averaged over the month of April were the 3rd highest in the past 100 years, which undoubtedly contributed to the heightened instability of the two record April outbreaks. SSTs in May will not be as anomalous.
Agreed. On both counts.
We were only talking about it as it seems that some of the media folks are carrying on that tune of high SSTs when it no longer appears to be valid.

The general impression that SST changes very little day to day is largely accurate, but most folks do not seem to appreciate what a week, or more, of moderate winds will do to SSTs.
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202. IKE
Quoting kwgirl:
So Ike, you sleep with your TV on too? In 1979 when Gov. Graham ordered the keys to evacuate, I slept with my radio on. Of course, I did not evacuate, but I remember waking up to listen to the wind( there was none) and kept the radio tuned to the local am channel. It was the same as in Andrew, the people evacuated into the storm and guess what.... ran right into it!
Yeah....for years. Every night.

They should have evacuated sooner and kept going.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53835
The last 3 days in the neighborhood of Walmart's HQ.
The water machine in the Ohio in April , has jumped the river. Picher,
Oklahoma was showing 10 inches of rain in less than 5 hours today. The
system yesterday put down 8.4 inches in 24 hrs. at Iola, Kansas. The day
before that , it rained 4.53 inches at Nimrod Dam Ark. that was one of 8
stations in Ark. that recorded new daily records with 4 or more inches.
There were 16 stations in Northern Ark. that got 3 or more inches. 19
that got 2 or more inches. This is all at the top of the Ozark water
shed, and is a hell of a lot of water.



That new record 8.4 inches at Iola, Kansas is an All-Time Record , a 96 year-old record of 6.8 inches set in 1915.

This is Australian type rainfall.



The top of the Western watershed of the Miss…..
KTVQ Billings News – ‎5 hours ago‎

BILLINGS – The flooding is causing major travel issues through many
parts of southeastern Montana. In fact, on the Crow Indian Reservation, a
large portion of Interstate-90 is closed to all through traffic.

1 dead, 1 missing in Mont. flooding KGWN

Wet and Wild: Snowmelt Contributing to Heavy Spring Runoff Snowshoe Magazine

"For the third consecutive year, the stage is set for potential
widespread, record flooding in the North Central United States," said
Jack Hayes, Ph.D., director of NOAA's National Weather Service, in a
statement last week. "All the ingredients are in place for major
flooding so this situation should be taken very seriously."
http://www.snowshoemag.com/ viewContent.cfm?content_id=929
Oklahoma -

Monday rainfall totals (in inches):

Vinita: 9.67

Ottawa: 7.94

Jay: 4.7

Webbers Falls: 3.36

South Cherokee County: 2.65

North Cherokee County: 2.54
Source: Joe Sellers, Tulsa National Weather Service

http://www.tulsaworld.com/ news/ article.aspx?subjectid=12&articleid=20110524_1 2_0_THEUHH145739
Montana -

The mountains outside Lodge Grass received 8.4 inches of rain over a
four-day period ending Sunday. Other parts of the state received from
almost 2 inches to more than 6 inches of rain.
Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/ news/ article/ Flooding-cuts-off-Montana-town-more-rain-forecast- 1392330.php#ixzz1NIQwPLYY

———-

The models call for 2 to 6 more inches in the coming days , with the rain moving West onto areas with snow pack.
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Quoting IKE:

My cable company does inform us if a watch or warning has been issued and it is loud. Even if you're asleep it will wake you up. At least me it does.
So Ike, you sleep with your TV on too? In 1979 when Gov. Graham ordered the keys to evacuate, I slept with my radio on. Of course, I did not evacuate, but I remember waking up to listen to the wind( there was none) and kept the radio tuned to the local am channel. It was the same as in Andrew, the people evacuated into the storm and guess what.... ran right into it!
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Quoting MissNadia:
It's 97.9 here in Wilmington NC....new high record for the day ... clear skies and very little wind...it is HOT


Hey, from Wilmington too..wouldnt be surprise to see some thunderstorms pop up from the seabreeze..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15288
18 UTC soundings:

OKC:

(click for full size)


DFW:

(you know...click)
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Quoting Neapolitan:
The NOAA has updated its 2011 tornado information page. Some of the main bullet points to echo and amplify what Dr. Masters wrote above:

--The average number of tornadoes for the month of May over the past decade has been 298, while the overall record was in 2004, when 542 tornadoes touched down. May 2011 has seen just a few more than 100 (though that total will surely be added to today).

--April's official tornado count is 875, beating the previous April record of 267 (1974) by 608, or 227% (and beating the 10-year average of 161 by 714, or 443%).

--That April count of 875 beats the record number of tornadoes for any month by 333.

--The tornado count for the late April mega outbreak stands for now at 362, though the number is not yet finalized, and may drop--though not much.

--The year-to-date tornado death toll is the highest ever in the NOAA-NWS official record (1950-present).

--At 116, the death toll from the Joplin tornado ties it for first place with the other deadliest single tornado in the 1950-present NOAA-NWS official record. Seven of the top ten deadliest single tornadoes in that database have occurred in the past four weeks (The Hackleburg and Tuscaloosa twisters on 4/27 were the other two).


The way NWS has sent out warnings today, you have to wonder if by tomorrow 2011 is only trailing 1925 as deadliest tornado year. Hope everyone stays safe, but it looks ominous today.
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195. IKE

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194. JeffMasters (Admin)
Quoting atmoaggie:
Yep, agreed on the thermal wind. Some of the national media types spent more time on their hair than they did doing any analysis...and it shows.

So they talk of the gulf having record SSTs, and such, and give the impression that maybe we should start hurricane season early. Most of the gulf could only very marginally sustain a TS. Parts of it, not at all.


SSTs in the Gulf averaged over the month of April were the 3rd highest in the past 100 years, which undoubtedly contributed to the heightened instability of the two record April outbreaks. SSTs in May will not be as anomalous.

Jeff Masters
Breaking the weaker cap that is in place over West-Central OK.
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192. IKE

Quoting AtHomeInTX:


Ah yes it does. I couldn't tell until I put it on the 850 vort setting. I can't see anything anymore. Time for gramma here to get some glasses.
It's about time for it to start.
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Quoting MissNadia:
It's 97.9 here in Wilmington NC....new high record for the day ... clear skies and very little wind...it is HOT


96 F here in Rocky Point...feels good.
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<
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53835
Quoting HurricaneSwirl:
Joplin tornado could cost 3 billion dollars. Add this to the list of multi-billion disasters Jeff Masters was talking about in one of his blogs earlier this month. Link


I'm sure I read on Doc Master's blog that the financial cost of the Joplin tornado would likely exceed Tuscaloosa's $5 billion.
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We should be getting our first two tornado warnings in OK within the next couple of minutes...Radar shows they are forming a hook.
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It's 97.9 here in Wilmington NC....new high record for the day ... clear skies and very little wind...it is HOT
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186. IKE

Quoting atmoaggie:
And there you have it, press. (Folks more aware of that subject than I...my TV is very rarely on.)

Maybe they just haven't implemented it in the Pressolinas, yet?
I should have added...they'll inform if it's a watch/warning for my area.
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Quoting IKE:
12Z CMC does show something crossing Florida at 126 hours....




Ah yes it does. I couldn't tell until I put it on the 850 vort setting. I can't see anything anymore. Time for gramma here to get some glasses.
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Quoting N3EG:


It's called EAS, and it's supposed to do that.
Quoting IKE:

My cable company does inform us if a watch or warning has been issued and it is loud. Even if you're asleep it will wake you up. At least me it does.
And there you have it, press. (Folks more aware of that subject than I...my TV is very rarely on.)

Maybe they just haven't implemented it in the Pressolinas, yet?
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Quoting alfabob:
Don't get why NHC gave this 0%, LLC is pretty much closed right now (although weak). Already dissipating the dry air that was inhibiting development earlier, and its in 30C waters.


The NHC gave it a near 0% because it is very unorganized, very unhealthy, and is 99.99% likely NOT to become a TD, TS, or anything else.
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182. IKE

Quoting N3EG:


It's called EAS, and it's supposed to do that.
My cable company does inform us if a watch or warning has been issued and it is loud. Even if you're asleep it will wake you up. At least me it does.
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181. N3EG
Quoting presslord:


we almost never watch local TV (sorry Chucktown)...Would it be possible for local cable providers to provide warnings, etc., on all channels?


It's called EAS, and it's supposed to do that.
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180. IKE
12Z CMC does show something crossing Florida at 126 hours....


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I'm honestly surprised that anyone would not be in favor of new autos coming with factory install stereos capable of accessing the NWS radio system and alerting on tornado warnings. For, what? Maybe $100 added to the cost of a new $30000 vehicle?

But, all opinions are valid and welcome.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Yes, at some point Darwin award winners will win.

But, if you are traveling by auto (not at home, no local TV), unaware of which of the local radio stations carry emergency alerts, many of which run the warning tone and text-audio, then carry on to the regular programming, and have no portable dedicated WX radio, how do you "tune in"? I still want a factory-installed stereo capable of alerting on the strongest local NWS radio channel squawking a tornado warning.
I can't blame you for that. I remember one summer I was driving through Ga. and the sky was soooo black, I thought for sure there would be a tornado. I pulled off the road and rented a room for the night in a motel that had the old shelter signs on it. Needless to say, there was no tornado. In fact, I don't think it even rained where I stopped. But it sure was scary looking.
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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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