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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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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The tornado damage is unbelievable. I hope it will all be over soon. I don't know that much about tornadoes but if there is a season I hope it will soon be over. Of the up-coming tropical season I still hope it will be a snooze fest. But for the first time the models have my attention. This one anyway. This is the second run the Euro has showed Something in the GOM. And not two weeks away. As always we'll see. Haven't seen it on anther model yet.

Link
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Quoting nocaneindy:


I agree with you totally. Twice I've been caught on the interstate in bad storms, totally unaware (until after the fact) that I was way to close to tornadoes. With all the technology present today, it does indeed seem what you propose could easily be had.

Here's to hoping that today's high risk event turns out to be less severe than expected!
Yep. After one harrowing drive in a thunderstorm on an interstate away from home, I pulled over long enough to get out the radar on my phone...oh look a severe t-storm warning with 70 mph winds. No wonder.
Would have gladly pulled over before rather than after. No, there wasn't any clear indication that it would be any different than your average summer t-storm.

The only alternative was to check the radar, etc. on the phone while driving. Or pull over at every indication of a possible storm (who does that? Crazy people, that's who). The radar-on-phone bit might be better than the driving novel-readers, but not by much.
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Any links to live tv coverage?
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Wow! Almost 90 degree difference from relative storm motion to direction of convection coming off the top of those storms.

Link


Zoom in on SW OK.
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Yes, now it's really starting at several places. Hoping the best for the folks over there!
http://www.tornadovideos.net/full-screen-chaser-v ideo.php
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172. IKE

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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.


Very well said but I think there are still a lot of people who don`t realize how much information they have available to them.
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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?

Here in Trinidad (smaller place, less Severe Weather, population 1.5m) the cell-phone providers have recently introduced text-alerts for all users, with assistance/encouragement from the local Authorities.
It works very well...
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 25653
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?
Probably, but I dunno. Certainly would require some changes on their end.
Limiting them by locality would take work, too, I think. Most of their programming is regional, right?

And the satellite TV providers would have an impossible task to do this, I think.
(But I don't really know what I am talking about on this.)
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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 agree with you totally. Twice I've been caught on the interstate in bad storms, totally unaware (until after the fact) that I was way to close to tornadoes. With all the technology present today, it does indeed seem what you propose could easily be had.

Here's to hoping that today's high risk event turns out to be less severe than expected!
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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).
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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.


we almost never watch local TV (sorry Chucktown)...Would it be possible for local cable providers to provide warnings, etc., on all channels?
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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.
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.
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first two cells popping up in danger zone... just baby storms in SW OK for now, imagine in 20-30 min they'll be well on their way to monstrous.
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First thunderstorm cell forming in high risk area.

MARK 36.395 -99.251 19 miles WSW of Clinton OK.
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Quoting DocNDswamp:
Yep CV, we see an occasional burst now and again, but largely the subtropical jet has been absent IMHO while the polar jet has continued quite stronger, perhaps digging a bit farther S than typical, at the least the lengthy, surprisingly strong jet streaks embedded...

I haven't had time yet to analyze the May pattern in great detail to compare, but seems some persistence to what I had posted a month ago on the northern branch's contribution, both to the Midwest / MS-OH valley deluge and the severe S tier outbreaks with the April observations -

"It's been unusually persistent in sweeping across the CONUS in a broad zonal, and generally continuous configuration this April - with some tendency to dig strongly farther south, especially over past two weeks... Interesting to note we've seen little of a subtropical jet (other than an occasional streak like what appeared along 25N during Invest 91L)... A comparison of the jet stream (300 mb analysis) this April to recent years from the SFSU Archive shows notable differences - particularly the remarkable continuity... The SFSU archive only goes back to last 3 days Apr of 2007, but to my eyes April 2011 has had a more prominent N jet stream branch as described above than in Aprils of 2008-2010, using the "build animation" feature to compare (used 7 day length)... "


Any clue to what all that means and why it is happening?
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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
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Yep CV, we see an occasional burst now and again, but largely the subtropical jet has been absent IMHO while the polar jet has continued quite stronger, perhaps digging a bit farther S than typical, at the least the lengthy, surprisingly strong jet streaks embedded...

I haven't had time yet to analyze the May pattern in great detail to compare, but seems some persistence to what I had posted a month ago on the northern branch's contribution, both to the Midwest / MS-OH valley deluge and the severe S tier outbreaks with the April observations -

"It's been unusually persistent in sweeping across the CONUS in a broad zonal, and generally continuous configuration this April - with some tendency to dig strongly farther south, especially over past two weeks... Interesting to note we've seen little of a subtropical jet (other than an occasional streak like what appeared along 25N during Invest 91L)... A comparison of the jet stream (300 mb analysis) this April to recent years from the SFSU Archive shows notable differences - particularly the remarkable continuity... The SFSU archive only goes back to last 3 days Apr of 2007, but to my eyes April 2011 has had a more prominent N jet stream branch as described above than in Aprils of 2008-2010, using the "build animation" feature to compare (used 7 day length)... "
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92L has "wrong-way"ed from 31.7n57.0w to 27.8n54.4w : ie traveled southward and eastward.
Landfall in the CapeVerdes in a couple of weeks ;-D
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Second time ever that I've seen the tornado probabilities go up to 45%. The only other day was the day of the Tuscaloosa tornado. Really, really bad situation for Oklahoma/Texas/Kansas. Pray for a miracle that involves no lives being lost today.
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Small to moderate hail on I-80 just west of Laramie, WY according to a phone call from a friend.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Joplin:

Click for larger image:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image.


Click for larger image:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image.


Good Lord!!
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Quoting alfabob:

Which is being caused due to excessive heat rising to the polar region, creating high pressure, and forcing cool air down on CONUS. While at the same time this excessive heat/moisture is also mixing with it. Transitions between seasons should become more severe, but shorter in duration as the supply of cool air becomes relatively less (but the thermal gradient may still increase due to higher equator SST).


Sorry I don't believe this at all: last spring was record warm, and a weak tornado season as the atmosphere was more barotropic. This season the La Nina kept the north cool and the south above normal (aka drought). Thus more wind shear from thermal wind.

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Quoting atmoaggie:
One thing I find sorely lacking is car radios capable of getting the NWS radio feed.

How easy would it be to have a car radio with the built in functionality of recognizing the strongest NWS radio signal, regardless of location, and automatically going to that in the event of a severe t-storm warning or tornado warning? With all of the other technology in car stereos presently, this likely would cost very little to add on to new designs.

With so many folks now listening to media devices or satellite radio through their car stereo and no longer getting any local notification of severe weather events, this notion makes even more sense. If you are driving and listening to the Pod through the car stereo, you are probably oblivious to severe weather warnings.
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.
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Joplin:

Click for larger image:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image.


Click for larger image:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image.
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Easier to see in this day 5 image from the GFS.

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Quoting Tazmanian:



plzs see post 139 your a little late


POOF
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Quoting LS1redline:
Not surprised....first PDS watch out:

URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
TORNADO WATCH NUMBER 356
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1250 PM CDT TUE MAY 24 2011

THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A
TORNADO WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF

WESTERN AND CENTRAL OKLAHOMA
NORTHWEST AND NORTH-CENTRAL TEXAS

EFFECTIVE THIS TUESDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING FROM 1250 PM UNTIL
1000 PM CDT.

...THIS IS A PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION...

DESTRUCTIVE TORNADOES...LARGE HAIL TO 3 INCHES IN DIAMETER...
THUNDERSTORM WIND GUSTS TO 70 MPH...AND DANGEROUS LIGHTNING ARE
POSSIBLE IN THESE AREAS.

THE TORNADO WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 85 STATUTE
MILES EAST AND WEST OF A LINE FROM 45 MILES WEST NORTHWEST OF
PONCA CITY OKLAHOMA TO 25 MILES SOUTH SOUTHWEST OF FORT WORTH
TEXAS. FOR A COMPLETE DEPICTION OF THE WATCH SEE THE ASSOCIATED
WATCH OUTLINE UPDATE (WOUS64 KWNS WOU6).

REMEMBER...A TORNADO WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR
TORNADOES AND SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH
AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR
THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS
AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS.



plzs see post 139 your a little late
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Good catch. That it is. (right? second guessing myself for some reason.)


That is the mid-latitude jet, your correct. At the end of the loop you can see the Sub-Tropical jet reveal itself as the Mid-latitude jet retreats north. They are right on top of each other currently, I should have been more clear. Tough to see in this image.

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Quoting floodzonenc:
Thanks, Pcola Dan!

Also, thanks to all for posting those SSTs for the Gulf. I had no idea how "normal" they were, given how high they had been last year.

Maybe we can continue to keep the canes away for another season (but it seems unlikely).
Exceedingly unlikely.
And, as to hurricane season, the current Gulf SST means very little. It will warm enough to support major TCs, no matter what. (Doesn't mean we will have majors in the gulf...maybe, maybe not. *shrug*)
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Tornado warning issued in TN..
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Not de-invested. yet:

BEGIN
NHC_ATCF
invest_al922011.invest
FSTDA
R
U
040
010
0000
201105241808
NONE
NOTIFY=ATRP
END
INVEST, AL, L, , , , , 92, 2011, DB, O, 2011052312, 9999999999, , , , , , METWATCH, , AL922011
AL, 92, 2011052312, , BEST, 0, 317N, 570W, 20, 1009, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1013, 175, 90, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
AL, 92, 2011052318, , BEST, 0, 306N, 566W, 25, 1008, LO, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1013, 175, 90, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, M,
AL, 92, 2011052400, , BEST, 0, 298N, 562W, 25, 1008, LO, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1013, 250, 90, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, M,
AL, 92, 2011052406, , BEST, 0, 290N, 556W, 25, 1008, LO, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 92, 2011052412, , BEST, 0, 282N, 550W, 25, 1008, LO, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1011, 175, 90, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
AL, 92, 2011052418, , BEST, 0, 278N, 544W, 25, 1008, LO, 34, NEQ, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1011, 175, 90, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
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Not surprised....first PDS watch out:

URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
TORNADO WATCH NUMBER 356
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1250 PM CDT TUE MAY 24 2011

THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A
TORNADO WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF

WESTERN AND CENTRAL OKLAHOMA
NORTHWEST AND NORTH-CENTRAL TEXAS

EFFECTIVE THIS TUESDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING FROM 1250 PM UNTIL
1000 PM CDT.

...THIS IS A PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION...

DESTRUCTIVE TORNADOES...LARGE HAIL TO 3 INCHES IN DIAMETER...
THUNDERSTORM WIND GUSTS TO 70 MPH...AND DANGEROUS LIGHTNING ARE
POSSIBLE IN THESE AREAS.

THE TORNADO WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 85 STATUTE
MILES EAST AND WEST OF A LINE FROM 45 MILES WEST NORTHWEST OF
PONCA CITY OKLAHOMA TO 25 MILES SOUTH SOUTHWEST OF FORT WORTH
TEXAS. FOR A COMPLETE DEPICTION OF THE WATCH SEE THE ASSOCIATED
WATCH OUTLINE UPDATE (WOUS64 KWNS WOU6).

REMEMBER...A TORNADO WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR
TORNADOES AND SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH
AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR
THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS
AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS.
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Seeing the prognostication of N TX having more action from this system today than SE Kansas come to fruition.
That is NOT to say that SE KS will not get tornadoes, extreme tornadoes, nor a Joplin-esque experience. Just that the ingredients show a higher probability for tornadoes in N TX than SE KS.
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30 VAstorms "One description was of a father and son in their car pulling up in their car to open the garage door when the tornado hit them and now the son who was driving and sucked up through the sunroof is missing."

Seat belts save lives.

34 "I know the site has to pay for itself with ads but a rollover ad has started to appear from one of my local news stations and the ad won't go a away and just blocks the page for up to a minute."

Malware inserted into your computer by an advertising agency working for your local news station. Hit a known weather site, get spammed by your local station.
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URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
TORNADO WATCH NUMBER 356
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1250 PM CDT TUE MAY 24 2011

THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A
TORNADO WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF

WESTERN AND CENTRAL OKLAHOMA
NORTHWEST AND NORTH-CENTRAL TEXAS

EFFECTIVE THIS TUESDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING FROM 1250 PM UNTIL
1000 PM CDT.

...THIS IS A PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION...

DESTRUCTIVE TORNADOES...LARGE HAIL TO 3 INCHES IN DIAMETER...
THUNDERSTORM WIND GUSTS TO 70 MPH...AND DANGEROUS LIGHTNING ARE
POSSIBLE IN THESE AREAS.

THE TORNADO WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 85 STATUTE
MILES EAST AND WEST OF A LINE FROM 45 MILES WEST NORTHWEST OF
PONCA CITY OKLAHOMA TO 25 MILES SOUTH SOUTHWEST OF FORT WORTH
TEXAS. FOR A COMPLETE DEPICTION OF THE WATCH SEE THE ASSOCIATED
WATCH OUTLINE UPDATE (WOUS64 KWNS WOU6).

REMEMBER...A TORNADO WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR
TORNADOES AND SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH
AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR
THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS
AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS.

OTHER WATCH INFORMATION...CONTINUE...WW 352...WW 354...WW 355...

DISCUSSION...TSTM INITIATION IS ANTICIPATED WITHIN THE NEXT HOUR OR
TWO ALONG THE DRYLINE FROM WRN OK INTO W-CNTRL TX. STRONG HEIGHT
FALLS/DYNAMIC FORCING FOR ASCENT ASSOCIATED WITH NEGATIVELY TILTED
MIDLEVEL TROUGH EMERGING INTO THE PLAINS SHOULD SUPPORT A RAPID
INCREASE IN STORM COVERAGE THROUGH THE AFTERNOON. WARM SECTOR AIR
MASS IS CHARACTERIZED BY A VERY MOIST BOUNDARY LAYER WITH DEWPOINTS
IN THE UPPER 60S TO LOWER 70S. WHEN COUPLED WITH STEEP MIDLEVEL
LAPSE RATES...ENVIRONMENT IS MODERATELY TO STRONGLY UNSTABLE WITH
MLCAPE VALUES OF 2500-4000 J/KG. DEEP-LAYER SHEAR STRENGTHENING TO
40-50 KT WILL PROMOTE RAPID SUPERCELL DEVELOPMENT WITH THE INITIAL
HAZARD BEING VERY LARGE HAIL. INITIAL VEER-BACK WIND PROFILE
OBSERVED IN CURRENT VADS/PROFILERS IS EXPECTED TO TRANSITION TO
LARGE CLOCKWISE CURVED HODOGRAPHS BY 00Z WHERE 0-1 KM SRH WILL
APPROACH 400-500 M2/S2. AS SUCH...EXPECT A RAPID INCREASE IN THE
THREAT FOR TORNADOES THIS AFTERNOON INTO EVENING...SOME OF WHICH
COULD BE LONG-TRACKED AND STRONG TO VIOLENT.

AVIATION...TORNADOES AND A FEW SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WITH HAIL
SURFACE AND ALOFT TO 3 INCHES. EXTREME TURBULENCE AND SURFACE
WIND GUSTS TO 60 KNOTS. A FEW CUMULONIMBI WITH MAXIMUM TOPS TO
550. MEAN STORM MOTION VECTOR 23035.
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Quoting DocNDswamp:


Hi CV,
I was under the impression that is the main polar jet stream, not the subtropical jet...
Good catch. That it is. (right? second guessing myself for some reason.)
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136. beell
Quoting zschmiez:
I wanted to know if anyone has some insight on the SPC LSR's on their website; mainly the 2-digit accuracy of the coordinates, and terrible error in position.

I don't understand why a repor that mentions Black Cat rd and 22nd street ends up on the east side of town, and a report speaking to I-44 ends up within town and 0.75 miles from the interstate.

In a time of GIS technology abound, why are the reports still shoddy at best?


Good question. There is no correlation to the coordinates given and the text description of the location. They're off for sure.

Probably a very good correlation between the tornado and its damage path and that's what will get entered in the final database.
;-]

LSR's will always a crude measure of activity and even poorer for track but it is usually all we have early on.
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Quoting txag91met:

Thanks for plotting this...already hear so much baloney on how Gulf is causing all these tornadoes. Wind shear is the culprit (thermal wind to be precise).
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.

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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:



I've read a couple of published studies about Florida specifically being targeted in a neutral season. Naturally when Florida is a target so is the entire Gulf Coast. The same papers also highlighted a greatly decreased threat to the entire East Coast excluding Florida.



One of the papers I was referring to from The Center For Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies Of Florida State University, excellent read.

There appears to be a significant decrease in hurricane landfalls during the neutral phase along the East Coast whereas compared to Florida. This would suggest that there is a dominant flow pattern during neutral years that tends to steer hurricanes toward Florida.
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:
Subtropical Jet Position



Hi CV,
I was under the impression that is the main polar jet stream, not the subtropical jet...
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Member Since: September 16, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1496
this just retweeted by Cantore - no more info

@reedtimmerTVN
Reed Timmer
NWS is advising people to stay off I-35 and I40 in OK and southern KS this afternoon through overnight.
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RSO - visible of Joplin area as the MCS build and the tornado rolls through town (WARNING: 12 MB image): http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/goes/blog/wp-content/u ploads/2011/05/110522_g13_vis_jln_anim.gif
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Quoting atmoaggie:
? Do tell.

Reality says GoM SSTs below normal in the N Gulf, where the moisture to feed these storms of the past week is coming from. Overall, slightly above normal, I suppose, but not by a lot.


Another view...SST anomaly as compared to the climate forecast system reanalysis 1981 to 2011. Hard to say that the Gulf is warmer than normal with a straight face, by this. Guess it depends on the definition of normal.

Thanks for plotting this...already hear so much baloney on how Gulf is causing all these tornadoes. Wind shear is the culprit (thermal wind to be precise).
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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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