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:
? 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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125. beell
click for full discussion and graphic
MCD 925
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Quoting IKE:
Chad Myers saying the GOM being warmer this time of year is aiding in the tornado outbreak this spring. He says it's warmer...possibly because of GW.
? 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.
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Quoting IKE:
Last hurricane to hit the lower 48.....hard to see the lower 48 going 3 years in a row without a hit from a hurricane.





Hopefully it's not fast and furious from day 1 like 05.
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Anyone with some info on the Kansas City MCS? Seems like the SPC has no talk on it, like its just going to keep rolling eastward and I would think it would intensify as it progresses eastward?
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120. IKE
Last hurricane to hit the lower 48.....hard to see the lower 48 going 3 years in a row without a hit from a hurricane.


Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
from Live Audio Feeds in Leavenworth County

Officer reports on high winds, heavy rain and pea sized hail at his location.
Dispatch replied they were not supposed to get severe weather. Would report it.
Officer said winds were over 50 mph.
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Quoting floodzonenc:
Can anyone help with a techie question? I don't see either of the videos that Dr. Masters posted. I just had my computer reformatted.

Am I missing a "plug in" and if so, which one?

Hope everyone is staying safe,
Jeff


Try installing Flash. You should also install Java as well. I think you will need that for the NHC site to view their satellite feeds.
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Quoting IKE:

I figured it was La Nina. Patterns are hard to change sometimes down here.

I've got a feeling the lower 48 will experience multiple hurricane hits in 2011. I'm saying at least 2.



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.
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116. IKE
I live on lakefront property. My water level is down about a foot in the last 2-3 months.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
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?
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:



Rain chances to increase down here, SEFL, late week and weekend, only 20% however. I think we'll need to start looking east for better rain chances, La Nina still has a firm grip on the atmosphere. Looking forward to the day the T waves start rolling in.


Yeah, I'm down here in SEFL as well. I know it's bad when I get excited that the 7th day in a 7 day forecast shows a 10% chance of rain. Gettin to the point where I can take my boys fishin in the lake behind our house with an ice cream scoop.
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113. IKE

Quoting CyclonicVoyage:



Rain chances to increase down here, SEFL, late week and weekend, only 20% however. I think we'll need to start looking east for better rain chances, La Nina still has a firm grip on the atmosphere. Looking forward to the day the T waves start rolling in.
I figured it was La Nina. Patterns are hard to change sometimes down here.

I've got a feeling the lower 48 will experience multiple hurricane hits in 2011. I'm saying at least 2.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Briefing from the SPC from this morning detailing today's forecast:

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Quoting floodzonenc:
Can anyone help with a techie question? I don't see either of the videos that Dr. Masters posted. I just had my computer reformatted.

Am I missing a "plug in" and if so, which one?

Hope everyone is staying safe,
Jeff


This should do it.
Adobe Flash Player
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Good news---tornado season will settle down next week as ridge builds into the Midwest. But drought worsens for Houston.

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Quoting IKE:

Looks like high pressure is going to build back in over my area...inland Florida panhandle...by early next week. Need summertime thunderstorms to start to try and relieve the drought in this area.



Rain chances to increase down here, SEFL, late week and weekend, only 20% however. I think we'll need to start looking east for better rain chances, La Nina still has a firm grip on the atmosphere. Looking forward to the day the T waves start rolling in.
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rope like parallel lines of clouds = shear

Right?

They kind of have a wash board look to them.

Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
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106. IKE

Quoting CyclonicVoyage:
Subtropical Jet Position

Looks like high pressure is going to build back in over my area...inland Florida panhandle...by early next week. Need summertime thunderstorms to start to try and relieve the drought in this area.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
105. IKE
Chad Myers saying the GOM being warmer this time of year is aiding in the tornado outbreak this spring. He says it's warmer...possibly because of GW.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
In addition to the tornado's, quite the hail threat too.


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can someone please just wake me up when this is all over?
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Subtropical Jet Position

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Your MembershipHandle: KEEPEROFTHEGATE
Status: No-Ads Paid Membership
Expiration: 2012-12-21 06:03:00
Signed Up: 2006-07-15 14:37:36
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100. IKE

Quoting VAstorms:


Does that get rid of ads?
Yes.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
A membership is a relatively cheep answer to that problem.


Does that get rid of ads?
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Awesome!

The HRRR is a 3-km resolution, hourly updated, cloud-resolving atmospheric model, initialized by DFI-fields from the 13km radar-enhanced Rapid Refresh starting 14 April 2011 replacing the previous Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) both run at NOAA/ESRL/GSD as a real-time demonstration.


Quoting beell:
13Z Run HRRR Composite Reflectivity
(High Resolution Rapid Refresh)
Valid 5PM CDT

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Another eastward extension of the MDT Risk.
Tor Prob up to 45%.
A bit of a southern extension into TX for the HIGH Risk.
TCC (Tucumcari, NM)

Probabilistic Tornado



DAY 1 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1125 AM CDT TUE MAY 24 2011

VALID 241630Z - 251200Z

...THERE IS A HIGH RISK OF SVR TSTMS THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING OVER
PORTIONS OF SOUTHERN KS...CENTRAL AND EASTERN OK...AND NORTH CENTRAL
TX...

...THERE IS A MDT RISK OF SVR TSTMS OVER PARTS OF CENTRAL AND NORTH
TX...MOST OF OK...MUCH OF CENTRAL/EASTERN KS...CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN
MO...AND NORTHWEST AR....

...THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS OVER A LARGE AREA FROM THE
SOUTHERN PLAINS...ACROSS THE MID MS/OH/TN VALLEYS...INTO THE MID
ATLANTIC STATES AND SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND....

...AN INTENSE OUTBREAK OF TORNADOES AND WIDESPREAD SEVERE
THUNDERSTORMS IS EXPECTED LATER TODAY OVER PORTIONS OF KS/OK/TX...


...CENTRAL/SOUTHERN PLAINS...
MORNING SATELLITE LOOPS SHOW A VIGOROUS AND PROGRESSIVE MID/UPPER
LEVEL SHORTWAVE TROUGH OVER THE SOUTHERN ROCKIES. THIS FEATURE IS
FORECAST TO ROTATE RAPIDLY EASTWARD INTO THE PLAINS AND BECOME
NEGATIVELY-TILTED THIS EVENING
. LATEST TCC PROFILER DATA SHOWS 90+
KNOT FLOW AT 6KM
...INDICATIVE OF THE MID/UPPER LEVEL WIND MAX THAT
WILL NOSE INTO THE PLAINS THIS EVENING. MEANWHILE... SOUTHERLY LOW
LEVEL WINDS WILL MAINTAIN UPPER 60S AND LOWER 70S DEWPOINTS ACROSS
MUCH OF NORTH TX...OK...AND SOUTHERN/CENTRAL KS. BY MID AFTERNOON
THE DRYLINE WILL EXTEND FROM WEST-CENTRAL KS INTO WESTERN OK AND
WESTERN NORTH TX
. STRONG HEATING AND RICH MOISTURE...COUPLED WITH
NEAR DRY-ADIABATIC MID LEVEL LAPSE RATES...WILL YIELD AN EXTREMELY
UNSTABLE AIR MASS WITH MLCAPE VALUES OF 4000-4500 J/KG.


PRESENT INDICATIONS AND LATEST OPERATIONS/MESOSCALE MODEL GUIDANCE
INDICATE THAT DISCRETE SUPERCELL THUNDERSTORMS WILL FORM ALONG THE
KS/OK DRYLINE BY MID AFTERNOON AND MOVE RAPIDLY NORTHEASTWARD WITH A
RISK OF A FEW TORNADOES AND VERY LARGE HAIL
.

EARLY IN THE
EVENT...THE GREATEST TORNADO THREAT WILL BE OVER KS AS STORMS
INTERACT WITH PRE-EXISTING OUTFLOW BOUNDARY AND BACKED LOW LEVEL
WINDS.


AS THE AFTERNOON PROGRESSES...CONTINUED HEATING AND LARGE SCALE LIFT
DUE TO APPROACHING UPPER TROUGH MAY LEAD TO MULTIPLE ROUNDS OF
CONVECTIVE DEVELOPMENT ALONG THE DRYLINE
. THESE STORMS WILL ALSO
TRACK ACROSS THE HIGH RISK AREA DURING THE EVENING. LOW LEVEL WINDS
WILL BE STRENGTHENING...WITH ALL CONDITIONS FAVORING THE POTENTIAL
FOR LONG-TRACKED STRONG/VIOLENT TORNADOES AND VERY LARGE HAIL OVER
PORTIONS OF NORTH TX...CENTRAL OK...AND CENTRAL KS.


DURING THE LATE EVENING...STORMS ARE EXPECTED TO CONGEAL AND SPREAD
EASTWARD INTO PORTIONS OF MO/AR WITH AN ENHANCED RISK OF WIDESPREAD
DAMAGING WINDS AND HAIL.

...MID ATLANTIC STATES...
A CLUSTER OF THUNDERSTORMS IS ONGOING THIS MORNING OVER WESTERN VA.
THIS ACTIVITY IS EXPECTED TO INTENSIFY BY EARLY AFTERNOON AND SPREAD
EASTWARD TOWARD THE COAST BY EVENING. LOW LEVEL WINDS ARE
RELATIVELY WEAK. HOWEVER...40-50 KNOT MID/UPPER LEVEL WINDS AND
MLCAPE VALUES OF 2500-3000 J/KG WILL PROMOTE A RISK OF SEVERE STORMS
CAPABLE OF DAMAGING WINDS AND HAIL.

..HART/GRAMS.. 05/24/2011
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Quoting pottery:
In the meantime, out in the Tropical Atlantic---

The ITCZ has virtually dried-up.
There is almost no Sahara Dust.
Surface winds are minimal.

That combination will undoubtedly raise the SST's out there a notch...


Yes indeed. Seems to me that the Atlantic switch is about to be flipped, right on cue.
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95. IKE
Chad Myers at CNN really playing up the severe threat this afternoon. Good luck to everyone in their possible path. It's heartbreaking what some have gone through the last few weeks.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Watch out DFW to SPS to OKC. Ruc forecast soundings 5600 CAPE, no CIN over Fort Worth later this afternoon.

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Quoting atmoaggie:
I think Pottery is arguing with himself....

heheheh
it happens..
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*** I've been obsessed with severe weather ever since I was around six years old when I inexplicably managed to forecast a mini-tornado in Todmodern in the North of England. (The five ingredients of a forecast were there: Wind, dark skies, sugar-fueled imagination, recent viewing of Wizard of Oz, being dragged on a monster walk by my mum and wanting back inside.)***

Mine began at 4, also after having watched The Wizard of Oz :) We lived in Falls Church, VA at the time, and had a severe storm outbreak. My mom went to the basement with my older brother and I, and we stood on the back of a couch to watch out the high basement window. I will always remember the funnel cloud we saw, moving east towards Bailey's Crossroads. Two years after that was the Super Outbreak of 1974 and I was both frightened and impressed. I have seen one tornado and a funnel cloud or two, but the early experiences left me wanting to grow up and be a storm chaser.

This season, I have no heart left to watch the storms :( Too many people lost and hurt, too much sadness.



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I think Pottery is arguing with himself....
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Quoting pottery:
In the meantime, out in the Tropical Atlantic---

The ITCZ has virtually dried-up.
There is almost no Sahara Dust.
Surface winds are minimal.

That combination will undoubtedly raise the SST's out there a notch...

But note that SST's in the East. Carib. dropped by around 2 degrees over the past 10 days or so, with all the cloud we had overhead.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Had forgotten about that.

Seems as though the "high" area might need to be shifted south if this and RUC @ 12 Z are right. The ingredients appear to be there for N TX as much or more than SE Kansas.

Forecast echo tops above 43 k ft. (I have no idea how close to reality this model is on echo tops. If other model shortcomings apply here, the rule of thumb would be to increase this a bit.)


HRRR has not done too bad. I'd give it a "B". Kind of a new product. It has not handled the TX cap very well this spring imo but this is a strong system so the dryline activity should not have much trouble working S into TX.
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In the meantime, out in the Tropical Atlantic---

The ITCZ has virtually dried-up.
There is almost no Sahara Dust.
Surface winds are minimal.

That combination will undoubtedly raise the SST's out there a notch...
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Quoting aspectre:
Something weird about the interaction between CNN-addresses and WU's forum program inserted a break into TampaTom's "...interesting read...about...NWS Tornado...warnings' effectiveness questioned after deadly twister
Try http://edition.cnn.com/2011/US/05/23/missouri.tor nado.warning/


My apologies...
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Quoting Grothar:


Those are some high numbers. This is the preliminary model. Very basic, but it is where you mentioned it would be.



Those storms for the most part may remain elevated. Interesting area along the Palmer Divide. A N/S ridge (6-7,000 ft). It is a favored area for activity due to the terrain induced ascent of the low level air.

Storms may work to the surface late today.
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Quoting beell:
13Z Run HRRR Composite Reflectivity
(High Resolution Rapid Refresh)
Valid 5PM CDT

Had forgotten about that.

Seems as though the "high" area might need to be shifted south if this and RUC @ 12 Z are right. The ingredients appear to be there for N TX as much or more than SE Kansas.

Forecast echo tops above 43 k ft. (I have no idea how close to reality this model is on echo tops. If other model shortcomings apply here, the rule of thumb would be to increase this a bit.)
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Something weird about the interaction between CNN-addresses and WU's forum program inserted a break into TampaTom's "...interesting read...about...NWS Tornado...warnings' effectiveness questioned after deadly twister
Try http://edition.cnn.com/2011/US/05/23/missouri.tor nado.warning/"

A feasibility study of a tightly targeted EmergencyWarningSystem via highly localized mass cellphone calls is already being funded by the Department of Homeland Security.
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I think this is also interesting. There may be severe weather where we don't expect it.



MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 0923
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1115 AM CDT TUE MAY 24 2011

AREAS AFFECTED...VA AND NC

CONCERNING...SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH 354...

VALID 241615Z - 241745Z

THE SEVERE WEATHER THREAT FOR SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH 354
CONTINUES.

THE SEVERE THREAT ONGOING IN THE ERN PART OF WW 354 WILL LIKELY
DEVELOP EWD INTO SE VA AND NRN NC THIS AFTERNOON. WIND DAMAGE AND
HAIL SHOULD ACCOMPANY THE STRONGER THUNDERSTORMS. WW ISSUANCE WILL
PROBABLY BE NEEDED DOWNSTREAM OF THE CURRENT SEVERE THUNDERSTORM
WATCH WITHIN THE HOUR.

A CLUSTER OF STRONG THUNDERSTORMS IN WRN VA IS LOCATED JUST AHEAD OF
A SHORTWAVE TROUGH EVIDENT ON WATER VAPOR IMAGERY. THIS FEATURE WILL
SUPPORT THE CONVECTION EWD THIS AFTERNOON INTO AN INCREASINGLY
UNSTABLE AIRMASS. MESOANALYSIS SHOWS MLCAPE VALUES IN SE VA AND NE
NC IN THE 1000 TO 2000 J/KG RANGE. IN ADDITION...LOW-LEVEL LAPSE
RATES IN THE APPALACHIAN FOOTHILLS ARE NOW ESTIMATED TO BETWEEN 7.5
AND 8.0 C/KM ALONG THE WRN EDGE OF MODERATE INSTABILITY. THIS
SUGGESTS THE DEVELOPING STORMS MAY HAVE AN INCREASING WIND DAMAGE
THREAT. THE WIND DAMAGE THREAT COULD BECOME ENHANCED IF A PERSISTENT
LINE-SEGMENT CAN ORGANIZE ACROSS THE REGION.

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13Z Run HRRR Composite Reflectivity
(High Resolution Rapid Refresh)
Valid 5PM CDT

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