No new tornado deaths yesterday; Super Typhoon Songda hits Category 5

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:04 PM GMT on May 26, 2011

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The tornado onslaught of 2011 continued over the Midwest yesterday, as dozens of tornadoes touched down, primarily in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Arkansas. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center logged 81 preliminary reports of tornadoes in eleven states. Even California got into the action, with a tornado near Chico causing minor damage. Mercifully, no deaths were reported from yesterday's tornadoes. Too many thunderstorms formed too close to each other to allow strong or violent tornadoes to grow, as the many thunderstorms interfered with each others' organization. The preliminary tornado count for the 5-day outbreak that began Saturday is 243. Preliminary tornado reports are an overestimate, since some storms get counted multiple times. These over-counts were 35% - 40% in the case of the April 14 - 16 tornado outbreak and April 25 - 28 Super outbreak, so we can expect that the May 21 - 25, 2011 outbreak will end up with close to 150 tornadoes. This would rank as the third largest tornado outbreak in history, giving 2011 the three largest tornado outbreaks of all-time. Prior to 2011, NOAA rated the April 3 - 4, 1974 Super Outbreak as the largest tornado outbreak of all-time, with 148 tornadoes. According to a list of tornado outbreaks maintained by Wikipedia, only two other tornado outbreaks have had as many as 150 twisters prior to 2011--the May 2004 outbreak (385), and the May 2003 outbreak (401). However, these outbreaks occurred over an eight-day and eleven-day period, respectively, and were not due to a single storm system.


Figure 1. Satellite image taken at 23:32 UTC (7:32pm EDT) May 25, 2011, showing a line of tornadic thunderstorms over the Midwest. Image credit: NASA/GSFC.


Figure 2. Tornado near Fariview, Oklahoma, on May 24, 2011. Image credit: Mike Theiss, www.ExtremeNature.com.


Video 1. "We are in the tornado!" is all this poor guy caught in a car during a tornado can say, while buildings fly apart around him. He is very lucky to have survived. Video shot in Navarro County, Texas on May 24, 2011.

The death toll from Tuesday's tornadoes over Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kansas is now 16, which would bring the death toll from this year's tornadoes to 506, according to yesterday's NOAA tornado statistic update. This makes 2011 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 (90 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.)

Only a "Slight Risk" day for severe weather today
The Storm Prediction Center has placed portions of twenty states, from Alabama to Vermont, in their "Slight Risk" region for severe weather potential. The slow-moving low pressure system responsible for all the tornado activity this week is weakening, and the primary severe weather threat today is from large hail and damaging straight-line thunderstorm winds. However, there are still likely to be tornadoes today, and I expect we'll see a dozen or so twisters touch down from some of the stronger thunderstorms that develop.


Figure 3. Severe weather threat for Wednesday, May 25, 2011.

Links
Here is an interactive hi-res satellite image showing Joplin before and after the tornado. Some non-interactive images are here.

The New York Times has an interactive tornado fatality map showing how this year's killer tornadoes have mostly clustered over the Southeast U.S., with the glaring exception of the Joplin, Missouri tornado.

NOAA's Visualization Laboratory has an impressive animation of the satellite imagery during the month of April, showing the locations of all the tornadoes as they happened.


Figure 4. Satellite image of Super Typhoon Songda.

Super Typhoon Songda the first Category 5 tropical cyclone of 2011
The first typhoon of 2011 is also the globe's first Category 5 tropical cyclone of the year. Super Typhoon Songda intensified dramatically over the past 24 hours in an environment of light wind shear and warm sea surface temperatures of 30°C, to reach Category 5 status with top sustained winds of 160 mph. Tropical Cyclone Yasi, which devastated Queensland, Australia in early February, was the globe's previous strongest tropical cyclone of 2011, with 155 mph winds.

Fortunately, Songda is expected to miss making a direct hit on the Philippines, though evacuations have been ordered in low-lying areas. Satellite-estimated rainfall for the coming 24-hour period is predicted to be less than 4 inches along the northeast coast of the Philippines' Luzon Island, which should not cause major flooding problems. Songda is expected to turn northwards and threaten the island of Okinawa on Saturday. Sea surface temperatures decline rapidly north of the Philippines, and Songda is expected to weaken significantly before reaching Okinawa, where sea surface temperatures are approximately 26°C. Wind shear will also increase to high levels by Saturday, and Songda should be at most a Category 2 typhoon by the time it reaches Okinawa.

Jeff Masters

Tornado! (CalicoBass)
Tornado Warning for us. It went just past us, was beautiful to watch.
Tornado!
Large Hail! (aderocher78)
First round of large hail.
Large Hail!
Possible Tornado (Griff3488)
I was west bound I 74 when I drove into this storm. They said On the radio it was a tornado on the ground.
Possible Tornado
Joplin 5/22/11 EF5 aftermath (N0RCO)
I went to joplin to look at the destruction this EF5 tornado did. Absolutely devastating in my opinion!
Joplin 5/22/11 EF5 aftermath
Lightning Strike (weatherfanatic2010)
I caught this totally by accident. I was trying to take a picture of the cloud formation and this flashed right as I took the picture. Unbelievable luck!!
Lightning Strike
Mammatus over Indy (jay1hawker)
View of sky before storm, May 25, 2011 Indianapolis
Mammatus over Indy

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549. Jax82
Quoting aquak9:
0.05, Ike? Really? REALLY??!!

you'll just brag about anything to make me feel insufficient!


Good news though, da wunderground forecast shows 50% chance of t-storms today, and 20% from here on out. Or an 80% chance it wont rain after today, depends on how you look at it :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


You shouldn't scare old people like that in the morning. Specificity, pot, specificity. That was a terrible tragedy, though. Since I travel back and forth quite a bit, it was certainly got my attention.

Sorry!
My fault.
Relax, take some deep breaths, the heart-rate will come back down in a while.
:)
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24061
The CMC picks up on the Caribbean system very well. May raise some eyebrows middle of next week.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20531
Quoting hydrus:
We know. You were actually missed by some of the fellow bloggers..I havent the slightest idea why..JK..:)..People were wondering where you went. The NAM 60 hours...


Sorry, hydrus. Things got a little hectic there for a bit. I was incommunicado, but the worst part, I wasn't allowed to contact any body.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hydrus:
We know. You were actually missed by some of the fellow bloggers..I havent the slightest idea why..JK..:)..People were wondering where you went. The NAM 60 hours...
you went somewhere
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting Neapolitan:
The news--or lack of it--from Fukushima is incredibly frustrating. All along, both TEPCO and the Japanese government have lied to the world about the extent of the damage and the amount of radiation leaking. Their tired, bleary-eyed spokespeople are trotted out before cameras and microphones every few days to a) apologize for not previously being forthcoming and honest, and b) promise that from here on out, honesty and openness would be the name of the game.

But does anyone really believe them anymore? At this point, they've got less credibility than BP did last year when they claimed the DH spill was just a few gallons of crude

--France--a country that, by the way, loves nuclear power--has suggested to the Japanese government that an additional 70,000 people be evacuated from the area.

--There are indications that the ground around unit #4 has become so saturated with both radioactive and non-radioactive water that the building itself is actually beginning to list to one side. If the tilting continues and the building collapses, the spent fuel--and now partially burnt-- rods stored in pools near the top will be re-exposed, and with no easy removal method. But no action.

--Units 1 through 4 are all structurally compromised--by the earthquake, by the tsunami, by the explosions, by the numerous aftershocks, by the tens of millions of gallons of corrosive seawater being pumped onto and into them. All it would take is one strong aftershock to topple one or more of the buildings, with obvious catastrophic results.

--There are indications that fission is still continuing in at least one of the reactors (unit 3).

--Two weeks ago, Japan's nuclear agency said that nearly 5,000 cases of internal radiation exposure had been found in nuclear workers from around the country. The bulk of those--96%--were originally from Fukushima.

--Japan's basic response to worker exposure to radiation has been to simply raise the allowable limit. It's as if you were a traffic court judge caught speeding yourself, and you solved the problem by simply raising the speed limit. Problem solved!

There are only limited photos out of Fukushima, and nearly zero videos. We only see what has been authorized and scrubbed for the media by TEPCO and the government. We had robot cameras last year to show the world how bad the Gulf leak was, and the efforts being made to fix the situation. And that was in incredibly harsh conditions a mile under the sea. In this day and age of high-tech, high-speed telecommunications, then, there's only one reason we, the citizens of the world, aren't being allowed to see what's going on in Fukushima:

They've lots to hide.

Exactly. IMO, the Japanese culture is so focused on "saving face" that they are not addressing the problems quickly, rather trying to fulfill their social obligations, which causes more issues. Now that it has spiraled out of control, there is no easy solution to the problem... best fix would be to entomb the whole plant.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5875
Quoting pottery:

SORRY IF THIS IS CONFUSING...
I am talking about the aircraft that went down LAST YEAR.


You shouldn't scare old people like that in the morning. Specificity, pot, specificity. That was a terrible tragedy, though. Since I travel back and forth quite a bit, it was certainly got my attention.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pottery:

SORRY IF THIS IS CONFUSING...
I am talking about the aircraft that went down LAST YEAR.


AirFrance flight 447.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24061
Quoting IKE:
Interested to see the 12Z model runs. Stay tuned!
models are meant to be for guidance only things can and will change been latch on this a few days now lets see if it continues i dont think i can wait ike i got to post those numbers i got 4 more days to wait

lol
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting Grothar:


Hey big H. How you doing?? Scary little model there. Was away for a while.
We know. You were actually missed by some of the fellow bloggers..I havent the slightest idea why..JK..:)..People were wondering where you went. The NAM 60 hours...
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20531
Quoting BobinTampa:


If we don't have 93L by Monday, the season is a bust.


LOL (What do we have now, mini-IKE?)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The news--or lack of it--from Fukushima is incredibly frustrating. All along, both TEPCO and the Japanese government have lied to the world about the extent of the damage and the amount of radiation leaking. Their tired, bleary-eyed spokespeople are trotted out before cameras and microphones every few days to a) apologize for not previously being forthcoming and honest, and b) promise that from here on out, honesty and openness would be the name of the game.

But does anyone really believe them anymore? At this point, they've got less credibility than BP did last year when they claimed the DH spill was just a few gallons of crude

--France--a country that, by the way, loves nuclear power--has suggested to the Japanese government that an additional 70,000 people be evacuated from the area.

--There are indications that the ground around unit #4 has become so saturated with both radioactive and non-radioactive water that the building itself is actually beginning to list to one side. If the tilting continues and the building collapses, the spent fuel--and now partially burnt-- rods stored in pools near the top will be re-exposed, and with no easy removal method. But no action.

--Units 1 through 4 are all structurally compromised--by the earthquake, by the tsunami, by the explosions, by the numerous aftershocks, by the tens of millions of gallons of corrosive seawater being pumped onto and into them. All it would take is one strong aftershock to topple one or more of the buildings, with obvious catastrophic results.

--There are indications that fission is still continuing in at least one of the reactors (unit 3).

--Two weeks ago, Japan's nuclear agency said that nearly 5,000 cases of internal radiation exposure had been found in nuclear workers from around the country. The bulk of those--96%--were originally from Fukushima.

--Japan's basic response to worker exposure to radiation has been to simply raise the allowable limit. It's as if you were a traffic court judge caught speeding yourself, and you solved the problem by simply raising the speed limit. Problem solved!

There are only limited photos out of Fukushima, and nearly zero videos. We only see what has been authorized and scrubbed for the media by TEPCO and the government. We had robot cameras last year to show the world how bad the Gulf leak was, and the efforts being made to fix the situation. And that was in incredibly harsh conditions a mile under the sea. In this day and age of high-tech, high-speed telecommunications, then, there's only one reason we, the citizens of the world, aren't being allowed to see what's going on in Fukushima:

They've lots to hide.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13465
Quoting Grothar:


That is awful pot. Do they know where. I couldn't find anything. I am going back to look.

SORRY IF THIS IS CONFUSING...
I am talking about the aircraft that went down LAST YEAR.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24061
536. IKE

Quoting clwstmchasr:


Once again I checked my rain guage and had to blow the dust out of it......
LOL...I've got spiders crawling all over mine and the bird droppings are like hail-storms. Constant bombardment. Wash and rinse!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:
It's the same me. I think.


If we don't have 93L by Monday, the season is a bust.
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Spiffed-up toy for the researchers this year.


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pottery:
Good Morning all...
Another hot morning here with some high cloud.

News reports today are saying that the Air France plane that went down in the Atl. stalled at 38,000 ft, during turbulence and with problems in Flight-Speed readings, and hit the water 3.5 minutes after that.

Someone with better Math skills than me can work out how long it takes to free-fall from 38,000 @ 38 ft/sec/sec. Terminal velocity comes in there somewhere..
But on the face of it, 3.5 mins seems too fast?

Unless the aircraft went into a dive, which would start at cruise-speed. Would it accelerate from there?

Interesting, but the reports are not saying what exactly happened.


That is awful pot. Do they know where. I couldn't find anything. I am going back to look.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The GFS shows it rather stormy at 384 hours out...:)
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20531
I am now wondering if we'll make it to June 1st. We could because it will be a broad area to begin with and we all know those can take forever, if ever.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
Quoting hydrus:
Jeez. Its been years........... how are you?..I am back in sunny Port Charlotte, Florida to help my Sis..NOGAPS..lol..Cat-1.?..lol


Hey big H. How you doing?? Scary little model there. Was away for a while.
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The ecmwf ensmean shows the area of low pressure to be quite large...
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20531
Quoting IKE:
It's the same me. I think.


It OK, IKE. WE mellow with age sometimes. But it the models do want to spin something up there.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting clwstmchasr:


Once again I checked my rain guage and had to blow the dust out of it......
I read ya...I have a family of jumping spiders living in mine..They stay even if it rains tho..Tenacious they are....
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20531
Quoting clwstmchasr:


I reported it to authorities that someone has stolen his identity. Clearly this is not the same person that we all have come to love:)


Glad someone is on the case. I sort of miss the old IKE. Gave us some laughs.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good Morning all...
Another hot morning here with some high cloud.

News reports today are saying that the Air France plane that went down in the Atl. stalled at 38,000 ft, during turbulence and with problems in Flight-Speed readings, and hit the water 3.5 minutes after that.

Someone with better Math skills than me can work out how long it takes to free-fall from 38,000 @ 38 ft/sec/sec. Terminal velocity comes in there somewhere..
But on the face of it, 3.5 mins seems too fast?

Unless the aircraft went into a dive, which would start at cruise-speed. Would it accelerate from there?

Interesting, but the reports are not saying what exactly happened.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24061
Quoting Chicklit:
From Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, 1596.

PORTIA: The quality of mercy is not strain'd,

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice...

rain please?!


I remember seeing that on opening night at "The Theater-in-the-Round" It didn't work then and I don't think it will work now. LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


IKE, is this really you or the evil-IKE? Looks like you took your anti-downcaster pill or something. Aqua, this is scarier than storm.
Jeez. Its been years........... how are you?..I am back in sunny Port Charlotte, Florida to help my Sis..NOGAPS..lol..Cat-1.?..lol
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20531
521. IKE
Quoting Grothar:


IKE, is this really you or the evil-IKE? Looks like you took your anti-downcaster pill or something. Aqua, this is scarier than storm.
It's the same me. I think.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
138 hours out...gfs...
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20531
From Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, 1596.

PORTIA: The quality of mercy is not strain'd,

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice...

rain please?!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:

I think it's going to happen. Too many models are showing it. Season starting right on time.


IKE, is this really you or the evil-IKE? Looks like you took your anti-downcaster pill or something. Aqua, this is scarier than storm.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good Morning...

4 days to go...
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And as always, the NOGAPS is picking up on it...
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20531
514. IKE
Interested to see the 12Z model runs. Stay tuned!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good Morning/evening.

Tomorrow marks the one month birthdate for the Honey Prairie fire where 227 people are still fighting the over 100,000 acre scorch.
A new fire at Race Pond, GA in Starke, FL and further south too, pretty much assure we are going to get smoke no matter where the wind blows.

I realllly hope the rain in the forecast is not a tease today. And no fire-tornadoes please.

P.S.
Yes, it is bad when your local news weather starts playing the new music to the opening of survivor.
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bingo I have it now
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:

I think it's going to happen. Too many models are showing it. Season starting right on time.


Good morning all, I would have to agree with you IKE, there is to much support from various models that shows lowering of pressures in the caribbean.
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Member Since: Posts: Comments:
509. IKE

Quoting aquak9:
I think it's going to happen. Too many models are showing it. Season starting right on time.

he's lost his flippin' mind.

bring back the old Ike.
LOL.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
508. IKE

Quoting aquak9:
0.05, Ike? Really? REALLY??!!

you'll just brag about anything to make me feel insufficient!
Really put a dent in the drought:(


Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
come monday tuseday the madness begins
May see some north-casting with this one.
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Quoting IKE:

I think it's going to happen. Too many models are showing it. Season starting right on time.
ya may not even get to post 0.0.0 ike
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Link
Link
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A lot of rain...
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20531
I think it's going to happen. Too many models are showing it. Season starting right on time.

he's lost his flippin' mind.

bring back the old Ike.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
come monday tuseday the madness begins
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
0.05, Ike? Really? REALLY??!!

you'll just brag about anything to make me feel insufficient!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
let me just set the mood




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500. Fluid
It's pesky that the one global tragedy that I thought would have a silver lining, global warming, has by-passed us entirely up here in Montana. Today's forecast includes the possibility of up to an inch of snow. It has been the coldest wettest spring in many a memory up here.

Yes, I have seen Dr. Master's chart that shows that this area of the NW US is the rare exception.

Just... snow heading into Memorial day weekend...!

Gah!~
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
499. IKE

Quoting hydrus:
Models are still pickin up somethin down ther...
I think it's going to happen. Too many models are showing it. Season starting right on time.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

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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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