Invest now to improve tornado warnings; an early start to hurricane season?

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:24 PM GMT on May 27, 2011

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The Atlantic hurricane season officially begin on Wednesday, June 1, and recent computer model runs predict that we may have some early-season action in the Central Caribbean Sea to coincide with the start of this year's season. The GFS, NOGAPS, and ECMWF models have all indicated in some of their recent runs that a tropical disturbance may form between Jamaica and Central America sometime in the May 31 - June 2 time frame, as a lobe of the Eastern Pacific Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) pushes across Central America into the Caribbean. Up until now, wind shear has been too high to allow tropical storm formation in the Caribbean, due to the presence of the Subtropical Jet Stream. However, this jet is expected to push northwards over Cuba over the coming week, allowing a region of low wind shear to develop over most of the Caribbean. Water temperatures in the Central Caribbean are about 1°C above average, 29°C, which is plenty warm enough to support development of a tropical storm. The main impediment to development will probably be lack of spin, as we don't have any African tropical waves that are expected to enter the Caribbean Sea next week, to help get things spinning. Stay tuned.


Figure 1. Satellite image of Typhoon Songda.

Typhoon Songda heads for Okinawa and Japan
Typhoon Songda brushed the Philippines yesterday, bringing heavy rains that killed at least two people. Fortunately, the brunt of this year's first Category 5 storm missed the islands, and Songda has weakened slightly to a Category 4 storm with 145 mph winds. Songda is turning northwards and will 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. On Sunday,

Invest now for better tornado warnings
National Weather Service forecasters issued a tornado warning 24 minutes in advance of the Joplin, Missouri tornado this.week, which is now being blamed for at least 132 deaths--the deadliest U.S. tornado since at least 1947. However, we can do better, and the National Weather Service Employees Organization (NWSEO) put out a press release on May 23, arguing that investments in weather service forecasting technology are needed to reduce loss of life in future violent tornadoes:

"The 24-minute lead time is a great improvement over the average lead time of 13 minutes for tornado warnings. The meteorologists in the Springfield Weather Forecast Office are commended for their lifesaving work," said Dan Sobien, NWSEO President. "But in our age of advanced technology and communication, when new radars and modeling opportunities exist that can provide more lead time to get people out of the path of a storm, hundreds of people do not have to die because of a tornado event."

Sobien says the Joplin and Tuscaloosa tornadoes are examples of how the government's neglect to invest in NWS related infrastructure over the last 10 to 15 years has failed to provide the tools necessary to protect lives and property. He says that the tools forecasters use to issue tornado warnings are woefully inadequate and that the technology exists to provide lead times so far in advance of the storm that it would make the need for tornado warnings as we know them obsolete. "The much touted Doppler Weather Radar, also known as the Weather Service Radar or WSR-88D, was developed in 1988. Since that time, technological advances, including phased array radars developed by the Department of Defense, have been shown to increase the current lead time on tornado warnings by almost 50 percent."

"The much touted Warn on Forecast process utilizes Meso-scale modeling and has the potential to let forecasters know hours in advance where a thunderstorm would form and if it is likely to contain strong winds, hail, or even a tornado. With adequate staffing, local National Weather Service forecasters who understand local terrain and the model output, could be embedded with emergency managers and decision makers. In the event of a storm, the forecaster could provide emergency managers with the tornado track with some margin of error and people in the way of the storm could be evacuated hours before the tornado hits. This technology is being developed and tested right now, however without funding it will never be available."

"The art and science of severe weather warnings made considerable progress during the 1980s and 90s, going from almost zero lead time to average of about 13 minutes for tornado warnings. However, in recent years, that progress has stalled, even while the technological advancements have accelerated. If the country made the type of investment in the National Weather Service that it did in the 1980s, scenes like the ones in Missouri this week and in Alabama and Mississippi last month could be a thing of the past."

"I am very proud of my co-workers at the National Weather Service this tornado season. They saved many lives and having been there myself, I can assure you, they feel personally about every lost life," said Sobien. "I know that budgets are tight and there are many priorities, but if you put investing in the National Weather Service up to a vote today in tornado alley, I think the approval would be a landslide."


I wholeheartedly agree with this view--investments in better tornado forecasts and tornado observing technology will potentially give us a huge return in lives saved. Have a great holiday weekend, everyone, and I'll be back Monday or Tuesday with a new post.


Jeff Masters

Tornado Power (Betty2)
Sunday, LaCrosse, WI a tornado hit. This is a photo of a 2x4 board that slammed through a tire.. and, freaky, but it left the air in the tire! Photo was taken by my neighbor, Lori Hines, Gays Mills WI.
Tornado Power
25 May, (rdjgonzo)
May 25, 2011 at 7:10pm. Picture taken from Bartlett (Shelby County) TN.
25 May,
What A Storm (llpj04)
What A Storm

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Quoting Bitmap7:

At 2:43 pm, radar indicated heavy rain on and are expected to drop two inches in the coming hours, the report of Meteorology. The warning was announced for these minucipios until 6:45 pm.

Castro said the rains are likely to continue this coming week with equal or greater intensity. This is because the forecast models keep the humidity that is causing the rains on the Caribbean


Google translate? XD
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Welcome back everyone, the season is upon us again and like the last few years we will put our witts together and ride this thing through...i see the models are catching on to possible cyclogensis streaming from the Monsoonal trough in the SW Caribbean...This is interesting but not uncommon...the Carribbean and GOM are prime hot spots for early june especially with dying frontal troughs creating barotropic environments over the GOM
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Quoting Gearsts:
A las 2:43 p.m., el radar indicó sobre fuertes lluvias y se espera que caigan dos pulgadas en las próximas horas, según el reporte de Meteorología. La advertencia fue anunciada para estos minucipios hasta las 6:45 de la tarde.

Castro indicó que los aguaceros probablemente continúen esta semana entrante con igual o mayor intensidad. Esto porque los modelos de pronóstico mantienen la humedad que está provocando las lluvias sobre la zona del Caribe.

At 2:43 pm, radar indicated heavy rain on and are expected to drop two inches in the coming hours, the report of Meteorology. The warning was announced for these minucipios until 6:45 pm.

Castro said the rains are likely to continue this coming week with equal or greater intensity. This is because the forecast models keep the humidity that is causing the rains on the Caribbean
Member Since: May 4, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 429
MARINE WEATHER DISCUSSION

Excerpt:


A LOW PRES IS FORECAST TO DEVELOP BY THE COMPUTER MODELS OVER THE SW CARIBBEAN PROBABLY ALONG THIS TROUGH. NE WINDS OF 15 TO 20 KT ARE NOTED N OF THE TROUGH AXIS TO AROUND 16N. SW MONSOON FLOW FROM THE EASTERN PACIFIC IS AIDING DEVELOPMENT OF THE LOW PRES IN THE SW CARIBBEAN. GLOBAL MODELS ARE IN BETTER AGREEMENT WITH THIS FEATURE. IT IS EXPECTED FORM IN ABOUT 24 HOURS...DEEPEN TO AROUND 1007 TO 1008 MB AND STAY OFF THE COAST OF NICARAGUA INTO EARLY NEXT WEEK. IT WILL MIGRATE INTO THE W-CENTRAL CARIBBEAN SW OF JAMAICA BY THE MIDDLE OF NEXT WEEK...ALTHOUGH NOT DEEPEN MUCH FURTHER GIVEN STRONG SHEAR ALOFT AND THAT SUPPORTING SW FLOW REMAINS FAIRLY LIGHT.
THE MAIN IMPACT WILL BE TO ENHANCE E TO SE FLOW OVER THE EASTERN AND CENTRAL CARIBBEAN BY EARLY NEXT WEEK. SEAS WILL REACH AS HIGH AS 11 FT WITH WINDS 20 TO 25 KT BY LATE MON.

Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 16 Comments: 11688
18z surface analysis has the surface trough in the southern Caribbean present. Tropical wave approaching the system (near 70˚W) as well.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Gearsts:
Did we get HAIL today or tornado?


No tornadoes or Hail... That was last week... El ultimo que hubo fue en Ciales... Pero la lluvia ha hecho que Ponce y Salinas, areas secas, se vean verdes...
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A las 2:43 p.m., el radar indicó sobre fuertes lluvias y se espera que caigan dos pulgadas en las próximas horas, según el reporte de Meteorología. La advertencia fue anunciada para estos minucipios hasta las 6:45 de la tarde.

Castro indicó que los aguaceros probablemente continúen esta semana entrante con igual o mayor intensidad. Esto porque los modelos de pronóstico mantienen la humedad que está provocando las lluvias sobre la zona del Caribe.
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Quoting sunlinepr:
We are receiving the moisture from that low.... Shear keeps blowing WV to us.. Been raining here in PR for the last 2 weeks now...



Its happening all over the Greater Antilles.When the moisture collides with the high terrain and rises upward it creates relief rainfail. There is rain in all the the mountainous islands right now. T-storms are building even though its dmin.
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Quoting sunlinepr:
We are receiving the moisture from that low.... Shear keeps blowing WV to us.. Been raining here in PR for the last 2 weeks now... Much more coming...

Did we get HAIL today or tornado?
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We are receiving the moisture from that low.... Shear keeps blowing WV to us.. Been raining here in PR and RD for the last 2 weeks now... Much more coming...

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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
Can someone post a pic of Songda?




Loop Link
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
Quoting cchsweatherman:


Very nice. Can't wait for this.
I agree. I remember the never-ending discussion last year due to the NHC's lack to distinguish the monsoonal trough.
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Can someone post a pic of Songda?
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Quoting Levi32:
Wow. I'm impressed. Good job NHC on this decision. We've been waiting for it.


Very nice. Can't wait for this.
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Alfabob sorry for my rants not quite used to new people didnt realize that your new, and that ur still learning, will be more considerate, thanks
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Wow. I'm impressed. Good job NHC on this decision. We've been waiting for it.
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Quoting alfabob:

Well I guess we will have to wait and see if it is upper or lower level outflow. If it is due to collapsing thunderstorms then it should be diminishing to nothing shortly and I'll take a break on forecasting since there seems to be so many annoyed with it.
Yes, you finally understand, thank you!
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Quoting Levi32:


That's a bit unfair. Everyone has to start out somehow. I myself only became better by making pretty ridiculous forecasts. Long-timers here may remember what I was like on the blogs way back. Instead of hashing him, ask questions to make him justify his forecast. He seems to enjoy doing it, which is good, and having to justify things is what helps us learn as forecasters.
Levi you should do and lol update vid ;)
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Quoting Levi32:


That's a bit unfair. Everyone has to start out somehow. I myself only became better by making pretty ridiculous forecasts. Long-timers here may remember what I was like on the blogs way back. Instead of hashing him, ask questions to make him justify his forecast. He seems to enjoy doing it, which is good, and having to justify things is what helps us learn as forecasters.


Exactly.
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Quoting Levi32:


That's a bit unfair. Everyone has to start out somehow. I myself only became better by making pretty ridiculous forecasts. Long-timers here may remember what I was like on the blogs way back. Instead of hashing him, ask questions to make him justify his forecast. He seems to enjoy doing it, which is good, and having to justify things is what helps us learn as forecasters.


I remember when I predicted Hurricane Karen to hit the USA back in 2007 lol.. We all have our mistakes. For now, Charlie (2004), Rita (2005), Ike (2008) Bill (2009), and Earl (2010) were my best predictions.
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Quoting Levi32:


That's a bit unfair. Everyone has to start out somehow. I myself only became better by making pretty ridiculous forecasts. Long-timers here may remember what I was like on the blogs way back. Instead of hashing him, ask questions to make him justify his forecast. He seems to enjoy doing it, which is good, and having to justify things is what helps us learn as forecasters.


fair enough
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 8072
Quoting alfabob:

lol I'm not wish-casting, models have continuous predicted this area to develop. If you read the previous post about the progression that I have noted, you would understand that I plainly admitted to messing up the past predictions due to certain factors. Now if your going to sit there and tell me there hasn't been a low, with visible vorticity, at which most models were developing for the past week or two then I could care less about your opinion. BTW I'm not downcasting the Atlantic when I say development is possible..
My god! That is not what the models are predicting, the Caribbean low could split and the models show that part of the split could form, that's what the models are showing and that is why it shows up in the next 2 to 4 days.
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Quoting alfabob:

Well I guess we will have to wait and see if it is upper or lower level outflow. If it is due to collapsing thunderstorms then it should be diminishing to nothing shortly and I'll take a break on forecasting since there seems to be so many annoyed with it.


I'm not annoyed. Believe me, people who were here when I first started here can vouch, I was far worse when I started. Its due to reading comments and actually listening to people that I learned so much about weather and have become quite respected. Its all a learning process and I'm trying to help continue the cycle. I love the passion you bring and don't stop it. Just keep learning and you'll get where ya wanna be.
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Quoting ncstorm:


dangerous?? there is nothing out there yet..who cares if he states his opinion..


say that to me when we have a major hurricane barring down on land and he starts making these kinds of comments

just saying, people take what many say here as gospel; to continually make predictions without actually looking at the evidence just tells me that someone wants attention
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If the shear map is to be believed, the broad low is in marginal wind shear, 10-20 knots, more near the 20 mark.
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


he was never asking questions, he was making unfounded predictions and statements without looking at what was actually occurring

For a blog where people come to learn; as you state; that kind of thing can be just as dangerous and detrimental


That's a bit unfair. Everyone has to start out somehow. I myself only became better by making pretty ridiculous forecasts. Long-timers here may remember what I was like on the blogs way back. Instead of hashing him, ask questions to make him justify his forecast. He seems to enjoy doing it, which is good, and having to justify things is what helps us learn as forecasters.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26754
Quoting alfabob:

I see spiral bands forming, see the little yellow lines above the red a drew? The one on the left is from the returning winds on the west side I was talking about.
LOL at that, so funny.And the fight starts?Not june 1 yet.
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


he was never asking questions, he was making unfounded predictions and statements without looking at what was actually occurring

For a blog where people come to learn; as you state; that kind of thing can be just as dangerous and detrimental


dangerous?? there is nothing out there yet..who cares if he states his opinion..
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Quoting ncstorm:
Wow..the blog has a lot of egos today..people come here to learn..not be call dumb..this is why some of yall need to step away from the computer and enjoy the fresh air..people are afraid to ask questions thinking they will have the NHC wording thrown at them or god forbid, the most brillant hurricane knowledge thrown back in their face..its called patient folks, in case you forgot..


he was never asking questions until after we questioned his judgement, he was making unfounded predictions and statements without looking at what was actually occurring

For a blog where people come to learn; as you state; that kind of thing can be just as dangerous and detrimental
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Quoting PolishHurrMaster:

Reed,it should be tagged NOW.


Ehh, not quite.. We need to see persistence in the convection. It looks to be organizing to me, but it could fall apart tonight.
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Wow..the blog has a lot of egos today..people come here to learn..not be call dumb..this is why some of yall need to step away from the computer and enjoy the fresh air..people are afraid to ask questions thinking they will have the NHC wording thrown at them in bold or god forbid, the most brillant hurricane knowledge thrown back in their face..its called patient folks, in case you forgot..
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Alfabob,you're a title man from the fameous Green Day song from 2004
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Quoting alfabob:

lol I'm not wish-casting, models have continuous predicted this area to develop.
really? Which ones?

I just took a look for myself and the CMC, EMCWF, and GFS all give the low in the Caribbean a better chance. The only exception is the NOGAPS model...which in my opinion is the least reliable of those four.
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Looks like its about to get sheared though.
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Quoting Levi32:
It will be interesting to see if this tropical wave gets involved with the western Caribbean.



Could definitely help in spinning up a more defined tropical disturbance in the SW Caribbean in the coming days.
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Quoting alfabob:

Wouldn't the outflow boundaries be off of the surface and not rotating counter clockwise?


Outflow boundaries are a result of nothing but collapsing thunderstorms. Outflow boundaries do exist at the surface and can be noted by a sudden wind surge preceding a thunderstorm. They have nothing to do with circulation.
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Quoting alfabob:

Wouldn't the outflow boundaries be off of the surface and not rotating counter clockwise?


just ran a visible loop, I see no banding and I see an outflow boundary clearly coming from the convection
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It will be interesting to see if this tropical wave east of the Antilles gets involved with the western Caribbean.

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694. xcool



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Our system seems to be grabbing dmin by the knick knacks. Very interesting stuff here.

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Quoting Hurricanes101:


spiral bands and outflow boundaries are not the same thing

Exactly.
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Here is the analysis straight from the National Hurricane Center regarding your area of interest, alfabob:

SHORT WEAK TROUGH S OF GULF OF TEHUANTEPEC UNDER FAVORABLE
ENVIRON ALOFT WITH LOW WIND SHEAR AND MODERATE DIVERGING FLOW
HAS SCATTERED DEEP CONVECTION ON ITS SE QUADRANT. NO SIGNS OF
TROPICAL ORGANIZATION HAS BEEN NOTED AND MODEL GUIDANCE DO NOT
SEEM TO FAVOR ANY DEVELOPMENT FOR THE NEXT TWO DAYS.
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Quoting alfabob:

I see spiral bands forming, see the little yellow lines above the red a drew? The one on the left is from the returning winds on the west side I was talking about.


spiral bands and outflow boundaries are not the same thing
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Quoting cchsweatherman:




I feel like I must ask the question. How can you declare something close to becoming a TD when there is no surface low or low level circulation analyzed in the very map you provided and when all that exists is a weak surface trough within the ITCZ?

To add to that, IF it was that close to becoming a Tropical Cyclone, the NHC would have noticed it and at least tagged it an invest.
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Quoting cchsweatherman:


enough said

now I expect him to post the one for the ATL lol
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About

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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