Caribbean disturbance slow to develop; 5 EF-5 tornadoes this year confirmed

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:33 PM GMT on June 03, 2011

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The tropical disturbance (Invest 93L) that crossed over Florida on Wednesday, bringing welcome rains of 1 - 3 inches, is now a naked swirl of low clouds over the central Gulf of Mexico. The disturbance is embedded in a large area of dry air associated with an upper level low pressure system, and this dry air is discouraging development. 93L is also moving into a region of moderate wind shear of 10 - 20 knots, and NHC is giving 93L a 0% chance of developing into a tropical depression before the storm makes landfall in Mexico south of Brownsville on Saturday. There are a few heavy thunderstorms trying to fire up near the center of 93L's fairly well-formed circulation, but I don't think this storm is going to bring more than 1 - 2 inches of rain to the coast on Saturday.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of the Central Caribbean disturbance.

Central Caribbean disturbance 94L
Disorganized heavy thunderstorm activity continues in the region between Central America and Jamaica. Wind shear has fallen to the moderate range, 10 - 20 knots, and is predicted to continue to fall over the next two days. This should allow the disturbance, dubbed Invest 94L by NHC on Friday afternoon, to increase in organization, though it will take many days for it to approach tropical depression status, since it is so large and poorly organized. The last two runs of the NOGAPS model have developed the disturbance into a tropical depression or storm by early next week, with the system moving northwards into Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and eastern Cuba. The other major models do not show the disturbance developing during the coming week. NHC is giving the disturbance a 10% of developing into a tropical depression by Sunday. A surge of moisture accompanying a tropical wave may aid development when the wave arrives in the Western Caribbean on Sunday. 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. Residents of Jamaica, eastern Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic should anticipate the possibility that heavy rains of 2 - 4 inches may affect them today through Sunday.

Five EF-5 tornadoes confirmed in 2011
The National Weather Service in Oklahoma City announced Wednesday that the violent tornado that hit Binger, El Reno, Peidmont, and Guthrie, Oklahoma on May 24, killing nine people, was an EF-5 with winds greater than 210 mph. The rating was given based on measurements made by a University of Oklahoma portable "Doppler on wheels" radar. The long track, large wedge tornado caused extensive damage, with well built houses cleanly swept from their foundation and trees debarked. This tornado brings the total number of EF-5 tornadoes this year to five, tying 2011 with 1953 for 2nd place for greatest number of these top-end tornadoes in one year. Only 1974 (six) had more. The EF-5 tornadoes of 2011:

1) The April 27, 2011 Neshoba/Kemper/Winston/Noxubee Counties, Mississippi tornado (3 killed, 29 mile path length.)

2) The April 27, 2011 Smithville, Mississippi tornado (22 killed, 15 mile path length.)

3) The April 27, 2011 Hackleburg, Alabama tornado (71 killed, 25 mile path length.)

4) The May 22, 2011 Joplin Missouri tornado (138 killed, 14 mile path length.)

5) The May 24, 2011 Binger-El Reno-Peidmont-Guthrie, Oklahoma tornado. (9 killed, 75 mile path length.)


Figure 2. Aerial view of damage from the May 22, 2011 Joplin, Missouri tornado. Image credit: Wikipedia.

A few other remarkable statistics on the tornado season of 2011, compiled from NOAA's official press release and Wikipedia's excellent tornado pages:

- The April 25 - 28 tornado outbreak, with 330 tornadoes, was the largest tornado outbreak of three days or less duration on record. The previous record was 148 tornadoes, set during the April 3 - 4, 1974 Super Outbreak.

- For April 27, 186 tornadoes have been confirmed. This is the largest 1-day tornado total on record, beating the 148 recorded in 24 hours on April 3 - 4, 1974.

- The April 14 - 16 tornado outbreak, with 162 confirmed tornadoes, ranks as the fourth largest tornado outbreak of three days or less duration on record.

- The May 21 - 26 tornado outbreak, with 158 confirmed tornadoes, ranks as the 5th largest 6-day or shorter tornado outbreak on record. A May 2003 6-day outbreak had 289 tornadoes, and a May 2004 6-day outbreak had 229 tornadoes. The year 2011 now has three of the top five tornado outbreaks on record.

- April confirmed tornado total was 683, making it the busiest tornado month on record. The previous record was 542 tornadoes, set in May 2003. The previous April record was 267 tornadoes, which occurred in April 1974. The 30-year average for April tornadoes is 135.

- If the three deaths in Massachusetts from Wednesday's tornadoes are confirmed, this year's tornado death toll will be 522, beating 1953 as the deadliest tornado year since modern tornado records began. That year, 519 people died, and 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.) During that time period, the tornado death rate per million people was 60 - 70 times as great as in the year 2000 (Figure 4), implying that this year's tornadoes would have killed many thousands of people had we not had our modern tornado modern warning system.

- The May 22, 2011 Joplin, Missouri tornado killed 138 people and injured 1150, making it the deadliest U.S. tornado since 1947, and 8th deadliest in history. The $1 - $3 billion estimate of insured damage makes it the most expensive tornado in history.

- Damage from the April 25 - 28 super tornado outbreak was estimated at $3.5 - $6 billion, making it the most expensive tornado outbreak of all-time.

- The tornado that hit Springfield, Massachusetts on June 1 was at least an EF-3 with 136 - 165 mph winds. It was only the 9th EF-3 or stronger tornado to hit Massachusetts since 1950, and the third deadliest, with three deaths.

- The year 2011 now ranks in 3rd place behind 1974 and 1965 for highest number of strong to violent EF-3, EF-4, and EF-5 tornadoes (Figure 3.)


Figure 3. Number of strong to violent EF-3, EF-4 and EF-5 tornadoes from 1950 to 2011. The year 2011 now ranks in 3rd place behind 1974 and 1965. There is not a decades-long increasing trend in the numbers of these most dangerous of tornadoes. Image credit: NOAA/National Climatic Data Center (updated using stats for 2008 - 2011 from Wikipedia.)


Figure 4. Death rate per million people per year in U.S., 1875-2000. Thin line with dots is raw rate, curved thick line is death rate, filtered by 3-point median and 5-point running mean filter, and straight solid lines are least squares fit to filtered death rate for 1875-1925 and 1925-2000. Dashed lines are estimates of 10th and 90th percentile death rates from 1925-2000. The death rate fell from 8 per million to .12 per million between 1940 and 2000. Image credit: A Brief History of Deaths from Tornadoes in the United States, Harold Brooks and Charles Doswell III.

Joplin tornado the 7th U.S. billion-dollar weather disaster of 2011
The Joplin tornado is the 7th U.S. weather disaster of 2011 costing more than a billion dollars. With a major flooding disaster coming on the Missouri River, and hurricane season still to come, 2011 has an excellent chance of beating 2008's record of nine billion-dollar weather disasters. The billion dollar weather disasters of 2011 so far:

1) 2011 Groundhog Day's blizzard ($1- $4 billion)
2) April 3 -5 Southeast U.S. severe weather outbreak ($2 billion)
3) April 8 - 11 severe weather outbreak ($2.25 billion)
4) April 25 - 28 super tornado outbreak ($3.5 - $6 billion)
5) Mississippi River flood of 2011 ($9 billion)
6) Texas drought ($1.2 billion)
7) Joplin tornado ($1 - $3 billion)


Figure 5. River flood outlook for the U.S. Image credit: NOAA.

The next U.S. billion-dollar weather disaster: a Missouri River flood?
A great 100-year flood has arrived along the Missouri River and its tributaries from Montana to Nebraska. Record spring rains, combined with snow melt from record or near-record winter and spring snows, brought the Missouri River at Williston, North Dakota to 27.9' yesterday, just an inch short of the highest crest on record (28.0' on 4/01/1912.) Tributaries to the Missouri, such as the Souris River in North Dakota and the North Platte River in Nebraska, are already flooding at all-time record heights. With warm summer temperatures and additional rainfall expected over much of the area during the coming week, snow melt and rain runoff will swell area rivers even further, creating a damaging 100-year flood. Wunderground weather historian Christopher C. Burt has the details in his latest post, and I will be writing more on this latest epic flood next week.

I'll have a new post on Monday, or earlier if the Caribbean disturbance shows significant development.

Jeff Masters

Joplin Tornado Damage (thebige)
Joplin Tornado Damage
And Bigger.... (weatherfanatic2010)
Here it is turning into a monster.
And Bigger....

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3224. Grothar
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


Rain finally? Or do you think a little bit more?


Hope so Gro. But as the discussion states...Low Confidence.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11580
Quoting kmanislander:
This image suggests the low is well away from the deep convection. Right at the bottom center of the image it looks like that is where the circulation is. There is a long semi circular line of cloud that sweeps all the way back into the NW Caribbean to that position



Yeh, that image shows a centre pretty clearly. There's actually some convection coming up from South America towards 94L, might help to moisten some of the dry air around 94L.
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3221. IKE
Eastern PAC

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
500 AM PDT SUN JUN 5 2011

FOR THE EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC...EAST OF 140 DEGREES WEST LONGITUDE..

AN AREA OF LOW PRESSURE LOCATED SEVERAL HUNDRED MILES SOUTH-
SOUTHEAST OF ACAPULCO MEXICO HAS BECOME BETTER DEFINED OVERNIGHT.
ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS APPEAR FAVORABLE FOR GRADUAL DEVELOPMENT
OF THIS SYSTEM...AND IT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BECOME A TROPICAL
DEPRESSION DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS. THERE IS A MEDIUM
CHANCE...40 PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE
DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS AS IT REMAINS NEARLY STATIONARY.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER BLAKE
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
3220. IKE

Quoting kmanislander:
Notice the area of lowest pressure is displaced to the SW

I can see the spin SW or WSW of the blow up of convection.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
CMC Ensemble
138 Hours
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
This image suggests the low is well away from the deep convection. Right at the bottom center of the image it looks like that is where the circulation is. There is a long semi circular line of cloud that sweeps all the way back into the NW Caribbean to that position. A few visible shots in a loop will tell us in two hours or so exactly what is going on

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
3217. Grothar
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Miami NWS Discussion

WEDNESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY...
ALTHOUGH CONFIDENCE BEGINS TO DECREASE THIS FAR OUT INTO EXTENDED
FORECAST...THE ECMWF/UKMET/NOGAPS/GFS/GFS ENSEMBLE MEAN DUE INDICATE
INCREASING DEEP LAYER MOISTURE ACROSS SOUTH FLORIDA TOWARD THE END
OF THE WEEK AS THE AFOREMENTIONED BROAD LOW-LEVEL CIRCULATION SOUTH
OF CUBA SLOWLY DRIFTS WEST-NORTHWEST. DUE TO THIS LOW
CONFIDENCE...WILL SLIGHTLY INCREASE RAINFALL PROBABILITIES BACK
TOWARD CLIMATOLOGY THROUGH THIS PERIOD TO EXPRESS SOME DEGREE OF
UNCERTAINTY.


Rain finally? Or do you think a little bit more?
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3216. Grothar
Mornining. Hey, a little after 10 PM last night, that woody something called this one great. He explained how the whole thing was going to flare and exactly where it was going to. I didn't see anything on the maps he posted, but I guess a few others like Chicklit and cyclonevoyager and other did. He really got this one good. If he is on, congrats. He even knew the exact location. He made a couple posts. Is Levi going under cover and using words we can acually understand or do we have another good observer?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Miami NWS Discussion

WEDNESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY...
ALTHOUGH CONFIDENCE BEGINS TO DECREASE THIS FAR OUT INTO EXTENDED
FORECAST...THE ECMWF/UKMET/NOGAPS/GFS/GFS ENSEMBLE MEAN DUE INDICATE
INCREASING DEEP LAYER MOISTURE ACROSS SOUTH FLORIDA TOWARD THE END
OF THE WEEK AS THE AFOREMENTIONED BROAD LOW-LEVEL CIRCULATION SOUTH
OF CUBA SLOWLY DRIFTS WEST-NORTHWEST. DUE TO THIS LOW
CONFIDENCE...WILL SLIGHTLY INCREASE RAINFALL PROBABILITIES BACK
TOWARD CLIMATOLOGY THROUGH THIS PERIOD TO EXPRESS SOME DEGREE OF
UNCERTAINTY.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11580
3214. pottery
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:

Post 3210.
That shows the overall situation pretty well.
Note the cloud-top motion, and the area of dry to the south and west.
It will have problems today, and may look real sick by this evening.
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


It's certainly firing up convection. It looks like the spin is actually centred underneath all of the new convection. If 94L could get itself a CoC under all of that convection, that would help it a lot. I'm guessing we'll get another 20% in the TWO in a few minutes.
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3212. IKE
SYNOPSIS FOR CARIBBEAN SEA AND TROPICAL N ATLC FROM 07N TO 22N
BETWEEN 55W AND 65W
530 AM EDT SUN JUN 05 2011

.SYNOPSIS...A NEARLY STATIONARY WEAK 1009 MB LOW IS NEAR 16N79W
WITH A TROUGH SW TO NEAR CENTRAL PANAMA.
THESE FEATURES WILL
LINGER IN THE SAME GENERAL AREA THROUGH AT LEAST TUE. A TROPICAL
WAVE S OF 15N ALONG 61W IS MOVING W AT 5 TO 10 KT. THE WAVE WILL
BEGIN TO LIFT NE AS A TROUGH TONIGHT THROUGH THU. ANOTHER
TROPICAL WAVE IS JUST E OF THE TROPICAL N ATLC. THIS WAVE WILL
MOVE ACROSS THE SOUTHERN HALF OF THE TROPICAL N ATLC THROUGH
TONIGHT...THEN ACROSS THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN MON BEFORE IT ALSO
LIFTS N AS A TROUGH TUE AND WED.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Notice the area of lowest pressure is displaced to the SW

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11580
Quoting BenBIogger:


Good Morning!

The ULL (in the GOM) is helping 94L this morning.



The ULL is reinforcing the ridge in the NW Caribbean but the real problem is that shear is still pretty plentiful notwithstanding high pressure above the system. There is also a swath of dry air on the SW side of the blow up that will probably get entrained into it. Today will be another struggle for 94L IMO
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3208. pottery
Post 3203
That's a Great image.
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Quoting kmanislander:
Good morning all.

It's hard to tell if the surface low has returned but from running the the IR2 loop I do see some turning off to the SW of the cenvection ball near 15 N and 79 W. We will have a better idea when we get a few visible shots.


Good Morning!

The ULL (in the GOM) is helping 94L this morning.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good morning WU. Another morning, another repeat of the same ole', i'm afraid. Here's my two cents: When DMAX flare up subsides later today, entering Dmin, there will be little doubt in the blog as to its fate. In two days or so the environment in the caribbean will only get worse... Funny story, I fell asleep with the laptop open on my bed, and satellite images refreshing every fifteen minutes, and so when I woke up my first sight was of our poor invest. I'll make sure to close the laptop before passing out!
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until it breaks off from the stalled out trough i doubt if you will see development
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the heavens have opened up and now it is pouring
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12728
3203. emcf30
NEWS RELEASE

June 05, 2011 at 5:00 a.m.

***FLASH FLOOD WARNING NOW IN EFFECT ***

The Meteorological Service has issued a Flash Flood Warning for low-lying and flood-prone areas of St Mary, Portland, St Thomas, St Catherine, Clarendon, Kingston and St Andrew, while a Flash Flood Watch remains in effect for all others parishes until 5:
A FLASH FLOOD WARNING means flooding has been reported or will occur shortly. Motorists and pedestrians should not attempt to cross flooded roadways or other low-lying areas as strong currents are likely. Residents in low-lying areas should be on the alert for rising waters and be ready to move quickly to higher ground.

The area of Low Pressure over the Caribbean Sea, south of Jamaica has remained almost stationary over the past 12 hours. This area of disturbed weather is expected to linger across the region until Tuesday and will continue to influence the weather over the island during the period.


Satellite imagery and RADAR reports indicate that light to moderate and at times heavy showers affected mostly eastern and central parishes last night.

However, the forecast is for periods of showers and thunderstorms, which could be heavy at times, to continue to affect most parishes today and continuing into early next week.

Fishers and other marine interests are advised to exercise caution, as strong winds and rough sea conditions are expected in the vicinity of showers and thunderstorms.


The Area of Low Pressure currently has a low chance of developing into a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours, and the Meteorological Service will continue to monitor the progress of this system.

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3202. pottery
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Good morning to all. As kmanislander said,let's see the first visible images to see what is really going on there. But at least is looks a little bit better than yesterday afternoon and evening.

Could be because it's just after DMax right now too.
It may look a little less healthy in a couple of hours.
It's still a Fascinating system though!
It's been over a week....
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Hostile conditions aloft around the system

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
Good morning to all. As kmanislander said,let's see the first visible images to see what is really going on there. But at least is looks a little bit better than yesterday afternoon and evening. Also I notice less dry air.
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Good morming. It is looking pretty good this morning though.


It did yesterday morning as well but a lot can change during the heat of the day. I suspect we will see more ups and downs with this as conditions are still not ideal. I would wait and see how it looks in 8 hours before concluding that this comeback is the next step up.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
Quoting kmanislander:
Good morning all.

It's hard to tell if the surface low has returned but from running the the IR2 loop I do see some turning off to the SW of the cenvection ball near 15 N and 79 W. We will have a better idea when we get a few visible shots.

that is near where they have 94L located at 06Z 16.1N 79.0W but I still think it is or it already has reformed nearer to the convective ball or maybe right underneath
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12728
3197. pottery
Quoting stormpetrol:


not too bad here, off to the SE looks dark though, I guess the HHs will fly into 94L today

I would not be surprised if the HH does not fly to 94L today.
Right now it looks to be an intense thunderstorm.
A lot of moisture coming in from the SE but overall, it does not look too well this morning.
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Quoting kmanislander:
Good morning all.

It's hard to tell if the surface low has returned but from running the IR2 loop I do see some turning off to the SW of the convection ball near 15 N and 79 W. We will have a better idea when we get a few visible shots.
Good morming. It is looking pretty good this morning though.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8436
Good morning all.

It's hard to tell if the surface low has returned but from running the IR2 loop I do see some turning off to the SW of the convection ball near 15 N and 79 W. We will have a better idea when we get a few visible shots.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
Quoting stormpetrol:


not too bad here, off to the SE looks dark though, I guess the HHs will fly into 94L today
94L kind of reminds me of Dolly. Remember she crossed us with TS winds and very heavy rain but was never declared a TD and didn't get named until right after she passed over us.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8436
looks like 94L is pulling in convection from the south
S of 14N 78W-S of 14N 74W
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12728
If anyone is interested in chatting with Sean Casey. go here.
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:

lol nah maybe Minimal TD anyway stormpetrol how does it look up your end of the Island you know already I'm up here in WB and very cloudy


not too bad here, off to the SE looks dark though, I guess the HHs will fly into 94L today
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Quoting weatherwatcher12:
Looking forward to recon today.
Hopefully it does not get cancelled.
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Looking forward to recon today.
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Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8436
Quoting pottery:

But it's lost it's Low...

Good Morning all, a wet one here again this morning.
2" of rainfall yesterday.
Mildew weather....

but it will most have it back on the map at 12Z plus 06Z did not have it and its around 10:15utc quite abit can change by then like reformation of a low
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12728
Quoting wunderkidcayman:

lol nah maybe Minimal TD anyway stormpetrol how does it look up your end of the Island you know already I'm up here in WB and very cloudy
I don't think it is a TD yet but I think it is well on the way. East End is very overcast too.
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Quoting stormpetrol:
Personally I think 94L is already a TD or minimal TS, what 94L has done is no surprise to me

lol nah maybe Minimal TD anyway stormpetrol how does it look up your end of the Island you know already I'm up here in WB and very cloudy
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12728
3184. pottery
'
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3183. pottery
Quoting stormpetrol:
Personally I think 94L is already a TD or minimal TS, what 94L has done is no surprise to me

But it's lost it's Low...

Good Morning all, a wet one here again this morning.
2" of rainfall yesterday.
Mildew weather....
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Quoting stormpetrol:
40-60% at 8 am?
IDK if it will go that high but sure looking very healthy this morning.
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3181. Ylee
Hawaiian eruptions are relatively mellow...
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40-60% at 8 am?
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Personally I think 94L is already a TD or minimal TS, what 94L has done is no surprise to me
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"SANTIAGO, Chile %u2013 One of the volcanos in the Caulle Cordon of southern Chile erupted violently Saturday, billowing smoke and ash high into the sky and prompting more than 3,500 people living nearby to evacuate.

There were no reports of injuries.

Authorities initially said the Puyehue volcano was involved, but later said the eruption was occurring about 2 1/2 miles (four kilometers) from that peak.
A rift more than six miles (10 kilometers) long and three miles (five kilometers) across was torn in the earth's crust, officials said Saturday night."

Side point: I love how journalists always accompany eruptions with adjectives like 'violently' or head towards superlatives. Well, an eruption is unlikely to be 'gentle' or 'tranquil', is it?
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:

I am also seeing this so I guess I ws right last night about the COC reforming overnight I guess we will get back our low on the 12Z surface map


Doesn't look like dry air will be a problem anymore either. Caribbean has gotten very moist.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8436
low like the low is going no where soon
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Quoting Levi32:
Looking directly at 15N, 76W, the dissipating cirrus clouds reveal a brisk southerly surface inflow into the Jamaican thunderstorm complex, indicating that it is healthy and lowering pressures at the surface.
Quoting cchsweatherman:


I'm believing very much that we may be having a new surface low forming within the southern end of this new thunderstorm complex just southeast of Jamaica at around 16.5N and 76.5W.
Quoting cchsweatherman:


Also supporting this observation is the fact that low level convergence is now increasing right with this thunderstorm complex as well.



I am also seeing this so I guess I ws right last night about the COC reforming overnight I guess we will get back our low on the 12Z surface map
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3174. IKE
5 day QPF....





72 hour 6Z GFS....


Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860

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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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