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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2774. IKE
This low, which is now 94L...has been going on for at least a week...maybe longer. Hopefully it will either die or move on soon. Please.
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2773. scott39
I would rather watch paint dry right now....than watch 94L any longer!!
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Quoting StAugustineFL:


There must be alot of people on this blog that have never been married. If they were, they'd understand the fine art of knowing when to ignore. :)
yes, or they haven't been on the internet long enough
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Alright now, let's not get mad because the NHC lowered it to 20%. Things can change in a hurry. Could see it reorganize tonight, who knows? Nonetheless, it doesn't look very healthy in the time being, despite some flaring of convection. We shall see.
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Quoting TomTaylor:
dry air in the mid level is part of the problem, but dmin is the bigger problem. Mid level sheer is an issue as well.
Good point.

Anyone for an AGW debate?
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2769. barbamz
Quoting pottery:

No probs for me.
When things are slow here, I go to the LawnMower Carburettor Blog.

sigh.....

heheheh


Thanks Pot. "Carburettor" - well, as you might now, sometimes I use this blog to amplify my English vocabulary, LOL.
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20%... Wah wah wah wah.... 94L... well dunno...
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
Dry air from the W but lots of moisture from the SE


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Quoting kmanislander:
Oh dear, the mood of the blog waxes and wanes with the percentage rise and fall of an Invest. Dmin, Dmax, all the ebb and flow of early stage system formation. Some do and some don't. That's why we watch and wait LOL

The heat of the day combined with shear and dry air has sapped the strength of fledgling 94L. Tonight it will likely perk up again.


What do you make of this shear out of the SE tonight?
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Quoting FrankZapper:
94L looks more disorganized on satellite this evening. Are we in agreement? Dry air is killing it. We could use the rain. Something needs to break the drought.


I wouldn't say killing it.

But yes it is currently inhibiting development at the time being. Help is on the way for 94L from a tropical wave, and it should arrive tomorrow.
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Chile: Puyehue volcano erupts forcing mass evacuation

Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
2763. beell
Quoting StAugustineFL:


There must be alot of people on this blog that have never been married. If they were, they'd understand the fine art of knowing when to ignore. :)


"Yes, dear"...
;-)
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 137 Comments: 15353
Quoting TomTaylor:
yes and by responding to him, you continue it. So let's stop fighting, arguing, and learn how to ignore trolls, sha'll we?


There must be alot of people on this blog that have never been married. If they were, they'd understand the fine art of knowing when to ignore. :)
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2761. xcool
pottery haha
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603
Quoting FrankZapper:
94L looks more disorganized on satellite this evening. Are we in agreement? Dry air is killing it. We could use the rain. Something needs to break the drought.
dry air in the mid level is part of the problem, but dmin is the bigger problem. Mid level sheer is an issue as well.
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2759. xcool
TomTaylor you rite
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603
Quoting kmanislander:
Oh dear, the mood of the blog waxes and wanes with the percentage rise and fall of an Invest. Dmin, Dmax, all the ebb and flow of early stage system formation. Some do and some don't. That's why we watch and wait LOL

The heat of the day combined with shear and dry air has sapped the strength of fledgling 94L. Tonight it will likely perk up again.


I agree 100%. These things are unpredictable sometimes.
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Quoting xcool:
RIP 94L

It's not RIP yet until formation chances are dropped to near 0%.
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94L looks more disorganized on satellite this evening. Are we in agreement? Dry air is killing it. We could use the rain. Something needs to break the drought.
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2755. pottery
Quoting xcool:
LMaooo

Careful! I throw shoes at things that make that noise in the night.
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Quoting xcool:
IKE .yep h'e start drama
yes and by responding to him, you continue it. So let's stop fighting, arguing, and learn how to ignore trolls, sha'll we?
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2753. xcool
LMaooo
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603
Oh dear, the mood of the blog waxes and wanes with the percentage rise and fall of an Invest. Dmin, Dmax, all the ebb and flow of early stage system formation. Some do and some don't. That's why we watch and wait LOL

The heat of the day combined with shear and dry air has sapped the strength of fledgling 94L. Tonight it will likely perk up again.
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


As soon as that happened the convection died.


However, that area of convection on the coast of Jamaica is heading down to the Low.

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Meanwhile, on the Carribean, 94L is slightly weakening, although it might restore.
On the east pacific however, is 91E increasing in organization despite of dry air surrounding.
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2748. IKE

Quoting StAugustineFL:


Yep, there's still hope for you this evening. No such luck here.
Here it comes....from Geneva,AL...


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94L should be back up by 2am or 7am when D-Max kicks in they just kicked it down by 10% because of D-min and dry mid level air however that dry air should have been kicked and still kicking out by that time
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 9598
2746. pottery
Quoting Grothar:


This is terrible. We may not have anything to say to each other until the next invest. Even worse, we may have to go outside and exercise. Horrible thought, isn't it, pot?

No probs for me.
When things are slow here, I go to the LawnMower Carburettor Blog.

sigh.....

heheheh
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2745. xcool
IKE .yep h'e start drama
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603
Quoting IKE:

I got .11 inches. Yeah...I saw it blow up south of DeFuniak Springs. I see more showers possibly moving in this evening.


Yep, there's still hope for you this evening. No such luck here.
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Quoting PcolaDan:


Spent 7 hours each of 4 days in a school bus with no air conditioner in 100 degree temps toting more than 100 kids back and forth.

The AC in my house feels REAL good today. :)
6 hours of finger exercise=1hour walk...lol
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Quoting xcool:
RIP 94L
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Development is appearing less likely as the models have really backed off on 94L today. Dry air is really hurting this. My odds are down to 30%.

It has a chance still but needs to overcome its dry air. This is that 'RIP' phase all invests seem to go through and sometimes they don't get past it. Tonight and tomorrow are the most critical for development.
We're at dmin folks, I'd wait and check in the morning/later tonight as dmax approaches before writing her off, never know what may happen with weather...just look at 93L lol
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2741. IKE
***Drama on the blog***
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2739. j2008
Quoting AllStar17:


No need for that.

These things can do a complete 360 quickly.

Very quickly, in fact most storms at some point in their life have a drastic change.
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Personally regardless of the % I still 94L has a good shot at becoming the first named Atl storm of 2011.
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


Shear shifting around out of the SE is an interesting development to me.


As soon as that happened the convection died.
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2736. xcool
DamagingWinds SHUT UP,
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603
Meanwhile, 91E is at 30%.

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
500 PM PDT SAT JUN 4 2011

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

SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ASSOCIATED WITH A BROAD AREA OF LOW
PRESSURE LOCATED SEVERAL HUNDRED MILES SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF ACAPULCO
MEXICO HAVE CHANGED LITTLE IN ORGANIZATION DURING THE LAST SEVERAL
HOURS. HOWEVER...ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS APPEAR FAVORABLE FOR
GRADUAL DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS.
THERE IS A MEDIUM CHANCE...30 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 KIMBERLAIN/BRENNAN
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2734. xcool
AllStar17 lol come on was joke
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603
2733. IKE

Quoting StAugustineFL:


Any rain in the gauge? Looks like the storms blew up once they got south and west of town.
I got .11 inches. Yeah...I saw it blow up south of DeFuniak Springs. I see more showers possibly moving in this evening.
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Quoting xcool:
RIP 94L


No need for that.

These things can do a complete 360 quickly.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Development is appearing less likely as the models have really backed off on 94L today. Dry air is really hurting this. My odds are down to 30%.

It has a chance still but needs to overcome its dry air. This is that 'RIP' phase all invests seem to go through and sometimes they don't get past it. Tonight and tomorrow are the most critical for development.


Shear shifting around out of the SE is an interesting development to me.
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2729. IKE
Yawn 94L.
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Quoting IKE:
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 PM EDT SAT JUN 4 2011

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

SHOWER AND THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY HAS DIMINISHED DURING THE PAST FEW
HOURS IN ASSOCIATION WITH A BROAD AREA OF LOW PRESSURE CENTERED
ABOUT 125 MILES SOUTH-SOUTHWEST OF JAMAICA. WHILE UPPER-LEVEL WINDS
APPEAR FAVORABLE...DRY AIR IN THE MIDDLE LEVELS OF THE ATMOSPHERE
APPEARS TO BE LIMITING SHOWER AND THUNDERSTORM DEVELOPMENT NEAR THE
DISORGANIZED LOW CENTER. THERE IS A LOW CHANCE...20 PERCENT...OF
THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.
REGARDLESS OF DEVELOPMENT...HEAVY RAINS COULD CAUSE FLASH FLOODING
AND MUD SLIDES OVER PORTIONS OF HAITI...THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC...
AND JAMAICA AS THE LOW MOVES VERY LITTLE OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF
DAYS.

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

$$
FORECASTER BRENNAN


Any rain in the gauge? Looks like the storms blew up once they got south and west of town.
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20% so much for my 40-50% , lmao!!!
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Quoting DamagingWinds:


Well, this is simply what we enjoy doing, OK?

Quoting pottery:

It must be another 'new/improved site' glitch.
All is well with my specs.

Oh, and by the way Gro, there is nothing wrong with my social life.
I went out in feb. and TWICE in april.

Ahaha
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2725. xcool
RIP 94L
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603
2724. emcf30
Quoting Grothar:


I hear ya. I overdo it with my social life sometimes, too. LOL


You old guys are cracking me up
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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.