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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Quoting farhaonhebrew:
94L is dying?


No.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24574
1923. pottery
This 94L thing is moving in Super Slo-Mo.
The s#%^ is very slowly moving toward the ceiling fan.
But when it gets there, I think we going to see a lot of unpleasant stuff flying around the room....
BOOM!

everything in the Basin and beyond is pointing in that general direction.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24873
Quoting Cazador2011:


how can a ridge protect the U.S? And nooooo, no repeat of last year's pattern, PLEASE.


If a ridge builds centered over the Southeastern United States, then it would steer all approaching storms underneath the ridge into the Caribbean, Central America, or Mexico. We saw a classic example of this last season as Mexico suffered several landfalls while the US only saw one weak tropical storm with Bonnie that hit South Florida.
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Quoting clwstmchasr:


Agreed, it is just like last year. All those storms and the GOM/East Coast were protected.


Probably won't stay that way for the whole season.
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
StormW was one of the more respected bloggers on WU for the past few hurricane season's. He had a complete break down & lost his cool. StormW should have taken a few days off or something instead of arguing with others. The feuding escalated over a couple of days & he went beyond the point of no return. I sent him email and blogged for him to avoid escalating the tensions between himself & others to no avail.

This is a weather blog & I hope that people can try to be respectful of others. Furthermore, there is more to life than WU and it is sometimes a good idea to take a break from blogging.

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Come to think of it this morning the GFS has the North Puerto Rico Low pretty strong before becoming apart of a Trough.(the strongest out of the 3 models)
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1917. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
XX/INV/94L
MARK
16.36w/78.88n

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94L is dying?
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1911. DVG
The RGB loop shows a nice spin.
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GFS, actually is going with its same game plan it has been going with for a while. It shows 94L slowly head off west while another get pulled out of it(Tropical Wave) and forms a storm North of Puerto Rico. The GFS has been Consistant with this, as well as the Nogaps, and CMC.
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Off to do the usual Saturday run around. Back later
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
1906. pottery
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
12z GFS splits 94L into 3-4 low pressure areas, lol. 78 hours below...


Multiple lows all over the place in that forecast.
And as that low off the maritimes migrates south, it will start to influence things a lot more.
Great set-up, for confusion....
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24873
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


High pressure in the gulf, high pressure in NC, USA has its shields up early.


Like last year.
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
12z GFS splits 94L into 3-4 low pressure areas, lol. 78 hours below...



High pressure in the gulf, high pressure in NC, USA has its shields up early.
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Quoting TxHurricanedude11:
same old gfs lol thats unlikely


Agreed.
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
Quoting pottery:

Thats why I was saying 12-18 hrs.
It will take a while for the conditions to change around 94, after 93 goes away.
That's assuming 94 stays where it is, which looks likely, as any movement will be slow and it's a very big area.


12 to 18 is a good window. Bit by bit the moisture will fill in though even before 93L has departed.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
Quoting Cazador2011:


No he didn't, he left because bloggers were making a mockery out of the man's work on this blog


Via StormW

"Ok gang, they just gave me a permanent ban"
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
1895. pottery
Quoting kmanislander:


93L in the Bay of Campeche. You can see all the dry air around. This feature is responsible for South Westerly shear in the NW Caribbean that has stripped away all the moisture there. That said, you can see the moisutre returning to the area. Give it 12 hours for 93L to get out of the way.


Thats why I was saying 12-18 hrs.
It will take a while for the conditions to change around 94, after 93 goes away.
That's assuming 94 stays where it is, which looks likely, as any movement will be slow and it's a very big area.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24873
Appears to be multiple low level vortices developing within the broader low level circulation. One to the NW and another to the SE. Broader low level appears to be drifting to the SW.


Loop
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 11341
12z GFS splits 94L into 3-4 low pressure areas, lol. 78 hours below...

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
StormW is history and arguing over him may bring a ban or two as the blog is active now. Be careful
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
Caribbean disturbance has really not changed much since yesterday and infact in my view is still dealing with a good deal of south westerly windshear. Unfortunately hati looks to get a good dosing from this low as it moves slowly NE. If it developes at all it will be sometime early next week.
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Quoting pottery:

Nice.


93L in the Bay of Campeche. You can see all the dry air around. This feature is responsible for South Westerly shear in the NW Caribbean that has stripped away all the moisture there. That said, you can see the moisutre returning to the area. Give it 12 hours for 93L to get out of the way.

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
Quoting Cazador2011:


No he didn't, he left because bloggers were making a mockery out of the man's work on this blog


Banned

http://classic.wunderground.com/blog/StormW/comme nt.html?entrynum=781&tstamp=
This blog has been banned by WunderBlogAdmin.
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Alright, the day calls. I'll be on again later.
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1882. pottery
Quoting kmanislander:


Sorry, had to step away for a bit. Run this WV loop and you will see that the moisture field is generally expanding, albeit slowly. In addition, the shear in the NW Caribbean that is being caused by 93L's motion into the SW GOM will relax soon as 93L moves ashore. This will allow the NW Caribbean to fill in and cut off the dry air into 94L.

Nice.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24873
Quoting afj3:

Oh well. Thanks!

You have mail.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15977
94L Floater Rainbow Loop
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
1876. afj3
Quoting AussieStorm:

He left due to conflict. started up his own blog.

Oh well. Thanks!
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
Here is the Link to the TCPOD for today. They corrected the origional since they had the flight tomorrow flying backwards in time:

E. 05/1745Z TO 04/2200Z

Still the recon for today was cancelled this morning at 1300Z.


Confusion is cleared. Thanks again.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14887

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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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