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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1124. Grothar
Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
i like the dark green and yellow lines


I was just going to send you this link. That is too funny. Thought you would enjoy it.


Link
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Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
this loop, does anyone else see that ? lol


Pulling a jasoniscoolman.

Wow!!!
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Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
maybe my eyes are playing trix on me after looking at sat loops all day...lol


Hey, HHJoe.....Grothar and DAM are the ones who taught me to post links and images....nice, thoughtful guys, they are...:)....they may regret it now,though ..lol...
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1121. centex
Quoting Vincent4989:

And North.
Hum, dont see dry air being issue, very moist carib.
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


anticyclone over the system

strong shear to the north


Yes, but the anticyclone is very small and too tight for the system to fit in without being sheared on the West side. See below. The windfield above is not entirely conducive for development. We need to see the wind streamlines relax and stretch out to really ventilate the low and relax the shear in a sufficiently wide area to allow for development.

It's been quite a struggle so far


Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15687
1119. Grothar
Quoting Vincent4989:

And North.


Trying to moisten its environment.

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i like the dark green and yellow lines
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1117. Grothar
Quoting EYEStoSEA:


Nice, Grothar....another one to add to the collection...:)


Like we don't have enough! How you doing there EYES. Heard it has really been hot up your way. Pretty nice here. Finally getting a little bit of rain.
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Quoting centex:
Looks like shear issues.


anticyclone over the system

strong shear to the north
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1115. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
XX/INV/94L
MARK
16.66n/77.58w

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Surface observations are not as impressive as they were earlier today. No longer seeing a well defined low level circulation based on the most recent observations in the region. Still got quite some time to go before becoming a tropical depression.
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yeah, i believe its a Mid level circulation leaving the convection... nothing more... hurricanehunter
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
Quoting Grothar:
Very intense thunderstorms trying to form, but still a lot of dry air to the west being entrained.



And North.
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1111. centex
Looks like shear issues.
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Quoting Grothar:



Dear Lord, Look who is back!! How you doing. Dont? We have been getting bands of rain every few minutes here in Fort Lauderdale. Even the frogs have been croaking. Either that, or my knees are really going.


Just popping in for a bit, I'll not bother y'all much longer this evening ;-)
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1109. Grothar
Very intense thunderstorms trying to form, but still a lot of dry air to the west being entrained.


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maybe my eyes are playing trix on me after looking at sat loops all day...lol
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Very light steering winds but what there is is to the N at a drift

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1106. Grothar
Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
this loop, does anyone else see that ? lol


Yes, very good! It took me a month before I could do an animated one.
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this loop, does anyone else see that ? lol
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1104. Grothar
Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
thank you Grothar


Anytime, these guys will always help you.
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Quoting Grothar:



Here you go Joe. At least I got the link for you. It is a pretty good model site. Never saw it before. Just click on it and have fun.

Link


Nice, Grothar....another one to add to the collection...:)
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Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
on that loop, it almost looks like a spinning LLC coming out of the convection and moving nw
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1101. Grothar
Quoting DontAnnoyMe:


There, the pro shows you how. Now - change 'Link' to something meaningful, Gro ;-)



Dear Lord, Look who is back!! How you doing. Dont? We have been getting bands of rain every few minutes here in Fort Lauderdale. Even the frogs have been croaking. Either that, or my knees are really going.
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Quoting Grothar:



Here you go Joe. At least I got the link for you. It is a pretty good model site. Never saw it before. Just click on it and have fun.

Link
thank you Grothar
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Quoting Grothar:



Link


There, the pro shows you how. Now - change 'Link' to something meaningful, Gro ;-)
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I am out until tommorow but 94L is starting to make a believer out of me.....We knew that any significant move to the North the over the past 24 hours would have meant death by sheer and what does she do?.....Just sit there south of the sheer and subtropical jet and perculate; in fact, the upper lever divergence and persistent convection is probably aided by being just about the "right distance" from the jet...It certianly appears to have the will to make TD status.........

Check Yall Out Tommorow..........WW
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More and more rain for Puerto Rico in the next few days,when we dont need it with the very saturated grounds.

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN JUAN PR
1022 PM AST FRI JUN 3 2011

.UPDATE...THE DOPPLER WEATHER RADAR DETECTED NUMEROUS SHOWERS AND
ISOLATED TO SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS ACROSS THE COASTAL WATERS. A
CLUSTER OF STRONG THUNDERSTORMS WAS DETECTED ACROSS THE WESTERN
AND SOUTHWESTERN WATERS OF PUERTO RICO MOVING NORTHEASTWARD TOWARD
WESTERN PUERTO RICO LATE THIS EVENING. THE COMBINATION OF LIGHT
LOW LEVEL WINDS AND A PERSISTENT LOW IN THE WEST CENTRAL CARIBBEAN
IS KEEPING VERY DEEP MOISTURE OVER THE AREA. TROUGHING WILL EXTEND
NORTHEAST OF THIS AND OVER HISPANIOLA...KEEPING AREAS OF HIGH
HUMIDITY OVER PUERTO RICO...AND THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS. A DEEP
POLAR TROUGH DIGGING INTO THE WESTERN ATLANTIC WILL SUSTAIN GOOD
VERTICAL LIFT OVER THE LOCAL AREA THAT WILL HELP TO GENERATE AREAS
OF HEAVY RAINFALL NOW THROUGH AT LEAST MONDAY. CURRENT INDICATIONS
ARE THAT THE HEAVIEST RAINS WILL OCCUR SUNDAY...MONDAY AND
TUESDAY...WITH THE MOST FLOODING LIKELY EARLY NEXT WEEK.
THUS...HYDROLOGICAL CONDITIONS ACROSS PUERTO RICO ARE BECOMING
MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO FLASH FLOODING WITH SATURATED SOILS AND ABOVE
NORMAL STREAM AND RIVER FLOW DUE TO THE PERSISTENT RAINS OVER THE
PAST FEW WEEKS. ANY ADDITIONAL RAINS OVER THE COMING DAYS WILL
ONLY AGGRAVATE THIS SITUATION. WHILE ALL AREAS ARE AT RISK OF
EXPERIENCING SOME FLOODING AREAS NORTH OF THE CORDILLERA CENTRAL
ARE AT GREATEST RISK OF EXPERIENCING THE MOST SIGNIFICANT FLOODING
DUE TO THE PRESENT STATE OF THE SOIL CONDITIONS.

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1095. Grothar
Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
hmm



Here you go Joe. At least I got the link for you. It is a pretty good model site. Never saw it before. Just click on it and have fun.

Link
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Quoting DontAnnoyMe:


It's a jpeg, without server access issues.
thank you all
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Quoting EYEStoSEA:


Actually could use some precip....but feel guilty just saying that as others need it so much more.. now it's the heat thats getting to me....breaking records....and it's only first of June...air conditioner is in over-time....dread to see the electric bill....:]


Ditto all around! Seems to be getting hotter earlier the past few years.
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1092. xcool

03/2345 UTC 16.3N 77.9W T1.0/1.0 94L -- Atlantic
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15618
Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
i didnt do anything different,but this one posted? hmmmm


It's a jpeg, without server access issues.
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1090. Patrap
94L Floater WV Loop
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Quoting Vincent4989:

Click the image button then put the link in the spaces in the prompt.
Press ok.
Then preview to test.
It's ok if the image is too big, it can resize itself.
thanks you vincent and everyone who helped!
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Convection is balanced over the eastern flank but its still managing to fire convection over the center pretty well, it has came a very long way today... for sure
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
Quoting DontAnnoyMe:


Hey EYES, stayin' dry?


Actually could use some precip....but feel guilty just saying that as others need it so much more.. now it's the heat thats getting to me....breaking records....and it's only first of June...air conditioner is in over-time....dread to see the electric bill....:]
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:


Great points, as usual, K..............


Take a look and compare to the floater





Buoy at 15 N and 75 W. The low is still well West of there, hence the wind direction we see at the buoy.

Wind Direction (WDIR): SW ( 230 deg true )
Wind Speed (WSPD): 15.5 kts
Wind Gust (GST): 17.5 kts
Wave Height (WVHT): 4.6 ft
Dominant Wave Period (DPD): 6 sec
Average Period (APD): 4.7 sec
Mean Wave Direction (MWD): SSW ( 213 deg true )
Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 29.86 in
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Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
hmm
i didnt do anything different,but this one posted? hmmmm
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1084. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Fleet Weather Center Norfolk Tropical Feed
No Active Tropical Warnings in the Atlantic, Caribbean, or Gulf of Mexico
By Maritime.CDO@navy.mil (FWC-N CDO) from Fleet Weather Center Norfolk Virginia. Published on Fri, Jun 03, 2011.

As of Sat, 04 Jun 2011 02:45:01 GMT
2011 Storms
All Active Year


Atlantic
94L.INVEST
93L.INVEST

East Pacific

Central Pacific

West Pacific
92W.INVEST

Indian Ocean
98A.INVEST

Southern Hemisphere
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hmm
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Quoting AllStar17:


I'm certainly not saying they will find a TD. But they will GREATLY help for eventual forecasts and the current structure of the system should they go out tomorrow if the situation warrants.
That, my friend, I do not dispute.
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Jar Of Hearts for Invest 94L.
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Quoting kmanislander:
Good evening all

Night time is the worst time for trying to figure out what a tropical system is doing. IR imagery is notoriously unreliable at night save and except where you have a very powerful hurricane and the eye is clearly visible.

AVN imagery suggests a motion to the East for 94L very slowly but the surface low is probably displaced to the West of the high cloud deck. The 850 vort itself is off to the WSW of where the NHC has the surface feature.

Moral of the story is that with these early disorganized systems things are rarely what they seem at night.


Great points, as usual, K..............
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Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
http://tropicalatlantic.com/models/


To make an active link, click the Link button above the comment box, then paste the link there.
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hmm
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Good evening all

Night time is the worst time for trying to figure out what a tropical system is doing. IR imagery is notoriously unreliable at night save and except where you have a very powerful hurricane and the eye is clearly visible.

AVN imagery suggests a motion to the East for 94L very slowly but the surface low is probably displaced to the West of the high cloud deck. The 850 vort itself is off to the WSW of where the NHC has the surface feature.

Moral of the story is that with these early disorganized systems things are rarely what they seem at night.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15687
1075. Bitmap7
Quoting weathermanwannabe:
1057. Bitmap7 10:39 PM EDT on June 03, 2011

We are still at the cyclogenis stage here on this this one....RI does not come into play until we have an actual tropical storm.........


Which is why I gave it 24hrs b4 any chance of RI can come to fruition
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http://tropicalatlantic.com/models/
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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.