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 RitaEvac:


get a tan with no shirt on instead of the farmers tan
Well yeah... although right now, you can tell one of my close relatives is Casper, the friendly ghost. ;)

(Gotta get a good tan before my late honeymoon to Hawaii...)

The thing with watering your grass in the middle of the day is that you lose half the water to evaporation - gets expensive on your water bill.
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Checking in for lunch. It seems the main center of 94L has redeveloped at a more favorable location beneath the ridge. The current ENE movement could reverse back to the north or northwest for a time, but then it may be pulled back northeast out to sea. The only thing about the model runs is ACTF chose coordinates way too far west for 18z. Furthermore, the global models all have the low much farther west in this time frame than it currently is in reality, which may change some things. However, the route into the NW Caribbean is still open if the trough over the western Atlantic is not strong enough to whisk it out to sea fast enough.
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When will NWS/NHC put up the floater for 94L? TIA
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Bob Breck wants to know if you are happy that 94L looks better today?
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You guys see that the NWS issued a warning to the public about this Southern California Weather Authority guy run by a Kevin Martin. Link Apparently the media and people were following him and he said he was the NWS. This is his response and weather site Link People on Facebook say people were mislead during the recent tornado outbreak.
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Quoting beell:


Yeah, I suppose so. From a "modeled" pressure standpoint, the path of least resistance is there as well as a little help from coriolis.

All this conjecture is based on a somewhat organized storm. Which we don't have.


That's for sure. Most likely won't be talking depression until Monday at the earliest, IMO.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
I just saw one of the local sweet potato farmers out laying pipe to irrigate his fields. Those sweet potatoes were seriously wilted. I hope he can save his crop. Funny how when you get so much rain you kinda take it for granted. He had a huge sprinkler out spraying. It would do my 10 acres of pasture in no time, but in that big old field of sweet potatoes, he may as well have been standing out there with a regular water hose!
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416. beell
Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


Wouldn't the opposing circulations around the two highs create very weak steering?


Yeah, I suppose so. From a "modeled" pressure standpoint, the path of least resistance is there as well as a little help from coriolis.

All this conjecture is based on a somewhat organized storm. Which we don't have.
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Quoting jeffs713:
I was thinking the same thing. Also... You mowed the lawn in the middle of the day in summer?

(Of course, we won't mention how I mowed mine in the middle of the day on Memorial day)


get a tan with no shirt on instead of the farmers tan
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Quoting Patrap:
Curtain ALERT Level: Mauve

Bet the "born on date" for the one is very recent.
Glad NRAAmy reported that. Disgusting
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Quoting HimacaneBrees:
Quoting RTLSNK:
103.3*F in Macon, Georgia right now.
111 heat index.
39% humidity.
Send rain.
Please.

Yeah it's so hot, I just seen a couple of squirrels fanning their nuts.



lol, I'll take the high road.......
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Quoting StAugustineFL:


You're watering the lawn at 2:30 in the afternoon?


lol, yep, not waiting till this evening, not gonna be home
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Quoting RTLSNK:
103.3*F in Macon, Georgia right now.
111 heat index.
39% humidity.
Send rain.
Please.

Yeah it's so hot, I just seen a couple of squirrels fanning their nuts.

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408. beell
Quoting ElConando:


Seems like a route fit for November rather than June.


It does for sure. Just an early guess here and an attempt to look at the logic in the early model runs. Plenty time to change my tune!


Quoting Hurrykane:


I wouldn't be too quick on that...steering weakens in about 84-96 hours:
Link


Stronger on the GFS. But I'll take your advice. I'll slow down!

500mb 12Z GFS @ 72 hrs.
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
Surface Low, And Circulation reclocated to SSE of Jamaica...


Closer to due South IMO. If you look at the image below the line of heavy convection to the SE of Jamaica is swinging around the circulation on the SE side of it and is oriented from SW to NE as a result.

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406. IKE
A chance of rain for the Florida panhandle....

FOR OUR AREA...THE BEST CHANCES FOR SOME MUCH NEEDED RAINFALL STILL
APPEAR TO BE THIS EVENING THROUGH SATURDAY...AS WE EXPECT AN MCS
TO GENERATE IN THE VICINITY OF THE BOUNDARY AND THEN SWEEP FROM NE
TO SW THROUGH OUR CWA. AFTER THE INITIAL MCS DISSIPATES (WHICH COULD
BE LATE TONIGHT OR SATURDAY MORNING)...THE FRONTAL BOUNDARY IS
EXPECTED TO STALL AND DISSIPATE IN OUR REGION...BUT IT STILL MAY
PROVIDE JUST ENOUGH FORCING TO GENERATE ISOLATED TO SCT SHOWERS AND
THUNDERSTORMS DURING THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING HOURS ON SAT AND
SUN...ESPECIALLY WITH SOME HELP FROM THE SEA BREEZE CIRCULATION. IT
SHOULD ALSO BE NOTED THAT SOME OF THESE STORMS COULD BE STRONG (WITH
AN ISOLATED SEVERE STORM NOT OUT OF THE QUESTION) WITH GUSTY WINDS
AND SMALL HAIL LATER THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING...AS STEEP LOW TO
MID LEVEL LAPSE RATES WILL CREATE A VERY UNSTABLE ENVIRONMENT. THIS
IS WELL DEPICTED IN THIS MORNING`S 12 UTC TAE AND FFC SOUNDINGS.
STRONG STORMS WILL BE LESS LIKELY FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE PERIOD...
AS THE MCS DEPARTS AND THE LOW LEVEL FORCING WILL BE WEAKER AS THE
SFC BOUNDARY WASHES OUT.
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Quoting RTLSNK:
103.3*F in Macon, Georgia right now.
111 heat index.
39% humidity.
Send rain.
Please.


You sure you want your Canadian buddy to add this to his got ya's?
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Surface Low, And Circulation reclocated to SSE of Jamaica...
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Quoting iamajeepmom:


Um, yeah, that kind of takes the new recommendation of "securing your neighbors yard" to a whole new level. Them pebbles, can they be dangerous projectile items too? :)

Well, from what I've seen in storms, small rocks and such really aren't picked up, since they have a fairly low profile. The more something sticks out, the more it goes from "lawn ornament" to "through-your-window-ornament".
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Buoy at 15 N 75 W

observation.

Wind Direction (WDIR): S ( 190 deg true )
Wind Speed (WSPD): 13.6 kts
Wind Gust (GST): 17.5 kts
Wave Height (WVHT): 4.6 ft
Dominant Wave Period (DPD): 7 sec
Average Period (APD): 4.9 sec
Mean Wave Direction (MWD): ESE ( 109 deg true )
Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 29.79 in
Air Temperature (ATMP): 80.4 °F
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Quoting beell:
500mb 12Z GFS
Valid Sunday 00Z

With an exit route to the NE between the ridges.

Photobucket


Wouldn't the opposing circulations around the two highs create very weak steering?
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
399. IKE
AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL
214 PM EDT FRI JUN 3 2011

.DISCUSSION...DEEP LAYER RIDGE SITTING OVER SOUTHERN U.S./GULF OF
MEX WILL CONTINUE IN CONTROL OF THE WEATHER CONDITIONS ACROSS S.
FLORIDA AT LEAST THROUGH SUNDAY PROVIDING MODERATE TO STRONG
SUBSIDENCE AND KEEPING THE LOCAL AREA UNDER MOSTLY DRY CONDITIONS.
GFS SHOWS A WEAK FRONTAL BOUNDARY, ASSOCIATED WITH A SURFACE LOW
OVER THE WESTERN ATLANTIC, APPROACHING SOUTH FLORIDA FROM THE
NORTHEAST SUNDAY NIGHT, HOWEVER NO SIGNIFICANT IMPACT IS EXPECTED.
THE RIDGE SHOULD BEGIN TO RETROGRADE WESTWARD MONDAY AS A LONG
WAVE TROUGH OVER THE WESTERN ATLANTIC DIGS SOUTHWESTWARD. STILL
SUBSIDENCE SHOULD BE STRONG ENOUGH TO RESULT IN WARMING CONDITIONS
REACHING A PEAK BOTH MONDAY AND TUESDAY WITH AFTERNOON TEMPS
REACHING THE LOW TO MID 90S PRACTICALLY ACROSS ALL OF SOUTH
FLORIDA. THE ONE CAVEAT COULD BE AN INCREASE IN AFTERNOON
CONVECTIVE ACTIVITY DUE TO LOW LEVEL WIND FLOW SLACKENING AND
SEA/LAKE BREEZES HAVING A MORE SIGNIFICANT ROLE.
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Quoting StAugustineFL:


You're watering the lawn at 2:30 in the afternoon?
I was thinking the same thing. Also... You mowed the lawn in the middle of the day in summer?

(Of course, we won't mention how I mowed mine in the middle of the day on Memorial day)
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I can see NHC increasing to at least 30% at 8 PM.
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Quoting DookiePBC:


Down here in Palm Beach, I've given up on the grass and I'm going with a Las Vegas style yard...pebbles with the occasional cactus. Hopefully a hurricane doesn't blow through because a flying cactus is not the kinda debris you want flying around!


Um, yeah, that kind of takes the new recommendation of "securing your neighbors yard" to a whole new level. Them pebbles, can they be dangerous projectile items too? :)
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395. xcool
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94L looks SO MUCH BETTER, Today, has a very strong anticyclone over it, and has a better defined LLC, Convection is also wrapping around the center nicely, likely see it upped to 40 or 50%
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The SW Caribbean is finally starting to look interesting this afternoon. The surface low has migrated to a position that is within a small pocket of very low shear around 78 W and 16 N. There is also an anticyclone parked almost directly overhead and the combination of these two factors is allowing for improved organization at the surface.

The challenge it faces is that any appreciable movement in any direction from where it is now will expose the low once more to unfavourable upper level conditions in the short term. It remains to be seen how this plays out but IMO this is the best opportunity it has had to develop in the past 4 days or so. That doesn't mean it will be quick but certainly bears watching more closely now.
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Sprinkler going in back yard, just mowed to basically level it all out to one height


Down here in Palm Beach, I've given up on the grass and I'm going with a Las Vegas style yard...pebbles with the occasional cactus. Hopefully a hurricane doesn't blow through because a flying cactus is not the kinda debris you want flying around!
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Quoting beell:
500mb 12Z GFS
Valid Sunday 00Z

With an exit route to the NE between the ridges.

Photobucket


Seems like a route fit for November rather than June.
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I see we have 94L. This is probably the only comment I'll post today (my computer is SLOW).
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Sprinkler going in back yard, just mowed to basically level it all out to one height


You're watering the lawn at 2:30 in the afternoon?
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20% chance of rain in Southern Calif on Sunday....
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Sprinkler going in back yard, just mowed to basically level it all out to one height
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384. beell
500mb 12Z GFS
Valid Sunday 00Z

With an exit route to the NE between the ridges.

Photobucket
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Over the ocean water does not help Thy land
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Raaaaaaaiiiinnnn
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381. IKE

Quoting RitaEvac:
Where's the damn RAIN!!
Here it is.....


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Where's the damn RAIN!!
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379. IKE
My location...

99.0 F
Partly Cloudy

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93L Viz

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103.3*F in Macon, Georgia right now.
111 heat index.
39% humidity.
Send rain.
Please.
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375. JRRP
no confio en el CMC ... inicia con una baja presion al oeste de jamaica ... prefiero guiarme mas por el NOGAPS que ha sido mas consistente
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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.