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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Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:
Wind: 25 MPH —
Location: 16.1 77.3W —
Movement: ENE


I certainly don't see an ENE movement.
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372. xcool



GOES-East 10 km Composite LW Diff
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371. IKE
Wind: 25 MPH —
Location: 16.1 77.3W —
Movement: ENE
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Quoting Patrap:
Curtain ALERT Level: Chartreuse


Has the DOOMcon been raised?
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Quoting xcool:


Thanks xcool.
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368. IKE
Here's a better map....day 6...



Day 10......


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GOES-13 Floater 94L




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365. xcool
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Quoting beell:


I would not argue with you Gro, the ridge is strong to the N. If this thing builds some vertical structure fairly soon it may come under the influence of the western Atlantic trough/ridge weakness and it could end up going NE.

If it stays low (in structure) and is indeed a slow developer then track solutions W of N make sense. Conditions may at some point be a little more hostile to the west.


Even the little CMC is getting back in line. The only thing I see is that all the models have a strong low on the Eastern Atlantic. That MIGHT pull anything more in that direction than I previously thought. The outlier models on Wunderground would make more sense with that scenario. Seems like you and I have been here before beell.

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26895
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

current sal conditions we have to wait till CV season kicks in to see what it will be like then

Right now, its not so much SAL, but rather NAAL (North American Air Layer).
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Curtain ALERT Level: Chartreuse
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"OWEN, GET ME A FLOATER"

Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
360. IKE

Quoting CalebDancemastah:

I'm blind I can't see where 94L is?
It's weakening by days 9-10. Map is hard to see.
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Quoting Grothar:


I told you to pay attention.


I was.
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XCool (or anyone else), do you have the ECMWF pic that shows 94L entering the GOM?
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Quoting caneswatch:
I leave for 3 hours and (Pre?)94L looks so much better.


I told you to pay attention.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26895
Quoting IKE:
12Z ECMWF@ 240 hours....



I'm blind I can't see where 94L is?
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355. IKE


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I leave for 3 hours and 94L looks so much better.
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ATCF Imagery,tracks
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Does anyone has the 12z ECMWF?



Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26895
Quoting tropicfreak:


Probably 50% or 60%?


Doubt that high unless it really becomes better organized. Would say entering the Medium Chance category around 30 to 40%.
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Easy to see the elongated (SW to NE) circulation here.

Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
349. IKE
12Z ECMWF@ 240 hours....


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348. JRRP
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Quoting blsealevel:


Is the SAL looking to be strong this year are still to eairly to tell?

current sal conditions we have to wait till CV season kicks in to see what it will be like then
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Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
I gotta few links to share..

FEMA Prepares: FEMA Is getting ready for hurricane season.The agency's head Craig Fugate is meeting with P... Link

Oil Spill Impact on Nesting Sea Turtles:
Now that Sea Turtle nesting season is underway scientists are clo... Link

Just wanted to give a lil info that I thought interesting.. and of course..







Hope these images come out okay!
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344. xcool
18z

AL, 94, 2011060318, , BEST, 0, 161N, 773W, 20, 1007, DB
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Quoting tropicfreak:


Probably 50% or 60%?


Not that quick. Probably 30%, outside chance at 40% if what is happening now continues through tonight.
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IAM READY GOT THE INVEST GEAR ON
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Quoting cchsweatherman:
Invest 94L definitely has and continues to become better organized throughout the day. In reviewing RGB satellite imagery for the disturbance, zooming into the area you can clearly see a well defined, albeit somewhat broad, low level circulation as the lower level clouds are turning in all directions and appearing to tighten in the past couple hours.

With an upper level high building over the circulation and the atmosphere continuing to moisten from repeated tropical waves entering the region, it would appear that with the next NHC update, we will likely see chances increase for further development within the next 48 hours.


Probably 50% or 60%?
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Invest 94L definitely has and continues to become better organized throughout the day. In reviewing RGB satellite imagery for the disturbance, zooming into the area you can clearly see a well defined, albeit somewhat broad, low level circulation as the lower level clouds are turning in all directions and appearing to tighten in the past couple hours.

With an upper level high building over the circulation and the atmosphere continuing to moisten from repeated tropical waves entering the region, it would appear that with the next NHC update, we will likely see chances increase for further development within the next 48 hours.
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How about a tropical storm that moves slowly from Florida all the way to TX, skirting the coast the entire time?
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Quoting rmbjoe1954:
Now where will 94L go? We'll see what the models' solution will be. Which model runs get generated this afternoon?


It's still too early to tell.
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Quoting AllStar17:


It is finally starting to get the "look" of a developing tropical cyclone.


Convection needs to fill in a little more, and it is currently doing so at the time being...
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336. beell
Quoting Grothar:
With the current steering current, I still say NW or WNW as I have been saying for 4 days.



I would not argue with you Gro, the ridge is strong to the N. If this thing builds some vertical structure fairly soon it may come under the influence of the western Atlantic trough/ridge weakness and it could end up going NE.

If it stays low (in structure) and is indeed a slow developer then track solutions W of N make sense. Conditions may at some point be a little more hostile to the west.
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Now where will 94L go? We'll see what the models' solution will be. Which model runs get generated this afternoon?
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Quoting watchingnva:


whats going on man...hows it going?


Nothing much, a freshman in high school, (Monacan in Chesterfield county) everything is going great, and what a start to the season, it seemed like when june 1st came around, mother nature flipped the switch.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
maybe they can have a national stomp in the dust fair over on the coast of africa that would sent up and out alot of sal curb storm dev.


Is the SAL looking to be strong this year are still to eairly to tell?
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Latest ATCF on 93L revised today's 12pmGMT position to 23.5n92.9w , which means that 93L's
6am-to-12pmGMT travel speed had dropped to 9.5mph from the 10.5mph of 12am-to-6amGMT

93L has continued its recurvature toward the northwest, and is now heading toward a Texas landfall (unless it recurves for a 4th time, or boomerangs).
It's most recent(12pm-to-6pmGMT)travel speed has dropped to ~8.7mph(~13.9kmh)
while it's max.sus.winds remained at 15knots(27.8km/h).
93L retains its status as a Low, with a minimum pressure of 1012millibars
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XX/INV/94L
MARK
XX/XX

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328. xcool
7544 welcome---
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327. 7544
thanks xcool
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Hey Pat...Pre-TD 1 looks pretty good! :)
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325. xcool
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Quoting MississippiWx:
94L looks 10x better than yesterday. Circulation is still a bit broad, but it is much better defined. It is bending the flow over a large area. Shear doesn't seem to be a problem, but as the NHC pointed out, dry air is impeding development on the west side of the system. I would imagine that it could overcome that dry air considering how moist the air is elsewhere. Anyway, it looks like it's in much better position to develop today than it was yesterday.


It is finally starting to get the "look" of a developing tropical cyclone.
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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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