The March 2 - 3 tornado outbreak: one EF-4, 39 deaths

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:40 PM GMT on March 05, 2012

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A blanket of snow 2 - 4 inches deep fell yesterday on the regions of Southern Indiana and Northern Kentucky pounded by deadly tornadoes on Friday, adding to the misery of survivors. The violent tornado rampage killed 39 and injured hundreds more, wreaking property damage that will likely exceed $1 billion. Hardest hit were Kentucky and Southern Indiana, which suffered 21 and 12 dead, respectively. Three were killed in Ohio, and one each in Alabama and Georgia. The scale of the outbreak was enormous, with a preliminary total of 139 tornadoes touching down in eleven states, from southern Ohio to Northern Florida. The National Weather Service issued 297 tornado warnings and 388 severe thunderstorm warnings. At one point, 31 separate tornado warnings were in effect during the outbreak, and an area larger than Nebraska--81,000 square miles--received tornado warnings. Tornado watches were posted for 300,000 square miles--an area larger than Texas.


Video 1. Spectacular video of the EF-4 tornado that devastated Henrysville and Marysville, Indiana on March 2, 2012. You can see small satellite vorticies rotating on the side of the main vortex.


Video 2. Another video of the EF-4 tornado that devastated Henrysville and Marysville, Indiana on March 2, 2012, taken from a gas station.

The deadliest and most violent tornado: an EF-4
The deadliest and most violent tornado of the March 2, 2012 outbreak was an EF-4 with winds up to 175 mph that demolished much of Henryville, Chelsea, Marysville, and New Pekin, Indiana. Ten minutes after that tornado demolished much of Henryville, a weaker EF-1 tornado hit the town. The twin tornadoes killed twelve people. The Henryville tornado was the only violent EF-4 tornado of the outbreak.



Figure 1. Radar reflectivity image (top) and Doppler velocity image (bottom) of the two tornadoes that hit Henryville, Indiana on March 2, 2012. The first (rightmost) hook echo on the reflectivity image belonged to the only violent tornado of the outbreak, an EF-4 with winds of 166 - 200 mph. Ten minutes after that tornado demolished much of Henryville, a second tornado hit the town. These tornadoes also caused severe damage to the towns of Chelsea, Marysville, and New Pekin, and killed twelve people.

At least eleven other tornadoes in the outbreak have been classified as EF-3s with winds of 136 - 165 mph. Capitalclimate.com reports that the EF-3 tornadoes that crossed three Eastern Kentucky counties were the first tornadoes that strong ever observed, since tornado records began in 1950. The deadliest of the EF-3 tornadoes hit West Liberty, Kentucky, killing eight. Here's a summary of the deadly tornadoes of the outbreak taken from Wikipedia:

EF-4, 12 deaths, Henrysville, Indiana
EF-3, 8 deaths, West Liberty, Kentucky\
EF-2, 5 deaths, East Bernstadt, Kentucky
EF-3, 4 deaths, Crittenden, Kentucky
EF-3, 2 deaths, Holton, Indiana
EF-3, 3 deaths, Peach Grove, Ohio
EF-3, 2 deaths, Blaine, Kentucky
EF-3, 2 deaths, Salyersville, Kentucky
EF-2, 1 death, Jackson's Gap, Alabama


Figure 2. Damage in West Liberty, Kentucky after the March 2, 2012 EF-3 tornado. Image taken from from a Kentucky National Guard Blackhawk helicopter, while landing in West Liberty, KY (Morgan County).


Figure 3. Radar image of the West Liberty, Kentucky EF-3 tornado of March 2, 2012, showing a classic hook echo. The tornado carved a 60-mile-long path through Eastern Kentucky, causing extreme damage in West Liberty. The tornado killed six in West Liberty and two near Frenchburg. At least 75 people were injured. It was the first EF-3 tornado in Eastern Kentucky since 1988.


Video 3. A woman prays for deliverance of West Liberty as the ominous wall cloud of the developing tornado approaches the town.

Incredibly fast-moving storms
The speed with which some of the storms moved was truly exceptional, thanks to jet stream winds of up to 115 mph that pushed the thunderstorms forward at amazing speeds. A number of the tornadoes ripped through Kentucky with forward speeds of 70 mph, and two tornado warnings in Central Kentucky were issued for parent thunderstorms that moved at 85 mph. NWS damage surveys have not yet determined if one of the tornadoes from the outbreak has beaten the record for the fastest moving tornado, the 73 mph forward speed of the great 1925 Tri-State Tornado, the deadliest U.S. tornado of all-time.


Video 4. A family gets in their car in an attempt to flee the Borden, Indiana tornado of March 2, 2012. Unless you know what you're doing, fleeing a tornado in a car can be extremely dangerous, especially when the tornadoes are moving at speeds of 50 - 70 mph, as many were doing during the March 2, 2012 outbreak. Most tornado fatalities occur in mobile homes and cars.

Largest 5-day and 2nd largest 2-day tornado outbreak for so early in the year?
The March 2 tornado outbreak spawned 128 tornadoes, according to preliminary reports as of 8 am EST March 7 from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center. An additional 11 tornadoes (preliminary) touched down on March 3, in Florida and Georgia; 3 additional tornadoes touched down on March 1 (Wikipedia does a great job tallying the stats for this tornado outbreak.) These preliminary reports are typically over-counted by 15%, but a few delayed reports will likely come in, bringing the total number of tornadoes from the March 2 - 3 outbreak to 115 - 125, propelling it into second place for the largest two-day tornado outbreak so early in the year. The top five two-day tornado outbreaks for so early in the year, since record keeping began in 1950:

January 21 - 22, 1999: 129 tornadoes, 4 deaths
March 2 - 3, 2012: 139 tornadoes (preliminary), 39 deaths
February 5 - 6, 2008: 87 tornadoes, 57 deaths
February 28 - March 1, 1997: 60 tornadoes, 10 deaths
January 7 - 8, 2008: 56 tornadoes, 4 deaths

Though the 36 tornadoes that occurred during the February 28 - 29 Leap Day outbreak were part of a separate storm system, the five-day tornado total from February 28 - March 3, 2012 is likely to eclipse the late January 18 - 22, 1999 five-day tornado outbreak (131 tornadoes) as the most prolific five-day period of tornado activity on record for so early in the year.


Figure 4. A key ingredient for tornado formation is the presence of warm, moist air near the surface, which helps make the atmosphere unstable. On the day of the March 2, 2012 outbreak, record warm air surged northwards into the tornado formation region, setting or tying daily high temperature records at 28 airports in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia.

Ingredients for the tornado outbreak
This year's unusually mild winter has led to ocean temperatures across the Gulf of Mexico that are approximately 1°C above average--among the top ten warmest values on record for this time of year, going back to the 1800s. (Averaged over the month of February, the highest sea surface temperatures on record in the Gulf between 20 - 30°N, 85 - 95°W occurred in 2002, when the waters were 1.34°C above average). Friday's tornado outbreak was fueled, in part, by high instability created by unusually warm, moist air flowing north from the Gulf of Mexico due to the high water temperatures there. This exceptionally warm air set record high temperatures at 28 airports in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia the afternoon of the tornado outbreak (March 2.) Cold, dry air from Canada moved over the outbreak region at high altitudes. This created a highly unstable atmosphere--warm, low-density air rising in thunderstorm updrafts was able to accelerate rapidly upwards to the top of the lower atmosphere, since the surrounding air was cooler and denser at high altitudes. These vigorous updrafts needed some twisting motion to get them spinning and create tornadoes. Very strong twisting forces were present Friday over the tornado outbreak area, thanks to upper-level jet stream winds that blew in excess of 115 mph. These winds changed speed and direction sharply with height,imparting a shearing motion on the atmosphere (wind shear), causing the air to spin. High instability and a high wind shear are the two key ingredients for tornado formation.


Figure 5. The other key ingredient for tornado formation is the presence of very strong winds aloft that change speed and direction sharply with height. This change of wind imparts a shearing motion on the atmosphere (wind shear), causing the air to spin. Here, we see the upper-level wind speeds at the peak of the March 2, 2012 tornado outbreak. The jet stream can be seen as the U-shaped belt of strong winds. Jet stream winds in excess of 100 mph (deep blue colors) were present over the tornado outbreak area in this analysis of data from the NOAA North American Model (NAM) from 7 pm EST March 2, 2012. Image credit: NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory.

Another bad year for tornadoes in the U.S.--what's going on?
Last year's tornado season was incredibly severe, and we are off to one of the worst early-season starts to tornado season on record now in 2012. However, it is too soon to ring the alarm bells on climate change being responsible for this. The tornado data base going back to 1950 doesn't show an increasing trend in strong tornadoes in recent decades. While climate change could potentially lead to an increase in tornadoes, by increasing instability, it could also decrease them, by decreasing wind shear. I'd need to see a lot more bad tornado years before blaming climate change for the severe tornado seasons of the past two years. One thing that climate change may be doing, though, is shifting the season earlier in the year. The 5-day total of tornadoes from February 28 - March 3 will probably break the record of 131 set in 1999 for the largest tornado outbreak so early in the year. Warmer winters, and an earlier arrival of spring due to a warming climate, will allow tornado season to start earlier--and end earlier. This year's early start to tornado season is consistent with what we would expect from a warming climate. I have a more extensive article on this subject that has just been published by Weatherwise magazine, and a 2008 post, Are tornadoes getting stronger and more frequent? Dr. Jonathan Martin of the University of Wisconsin-Madison is doing interesting research on the type of situation we saw with some of the recent severe tornado outbreaks, when two branches of the jet stream, the polar jet and the subtropical jet, merge to form a "superjet." In a December 2011 interview with sciencedaily.com, he said: "There is reason to believe that in a warmer climate, this kind of overlapping of the jet streams that can lead to high-impact weather may be more frequent."

I don't see any storm systems coming over the next 10 days that could cause a major tornado outbreak, though March weather is too volatile to forecast reliably that far in advance. There is a storm system expected to develop on Thursday in the Plains we will have to watch, but so far, indications are that it will not be capable of generating a major tornado outbreak.

Portlight disaster relief charity responds to the tornado disaster
The Portlight disaster relief charity reports that volunteers from colleges and churches made a strong showing in tornado-devastated Harrisburg, Illinois on Sunday. Team Rubicon and Portlight will push east to Indiana, where volunteer work is still restricted because of gas leaks and continuing SAR (search and rescue) operations.

I'll edit this post with new stats on the tornado outbreak as they become available, and have an entirely new post on Wednesday.

Jeff Masters

Tornado (JimAtTn)
This picture of a small tornado was taken on Friday March 02, 2012 in southern Lincoln County, Tennessee about 7 miles south of Fayetteville. Photographer: Angela Currey-Echols
Tornado
3/2/12 Tornado (charles7013)
A tornado in Dodsen Brach TN.
3/2/12 Tornado
High Risk (LightningFastMedia)
Rotating wall cloud and a possible funnel yesterday, north of Evansville, IN.
High Risk
tornado damage 3/2/12 (clerese3)
3/2/12 tornado damage to a business I pass on my way to and from work. This was a beautiful brick building.
tornado damage 3/2/12
Tornado Damage - TN (GeorgiaPeach)
I uploaded this photo once already and it was rejected for having the wrong date. I explained before, but I will explain again. The tornado came through March 2nd but I had just gotten out of the hospital, so I didn't get out to take pictures of the damage until today. This is five miles from my house in Hamilton County, TN.
Tornado Damage - TN

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Quoting WxGeekVA:


It was settled.... By Native Americans....


That were constantly moving and kept no historical record
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


I hadn't realized that Tennessee was settled in 1012.


It was settled.... By Native Americans....
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Quoting hydrus:
The CMC has been consistently showing a huge rain event. If this were to happen, it would most likely be a serious.


Yeah, um, widespread 40CM (16 inches!) over a huge area during a 144hr time period.

That would be epic if it happens.

That's like tropical storm Lee, only over possibly a bigger area: Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, TX, LA, Mississippi, all get in on a lot of rain.

GFS is only saying about a third to half as much.
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517. Skyepony (Mod)
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


I hadn't realized that Tennessee was settled in 1012.


You don't necessarily need a 1000 year record to estimate a 0.1% chance flood. But seriously... we have maybe 100yrs of data on the Cumberland River. And climate/land-use has not stayed constant over that time frame. I'd argue that even with 100yrs of data, we are stretching it to calculate "50-100yr" (more accurately called 1-2%) flood events.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3296
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


If that high is strong by Hurricane Season,upwelling of the waters will not allow for tropical developments,unless NAO goes negative.Also anything that may form in the MDR goes west.
We are going to have a weird hurricane season. If El-Nino arrives early, which is feasible, it will have an affect on the peak months. If it arrives late, things could get real interesting. I get concerned during the neutral phases...There are many other factors besides the ENSO cycle, but neutral plays a significant role... This is my harmless opinion. Here is Dr.Masters blog from April-7 of last year.....Hi everybody, this is Dr. Rob Carver filling in for Dr. Masters.

A continuation of the pattern of much above-average Atlantic hurricane activity we've seen since 1995 is on tap for 2011, according to the latest seasonal forecast issued April 6 by Dr. Phil Klotzbach and Dr. Bill Gray of Colorado State University (CSU). They are calling for 16 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 5 intense hurricanes. An average season has 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. The new forecast is nearly identical to their forecast made in December, which called for 17 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 5 intense hurricanes. Only six seasons since 1851 have had as many as 17 named storms; 19 seasons have had 9 or more hurricanes. The 2011 forecast calls for a much above-average chance of a major hurricane hitting the U.S., both along the East Coast (48% chance, 31% chance is average) and the Gulf Coast (47% chance, 30% chance is average). The Caribbean is forecast to have a 61% chance of seeing at least one major hurricane (42% is average.) Five years with similar pre-season November atmospheric and oceanic conditions were selected as "analogue" years that the 2011 hurricane season may resemble: 2008, 1999, 1996, 1955, and 2006. The first four years listed all had neutral to La Niña SST's during hurricane season, while 2006 had El Niño SST's. The average activity for these years was 12.6 named storms, 7.8 hurricanes, and 4.8 major hurricanes.

This year, the forecasters have introduced a new statistical model for their April forecasts. There are four components in this model:

1. Average sea-level pressure in March around the Azores in the subtropical Atlantic.

2. The average of January through March sea-surface temperatures (SST's) in the tropical Atlantic off the coast of Africa.

3. Average sea-level pressure in February and March for the southern tropical Pacific ocean west of South America.

4. Forecasts of September's SST in the tropical Pacific using a dynamical model from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF)

The first two components are loosely linked together. Statistical studies have shown that a weaker subtropical high near the Azores, combined with warmer SST's off the coast of Africa in March are associated with weak winds near the surface and aloft from August to October. This decrease in wind speeds reduces wind shear which can disrupt forming storms. These March conditions also are associated with warmer SST's in August to October, which is also favorable for more tropical storms. For this forecast, the first component is strongly favorable for increased hurricane activity, while the second component is weakly negative.

The last two components represent the changes in sea-surface temperature and sea-level pressure that are the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Briefly speaking, El Niño conditions (warm sea-surface temperatures) are not favorable for Atlantic hurricanes. For more info on ENSO and hurricanes, Jeff has this article.

Using the ECMWF model as guidance (see Figure 1), the CSU group believes that SST's in the tropical Pacific will be neutral (less than 0.5°C from normal). This would have a small negative effect on hurricane activity. However, the tropical Pacific sea-level pressure shows that the atmosphere looks like a La Niña event is still going on. This is strongly favorable for Atlantic hurricane activity in the CSU group's model.

Figure 1. Forecasts of El Niño conditions by 20 computer models, made in March 2011. The ECMWF forecast used by the CSU group is represented by the dark orange square. The forecasts for August-September-October (ASO) show that 5 models predict El Niño conditions, 7 predict neutral conditions, and 5 predict a weak to moderate La Niña. El Niño conditions are defined as occurring when sea surface temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific off the coast of South America ( the "Niño 3.4 region) rise to 0.5°C above average (top red line). La Niña conditions occur when SSTs in this region fall to 0.5°C below average. Image credit: Columbia University.

How accurate are the April forecasts? While the formulas used by CSU do well in making hindcasts--correctly modeling the behavior of past hurricane seasons--their April hurricane season forecasts have had no skill in predicting the future. This year's April forecast is using a new system and has not yet produced a verified forecast. The scheme used in the past three years successfully predicted active hurricane seasons for 2008 and 2010, but failed to properly predict the relatively quiet 2009 hurricane season. A different formula was used prior to 2008, and the April forecasts using that formula showed no skill over a simple forecast using climatology. CSU maintains an Excel spreadsheet of their forecast errors ( expressed as a mathematical correlation coefficient, where positive means a skilled forecast, and negative means they did worse than climatology) for their their April forecasts. For now, these April forecasts should simply be viewed as an interesting research effort that has the potential to make skillful forecasts. The next CSU forecast, due by June 1, is the one worth paying attention to. Their early June forecasts have shown considerable skill over the years.


Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22312
Quoting ScottLincoln:


That makes me chuckle every time I read something like that.


I hadn't realized that Tennessee was settled in 1012.
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Quoting hydrus:
From Wiki.The May 2010 Tennessee floods were 1000-year[1] floods in Middle Tennessee, West Tennessee, south-central and western Kentucky and northern Mississippi areas of the United States of America as the result of torrential rains on May 1 and 2, 2010.


That makes me chuckle every time I read something like that.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3296
The CMC has been consistently showing a huge rain event. If this were to happen, it would most likely be a serious.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22312
Quoting hydrus:
Notice the small high pressure area in the Atlantic. jk.


If that high is strong by Hurricane Season,upwelling of the waters will not allow for tropical developments,unless NAO goes negative.Also anything that may form in the MDR goes west.
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Notice the small high pressure area in the Atlantic. jk.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22312
Quoting ILwthrfan:
This looks similar to the event that effected Nashville back in 2010.  
From Wiki.The May 2010 Tennessee floods were 1000-year[1] floods in Middle Tennessee, West Tennessee, south-central and western Kentucky and northern Mississippi areas of the United States of America as the result of torrential rains on May 1 and 2, 2010. Floods from these rains affected the area for several days afterwards, resulting in a number of deaths and widespread property damage.[2]

Two-day rain totals in some areas were greater than 19 inches (480 mm).[3] The Cumberland River crested at 51.86 feet (15.81 m) in Nashville, a level not seen since 1937, which was before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood control measures were in place. All-time record crests were observed on the Cumberland River at Clarksville, the Duck River at Centerville and Hurricane Mills, the Buffalo River at Lobelville, the Harpeth River at Kingston Springs and Bellevue, and the Red River at Port Royal.[4]Several rainfall records in the Nashville area were broken during the rain event. 13.57 inches (345 mm) fell during the two-day period of May 1–2, doubling the record of 6.68 inches (170 mm) set in September 1979 during the passage of the remnants of Hurricane Frederic. On May 2 alone, 7.25 inches (184 mm) of rain fell, including 7.20 inches (183 mm) during a 12-hour period and 5.57 inches (141 mm) in a 6-hour period, eclipsing records set on September 13, 1979. The event also set a record for wettest May on record, surpassing the record set in May 1983 with 11.84 inches (301 mm).[4][6]

Heavy rain also affected large portions of Arkansas, northern Mississippi and southern Kentucky. In Arkansas, over 5 inches (130 mm) fell in the Little Rock area, up to 8 inches (200 mm) in West Memphis and over 10 inches (250 mm) in northeastern Arkansas closer to the Mississippi River. Similar amounts were recorded across western and southern Kentucky where over 7 inches (180 mm) fell in the Hopkinsville area and up to 4 inches (100 mm) across the Missouri Bootheel. In addition to the heavy rain, moist air and ample instability contributed to the generation of multiple tornadoes affecting the same areas, which killed five persons: four in Mississippi during the early hours of May 2, and one in Arkansas during the evening of April 30
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22312
Looks like widespread strong to severe weather on the 8th and 9th? Not to mention widespread persistent rains. 2 to 3 day event of maybe .75 to 1 inch per 12 hours...

I think most places involved needs the rain anyway, but not severe weather.
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Same here in the Houston Tx area.
Quoting BahaHurican:
It is here too. The wind-borne dust is giving me a headache.

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That area near 15S 100E is what the ECMWF, NOGAPS and GFS have been forecasting to develop for the past few days. GFS develops in 48 hours, NOGAPS and ECMWF wait till after 120 hours.
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4488
Quoting Chicklit:
Morning, Everybody!
It's windy as heck here in ECFL.
It is here too. The wind-borne dust is giving me a headache.
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Quoting DavidHOUTX:


I will gladly take it. we need a flood before the summer arrives to bring up the lake levels and etc.
This is true. Aquifers are way low.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22312
Quoting ILwthrfan:
This looks similar to the event that effected Nashville back in 2010.  
Hope not. We took a beating.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22312
Question:

You all are familiar with the X-ray solar output monitors... (for instance, http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/rt_plots/xray_1m.html)

The first thing to note is that output varies by piles of factors of ten.

What I am wondering is, are there other similar sites for other angstrom levels...?

Thanks in advance!
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that's 1 to 4, i.e., 1 in 5
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Low-level lapse rates in my area are below 5 at the moment...quite a contrast to yesterday and sunday.

But they have increased by 2 in the past 3 hours, which indicates destabiliztion....and if it continues destabilizing, say to above 6, could I expect isolated shower formation?
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4488
Quoting BobWallace:


In general only a portion of rounds are tracers. One source I found said that roughly one in four rounds in WWII were tracer rounds. Could be that they were shooting a higher ratio when this picture was taken or could be that what we're seeing is only part of the show.



A co-worker who parents were in the Military once told me that for shows at night, they used all tracer rounds. As opposed to the 1-in-4 normal rounds.

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Quoting 1900hurricane:

Yeah, it definitely has elements to a Maddox type synoptic flood event, such as a moist 850 mb LLJ coming off of the Gulf, a stalled longwave/cutoff aloft, a stalled surface front oriented from SSW to NNE, excessively high PWs, etc...



Wow, am I weak, I have never even heard of the Maddox type flooding event.  Good stuff.  Thank you.
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Quoting 1900hurricane:

Yeah, it definitely has elements to a Maddox type synoptic flood event, such as a moist 850 mb LLJ coming off of the Gulf, a stalled longwave/cutoff aloft, a stalled surface front oriented from SSW to NNE, excessively high PWs, etc...




Not to mention the fact that with the sustained southerly winds off the gulf, precipitable water values are forecast to easily exceed 75th percentile, and probably even 99th percentile (based upon March climatology). Maybe even near/exceed record in some places, and it's just the beginning (drier) half of the month.
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/unr/?n=pw-gridded
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3296
Quoting ILwthrfan:
This looks similar to the event that effected Nashville back in 2010.  

Yeah, it definitely has elements to a Maddox type synoptic flood event, such as a moist 850 mb LLJ coming off of the Gulf, a stalled longwave/cutoff aloft, a stalled surface front oriented from SSW to NNE, excessively high PWs, etc...


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It's been 3 weeks since anything interesting has happened in the tropics.

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The reports continue to come in to the Storm Prediction Center; as of now, there are 121 filtered tornado reports for Friday alone. (The unfiltered number is now 144.) If the standard 15% deduction holds true, the final tornado numbers for last week's outbreak sequence would end up similar to the following:

DATE - FILTERED - FINAL(?)
2/28 - 27 - 23
2/29 - 15 - 13
3/1 - 3 - 2
3/2 - 121 - 103
3/3 - 11 - 9
TOTAL - 177 - 150

Possibly 150 or so tornadoes for a five-day outbreak sequence at the February-March border. Pretty incredible, really.
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Quoting hydrus:
The long range forecast looks challenging. I would bet on flood watches and warnings with this system....
This looks similar to the event that effected Nashville back in 2010.  
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Quoting Barefootontherocks:


Does sound like radar coverage may have played a part. Here's the way WCNC's Brad Panovich analyzed it. I guess he is a local TV meterologist. His graphic is similar to the one you mention. He felt like they should have at least been under a severe t-storm wartning. Also a news story at WCNC mentions NWS investigating the matter, so we will/might hear more later. Charlotte seems to be on the edge of a few different NWS weather forecast office areas.


I think Mr. Panovich is exaggerating the bow-echo signature on radar. It doesn't quite look like a classic bow echo to me, but maybe somewhat similar. Enough to make you keep an eye on it, but it wouldn't make me think instantly of issuing a severe warning for winds. Also, a bow echo depiction on radar isn't a sure thing of severe winds on the ground, it is just used as a proxy. If you have actual measurements on the ground, or a radar beam that is sampling near the ground, those estimates can trump reflectivity signatures like a bow echo.
Luckily, with the TCLT TDWR radar right there, the beam was sampling below 1000ft. Right after the line passed the radar location, outbound velocity was estimated at 30-35kts, or roughly 35-40mph. Not severe.

Was there any widespread wind damage in east Charlotte that was not associated with the tornadic circulation? It would make sense if there wasn't, because the only real strong signature I see of something severe was when the tornadic circulation abruptly formed. Thus, the NWS probably was justified in not issuing any warning because by the first radar indication of anything, the tornado was on the ground. Do not pass straight-line winds, go directly to tornado.

Update... I should also mention that I do agree with Mr. Panovich in one area, however. We do need more NEXRADs around the country. I think the cost is worth it. We have too many holes over active parts of the country. Sure, the radar may see echoes over those areas, but tornado detection starts to get harder with a beam height of >5000ft (which is why GR2Analyst will not trigger a TVS if the base is above 5000ft), mesocyclone detection gets harder >10,000ft. The fact that a major metropolitan area can be best sampled at ~7000ft kinda frightens me.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3296
We have March and April to get a flood, it's time to start dropping rain outta the sky as time is ticking...
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Quoting DavidHOUTX:


I will gladly take it. we need a flood before the summer arrives to bring up the lake levels and etc.


You betcha
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Quoting hydrus:
The long range forecast looks challenging. I would bet on flood watches and warnings with this system....


I will gladly take it. we need a flood before the summer arrives to bring up the lake levels and etc.
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487. flsky
Quoting StormTracker2K:
Looks like this was the last gasp of cool air until late next fall:(

Orlando!

I'll take 80s anytime. It's when it shows 90s all the way across that it bothers me.
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Also of interest to some people... Jon Davies has written a rebuttal to news articles claiming that Harveyville, KS, had "no warning" of the tornado.
He also mentions the near promotion-like context of the article regarding Accuweather's claims.

http://davieswx.blogspot.com/2012/03/harveyville- ks-tornado-article-in.html
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3296
The long range forecast looks challenging. I would bet on flood watches and warnings with this system....
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22312
Looks like another slow Hurricane season ahead according to the NHC forecast. Only 12 tropical systems 6 of which they suspect to be hurricanes. Pretty funny if you ask me.
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And on that note, I shall rise and go 20 paces west, and attend to my brefkast!
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4488
im having a thought here.

next time i upload a youtube video(or something that takes up lotta internet bandwith) i shall connect to my neighbors internet, so my houses dont git slow! :D
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4488
Quoting StormTracker2K:


Looking like an active end to the week and thru next week as days and days of severe wx are starting to seem likely now with one of those days being one hell of an outbreak and that does appear to be about 6 days out.
The big boys are sittin' on the fence, and they declared "Potential Too Low" in the day 4-8 outlook map.

DAY 4-8 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0331 AM CST TUE MAR 06 2012

VALID 091200Z - 141200Z

...DISCUSSION...
ALTHOUGH PREDICTABILITY REMAINS BELOW-AVERAGE WITH THE EVOLUTION OF
A CLOSED LOW OVER THE SOUTHWEST INTO THE CNTRL CONUS...IT DOES
APPEAR TO HAVE INCREASED COMPARED TO RECENT DAYS. CONCUR WITH HPC
PREEPD THAT THE NON-NCEP SOLUTIONS OF THE ECMWF/CMC/UKMET ARE
PREFERRED. SURFACE COLD FRONT PUSHING SEWD THROUGH D3 SHOULD BECOME
QUASI-STATIONARY ACROSS THE WRN GULF COAST STATES ON
FRI-SAT/D4-5...YIELDING A SETUP FAVORABLE FOR HEAVY RAIN WITH
PERHAPS MARGINAL SEVERE POTENTIAL. WITH THE SOUTHWEST LOW
ACCELERATING INTO THE CNTRL CONUS BY AROUND SUN/D6...THIS FRONT
WOULD ATTEMPT TO RETREAT N/NEWD ACROSS THE LOWER/MID-MS VALLEY.
HOWEVER...MULTIPLE DAYS OF EXTENSIVE PRECIPITATION ACROSS THE SRN
PLAINS SHOULD RESULT IN AN INCREASINGLY POOR LAPSE RATE ENVIRONMENT.
DESPITE THE POTENTIAL FOR THE EJECTING SHORT WAVE TROUGH TO
STRENGTHEN KINEMATICALLY AS IT BECOMES NEGATIVELY-TILTED...WARM
SECTOR INSTABILITY APPEARS TOO LIMITED TO SUPPORT A 30 PERCENT OR
GREATER SEVERE AREA.


..GRAMS.. 03/06/2012

Guess we'll see on that one, two.

Depending on moisture return, there may be potential for severe in the central and southern plains tomorrow night...
Today's Day 2 convective outlook

Guess we'll see on that one, three.

Good morning, wubloggers. Windy or not, have a nice day.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BahaHurican:
I like the other "spot" myself...

It might also help to post in more than one or two blogs. I think the counter includes all your posts on the WUnderground.

I see said the blind man. Thank you Baha..The rain is coming for a good part of the U.S.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22312
Quoting ScottLincoln:
Ok, so I finally got the TDWR data for the Charlotte, NC, area. The screenshot that SPLBeater posted seems to be from the TDWR. There is rotation there at the lowest tilt, where the beam height is estimated to be ~300ft elevation. Seems like it might be warning-worthy, but it occurred for one scan, then was gone. I believe that in realtime, the TDWRs provide more scans than what ends up in the archive, so they may have had a bit more information.

Unfortunately, it seems like a similar situation to Harveyville, KS, where the tornado was embedded in a line and quick to form right on a populated area, then lifted soon after. These quick little QLCS spin-ups can be almost un-warnable.


Does sound like radar coverage may have played a part. Here's the way WCNC's Brad Panovich analyzed it. I guess he is a local TV meterologist. His graphic is similar to the one you mention. He felt like they should have at least been under a severe t-storm wartning. Also a news story at WCNC mentions NWS investigating the matter, so we will/might hear more later. Charlotte seems to be on the edge of a few different NWS weather forecast office areas.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
that's interesting because it's as calm as can be in wcfl. Stop hogging the airflow!


yesterday i had windspeeds of 17mph-23mph, gusts to 39mph.

Its calm today, so you floridians can have it lol
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4488
This is kind of interesting. Re: Goes R series to be launched beginning in late 2015...
Next-Gen Weather satellites to improve tornado warnings (NASA, Feb 29, 2012.)

"During episodes of severe weather, ABI can show conditions every 30 to 60 seconds. The system in use now only shows them every 7.5 minutes. And in normal mode, ABI will send readings over the continental U.S. every 5 minutes as opposed to every 15-30 minutes."

Lightning is another key to tornadoes.

"Studies show that sudden changes in the total lightning correlate with [the onset of] tornadoes," says Goodman.

Detecting lightning is a new specialty of GOES-R.

"GOES-R's Geostationary Lightning Mapper, or GLM, will see all the lightning: cloud-to-ground, cloud-to-cloud, and inside each cloud. And since this is the first time we'll have lightning detection from geostationary orbit, it means GOES-R will constantly monitor and map the lightning across the western hemisphere."

The GLM is expected to give 7 more minutes of lead time in tornado warnings. Average lead time now is 13 minutes.


Guess we'll see on that.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Ok, so I finally got the TDWR data for the Charlotte, NC, area. The screenshot that SPLBeater posted seems to be from the TDWR. There is rotation there at the lowest tilt, where the beam height is estimated to be ~300ft elevation. Seems like it might be warning-worthy, but it occurred for one scan, then was gone. I believe that in realtime, the TDWRs provide more scans than what ends up in the archive, so they may have had a bit more information.

Unfortunately, it seems like a similar situation to Harveyville, KS, where the tornado was embedded in a line and quick to form right on a populated area, then lifted soon after. These quick little QLCS spin-ups can be almost un-warnable.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3296
Quoting Chicklit:
Morning, Everybody!
It's windy as heck here in ECFL.

412 AM EST TUE MAR 6 2012

THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA.

.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT.

.HIGH WIND IMPACT...
A STRONG AREA OF HIGH PRESSURE BUILDING ACROSS THE THE MID ATLANTIC WILL INFLUENCE THE FLORIDA PENINSULA LATER TODAY BEHIND A WEAK BOUNDARY. EAST-NORTHEAST WINDS WILL INCREASE BEHIND THIS BOUNDARY BY MID MORNING WITH WIND SPEEDS AROUND 20 MPH AND GUSTS UP TO 30 MPH. THESE WINDS WILL MAKE FOR HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS ON INLAND LAKES AND WATERWAYS. A LAKE WIND ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT FOR ALL OF EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA.

.WIND AND SEA IMPACT...
A NORTHEAST WIND SURGE IS EXPECTED THIS MORNING BEHIND A WEAK FRONTAL BOUNDARY CURRENTLY MOVING SOUTH ACROSS THE LOCAL ATLANTIC. WINDS WILL INCREASE TO AROUND 20 KNOTS BY DAYBREAK NORTH OF CAPE CANAVERAL...AND BECOME EAST-NORTHEAST AT 20 TO 25 KNOTS ACROSS ALL THE WATERS BY MID MORNING AS THE FRONT CLEARS THE REGION. SEAS WILL INCREASE TO 8 TO 10 FEET OFFSHORE AND OVER THE GULF STREAM AND 6 TO 8 FEET NEARSHORE BY LATE TONIGHT.

.FIRE WEATHER IMPACT...
STRONG EAST-NORTHEAST WINDS AROUND 20 MPH AND GUSTY AND RELATIVE HUMIDITY VALUES BETWEEN 35 AND 40 PERCENT WILL PRODUCE A FIRE DANGER ACROSS ALL OF EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA THIS AFTERNOON. THESE WINDS WILL LIKELY CAUSE CONTROL PROBLEMS WITH ANY NEW OR EXISTING FIRES.

.RIP CURRENT IMPACT...
THE COMBINATION OF STRENGTHENING ONSHORE FLOW AND BUILDING SWELL WILL BRING ROUGH AND POUNDING SURF AT AREA BEACHES TODAY. IN ADDITION...THE APPROACH OF THE NEW MOON WILL BRING AN INCREASINGTHREAT OF STRONG RIP CURRENTS ALONG AREA BEACHES THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON. ROUGH SURF CAN KNOCK YOU DOWN AND MAKE YOU SUSCEPTIBLETO BEING CAUGHT IN A RIP CURRENT. CHECK WITH THE BEACH PATROL FOR LOCAL CONDITIONS WHEN ARRIVING AT THE BEACH...AND NEVER ENTER THE SURF ALONE.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...WEDNESDAY THROUGH TUESDAY.
A HIGH PRESSURE RIDGE AXIS WILL REMAIN NORTH OF EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA THROUGH SATURDAY. THIS WILL PRODUCE AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF STRONG WINDS OVER A LONG EASTERLY FETCH WHICH WILL RESULT IN HAZARDOUS SEAS...ROUGH SURF AND DANGEROUS RIP CURRENTS WEDNESDAY THROUGH SATURDAY.
.SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT...
SPOTTER ACTIVATION WILL NOT BE NEEDED TODAY.

MOSES
that's interesting because it's as calm as can be in wcfl. Stop hogging the airflow!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormTracker2K:



Today Through Wed Night
NE to E winds 20 to 25 kt except 15 to 20 kt S of 10n. Seas 8 to 11 ft in NE swell.
Thu
NE to E winds 15 to 20 kt. Seas 8 to 11 ft in NE swell.
Fri
E winds 15 to 20 kt becoming E to se 10 to 15 kt N of 19n late. Seas 8 to 11 ft in NE swell.
Sat
N of 16n E to se winds 10 to 15 kt. Seas 7 to 9 ft in NE swell. S of 16n NE to E winds 15 to 20 kt. Seas 8 to 10 ft in NE swell.


I guess we're not going to get a break, are we?

Thanks so much for the info!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting VirginIslandsVisitor:
Good morning, everyone!

First off, thanks for some very interesting reading on the blog today.

Secondly, can anyone tell me where I can find the marine forecast for the Virgin Islands on this site? Don't know if I'm being the village idiot but it really does escape me.

Winds are and have been way too high the last few weeks down here which have prevented us from fishing. We need a break!

Thanks!


Go to maps and then click on the marine section. After you click on the marine section then click your area of the Virgin Islands then you will get all of your information.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting VirginIslandsVisitor:
Good morning, everyone!

First off, thanks for some very interesting reading on the blog today.

Secondly, can anyone tell me where I can find the marine forecast for the Virgin Islands on this site? Don't know if I'm being the village idiot but it really does escape me.

Winds are and have been way too high the last few weeks down here which have prevented us from fishing. We need a break!

Thanks!



Today Through Wed Night
NE to E winds 20 to 25 kt except 15 to 20 kt S of 10n. Seas 8 to 11 ft in NE swell.
Thu
NE to E winds 15 to 20 kt. Seas 8 to 11 ft in NE swell.
Fri
E winds 15 to 20 kt becoming E to se 10 to 15 kt N of 19n late. Seas 8 to 11 ft in NE swell.
Sat
N of 16n E to se winds 10 to 15 kt. Seas 7 to 9 ft in NE swell. S of 16n NE to E winds 15 to 20 kt. Seas 8 to 10 ft in NE swell.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good morning, everyone!

First off, thanks for some very interesting reading on the blog today.

Secondly, can anyone tell me where I can find the marine forecast for the Virgin Islands on this site? Don't know if I'm being the village idiot but it really does escape me.

Winds are and have been way too high the last few weeks down here which have prevented us from fishing. We need a break!

Thanks!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
The gfs has been consistenly showing a large warm cold clash at 6-8 days. Since this is a very large scale feature, we may be able to put a small amount of credibility into this solution.
question is squall line, or supercells, or combination, or nothing.


Happy super tuesday.


Looking like an active end to the week and thru next week as days and days of severe wx are starting to seem likely now with one of those days being one hell of an outbreak and that does appear to be about 6 days out.
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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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