Dangerous tornado outbreak expected Saturday; Gulf of Mexico SSTs warmest on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:57 PM GMT on April 13, 2012

Share this Blog
47
+

A dangerous tornado outbreak is expected on Saturday over the Plains, says NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC). Warm, moist air flowing northwards from a Gulf of Mexico that has record-warm waters will collide with cold air funneling down from Canada, creating a highly unstable air mass capable of creating strong thunderstorm updrafts. An impressive upper-level low, accompanied by a jet stream with 105 - 125 mph winds at middle levels of the atmosphere, will create plenty of wind shear, giving the air the spin it needs to form tornadoes. SPC has has issued their highest level of alert, a "High Risk," for much of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska for Saturday. Included in the "High Risk" area are the cities of Wichita, Oklahoma City, and Lincoln. This is the second time SPC has issued a "High Risk" forecast this year; the first "High Risk" forecast came for the March 2 tornado outbreak, which killed 41 people and did $1.5 - $2 billion in damage. It is very unusual for SPC to issue a "High Risk" forecast more than a day in advance of a suspected tornado outbreak; according to Wikipedia, today's "High Risk" forecast is only the second time SPC has ever done this. The other instance was for the April 6 - 8, 2006 tornado outbreak focused over Tennessee, which generated 73 tornadoes that killed 13 and did $1.5 billion in damage. People living in the threatened area need to pay close attention on Saturday to this dangerous severe weather situation.


Figure 1. Severe weather risk for Saturday, April 14, 2012, from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center.

Gulf of Mexico water temperatures the warmest on record
Temperatures in the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico were the 3rd - 7th warmest on record during the first three months of 2012, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. This allowed Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) in the Gulf of Mexico (25 - 30°N, 85 - 90°W) to climb to 1.4°C (2.5°F) above average during March 2012, according to a wunderground analysis of the Hadley Centre SST data set. This is the warmest March value on record for the Gulf of Mexico, going back over a century of record keeping. During the first two weeks of April, Gulf of Mexico waters remained about 1.5°C above average, putting April on pace to have the warmest April water temperatures on record. Only one year in the past century has had April water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico more than 1.1°C above average; that year was 2002 (1.4°C above average.) All that record-warm water is capable of putting record amounts of water vapor into the air, since evaporation increases when water is warmer. Because moist air is less dense than dry air, this warm, moist air flowing northwards from the Gulf of Mexico into the developing storm system over the Plains will be highly unstable once it encounters cold, dry air aloft. The record-warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico are a key reason for the high risk of severe weather over the Plains this weekend.


Figure 2. Departure of Sea Surface Temperature (SST) from average for April 12, 2012, as computed by NOAA/NESDIS. SSTs in the Gulf of Mexico are at their warmest levels on record for this time of year.

Follow Weather Underground on twitter for the latest on this potential severe weather outbreak.

Jeff Masters

April Storms (llpj04)
this storm greeted me as I came out of the grocery store, chased me home and got to my driveway the same time I did.
April Storms
Lightning Up the Pond - Oklahoma (mbryan777)
Last night we had a pretty spectacular lightning storm. I put the camera on the tripod in time-lapse mode and laid on my back on the hillside above the pond taking in an amazing show. When it got more exciting than I was comfortable with, I ran for the house.
Lightning Up the Pond - Oklahoma

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 2107 - 2057

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52Blog Index

What's happening to the tornado warnings in Raymond and also the tornado warning in Wilsey?

These warnings were posted here...but no follow-ups since then...
Member Since: September 15, 2009 Posts: 539 Comments: 3712
Quoting EugeneTillman:

I agree. Neighboring NWS Radar sites aren't showing weakening.


Neighboring radar sites are not seeing the near-surface circulation, they are seeing the mesocyclone. The mesocyclone does not appear to have weakened. The tornado is near-enough to the WFO Wichita radar that we can see actual tornadic circulations because it is sampling near to the surface.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Worse case situation is when Mike Seidel comes outta shelter and the NWS is in open field, with nothing around them
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2103. LargoFl
SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WICHITA KS
954 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012

KSC173-150315-
/O.CON.KICT.TO.W.0030.000000T0000Z-120415T0315Z/
SEDGWICK KS-
954 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR SEDGWICK COUNTY UNTIL 1015
PM CDT...

AT 951 PM CDT...A CONFIRMED LARGE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO WAS
LOCATED JUST SOUTH OF CLEARWATER...AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 30 MPH.
CLEARWATER COULD BE HIT!

THIS IS A PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION.

HAZARD...DAMAGING TORNADO.

SOURCE...RADAR CONFIRMED TORNADO.

IMPACT...MAJOR HOUSE AND BUILDING DAMAGE LIKELY AND COMPLETE
DESTRUCTION POSSIBLE. NUMEROUS TREES SNAPPED. MAJOR POWER
OUTAGES IN PATH OF TORNADO HIGHLY LIKELY. SOME ROADS
POSSIBLY BLOCKED BY TORNADO DEBRIS. COMPLETE DESTRUCTION OF
VEHICLES LIKELY.

LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
DOWNTOWN WICHITA...CLEARWATER...GODDARD...MULVANE...HAYSVIL LE...SOUTH
WICHITA...WICHITA MID CONTINENT AIRPORT...MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE...
WEST WICHITA...DERBY...EAST WICHITA...MAIZE...NORTHEAST WICHITA...
PARK CITY...COLWICH...VALLEY CENTER...LAKE AFTON...OAKLAWN...BEL AIRE
AND JABARA AIRPORT.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TO REPEAT...A LARGE...EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND POTENTIALLY DEADLY
TORNADO IS ON THE GROUND. TO PROTECT YOUR LIFE...TAKE COVER NOW. MOVE
TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A STURDY BUILDING. AVOID
WINDOWS. IF IN A MOBILE HOME...A VEHICLE OR OUTDOORS...MOVE TO THE
CLOSEST SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER AND PROTECT YOURSELF FROM FLYING DEBRIS.

TORNADOES ARE DIFFICULT TO SEE AND CONFIRM AT NIGHT. TAKE COVER NOW.

&&

LAT...LON 3748 9780 3784 9752 3783 9715 3747 9716
TIME...MOT...LOC 0254Z 216DEG 28KT 3746 9751

TORNADO...OBSERVED
TORNADO DAMAGE THREAT...SIGNIFICANT
HAIL...2.50IN

$$

KLEINSASSER
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Xyrus2000:


No, the radar is shooting up into the storm so they are losing resolution.
Yah I'm starting to agree with this a little more now. I can somewhat make out a debris ball in Clearwater.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3852
Quoting ScottLincoln:
Wichita area storm has had it's near-surface tornadic circulation recycle, then the new circulation died off quickly. Reduced chance of a tornado right now, but obvious could recycle. Would put a probable area for recycle to be near or just east of Clearwater.


...and I think there it goes. Looks like a weak TS signature just SE of Clearwater. -25kts to +50kts about 5 pixels apart. Maybe not a tornado, but a circulation could be forming.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Already strengthening from recycling.
F***! Just why is all I'm saying...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Impact imminent for NWS
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Almost looks like a direct hit on the airport radar!

Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 47 Comments: 11709
Actually, no it isn't... Checked other radar sites and it's just as strong...
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3477
This could mean that any towers in Wichita will heighten winds, worst case scenario!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Already strengthening from recycling.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32855
Sedgewick County EOC is broadcasting that they expect the rotation to "track basically through the heart of the Wichita metro area".
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2092. ncstorm
Sumner County..Radio dispatch

Wichita, KS
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16225
2091. Speeky
looks like lyons might be wipped off the map
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CybrTeddy:
New circulation forming over Conway Springs, also heading towards Wichita.


Yessir I just saw that!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2088. LargoFl
SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WICHITA KS
954 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012

KSC009-159-150315-
/O.CON.KICT.TO.W.0031.000000T0000Z-120415T0315Z/
RICE KS-BARTON KS-
954 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR SOUTHEASTERN BARTON AND
RICE COUNTIES UNTIL 1015 PM CDT...

AT 951 PM CDT...A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR CHASE...AND
MOVING NORTHEAST AT 60 MPH.

HAZARD...DAMAGING TORNADO AND GOLF BALL SIZE HAIL.

SOURCE...LAW ENFORCEMENT CONFIRMED TORNADO.

IMPACT...SIGNIFICANT HOUSE AND BUILDING DAMAGE POSSIBLE. MOBILE HOMES
COMPLETELY DESTROYED IF HIT. SOME TREES UPROOTED OR SNAPPED.
VEHICLES WILL LIKELY BE THROWN BY TORNADIC WINDS.

LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
LYONS...GENESEO AND FREDERICK.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THIS STORM HAS A HISTORY OF PRODUCING TORNADOES! TAKE COVER IN A
BASEMENT OR STORM SHELTER NOW!

TORNADOES ARE DIFFICULT TO SEE AND CONFIRM AT NIGHT. TAKE COVER NOW!

TO REPORT SEVERE WEATHER CONTACT YOUR NEAREST LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY.
THEY WILL SEND YOUR REPORT TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN
WICHITA.

&&

LAT...LON 3852 9830 3852 9804 3835 9805 3817 9835
3817 9847 3819 9848 3825 9848 3826 9861
TIME...MOT...LOC 0253Z 226DEG 51KT 3836 9831

TORNADO...OBSERVED
HAIL...1.75IN

$$

SCHMINKE
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WxGeekVA:
It's weakening... thank god!!!



No, the radar is shooting up into the storm so they are losing resolution.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2085. LargoFl
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Its getting close to the radar so you cant really tell.
NWS just said one has weakened, i forget which one
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
It's starting to get kinda noisy near the radar site.

Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 47 Comments: 11709
Quoting WxGeekVA:
It's weakening... thank god!!!



Maybe, but more likely the storm is now getting fuzzy. Can't get a good look
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WxGeekVA:
It's weakening... thank god!!!



NO its below the radar image
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WxGeekVA:
It's weakening... thank god!!!

Its getting close to the radar so you cant really tell.

Edit: It is cycling.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3852
New circulation forming over Conway Springs, also heading towards Wichita.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24576
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
At 951 PM CDT... a confirmed large and extremely dangerous tornado was
located just south of Clearwater... and moving northeast at 30 mph.
Clearwater could be hit!

This is a particularly dangerous situation.

Hazard... damaging tornado.

Source... radar confirmed tornado.

Impact... major house and building damage likely and complete destruction possible. Numerous trees snapped. Major power 0utages in path of tornado highly likely. Some roads possibly blocked by tornado debris. Complete destruction of vehicles likely.

Locations impacted include...
downtown Wichita... Clearwater... Goddard... Mulvane... Haysville... south Wichita... Wichita Mid Continent Airport... McConnell Air Force base... west Wichita... Derby... east Wichita... Maize... northeast Wichita... Park city... Colwich... Valley Center... Lake Afton... Oaklawn... Bel Aireand jabara Airport.

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

To repeat... a large... extremely dangerous and potentially deadly tornado is on the ground. To protect your life... take cover now. Move
to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If in a Mobile home... a vehicle or outdoors... move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris.

Tornadoes are difficult to see and confirm at night. Take cover now
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Wichita area storm has had it's near-surface tornadic circulation recycle, then the new circulation died off quickly. Reduced chance of a tornado right now, but obvious could recycle. Would put a probable area for recycle to be near or just east of Clearwater.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2076. LargoFl
SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WICHITA KS
947 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012

KSC191-150300-
/O.CON.KICT.TO.W.0029.000000T0000Z-120415T0300Z/
SUMNER KS-
947 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR NORTHERN SUMNER COUNTY
UNTIL 1000 PM CDT...

AT 943 PM CDT...A CONFIRMED LARGE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO WAS
LOCATED JUST EAST OF CONWAY SPRINGS...AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 35 MPH.

THIS IS A PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION.

HAZARD...DAMAGING TORNADO.

SOURCE...RADAR CONFIRMED TORNADO.

IMPACT...MAJOR HOUSE AND BUILDING DAMAGE LIKELY AND COMPLETE
DESTRUCTION POSSIBLE. NUMEROUS TREES SNAPPED. MAJOR POWER
OUTAGES IN PATH OF TORNADO HIGHLY LIKELY. SOME ROADS
POSSIBLY BLOCKED BY TORNADO DEBRIS. COMPLETE DESTRUCTION OF
VEHICLES LIKELY.

LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
BELLE PLAINE AND RIVERDALE.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TO REPEAT...A LARGE...EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND POTENTIALLY DEADLY
TORNADO IS ON THE GROUND. TO PROTECT YOUR LIFE...TAKE COVER NOW. MOVE
TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A STURDY BUILDING. AVOID
WINDOWS. IF IN A MOBILE HOME...A VEHICLE OR OUTDOORS...MOVE TO THE
CLOSEST SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER AND PROTECT YOURSELF FROM FLYING DEBRIS.

TORNADOES ARE DIFFICULT TO SEE AND CONFIRM AT NIGHT. TAKE COVER NOW.

&&

LAT...LON 3748 9781 3747 9715 3730 9715 3706 9780
TIME...MOT...LOC 0247Z 213DEG 30KT 3743 9755

TORNADO...OBSERVED
TORNADO DAMAGE THREAT...SIGNIFICANT
HAIL...2.50IN

$$

KLEINSASSER






Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
debris ball growing....
may be cycling again.
Also i see 2 rotations on the Lyons storm


Yes.

It's had two hooks for quite a while now, since before it passed St. John.

It's still very impressive wind signature on radar.


This and the soon-to-be Wichita storm are probably the 2 strongest-longest lived cells of the day.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
2074. hydrus
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
They said they will stop issuing warnings in ten minutes to take shelter, the warning responsibility will go to Topeka.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ScottLincoln:


Heard from a friend at NWS Des Moines that a site reported more than an inch of rain in less than 10 minutes with that storm system as it moved through metro Des Moines. Was about a 1% to 2% yearly chance event.

We had a similar type of event in the Houston area in April 2009 and it dropped similar types of rainfall, including just under seven inches in one hour!
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 47 Comments: 11709
It's weakening... thank god!!!

Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3477
Its getting so close to the radar you cant get clean look at it anymore.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3852
Let's hope Conway Spring's not the next Joplin...oops, did I just say the J-word? Anyways things are looking REAL bad out there, so watch out.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Got a buzz about a tornado emergency?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Storm near Lyons, KS... Tornadic circulation on radar occluding and dying off just as another is forming.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
TORNADO EMERGENCY FOR CONWAY SPRINGS
This is not looking good. If you live in/near Conway Springs, take cover now. This is an extremely dangerous situation. This is not your average Tornado Warning. Check your local NWS site to find out more.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Couldn't get to sleep. Now listening to KSN again.

I feel sick. It can't hit Wichita, can it? Isn't it time for a replacement cycle? This looks unbelivably scary.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Meanwhile, in Witchita...

INTRUST Bank Arena
@INTRUSTarena
- @Miranda_Lambert is on stage now #onfiretour pic.twitter.com/aab6SRg5
21 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The course adjusted slightly to the north. This could possibly go straight through downtown Wichita!!!

Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 47 Comments: 11709
At 943 PM CDT... a confirmed large and extremely dangerous tornado was located near Conway Springs... and moving northeast at 30 mph.

This is a particularly dangerous situation.

Hazard... damaging tornado.

Source... spotter confirmed tornado.

Impact... major house and building damage likely and complete destruction possible. Numerous trees snapped. Major power outages in path of tornado highly likely. Some roads possibly blocked by tornado debris. Complete destruction of vehicles likely.

Locations impacted include...
downtown Wichita... Viola... Clearwater... Goddard... Mulvane...Haysville..South Wichita... Wichita Mid Continent Airport... McConnell Air Force base... Derby... west Wichita... east Wichita... Maize...
northeast Wichita... Park city... Colwich... Valley Center... Lake Afton... Oaklawn and Bel Aire.

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

To repeat... a large... extremely dangerous and potentially deadly tornado is on the ground. To protect your life... take cover now. Move
to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If in a Mobile home... a vehicle or outdoors... move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris.

Tornadoes are difficult to see and confirm at night. Take cover now.

(This is ~ 1/2 mile wide headed toward Wichita, maybe sounth end)

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
40 mph sustained winds in downtown Wichita...
looks like an F3 is going to make direct hit on downtown Wichita:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2058. hydrus
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ScottLincoln:


Use other radar sites. Rebuild radar in the days following it's loss.
lol last line made me smile.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3852

Viewing: 2107 - 2057

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Overcast
37 °F
Overcast

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Lake Effort Snow Shower Over Windsor, Ontario
Sunset on Dunham Lake
Pictured Rocks Sunset
Sunset on Lake Huron