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: 1457 - 1407

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

Northern KS storm appears to be strengthening again.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
Quoting Speeky:
how many tornadoes can you count here?


this is in Western Nebreska


There's at least 2, and maybe as many as 5...
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
1450:

Hey wait a minute, aren't you a storm chaser?

What are you doing on a blog? LOL.

Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
1454. Speeky
how many tornadoes can you count here?


this is in Western Nebreska
Member Since: April 10, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 309
Quoting EugeneTillman:

I know someone mention a huge NASCAR event down near Fort Worth, Texas where supposedly 100,000 people were either attending or camping out at this weekend.

Though I'd venture to say I'm sure those folks who made the drive southbound are already at their destination enjoying some BBQ and a cold beer or two... ;)


There was a tornado that almost hit Indianapolis Motor Speedway during Indy 500 in 2004. 400,000 was at the race, and the race was cut short by 20 laps when a F2 tornado was sighted from track. Tornado missed the track by 5 miles...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1452. LargoFl
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
I have to give kudos to TWC as they are having a complete coverage with stormchaser videos,reporting from the field in different locations and Dr Greg Forbes providing the expert analysis.
yes they are doing a great job alright, been watching them most of the day now..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Yah the southern storm has funnels and wants really badly to produce a large tornado.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
1449. LargoFl
all over the place tonight.....................TORNADO WARNING
IAC137-142330-
/O.NEW.KOAX.TO.W.0005.120414T2306Z-120414T2330Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OMAHA/VALLEY NEBRASKA
606 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN OMAHA HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
NORTH CENTRAL MONTGOMERY COUNTY IN SOUTHWESTERN IOWA...

* UNTIL 630 PM CDT

* AT 604 PM CDT...DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM
CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO. THIS DANGEROUS STORM WAS LOCATED
NEAR EMERSON...OR 36 MILES EAST OF OMAHA...AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT
50 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
ELLIOTT AND GRANT.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TAKE COVER NOW. MOVE TO A BASEMENT OR AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE
LOWEST FLOOR OF A STURDY BUILDING. AVOID WINDOWS. IF IN A MOBILE
HOME OR OUTDOORS...MOVE TO THE CLOSEST SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER AND
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM FLYING DEBRIS.

&&

LAT...LON 4114 9493 4107 9528 4107 9531 4105 9535
4110 9537 4111 9537 4112 9536 4116 9527
4115 9493
TIME...MOT...LOC 2304Z 247DEG 44KT 4108 9535

$$

BOUSTEAD/MAYES
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I have to give kudos to TWC as they are having a complete coverage with stormchaser videos,reporting from the field in different locations and Dr Greg Forbes providing the expert analysis.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14775
Quoting nigel20:
Good evening all!
I see that tornadoes are popping up all over the place...luckily most are missing populated areas for the moment


Except for Salina because that is a pretty good size town
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1446. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
this stupid computres suks right now
may have to shut it down completly remove the cpu cooling fan an alum cooler coils clean it and put it back together since yesterday pissing me right off can't see anything or loadf anything
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1445. nigel20
Good evening all!
I see that tornadoes are popping up all over the place...luckily most are missing populated areas for the moment
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 12 Comments: 8424
1444. redux
it appears to me, the tornado moving toward salina will come very close to the town.
Member Since: June 28, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 234
The Salina tornado seems like it is very close or even over Falun, Oklahoma which is a very tiny town.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The people north of Medicine Lodge, KS and in Salina shuld watch out... also the people in Alva, OK have a descent cell coming for them
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1441. CJ5
Dave Howard has a beauty live at tornadovideos.net
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1440. LargoFl
SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WICHITA KS
603 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012

KSC155-142315-
/O.CON.KICT.TO.W.0015.000000T0000Z-120414T2315Z/
RENO KS-
603 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR NORTH CENTRAL RENO COUNTY
UNTIL 615 PM CDT...

AT 601 PM CDT...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO
WAS LOCATED 6 MILES NORTHEAST OF ABBYVILLE...AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT
35 MPH.

HAZARD...DEVELOPING TORNADO AND QUARTER SIZE HAIL.

SOURCE...RADAR INDICATED ROTATION.

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...
NICKERSON AND WILLOWBROOK.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THIS STORM HAS A HISTORY OF PRODUCING BRIEF TORNADOES AND FUNNEL
CLOUDS. TAKE COVER IN A BASEMENT OR STORM SHELTER NOW!

&&

LAT...LON 3818 9823 3816 9821 3816 9815 3818 9814
3818 9810 3817 9784 3798 9804 3802 9833
TIME...MOT...LOC 2303Z 223DEG 31KT 3806 9813

TORNADO...RADAR INDICATED
HAIL...1.00IN

$$

KLEINSASSER
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Southern KS storm seems to be very strong as well.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
1438. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
who do i see JFV on chaser vid comments
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hydrus, don't 4get 2 hit enter before and after your [img] code.... makes 4 better readability and viewing.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ncstorm:


TWC said its affecting only rural areas?

Thank God yes
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1435. ncstorm
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

And getting bigger!


TWC said its affecting only rural areas?
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16215
Still going strong.

Member Since: October 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1267
Its a cone now. Seems very strong still. Btw the guy on the phone with the news is dead wrong its still very strong and on the ground.

Edit: Its got skinny again will likely die and reform.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
Quoting Bluestorm5:
Salina, KS is a decent sized town. I've been there at least twice when I was on trips to the Rockies. Btw, that's a big tornado on Kurt's stream!!!

And getting bigger!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Salina, KS is a decent sized town. I've been there at least twice when I was on trips to the Rockies. Btw, that's a big tornado on Kurt's stream!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
HOLY! Here fast My goodness



WTF?

Is that thing anti-cyclonic?

That's very rare for so strong a tornado to be rotating clockwise?

Maybe the film is playing tricks on me or something?
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Look out Nashville, KS from the south Kansas storm
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
This violent tornado is about to hit Langley. We should see a debris ball appear on radar shortly.


Langley isn't that big. It already seems to have had a psuedo-debris appearance for several scans. Probably dust from the fields or some light structure debris. Luckily a mostly rural area thus far.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3296
Link for Radio Feed

Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I know everyone is looking at the wedge cell but let me point out every other cell is now looking just as dangerous. The southern most KS storm looking really bad.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
IT's live on the weather channel
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Oh my god.



I haven't figured out if that's the same storm or another one...
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting EugeneTillman:

Second pot of coffee just made. Gonna be a long night I'm afraid. My folks are terrified of these things so for Mother's day Mom is getting one of those NOAA radio thingy's. Wonder if I can get one directly from the NOAA website.
I think I'd sleep in the basement on night like this... really scary situation 4 pple in the area.

Quoting wunderkidcayman:
so guys whats up with the possible STS that will form in Atlantic or did models droped it
Still on the maps... due to initate 2morrow.

Quoting SouthDadeFish:
Honestly, I haven't been that impressed thus far from this outbreak (which is a very good thing). Seems like most of the tornado reports were very brief touchdowns. Now that doesn't mean it can't get worse, but were are approaching the traditional diurnal peak for tornado formation.
I thought the worst of it isn't due until tonight.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Well we were wondering when the tornadoes would start showing up.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
Imagine being Justin Roberts right now... That close to so much power
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1419. CJ5
great live tornado on the grounf video here

check micheal wuz

www.torndaovideos.net click on micheal wuzberger
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
It may even be trying to drop a satellite vortex on the left side.

Very much debris and very violent.

One of the best videos I've ever seen.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520


Member Since: October 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1267
Wow its got satellite tornadoes coming off it. AKA horizontal vortices.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
OMG horizontal vortices.

Very violent tornado.

Maybe its a EF4 right now.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
It has horizontal vortices!
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32717
1411. hydrus
This map shows all the chasers names and location...Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
This violent tornado is about to hit Langley. We should see a debris ball appear on radar shortly.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32717
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Oh my god.

Look at Justin Roberts it was insane. He is only 1 or 2 miles from the tornado and omg it just got bigger.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
I hope it does not hit a town.

Marquette may be in the way... If it misses there its mostly rural
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
This is one of the best looking tornadoes I'v ever watched.

Absolutely epic.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 1457 - 1407

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

Scattered Clouds
19 °F
Scattered Clouds