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

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

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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

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Quoting ScottLincoln:

In very generalized terms, the taller and fatter that area is where the parcel (dashed brown) is right of the environmental temperature (red) the better for severe weather. For particular types of severe weather, it gets more specific with more specific things.


Yea that's probably the simplest way to put it for someone learning, the bigger that area the more risk. For forecasting large hail, or other types of severe weather it certainly gets more difficult, and I'm certainly no pro at it. My teacher gave us a great lab ob SKEW-T's last semester learned a bunch though!
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It looks like one supercell, but there are actually two mesocyclones with this storm. It's actually the merger of the two cells from near Greensburg earlier.



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Quoting IceCoast:


No need to apologize. In simple terms, CAPE is a measure on Instability in the atmosphere. It stands for Convective Available Potential Energy. More technically, CAPE is the amount of energy a parcel of air would have if lifted a certain distance vertically through the atmosphere. Helicity values correspond to wind values in the vertical profile of the atmosphere, such as speed and direction.

A cool visual way to look at CAPE is on a SKEW-T chart or Sounding. If we look at the most recent one from Dodge City Kansas we can see the Red line (temp), Green line (dew point) and the saturated parcel ascent i talked about above is denoted as the dashed brown line. If we calculated the area of where our parcel line (brown) first crosses to the right of the temp line(red), which is at the surface in this case until where it crosses back the left at above 200mb, that would be our CAPE value.




Okay so the higher the cape value, the lower it would cross the temperature?
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Quoting Tazmanian:
John Woodman
SPC looking into removing PDS wording in the current tornado watches



this high risk may be a bust
Really? The main event was supposed to be later tonight...
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3841
1252. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting PlazaRed:


Here's a few for you Keep:-

MAP 5.9 2012/04/14 19:26:42 -6.874 105.378 49.0 SUNDA STRAIT, INDONESIA

MAP 6.2 2012/04/14 10:56:19 -57.588 -65.414 9.9 DRAKE PASSAGE

And this is added to the 77Sea quakes, ( Maremotos,) we have add this week so far in this zone, a few hundred miles to the south:-

MAP 4.4 2012/04/14 18:11:17 3.443 92.801 27.2 OFF THE WEST COAST OF NORTHERN SUMATRA

AS a grazing Mare tuns into a night****?
having big problems here cpu fan keeps running on computer if i try and load anything the fan runs high forever and computer locks up had to delete all my stuff so it don't automacticly load something wrong on my end not tracking anything very limited here watching for the most part
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Sawyer, KS next in line for a nasty storm just north of the KS/OK border
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 82 Comments: 7613
John Woodman
SPC looking into removing PDS wording in the current tornado watches



this high risk may be a bust
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114721
Brian Emfinger has little fingers (No pun intended) coming down from the wall cloud.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3841
1247. Speeky
looks like winterset is going to get hit HARD
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Quoting IceCoast:


No need to apologize. In simple terms, CAPE is a measure on Instability in the atmosphere. It stands for Convective Available Potential Energy. More technically, CAPE is the amount of energy a parcel of air would have if lifted a certain distance vertically through the atmosphere. Helicity values correspond to wind values in the vertical profile of the atmosphere, such as speed and direction.

A cool visual way to look a t CAPE is on a SKEW-T chart or Sounding. If we look at the most recent one from Dodge City Kansas we can see the Red line (temp), Green line (dew point) and the saturated parcel ascent i talked about above is denoted as the dashed brown line. If we calculated the area of where our parcel line (brown) first crosses to the right of the temp line, which is at the surface in this case (red) until where it crosses back the left at about 200mb, that would be our CAPE value.




Thanks!!
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Quoting IceCoast:
If we calculated the area of where our parcel line (brown) first crosses to the right of the temp line, which is at the surface in this case (red) until where it crosses back the left at about 200mb, that would be our CAPE value.



In very generalized terms, the taller and fatter that area is where the parcel (dashed brown) is right of the environmental temperature (red) the better for severe weather. For particular types of severe weather, it gets more specific with more specific things.
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Last 20 min

http://kamala.cod.edu/svr/
SVR T-STORM WARNING NORTH PLATTE NE - KLBF 422 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012
SVR T-STORM WARNING NORTH PLATTE NE - KLBF 420 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012
TORNADO WARNING DODGE CITY KS - KDDC 417 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012
TORNADO WARNING DODGE CITY KS - KDDC 415 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012
SVR T-STORM WARNING NORTH PLATTE NE - KLBF 413 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012
TORNADO WARNING NORMAN OK - KOUN 412 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012
TORNADO WARNING DODGE CITY KS - KDDC 411 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012
TORNADO WARNING WICHITA KS - KICT 411 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012
SVR T-STORM WARNING NORMAN OK - KOUN 410 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012
TORNADO WARNING DODGE CITY KS - KDDC 406 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012
TORNADO WARNING DODGE CITY KS - KDDC 405 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012
TORNADO WARNING DODGE CITY KS - KDDC 402 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 159
1243. Speeky
Quoting weatherh98:


Certainly a nice hail core.


agreed. One looks like it could be rotating.
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
All the models are in agreement on the formation of Alberto on Monday.
anyone know how to create an image url for a custom image? (Like from powerpoint)
Gotta upload it 2 a site like imageshach etc.
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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
It's all alone out there.


Which usually is not a good sign...
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Quoting weatherh98:


What's cape and helicity sorry:/


No need to apologize. In simple terms, CAPE is a measure on Instability in the atmosphere. It stands for Convective Available Potential Energy. More technically, CAPE is the amount of energy a parcel of air would have if lifted a certain distance vertically through the atmosphere. Helicity values correspond to wind values in the vertical profile of the atmosphere, such as speed and direction.

A cool visual way to look at CAPE is on a SKEW-T chart or Sounding. If we look at the most recent one from Dodge City Kansas we can see the Red line (temp), Green line (dew point) and the saturated parcel ascent i talked about above is denoted as the dashed brown line. If we calculated the area of where our parcel line (brown) first crosses to the right of the temp line(red), which is at the surface in this case until where it crosses back the left at above 200mb, that would be our CAPE value.


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These storms on either side of the Oklahoma/Kansas border look really good at the moment.



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1236. ncstorm
Area Forecast Discussion

000
FXUS63 KICT 142033
AFDICT

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WICHITA KS
333 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012

.DISCUSSION...

MAIN FORECAST CONCERN: THIS EVENING AND TONIGHT WILL BE THE MOST
CONCERNING PORTION OF THE FORECAST WITH AMPLIFIED SEVERE THREAT FOR
THE COUNTY WARNING AREA. OTHERWISE...THE ISSUES INCLUDE THE POPS FOR
SUNDAY INTO MONDAY WITH THE LOW PUSHING OUT OF THE AREA AND ANY
POTENTIAL WRAP AROUND.

PREV DISCUSSION... /ISSUED 242 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012/

UPDATE...

12 UTC AND LATER RUC MODEL RUNS SUGGEST DRYLINE WILL BE EVEN SLOWER
TO MOVE ACROSS THE AREA...MOST LIKELY LATER TONIGHT. THIS WILL
IMPACT SEVERE THREAT ACROSS THE AREA. AT THIS TIME...BEST
INSTABILITY/WEAKEST CAP IS OCCURRING ACROSS WESTERN SECTIONS OF
CENTRAL KS WITH CAP HOLDING ON ACROSS MOST OF SOUTH CENTRAL/
SOUTHEAST KS. GIVEN LACK OF SURFACE BOUNDARY AND EXTENSIVE CLOUDS
SO FAR...MAY BE TOUGH TO BREAK CAP ACROSS SOUTH CENTRAL KS THIS
AFTERNOON. HOWEVER A FEW SMALL BREAKS IN CLOUDS ARE EVIDENT IN
VISIBILITY SATELLITE SOUTH/WEST OF ICT. IF STORMS CAN DEVELOP IN
THIS AREA...CLEARLY ENVIRONMENT WOULD BE CONDUCIVE FOR STRONG/
SEVERE STORMS. BIGGEST THREAT TONIGHT IS ROUGHLY ALONG AND SOUTH
OF HIGHWAY 400 ACROSS SOUTH CENTRAL KS...EAST TO HIGHWAY 99 IN
THE 00-04 UTC TIME FRAME...WITH INCREASING ELEVATED STORM RISK
03-06 UTC ACROSS CENTRAL KS EAST OF I-135. -HOWERTON


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It's all alone out there.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3841
Quoting Speeky:
new storms in western nebraska. They seem to be getting their act together


Certainly a nice hail core.
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Quoting Tazmanian:




where tracking t-storms not STS right now so you may want too try asking that a little later one seem too be foces on severe weather and not what mode runs are showing about a STS so i would ask about that later

yes TAZ, I can see that you guys are bussy tracking T-Storms now. I will ask again later. Thank you.
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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.


Hey I was waiting for you, welcome youre just in time
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1230. Speeky
new storms in western nebraska. They seem to be getting their act together
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Quoting Tazmanian:




where tracking t-storms not STS right now so you may want too try asking that a little later one seem too be foces on severe weather and not what mode runs are showing about a STS so i would ask about that later


I was literally about to say that
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Quoting SouthDadeFish:


Link

CAPE stands for Convective Available Potential Energy and is a measure of how unstable the atmosphere is. It is also related to potential vertical velocity of a parcel of air in the thunderstorm.

Also Helicity is a measure of how the air is turning with height, which is favorable for supercell and tornado formation.


I appreciate that!!
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Storms are trying to fire in western Nebraska again.



They look like they are succeeding.
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
so guys whats up with the possible STS that will form in Atlantic or did models droped it




where tracking t-storms not STS right now so you may want too try asking that a little later one seem too be foces on severe weather and not what mode runs are showing about a STS so i would ask about that later
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114721
1224. Patrap

246
WFUS53 KDDC 142115
TORDDC
KSC185-142145-
/O.NEW.KDDC.TO.W.0019.120414T2115Z-120414T2145Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DODGE CITY KS
415 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN DODGE CITY HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
NORTHEASTERN STAFFORD COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL KANSAS...

* UNTIL 445 PM CDT

* AT 411 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED
VERY STRONG ROTATION ASSOCIATED WITH A POSSIBLE TORNADO 5 MILES
WEST OF HUDSON. THIS DANGEROUS STORM WAS MOVING NORTHEAST AT 55
MPH. GOLF BALL SIZE HAIL IS ALSO EXPECTED WITH THIS STORM.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
MAINLY RURAL AREAS OF NORTHEASTERN STAFFORD COUNTY.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

HEAVY RAINFALL MAY OBSCURE THIS TORNADO. DO NOT WAIT TO SEE OR HEAR
THE TORNADO. TAKE COVER NOW.

TO REPORT SEVERE WEATHER...CONTACT YOUR NEAREST LAW ENFORCEMENT
AGENCY. THEY WILL RELAY YOUR REPORT TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
IN DODGE CITY.



LAT...LON 3802 9877 3814 9884 3827 9872 3827 9847
3826 9847 3811 9847
TIME...MOT...LOC 2115Z 234DEG 48KT 3814 9870
HAIL 1.75IN



FINCH
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
as the sun sets and turns to a nightime sky


Here's a few for you Keep:-

MAP 5.9 2012/04/14 19:26:42 -6.874 105.378 49.0 SUNDA STRAIT, INDONESIA

MAP 6.2 2012/04/14 10:56:19 -57.588 -65.414 9.9 DRAKE PASSAGE

And this is added to the 77Sea quakes, ( Maremotos,) we have add this week so far in this zone, a few hundred miles to the south:-

MAP 4.4 2012/04/14 18:11:17 3.443 92.801 27.2 OFF THE WEST COAST OF NORTHERN SUMATRA

AS a grazing Mare tuns into a night****?
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2065
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'v been expecting you. Welcome to the blog.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3841
1221. Patrap
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Quoting SouthDadeFish:


Link


Thank you so much!!
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so guys whats up with the possible STS that will form in Atlantic or did models droped it
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Sun City, KS may have a tornado going right over it now
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 82 Comments: 7613
1217. Patrap
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The Iowa storm has five TVS with it... Is that possible?
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 82 Comments: 7613
1214. Patrap
BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WICHITA KS
411 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN WICHITA HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
NORTHWESTERN BARTON COUNTY IN CENTRAL KANSAS...
SOUTHWESTERN RUSSELL COUNTY IN CENTRAL KANSAS...

* UNTIL 445 PM CDT

* AT 407 PM CDT...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A
TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR OTIS...AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 45 MPH.

HAZARD...DEVELOPING TORNADO.

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...
GALATIA...SUSANK...GORHAM AND MILBERGER.

THIS INCLUDES INTERSTATE 70 BETWEEN MILE MARKERS 176 AND 181.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

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.



LAT...LON 3892 9905 3895 9903 3870 9863 3853 9904
3884 9905
TIME...MOT...LOC 2111Z 226DEG 41KT 3860 9905

TORNADO...RADAR INDICATED
HAIL...<.75IN
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RTSplayer:


I think 7p.m.

the GFS and Canadian seems to think this is going to be almost non-stop till tomorrow evening, at least on the last runs.

I think the low is still 7 or 8mb away from peak forecast intensity.

The worst of it should be from 7p.m. central to about 7a.m. central.
AKA everyone stay up all night! There will be strong night time tornadoes. Always have a NOAA radio at the ready before you even think about going to sleep in the High/Moderate risk area tonight.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3841
1212. Patrap


MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 0531
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0348 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012

AREAS AFFECTED...CNTRL/WRN KS...WRN OK...FAR ERN SECTIONS OF THE TX
PANHANDLE

CONCERNING...TORNADO WATCH 165...

VALID 142048Z - 142145Z

THE SEVERE WEATHER THREAT FOR TORNADO WATCH 165 CONTINUES.

THE SVR THREAT WITHIN THE NEXT HOUR OR TWO WILL BE DISTRIBUTED
WITHIN 3 SPATIAL REGIMES:

1. DISCRETE/POTENTIALLY TORNADIC SUPERCELLS FROM EDWARDS COUNTY KS
SWD TO WOODWARD COUNTY OK WILL POSE THE GREATEST THREAT FOR STRONG
TO VIOLENT...LONG-TRACK TORNADOES AS THEY TRACK NEWD/ENEWD AMIDST
STRONG INSTABILITY. HILLSBORO/HAVILAND PROFILER DATA SUGGEST 0-1-KM
SRH AROUND 350 M2/S2 WITH A LARGE AMOUNT OF STREAMWISE VORTICITY
WITHIN THE LOWEST 0.5 KM AGL...WHICH WILL ENHANCE THE THREAT FOR
SIGNIFICANT TORNADOES.

2. FARTHER SOUTH INTO SWRN OK AND FAR ERN PARTS OF THE TX
PANHANDLE...THE DRYLINE HAS BECOME JUXTAPOSED WITH A
NARROW...NNE-SSW-ORIENTED RIBBON OF MID-LEVEL ASCENT PER WATER VAPOR
IMAGERY...SUPPORTING ISOLATED CONVECTIVE INITIATION. CONVECTIVE
PLUMES MAY EVOLVE INTO DISCRETE AND POTENTIALLY TORNADIC SUPERCELLS
DURING THE NEXT HOUR OR TWO AS THEY ENTER OK WHERE DEEPER MOISTURE
AND STRONGER LOW-LEVEL SHEAR ARE PRESENT.

3. FARTHER NORTH INTO N-CNTRL KS...A QLCS SEGMENT AND EMBEDDED LEWP
STRUCTURE WILL POSE A THREAT FOR DMGG WINDS AND PERHAPS A TORNADO OR
TWO WHILE TRACKING ACROSS PARTS OF WASHINGTON COUNTY. THE GREATEST
THREAT FOR TORNADOES WITH THIS SYSTEM WILL BE FOUND AT ITS
INTERSECTION WITH A W-E-ORIENTED WARM FRONT.

..COHEN.. 04/14/2012


ATTN...WFO...TOP...ICT...OUN...GID...DDC...GLD...L UB...AMA...

LAT...LON 39819687 38409713 36879785 35349850 34469935 34540021
35060050 36120037 37750027 39310043 39849993 39949913
39969838 39819687
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Quoting weatherh98:


What's cape and helicity sorry:/


Link

CAPE stands for Convective Available Potential Energy and is a measure of how unstable the atmosphere is. It is also related to potential vertical velocity of a parcel of air in the thunderstorm.

Also Helicity is a measure of how the air is turning with height, which is favorable for supercell and tornado formation.
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 11 Comments: 2448
Quoting ScottLincoln:
Odd that the storm in Iowa is producing tornadoes... at least comparatively with the much better atmosphere to the west and southwest. It must be interacting with the warm front to help spin-up the surface-based vorticity. I can't imagine it staying around too long as it gets further east, away from the best CAPE.


What's CAPE?? Sorry for ignorance TIA
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1207. Patrap
Dodge City
NEXRAD Radar

Base Reflectivity 0.50° Elevation
Range 124 NMI

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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.