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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I guess they decided to skip out on Lee for retirement. Oh well...
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
The storm near Ord, NE has a monster hail core

good updrafts
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804. wxmod
Sahara dust over Atlantic today. MODIS satellite photo.

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Quoting Grothar:


Or at 305 : Grother: I didn't know they were retiring the name Irene with Irma. Maybe someone posted this and I missed it. I miss a lot of things these days.


OH MY GOD! I've been watching for that forever! The only time I didn't check was yesturday... well there you go i guess.
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129



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PDS Watch until 6pm CDT

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you talking about cell X1?
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799. wxmod
China today. MODIS satellite photo

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798. redux
Quoting ScottLincoln:


Depends on what you consider to be "relevant data?"


i want something where i can look at the storms in the areas affected.

Member Since: June 28, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 234
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
I bet the storm Northeast of La Crosse produces a tornado at some point.

It has that look- I think you're right. Plus it has no storms in front of it to disrupt it- It will be first to reach all the energy
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 8033
Probability of 2 or more tornadoes
High (80%)
Probability of 1 or more strong (F2-F5) tornadoes
High (70%)

I have seen higher but its up there. Probably bump it up to 95%,90% later today.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3852
Prob. of 2 or more tornadoes: High 80%

Prob. of 1 or more strong (EF2-EF5) tornadoes: High 70%

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The storm near Ord, NE has a monster hail core
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 8033
TORNADO WATCH PROBABILITIES FOR WT 0165
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1044 AM CDT SAT APR 14 2012

WT 0165 PDS
PROBABILITY TABLE:
PROB OF 2 OR MORE TORNADOES : 80%
PROB OF 1 OR MORE STRONG /F2-F5/ TORNADOES : 70%
PROB OF 10 OR MORE SEVERE WIND EVENTS : 90%
PROB OF 1 OR MORE WIND EVENTS >= 65 KNOTS : 80%
PROB OF 10 OR MORE SEVERE HAIL EVENTS : >95%
PROB OF 1 OR MORE HAIL EVENTS >= 2 INCHES : 80%
PROB OF 6 OR MORE COMBINED SEVERE HAIL/WIND EVENTS : >95%

&&
ATTRIBUTE TABLE:
MAX HAIL /INCHES/ : 4.0
MAX WIND GUSTS SURFACE /KNOTS/ : 70
MAX TOPS /X 100 FEET/ : 500
MEAN STORM MOTION VECTOR /DEGREES AND KNOTS/ : 24035
PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION : YES

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I bet the storm Northeast of La Crosse produces a tornado at some point.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3852
The storm just east of broken bow looks like it could be trying to form a hook
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
How about a nice poll...

How many tornado reports will we receive today

A. 0-50
B. 51-100
C. 101-150
D. 151-200
E. 200 or more

I go with high end C


D.
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3477
Quoting ScottLincoln:


All watches in a high risk must be PDS watches. I believe that is by NWS policy.
Seems like a logical policy.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3852
URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
TORNADO WATCH NUMBER 165
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1045 AM CDT SAT APR 14 2012

THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A
TORNADO WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF

CENTRAL KANSAS
NORTHWEST OKLAHOMA

EFFECTIVE THIS SATURDAY MORNING AND EVENING FROM 1045 AM UNTIL
600 PM CDT.

...THIS IS A PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION...

DESTRUCTIVE TORNADOES...LARGE HAIL TO 4 INCHES IN DIAMETER...
THUNDERSTORM WIND GUSTS TO 80 MPH...AND DANGEROUS LIGHTNING ARE
POSSIBLE IN THESE AREAS.

THE TORNADO WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 85 STATUTE
MILES EAST AND WEST OF A LINE FROM 25 MILES EAST SOUTHEAST OF
GAGE OKLAHOMA TO 55 MILES NORTHWEST OF CONCORDIA KANSAS. FOR A
COMPLETE DEPICTION OF THE WATCH SEE THE ASSOCIATED WATCH OUTLINE
UPDATE (WOUS64 KWNS WOU5).

REMEMBER...A TORNADO WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR
TORNADOES AND SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH
AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR
THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS
AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS.

DISCUSSION...A CLUSTER OF THUNDERSTORMS IS RAPIDLY INCREASING OVER
SOUTHWEST KS AND SHOULD SPREAD ACROSS CENTRAL KS THROUGH THE
AFTERNOON. OTHER STORMS MAY DEVELOP SOUTHWARD INTO NORTHWEST OK IN
THE NEXT COUPLE OF HOURS. INITIAL STORMS MAY BE ELEVATED.
HOWEVER...SURFACE DESTABILIZATION WILL OCCUR AS LOW CLOUDS BURN
OFF...AIDING IN STORMS BECOMING SURFACE-BASED. VERY FAVORABLE
VERTICAL SHEAR PROFILES WILL PROMOTE A RISK OF TORNADIC SUPERCELLS
CAPABLE OF VERY LARGE HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS. STRONG TORNADOES
WILL BE AN INCREASING RISK THROUGH THE AFTERNOON.

AVIATION...TORNADOES AND A FEW SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WITH HAIL
SURFACE AND ALOFT TO 4 INCHES. EXTREME TURBULENCE AND SURFACE
WIND GUSTS TO 70 KNOTS. A FEW CUMULONIMBI WITH MAXIMUM TOPS TO
500. MEAN STORM MOTION VECTOR 24035.
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Quoting redux:
hey guys--

does anyone know where i can find relevant data for GRlevel3?


Depends on what you consider to be "relevant data?"
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PDS Tornado Watch!!!

WOUS64 KWNS 141541
WOU5

BULLETIN - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
TORNADO WATCH OUTLINE UPDATE FOR WT 165
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1045 AM CDT SAT APR 14 2012

TORNADO WATCH 165 IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 600 PM CDT FOR THE
FOLLOWING LOCATIONS

KSC007-009-025-027-029-033-041-047-051-053-055-057 -063-065-069-
077-081-083-089-095-097-101-105-113-119-123-135-13 7-141-143-145-
147-151-155-157-159-163-165-167-169-171-175-179-18 3-185-195-201-
142300-
/O.NEW.KWNS.TO.A.0165.120414T1545Z-120414T2300Z/

KS
. KANSAS COUNTIES INCLUDED ARE

BARBER BARTON CLARK
CLAY CLOUD COMANCHE
DICKINSON EDWARDS ELLIS
ELLSWORTH FINNEY FORD
GOVE GRAHAM GRAY
HARPER HASKELL HODGEMAN
JEWELL KINGMAN KIOWA
LANE LINCOLN MCPHERSON
MEADE MITCHELL NESS
NORTON OSBORNE OTTAWA
PAWNEE PHILLIPS PRATT
RENO REPUBLIC RICE
ROOKS RUSH RUSSELL
SALINE SCOTT SEWARD
SHERIDAN SMITH STAFFORD
TREGO WASHINGTON


OKC003-045-047-053-059-093-151-153-142300-
/O.NEW.KWNS.TO.A.0165.120414T1545Z-120414T2300Z/

OK
. OKLAHOMA COUNTIES INCLUDED ARE

ALFALFA ELLIS GARFIELD
GRANT HARPER MAJOR
WOODS WOODWARD


ATTN...WFO...DDC...OUN...TOP...GID...GLD...ICT...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
we have a PDS
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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
PDS watch just issued!!!


All watches in a high risk must be PDS watches. I believe that is by NWS policy.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


Or at 305 : Grother: I didn't know they were retiring the name Irene with Irma. Maybe someone posted this and I missed it. I miss a lot of things these days.

Hey, G. what's ur opinion on the transitiom 2 el nino? Somebody was sayimg earlier that we may not see a true el nino but instead just a trip 2 neutral...
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782. redux
hey guys--

does anyone know where i can find relevant data for GRlevel3?
Member Since: June 28, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 234
we could use a tornado watch now
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PDS watch just issued!!!

Particularly Dangerous Situation (PDS) Tornado Watch #165
Issued/Updated: Apr 14, 2012 at 1541 UTC
Expires: Apr 14, 2012 at 2300 UTC
Tornado Watch 165 Status Message has not been issued
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3852
Let the storms begin.

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EHI forecast... that is way off the charts
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I'll be taking request for storms with GR2Analyst. You want to see velocity/base or wtv just ask me. I'll also be doing my own radar posts.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3852
Quoting Articuno:

Hook echo above ness city?

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Instability map for this evening.
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Quoting aspectre:
663 CybrTeddy: Also, didn't see it mentioned. Hurricane Irene was retired from the naming list yesterday.
Replaced by Irma in the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season
.
667 Articuno: look at post 305

Or at 6 Chucktown: Irene has been retired and 7 Tropicsweatherpr: ...and replaced with Irma


Or at 305 : Grother: I didn't know they were retiring the name Irene with Irma. Maybe someone posted this and I missed it. I miss a lot of things these days.

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Quoting Articuno:
Here it goes...


Hook echo above ness city?
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Real processes vs. crazy talk weather modification.

Which will best correlate to the actual outbreak this afternoon?

minus.com/mbm48ahIIc/1f
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Kinimatic.
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btw... if my typing seems a bit off, it's because I hurt my wrist and so can't type as usual. And it HURTS!
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Quoting DocBen:
Why do I feel like I have a bulls-eye on me?

Wichita, KS
Because you do.I know you already know, but keep tuned to your local news and weather today. It could be even more serious than it looks...And it already looks serious.
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Quoting DocBen:
Why do I feel like I have a bulls-eye on me?

Wichita, KS
Just stay close to the basement....
not being facetious w/ this. I sure hope pple r cued up and ready to run 4 cover....
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Quoting Articuno:
Here it goes...


whoa, look at the dighton cell!
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Quoting BobinTampa:
Does anyone have the wunderground iphone app? The 6-day forecast they have on there is consistently 5-10 degrees higher than any other forecast. It says it is going to be 99 here on Tuesday. 93 tomorrow and Monday. Every place else says 86 or so for a high.

Good app otherwise.
I think u have mentioned this before. hsve u wumailed support?

Quoting weatherh98:


If you don't pay u have to wait 24 hrs
Ah.... interesting this... guess somebody was listening last year after all...
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SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NEC163-175-141615-
/O.NEW.KGID.SV.W.0021.120414T1525Z-120414T1615Z/

BULLETIN - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HASTINGS NE
1025 AM CDT SAT APR 14 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN HASTINGS HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
NORTHWESTERN SHERMAN COUNTY IN CENTRAL NEBRASKA...
VALLEY COUNTY IN CENTRAL NEBRASKA...

* UNTIL 1115 AM CDT

* AT 1022 AM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING QUARTER SIZE HAIL. THIS
STORM WAS LOCATED 6 MILES SOUTH OF ARCADIA...OR 21 MILES SOUTHWEST
OF ORD...AND MOVING NORTH AT 40 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
ORD...ARCADIA...ELYRIA AND FORT HARTSUFF STATE PARK.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS PRODUCE DAMAGING WIND IN EXCESS OF 60 MILES PER
HOUR...DESTRUCTIVE HAIL...DEADLY LIGHTNING...AND VERY HEAVY RAIN. FOR
YOUR PROTECTION MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF YOUR
HOME OR BUSINESS. HEAVY RAINS FLOOD ROADS QUICKLY SO DO NOT DRIVE
INTO AREAS WHERE WATER COVERS THE ROAD.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

That's why I don't think what I said will be that big of a deal... Maybe just a minor hindrance

Is it me or is the storm near Loup City, Nebraska forming a hook already?
Maybe, storms in KS will choke each other, there to close together.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3852
Quoting Thundercloud01221991:


not exactly because these are forming further west... not inside of the high risk area they will move into the high risk area during peak heating

That's why I don't think what I said will be that big of a deal... Maybe just a minor hindrance

Is it me or is the storm near Loup City, Nebraska forming a hook already?
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 8033
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
How about a nice poll...

How many tornado reports will we receive today

A. 0-50
B. 51-100
C. 101-150
D. 151-200
E. 200 or more

I go with high end C

179 is my guess.
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Here it goes...

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Current STP is OFF THE CHARTS!!!!!!!

No seriously, it's just insane right now.

It will go off the chart (over 10) later today though.


next 24hrs:
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 237
Why do I feel like I have a bulls-eye on me?

Wichita, KS
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
How about a nice poll...

How many tornado reports will we receive today

A. 0-50
B. 51-100
C. 101-150
D. 151-200
E. 200 or more

I go with high end C

C. About 110 is my guess.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Actually this could hurt the chances of a big event today because these storms do not have very much daytime heating which will prevent them from being very strong and this could work to stabilize the atmosphere for storms that form later, potentially limting their intensity... Just an idea though


not exactly because these are forming further west... not inside of the high risk area they will move into the high risk area during peak heating
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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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