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 HurricaneTracker01:
New storms firing up over the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles. Does anyone know if these storms could become tornadic?

They could briefly become tornadic, but I believe that damaging winds and large hail are a larger concern with these new linear-based storms.
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Andover MP 57
4/14/2012 10:34:27 PM

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Quoting HurricaneTracker01:
New storms firing up over the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles. Does anyone know if these storms could become tornadic?


They certainly can, but usually not quite the same as the monsters you see in the isolated super cell tornadoes.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Salina, KS is about to get slammed.
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Quoting HurricaneTracker01:
New storms firing up over the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles. Does anyone know if these storms could become tornadic?
Always a chance but its a line so its less likely.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3852
http://content.wdtinc.com/popout/index.php?M=14613& C=20643&O=10288

This guy is doing a national tv interview apparently. He claims the tornado went right over them and then it hit the Wichita Airport. As we know, the tornado did not hit the Wichita Airport, it was probably the RFD. Just shows you how strong the storm was. They kept talking about boeing jets everywhere and luggage carts. I suppose it is possible that they are confusing the Boeing plants with the real airport.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Both of you shut up and get back to the tornado outbreak ongoing.


Last I checked not his blog.

Anyway, hope everyone stays safe tonight nighttime tornadoes are fickle creatures.
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2300. hydrus
New storms forming to the south west..
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Both of you shut up and get back to the tornado outbreak ongoing.



LOL good one will do
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New storms firing up over the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles. Does anyone know if these storms could become tornadic?
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Been almost 10 mins sense last tornado report.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3852
Both of you shut up and get back to the tornado outbreak ongoing.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32868
What a convective battleground!



Supercells, bow echo, MCV, and cold front convection.
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
repost. I really wanna know.
Does anyone know how to convert custom images into Image urls? trying to post images on the Alberto potential


You have to host the images on another site.

I never used that sort of thing in like 5 years, so don't ask me who to use.

Most of them charge you a monthly fee.

But if you search you might find a free service.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
2291. ncstorm
Building collapse containing hazardous materials in wichita..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16225
Seems like the Wichita storm just gusted out from the RFD...
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3477
Here's another chaser link if u want to watch..

SwatChasers.com

Hope this helps in a way..
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Another view of the new Salina-bound storm:

twister
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If the current path holds, the Wichita cell may end up hitting Emporia. Also, Salina is under threat.
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Salina Cell

M2 Saline KS 64 dBZ 42,000 ft. 70 kg/m² 100% Chance 100% Chance 2.75 in. 45 knots SW (233)
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
When this is over I bet we have close to 150 tornado reports. Close to 1000 total severe weather reports.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3852
BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WICHITA KS
1040 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN WICHITA HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
NORTH CENTRAL MCPHERSON COUNTY IN CENTRAL KANSAS...
SALINE COUNTY IN CENTRAL KANSAS...

* UNTIL 1130 PM CDT

* AT 1036 PM CDT...A CONFIRMED LARGE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO
WAS LOCATED NEAR MARQUETTE...AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 55 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...
SALINA...LINDSBORG...SMOLAN...ASSARIA...GYPSUM...N EW CAMBRIA...
BRIDGEPORT AND SALINA AIRPORT.

THIS INCLUDES INTERSTATE 70 BETWEEN MILE MARKERS 246 AND 266. THIS
INCLUDES INTERSTATE 135 BETWEEN MILE MARKERS 75 AND 95.

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.

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

&&
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32868
down draft dominated tornado
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


Just upload them to a image service like imageshack.

Thank you very much, I'll try it
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
repost. I really wanna know.
Does anyone know how to convert custom images into Image urls? trying to post images on the Alberto potential


Just upload them to a image service like imageshack.
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KSN3 lost audio but still have video.
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What happened with KSN?
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2276. hydrus
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Wow just look at the KSN mets face...
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3852
Quoting Bluestorm5:
This storm chaser is behind Wichita tornado looking at damage in Haysville area

Link


Wait until he gets up toward the turnpike and Oaklawn.
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This line is going to take over for the rest of the night. I expect to see hundreds (potentially) of wind reports and many tornadoes along this line. Very large hail is also likely.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32868
repost. I really wanna know.
Does anyone know how to convert custom images into Image urls? trying to post images on the Alberto potential
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Quoting RTSplayer:


What's the word on the Lyon's tornado, headed for Salina region?

They had a very close call earlier too.


Lyon was potentially hit. Havent been watching since the likely major tornado started hitting Wichita. Still looks like some strong signatures on the northern storm... near Lindsborg now.
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Quoting RTSplayer:


What's the word on the Lyon's tornado, headed for Salina region?

They had a very close call earlier too.

It is still a beast.



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Front is entering Texas.

Massive Severe TS outbreak along the entire line.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting RTSplayer:


What's the word on the Lyon's tornado, headed for Salina region?

They had a very close call earlier too.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32868
Another potentially bad situation heading to Salina, KS.

SPC has 92 reports of tornadoes so far.
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This storm chaser is behind Wichita tornado looking at damage in Haysville area

Link
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Quoting RTSplayer:


What's the word on the Lyon's tornado, headed for Salina region?

They had a very close call earlier too.
It seems to be a lot weaker.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3852
84 Mph wind gust recorded at Wichita Airport
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2263. ncstorm
Southeast of the downtown area..rotation spotted
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16225
KSN reporting the Wichita Airport has taken significant damage.
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The bulletins being issued by Topeka for the Wichita tornado are seriously heartbreaking to read.
Member Since: August 28, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3714
Damage confirmed Airport and 64th street
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3477
0331 UTC: large tornado circulation responsible for Haysville/Oaklawn damage appears to be occluding. New tornado now seems to be possibly developing on RFD front just south of Andover.
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Quoting ScottLincoln:
0326UTC update... major debris signature now evident on rho/cc exceeding 3000ft in the air. Tornadic circulation appears to be 0.8-1.0mi wide on radar.


What's the word on the Lyon's tornado, headed for Salina region?

They had a very close call earlier too.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
A more eastward movement. Large destructive wedge tornado CONFIRMED in southeastWitchita, heading toward Andover.
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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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