Damaging Tornadoes Slam Plains

By: Shaun Tanner , 6:50 AM GMT on April 15, 2012

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A devastating string of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes tracked through Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska on Saturday. This severe weather outbreak was remarkable in its duration as supercell thunderstorms began to pop up in western Kansas late Saturday morning, and the dry line that was supposed to represent the end of the severe weather threat was only halfway through Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas by 1:00 AM Central Time Sunday. The moisture difference on either side of this dry line was remarkable as well, with dew points in the upper 60's to the east, and a very dry 20's to the west.


SPC Storm Reports from Saturday

The SPC storm reports show the track of these storms, with Kansas being the hardest hit. Early in the afternoon, most of the supercell thunderstorms were consistently producing weak tornadoes that skipped across western and central Kansas. As the low-level jet stream kicked in late in the afternoon and into the evening, the thunderstorms strengthened considerably. Probably the most remarkable supercell thunderstorm began in western Oklahoma near Woodward as a stunning multi-vortex tornado. The tornado actually was several tornadoes that danced into southern Kansas and eventually threatened Wichita. The tornado passed just south and east of the city, producing an 84 mph wind gust at the Wichita Airport. It also did extensive damage at the airport. In addition, the Oaklawn area of Wichita was declared a disaster area very soon after the tornado passed. The Sedgwick County commissioner declared the county a disaster area. This wedge tornado eventually moved along the Kansas Turnpike northeast of Wichita before finally dissipating.


Figure 1. Double tornadoes in Oklahoma close to the Kansas border. Image credit: news9.com


Figure 2. This tornado sparked a fire in Oklahoma as it passed through the area northeast of Woodward. Image credit: news9.com

The deadliest tornado of the outbreak struck Woodward, OK early Sunday morning, as the main squall line moved through western Oklahoma. This tornado was very large and particularly dangerous since it occurred at night when most residents assumed the threat had ended. There were multiple reports of not hearing the city's siren, so it is entirely possible that the siren was either struck by lightning or hit by the tornado itself. At least five deaths have been confirmed in the Woodward area from this tornado. Probably the scariest video of a tornado I have ever seen was taken of this Woodward tornado as it moved into town. Note you can see the scale of the tornado as between power flashes.


Video 1. Storm chaser video of one of Saturday's impressive tornadoes near Salina, Kansas.


Figure 3. Radar reflectivity image of the tornado that hit the south side of Wichita, Kansas, causing damage at the Wichita airport.

Perhaps the most telling feature of this severe weather outbreak was its repetitive nature. Salina, KS was tornado warned three times by three separate severe thunderstorms. Similarly, areas from Medicine Lodge to Kingman, Kansas were warned for two separate thunderstorms, while Woodward itself was warned very early in the day before a different tornado moved through the city late in the night.

Last night's storms have weakened, but a new round of severe weather is expected Sunday afternoon over portions of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has put the region under their second highest level of alert, a "Moderate Risk."

Shaun Tanner

Thunderstorm Wind Damage (dhennem)
Straight line winds from a thunderstorm this evening blew several semi tractor/trailers over on Interstate 29 in Fremont county, Iowa.
Thunderstorm Wind Damage
Freak Hail Storm Texas Panhandle (Randy7628)
Freak Hail Storm Texas Panhandle
Night tornado (Andrewbre)
Night tornado in Manchester,OK
Night tornado
Clouds II (amo1379)
Clouds II

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VIL is still near 80 on these cells, even after 2 consecutive hours of 3 inches or more per hour rainfall accumulations.

N1 68 dBZ 45,000 ft. 76 kg/m 90% chance 100% chance 2.50 in. 8 knots N (6)
1 A1 67 dBZ 50,000 ft. 80 kg/m 90% chance 100% chance 2.25 in. 10 knots NW (315)
1 H1 64 dBZ 47,000 ft. 79 kg/m 90% chance 100% chance 2.25 in. 6 knots NNW (343)

Edit:

At least they're moving 8kts now, instead of 2kts.
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Here is the 00z Surface Analysis.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RTSplayer:
5.9 inches 1 hour running surface accumulation!

Incredible.

I mean even if it's over-estimating it by half, that would still be 3 inches per hour...
boy we sure could use that storm here in florida
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36654
Quoting BahaHurican:
They are being included in the count with the reanalysis project, however. Named or unnamed, They r a part of the record.


Yes,that is correct. I brought this topic as is a good one to have a civil discussion.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
I dont know what is the opinion by all of you,but I dont like the naming of Sub-Tropical systems.This is the reason it's hard to have fewer than 10 named storms since they began naming them. (Except 2009) Prior to the last decade, there would not even have been the consideration of naming such a system.
They are being included in the count with the reanalysis project, however. Named or unnamed, They r a part of the record.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21187
5.9 inches 1 hour running surface accumulation!

Incredible.

I mean even if it's over-estimating it by half, that would still be 3 inches per hour...
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FLASH FLOOD WARNING
TXC505-160430-
/O.NEW.KBRO.FF.W.0001.120416T0223Z-120416T0430Z/
/00000.0.ER.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.000000T0000 Z.OO/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
FLASH FLOOD WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BROWNSVILLE TX
923 PM CDT SUN APR 15 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BROWNSVILLE HAS ISSUED A

* FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR...
SOUTHEASTERN ZAPATA COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS...

* UNTIL 1130 PM CDT

* AT 922 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS
INDICATED TORRENTIAL RAIN OF 3 INCHES PER HOUR FROM SLOW MOVING
THUNDERSTORMS WITH VERY HEAVY RAINFALL.

* RUNOFF FROM THIS EXCESSIVE RAINFALL WILL CAUSE FLASH FLOODING TO
OCCUR.

OTHER LOCATIONS THAT WILL EXPERIENCE FLOODING INCLUDE...
ALEJANDRENAS AND LOPENO.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

BE ESPECIALLY CAUTIOUS AT NIGHT WHEN IT IS HARDER TO RECOGNIZE THE
DANGERS OF FLOODING. IF FLASH FLOODING IS OBSERVED ACT QUICKLY. MOVE
UP TO HIGHER GROUND TO ESCAPE FLOOD WATERS. DO NOT STAY IN AREAS
SUBJECT TO FLOODING WHEN WATER BEGINS TO RISE.

LOW WATER CROSSINGS ARE POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS IN HEAVY RAIN. DO NOT
ATTEMPT TO TRAVEL ACROSS FLOODED ROADS. FIND ALTERNATE ROUTES. IT
ONLY TAKES A FEW INCHES OF SWIFTLY FLOWING WATER TO CARRY VEHICLES
AWAY.

DON`T BECOME A STATISTIC. TURN AROUND...DON`T DROWN!

&&

LAT...LON 2693 9902 2679 9895 2671 9899 2664 9920
2667 9921 2672 9921 2675 9925 2679 9925
2682 9927 2685 9928

$$

64
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36654
HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ST LOUIS MO
904 PM CDT SUN APR 15 2012

ILZ058>060-064-065-069-070-074-079-095>102-MOZ018 -019-026-027-
034>036-041-042-047>052-059>065-072>075-084-085-0 99-161200-
GREENE IL-MACOUPIN IL-MONTGOMERY IL-BOND IL-FAYETTE IL-CLINTON IL-
MARION IL-WASHINGTON IL-RANDOLPH IL-ADAMS IL-BROWN IL-PIKE IL-
CALHOUN IL-JERSEY IL-MADISON IL-ST. CLAIR IL-MONROE IL-KNOX MO-
LEWIS MO-SHELBY MO-MARION MO-MONROE MO-RALLS MO-PIKE MO-BOONE MO-
AUDRAIN MO-MONITEAU MO-COLE MO-OSAGE MO-CALLAWAY MO-MONTGOMERY MO-
LINCOLN MO-GASCONADE MO-WARREN MO-ST. CHARLES MO-FRANKLIN MO-
ST. LOUIS MO-ST. LOUIS CITY MO-JEFFERSON MO-CRAWFORD MO-
WASHINGTON MO-ST. FRANCOIS MO-STE. GENEVIEVE MO-IRON MO-
MADISON MO-REYNOLDS MO-
904 PM CDT SUN APR 15 2012

THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR PORTIONS OF EASTERN AND
CENTRAL MISSOURI AS WELL AS WEST CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST ILLINOIS.

.DAY ONE...TONIGHT

A LINE OF STRONG TO SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WILL MOVE ACROSS PARTS OF
SOUTHWEST ILLINOIS LATE THIS EVENING. DAMAGING WINDS AND A FEW
TORNADOES ARE POSSIBLE.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY

THERE IS A CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS WEDNESDAY AND WEDNESDAY NIGHT
ACROSS NORTHERN MISSOURI AND WEST CENTRAL ILLINOIS...AND THURSDAY
THROUGH FRIDAY NIGHT ACROSS THE ENTIRE FORECAST AREA.

.SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT...

SPOTTERS ARE ASKED TO RELAY ANY DAMAGE REPORTS FROM THUNDERSTORMS
TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN ST. LOUIS..

$$

TES
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36654
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It's gotta be for real.

Flash Flood warning just went up for the Zapata cell.

The cells to the north are weakening and haven't rained quite as much, but they may get a warning too.

Edit:

Continues with 5.8inch per hour running total.

Has 7.6inch storm total now.

Edit:

VIL is higher than when the storm started!


A1 65 dBZ 51,000 ft. 82 kg/m 90% chance 100% chance 2.25 in. 2 knots WNW (294)

Z0 65 dBZ 41,000 ft. 60 kg/m 60% chance 100% chance 1.50 in. 10 knots NNE (25)

1 P0 65 dBZ 38,000 ft. 60 kg/m 60% chance 100% chance 1.25 in. 14 knots NE (36)

1 H1 64 dBZ 49,000 ft. 79 kg/m 80% chance 100% chance 2.00 in. 6 knots NE (54)


passed 8 inches total since past edit.

0.4 inches per radar frame now...
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Quoting RitaEvac:


Drought may be coming back


LOL They just reinstated drought restrictions. Despite it being the 4th wettest Jan-Mar in history. Oh well....
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Quoting RitaEvac:


Don't know if Corpus and Brownsville radars are just hot or what, Houston radar shows less near Victoria for 1 hr running totals. In fact the Houston radar is always less aggressive on echos and running totals period.


The line is only moving 2 knots.

It seems to have almost unlimited moisture available.

VIL is just as high as before it even started raining there.


It's possible the radars are looking too high and looking directly at hail cores or something...

...but the brownsville radar should have an un-obstructed view of all the cells, since it doesn't have to look "through" any of them to see the others.
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Quoting RTSplayer:
Well.

Corpus measure it as 5.5 inches 1 hour running total.

Brownsville gives 5.8 inches 1 hour running total.

Most I've ever seen on a radar estimate.


Don't know if Corpus and Brownsville radars are just hot or what, Houston radar shows less near Victoria for 1 hr running totals. In fact the Houston radar is always less aggressive on echos and running totals period.



Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
Well.

Corpus measure it as 5.5 inches 1 hour running total.

Brownsville gives 5.8 inches 1 hour running total.

Most I've ever seen on a radar estimate.
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Quoting SubtropicalHi:


Wasn't it supposed to be raining cats and dogs? NWS stated: 70 POP. Austin at 100 POP. Nada Zip...


Drought may be coming back
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
Quoting Articuno:

???
be back later..

and now I'm back...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21187
Quoting Tygor:
Leave it to San Antonio to miss a squall line going across the entire country lol


Wasn't it supposed to be raining cats and dogs? NWS stated: 70 POP. Austin at 100 POP. Nada Zip...
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Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
Quoting DavidHOUTX:
Cap over SE Texas is eroding fast


Might get interesting over the next few hours, doubt the actual rain we get will be anywhere near the forecast totals though.
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I believe this was one of the best warned-upon outbreaks in USA history.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 112 Comments: 31327
Worst hail storm of the day, no doubt about it.

A1 Zapata TX 69 dBZ 45,000 ft. 82 kg/m%uFFFD 100% Chance 100% Chance 4.00 in. 2 knots WSW (239)

1 T1 Zapata TX 65 dBZ 48,000 ft. 74 kg/m%uFFFD 90% Chance 100% Chance 2.50 in. 12 knots WSW (251)

1 P0 Jim Hogg TX 66 dBZ 40,000 ft. 66 kg/m%uFFFD 90% Chance 100% Chance 2.25 in. 2 knots NNE (14)

1 D1 Jim Hogg TX 64 dBZ 38,000 ft. 61 kg/m%uFFFD 80% Chance 100% Chance 2.00 in. 2 knots N (352)


This is going to need a flash flood warning soon.


Edit:

its at 4.8 inches per hour now...

Was briefly at 5 inches per hour 20 minutes ago.
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will we are geting closer too may so geting in to the mid 80s in CA now will be a vary good CH all so storms are be commeing less and less now has we head in too may



by mid may i want my 1st real heat wave


has am going too this lake on june 11th


Link


and buy that time i hop the water tempers are at lest the mid 50s hoping for the low 60s
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114649
Quoting JeffMasters:


Talked to two of them today here in Ponte Verda Beach. They already have a rotation schedule worked out in case Alberto develops; some of them would have to go home early from the conference.

Jeff Masters

Thanks for the info Dr. Masters
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 7759
Over 4 inches radar estimated accumulation along that entire line in just the past 50 minutes!

4.6 inches per hour near premont, Tx!

Ridiculous.
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I still have my doubts, but stranger things have happened in the past...

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 112 Comments: 31327
Thank you, Dr Masters
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Quoting Neapolitan:
In case this hasn't been posted yet (I've been away most of the day), here's a short but great video of a "drillbit" tornado from yesterday. Yowsa...



Also: I see that the deep warmth is expected to return to many of the same areas affected during the March heat wave during the 8-14 day period:

Hot




hey i want a heat wave the Plains will have too pay for that
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114649
Quoting JeffMasters:


Talked to two of them today here in Ponte Verda Beach. They already have a rotation schedule worked out in case Alberto develops; some of them would have to go home early from the conference.

Jeff Masters


In that case, I'll root for no development.
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Cap over SE Texas is eroding fast
Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 598
Quoting JeffMasters:


Talked to two of them today here in Ponte Verda Beach. They already have a rotation schedule worked out in case Alberto develops; some of them would have to go home early from the conference.

Jeff Masters

Thanks Dr. Masters!
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Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 598
In case this hasn't been posted yet (I've been away most of the day), here's a short but great video of a "drillbit" tornado from yesterday. Watch it in full-screen HD to get the full effect; the best part begins at about 0:58. Yowsa...



Also: I see that the deep warmth is expected to return to many of the same areas affected during the March heat wave during the 8-14 day period:

Hot
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Here's our extreme precipitation event for today:

O0 Zapata TX 69 dBZ 48,000 ft. 73 kg/m² 100% Chance 100% Chance 2.75 in. 10 knots S (179)

1 P0 Jim Hogg TX 66 dBZ 42,000 ft. 60 kg/m² 80% Chance 100% Chance 2.00 in. 19 knots SW (230)

1 R0 Jim Hogg TX 59 dBZ 43,000 ft. 28 kg/m² 80% Chance 100% Chance 2.00 in. 0 knots new (0)

1 D1 Jim Hogg TX 62 dBZ 42,000 ft. 64 kg/m² 60% Chance 100% Chance 1.50 in. 2 knots WSW (244)

1 U4 Victoria TX 65 dBZ 44,000 ft. 51 kg/m² 60% Chance 100% Chance 1.25 in. 8 knots NW (305)
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560. JeffMasters (Admin)
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Most of the Hurricane Specialists will be at the AMS 30th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology this week.


Talked to two of them today here in Ponte Verda Beach. They already have a rotation schedule worked out in case Alberto develops; some of them would have to go home early from the conference.

Jeff Masters
Good lord! There's a tornado vortex signature in Jim Wells County just north of Premont!
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That is not going to be nice.

That line from the Zapata, TX to Alice, TX has up to 4.1 inches per hour rainfall rates and actual 1 hour totals, and it is almost completely stalled out.
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Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 598
Quoting RTSplayer:


I know that about tropical systems.

I'm sort of hoping they've been cataloging well, you know...everything...


Link
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555. Tygor
Leave it to San Antonio to miss a squall line going across the entire country lol
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
can not be here long still computer problems should be back tomorrow or tuseday the latest


Hey, Keeper. Sorry to hear of your computer woes. I got me a whole new system about a month ago, and it's awesome, especially the monitor. And today I got my income tax refund to pay for it! :-)

On topic: Keeping an eye on potential 91L because of its (limited) chance to affect Atlantic Canada.
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553. beell
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I've been busy all day and really haven't had a chance to catch up on what is going on.
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Very severe cell.

Bottom of the line near the Mexico border in Texas.


Zapata TX 63 dBZ 49,000 ft. 75 kg/m 80% Chance 100% Chance 2.00 in. 6 knots S (172)


I don't even think it's got a warning yet.


Edit:
This could produce some freakish hail totals or rainfall totals. Moving only 6 miles per hour.
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Is the cap breaking SW of Houston?
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Yes they archive the data, they ran all of the 2010 and 2011 storms to test the GFDL upgrade.


I know that about tropical systems.

I'm sort of hoping they've been cataloging well, you know...everything...
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.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 112 Comments: 31327
Quoting RTSplayer:


The Europeans actually name non-tropical North Atlantic lows.


I suppose the NWS catalogs all of this in computers for years and years and uses models to "post-dict" conditions to test them or something. At least I hope they do, because even if models can't use all the data now, perhaps in the future we'll have computers strong enough to crunch the entire history of weather data...


If you had enough data points and robust enough code, it might be possible to produce a self-learning weather prediction model. It is, after all, just pure mathematics.


Yes they archive the data, they ran all of the 2010 and 2011 storms to test the GFDL upgrade.
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Everybody decides to leave when I get on.
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April 1 SST Anomaly
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 7759
Quoting nigel20:

That's good as you guys need a break cause more than likely you'll have atleast a few more large outbreaks between now and June. Whats up TAwx13?

Hey.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 112 Comments: 31327

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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.