Extreme 111° heat hits Texas; floods kill 9 in Haiti

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:25 PM GMT on April 26, 2012

Share this Blog
28
+

Another round of unprecedented April heat hit the U.S. yesterday, and this time it was Texas' turn to see large sections of the state with the hottest April temperatures in over a century of record keeping. Seven major airports in Texas set all-time April high temperatures yesterday:

Amarillo, TX: 99° (old April record 98° on 4/22/1989 and 4/22/1965)
Lubbock, TX: 101° (old April record 100° on 4/16/1925 and /22/1989)
Dalhart, TX: 96° (old April record 94° on 4/22/1989)
Borger, TX: 99° (tied April record set on 4/22/1965)
Midland, TX: 104° (old April record 101° on 4/21/1989)
Abilene, TX: 104° (old April record 102° on 4/16/1925)
Childress, TX: 106° (old April record 102° on three occasions, most recently on 4/3/2011)

According to wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt, both Texas and Oklahoma came within 2°F of their all-time April state high temperature record yesterday. Altus, Oklahoma hit 104°, falling 2° short of the April state record of 106° set at the Magnum Research Station in 1972. In the Texas Mesonet, it hit 111° at Knox City 3NW, which is just 2° short of the Texas April state record of 113° set at Catarina in 1984. According to Mr. Burt, What is amazing is that Knox City is in the north-central part of the state, not down in the Rio Grande region like Catarina. The 111° would probably be pretty close to whatever the all-time hottest temp for ANY month might be in that location (probably around 115°). On Sunday this week, Nevada just missed setting their April state high temperature record, when the mercury hit 105° in Laughlin (April state record: 106° in 1989.)


Figure 1. At least 36 of the roughly 400 major U.S. cities that maintain automated weather sensors at their local airports (8%) have set or tied all-time April high temperature records so far this month. The records set yesterday in Texas are not yet in the database, and are not included on this map. Image taken from our new Record Extremes page.

Earlier this week, all-time record April heat hit large portions of Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming. At least 36 of the roughly 400 major U.S. cities that maintain automated weather sensors at their local airports (8%) have set or tied all-time April high temperature records so far this month; no all-time April cold records have been set. The U.S. has been on an extraordinary pace of setting high temperature records so far in 2012. During March 2012, an astonishing 32% of all the major airports in the U.S. set all-time March high temperature records. For the year-to-date, there have been 184 new all-time monthly high temperature records set at the major airports, and 6 all-time monthly low temperature records. Not surprisingly, the period January - March this year has been the warmest such period in the U.S. since record keeping began in 1895.



Figure 2. Total precipitable water (in mm) for this morning shows a surge of moisture moving westwards though the Caribbean. Precipitable water values in excess of 51 mm (2 inches, orange colors) are capable of generating heavy flooding rains. Image credit: University of Wisconsin CIMSS.

Heavy rains kill nine in Haiti
The rainy season has begun on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, where heavy rains that began on Monday have triggered mudslides and floods that killed nine people. Nearly 500,000 people are still homeless in Haiti from the January 2010 earthquake, making the country highly vulnerable to flooding disasters. Heavy flooding was also a problem this week in the neighboring Dominican Republic, where 11,000 people were evacuated; no deaths were reported there, however. Precipitation forecasts from the GFS model suggest that the worst is over for Hispaniola, with the axis of greatest moisture expected to move west of the island today. This surge of moisture will bring heavy rains to Jamaica, Cuba, the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, and South Florida during the remainder of the week.

Jeff Masters

I'll have another cup please (BigJohnsSalsa)
Gonna be a good day
I'll have another cup please

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: 485 - 435

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10Blog Index

485. interstatelover7165
8:02 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Are Category 6 Hurricanes Coming Soon?
Tropical cyclones like Irene are predicted to be more powerful this year, thanks to natural conditions, but researchers disagree on how to rate that intensity.

Atmospheric researchers tend to agree that tropical cyclones of unusual ferocity are coming this century, but the strange fact is that there is no consensus to date on the five-point scale used to classify the power of these anticipated storms. In what may sound like a page from the script of the rock-band spoof Spinal Tap with its reference to a beyond-loud electric guitar amplifier volume 11, there is actually talk of adding a sixth level to the current Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, on which category 5 intensity means sustained winds higher than 155 miles per hour (250 kilometers per hour) for at least one minute, with no speed cap.

The lack of an upper limit on the scale results in all of the most intense tropical cyclones getting lumped together, despite their wide range of power. Category 5 becomes less descriptive when it includes 2005's Emily, which reached peak wind speeds of 257.5 kph (160 mph) and six hours in category 5; the same year's Katrina which held peak wind velocity of 280 kph (175 mph) for 18 hours in the category; and 1980's Allen, churning with peak winds at 305 kph (190 mph) maintained for 72 hours in the highest category.

And now the ferocity forecast for the century adds to this classification problem. "The severe hurricanes might actually become worse. We may have to invent a category 6," says David Enfield, a senior scientist at the University of Miami and former physical oceanographer at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This new level wouldn't be an arbitrary relabeling. Global satellite data from the past 40 years indicate that the net destructive potential of hurricanes has increased, and the strongest hurricanes are becoming more common—especially in the Atlantic. This trend could be related to warmer seas or it could simply be history repeating itself. Data gathered earlier than the 1970s, although unreliable, show cycles of quiet decades followed by active ones. The quiet '60s, '70s and '80s ended in 1995, the year that brought Felix and Opal, among others, and resulted in $13 billion in damages and more than 100 deaths in the U.S.

The pros and cons of categories: Five or six?
The average difference between the current categories equals nearly 20 mph, so a category 6 label would likely be applied to hurricanes with sustained winds over (280 kph) 175 mph. The speed and destruction of hypothetical "category 6" storms is speculative, despite the hurricanes with winds at that level.

After all, meteorologists and climate researchers may not even choose a category 5 storm from the record books if asked to identify the most powerful tropical cyclone in history, because the Saffir–Simpson scale fixates on maximum wind speed lasting for at least one minute and disregards the many other large-scale components that factor into a storm's level of devastation. The whole index should be thrown out the hurricane-proof window, some say.

"If I could do it, I would do away with categories," says Bill Read, director of NOAA's National Hurricane Center (NHC). "The whole indexing [of hurricanes] was done back in the '60s and '70s when we had no way to convey the variables of damage that the storm did. We didn't measure it that carefully; we didn't have the tools."

Even nowadays, instruments to measure actual wind speed are often destroyed during extreme storms, so estimates have to be extrapolated from satellite images and other data. Actual observations can also be suspect. It took 14 years for the World Meteorological Organization to acknowledge that an anemometer in Australia recorded a world record wind speed of 407 kph (253 mph) during Tropical Cyclone Olivia in 1996. Wind speed science has improved over the years. Since the 1990s direct wind measurements from hurricane-hunter aircraft have replaced central pressure measurements, which were often a proxy for wind speeds.

Variables used by meteorologists and climatologists to assess damage can go beyond wind speeds to include duration over land and the extent of deadly storm surges. Read sums it up this way: "Size matters: Katrina, Rita, Ike—all of them made landfall at a 2 or 3 level, but look at the damage they caused. Obviously a category did not accurately describe the impact."

A transition to "impact forecasting" began last year when NOAA's National Hurricane Center simplified the Saffir–Simpson hurricane scale and renamed it the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale. This change involved stripping away the scale's former central pressure, flooding and storm surge estimates. These factors among others are now forecast separately. In 2009 the National Weather Service began using new probability models that provide storm surge estimates ranging from 0.6 to 7.6 meters (two to 25 feet).

What the future holds
History keeps us guessing about where and when the next big tropical cyclone will hit on the U.S. Atlantic or Gulf coasts. As for the most powerful hurricane ever, experts are divided. Some say 1998's Gilbert.; an official answer from a NOAA Web site lists three: 1969's Camille, 1980's Allen and 2005's Wilma (the World Meteorological Organization agrees with the latter).

William Gray, professor emeritus of atmospheric science at Colorado State University in Fort Collins and the "grandfather" of annual hurricane season forecasting, picked the category 4 Great Miami Hurricane of 1926. NHC Director Read went with an unnamed Caribbean hurricane from 1780.

The Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30 annually, is predicted to produce more and stronger storms than average this year, although active years have been the norm since 1995. That year the Atlantic entered a period of warm sea-surface temperatures of what is called the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation, and such cycles typically last two to three decades.

"If the future is like the past, we should have another 10 to 15 years of this active period," Gray says.

This oscillation means the Atlantic is expected to cool in the future, obscuring links among hurricane activity and global warming. Perhaps counterintuitively, recent computer modeling studies predict fewer tropical cyclones if the ocean heats up further as a result of global warming. But they also predict intensification of the ones that do form, albeit with limited confidence. Frequency drops by 6 to 34 percent this century, according to 2010 review article in Nature Geoscience, whereas intensity rises 2 to 11 percent. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.)

Today, water is a bigger concern than the wind when it comes to property destruction and loss of life. Look for more emphasis on storm surges in future forecasts, because it is the main reason why evacuations become necessary. Many planners suggest following Read's prescription: "In the U.S. 'Run from the water, hide from the wind' is pretty good, simple advice."

As for the addition of a new category 6, Read insists it is not needed. "I'd be totally opposed to that, even if they did get stronger," he says. "I'll fight 'em tooth and nail under my regime. We'll keep what we have now, but I'm going to focus more on the impacts."

From ScientificAmerican.com
Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 994
484. etxwx
3:24 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting Grothar:


You are probably too young to remember William F. Buckley. He was a master of the art, similar to Churchill.


Ahhh...I remember William F. Buckley. He was the epitome of erudite elucidation.

Uh oh, I'm beginning to suspect Grothar and I are equally ancient.
Member Since: September 4, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1474
483. weatherbro
2:52 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting MTWX:
NEW BLOG

^
/ \
/ \
|
|
|

What He said...
Member Since: May 26, 2007 Posts: 47 Comments: 1287
482. MTWX
2:42 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
NEW BLOG
Member Since: July 20, 2009 Posts: 23 Comments: 1393
481. Grothar
2:42 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting jeffs713:

You just call in orbital strikes or something similar.


An insult can often be hidden under a veil of a compliment. It is quite often much more effective and lasts longer. You are probably too young to remember William F. Buckley. He was a master of the art, similar to Churchill.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26053
480. fmbill
2:42 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting Grothar:


Now that is interesting. I should write to you off-blog and tell you some of the methods we have implemented here in Broward since Wilma. We could exchange ideas.


Sounds good to me.
Member Since: May 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 454
479. hydrus
2:41 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Moisture field just touching the extreme S.E.Florida coastline now.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21082
478. Grothar
2:39 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting fmbill:


LOL!!! No. Just a guy in charge of emergency management for his city.


Now that is interesting. I should write to you off-blog and tell you some of the methods we have implemented here in Broward since Wilma. We could exchange ideas.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26053
477. Grothar
2:38 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting Tribucanes:
Grothar I hear you've had hundreds of years to perfect your calm demeanor. When you were riding on your little donkey with the rest of Gengeis Khans men breaching the Great Wall of China, I heard it was a much different story. :)


I would often tell him he needed relaxation therapy so he wouldn't be angry all the time. He obviously didn't listen.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26053
476. weatherbro
2:37 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting AtHomeInTX:



Lol. Ya got me. I don't see it on the models either. Although it would be nice if it did come this way. They were still on it this morning.

BEYOND THIS TIME...AGREEMENT AND THUS CONFIDENCE IN THE SHORTWAVE
DETAILS DECLINES SHARPLY. PREVIOUS FCST INSERTED A SLIGHT CHANCE
ON WEDNESDAY WITH THE APPROACH OF A WEAK INVERTED TROF...AND THIS
IS STILL DEPICTED IN LATEST MODEL GUIDANCE.
..THOUGH THE GFS IS
CONSIDERABLY MORE EXCITED THAN THE ECMWF REGARDING QPF
POTENTIAL...APPARENTLY SINCE IT CONCURRENTLY EJECTS ANOTHER
SHORTWAVE ACROSS THE REGION. WILL LET THIS 20 PERCENT RIDE AND
MAINTAIN A DRY TUESDAY AND THURSDAY.

MARINE WEATHER DISCUSSION
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
210 AM EDT FRI APR 27 2012

MARINE WEATHER DISCUSSION FOR THE GULF OF MEXICO...CARIBBEAN SEA
AND SOUTHWEST NORTH ATLC S OF 31N W OF 55W.

GULF OF MEXICO...
AN E-W RIDGE EXTENDS FROM SW FL TO THE TX COASTAL BEND WITH SSE
RETURN FLOW AT 15-20 OVER THE EXTREME W WATERS FROM 24N-27N W OF
96W...AND E-SE 15-20 KT WINDS ARE OBSERVED ELSEWHERE W OF 89W.
THE RIDGE AXIS WILL GRADUALLY SHIFT N AND EXTENDS E-W ACROSS THE
NORTHERN COASTAL PLAINS SAT...THEN RE-ORIENTATE SE-SW FROM THE
SC TO NE TX. ELY WINDS WILL PULSE AT 15-20 KT ACROSS THE SE GULF
THROUGH SAT...THEN AN INVERTED TROUGH WILL DEVELOP IN THE
VICINITY OF THE CAY SAL BANK LATE SAT NIGHT AND EARLY SUN.
GUIDANCE DIFFERS ON STRENGTH OF THE ASSOCIATED LOW LEVEL WINDS
BUT THE GFS AND ECM ARE FAIRLY CLOSE ON THE TRACK WHICH MOVES
THE TROUGH TO ALONG 87W LATE MON NIGHT. WILL GO WITH A BLEND OF
GEFS AND GFSP FOR THE STRENGTH...AND HOLD WINDS AT 15-20 KT. THE
TROUGH WILL GRADUALLY DISSIPATE AS IT CONTINUES WNW ACROSS THE
CENTRAL WATERS TUE.


Oh they mean an inverted trough. Those are coastal troughs created by onshore winds coupled with land and sea differences. They usually form on the SE quadrant of intense high pressure systems along(or just off of) coastal plains facing the east. I'm assuming The Central Waters is what y'all refer to as the central Texas coastline?
Member Since: May 26, 2007 Posts: 47 Comments: 1287
475. fmbill
2:36 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting Grothar:


Are you a Governor? They are having it at the Broward County Convention Center. Maybe I will see you there. I will be easy to identify. I will be the only one there not losing his temper. :)


LOL!!! No. Just a guy in charge of emergency management for his city.
Member Since: May 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 454
474. Grothar
2:33 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting fmbill:


It's hard to pray against rain this time of year, especially in Florida! But, I hope your event does well.

I'll be in Ft Lauderdale next month for the Governor's Hurricane Conference. I go every year. Beautiful city!


Are you a Governor? They are having it at the Broward County Convention Center. Maybe I will see you there. I will be easy to identify. I will be the only one there not losing his temper. :)
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26053
473. jeffs713
2:32 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting Grothar:


I never lose my temper.

You just call in orbital strikes or something similar.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5880
472. Tribucanes
2:31 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Grothar I hear you've had hundreds of years to perfect your calm demeanor. When you were riding on your little donkey with the rest of Gengeis Khans men breaching the Great Wall of China, I heard it was a much different story. :)
Member Since: April 18, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2437
471. Grothar
2:30 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Yellow indicates very cold cloud tops. With all that shear it is surprising to see this.



Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26053
470. nrtiwlnvragn
2:28 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
OLD BLOG
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11128
469. fmbill
2:27 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting Grothar:


Looks like the Bahamas may get a good soaking. We are having the Air Show in Fort Lauderdale this weekend. They have spent tons of money on it. It was cancelled one year because it rained. The vendors and promoters lost a fortune. It is very overcast here already.


It's hard to pray against rain this time of year, especially in Florida! But, I hope your event does well.

I'll be in Ft Lauderdale next month for the Governor's Hurricane Conference. I go every year. Beautiful city!
Member Since: May 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 454
468. Grothar
2:27 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26053
467. Grothar
2:25 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting Tribucanes:
Jeffs many of us here are very direct in our communication style. It would be boring and probably far less informative if Btype communication styles were all we had here. Lot of alpha lions wandering Wunderground, occasionally we're going to growl at each other. The discourse here is usually though very polite and differences respected, I think that's pretty cool.


I never lose my temper.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26053
466. Grothar
2:23 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting fmbill:


Cool image. Models want to do something with it, but nothing grand. Upper levels too hostile. But, being April and with such a concentration in the Caribbean, certainly interesting to see.


Looks like the Bahamas may get a good soaking. We are having the Air Show in Fort Lauderdale this weekend. They have spent tons of money on it. It was cancelled one year because it rained. The vendors and promoters lost a fortune. It is very overcast here already.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26053
465. Tribucanes
2:23 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Jeffs many of us here are very direct in our communication style. It would be boring and probably far less informative if Btype communication styles were all we had here. Lot of alpha lions wandering Wunderground, occasionally we're going to growl at each other. The discourse here is usually though very polite and differences respected, I think that's pretty cool.
Member Since: April 18, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2437
464. aspectre
2:22 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Inre 454 jeffs713, I fail to see how anybody could possibly take offense with what you said. More later, but thanks for quoting my corrected version (added some of the reasoning behind my disagreement)
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
463. Tribucanes
2:15 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
If my original post was read correctly, I was not and would never advocate running from a tornado in a car when it's ANYWHERE near you. I was talking about only when you had a 20 plus window before and E4 Or E5 long tracking monster hit. And to that point, Scott Lincoln cleared up my misstep in this thinking. His points are all valid and right on. I was looking for some input about whether or not this would save lives. I got it, yes it would save some, but likely, even more would be lost because of doing it. Was talking about 1/100 tornadoes where it's being broadcast, people have a large time window, and death is likely if not underground or in a safe room. Thanks Scott your points are well taken and informative to the dangers of this strategy.
Member Since: April 18, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2437
462. fmbill
2:14 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting Grothar:


Cool image. Models want to do something with it, but nothing grand. Upper levels too hostile. But, being April and with such a concentration in the Caribbean, certainly interesting to see.
Member Since: May 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 454
461. hydrus
2:09 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting mati:


Agreed ... The facts rarely get in the way of radiation fears:

http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/features/chernobyl -15/cherno-faq.shtml

I was bombarded by much more radiation than Chernobyl or Fukushima by the U.S. government in the 40s and 50s with their nuclear blasts along with all the other countries who did above ground nuclear testing.....

http://www.nuclearfiles.org/menu/library/media-ga llery/image/testing/plumbbob.htm


Yes...they were very "relaxed" about exposing our soldiers and others to huge amounts of radiation back then.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21082
460. ScottLincoln
2:07 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting jeffs713:
If you look at it through a microscope, its a good idea. But if you open your eyes and look at the whole picture, you will see that is definitely not a good idea - there is a reason it has been officially recommended against for years.

Which, oddly enough, is how most people misinterpret statistics to confuse weather and climate.
I see parallels in this kind of stuff all the time, almost daily.

Well it was cold last week -> I heard of a person who outran a tornado

instead of...

Most places are experiencing warmer temperatures at an increase rate -> More people will die in the open or in vehicles than those on lowest floor, interior room.
Quoting jeffs713:
And on my post# 454... my apologies if I offended anyone. I freely admit that when a statement strikes a nerve, I kinda "go off", and my blunt self becomes very verbose and direct. That rubs some people wrong. But I definitely get my point across...

You aren't the only one.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3192
459. jeffs713
2:07 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
And on my post# 454... my apologies if I offended anyone. I freely admit that when a statement strikes a nerve, I kinda "go off", and my blunt self becomes very verbose and direct. That rubs some people wrong. But I definitely get my point across...
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5880
458. Grothar
2:06 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26053
457. Guysgal
2:04 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Visualizing the End of Oil-grim but gorgeous Link
Member Since: May 9, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 218
456. Grothar
2:04 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26053
455. ScottLincoln
2:03 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting Tribucanes:
Was only advocating this in the case of monsters that are 20+ minutes out of F4 or larger status.

Which you have no way of determining in realtime.
Quoting Tribucanes:

Ones that are being broadcast and long tracking in a known direction. It seems to me every year there are several that meet these criteria.

Look at an actual, surveyed tornado track, not a start-point-to-end-point track. Tornado tracks may appear relatively straight, but move around on the neighborhood scale. As such, down-to-the-neighborhood (and even town, in some cases) scale is just not forecastable.
Quoting Tribucanes:

Was thinking this would be applicable in 1/100 tornadoes. I am now thinking not.

Even if it were, we wouldn't know the 1/100 tornado with high certainty, and people in the 99/100 tornadoes would try it too, potentially increasing the death toll.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3192
454. jeffs713
2:01 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting aspectre:
I agree with 446 ScottLincoln's assessment, yet I find myself mostly disagreeing with: If you are in a car and a tornado is approaching, get out and lie in a ditch. If a ditch isn't available, lie on the ground.
Comparint the damage to cars that have been moved by tornadoes with the damage to cars that have been involved in traffic accidents, I strongly suspect that the safety equipment in cars is FAR more likely to provide protection from tornado injury&death than lying in a ditch or on the ground.
ie The advice may have been valid before seat belts and modern safety design&equipment -- when roofs crushed easily and drivers&passengers were commonly tossed out of vehicles by collisions -- but is mostly being passed along as longheld "folk wisdom" even though it is no longer wise.
Um... have you seen what happens to a car in a tornado? Incredible amounts of blunt-force trauma. An airbag isn't going to do a dang thing when you are rolled down a street. Or tossed into a tree. Or thrown against a house.

Safety equipment is designed to keep you safe IN A CAR ACCIDENT. It is designed to absorb certain impacts in a certain manner. In a tornado, you will be getting impacts from all directions - frequently at the same time.

Also, you have not addressed most of ScottLincoln's concens in your post.

What about the traffic?
What about traffic and wreckage preventing emergency vehicles from reaching those in need?
What about running from one storm only to meet another?
What about RFDs?

Simply put, staying in your car during a tornado is foolhardy, selfish, and short-sighted. If you look at it through a microscope, its a good idea. But if you open your eyes and look at the whole picture, you will see that is definitely not a good idea - there is a reason it has been officially recommended against for years.

That said, if you choose to stay in your car during a tornado, by all means, go for it. While I wouldn't wish ill upon anyone, especially their death, I'm sure that someone staying in their car during a tornado is more likely to end up as a Darwin award recipient, than someone who got into a ditch.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5880
453. ScottLincoln
1:58 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
A 4-day tornado outbreak. 358 tornadoes. 349 fatalities. April 27, 2011 was the peak of the event. 292 tornadoes were reported across 21 states on this date one year ago, of which 208 were confirmed.

The largest and costliest tornado outbreak in USA history.


Not quite. There was not a continuous series of tornadoes over that 4 days, and as such, it was a tornado outbreak sequence, not a single tornado outbreak. This has been confused many many times and has led to improper comparisons between last spring's big event and previous outbreaks.

There remains a larger proportion of violent tornadoes in the April 1974 outbreak than the April 27 2011 outbreak.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3192
452. Tribucanes
1:55 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Well said, and point taken. Was only advocating this in the case of monsters that are 20+ minutes out of F4 or larger status. Ones that are being broadcast and long tracking in a known direction. It seems to me every year there are several that meet these criteria. Yet if this were advised I understand human nature and human error would come into play, and people would start to do this in the wrong situations. Girlfriend or wife taking this not as serious was a good reply too. Five years ago at 1:45 in the morning we were under a tornado warning here in Wisconsin. It was within a five mile radius of us. Went outside saw the wall cloud circulating through the lighting, it was impressively ominous. Wife's Grandmother lived across the street at the time and had a bomb shelter. I got her sister out immediately. My wife didn't take it seriously and wouldn't get up. I pleaded, got annoyed, finally picked her up and headed that way. Easily five minutes had passed, had it struck we would have been screwed. And in the case of last years super outbreak driving away from one monster could have easily put you in the path of another, because they were literally everywhere; another excellent point. Thanks again, just was appalled at the death toll in Tuscaloosa with the time they were given. Was thinking this would be applicable in 1/100 tornadoes. I am now thinking not.
Member Since: April 18, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2437
451. hurricanehunter27
1:55 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting aspectre:
I agree with ScottLincoln assessment, yet I find myself wondering about (and mostly disagreeing with):
If you are in a car and a tornado is approaching, get out and lie in a ditch. If a ditch isn't available, lie on the ground.
Considering the conditions of the cars that have been moved by tornadoes with the conditions of cars which have been in accidents, I strongly suspect that the safety equipment in cars is FAR more likely to provide protection from tornado injury&death than lying in a ditch or on the ground.
Well I'm pretty sure air bags will not deploy when you are hit by a tornado. Think of it like this. You have been shrunk and were put in a soda can. Then lets say that a foot is our debris and tornado. If you kick the can around it dents and collapses leaving a bunch of inward facing spikes that could potentially kill you. Now lets say you are out of the can and are laying in a crack between the tiles. The foot tries to kick and stomp at you but it cant reach you. This is a poor example but it is kind of what comes to mind with me when someone brings up the Car v Ditch conversation. Also its simple surface area and in a car your surface area is the cars which is quite large and will be thrown around. While if you lay flat on the ground you have very little surface area and the wind is not able to pick you up because the wind is not able to get under you. I believe that is the thinking behind it.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3842
450. ScottLincoln
1:54 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting aspectre:
I agree with ScottLincoln assessment, yet I find myself wondering about (and mostly disagreeing with):
If you are in a car and a tornado is approaching, get out and lie in a ditch. If a ditch isn't available, lie on the ground.
Considering the conditions of the cars that have been moved by tornadoes with the conditions of cars that have been involved in traffic accidents, I strongly suspect that the safety equipment in cars is FAR more likely to provide protection from tornado injury&death than lying in a ditch or on the ground.


In a ditch, the most severe winds are above you. Most debris will probably just blow past. It's not a sure thing for survival, but much higher odds than standing up, even.

Cars are designed to protect you from many crashes, but crashes are an instantaneous incident. All of the momentum is dissipated within a few seconds and that's the end. You can still die from accidents like this even if your car is held together - a certain amount of dissipated momentum can cause near instant, fatal bodily injury. Then take a tornado... it probably wont just cause one instantaneous momentum dissipation, but many, as your car is rolled or carried, hitting various things along the way. Cars are not designed for such an event.

I would hypothesize that the ditch is still safer, although I bet the statistics might be out there is some form or another. Just remember - anecdotes of someone surviving in a car and someone dying in a ditch is not sufficient, as the probability of fatality is not zero for any of these shelter choices.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3192
449. aspectre
1:43 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
I agree with 446 ScottLincoln's assessment, yet I find myself mostly disagreeing with: If you are in a car and a tornado is approaching, get out and lie in a ditch. If a ditch isn't available, lie on the ground.

Comparing the damage to cars that have been moved by tornadoes with the damage to cars that have been involved in traffic accidents, I strongly suspect that the safety equipment in cars is FAR more likely to provide protection from tornado injury&death than lying in a ditch or on the ground.
ie The advice may have been valid before seat belts and modern safety design&equipment -- when roofs crushed easily and drivers&passengers were commonly tossed out of vehicles by collisions -- but is mostly being passed along as longheld "folk wisdom" even though it is no longer wise.

Though to a lesser extent... same thing with "When a tornado is near, pull over, get out of your car and into a gas station or convenience store."
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
448. AtHomeInTX
1:39 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting weatherbro:


Where on Earth are they getting that idea from. All of the models have this wave pushing towards the Bahama's and eventually out to sea by early next week-nowhere's near the Gulf, much less approaching Texas lol!!!



Lol. Ya got me. I don't see it on the models either. Although it would be nice if it did come this way. They were still on it this morning.

BEYOND THIS TIME...AGREEMENT AND THUS CONFIDENCE IN THE SHORTWAVE
DETAILS DECLINES SHARPLY. PREVIOUS FCST INSERTED A SLIGHT CHANCE
ON WEDNESDAY WITH THE APPROACH OF A WEAK INVERTED TROF...AND THIS
IS STILL DEPICTED IN LATEST MODEL GUIDANCE.
..THOUGH THE GFS IS
CONSIDERABLY MORE EXCITED THAN THE ECMWF REGARDING QPF
POTENTIAL...APPARENTLY SINCE IT CONCURRENTLY EJECTS ANOTHER
SHORTWAVE ACROSS THE REGION. WILL LET THIS 20 PERCENT RIDE AND
MAINTAIN A DRY TUESDAY AND THURSDAY.

MARINE WEATHER DISCUSSION
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
210 AM EDT FRI APR 27 2012

MARINE WEATHER DISCUSSION FOR THE GULF OF MEXICO...CARIBBEAN SEA
AND SOUTHWEST NORTH ATLC S OF 31N W OF 55W.

GULF OF MEXICO...
AN E-W RIDGE EXTENDS FROM SW FL TO THE TX COASTAL BEND WITH SSE
RETURN FLOW AT 15-20 OVER THE EXTREME W WATERS FROM 24N-27N W OF
96W...AND E-SE 15-20 KT WINDS ARE OBSERVED ELSEWHERE W OF 89W.
THE RIDGE AXIS WILL GRADUALLY SHIFT N AND EXTENDS E-W ACROSS THE
NORTHERN COASTAL PLAINS SAT...THEN RE-ORIENTATE SE-SW FROM THE
SC TO NE TX. ELY WINDS WILL PULSE AT 15-20 KT ACROSS THE SE GULF
THROUGH SAT...THEN AN INVERTED TROUGH WILL DEVELOP IN THE
VICINITY OF THE CAY SAL BANK LATE SAT NIGHT AND EARLY SUN.
GUIDANCE DIFFERS ON STRENGTH OF THE ASSOCIATED LOW LEVEL WINDS
BUT THE GFS AND ECM ARE FAIRLY CLOSE ON THE TRACK WHICH MOVES
THE TROUGH TO ALONG 87W LATE MON NIGHT. WILL GO WITH A BLEND OF
GEFS AND GFSP FOR THE STRENGTH...AND HOLD WINDS AT 15-20 KT. THE
TROUGH WILL GRADUALLY DISSIPATE AS IT CONTINUES WNW ACROSS THE
CENTRAL WATERS TUE.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 68
447. hurricanehunter27
1:38 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
A 4-day tornado outbreak. 358 tornadoes. 349 fatalities. April 27, 2011 was the peak of the event. 292 tornadoes were reported across 21 states on this date one year ago, of which 208 were confirmed.

The largest and costliest tornado outbreak in USA history.

4 EF5's.



You can see 3 of the EF5 producing supercells in this frame. I wonder if they have put this radar image in any text books yet. The Tuscaloosa radar image is probably one of the better images you can use to teach someone the parts of a tornado producing supercell that are indicated on radar. The outflow, inflow, and even the debris from the tornado is easily identified.
In other news it seems as you are all aware that we have been upgraded to a medium risk. 15% and hatched area probabilities for tornadoes is not to be taken lightly.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3842
446. ScottLincoln
1:27 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting Tribucanes:
certain communities in last years outbreak were under a no-survival strike. Meaning unless you were underground or in a tornado safe-room death was imminent. Technology has now come full circle, we know when and where these monsters are.

No, that description is not accurate. In some cases, we are able to determine that a tornado is very likely a significant tornado (defined as >EF2), but it is very difficult, with large error bars, to narrow down information about the tornado. Tornado width does not always correlate to damage potential and realtime estimates of tornado intensity (such as weak/strong/violent) are notoriously less-than-accurate. To say that we've made some giant leap and "we know when and where" to the degree you are suggesting is not a supported statement.
Quoting Tribucanes:

I'm advocating a drive away plan for survival... watching the Tuscaloosa tornado leads me to believe many could have survived by getting in their vehicles and driving five miles in the opposite direction of the tornado.

And what happens when the extrapolated tornado track no longer becomes valid and the tornado shifts? Or if folks on the roads drive from one tornado track right into another, or into a life-threatening RFD which can roll cars? What happens when everyone gets on the roads, traffic becomes heavy, and then many people are trapped, if not simply blocking the path for emergency responders and spotters?
Quoting Tribucanes:

My aim is to save one or more from this most unfortunate beast of nature. The sad truth is, many did the right thing; they enacted their emergency plan. They went to an interior closet and covered themselves and loved ones; it was just their day. Had they got in their vehicles and drove away they would still be with us.

Perhaps this plan would save a few people. But if it also leads to the deaths of others, then it wouldn't really be "saving" anyone. We may hear of stories where people survived by leaving their homes, but perhaps not reported as often are statistics of how many people die away from their homes during tornadoes. Every time the May 1999 OKC tornado crossed the interstate, someone was seriously injured or died. Even during violent tornadoes, the statistics are still heavily in favor of those who choose lowest floor interior room instead of vehicles.

*This post has been slightly edited since originally posted, but main points were unchanged.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3192
445. jeffs713
1:27 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Re: Radiation fears -

The biggest issues at hand with Fukushima is the isotopes that have long half-lives (Cesium-137 and Strontium-90 come to mind) that can be easily absorbed into the human body... and mimic other substances with their actions. Also, TEPCO and the regulators in the Japanese government have not been exactly forthcoming with information regarding the disaster. Understating events, and placing more focus on saving face than doing the right thing. When you're in over your head in a disaster, you don't spend 3 days trying to absolve everyone of fault - you ASK FOR HELP.

The spent fuel pools at Fukushima are by far the greatest risk. They are in a rather precarious position, nearly full, and have MOX, which can catch fire if left uncooled, creating a disaster that would make Chernobyl look like a walk in the park.

(yes, I know I'm likely responding out of context, since I haven't read the original post, but I'm just adding my $.02)
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5880
444. weatherbro
1:21 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting Neapolitan:
A messy weekend (and beginning of the week) looks to be in store for the Bahamas and the southern parts of Florida:

Miami


Then the ridge wins the battle Tuesday onward:)
Member Since: May 26, 2007 Posts: 47 Comments: 1287
443. WarEagle8
1:20 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


Thank you Keeper. Looks like some pockets of energy out on the waters....worth watching for the next week.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 126
442. mati
1:20 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting Xyrus2000:


No they aren't. At least no credible scientists.

That really is nothing more than purely speculative opinion. Not only that, but it also makes non-falsifiable claims and uses them to support the argument, which pretty much rules out this article coming from a verifiable source. Official scientific reports including ones done by the Union of Concerned Scientists and TORCH do not cite anywhere close to that number, and those reports were produced fairly recently (2005 and 2006). If you have a reputable study that shows otherwise then please include the link.

Things have improved considerably since the accident. The only life that hasn't returned on a permanent basis is human life. You can even get guided tours which take you through the town.

Radiation does not equal guaranteed death or illness. If it did, no one would bother eating salt substitute or have fire detectors in their home. Humans are not fragile creatures that dissolve suddenly when hit by a stray alpha particle, nor do we sprout tumors because we eat bananas.

There are facts when it comes to radiation exposure, and then there is fiction. However, like another topic of discussion on this blog, there is far more fiction than fact.


Agreed ... The facts rarely get in the way of radiation fears:

http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/features/chernobyl -15/cherno-faq.shtml

I was bombarded by much more radiation than Chernobyl or Fukushima by the U.S. government in the 40s and 50s with their nuclear blasts along with all the other countries who did above ground nuclear testing.....

http://www.nuclearfiles.org/menu/library/media-ga llery/image/testing/plumbbob.htm


Member Since: September 6, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 63
441. jeffs713
1:19 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
So it *definitely* won't be raining today in Houston. Insane cap overhead right now.

Per the RUC soundings...
Surface - 72F (dewpoint of 68F)
954mb (1700ft) - 66F (dewpoint of 66F)
893mb (3600ft) - 65F (dewpoint of 65F)
850mb (4957ft) - 70F (dewpoint of 6F)
801mb (6640ft) - 69F (dewpoint of -3F)
*slightly* dry layer of air at 4000+ feet. And a strong inversion. No rain for us today. :(
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5880
440. aspectre
1:19 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
409 presslord: I am notorious for walking out of restaurants which don't serve local shrimp....

Another thing to think about is where those locally caught shrimp are processed.
A few years back, there was quite a kerfluffle in the British press about shrimp caught in British waters being shipped to Thailand for processing (much cheaper labor), then shipped back to the UK and sold as "fresh locally caught shrimp" in restaurants and food markets.

Somewhat the same problem with locally grown organic produce... with growers in states such as California importing their natural fertilizer from cattle feedlots in the Midwest.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
439. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
1:18 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53624
438. weatherbro
1:17 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting AtHomeInTX:
BY WED...MOISTURE FROM A TROPICAL WAVE
MAY AFFECT THE REGION...NOT SURE IF IT WILL MAKE IT THIS FAR WEST THOUGH.
.


Where on Earth are they getting that idea from. All of the models have this wave pushing towards the Bahama's and eventually out to sea by early next week-nowhere's near the Gulf, much less approaching Texas lol!!!
Member Since: May 26, 2007 Posts: 47 Comments: 1287
437. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
1:17 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53624
436. aislinnpaps
1:13 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Mother Nature has been so great this Spring Break week in my part of Louisiana. It's been fantastic weather for all the yard work I've been doing, from planting flowers, clearing land, moving a gazebo, building patios to laying pavers. More to do today, though each day it is getting a bit warmer. Hope everyone has a wonderful Friday!
Member Since: August 22, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 3115
435. ScottLincoln
1:09 PM GMT on April 27, 2012
Quoting hydrus:
t 0350 UTC on 25 April 2010, a strong storm was approaching Marion County in southeast Tennessee, which is part of the Morristown, Tennessee National Weather Service Forecast Office’s county warning area. Previous analysis by the forecaster indicated that the storm was not yet severe. However, the image here shows the lightning source densities (lower left) surged to over 200 sources while previous lightning data showed far fewer sources and other observations (radar and probability of severe hail) showed no change at this time. This lightning jump prompted the issuing of a severe thunderstorm warning that ultimately had a 20 minute lead time of severe winds near Jasper, Tennessee at 0410 UTC. The total lightning data helped “tip the scales” on issuing this particular warning.


Interesting reasoning for a warning decision process. Would be interested to see this objectively analyzed as a set technique for a peer-reviewed paper, with corresponding FAR/POD/CSI stats.
Lightning typically corresponds to your areas of particularly high VIL or VILD, and many times also corresponds to the ice formation in the storm's core. This can be seen visually if you have GR2Analyst with lightning data in a placefile, then watch storm tracks with VIL/VILD/POSH. I suppose a hypothesis could be made that the sudden jump in lightning density was corresponding to a strengthening storm core, which may not have manifested on radar for another few minutes until 1) the growing ice particles turned into water-coated hail to increase DBZ, or 2) until the increase in ice formation lead to an increase of falling/melting ice, thus heavier rainfall.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3192

Viewing: 485 - 435

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10Blog 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

Mostly Cloudy
80 °F
Mostly Cloudy