2nd billion-dollar weather disaster of 2012: April 3 severe weather in Texas

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:09 PM GMT on May 11, 2012

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The U.S. suffered its second billion-dollar weather disaster of 2012 on April 3, when a massive hailstorm and 21 tornadoes hit the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas region, said insurance company Aon Benfield, in their latest monthly Global Catastrophe Recap Report. They put the damage at $1 billion. The tornado outbreak included one EF-3 twister, which hit Forney, Texas. A severe hailstorm during the outbreak hit the DFW airport, damaging over 100 airplanes, and forcing the temporary closure of the airport. The other billion-dollar weather disaster of 2012 was the March 2 - 3 tornado outbreak in the Midwest and Southeast. NOAA put the total cost of the tornadoes that killed 41 people in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and Alabama during the outbreak at $1.5 billion. There were two EF-4 tornadoes, one which devastated Henryville, Indiana, and another that plowed through Crittenden, Kentucky. On average, the U.S. sees 3 - 4 billion-dollar weather disasters each year, with 1 - 2 of these being severe weather/tornado outbreaks. In 2011, we already had five billion-dollar weather-related disasters by the first week of May, so we are well behind last year's pace. NOAA's National Climatic Data Center logged a record fourteen billion-dollar weather disasters in 2011. There has been just one other billion-dollar disaster in the world this year, according to Aon Benfield--severe flooding in Australia's New South Wales and Victoria states in late February and early March that caused $1.58 billion in damage. A separate flooding episode in late January and early February came close, causing an additional $920 million in damage in Australia.


Figure 1. The EF-3 tornado that hit Forney, Texas, on April 3, 2012. Image credit: wunderphotographer ClockworkLemon


Video 1. Dramatic video of semi-trailers being tossed more than 100 feet in the air by the Lancaster, Texas tornado of April 3, 2012.



Canada and Midwest U.S. frost/freeze damage in the hundreds of millions of dollars
Damage to fruit trees in Ontario, Canada due to a series of frosts and freezes over the past six weeks will easily top $100 million dollars, said the Windsor Star this week. About 80% of the Ontario apple crop was wiped out. At the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market yesterday, I talked to a local apple grower who told me that her orchard in Southeast Lower Michigan had suffered at least a 90% loss of its apple crop. She said the story was similar for all the growers of apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, grapes, cherries, and plums in Michigan. "The only year that can compare was 1945," she told me, "and that year wasn't nearly as bad as 2012." Fruit crops in Pennsylvania and New York State have suffered heavy damage as well, and the total damage to agriculture from this year's freezes will likely be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. All of this damage occurred despite the fact that April temperatures across the region were above average. The culprit was the extraordinary "Summer in March" weather in mid-March 2012, which brought a week of 80°F-plus temperature to the region that triggered a record early bloom.


Figure 2. Morning satellite image of Eastern Pacific Invest 90E.

Hurricane season is coming
It's now mid-May, which means that hurricane season is about to start in the East Pacific. The official start of the East Pacific hurricane season is May 15, and the action is already starting to heat up. The first "Invest" of 2012 in the East Pacific, Invest 90E, is located about 700 miles south of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and is moving westward out to sea, posing no threat to any land areas. The European Center model predicts the possibility of another system getting organized in the East Pacific, closer to the coast of Mexico, during the period Wednesday - Friday (May 16 - 18.)

In the Atlantic, where hurricane season officially starts on June 1, the action may also be about to heat up. For the past several days, the GFS model has been consistently predicting the development of a subtropical storm in the Western Caribbean, or waters near Florida, sometime May 19 - May 21. The European Center model has not been on board with this, but has been predicting a very moist flow of tropical air will develop, bringing heavy rains to Florida May 19 - 20. So, it is possible we will see the Atlantic's first named storm occur in May this year, but the models are very unreliable this far out.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Jeff Masters

Royse City Tornado (ClockworkLemon)
Tornado that hit Royse City 4/3/12
Royse City Tornado
Hail no (rjctx74)
Hail from tornados. April storms 2012
Hail no
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111 PedleyCA [page3comment]101 aspectre picture of de-iced Antartica
Didn't realize what this area looked like when it was mostly de-iced, Ouch
...

Not exactly. It shows the presentday borders of Antarctic-land areas above sea-level.
Antarctic ice sheet...covers...14,000,000sq.kilometres and contains 30,000,000cu.kilometres of ice.
The continents sit on the crust atop the stony upper mantle (lithosphere) floating upon the extremely-viscous-but-still-malleable*rock of the asthenosphere.
Link
When you take the cargo off of a ship, the ship floats higher.
Similarly, when the ice-sheet melts off of the Antarctic continent, Antarctica will float higher.

But because of the lithosphere, the higher-floating Antarctica would be closer to you laying on a waterbed with a big block of ice on your chest, then having the ice melt off. The resulting water would sit on the top of the mattress, surrounding you.
For Antarctica, the water would spread across the oceans, adding additional weight to the seabed, causing the lithosphere to press downward on the asthenosphere. That extra downward pressure exerted onto the asthenosphere would also lift Antarctica a wee bit higher.

With a rising sea and a rising Antarctica, there are three more factors that have to be factored into arriving at what the Antarctic coast would look like if the icesheet melted.
The first being
113 BaltimoreBrian How much of Antarctica would be land after it had a chance to isostatically rebound?

Which I'll post next, because the forum editing-program doesn't like lengthy essays.

* ie Kinda like molding clay or hand-warmed wax -- but MUCH more difficult to shape-change.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
well goodnight folks..hope you all in texas stay safe, remember there is a flooding alert over there all weekend, stay safe
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Quoting Grothar:


Sleeper cells? LOL


We do not allow sleeper cells in Houston. :-)
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i like to call em sleeper cells if i may
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411. txjac
Quoting texascoastres:
txjac and david** ya'll be safe, about to get a little rock by ya'll


I now see that ... looks like we have more coming in from the west ...straight down I-10.
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can't type tonight. that should by rocky
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houston area cams..........Link
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Quoting Grothar:


Sleeper cells? LOL
you know what i mean most are nothing once over the water till they get closer where then if given the chance could form into something

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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

Hey Keeper. What's up?
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Looking at a pretty light show off to the west. Getting some good inflow from the east.
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txjac and david** ya'll be safe, about to get a little rock by ya'll
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Why don't we take all of the East Pacific activity, and send it to the Gulf of Mexico?!?!
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3477
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Quoting txjac:


That sounds like some nice weather ...wish we had more of it like that here


You can have it, and this may be a "careful what you wish for" but I'm sick of this quiet weather! Craziest thing we've had this year is 3 inches of rain in 2 hours in March! Bleargh....
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3477
It is so nice to be able to get on here and discuss the weather with out all of the tension, I enjoy the conversations , advice and caring that comes from most in this blog. Usually lurk alot, during hurricane season it can get pretty brutal in here.
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399. txjac
Quoting WxGeekVA:
Meanwhile, where I live...

Weather Station
Fox Mill, Herndon
Elevation
383 ft
Now
Clear
Clear
Temperature
68.0 °F
Feels Like 68.0 °F
Wind(mph)
1.0
Sunrise / Set
6:00 AM
8:11 PM


That sounds like some nice weather ...wish we had more of it like that here
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The eastern Caribbean is finally clearing up
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Meanwhile, where I live...

Weather Station
Fox Mill, Herndon
Elevation
383 ft
Now
Clear
Clear
Temperature
68.0 °F
Feels Like 68.0 °F
Wind(mph)
1.0
Sunrise / Set
6:00 AM
8:11 PM
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3477
Quoting txjac:


its quite a show ...loved it. Dont know why but thunder and lightening make me happy? I must be wired wrong. It's just raining a bit here now and has quieted down a lot


You are not wired wrong. It is people like us (and the other bloggers on here) that notify and help out neighbors and family during severe weather situations. I have been obsessed with this stuff since I can remember. Im only 28 years old but all I can say is, if I could make a living doing what I love, it would be in meteorology without even thinking twice. ;)
Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 635
sorry did not mean to post that in bold
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
this time of year and later in the fall most are sleeper cells with nothing more but a wind shift


Sleeper cells? LOL
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27210
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


RitaEvac is down by League City. I work near Hobby. ... I think we have the Houston area covered!


You know it! I was just about to say how nice it is to see all of us in this area on here at this moment. It is great how something like weather can bring together neighbors times like this
Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 635
Quoting lhwhelk:

You all are still north of me (and east). I'm 50 miles straight south of Houston, and it looks like we're in the clear here. It takes something coming up the Gulf to hit Lake Jackson. (Can we spell I K E ?)


We all need to catch a deep sea boat out of Freeport! .. Captain Elliot?
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Quoting lhwhelk:< i am only 30 miles from you and if you get storms coming there then I am on the dirty side of the storm
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389. txjac
Quoting DavidHOUTX:


lol you and I both. Just took my lab outside and ended up staying out there a while watching the lightning. It is literally constant lightning.


its quite a show ...loved it. Dont know why but thunder and lightening make me happy? I must be wired wrong. It's just raining a bit here now and has quieted down a lot
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Quoting Grothar:


In excess of 60 waves come off of Africa a year. I said "kind of early", because historically, few if any of these waves develop into anything before June. Climatologically (I've never used that word before) we don't normally look in that area for development this early. This time of year, development is normally in or near the Gulf, Caribbean or East of Florida.
this time of year and later in the fall most are sleeper cells with nothing more but a wind shift
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Quoting txjac:


It appears that I am about 10 miles or less from David. This storm is coming right down 10 so maybe you will get some of it soon


I would not be surprised if this turns into a squall line. These cells are moving quite slow and look to be merging but all we can do is wait and see!!
Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 635
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Quoting txjac:


It appears that I am about 10 miles or less from David. This storm is coming right down 10 so maybe you will get some of it soon


RitaEvac is down by League City. I work near Hobby. ... I think we have the Houston area covered!
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if its anything like last night I'll sleep like a baby. my husband said the thunder was shaking the house and so loud as if it was right over the house for hours
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Quoting txjac:


Will do and thanks ...happy that I got the dog walked before this started


lol you and I both. Just took my lab outside and ended up staying out there a while watching the lightning. It is literally constant lightning.
Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 635
Quoting texascoastres:
out in santa fe/hitchcock it took all of 5 minutes to go from blue evening sky to pitch black

You all are still north of me (and east). I'm 50 miles straight south of Houston, and it looks like we're in the clear here. It takes something coming up the Gulf to hit Lake Jackson. (Can we spell I K E ?)
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Quoting DavidHOUTX:


lol no, not quite. I wish lol! I am right near the Memorial/Heights/Galleria area. Constant lightning here. I have been outside the past 10 minutes trying to get pictures but it is really hard using a phone haha.

I am getting nervous that this cell coming right towards us is starting to hook again. I don't think a tornado will come out of it but you cannot rule it out. This storm is just regenerating. A lot of flow coming in from the SE into the SW winds so it is developing slight rotation


Do they still have that club at the top of the Galleria? ... Of course the last time I was up there, it was a Disco club. ;-)
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Quoting Grothar:


In excess of 60 waves come off of Africa a year. I said "kind of early", because historically, few if any of these waves develop into anything before June. Climatologically (I've never used that word before) we don't normally look in that area for development this early. This time of year, development is normally in or near the Gulf, Caribbean or East of Florida.

wait who said anything about development I just said about the formation of a tropical wave not a TS or hurricane off of africa
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378. txjac
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


I am about 60 miles east of you. A jump over the San Jac on I-10


It appears that I am about 10 miles or less from David. This storm is coming right down 10 so maybe you will get some of it soon
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Quoting LargoFl:
david, current KHOU radar.......................


Makes me wonder if the storms developing SW of Houston will end up here later given the tornado watch until 2 am. Ill be up all night lol!
Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 635
Quoting txjac:


I'm in that red/purple box


I am about 60 miles east of you. A jump over the San Jac on I-10
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Quoting RitaEvac:


Friggin River Oaks?!


lol no, not quite. I wish lol! I am right near the Memorial/Heights/Galleria area. Constant lightning here. I have been outside the past 10 minutes trying to get pictures but it is really hard using a phone haha.

I am getting nervous that this cell coming right towards us is starting to hook again. I don't think a tornado will come out of it but you cannot rule it out. This storm is just regenerating. A lot of flow coming in from the SE into the SW winds so it is developing slight rotation
Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 635
Why do you guys put much value of what the GFS is doing in this situation? I was taught that the GFS is best when not much is going and that the NAM works better for active weather.
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373. txjac
Quoting texascoastres:
out in santa fe/hitchcock it took all of 5 minutes to go from blue evening sky to pitch black


It was really quick wasnt it?
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372. txjac
Quoting LargoFl:
be careful, heed your local warnings ok..stay safe


Will do and thanks ...happy that I got the dog walked before this started
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out in santa fe/hitchcock it took all of 5 minutes to go from blue evening sky to pitch black
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Quoting txjac:


I'm in that red/purple box
be careful, heed your local warnings ok..stay safe
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368. txjac
Quoting LargoFl:


I'm in that red/purple box
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


I like my colors better.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27210
Quoting RitaEvac:


Friggin River Oaks?!


Nice neighborhood. ;-)
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365. txjac
Quoting DavidHOUTX:


I am right under the "O" in Houston. I am skeptical if this will even make it here, but these storms look to be merging. Will be interesting the next hour or so..




Wow ..impressive! I've been outside watching the clouds ...quite a lot of movement. About ten minutes ago it started pouring! Hard!
Tons of thunder and lightening
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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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