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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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
This hurricane season might go the way of the severe weather season, and the snow season.
One big early event, and then just a few other more minor events.

I wonder if AGW had anything to do with our unusually mild snow and tornado season.
rule nothing out mother nature may have other plans
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Quoting jeffs713:
For SETX... the atmosphere is starting to reload, it seems.

Per SPC maps, CAPE hasn't changed much since this morning, but SBCIN (the "cap") is dropping, the LI ("lifted index", or a measure of instability) is getting better, and precipitable water is on the rise, too.


Hoping that means that rain will be coming?
Right now the clouds are clearing and the sun coming out.

I want some rain in the evening when I can enjoy it ...last night I heard it but was in bed sleeping.
Member Since: April 24, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 2440
For SETX... the atmosphere is starting to reload, it seems.

Per SPC maps, CAPE hasn't changed much since this morning, but SBCIN (the "cap") is dropping, the LI ("lifted index", or a measure of instability) is getting better, and precipitable water is on the rise, too.
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This hurricane season might go the way of the severe weather season, and the snow season.
One big early event, and then just a few other more minor events.

I wonder if AGW had anything to do with our unusually mild snow and tornado season.
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


GEM Global Model Horizontal Resolution
November 2006

GEM global has a uniform 0.45 deg resolution in longitude and a uniform 0.30 deg resolution in latitude (800 by 600 points).

On a sphere, this grid has a horizontal resolution of 33 km in the north-south direction at all locations. The east-west resolution is variable, however. At the equator it is approximately 50 km, while at 49N (more typical of mid-latitude weather) it is 33 km. The east-west resolution increases as distance to the poles decreases.


As of July 28, 2010, the GFS is run at T574 (roughly the equivalent of about 28 km grid spacing) for the first 192 hours of its forecast, and then at T190 (about 84 km grid spacing) from 192 to 384 forecast hours.

NOGAPS

T319, Physics 44-km
Ah, thank you. This does explain why the GEM model has more issues with tropical systems.
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Quoting 10Speed:



Consistent? What is "it" and what will constitute consistence?


Consistent meant will it keep showing up in future runs? It is a low that transitions to a strong area of vorticity after leaving Africa
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14249
Quoting jeffs713:

I find it amusing how the CMC seems to have "DOOM-massive-flooding-everywhere", but the gfs and ngp are much more conservative. Maybe because the CMC uses a much lower resolution?

Does anyone know what the CMC's forecast grid sizes are, versus the GFS and NGP?


GEM Global Model Horizontal Resolution
November 2006

GEM global has a uniform 0.45 deg resolution in longitude and a uniform 0.30 deg resolution in latitude (800 by 600 points).

On a sphere, this grid has a horizontal resolution of 33 km in the north-south direction at all locations. The east-west resolution is variable, however. At the equator it is approximately 50 km, while at 49N (more typical of mid-latitude weather) it is 33 km. The east-west resolution increases as distance to the poles decreases.


As of July 28, 2010, the GFS is run at T574 (roughly the equivalent of about 28 km grid spacing) for the first 192 hours of its forecast, and then at T190 (about 84 km grid spacing) from 192 to 384 forecast hours.

NOGAPS

T319, Physics 44-km
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 10838
Quoting Progster:

Is NAEFS run 4X/day? I thought it was just twice; 00Z and 12Z.


4x



Model Guidance








NAEFS

Western North Atlantic - Southeast US Central America Caribbean

















Available Model Cycles:





05/10/2012 12UTC


05/10/2012 18UTC


05/11/2012 00UTC


05/11/2012 06UTC


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Quoting wunderkidcayman:

but the latest NAEFS which is 06Z itself show a cuba bahamas track with the extreme SE Fl getting some minor wind
its gonna be all over the place we watch future runs and wait for surface reflection to show up thursday friday next week
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:

but the latest NAEFS which is 06Z itself show a cuba bahamas track with the extreme SE Fl getting some minor wind

Is NAEFS run 4X/day? I thought it was just twice; 00Z and 12Z.
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The Mystery of the Antarctic Octopus
Link

Could have major implications for Antarctic ice shelf if proven true.
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Quoting Progster:
Most recent run of the NAEFS has some members with TD for MIA late next week...


but the latest NAEFS which is 06Z itself show a cuba bahamas track with the extreme SE Fl getting some minor wind
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fire in the sky
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127367
Quoting AtHomeInTX:
Tornado damages scoreboard, train

Posted: May 11, 2012 10:03 AM CDT Updated: May 11, 2012 10:05 AM CDT


Courtesy KTRK

WEIMAR, TX (KTRK) -- A tornado touchdown in Weimar Thursday afternoon caused several injuries, derailed at least one train and damaged a hospital enough to prompt a patient evacuation.

The National Weather Service says the tornado briefly touched down around 5:24pm near Weimar High School. Weimar High School is closed today as officials assess the damage to the campus.

"First we will asses all of the damage. We are going to find out what the plan is to open our school on Monday," said Weimar ISD Superintendent Wunderlich. I know it's an optimistic goal but we plan to come up with a cleanup crew. I know we'll have a lot of community support in doing so."

Colorado County Judge Ty Prause said says one train was derailed and a hospital in Weimar was damaged badly enough that patients had to be evacuated and taken to other hospitals in the area. It wasn't known how many patients were affected.

There were people at Weimar High School's football field selling pizza for a fundraiser when the tornado hit. Eight of them were taken to a hospital, but their injuries weren't life-threatening. Their Papa John's trailer was overturned during the storm.

Several students from the school's softball team also were on campus for practice at the time.

"Shingles were flying off the roof of the building of the school," Weimar High School junior Peyton Wunderlisch said. "If you look down the football field, the press box, the football field, just was gone, so all that was blown away in an instant and we had no idea what was going on at the time. We were just scared."

Prause says there was another truck that had the windows blown out and the driver was injured there, too.

An eyewitness says cemetery close to the school also sustained some damage.

Around other parts of the city, several trees were ripped out of the ground and many homes have roof damage. The storm also knocked out power to parts of the town.

Earlier in the day, some of our computer models picked up on the increased moisture levels a line of storms blowing from the west. However, KTRK Chief Meteorologist Tim Heller says no tornado warning was issued for the storm before the tornado touchdown.


Link to Pictures of Weimar
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Quoting MississippiWx:
So much for the world ending on December 21, at least according to the Mayans. Sorry if you went out and bought a new $100,000 vehicle or committed crimes you wouldn't otherwise have done. :-/

New Mayan Calendar Disproves Doomsday Myth

is this like heartland saying there is no such thing as global warming

i think i will stick with what my grandfather and elders told me
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Quoting MahFL:


A TS is not much of a threat to the mountains of Mexico.

Look up Tropical Storm Agatha 2010
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 112 Comments: 31326
Quoting ncstorm:
the 00z Euro also has a low rolling off the africa coast.lets see if it will be consistent



Consistent? What is "it" and what will constitute consistence?
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Quoting RTSplayer:
They might need to increase the scale to properly represent the warming and anomalies in Antarctica.



Greater than plus 20C anomalies in two regions.
faster and faster we go
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The Mayan never claimed to say 2012 is the End.

That's media/"Christian" Mumbo Jumbo.


One cycle ends, and another begins.

Of course, many scientists with real understanding of ancient Mayan culture and language have for decades tried to explain that, no, the end of the 13th baktun does not literally mean the end of the world. In fact, they say, not even the Mayans themselves believed such silliness. The end-of-world myth was actually concocted by Christian missionaries. And some experts say that the end of the 13th baktun is actually December 23, not December 21.



And the new site is far from any claim of officialdom on anything.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127367
7 Bardeyes: Wouldn't everyone like just *one more* GW discussion before hurricane season?

No problemo. Vulnerable ice in the Weddell Sea -- Angelika Humbert for Nature Geoscience

Of the West Antarctic ice shelves, those in the Amundsen Sea sector have given the most cause for concern. Ocean modelling of the Weddell Sea region, together with a detailed survey of the ice bed morphology, indicates that this region, too, may change soon.

As a marine ice sheet, the West Antarctic ice sheet rests on ground that is below sea level and has a bed that slopes down, going inland. In the 1970s, concerns about a potential instability of these types of ice sheets were raised — in particular, about the largest one that covers West Antarctica1. Global-mean sea level could rise by approximately 3.3metres if the entire West Antarctic ice sheet were to disintegrate. So far, indication for accelerating ice-loss has mainly been found in the Amundsen embayment at the root of the Antarctic Peninsula. Two papers, published in Nature Geoscience and Nature, indicate that the Weddell Sea sector to the east of the peninsula may soon become susceptible to fast change, too.

An understanding of the current and future development of the West Antarctic ice sheet requires detailed knowledge of the various factors that affect ice sheets. For example, the location of the grounding line — the transition between ice that sits on the bed and ice connected to the sheet but floating on the ocean — plays a key role in the stability of a marine ice sheet, as does the topography of the ice bed. When the grounding line retreats, more ice is discharged from the sheet, because the ice upstream is thicker. This, in turn, leads to further increase of the ice flux into the sea -- a positive feedback. Basal melting of the floating part of the ice mass, the ice shelf, plays a particularly important role in this feedback: a warming ocean may change the temperature beneath an ice shelf, leading to enhanced basal melting and, potentially, grounding line retreat. On the other hand, a rough bed topography with small ridges might offer support for a marine ice sheet in retreat, and may thus prevent or delay further disintegration.

Yet before any warm water masses -- usually found at intermediate ocean depths between 300and700metres -- can interact with ice shelves, they must first drain onto the continental shelves. One possible mechanism to push the warm water masses onto the shelves is the momentum transferred between wind and ocean, which drives ocean circulation. A less consolidated cover of sea ice can achieve such a push of warm water onto the shelves.
Over the past few years, glaciologists and oceanographers have been studying these processes, with emphasis on the Amundsen Sea sector, where basal melting, grounding line retreat and accelerating ice flow has been diagnosed. Now, Ross et al and Hellmer et al focus their attention on the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf in the Weddell Sea sector, which has so far seemed stable.

Worryingly, Hellmer and colleagues conclude that, over the course of the twenty-first century, warm pulses of ocean currents are likely to reach this ice shelf and induce basal melt, whereas Ross and colleagues find that beneath the grounded ice streams that feed the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, the bed has steep retrograde slopes.
Specifically, Hellmer and co-workers used a regional coupled ice-ocean model to study the response of the ocean to variations in the atmosphere over the next two centuries, as projected by the state-of-the-art global climate model HadCM3. In their simulations, from the year 2036 onwards, pulses of warm water reach up onto the continental shelf in the Weddell Sea sector of Antarctica. From 2070 onwards, warm currents reach sufficiently far south to drain into the cavity beneath the ice shelf, reaching the grounding line less than a decade later. By the 2090s, the entire Filchner trough is filled with warm water, with ocean temperatures below the ice shelf up to 2degreesCelsius warmer than at present. These findings are consolidated with an independent model of different architecture and higher resolution. In the simulations by Hellmer and colleagues, the transport of warm water to the base of the ice shelf is achieved through faster sea-ice drift that results from decreasing sea-ice thickness and concentration. This mechanism contrasts with the previously held view that changes in the sea-ice cover primarily affect the formation of dense shelf water masses.

The findings by Hellmer and co-workers highlight the importance of the ocean circulation in the Weddell Sea for the fate of the ice in this sector, and eventually also for the entire West Antarctic ice sheet. They also suggest that the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf -- hitherto known as one that accretes ice from underneath -- could transform into a basal melt regime during the second half of the twenty-first century. In the simulations presented, the warming of the water beneath the ice shelf enhances the reductions in ice thickness by melting from the current 0.2metres per year to 4metres per year -- averaged over the shelf -- by the end of the twenty-first century. The maximum melt is predicted at the location of the grounding lines and is, in places, as high as 50metres per year.
[* In the most vulnerable area -- covering ~20,000sq.kilometres -- the ice-sheet is grounded on the seabed only by the overpressure of ice with a thickness of 200metres or less. ie If 200metres melts off the bottom, ~20,000sq.kilometres of the presently grounded ice-sheet becomes floating sea-ice.]

Such fast melting at the grounding lines could drive rapid grounding line retreat, making the slope and roughness of the bed beneath the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf critical factors in the stability of this part of the West Antarctic ice sheet.
From the smooth quality of the bed, Ross and colleagues5 infer that soft sediments are underlying these two ice streams. If so, the smooth bed indicates that the area has probably been free of ice cover in the past. They also find that the shape of the underlying landscape gives evidence that, in the past, a grounded ice-sheet margin existed upstream of the approximately 20,000sq.kilometre-large basin that currently underlies the mouth of the Institute and Moller ice streams of the West Antarctic ice sheet.

The projections of increasing basal melt rates by Hellmer and colleagues, together with the smooth, steep and retrograde bed topography diagnosed by Ross and co-workers5, make the Weddell Sea sector of the West Antarctic ice sheet a region of concern. In light of these results, future assessments of West Antarctic ice sheet stability cannot ignore the Weddell Sea.

[* ie There is a ridge between the portion of the ice-sheet facing northward toward the open ocean and the portion of the seabed-grounded ice-sheet facing southward/inland toward the Antarctic landmass. Because of the relative smoothness of the seabed under those 20,000sq,kilometres, the effect of melting the bottom of the ice-sheet on the inland-facing portion allows glacial pressure from inland to slide nearly the entire icesheet that isn't currently grounded on land above sea-levelat a much faster rate than at the present time]

* The 'square-bracket'ed portions are my (aspectre's) interpretations of what I gathered from reading the two papers. And thus errors should not be blamed on the author of the piece.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Not according to these models.




A TS is not much of a threat to the mountains of Mexico.
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So much for the world ending on December 21, at least according to the Mayans. Sorry if you went out and bought a new $100,000 vehicle or committed crimes you wouldn't otherwise have done. :-/

New Mayan Calendar Disproves Doomsday Myth
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Quoting jeffs713:

I find it amusing how the CMC seems to have "DOOM-massive-flooding-everywhere", but the gfs and ngp are much more conservative. Maybe because the CMC uses a much lower resolution?

Does anyone know what the CMC's forecast grid sizes are, versus the GFS and NGP?


i'm not sure its a resolution problem. Its some cumulative excess of broad scale vertical motion and an over-excited convective scheme.Or maybe too much water vapor. Or maybe all three.
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Deleted cuz the forum program wouldn't allow editing out an HTML mistake.
I'd guess that the comment was too long for the editing function to handle.
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Tornado damages scoreboard, train

Posted: May 11, 2012 10:03 AM CDT Updated: May 11, 2012 10:05 AM CDT


Courtesy KTRK

WEIMAR, TX (KTRK) -- A tornado touchdown in Weimar Thursday afternoon caused several injuries, derailed at least one train and damaged a hospital enough to prompt a patient evacuation.

The National Weather Service says the tornado briefly touched down around 5:24pm near Weimar High School. Weimar High School is closed today as officials assess the damage to the campus.

"First we will asses all of the damage. We are going to find out what the plan is to open our school on Monday," said Weimar ISD Superintendent Wunderlich. I know it's an optimistic goal but we plan to come up with a cleanup crew. I know we'll have a lot of community support in doing so."

Colorado County Judge Ty Prause said says one train was derailed and a hospital in Weimar was damaged badly enough that patients had to be evacuated and taken to other hospitals in the area. It wasn't known how many patients were affected.

There were people at Weimar High School's football field selling pizza for a fundraiser when the tornado hit. Eight of them were taken to a hospital, but their injuries weren't life-threatening. Their Papa John's trailer was overturned during the storm.

Several students from the school's softball team also were on campus for practice at the time.

"Shingles were flying off the roof of the building of the school," Weimar High School junior Peyton Wunderlisch said. "If you look down the football field, the press box, the football field, just was gone, so all that was blown away in an instant and we had no idea what was going on at the time. We were just scared."

Prause says there was another truck that had the windows blown out and the driver was injured there, too.

An eyewitness says cemetery close to the school also sustained some damage.

Around other parts of the city, several trees were ripped out of the ground and many homes have roof damage. The storm also knocked out power to parts of the town.

Earlier in the day, some of our computer models picked up on the increased moisture levels a line of storms blowing from the west. However, KTRK Chief Meteorologist Tim Heller says no tornado warning was issued for the storm before the tornado touchdown.


Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 671
Quoting hydrus:

I find it amusing how the CMC seems to have "DOOM-massive-flooding-everywhere", but the gfs and ngp are much more conservative. Maybe because the CMC uses a much lower resolution?

Does anyone know what the CMC's forecast grid sizes are, versus the GFS and NGP?
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RE: 34

CMC's accumulated precip always seems like a wild overestimate especially compared to GFS. I wonder if the units are wrong.
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Most recent run of the NAEFS has some members with TD for MIA late next week...

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EP902012 - INVEST

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127367
Quoting FatPenguin:


wow, how long has that been going on? if that continues it could be an major story.


At least a few days now.
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NSSL WRF 4 km grid initialized 00 UTC May 11 2012

36 h Total Precipitation (mm)

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Invest 90E is on the left side of this satellite image.



I'll make a blog for 90E and the potential Atlantic tropical/subtropical storm when I get home from school today.


Yeah, I imagined so, but looks like there's a spin dead in the centre of that image too.
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Thanks DRM. Stayed awake last night watching the radar until that mess down the coast passed Bay City where my son's family is. And slept right through anything that may have come through here. Thankfully nothing as bad as the tornado outbreaks you mentioned.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Not according to these models.




Let me rephrase the original comment:

"90E is not a threat to the CONUS".

We all know that Mexico and "those islands" are just piles of dirt without people on them. (for those who take things literally, the last sentence is known as "sarcasm")
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Quoting MahFL:
90E is not a threat to land, that's why.

Not according to these models.


Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 112 Comments: 31326
Quoting NICycloneChaser:


Erm, which one is it?

Lol, almost looks like two different systems.

Invest 90E is on the left side of this satellite image.



I'll make a blog for 90E and the potential Atlantic tropical/subtropical storm when I get home from school today.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 112 Comments: 31326
90E is not a threat to land, that's why.
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Quoting ClevelandBob:
Yay 90E! Will it be Aletta?

I would say it is likely, yes. Invest 90E lies above Sea Surface Temperatures in excess of 28C and wind shear is 15 knots or less. The SHIPS model brings 90E up to tropical storm intensity by Sunday, which may be a little too early, but it has the right idea about gradual intensification over the next five days.

The invest is currently attached to the monsoon trough though and there are two competing centers. It will have to detatch from that and one of the centers will have to win out.

I'd give it a 30% chance of formation in the next 48 hours.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 112 Comments: 31326
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Why is nobody paying any attention to Invest 90E? It has great potential to become Aletta over the weekend. A tropical depression at the very least.



Erm, which one is it?

Lol, almost looks like two different systems.
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Quoting RTSplayer:
They might need to increase the scale to properly represent the warming and anomalies in Antarctica.



Greater than plus 20C anomalies in two regions.


wow, how long has that been going on? if that continues it could be an major story.
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Yay 90E! Will it be Aletta?
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Why is nobody paying any attention to Invest 90E? It has great potential to become Aletta over the weekend. A tropical depression at the very least.



I know!! It's intriguing because no one was expecting it.
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Why is nobody paying any attention to Invest 90E? It has great potential to become Aletta over the weekend. A tropical depression at the very least.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 112 Comments: 31326

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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.