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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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129780
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
NOAA got the floater up.



Its about freakin' time...LOL! I wonder why there isn't a floater for E-Pac Invest 90E....

I also never thought I'd see the day when there are Special Tropical Weather Outlooks in the E-Pac and in the Atlantic at the same time...especially before May 15...
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Storm Relative 1km Geostationary Visible Imagery

AL922012 - INVEST

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129780
Earlier when 92L looked its best.
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AL922012 - INVEST Enhanced Infrared (IR) Imagery (4 km Mercator) Loop

...click image for loop.


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129780
NOAA got the floater up.

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If this blog was the arbiter of which storms get named and which storms do not, we would exhaust the Greek alphabet.
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Interesting run Link
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 253
Of course, it could just be d-min affecting the system like stated in post #890. I don't know.

We'll have to see how it evolves over the next 12 hours.
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:



The low appears to be pretty much closed, according to the ASCAT.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

It's not too far off from that lol.



Well, it didn't have much to begin with.

Let's see what the night brings.
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Quoting Ameister12:
I find it kinda funny that just because 92L's convection has waned, that everybody is giving up on it. It could always start to strengthen again.

The odds of 92L restrengthening are a lot lower than the odds a typical invest has of restrengthening after a loss of convection though because of the SST's... If 92L lost convection like this in the Gulf or Caribbean it could easily refire because of the warm water but it would take a miracle for this to get its act back together where it is now.
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Quoting Ameister12:
I find it kinda funny that just because 92L's convection has waned, that everybody is giving up on it. It could always start to strengthen again.


Yep...one tiny flare up and people will be gushing over it again if the past is any indication.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Most cyclone's of it's weak nature don't this time of day, even in the Atlantic.

If all the convection is gone, that's another story.

It's not too far off from that lol.

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Quoting Ameister12:
I find it kinda funny that just because 92L's convection has waned, that everybody is giving up on it. It could always start to strengthen again.


Classic blog cycle, my concern is that there isn't enough time for the convection to redevelop.
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I find it kinda funny that just because 92L's convection has waned, that everybody is giving up on it. It could always start to strengthen again. Typical blog cycle. :P
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Quoting Tazmanian:
if i re call Jose did not have any t-storms at all and it got in name so why not 92L?

Probably because we're in the off season now while Jose was in the regular season... Also Jose presented more of a threat to a populated area (Bermuda) than 92L.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

It's not sustaining convection, which is a must in designating cyclones, subtropical or not.


Most cyclone's of it's weak nature don't this time of day, even in the Atlantic.

If all the convection is gone, that's another story.
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if i re call Jose did not have any t-storms at all and it got in name so why not 92L?
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It was fun while it lasted...
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Alas, the cycle continues.

30 minutes ago: Defiant S-TS, why won't they name it!?

Now: Convection fading, not going to make it to Alberto.

It's not sustaining convection, which is a must in designating cyclones, subtropical or not.
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Alas, the cycle continues.

30 minutes ago: Defiant S-TS, why won't they name it!?

Now: Convection fading, not going to make it to Alberto.
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Quoting PedleyCA:


Standing Watch for Trolls. How ya doing down over in the Caribbean?

It's sunny at the moment, but I had some rain about 30 minutes ago
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 12 Comments: 8465
Quoting MississippiWx:


I always doubt those "storms" from the early 1900s. Have to wonder if there were really 2 preseason storms in 1908 and 1887 or if they were just strong extra-tropical low pressure areas.


Well, one was a Category 2 hurricane in March that was directly recorded.
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I don't think 92L will make it to Alberto.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Convection has been weakening over the past two hours. If it keeps this up, it won't get a name.

1645 UTC:



1800 UTC (Latest):



Isn't that pretty standard at this point though? With the D-min/max (i always forget which is which) doesn't convection typically weaken during the evening, and refire in the early AM. Granted that it is at a pretty critical point, and probably with not much time for favorable conditions.

Edit: but yeah, doesn't look as hot as before
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Convection has been weakening over the past two hours. If it keeps this up, it won't get a name.

1645 UTC:



1800 UTC (Latest):



Still no where near as terrifying as Jose.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Convection has been weakening over the past two hours. If it keeps this up, it won't get a name.

1645 UTC:



1800 UTC (Latest):


Yeah it's going to be very hard for it to regenerate anything at this point... We'll probably continue to see a slow decrease in convection... I'd anticipate a TWO at some point soon to lower its chances because it is probably past its peak at this point.
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Hot off the press...

Detailed tropical update on my blog of all of the Atlantic tropics. I hope it is interesting and makes a lot of sense....

I plan to issue these sort of updates daily beginning on June 1...so I am using the opportunity of these early disturbances to preview them. Leave comments on how to make these discussion better....
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We know 92L is near the Azores, in a perfect world the NHC would loose jurisdiction here to a European Weather Agency...this is not a perfect world though, they will sit their on their multi million dollar computers and procrastinate. At least, for the sake of the science give people a more detailed explanation of what is and isn't subtropical...and elaborate on the characteristics of this storm, you don't have to name it but at least elaborate past the normal paragraph blurb.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
I have a new blog up with my thoughts on 92L

A Wild 92L Appears!


Love the blog title. :P Rather fitting.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


In recent years, the closet we've gotten was 2007.

Andrea formed on May 9th, 2007.
Barry post-season was found to have been a TD on May 31st, 2007.

1908 had two pre-season storms.
1887 also had two pre-season storms.


I always doubt those "storms" from the early 1900s. Have to wonder if there were really 2 preseason storms in 1908 and 1887 or if they were just strong extra-tropical low pressure areas.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
I have a new blog up with my thoughts on 92L

A Wild 92L Appears!
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Convection has been weakening over the past two hours. If it keeps this up, it won't get a name.

1645 UTC:



1800 UTC (Latest):

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Quoting nigel20:

Hey pedley. What's up?


Standing Watch for Trolls. How ya doing down over in the Caribbean?
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6219
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Strong invest, I'd say. If this one gets named, we have a strong possibility of 2 named storms before June 1. I'm not sure if that has ever happened.

If you think back to previous weeks, it seems like every thunderstorm complex that moves into the Gulf wants to spin up into something. We've already had two other invests this year as well. This might be one of those years where the atmosphere just has a little extra spin, causing something to become tropical that wouldn't have otherwise been anything of significance. We'll see.


In recent years, the closet we've gotten was 2007.

Andrea formed on May 9th, 2007.
Barry post-season was found to have been a TD on May 31st, 2007.

1908 had two pre-season storms.
1887 also had two pre-season storms.
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May 11, 2011

May 11, 2012
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 12 Comments: 8465
18z Best track for 90E.

EP, 90, 2012051218, , BEST, 0, 99N, 1053W, 25, 1009, LO


Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14885
876. wxmod
Storms need clean air. Orange and red is the heaviest residual Sahara dust.





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May 11, 2011

May 11, 2012
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 12 Comments: 8465
All Invest 92L really needs to do is transition some to warm-core to make it subtropical, since they claim it is non tropical. Subtropical systems don't require deep convection like tropical systems do, and this:


12/1745 UTC 33.5N 30.5W ST3.5 92L -- Atlantic


is worthy of an upgrade.
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Guys, the reason it would be possible for this system to become tropical or subtropical, is that while water temperatures generally must be 80 degrees for tropical formation and maintaining intensity, that isn't always necessarily the case. If the atmosphere is unstable enough, for example, steep lapse rates, especially steep low level lapse rates, the cold water becomes relatively warm with respect to sharp drop-off of temperatures.


I'm not sure why people are using the term "deep convection" because satellite indicates this system has no deep convection, as one would expect for a system over colder water with at least some tropical characteristics.
Yes it does have convection, you could call it organized convection ,but there is a difference between 20,000 ft tall convective activity, and 50,000 ft convective activity, the latter would be deep convection, 20,000 ft is not.
But, like I said, in a colder water and colder air environment, that is exactly what should be expected.



For example, I have seen rare cases where hurricanes maintain intensity and sometimes even strengthen under a rare low shear environment all the way into the north Atlantic over upper 60's to low 70's water temps. While the convection in the hurricane becomes not nearly as deep, what likely allows the hurricane to maintain intensity is the low shear combined with steep low level lapse rates, allowing there to be as much efficiency for the hurricane "heat engine" as one might find with warmer water, although because the water is cooler and there is less energy, the convection was still not as deep. That being said a hurricane over such colder waters would be relatively "drier"(not as intense rainfall rates) due to not as strong of convection and relatively drier air, but it still maintained wind force.


What we are finding with this system might be a very similar process taking shape. Yes the low pressure has less energy to work with, but given enough instability and low enough shear, it could become tropical. However, I would imagine if the same conditions existed over warmer water we would see a system with much more impressive convection, as well as quickly strengthening TC instead of struggling to become one at all.
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The thing with 92L is that it is probably as strong as it's going to get right now. It could get a little stronger, but SSTs won't allow it to get much stronger. The convective process that it has gone through to reach its current strength is nothing short of amazing. Persistence will be the key for the NHC naming it, though.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
Quoting yqt1001:
5 hours since invested:



It's hard not to be proud of it:


Satellite view is going out soon... they better hurry
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5 hours since invested:



It's hard not to be proud of it:
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
50 mph.

AL, 92, 2012051218, , BEST, 0, 335N, 305W, 45, 1009, LO, 34, NEQ, 60, 60, 20, 20, 1020, 300, 20, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, M,

I was beat to it...


This could very well get a renumber soon.
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


that's THEIR JOB! $$$$ GET PAID FOR

Yeah I would lose a ton of respect for the NHC if they were really just too lazy to name it... Of course we could never know for sure but still if there is something anywhere in the Atlantic that deserves a name the NHC shouldn't hesitate to start advisories
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Strong invest, I'd say. If this one gets named, we have a strong possibility of 2 named storms before June 1. I'm not sure if that has ever happened.

If you think back to previous weeks, it seems like every thunderstorm complex that moves into the Gulf wants to spin up into something. We've already had two other invests this year as well. This might be one of those years where the atmosphere just has a little extra spin, causing something to become tropical that wouldn't have otherwise been anything of significance. We'll see.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


if i win u get me GRLEvel2Analyst.
If u win, i give u nothing :)

Just kidding.

About the NHC not wanting to use Alberto, would you?
It takes a lot of work to have a named storm, issue advisories, etc, for a storm an ocean away.


If they named Cindy, Franklin, and Jose last year, and some of the other "fish storms" of recently, they can name this. It's not a personal decision it's if something meets the criteria or not.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


if i win u get me GRLEvel2Analyst.
If u win, i give u nothing :)

Just kidding.

About the NHC not wanting to use Alberto, would you?
It takes a lot of work to have a named storm, issue advisories, etc, for a storm an ocean away.




YAWN
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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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