A record 199 days without a tornado death; 1st tornado of 2013 hits Louisiana

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:10 PM GMT on January 10, 2013

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The U.S. has set a weather record of the sort we like to see: the longest continuous stretch without a tornado death. We've had 199 days without a tornado fatality, beating the record of 197 straight days that ended on February 28, 1987. The last U.S. tornado death was at Venus in Highlands County, Florida, from an EF-0 tornado associated with Tropical Storm Debby on June 24, 2012. After a horrific 2011 that saw 553 Americans die in tornadoes--the 2nd highest total since 1950--the 2012 tornado season was not far from average for deaths, according to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center. The 2012 tornado death toll was 68, ranking 25th highest since 1950. The average yearly toll between 1950 - 2011 was 91. According to SPC, the total number of tornadoes during 2012 was just 936. This is the first time since 2002 that fewer than 1000 tornadoes have been recorded. The reason for the low tornado total in 2012 was the massive drought that gripped much of Tornado Alley. It's tough to get tornadoes when you're experiencing near-record drought conditions and very few thunderstorms.


Figure 1. June 24, 2012: A tornado spawned by Tropical Storm Debbie crosses Lake Winterset in Winter Haven, Florida. Another tornado from Debbie on this day caused the last tornado death in the U.S., at Venus in Highlands County, Florida. Image credit: wunderphotographer whgator3.


Figure 2. The total number of U.S. tornadoes stronger than EF-0 from 1950 - 2012 does not show a significant long-term trend. However, this database is not very reliable, and we cannot use it to make judgements about how tornadoes may be changing in the long term. Data taken from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC). Since not all tornadoes from 2012 have been given an EF scale rating yet, the numbers from 2012 are estimated by assuming that the same proportion of EF-0 tornadoes that existed in 2011 also occurred in 2012.

First U.S. tornado of 2013 hits Louisiana
A powerful low pressure system centered over Texas that has dumped over 5" of rain over Southeast Texas and 10" over portions of Louisiana has generated the first U.S. tornado of 2013. The tornado touched down in Plaquemine, Louisiana at 8:35 am CST this morning, when a squall line of severe thunderstorms moved through. Light to moderate roof damage was reported at an industrial plant on Highway 405, about 80 miles west-northwest of New Orleans. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has portions of Southeast Louisiana, Southern Mississippi, and Southern Alabama in their "Slight Risk" region for severe weather and tornadoes, so hopefully our record streak without a tornado death will not come to an end today.


Figure 3. Radar-estimated precipitation from the past three days from the Lake Charles radar. Over 10" of rain (dark pink colors) is estimated to have fallen over South Central Louisiana.

Earth's extreme weather: no big deal, compared to Venus
Our colleagues at TWC are airing a new series that starts tonight (Thursday) at 9pm EST/8pm CST, called "Deadliest Space Weather." We've put the trailer for tonight's episode on Venus up on the wunderground video section. As I highlighted in my book review of Dr. James Hansen's must-read book, Storms of My Grandchildren, Dr. Hansen argues that Earth's climate may eventually wind up like Venus', with a run-away greenhouse effect: "After the ice is gone, would Earth proceed to the Venus syndrome, a runaway greenhouse effect that would destroy all life on the planet, perhaps permanently? While that is difficult to say based on present information, I've come to conclude that if we burn all reserves of oil, gas, and coal, there is a substantial chance we will initiate the runaway greenhouse. If we also burn the tar sands and tar shale, I believe the Venus syndrome is a dead certainty." In tonight's episode of "Deadliest Space Weather", astronomers and planetary scientists will reveal why the climate of Venus went so horribly wrong, why a similar climate may one day descend on the Earth--and what will happen when it gets here.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


I would think that the only thing that would permanently alter Earth's climate is when our sun supernovas. There ain't no coming back from that!


Lol!

I don't think that would be the "only thing", but it would certainly trump AGW now wouldn't it?
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Not again! I do not have the answer for this, but we had better find one soon.


I saw it on my phone..just awful..what can you say??

CNN just broke it now..said at least two people had been shot and parents are picking up their kids
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Quoting ncstorm:
off topic

Shooting reported at high school in Taft, Calif.


Not again! I do not have the answer for this, but we had better find one soon.
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off topic

Shooting reported at high school in Taft, Calif.
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Ryan Maue‏@RyanMaue

Widespread 4-6'' rain over Louisiana over last 24-hrs according to RTMA 2.5km precip analysis. Welcome rain, I assume? http://twitter.com/RyanMaue/status/289429844880674 816/photo/1
Member Since: October 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2026
Here is a portion of the Tallahassee forecast for the next few days; rain chances might have to be bumped up but look at these high temps for mid-Winter.

7-DAY FORECAST
This Afternoon A 20 percent chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 77. East southeast wind 5 to 10 mph.

Friday Partly sunny, with a high near 76. South wind 5 to 10 mph.

Saturday Areas of fog before 9am. Otherwise, mostly sunny, with a high near 79. Light and variable wind becoming south southeast 5 to 10 mph in the morning.

Sunday Partly sunny, with a high near 76.
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Quoting ColdInFL:
It's there for everyone to see, you just need to be open to both sides of the research.

Link


I know most of us can only read the news summary of these scientific articles because the actual articles are behind paywalls, but you can still generally read the abstracts for free. Here's what the abstract from the original Nature Geoscience article has to say about solar forcing and global temperature:

"...Low solar activity, as observed during recent years, drives cold winters in northern Europe and the United States, and mild winters over southern Europe and Canada, with little direct change in globally averaged temperature."

You can read the abstract for yourself here (and you can read the entire article if you're lucky enough to have access to Nature Geoscience or rich enough to pay $32 for the article).

Hmmm... "little direct change in globally averaged temperature"? So it sounds like the primary effect of the solar activity they studied is to nudge wind and ocean circulation patterns, thus influencing winter weather trends in the Northern Hemisphere. They conclude that the solar activity they are measuring does not explain the observed rise in global temperatures.

The Daily Mail even manages to capture this nuance... in the LAST sentence in the article: "...there is little direct impact on global temperatures." Of course, most people never make it to the last sentence of a news article...

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Quoting dabirds:
Lost the last of our shaded snow yesterday Keep - see you guys have freezing rain chance too, probably a little more common there in Mid Jan. than in Duluth. I'm still having trouble with that! 41 and drizziling in S C IL.
freezing rain will be further east of my area i have a plus 7c temp reading at my back door and all thats left for snow is the piles from the plows
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54398
Quoting RTSplayer:
Are people aware how bad the radar estimates are for rainfall totals in SELA?

We got 4.5 inches of rain in our gauge in one day out of this system and it's been raining since Tuesday, and the radar still has us as under 4 inches for the total since Tuesday. It seems like it's rained two or three times as much as the radar total says.

This is between Ponchatoula and Springfield in Tangipahoa Parish and Livingston Parish border.

KLIX has had apparent radar-rainfall underestimation issues for several months. That's why forecasters at the NWS use more than just radar for flood/flash flood forecasting. The River Forecast Centers create a gauge/radar/human QA-QC product that is also available online:
http://water.weather.gov/precip/

This will probably match your observations more closely. As always, especially if you are in a data sparse area, your rainfall reports to your local NWS office would be appreciated.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3204


MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 0008
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1135 AM CST THU JAN 10 2013

AREAS AFFECTED...SE LA...SRN MS AND SW AL

CONCERNING...TORNADO WATCH 2...

VALID 101735Z - 101900Z

THE SEVERE WEATHER THREAT FOR TORNADO WATCH 2 CONTINUES.

SUMMARY...A SEVERE THREAT WILL LIKELY CONTINUE INTO THIS AFTERNOON
ACROSS SRN MS AND SW AL. AN ISOLATED TORNADO THREAT AND A FEW
DAMAGING WIND GUSTS WILL BE POSSIBLE. WW ISSUANCE MAY BE NEEDED TO
THE EAST OF WW 2 WITH THE PROBABILITY OF WW ISSUANCE AT 40 PERCENT.

DISCUSSION...A QUASI-LINEAR CONVECTIVE SYSTEM CURRENTLY EXTENDS FROM
SOUTH OF JACKSON MS TO NEAR NEW ORLEANS. THE LINE OF STORMS IS
ASSOCIATED WITH A SUBTLE SHORTWAVE TROUGH ROTATING AROUND THE SERN
SIDE OF A SRN PLAINS UPPER-LEVEL LOW EVIDENT ON WATER VAPOR IMAGERY.
LARGE-SCALE ASCENT ASSOCIATED WITH THIS FEATURE ALONG WITH LIFT FROM
A WELL-DEVELOPED 50 TO 60 KT LOW-LEVEL JET ANALYZED JUST TO THE WEST
OF THE CONVECTIVE LINE...WILL HELP TO MAINTAIN THE QLCS EWD ACROSS
SRN MS INTO SW AL THIS AFTERNOON. ALTHOUGH INSTABILITY AHEAD OF THE
CONVECTIVE LINE IS VERY WEAK AT THIS TIME WITH MLCAPE VALUES
GENERALLY BELOW 500 J/KG...SOME DESTABILIZATION SHOULD OCCUR AS SFC
TEMPS CONTINUE TO WARM THROUGH THE LOWER TO MID 70S F AROUND MOBILE
OVER THE NEXT FEW HOURS. WSR-88D VWPS IN SRN MS AND SW AL GENERALLY
SHOW 40 TO 50 KT OF DEEP LAYER SHEAR WITH ABOUT 30 KT OF FLOW JUST
ABOVE THE SFC. THIS SHEAR ENVIRONMENT SHOULD BE ENOUGH FOR AN
ISOLATED WIND DAMAGE THREAT WITH BOWING LINE SEGMENTS EMBEDDED IN
THE QLCS. A MARGINAL TORNADO THREAT COULD ALSO DEVELOP WITH STORMS
THAT ROTATE DUE TO THE STRONG LOW-LEVEL SHEAR.

..BROYLES/MEAD.. 01/10/2013


ATTN...WFO...BMX...MOB...JAN...LIX...
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redundant
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Are people aware how bad the radar estimates are for rainfall totals in SELA?

We got 4.5 inches of rain in our gauge in one day out of this system and it's been raining since Tuesday, and the radar still has us as under 4 inches for the total since Tuesday. It seems like it's rained two or three times as much as the radar total says.

This is between Ponchatoula and Springfield in Tangipahoa Parish and Livingston Parish border.
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Lost the last of our shaded snow yesterday Keep - see you guys have freezing rain chance too, probably a little more common there in Mid Jan. than in Duluth. I'm still having trouble with that! 41 and drizziling in S C IL.
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Quoting trumpman84:
Not to mention, atmospheric CO2 concentrations and temperatures have been much higher in the distant past, and no runaway feedbacks which permanently altered Earth's climate occured...


I would think that the only thing that would permanently alter Earth's climate is when our sun supernovas. There ain't no coming back from that!
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Quoting trumpman84:
Not to mention, atmospheric CO2 concentrations and temperatures have been much higher in the distant past, and no runaway feedbacks which permanently altered Earth's climate occured...
THATS NOT TOTALLY CORRECT THERE HAVE BEEN MANY CLIMATE EVENTS OVER THE LAST 3.5 MILLION YEARS SOME EVEN VERY RAPID

CHANGES OCCUR FASTER THEN EVER SEEN BY MAN IN THE MATTER OF WEEKS ANIMALS HAVE BEEN FOUND INCASED IN ICE WITH FOOD IN THERE GUT AND UNCHEWED IN THERE MOUNTHS LIKE AS IF AN INSTANCE SHIFT OCCURRED FROM A MILD PERIOD TO A VERY DEEP DEEP FREEZE MAYBE EVEN A FLASH FREEZE EVENT
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54398
Not to mention, atmospheric CO2 concentrations and temperatures have been much higher in the distant past, and no runaway feedbacks which permanently altered Earth's climate occured...
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May have spoken too soon.......Another tornado warning just popped up in Louisiana (the second possible tornado if confirmed of 2013).
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NICE DAY TODAY GOOD JAN THAW DAY SNOW COVER IS ALL BUT GONE MELTING FAST
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54398
Thanks Dr. A powerful low indeed......Drawing in it's cloud circulation all the way out from the Florida Big Bend (my parts) at the moment. Pretty strong lower level vorticity associated with it as well but as noted earlier, not embedded within a jet (much further to the North) so hopefully any numerous damaging tornadoes will be minimal with the particular set-up for this frontal passage.

Link

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
The earliest forming tropical cyclone on record for a particular hurricane season in the Atlantic occurred back in 1938; not only did it develop on January 3, but it reached a peak intensity of 80 mph/992 millibars. This is the system added in HRD's reanalysis.



Well, looking at the path it took, it was certainly a questionable storm.
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Today

41°F

Fri

45°F
32°F

Sat

50°F
45°F
40%
Sun

37°F
37°F

Mon

34°F
21°F

Tue

30°F
23°F

Wed

32°F
25°F
30%
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54398
Special weather statement for:
City of Toronto
Windsor - Essex - Chatham-Kent
Sarnia - Lambton
Elgin
London - Middlesex
Simcoe - Delhi - Norfolk
Dunnville - Caledonia - Haldimand
Oxford - Brant
Niagara
City of Hamilton
Halton - Peel
York - Durham
Huron - Perth
Waterloo - Wellington
Dufferin - Innisfil
Grey - Bruce
Barrie - Orillia - Midland
Belleville - Quinte - Northumberland
Kingston - Prince Edward
Peterborough - Kawartha Lakes
Stirling - Tweed - South Frontenac
Bancroft - Bon Echo Park
Brockville - Leeds and Grenville
City of Ottawa
Gatineau
Prescott and Russell
Cornwall - Morrisburg
Smiths Falls - Lanark - Sharbot Lake
Parry Sound - Muskoka
Haliburton
Renfrew - Pembroke - Barry's Bay
Algonquin
Burk's Falls - Bayfield Inlet.

..Rain and risk of freezing rain Friday...

------------------------------------------------- --------------------
==discussion==
A low pressure system from Texas is expected to track northeast
towards the Great Lakes tonight and Friday. This low will bring very
mild and fairly moist air into Southern Ontario.

Current indications suggest rain fall amounts of 10 to 20 mm are
likely on Friday for most regions in Southern Ontario. There is also
the potential of freezing rain for Eastern Ontario Friday, especially
along the Ottawa Valley including the National Capital Region.
Freezing rain warnings for parts of Eastern Ontario may be issued
later today or tonight as the event draws closer.

On Saturday very mild air ushered in by southerly winds will help
temperatures rise to 10 to 13 degrees in many areas. Temperatures in
a few locales may reach the mid teens especially in snow-free areas,
making it feel more like late April.

As a result of the very mild temperatures, a number of new maximum
temperature records may be set Friday and Saturday. Most if not all
of the snow on the ground across Southern Ontario and in Eastern
Ontario likely melt by Saturday.

The public is advised to monitor future forecasts and warnings as
warnings may be required or extended.

Please monitor the latest forecasts and warnings from Environment
Canada at www.weatheroffice.gc.ca

End

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54398
The comparison of Venus to Earth is tired and plain fear mongering regardless of your stance on human induced climate change.

Please consider -- the atmospheric pressure on Venus is 92 times that of Earth. You know those high pressure systems we see on Earth that can raise temperatures in an area on Earth 5-20 degrees with a mear 1-3% increase in atmospheric pressure? Imagine a high pressure system that raised atmospheric pressure by 9200%! This, along with the much higher solar irradiance received due to its close proximity to the sun, are the two main reasons Venus is so much warmer than the Earth.

In a distant third is the higher concentration of CO2 on Venus compared to Earth. The Venus atmosphere is almost entirely Carbon Dioxide -- 96.5%. By contrast, the CO2 concentration on Earth's atmosphere is 0.04%. Even if we burned everything we have, and had the worst feedbacks imaginable, we wouldn't get close. It would take an atmospheric increase of 241,250% to reach Venus's concentration of CO2. Hell, it would take a CO2 concentration 2500% the current amount to even make up 1% of the atmosphere. For reference, atmospheric CO2 has increased 20-25% since pre-industrial times.

So, regardless of your stance on AGW (I'm rather neutral on it -- I've read and understand both sides of the argument), this Venus = Earth argument is so easy to tear apart, I think it's embarassing to the AGW cause for those who continue to champion it.
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"The reason for the low tornado total in 2012 was the massive drought that gripped much of Tornado Alley. It's tough to get tornadoes when you're experiencing near-record drought conditions and very few thunderstorms."

Drought monitor April 3, 2012


Drought monitor June 12, 2012


ADD:

image credit: NOAA, wikicommons
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54398
Quoting calkevin77:


Interestingly enough that was the same year of the Great New England Hurricane that hit NY square on. A cat 5 nasty. I'm guessing the Atlantic SST was running a little toasty that year.


It was also said that it made landfall as a category 3 hurricane... right over NYC.

Im not so sure about the veracity of that data though...
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54398
A better look at the rainfall totals yesterday...

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Australia:


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Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
The earliest forming tropical cyclone on record for a particular hurricane season in the Atlantic occurred back in 1938; not only did it develop on January 3, but it reached a peak intensity of 80 mph/992 millibars. This is the system added in HRD's reanalysis.



Interestingly enough that was the same year of the Great New England Hurricane that hit NY square on. A cat 5 nasty. I'm guessing the Atlantic SST was running a little toasty that year.
Member Since: June 9, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 864
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
The earliest forming tropical cyclone on record for a particular hurricane season in the Atlantic occurred back in 1938; not only did it develop on January 3, but it reached a peak intensity of 80 mph/992 millibars. This is the system added in HRD's reanalysis.



I look just like it's path (question mark)..didn't know about it Cody
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
The earliest forming tropical cyclone on record for a particular hurricane season in the Atlantic occurred back in 1938; not only did it develop on January 3, but it reached a peak intensity of 80 mph/992 millibars. This is the system added in HRD's reanalysis.

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NHC... lol

...First tropical cyclone of the season forms in the open Atlantic Ocean...
Record Subtropical Stom Andrea forms in January?...



in the bottom...
Next advisory... to be issued at 5 AM AST.... What the hell is June 1st for now?
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
This may have already been mentioned, but yet another Windy City (lack of) snowfall record was broken yesterday: Chicago reaches record 320 days without 1 inch of snow.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Subtropical storms were included in the naming process back in 2002. An eye-feature does not immediately mean the system is tropical or subtropical either. Non-tropical lows can develop eye-like features.
I remember back in the mid 80's we had a huge storm off the Southeast coast in the fall,the local weather guy called it an Atlantic storm! LOL
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Quoting TomballTXPride:

If Venus is getting warmer, then it makes you wonder...

LOL


Well let's not forget Neptune. Pretty dang cold and those 1000+ MPH winds there can really screw up one's mullet.
Member Since: June 9, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 864
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


I am becoming less and less surprised about what the weather is bringing us these days. What I want to know, if that system actually forms, will it be a late 2012 season system or an early 2013 season system? ... This is becoming too confusing. Just as you start to understand the rules, the rules get changed. sigh


Its not scientific fact but I have a theory about the fabled Bermuda Triangle ... unrecorded Hurricanes ..Its only a theory but it makes more sense than most ..
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6927
Quoting overwash12:
When did we start naming Sub-tropical systems.
Subtropical storms were originally not given names and were referred to as "Subtropical Storm One", "Subtropical Depression One" and so on. Then, subtropical storms were named from 1972 to 1973, when the NHC called them "Neutercanes" meaning a mixture of a tropical and an extratropical storm. During this time, they gave subtropical storms names from the Greek Alphabet. After 1973, The NHC went back to just calling them by numbers.

It was in 2002, when the NHC decided to give subtropical storms names from the same list as tropical storms. The first subtropical storm to take a name was Ana in April of 2003. Subtropical Depressions were given numbers in the same order as the rest of the tropical storms. For example, Subtropical Depression 22 in 2005 was the first subtropical system of the year, but instead of taking the number "Subtropical Depression One", it took the number from the sequence of the rest of the storms.


Hurricane Naming
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Quoting overwash12:
When did we start naming Sub-tropical systems. How many times do we see winter-time storms take on an eye-like feature? My guess is ALOT!

Subtropical storms were included in the naming process back in 2002. An eye-feature does not immediately mean the system is tropical or subtropical either. Non-tropical lows can develop eye-like features.
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re: #3
Tornado warning allowed to expire, replaced with Severe Thunderstorm Warning... Primary concern is with large bowing segment along the squall line, lifting NEWD over eastern lower parishes of SE LA.

Edit / Add - Needless to say, Flash Flood Warning for Houma-Thibodaux Metro continues across area, extended EWD... My gauge is near another 2" over past 1.5 hrs in addition to the 4.5-5.25" locally had already...
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Quoting overwash12:
When did we start naming Sub-tropical systems. How many times do we see winter-time storms take on a eye-like feature? My guess is ALOT!


Subtropical systems were named starting in the 2002 Atlantic Hurricane season, but always counted towards seasonal counts, with names like Subtropical Storm Alpha, Charlie, Delta, etc.

Having an eye means little to nothing about a qualification of a subtropical storm. You just see eye like features in these systems more often than not because the winds and convection are often found miles away from the center, giving an 'eye' appearance. Storms like Subtropical Storm Otto in 2010, and Subtropical Storm Beryl in 2012 at the time of classification did not have an eye like feature.
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When did we start naming Sub-tropical systems. How many times do we see winter-time storms take on an eye-like feature? My guess is ALOT!
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


I am becoming less and less surprised about what the weather is bringing us these days. What I want to know, if that system actually forms, will it be a late 2012 season system or an early 2013 season system? ... This is becoming too confusing. Just as you start to understand the rules, the rules get changed. sigh


It would count as the first named storm of the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season.
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Quoting VR46L:
Umm , The GFS 12Z Atlantic run is rather hilarious at the moment....

Drama a system coming off the North Coast of the US turns into a Sub/tropical System ...LOL

GFS 12Z From Raleigh



I am becoming less and less surprised about what the weather is bringing us these days. What I want to know, if that system actually forms, will it be a late 2012 season system or an early 2013 season system? ... This is becoming too confusing. Just as you start to understand the rules, the rules get changed. sigh
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Quoting VR46L:
Umm , The GFS 12Z Atlantic run is rather hilarious at the moment....

Drama a system coming off the North Coast of the US turns into a Sub/tropical System ...LOL

GFS 12Z From Raleigh



00z ECMWF supports this solution. Shows a Subtropical Storm 'Andrea' at 96 hours.


We'll have to watch it assuming the models remain consistent.
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Thanks doc, You think Venus being 28 million miles closer to the sun has anything to do with it's inhospitable climate?
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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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