First tornado death of 2013 ends record 219-day streak without a tornado death

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:50 PM GMT on January 30, 2013

Share this Blog
44
+

A powerful tornado ripped through Adairsville, Georgia, northwest of Atlanta, at 11:19 am EST this morning, killing at least one person in a mobile home park. The tornado caused major structural damage in the downtown district, and overturned approximately 100 cars on I-75 near Exit 306 (see eyewitness video here, with swear words.) Eight injuries, some serious, are also being reported from a tornado just southeast of Calhoun, GA around 11:30am EST. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has placed most of the Southeast in their "Slight Risk" region for severe weather for Wednesday, a step down from the "Moderate Risk" potential issued on Tuesday for the Midwest. Three other tornadoes have hit Georgia today, and there were 79 reports of wind damage due to high winds as of 2 pm EST along the cold front that triggered today's severe weather, from Alabama to Pennsylvania. Tornado watches continue for a wide swath of the Southeast this afternoon, from Alabama to North Carolina.


Figure 1. Car overturned by the tornado near Adairsville, Georgia, on January 30, 2013. Image courtesy of WSB-TV on http://pic.twitter.com/2lAL0Lmc.



Figure 2. Radar reflectivity (top) and Doppler velocity (bottom) images of the tornado that hit Adairsville, Georgia at 11:19 am EST Wednesday, January 30, 2013. Adairsville is under the circle with a "+" in it.


Figure 3. A wild weather day in the Southeast: NOAA's Storm Prediction Center logged four preliminary reports of tornadoes as of 2 pm Wednesday, along with 79 reports of damaging winds.


Video 1. View of the Adairsville, Georgia tornado of January 30, 2013. Note the blue power flashes as the tornado brings down power lines.

Record string of 219 days without a tornado death ends
Today's fatality ends the longest continuous stretch without a tornado death ever recorded in the U.S.--219 days. The last time the U.S. saw a tornado death was at Venus in Highlands County, Florida, from an EF-0 tornado associated with Tropical Storm Debby on June 24, 2012. The previous record was 197 straight days without a tornado death, which ended on February 28, 1987. Part of the reason for the long stretch without a tornado death during 2012 - 2013 was the relative lack of tornadoes. According to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (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 jet stream was positioned unusually far north in Canada during much of 2012, which brought drought to much of Tornado Alley. It's tough to get tornadoes when you're experiencing near-record drought conditions and very few thunderstorms. Saskatchewan, Canada saw as many tornadoes in July 2012 as all of the U.S., thanks to the more northward position of the jet stream.


Figure 4. 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.

Record moisture and rains
Today's severe weather outbreak was helped by record levels of January moisture, as a flow of unusually moist air rode northwards from the Gulf of Mexico, where water temperatures were about 0.5°F above average. Meteorologists use a term called "precipitable water" to discuss how much water vapor is in the atmosphere. Precipitable water is defined as how much rain would fall on the ground if one took a vertical slice of the atmosphere above a given location and condensed all the water vapor into rain. Precipitable water levels tend to be highest in the summer, since warm air holds more waver vapor, and can exceed two inches in the Midwest U.S. In winter, though, it is rare to see precipitable water values higher than one inch. However, precipitable water was well over an inch well into Canada, and three upper air stations--Detroit, MI, Lincoln IL, and Caribou, Maine--set all-time records for January moisture, and four other stations had their 2nd highest January moisture on record. From the 00Z January 30 to 00Z January 31 upper air balloon soundings taken at the 73 radiosonde stations in the contiguous U.S., we observed these record or near-record precipitable water values for January:

Detroit, MI: New Record: 1.21" Old record: 1.20" 1/11/75
Lincoln, IL: New record: 1.46" Old Record: 1.35" 1/12/60
Caribou, Maine: New Record: 1.21" (Ties old record of 1.21" 1/14/2005)
Alpena, MI: 2nd place, 0.99". First place: 1.01", 1/5/97
Buffalo, NY: 2nd place, 1.21". First place: 1.34", 1/15/95
Wilmington, OH: 2nd place, 1.44" First place: 1.51", 1/12/2005
Gray, ME: 2nd place, 1.36" First place: 1.38" 1/20/96

Green Bay (4th), Albany, NY (4th), Sterling, VA (4th), Shreveport (6th), Little Rock (3rd), Nashville, TN (10th), Chatham, MA (10th), and Maniwawi, Quebec (4th) all had top-ten January precipitable water values. Radiosonde data goes back to 1948.

The exceptional moisture led to record rains in many regions of the Midwest, with numerous locations setting daily precipitation records. Two airports recorded their wettest January day on record, including Madison, WI (1.84", previous record 1.80" on January 1, 1892) and Houghton Lake, MI (1.21", old record 1.08" on in 1938.) Top-five wettest January days in recorded history were also set at Muskegon, MI (2.48"), Marquette, MI (1.21"), and South Bend, IN (1.94".) Here where I live, in Southeast Michigan, being outside yesterday was like walking through a surreal white soup. Rains like nothing I've ever seen in January fitfully poured from the sky throughout the day, ponding up on the frozen ground. Eerie white fog swirled over the sodden snow drifts as thunder rumbled overhead in temperatures 25°F above average. What planet was this? The heavy rains of 1.60" that fell in 26 hours at the nearby Flint airport made this month our wettest January in recorded history, with 3.66" of precipitation.

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 587 - 537

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13Blog Index

to my north, freezing temps this morning.....
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 37000
7-day for Tampa Bay area..................
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 37000
Good Morning Folks! evening Aussie..stay safe down there..a cool 46 here this morning but at least that wind had stopped...the blogs coffee is perked..grab a cup or two...have a wonderful day everyone!
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 37000
584. Skyepony (Mod)
The roof of a Fall River, Mass. school incurred significant damage Thursday and a full structural assessment of the building needs to be done. Much of the debris landed here in a nearby backyard. Fall River's school spokesman told NECN it is possible that students will not return to this building this year. What's left of the roof of Resiliency Prep School is flapping in what's left of a powerful winter wind storm. It blew through Fall River, Mass. overnight, and left rubble behind. "A friend came over and he said, 'there's police on your back deck.' I said, 'what?' And I looked out the window and that's when I saw it. I was like 'oh my goodness," said Robyn Berube-Goncalo.

It wasn't until the light of day that neighbors got a look: A roof in a backyard. It wasn't just shingles from a nearby house, but a good part of the top of the 105-year-old school thrown from a football field away. "It's amazing that there was no one out there, and as you can see, there's a bunch of kids' toys under there, so it's actually amazing it happened in January and not some other time of year," Brandy Joyce said. A view from the air shows how significant the damage was and how fortunate the neighborhood is that no one was hurt. A few blocks up the hill, crews are working through the evening to fix a roof and siding because of holes in a home the damaging winds created. It was 6:30 in the morning, a towering limb from this beech tree, on its own larger than many entire trees, snapped and came to rest on top of the house.

Damage to the roof, the eaves, some of the interior, as well. "We have a third floor apartment, we figured if it went though the second floor it must have hit the third floor. We went up there and there was literally the skylight in the living room, and it was still raining at the time so, it was water pouring in," said Allison Sirois. And at RPS, an alternative high school with 215 students, kids will not be in school tomorrow but the district will let them know where they will go to school, a temporary location starting Monday.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
583. Skyepony (Mod)
A large-scale landslide has collapsed 35 residential houses in mountainous Zhenxiong county in southwest China's Yunnan province, local authorities said Thursday. Starting Monday, the gradually deteriorating landslide has affected the life of 712 villagers in Zhongtun township, according to the Zhenxiong county government. The landslide also damaged 928 houses in the county. As of Thursday, no casualties have been reported, and the county government has implemented a geological disaster emergency response to the landslide. The local government has sent professional rescuers to the sites and assisted the affected villagers to remove to safe areas.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
582. Skyepony (Mod)
More than a month after BP and the Coast Guard finished a subsea operation to inspect the Deepwater Horizon site for oil leaks, no source has been found. Also, BP and the Coast Guard have not publicly identified a mystery white, milky substance observed seeping from the wreckage. But they say it's not oil and it's not harmful. Recurring oil sheens have been spotted in recent months around the Deepwater Horizon site. Several missions to inspect the sunken Deepwater Horizon platform, riser pipe, wellhead, relief wells and containment domes found no oil leaks. However, the Coast Guard reported seeing "an unidentified substance inconsistent with oil" emitting from several areas of the wreckage. Samples were collected for analysis and the Coast Guard this week said the lab "detected no traces of harmful pollutants," and that a BP test "yielded similar results." Neither BP nor the Coast Guard responded to the question of what the unidentified substance may be. With no source of leaking oil identified, the Coast Guard told CBS News: "satellite surveillance continue to monitor the sheen while future steps are being considered." The Coast Guard said the main components of the Deepwater Horizon wreckage, including BP's main Macondo well and two relief wells, were found to be secure. BP told CBS News it is still working with the Coast Guard to investigate possible sources of one oil sheen in the area: "BP has also capped and plugged an abandoned piece of subsea equipment known as a cofferdam that was identified as a potential source of the sheen." BP says the Coast Guard has indicated that "the sheen is not feasible to recover and does not pose a risk to the shoreline."
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I found one location that experienced their warmest January day on record in Quebec. Mont-Joli set a new record of 13.3 C on January 31 (yesterday) by beating their previous record of 13.0 C registered on January 19, 1996 (records go back to 1943).
Mont-Joli's temperature fluctuated in a rather strange manner between 9 am and 1 pm:

Member Since: October 17, 2006 Posts: 60 Comments: 1297
I've has 0.28inch of rain from this storm. but more to come.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting gippgig:
Improvised QuickScat replacement: www.space-travel.com/reports/NASA_to_recycle_parts _for_science_work_999.html


Your link ---> Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Improvised QuickScat replacement: www.space-travel.com/reports/NASA_to_recycle_parts _for_science_work_999.html
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PedleyCA:
Time to Bail - Stay Safe All - Hard Hat for Aussie - Stay Warm - Sleep Well

Thanks

I have this one on.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
If Pat's out there, he may be interested in this: http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2013/01/dream-chase r-breathe-new-life-into-michoud/

Michoud's getting to store the new Sierra Nevada lifting body ''mini-space shuttle'', one of the three commercial replacements to the ISS after the space shuttle, the other two being SpaceX's Dragon and Boeing's CST-100.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Time to Bail - Stay Safe All - Hard Hat for Aussie - Stay Warm - Sleep Well
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5690
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


be alert there... stay safe Aussie

Getting hammered right now, have had pea size hail.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Not staying on long tonight... but wondering if we're going to see any serious fall in temps once the back side of this goes through. Right now the light cloud cover is keeping the temps from falling off too fast.

Later, all...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


I hope they don't take 50 years for Sandy's
Was about to say that it's likely to be a doozy...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


The storm responsible for all the severe weather in NE has deepened to 953 mb!! wow
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting allancalderini:
just three report left. Chris,Leslie and Sandy.

All reports should be out within the next two weeks.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31520
Quoting allancalderini:
just three report left. Chris,Leslie and Sandy.


I hope they don't take 50 years for Sandy's
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
just three report left. Chris,Leslie and Sandy.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
A large prominence eruption is currently underway in the northeast quadrant. Image by SDO
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
As expected, the northeast quadrant prominence eruption today flung a Coronal Mass Ejection into space. The plasma cloud was directed to the northeast and away from Earth. Image by Lasco C3.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Evening all. We got a fine downpour this evening during rush hour as this system dragged its tail through the islands [it's not gone, but that leading edge is through the NW Bahamas now]. Afterwards we had one of the most spectacular rainbows I've seen in recent times. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me :o(.

I was sorry to hear about the tornado damage and the loss of life. I was also interested in the following headline:

Deadly Tornado Batters District of GOP Congressman Who Opposed Sandy Aid. I have to admit I was wondering if this was his district. I find it ironic that proof of the adage "what goes around comes around" arrived so swiftly at his doorstep. But those of us who live in the hurricane belt understand all too well that today it is for you, tomorrow it is for me, and we generally have compassion one for another....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Dropped 4 degrees in the last 20 minutes here (mid TN).. from 37 to 33 with drizzle probably turning to snow shortly through the early morning and a forecast low of 18 once the clouds move out about time I get the kids up for school in the morning... Have a good and safe night everyone!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


If I ever get to see this this close and w/o thinking on a safe place anywhere...I'll probably say "Im over!".
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AussieStorm:
WOW....

TOP PRIORITY FOR IMMEDIATE BROADCAST

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
for LARGE HAILSTONES, HEAVY RAINFALL and DAMAGING WIND
For people in the Mid North Coast, Hunter, Illawarra, Central Tablelands, North West Slopes and Plains and parts of the Metropolitan, Southern Tablelands, Central West Slopes and Plains, South West Slopes, Upper Western and Northern Tablelands Forecast Districts.
Issued at 2:24 pm Friday, 1 February 2013.
Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce large hailstones, heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding and damaging winds in the warning area over the next several hours. Locations which may be affected include Port Macquarie, Taree, Newcastle, Gosford, Katoomba, Nowra, Armidale, Orange, Goulburn, Tamworth, Moree, Dubbo and Parkes.

Spring Creek, near Orange, rain gauge recorded 29mm in 30 minutes to 12:25pm.
26mm in 30 minutes was also recorded at Craven (Longview) ay 1:15pm.
Storm spotter near Orange in the Central Tablelands reported about 2.2cm hail and estimated 90 km/h wind gusts at 1:26pm.
Coonabarrabaren recorded winds of 36 knots, gusting to 57 knots at 1:30pm.
40.4mm in 30 minutes was recorded at Dungog Post Office at 1:38pm.
Cabbage tree mountain (far north of Hunter near the Mid North Coast border) recorded 30mm in 30 minutes at 1:46pm.
Storm Spotter reported about golf ball sized hail near Mount Vic and torrential rain at 2:20pm.




be alert there... stay safe Aussie
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
WOW....

TOP PRIORITY FOR IMMEDIATE BROADCAST

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
for LARGE HAILSTONES, HEAVY RAINFALL and DAMAGING WIND
For people in the Mid North Coast, Hunter, Illawarra, Central Tablelands, North West Slopes and Plains and parts of the Metropolitan, Southern Tablelands, Central West Slopes and Plains, South West Slopes, Upper Western and Northern Tablelands Forecast Districts.
Issued at 2:24 pm Friday, 1 February 2013.
Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce large hailstones, heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding and damaging winds in the warning area over the next several hours. Locations which may be affected include Port Macquarie, Taree, Newcastle, Gosford, Katoomba, Nowra, Armidale, Orange, Goulburn, Tamworth, Moree, Dubbo and Parkes.

Spring Creek, near Orange, rain gauge recorded 29mm in 30 minutes to 12:25pm.
26mm in 30 minutes was also recorded at Craven (Longview) ay 1:15pm.
Storm spotter near Orange in the Central Tablelands reported about 2.2cm hail and estimated 90 km/h wind gusts at 1:26pm.
Coonabarrabaren recorded winds of 36 knots, gusting to 57 knots at 1:30pm.
40.4mm in 30 minutes was recorded at Dungog Post Office at 1:38pm.
Cabbage tree mountain (far north of Hunter near the Mid North Coast border) recorded 30mm in 30 minutes at 1:46pm.
Storm Spotter reported about golf ball sized hail near Mount Vic and torrential rain at 2:20pm.


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Afternoon all. How many people here have an iPhone?

If you do, go to this website and download a free weather app, the maker of this app was on the Barometer Bob show. The broadcast is here with the app maker here. It's a beta test as it's only version 1.0, also if you get version 1.0 you'll get lifetime updates.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
557. beell
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

We keep track of the totals, as usual, on Wikipedia. Though the article may be lacking in content (as far as the meteorological synopsis section is concerned), the tornado count is constantly being updated.

Link


Thanks. I made a quick tally from the links to WFO's in the Wiki plus a few more. IMO & FWIW, and all that, of course, it looks like some good work there.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
good evening all. interesting Al Gore interview on global warming by Jon Stewart on the Daily Show http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/wed-janu ary-30-2013-al-gore
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Lady Jane
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5690


Got to 74.5 here today. Airport (KRAL) got 78
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5690
553. wxmod
Quoting MrMixon:


There are two guidelines for labelling an earthquake as an aftershock. First, it must occur within an "aftershock zone." This is sometimes defined as within one fault-rupture length of the mainshock rupture surface, or alternatively, within an area defined by seismologists based upon early aftershock activity. Second, it must occur within that designated area -- the "aftershock zone" -- before the seismicity rate in that area returns to its "background", meaning pre-mainshock, level. If an earthquake meets these two criteria, seismologists consider it an "aftershock."

SOURCE

EDIT - FYI, fault rupture lengths are usually measured in tens or even hundreds of miles... though I've seen rupture lengths as low as 2 miles.


Thanks.
Member Since: October 4, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1740
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31520
Sunday "somewhat potential" snowstorm for NE big cities...



check out if you are within the blue shade, some snow could be for you on Sunday

click picture for larger size...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Going Home
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5690
Hopefully it fulfills my needs... some significant snow

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Wind damage across my area...


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting beell:


Please, Mister, can I have a link?

We keep track of the totals, as usual, on Wikipedia. Though the article may be lacking in content (as far as the meteorological synopsis section is concerned), the tornado count is constantly being updated.

Link
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31520
January was below normal in terms of rainfall in Puerto Rico/U.S VI and it's going to be that way for the next couple of months as the dry season get's into full force. This will increase the fire danger in PR.

.CLIMATE...AT CHARLOTTE AMALIE JAN 2013 WILL END AS THE DRIEST ON
RECORD WITH ONLY 0.55 INCHES OF RAIN. THE PREVIOUS DRIEST JAN ON
RECORD WAS IN 2007 WITH 0.76 INCHES.

AT CHRISTIANSTED...JAN 2013 WILL END AS THE TENTH DRIEST ON RECORD
WITH 1.05 INCHES OF RAIN. THE DRIEST JAN WAS IN 2011 WITH 0.49
INCHES OF RAIN.

AT SJU LMM INTL ARPT...JAN 2013 WILL END AS THE TWELFTH DRIEST ON
RECORD WITH 1.78 INCHES OF RAIN. THE DRIEST JAN ON RECORD WAS IN
1978 WITH 0.31 INCHES.


.FIRE WEATHER...BUILDING UPPER LEVEL RIDGE WILL RESULT IN RAPID
EROSION OF LOW LEVEL MOISTURE WITH MODELS INDICATING WATER VAPOR
CONTENT DROPPING TWO STANDARD DEVIATIONS BELOW NORMAL OVER THE
WEEKEND. THIS IN COMBINATION WITH EXTREMELY DRY FUELS WILL RESULT
IN HEIGHTENED FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS. WINDS PEAKED TODAY AND WILL
BE DIMINISHING SOMEWHAT OVER THE WEEKEND. STABILITY IS FCST TO
INCREASE OVER THE WEEKEND WHICH SHOULD TEND TO SUPPRESS ANY FIRES BUT
THE LONG DURATION OF VERY LOW HUMIDITIES AND EXTREMELY DRY FUELS
AND HIGH FUEL LOAD RAISES A LOT OF FLAGS AND CONCERNS. DON`T
EXPECT HUMIDITIES TO RECOVER AT NIGHT DUE TO EXTREME DRYNESS.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14055
Quoting beell:


Please, Mister, can I have a link?


Here is the link to the Adairsville Tornado information.

Link
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14055
543. whitewabit (Mod)
Temperatures slowly dropping ..


Peoria, Illinois (Airport)
Updated: 11 min 34 sec ago
Overcast
7 °F
Overcast
Windchill: -11 °F
Humidity: 64%
Dew Point: -3 °F
Wind: 16 mph from the WNW
Wind Gust: 33 mph
Pressure: 30.23 in (Rising)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
542. beell
Quoting Chucktown:
Impressive look at the stratospheric warming event. Its amazing how the polar vortex just splits in two. In all my years of being a meteorologist, I have never seen anything like this.

Link


Inconceivable! (j/k)

Nice link, thanks.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Here's all the scientific poop about it for those interested.

Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Impressive look at the stratospheric warming event. Its amazing how the polar vortex just splits in two. In all my years of being a meteorologist, I have never seen anything like this.

Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
538. beell
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
The number of confirmed tornadoes following the January 29-30 tornado outbreak is up to 37.

This makes it the largest tornado outbreak since April 13-16, 2012.


Please, Mister, can I have a link?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Wow, it's actually warming up here in Moab, Utah (40s today). About time. Everyone's ready for it. City pipes burst in several neighborhoods and some have been w/o water for a couple of weeks, it's been so cold.

Not much snow in the La Sal mtns, though.

Boulder, I remember going to grad school there and the winds were something else. In fact, there was a stiff drink at one bar called the Boulder Wind. Would knock you out.

Hope my home state of CO gets some snow soon. Can't imagine a worse fire season than last year.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 587 - 537

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Overcast
68 °F
Overcast