Barbara Nearing Mexico at Hurricane Strength; Midwest Tornado Outbreak Today

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:02 PM GMT on May 29, 2013

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Hurricane warnings are flying for the Pacific coast of Mexico, where Tropical Storm Barbara is rapidly intensifying as it makes landfall. Barbara should be ashore by 2 pm EDT (11 am PDT), and is expected to intensify to a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds before landfall. Barbara formed on Tuesday night (May 28), an unusually early date for the formation of the Eastern Pacific's second storm of the year. The record earliest second storm of the year occurred just last year, on May 21 (Tropical Storm Bud.) The previous record was set in 1984, when the second named storm (Boris) formed on May 29. Reliable records of Eastern Pacific hurricanes go back to 1949. Barbara wasted no time getting organized, and is gathering strength in impressive fashion as it nears landfall in Mexico's Bay of Tehuantepec area. The storm's main threat is very heavy rains of up to a foot, which will be capable of causing dangerous flash floods and mudslides over the next 2 - 3 days. However, wind damage and the expected 3 - 5 foot storm surge are also a concern, since the area of the coast it is hitting, though not heavily populated, has very little hurricane experience. According to NOAA's Historical Hurricane Tracks website, only one Eastern Pacific hurricane has ever hit the Bay of Tehuantepec--Category 1 Hurricane Rick of 1997. Radar out of Puerto Angel, Mexico shows that Barbara has built a partial eyewall, and the storm has already spread heavy rains ashore along portions of the Mexican coast. Satellite loops show that Barbara is a relatively small storm, with a modest area of heavy thunderstorms.


Figure 1. Radar image of Barbara from Puerto Angel, Mexico, taken at 9:30 am EDT (6:30 am PDT) May 29, 2013. Image credit: CONAGUA.

May tropical storm landfalls are rare in the Eastern Pacific
Only eight named storms that formed in May have hit land in the Eastern Pacific since accurate hurricane records began in 1949--an average of one storm every eight years, according to NOAA's Historical Hurricane Tracks website. Just one of these May storms made landfall as a hurricane--Category 1 Hurricane Agatha of 1971, which hit Mexico west of Acapulco. But one of the deadliest and most destructive Eastern Pacific tropical cyclones of all-time was a May storm that never reached hurricane strength--Tropical Storm Agatha of May 29, 2010, which had top winds of only 45 mph at landfall. Agatha dissipated just one day after making landfall, but its remnants lingered over Central America for six days, dumping torrential rains that triggered deadly flash floods and landslides; Mazatenango, Guatemala, reported 22.27 inches of rain from May 25 - 30, 2010. At least 190 people died, mostly in Guatemala, making Agatha the 7th deadliest Eastern Pacific tropical cyclone in history. Agatha's $1.2 billion in damage made it the 6th most expensive Eastern Pacific tropical cyclone on record. Fortunately, Barbara is hitting a region of the coast that is relatively sparsely populated compared to where Agatha hit, and Barbara is not likely to cause anywhere close to the devastation that Agatha wrought.


Figure 2. Journey to the center of the Earth: a massive sinkhole 66 feet (20 m) across and 100 ft (30 m) deep opened up on May 29, 2010 in Guatemala City after heavy rains from Tropical Storm Agatha. The sinkhole collapsed suddenly, taking a three-story house that was used as factory, claiming fifteen lives. The sinkhole formed because Guatemala City is built upon volcanic pumice deposits, which are unconsolidated and of low density, allowing easy erosion. According to Sam Bonis, a geologist at Dartmouth College, because of lax city zoning regulations and building codes, leaking pipes went unfixed long enough to create the conditions necessary for this hole to form (it technically wasn't a sinkhole, since sinkholes form in limestone rock.) How do you patch something like this?

Tropical cyclone development unlikely in the Atlantic during the coming seven days
Barbara is expected to push northwards and cross into the Gulf of Mexico by Friday, but the storm is small enough and moving slowly enough that Barbara will likely dissipate before reaching the Gulf. If the storm were able to maintain at least tropical depression status and cross into the Gulf, it would keep the name Barbara. If Barbara were to dissipate before reaching the Gulf, then regenerate into a tropical storm in the Gulf, it would be named Andrea. However, conditions do not favor redevelopment of Barbara's remnants into an Atlantic tropical depression, since wind shear is expected to be quite high over the Gulf late this week. None of the reliable computer models is calling for tropical cyclone development in the Atlantic during the next seven days.

AP will be doing a hurricane twitter chat on Thursday at 1 p.m. EDT: #APStormChat

The National Hurricane Center is doing a hurricane chat on Thursday at 2 pm EDT: #HurriChat


Figure 3. Large tornado on the ground near Corning, Kansas, at 4:32 CDT May 28, 2013. Image credit: Ron Heinen, via twitter.


Figure 4. Radar reflectivity image of the tornado that hit Corning, Kansas at 4:32 pm CDT May 28, 2013.


Figure 5. Severe weather outlook for Wednesday, May 29, calls for a "Moderate Risk" of severe weather over much of Oklahoma and Kansas, plus portions of the Texas Panhandle. You can follow today's severe weather outbreak from our Severe Weather page.

Multi-day severe weather outbreak in the Midwest continues today
It was an active day for tornadoes in the Midwest on Tuesday, with NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) logging eighteen preliminary tornado reports, with twisters touching down in Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. No injuries were reported from these tornadoes, but damage was reported near Corning, Kansas, and Fenton, Michigan. The latest forecasts from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center call for a "Moderate Risk" of severe weather today (Wednesday), with the possibility of a significant tornado outbreak over much of Oklahoma and Kansas, plus portions of the Texas Panhandle.

Wunderblogger Lee Grenci has a post, The Moore Tornado, describing how the rapid intensification of the May 20, 2013 Moore, Oklahoma tornado occurred.

Jeff Masters

Overhead Clouds at Sunset (Nikongranny)
Overhead Clouds at Sunset

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Chicklit I read that on Sunday and was saddened by it.

WeatherH98 - Quite possible, whatever the reason they rarely survive the crossing and shear is a big problem for her survival as I mentioned earlier. I really don't want to see her survive and get into the bathtub GOM water. We all know that the gulf coast doesn't really need a Hurricane going thru it.
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Quoting weatherh98:
So here's a question...

Should Barbara survive the crossing completely, it keeps the name Barbara.... But will it count towards the atlantic season total as well?


No, of course not.
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The Isthumus of Tehuantepec is much lower in elevation than the region to its northwest, yes, but let's not confuse it to be totally conducive for tropical cyclones. It has roughly the same elevation as the Yucatan Peninsula, which brought Category 2 Hurricane Ernesto down to a low-grade tropical storm overnight. Barbara has a long night ahead, and it probably won't survive the crossing.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32822
So here's a question...

Should Barbara survive the crossing completely, it keeps the name Barbara.... But will it count towards the atlantic season total as well?
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
Quoting Dakster:


I am from South Florida, anything higher than 100 foot is a mountain to us.


I'm from south Louisiana so I can relate... But I don't think 1000-2000 feet is going to kill the LLC... Shear is gonna be the main issue, should it survive
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
...sorry, this is the story I was referring to:
Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Seven people killed in Mexican landslide.

Seven people have been killed when a part of a hill collapsed onto the Mexico City-Queretaro road in Tepeji del Rio municipality in Hildago State, covering cars with mud, rocks and trees on Sunday 26 May 2013. At least five cars were buried by the slide, though all those killed were in two vehicles; five people in a taxi and two in a van, another four passengers in the van received hospital treatment. The incident comes during a severe hail and rain storm that caused flooding in the area. People in the area had apparently raised concerns about the hill above the road, but highway officials had not found any problems.
Link sciencythoughts
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Quoting redwagon:


It was less than 3 years ago: 11-E -> Hermine Sept. 2010. We in centex have been waiting for Barbara, or someone like her, to happen again.


Hermine doesn't count. Alma doesn't count. I'm talking about literally the entire surface center remaining intact and retaining its name.
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I hope all the folks in the Midwest remain safe tonight.
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Quoting KoritheMan:
I would love to see Barbara survive the crossing, even if a quick subsequent demise to vertical shear is inevitable. Only a handful of Pacific tropical cyclones have done that, the most recent occurrence being in 1969, IIRC.

EDIT: Seems 1969 wasn't the year. At any rate, it's been awhile.


It was less than 3 years ago: 11-E -> Hermine Sept. 2010. We in centex have been waiting for Barbara, or someone like her, to happen again.
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Quoting weatherh98:


What mountains?


I am from South Florida, anything higher than 100 foot is a mountain to us.
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Barbara is our first hurricane of the season, EPAC doesn't matter. It is still landfalling and affecting people. Dr. Masters blog said it is rare for a hurricane to landfall in this area, so that does not bode well for the folks on the ground. Hopefully, people took the warnings seriously, assessed their situations and found places to ride out the storm in safety.
The best way to avoid injury or death in these situations is to stay tuned to the latest forecasts and plan accordingly in order to get out of harm's way.
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Quoting Dakster:
Unless she can turn on her wind shear wipers - she is done. Especially after getting ripped up by the mountains.


What mountains?
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
Quoting Doppler22:

Thats how I felt when the 5.8 East Coast Earthquake happened :p It was quite unusual for me to feel one as well


It is really odd when you wake up and your bed is trembling but the weirdest thing was the deep rumble that I heard besides the rattling of the window. Did you also hear something like that?

I think I'm off to bed now. It's 1.44 am here. I'll see how Barbara fares in the morning, whether she makes it across alright or not.
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If she threads the needle than the effects will be less, but the last time I checked the CDO and circulation are still gonna feel the mountains.

I am not saying she won't survive the passing, just saying the odds are not for her making it into the GOM.
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It'll be interesting to see how tomorrow pans out tornado wise.

Mid and upper-level flow is more perpendicular to the dryline and low-level winds as opposed to today:





^ but as you can see in that last image, wind shear is weak at 21z...

...which is when the cap will be completely broken:



It doesn't really ramp up until 0z. It's a question of how long cells can remain discrete to take advantage of the shear. They may just become linear like today, leading to a reduced tornado threat.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32822
Quoting Dakster:


Agreed, dangerous regardless... If the past 10-15 ys has taught me anything, is that it doesn't have to be a named storm to cause tremendous damage.

Twdep
Tropical weather discussion
NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL
2205 UTC Wed may 29 2013
Tropical weather discussion for the eastern Pacific Ocean from the Equator to 32n...east of 140w. The following information is based on satellite imagery...weather observations... radar...and meteorological analysis.
Based on 1800 UTC surface analysis and satellite imagery through 2100 UTC.

...Special feature...
Eye of Hurricane Barbara made landfall on the coast of Mexico near 16.0n 94.0w about 20 mi...35 km W of tonala Mexico... or about 80 mi...130 km E of Salina cruz mexicoat 1950 UTC.
At 2100 UTC...Hurricane Barbara near 16.2n 94.0w or about 80 mi...130 km E of Salina cruz Mexico 990 mb moving NNE or 030 deg at 8 kt.

Maximum sustained winds 65 kt gusts 80 kt. A Hurricane Warning is in effect for...Puerto Angel to barra de tonala Mexico. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...barra de tonala to Boca de pijijiapan Mexico.

Barbara will continue to move NNE throughout the night...bringing bands of torrential showers and thunderstorms across Chiapas...leading to flash flooding and high potential for mudslides.

Tropical storm force southerly winds will push large waves and a modest storm surge along the coast.

See the latest NHC forecast/ advisory under AWIPS/WMO headers miatcmep2/wtpz22 knhc...or the latest public advisory under AWIPS/WMO headers miatcpep2/wtpz32 knhc...for more details.
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Quoting Ricki13th:
After Barbara passes Isthmus mountains it will have to contend with some drier air and an increase in shear. If it can maintain a semi decent stucture till it reemerges again then things could be interesting. Shear is slowly starting to drop in the BOC and NW Caribbean.


Don't forget too... the BOC is notorious for quickly spinning up storms due to the curving nature of the coast surrounding it allowing the winds to spin around a bit faster. We've had these occurrences when they quickly spin up out of nowhere so often in the past.
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Quoting Dakster:
Unless she can turn on her wind shear wipers - she is done. Especially after getting ripped up by the mountains.

I don't think mountains are her problem. She is in an area with some of the smallest mountains if not hills.
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Quoting Dakster:


Agreed, dangerous regardless... If the past 10-15 ys has taught me anything, is that it doesn't have to be a named storm to cause tremendous damage.


A better way of putting it is that damage doesn't have to be widespread. Barbara struck a sparsely populated area of the coast, so damage will neither be widespread nor regionally significant. However, extreme local effects tend to occur with virtually any tropical cyclone, regardless of strength.

In short, some people are going to have a bad day, as is always the case with even the weakest of tropical cyclones.
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Quoting Astrometeor:




Edit: Are those freeze watches and warnings in Nevada? But...it's almost June. :(

It looks like Elko, NV (northeast part of the state) has record low daily temperatures in the low to mid 30s even into mid July. Looks like they've had frost conditions almost year round. I'd imagine that it is due to the larger diurnal temperature range in the desert.
Record low temperatures for this time of the year are still in the 20s!

http://weatherspark.com/#!dashboard;q=elko%2C%20n v
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Quoting taistelutipu:
Evening, folks. I was out for most of the day and now that I'm back I see that I missed a hurricane and tornado watches are stretching from Texas almost to the Great Lakes. Whoa, what a Severe Weather day.

In other news, I woke up this morning at 4.15 because my bed was shaking and the window was rattling. I first thought that I was still dreaming but then realised that I was awake and that this was my first earthquake. 3.8 on the Richter scale, epicentre about 30 miles away from me. Wow... it seemed so surreal. Every now and then we have light earthquakes here in Wales. This area once had volcanic activity and although the volcanoes are all extinct by now, those tremors are a reminder of the past.
Have a good evening and stay safe in the warned areas.

Thats how I felt when the 5.8 East Coast Earthquake happened :p It was quite unusual for me to feel one as well
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Quoting Chicklit:

still Barbara is dumping a lot of rain with winds.
some people aren't going to make it as she passes through.


Agreed, dangerous regardless... If the past 10-15 ys has taught me anything, is that it doesn't have to be a named storm to cause tremendous damage.
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
NASA Research Aircraft to Double-Team 2013 Hurricanes

Excerpts:

With the start of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season less than a week away, NASA is preparing to send a pair of specially instrumented Global Hawk unmanned aircraft out over the Atlantic later this summer to investigate the processes that underlie hurricane formation and intensity.

The mission will operate between Aug. 20 and Sept. 23.

can't wait I loved those missions
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12716
new map out shear has and still increasing in the BOC and GOM and shear is really falling in the GOH and W Carib

850 vort shows Barbara low is becoming monsoonal W-E and vort picking up over Guatemala and Honduras
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12716
After Barbara passes Isthmus mountains it will have to contend with some drier air and an increase in shear. If it can maintain a semi decent stucture till it reemerges again then things could be interesting. Shear is slowly starting to drop in the BOC and NW Caribbean.
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Quoting Dakster:
Unless she can turn on her wind shear wipers - she is done. Especially after getting ripped up by the mountains.

still Barbara is dumping a lot of rain with winds.
some people probably aren't going to make it as she passes through.
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Shear relaxes in Caribbean at 144hrs.

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759. afj3
Evening all, as it me or did CMC model hint at something brewing in the GOMEX and then shoot up the Atlantic seaboard in a few days...
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Evening, folks. I was out for most of the day and now that I'm back I see that I missed a hurricane and tornado watches are stretching from Texas almost to the Great Lakes. Whoa, what a Severe Weather day.

In other news, I woke up this morning at 4.15 because my bed was shaking and the window was rattling. I first thought that I was still dreaming but then realised that I was awake and that this was my first earthquake. 3.8 on the Richter scale, epicentre about 30 miles away from me. Wow... it seemed so surreal. Every now and then we have light earthquakes here in Wales. This area once had volcanic activity and although the volcanoes are all extinct by now, those tremors are a reminder of the past.
Have a good evening and stay safe in the warned areas.
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I would love to see Barbara survive the crossing, even if a quick subsequent demise to vertical shear is inevitable. Only a handful of Pacific tropical cyclones have done that, the most recent occurrence being in 1969, IIRC.

EDIT: Seems 1969 wasn't the year. At any rate, it's been awhile.
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Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32822
Evening all! Looks like Barbara has made landfall as a Cat 1 hurricane!

Structure still looks very impressive given that it is passing over somewhat mountainous areas, but lucky for her she is passing through an isthmus so she won't have too long of a struggle. Though convection will take a beating from it, as long as it can maintain a formidable structure once it crosses into the BOC, I think we may be dealing with an Atlantic tropical system, perhaps TD 01.

Tonight will tell the tale.
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NASA Research Aircraft to Double-Team 2013 Hurricanes

Excerpts:

With the start of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season less than a week away, NASA is preparing to send a pair of specially instrumented Global Hawk unmanned aircraft out over the Atlantic later this summer to investigate the processes that underlie hurricane formation and intensity.

The mission will operate between Aug. 20 and Sept. 23.
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Unless she can turn on her wind shear wipers - she is done. Especially after getting ripped up by the mountains.
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Quoting tillou:
Going to be an interesting year with the tropics this year.

On a related note has anyone on here recently built a house with ICF recently? Im looking into it and looking for pro's/con's



Check out the forum here http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?action=foru m
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If Barbara makes into the BOC as a TD....wind shear will deliver the final blow.
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Quoting Astrometeor:
Those folks really need a break from the thunderstorms.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22618
lots of rain off the coast there
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Vorticity in Caribbean, but too much shear for now.


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Quoting beell:


don't open that window


Oh no..... where do we send the funeral bouquets?

And why is everybody posting old images of Barbara? This one, hours old, is way newer. She's probably 2/3 of the way over the isthsmus by now.

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Going to be an interesting year with the tropics this year.

On a related note has anyone on here recently built a house with ICF recently? Im looking into it and looking for pro's/con's

Thanks in advance!
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
I'm hoping the line of severe storms in western MA holds together until it reaches my area, but unfortunately it probably won't, too stable here. Maybe Sunday.


I'm getting some cf strikes.
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Quoting FunnelVortex:
A bolt just hit the ground,


Its when your nuts hit the ground that you really have to worry about it. For now, pick it up before someone runs over it and gets a flat tire.
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ok so the Advisory says yes to what I was thinking

#1 convection going out the door really fast
#2 the spin has slowed down enough to be noticeable
#3 forward movement slowed down
#4 down to TS
#5 still moving in a NNE-NE fashion


Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12716
I'm hoping the line of severe storms in western MA holds together until it reaches my area, but unfortunately it probably won't, too stable here. Maybe Sunday.
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Two people have been killed in the state, the authorities say - an American surfer and a young Mexican swept away by flood waters.

^^^^ I was cruising the web and I found this on the BBC news website (About Hurricane Barbara)
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Barbara:

Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
A bolt just hit the ground,
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In case anyone missed it, there was an article with a lot of quotes from Dr. Masters in it. It was in the Miami Herald today. They also interviewed several Hurricane Center folks as well. It deals with how the EURO model was better at predicting Sandy that the American ones, why and the upgrades that the NHC is doing. Very good read for those of you who like to deal with the models.

Link: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/05/29/3422398/us-v s-european-hurricane-model.html

Link
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More rain in my area:

Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167

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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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