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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Kman is back? Now it's a party! :)
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Quoting kmanislander:


Hi there KOTG.

I am now starting to pay attention to the blog once more as the official start of the season draws near. When did moderators get appointed ?. Do you have reporting authority etc ?. Hopefully this will bring some order to the blog especially when something is brewing out there and the competing forecasts gets bloggers wound up.


good to see ya kman
ya ihave more than just reporting powers

but I strive to be fair as possible
and encourage good blogging
so its enjoyable for all
even the trolls if they choose to behave and follow the rules set forth
there is a group of us
we do not act alone but as a group
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
02E will die over cen America and not regenerate in the BOC

it will be nothing but an area of disturb weather with rains and thunderstorms in the extreme se BOC if anything but not much more

it will be gone by midnight or just after and be a remnant low by sunrise


well... I might agree if it were going over a mountainous area but it really isn't.
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Are discrete cells ever supposed to form or just these linear lines today?


That's one of things I've been noticing today as this outbreak goes on, the storms are forming so close together that they're becoming linear fronts instead of individual cells.

That being said:
RT @AndreaButera: NWS #tornado warning says a "confirmed LARGE and EXTREMELY DANGEROUS tornado was located near Saronville, NE.
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a lot is going on with this severe weather.. the locations expected are definitely off, but there is a lot of punch left to go, and some unexpected locations may get hammered with a handful of discrete cells.. tough day for chaser's, but there is a lot of danger ahead elsewhere.. i think
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Are discrete cells ever supposed to form or just these linear lines today?
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
Yes, we got mods now for few months. They've been very useful and none of them abused their power. I think it's great to have to get rid of trolls during hurricane season.
I'll second that!
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
02E will die over cen America and not regenerate in the BOC

it will be nothing but an area of disturb weather with rains and thunderstorms in the extreme se BOC if anything but not much more

it will be gone by midnight or just after and be a remnant low by sunrise


Hmm...Sure are a lot of certainties in this post. It certainly won't be "gone" by midnight. It should at the very least be a tropical depression then.
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:

hey kman


hey to you :-)

Did you get enough rain since last night ?.
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Quoting kmanislander:


Hi there KOTG.

I am now starting to pay attention to the blog once more as the official start of the season draws near. When did moderators get appointed ?. Do you have reporting authority etc ?. Hopefully this will bring some order to the blog especially when something is brewing out there and the competing forecasts gets bloggers wound up.

hey kman
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12716
Quoting TomTaylor:
Im still in school. Not summer school though. My school just gets out late (mid June). I'll be back in SD by then, Santa Barbara for now. Weather here has been great by the way. No May gray or June gloom crap. Just sunny. Windy though. Also had a 4.8 earthquake this morning, woke me right out of bed.


Good to see ya. Had a great week of weather here in the backcountry......coolest,temperature wise Memorial Day in sometime! I don't think it hit 80. Supposed to warm up bigtime this week,might be up near 100. Have ya made it to the tacoria on Milpas St,Santa Barbara yet? Santa Barbara is most excellent!
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
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SevereStudios‏@severestudios2 min
At 4:33pm CDT, a large damaging tornado was reported just northwest of SARONVILLE, NEB. Take cover in STOCKHAM.
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Woke up from a nap to see severe weather not being impressive. It's mostly linear with couple of lone cells (don't get me wrong, linear system produce tornadoes still but usually not a strong one). It happens, I guess.
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Very small but fairly heavy rain with a stray thunderstorm in the north suburbs of chicago right now. Barely being shown on the radar. there may also have been a few bits of pea sized hail mixed in.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I don't think I've ever been so wrong before. The system was very elongated at noon yesterday [and seemed to be becoming more so] and accordingly I made a statement that it may never get classified. I leave for three hours and come back to see its designated as a tropical depression. Made the prediction it would only intensify to 50 mph in my blog (that I never published because I got sidetracked with the tornadoes). Woke up this morning and thought it wouldn't intensify anymore...it's on the verge of Cat 2 intensity right now.

Whatever.
It happens. I thought it was only going up to 60 mph, but Barbara went higher than that. That's what colleges are for. We're (and wxchaser97) are going to get educated on tornadoes and hurricanes.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


All severe weather terminology should be defined via interpretive dance to help better educate the public.



Here's the perfect music for TropicalAnalystwx13 to show us veer-back-veer :) Just follow the bass line!

Extra credit for moving feet and arms to the other time signature :P


Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 26 Comments: 8868
Quoting TomTaylor:
It certainly won't bust.



if i end up being right about the severe weather outbeark being a bust then am going too send you some nic crow
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AccuWeather.com‏@breakingweather3 min
The tornado is now 4 miles north of Clay Center, NE and rain wrapped. Last seen near Hwy 6 and Rd. P.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
yes


Hi there KOTG.

I am now starting to pay attention to the blog once more as the official start of the season draws near. When did moderators get appointed ?. Do you have reporting authority etc ?. Hopefully this will bring some order to the blog especially when something is brewing out there and the competing forecasts gets bloggers wound up.
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This outflow/gust front collision in western Kansas is spawning a nasty little storm spear...



EDIT - and that cell in the southeastern portion of the frame is now warned for a tornado...
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Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
Does the blog now have user moderators?
Yes, we got mods now for few months. They've been very useful and none of them abused their power. I think it's great to have to get rid of trolls during hurricane season.
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Quoting TomTaylor:
Veering winds refers to clockwise (anti cyclonic) turning of wind direction. Backing wind refers to a counterclockwise (cyclonic) change in wind direction. These two can be used as a function of time or a function of height. In this case, we are looking at a sounding, so we are referring to a change in wind direction with height. Veer-back-veer suggest a clockwise change in winds, followed by a counterclockwise change in winds, followed by a clockwise change in winds as we go up in height.


Ahh, thanks a lot, Tom!
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Quoting TomTaylor:
Im still in school. Not summer school though. My school just gets out late (mid June). I'll be back in SD by then, Santa Barbara for now. Weather here has been great by the way. No May gray or June gloom crap. Just sunny. Windy though. Also had a 4.8 earthquake this morning, woke me right out of bed.
earthquake..Wild...Hope I never feel one.:)
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Rather interesting N-S oriented high for early June.
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A tornado is reported to be on the ground 2 miles north of Clay Center, NE. Take cover in the area now.
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Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:


Good to see ya Tom.....are ya home for the summer? Or in summer school?

Barbara'a circulation seemed to be big and broad when she started.......and now such a small tight circulation and litle Hurricane.
Im still in school. Not summer school though. My school just gets out late (mid June). I'll be back in SD by then, Santa Barbara for now. Weather here has been great by the way. No May gray or June gloom crap. Just sunny. Windy though. Also had a 4.8 earthquake this morning, woke me right out of bed.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Veering and Backing Winds Defined


Thank you for responding. What I've learned on this blog for years: There is a reason that the study for metereology would take years ;-)
----

Sorry to see on Twitter, that "Barbara" already took two lifes:

EjeCentral %u200F@EjeCentral 15m
#ElDato @GobOax confirm la muerte de dos personas por huracn #Brbara

Link
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The NWS in Ruskin seems to be sleeping, I don't know why they insist on showing only 30% chance of thunderstorms each day over the next week when model guidance suggests 50 to 60% by this weekend.


Model guidance shows deep tropical moisture along with an inverted trough now over south Florida to drift north over the next several days. Coverage has already been 40% to 50% and it should only increase some.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Maybe, but that doesn't mean it won't aid some sort of cyclogenesis. It's a tricky situation either way.


agree
but myself I am not expecting much
maybe it will prove me wrong
we shall see
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Quoting Tazmanian:
this severe weather outbeark may bust
It certainly won't bust.
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Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
02E will die over cen America and not regenerate in the BOC

it will be nothing but an area of disturb weather with rains and thunderstorms in the extreme se BOC if anything but not much more

it will be gone by midnight or just after and be a remnant low by sunrise


Maybe, but that doesn't mean it won't aid some sort of cyclogenesis. It's a tricky situation either way.
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Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
Does the blog now have user moderators?
yes
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The Atlantic will wake up soon..it's still hibernating..

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Quoting CybrTeddy:


The system would likely move little or slowly drift eastward.
Thanks Teddy
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Quoting BaltimoreBrian:


I want to see you give an example of that dancing and post it on youtube ;)


All severe weather terminology should be defined via interpretive dance to help better educate the public.
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Does the blog now have user moderators?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
02E will die over cen America and not regenerate in the BOC

it will be nothing but an area of disturb weather with rains and thunderstorms in the extreme se BOC if anything but not much more

it will be gone by midnight or just after and be a remnant low by sunrise
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Quoting barbamz:
*scratching my german head": What's the meaning of:
"veer-back-veer profile"? It's not in the online dictionary.
Veering winds refers to clockwise (anti cyclonic) turning of wind direction. Backing wind refers to a counterclockwise (cyclonic) change in wind direction. These two can be used as a function of time or a function of height. In this case, we are looking at a sounding, so we are referring to a change in wind direction with height. Veer-back-veer suggest a clockwise change in winds, followed by a counterclockwise change in winds, followed by a clockwise change in winds as we go up in height.
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I was going to roll this out on June 1, but it looks like the Atlantic season is starting a bit sooner than I expected. I typically will publish one or two of these a year. You can judge for yourselves how accurate I've been in the past, but considering that last year's highlighted a giant "S" for a backdrop, I hope I can safely assume that I have some bragging rights. It was, after all, an undeniable Superstorm.

The title of this forecast, which was initially published May 25, 2013 is: "Goes with the territory ..." It's based upon a dream that I had several weeks ago. There's a short video that accompanies this forecast, also.






In my dream I saw two storms form and move towards CONUS, each making landfall in rapid succession in what I believe was a 24-48 hour window. Both came from the south, generally, before making landfall. It's hard to say what strength they were, but the size appeared fairly average, one being larger.

The most curious and unexpected element, was that I saw the earth turning underneath me, yet the sun did not set as the earth turned. I found this so strange that I recorded it, because it contained this unexpected element. An unexpected element is the primary criteria I use for determining what may be useful in terms of intuition vs. my mind simply rehashing the daily input.

I've never had a dream like this one, but what intrigued me most wasn't what I saw, but how I saw it. The sun remained at my back through several complete revolutions of the earth. This was unlike any satellite animation that I've ever seen before, because I was the observer.

It's unclear if this was meant to be a reflection of the entire hurricane season. I'm unsure how many times the earth revolved in front of me, but my guess is that the time frame I witnessed was no more than two weeks. The focus seemed to be the curious double landfall.


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Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
I haven't looked yet at steering or shear charts of the gulf yet. Whats the forecast the next 3-5days?


The system would likely move little or slowly drift eastward.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

There's also a noticeable veer-back-veer profile across the Moderate risk area. Has plagued many outbreaks this year.


I want to see you give an example of that dancing and post it on youtube ;)
Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 26 Comments: 8868
Quoting barbamz:
*scratching my german head": What's the meaning of:
"veer-back-veer profile"? It's not in the online dictionary.

Veering and Backing Winds Defined
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32807
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Alright, back on my PC, let's see if I can make a more reasonable forecast regarding Barbara.

The next 10-12 hours for Barbara are absolutely critical in terms if we're going to see Barbara regenerate in the Gulf of Mexico. The topography that Barbara is going over is relatively flat compared to most of Mexico, and the models appear to be having a hard time to resolving the current intensity of the cyclone. This is nothing unusual for the models though, they do not have the resolution to pick up a small and tight circulation such as Hurricane Barbara has. However, I still regard this as a failure for the models as a 1006mb - 1011mb TD will face a totally different steering environment than a 990mb Category 1 hurricane would.

Conditions in the Gulf of Mexico appear to be somewhat hostile, though not destructive. If it can stay close to the coast it may be able to use the cyclonic shape of the BoC (much as it did with the Gulf of Tehuantepec) to intensify IF it can begin to develop a more robust anticyclonic circulation aloft to defend itself from the shear it will be facing.

If Barbara loses itself completely and dies over Central America, any system that forms from the remnant circulation would likely be named "Andrea." The situation reminds me a lot of the TD-11E/Hermine situation in 2010, as well as Alma/Arthur in 2008, though the models were more robust about development than they were with this situation -- at least for Hermine. It's equally as likely though that whatever develops will be torn apart and become an elongated trough of low pressure, bringing nothing but rain to Florida and the Gulf Coast. This is certainly a difficult cyclogenesis to predict, I'm going to give Barbara a ~30% chance of redeveloping into either itself or a new tropical depression.
I haven't looked yet at steering or shear charts of the gulf yet. Whats the forecast the next 3-5days?
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My new Forecast for Hurricane BARBARA
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Does this mean we actually have to listen to what the HWRF says this year?
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this severe weather outbeark may bust
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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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