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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1286. Torito
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Regeneration is no longer likely.


the turn just came all of a sudden. xD
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
Barbra won't have long to live.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16437
Regeneration is no longer likely.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23619
1283. Torito
Barbara starting to take an unexpected turn to the north-west, it appears.... It is still managing to hold together for the time being though...

Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
Quoting hydrus:
Still might see a decent low form, and if shear lessens over the next week or so, we may have something. The GFS has the second system being much stronger than the first. If this were to happen, there would likely be a significant flooding event.


Oh, I wasn't preaching to you, buddy! I know you know your stuff. :)

More of a note for newbies that may see the 12 and not check the units.
Member Since: June 14, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2108
Crazy that we still remember a handle of a guy named Jason that always reported with WOW! at everything 3 years ago.
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Quoting seminolesfan:
Looks like that eddy in the Gulf is poised to drift out of the loop current.
Depending on its movement; Could sure be a big WILD CARD for any gulf storms later on in the season.


Morning; here is another shot of the eddy:

Link

They sometimes hang out for several months or dissipate slowly....Will have to take it on a storm by storm basis if anything gets into the Gulf this year and nears or goes over an eddy or loop.....Big player with rapid intensification issues if the right storm comes along.
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Quoting aquak9:
WOW!!



Might be a good idea to post a note for context when you dig up OLD graphics for PAST storms.

This was from 2012. Sandy I believe...
Member Since: June 14, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2108
NHC should call it dead from the new forecast discussion
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1277. hydrus
Quoting seminolesfan:


Just a note: the 12m/sec in the top image is still over 23kts of shear...
Still might see a decent low form, and if shear lessens over the next week or so, we may have something. The GFS has the second system being much stronger than the first. If this were to happen, there would likely be a significant flooding event.
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1276. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Jason?
rofl
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting aquak9:
WOW!!



Jason?
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1274. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting aquak9:
WOW!!

sandy model run from 2012
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting Tazmanian:
today looks like it might be a bust for severe weather still a little early yet too make that call
Taz... the main event is later in the day. Right now is just leftover from last night's storms.
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 7912
1272. aquak9
WOW!!

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Looks like that eddy in the Gulf is poised to drift out of the loop current.
Depending on its movement; Could sure be a big WILD CARD for any gulf storms later on in the season.
Member Since: June 14, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2108
NHC says is still an EPac system
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1269. hydrus
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today looks like it might be a bust for severe weather still a little early yet too make that call
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114765
lol Barbara has not left land and is not expected to
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Well, I should get some sleep. I might visit the blog in 7 hours. Everyone have a good day!
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1265. hydrus
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Good Morning. She barely made it across but about to face 30 knots of sheer if she holds together:

Link
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Quoting hydrus:
Especially over the gulf. It is forecast to lighten up some..Especially in a week or so.


Just a note: the 12m/sec in the top image is still over 23kts of shear...
Member Since: June 14, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2108
Barbara updated.


Link
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Quoting redwagon:


Good, then I won't feel bad about hoping for a TXMX landfall and Hermine deja-vu.






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Quoting MississippiWx:


Yeah. I think it's because Dr. Masters has his local weather set to Ann Arbor, Michigan on his blog. That is their zip code.


Excellent, Holmes! You've cracked the case yet again!
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Well what do you know, she just barely made it.



Yes, she could!!!!
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Hmm... not the Atlantic yet...NHC says it is very near, but has not entered, the Gulf of Mexico.
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Quoting MississippiWx:


Yeah. I think it's because Dr. Masters has his local weather set to Ann Arbor, Michigan on his blog. That is their zip code.

I figured, the zip seemed pretty familiar to me.
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Well what do you know, she just barely made it.


I doubt it has much longer to live.
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TROPICAL DEPRESSION BARBARA DISCUSSION NUMBER 9
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL EP022013
800 AM PDT THU MAY 30 2013

FINDING THE LOW-LEVEL CENTER OF THE CYCLONE HAS BEEN A REAL
CHALLENGE THIS MORNING. THE CENTER OF ROTATION THAT IS EVIDENT ON
VISIBLE SATELLITE IMAGERY IS NOT CONSISTENT WITH SURFACE WIND
OBSERVATIONS FROM STANDARD AND AUTOMATED MEXICAN WEATHER STATIONS.
IN FACT...THERE IS SOME DOUBT THAT A WELL-DEFINED SURFACE CENTER
EVEN EXISTS. HOWEVER...WE THINK THE MOST PRUDENT ACTION AT THIS
TIME IS TO MAINTAIN THE SYSTEM AS A DEPRESSION UNTIL ADDITIONAL
VISIBLE IMAGES AND SURFACE DATA BECOME AVAILABLE. THE CURRENT
ADVISORY POSITION IS IN REASONABLE AGREEMENT WITH THE SURFACE WIND
DATA.

THE INITIAL MOTION IS A VERY UNCERTAIN 310/3. MOST OF THE DYNAMICAL
GUIDANCE SUGGESTS THAT THE CENTER WILL NOT MOVE VERY FAR INTO THE
GULF OF MEXICO. SINCE THE SURFACE CENTER HAS BECOME VERY DISRUPTED
AND IS NOT EXPECTED TO MOVE FAR FROM LAND...THE FORECAST SHOWS THE
SYSTEM DISSIPATING IN A DAY OR SO.

ALTHOUGH THE CYCLONE SHOULD DISSIPATE SOON...HEAVY RAINS REMAIN A
SERIOUS CONCERN. DISTURBED WEATHER ASSOCIATED WITH THE REMNANTS
OF BARBARA IS LIKELY TO PERSIST OVER SOUTHEASTERN MEXICO AND
PORTIONS OF CENTRAL AMERICA FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS...AND A
HEIGHTENED RISK OF DANGEROUS FLOODING AND MUD SLIDES WILL CONTINUE
OVER THIS REGION.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT 30/1500Z 18.5N 95.0W 25 KT 30 MPH...INLAND
12H 31/0000Z 18.7N 95.5W 25 KT 30 MPH...POST-TROP/REMNT LOW
24H 31/1200Z 18.8N 96.2W 20 KT 25 MPH...POST-TROP/REMNT LOW
36H 01/0000Z...DISSIPATED

$$
FORECASTER PASCH/LANDSEA
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I woke up, and find this: Debby part II?



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Well what do you know, she just barely made it.

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BULLETIN
TROPICAL DEPRESSION BARBARA ADVISORY NUMBER 9
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL EP022013
800 AM PDT THU MAY 30 2013

...BARBARA NEAR THE GULF COAST OF MEXICO BUT VERY ILL DEFINED...
...THREAT OF HEAVY RAINS AND FLOODING CONTINUES...


SUMMARY OF 800 AM PDT...1500 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...18.5N 95.0W
ABOUT 40 MI...60 KM SE OF COATZACOALCOS MEXICO
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...30 MPH...45 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NW OR 310 DEGREES AT 3 MPH...6 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1005 MB...29.68 INCHES
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Bobbyweather:
Does anyone else see this?
"48103 Weather Forecast from Weather Underground..."
Or is it just me?


Yeah. I think it's because Dr. Masters has his local weather set to Ann Arbor, Michigan on his blog. That is their zip code.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10160
Quoting Bobbyweather:
Does anyone else see this?
"48103 Weather Forecast from Weather Underground..."
Or is it just me?




yep i see it i all so have it on my blog



Link


but my zip is 95370
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114765
1250. hydrus
Quoting FIUStormChaser:


Isn't there high shear in the gulf of 30-50kts? I'm not sure this might even have a chance of materializing

Especially over the gulf. It is forecast to lighten up some..Especially in a week or so.
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Does anyone else see this?
"48103 Weather Forecast from Weather Underground..."
Or is it just me?
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Quoting RitaEvac:


Yes, ground is getting dry, and can see grass starting to stress, was watering last night after mowing.


Good, then I won't feel bad about hoping for a TXMX landfall and Hermine deja-vu.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
in a normal year a long time ago we would start seeing them by mid to late may so there on time I think

one thing I notice this year that's really different is how much water vapor is over the atlantic with very little or almost nothing for dry air around


I beleive that is there reason for such a "High number" of storms this year.... Just saying

Taco :o)
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Quoting Andrebrooks:
Tropical Depression Barbara will become Tropical Depression 1 probably at the next advisory.

No, it won't, because the NHC said that it would keep the name Barbara if it successfully crosses Mexico into the Bay of Campeche.

(F5 F5 F5 F5....)
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Quoting Andrebrooks:
Tropical Depression Barbara will become Tropical Depression 1 probably at the next advisory.


No. It will not count as an Atlantic storm. If for some reason it ever strengthens back to Tropical Storm status, it will remain Tropical Storm Barbara, just as it is still Tropical Depression Barbara.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10160
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
doing good taco just chilling watchin like everyone else

I don't think B is going to do much
I think B has done enough to disrupt the flow over the WCar to change what the forecast was suggesting. I certainly am watching to see how much longer that circulation lasts. Between the trough and Barbara's remnants there may be some moments of interest over the next 120 or so...
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
in a normal year a long time ago we would start seeing them by mid to late may so there on time I think

one thing I notice this year that's really different is how much water vapor is over the atlantic with very little or almost nothing for dry air around


That could be key.
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1241. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Tropical Depression Barbara will become Tropical Depression 1 probably at the next advisory.
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.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
in a normal year a long time ago we would start seeing them by mid to late may so there on time I think

one thing I notice this year that's really different is how much water vapor is over the atlantic with very little or almost nothing for dry air around
OKso the last 4 years or so i have been following the tropics have just had a early start . Thanks keep
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1237. hydrus
If this were to pan out, there may be intense rain for the S.E..Still heavy in the gulf too.
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Quoting FIUStormChaser:


Isn't there high shear in the gulf of 30-50kts? I'm not sure this might even have a chance of materializing



This is still a week out when the GFS has that storm in the middle of the Gulf. A lot can change between now and then.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10160

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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.