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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Quoting BahaHurican:
Like I said before, I'm getting the sneaky suspicion Barb has friends on the Gulf coast...


Looking like a FL Panhandle landfall with all the rain possibly well east of the center as Barb would encounter some shear as she nears the Panama City area. Debby part 2!

Euro 240hrs

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Quoting FunnelVortex:

View on YouTube


Lol, nice find! Thanks!
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


I'm still curious as to how these two features might begin to interact with each other, the increased moisture in the Caribbean propagating westward and the remnants of Hurricane Barbara.
Like I said before, I'm getting the sneaky suspicion Barb has friends on the Gulf coast...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21584
Euro 216hrs
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Quoting Patrap:


Helloooo ball!

You gotta admit, the setup is intriguing. Forecasts of possible hyper-season, sat's on the fritz, austerity measures (Austerity Now! Oh, what? Now, wait a minute, hmmmm), no US major since 2005 (shatters old record), and everyone on the coast from North Carolina to Texas in the LONG OVERDUE list...
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View on YouTube
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Not always the case, a larger, more broad storm has a better chance of surviving than a compact, tightly wound storm.
It's conditional; your statement isn't always true either. A larger storm (one with more mass and a larger radius) will have greater inertia, so it will be able to resist change better, but if it is weak to begin with then it wont take much to get the storm below TS threshold. For example, if I have a broad, weak tropical storm and a tight, compact major hurricane, the major hurricane will wind down faster over land, but it will take longer for the major hurricane to get below the tropical storm threshold. Therefore, the odds of the major hurricane surviving a land crossing are much greater than a weak tropical storm (assuming all other environmental factors are constant).
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
Here's the correct area it's crossing... Chivela Pass. It's not too terribly high in that section of Mexico, but the reason why Barbara might not make it to Gulf of Mexico is mostly high sheer in the area along with other factors (someone correct me if I'm wrong).


looking at it Barbara may pass the Chivela pass to it's E to near Arriaga and Tonala hopefully I spelled it corectly so got a bit of mountain terrain to go through plus shear
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 11215
whats the shear forecast for the next 72 hours in BOC?.i'm not at home
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NASA’s HS3 Mission Aircraft to Double Team 2013 Hurricane Season

May 29, 2013 — During this year's hurricane season NASA will "double-team" on research with two unmanned Global Hawk aircraft winging their way over storms that develop during the peak of the season. NASA's Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel, or HS3 airborne mission, will revisit the Atlantic Ocean to investigate storms using additional instruments and for the first time two Global Hawks.

Whole article on Science Daily see link above
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Quoting MississippiWx:
I think some of you are giving the terrain of Southern Mexico a little too much credit. Barbara should miss the worst.

Speed is the key here.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21584
Quoting MississippiWx:
I'm not seeing anything that say shear will be the main problem for Barbara surviving the passage over into the Gulf. Here is the GFS forecast for shear in the next 24 hours. Looks like at the most 10-15kts over Barb. If it can keep its circulation intact and restrengthen convection over the BOC, the ULAC might be able to tag along with it instead of getting hung up off the Mexican Pacific coastline.

Yeah, I wasn't completely sure if sheer was the problem. I even said someone correct me if I'm wrong. What do you think is the main problem for Barbara staying alive in GOM?
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Darn GOES 13 for being down. Could be having rapid scan imagery of Barb right about now.
I would like to "darn" a few US politicians for playing poli-tricks instead of doing their jobs, but since I am merely "borrowing" GOES 13 imagery myself...

well, I will compose myself in silence right over in this little corner right here...

[thinking about how the new scatterometer satellite is prolly going to go up later than planned as well as the polar orbiting and a replacement GOES]
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21584
I'm not seeing anything that says shear will be the main problem for Barbara surviving the passage over into the Gulf. Here is the GFS forecast for shear in the next 24 hours. Looks like at the most 10-15kts over Barb. If it can keep its circulation intact and restrengthen convection over the BOC, the ULAC might be able to tag along with it instead of getting hung up off the Mexican Pacific coastline.

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Glad to be back for my season! How y'all doing?
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Mountains to west of Chiveda Pass is called Sierra Madre de Oaxaca. The mountains is about 2,500 to 3,000 meters high (8,000 to 10,000 feet). I think only the far western side of Barbara will hit these mountains.

Wikipedia page
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Quoting barbamz:
The song for the cane :-)
Heino: Die schwarze Barbara / The black Barbara
Rough translation of the first lines of the lyrics:
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
Yes indeed the most beautiful girl in the world
is my Barbara
What I like about her most
That's her black hair
She has such sky-sky-sky-blue eyes
And a purple mouth
Yes, yes she is so "wunderbar" (wonderful)
The black Barbara


I hope the hurricane Barbara won't be as harmful as this (artificial) german folk song from Heino who is nearly as old as Grothar (however, everybody knows him and this song in Germany, though not everybody would admit).

The real Barbara:


I'm still curious as to how these two features might begin to interact with each other, the increased moisture in the Caribbean propagating westward and the remnants of Hurricane Barbara.
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
Here's the correct area it's crossing... Chivela Pass. It's not too terribly high in that section of Mexico, but the reason why Barbara might not make it to Gulf of Mexico is mostly high sheer in the area along with other factors (someone correct me if I'm wrong).




Good point, but shear is fairly nominal in that general area now and trending to relax. From there, on the this side, shear increases. Unless there's a significant anticyclone to develop overhead, Barbara is most likely to be short-lived even if it makes the crossing intact.
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29594
Quoting MississippiWx:
I think some of you are giving the terrain of Southern Mexico a little too much credit. Barbara should miss the worst.

Wikipedia said Chivela Pass is at 735 feet elevation. I'm assuming the surrounding mountains is about 1000 to 2000 feet high.
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:

you know now we know where the eye is for real and its location further S and E and moving NE yeah got a good shot of making it out into the Gulf of Honduras
LOL. It is not heading towards the Gulf of Honduras. If it is moving NE there is no way it would make it into the GOH. It would end up in the eastern BOC instead of the central part.
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Quoting MississippiWx:
I think some of you are giving the terrain of Southern Mexico a little too much credit. Barbara should miss the worst.



I belive it will be a trans-oceanic storm.
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Euro 192hrs.
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127663
Quoting Dakster:
been raining all night and day here (south florida). doesn't look like it is going to let up.
Our wx pple are saying Friday before it lets up. I wouldn't be surprised, since it's coming down hard here - again.... :o/ ... just as I am trying to go out the door...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21584
I see Barbara has became a hurricane, not surprised.
6 tornadoes, including 2 EF2's, confirmed in MI.
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It could still end up in the BOC but won't do much not good conditions in the BOC it could survive in the gulf of honduras conditions are not as bad as BOC and its getting better
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 11215
Quoting ChillinInTheKeys:


For you and Scott...

"Forecast cloudy for Sand Key weather station".

Link





Thanks.........So useful to have bouy information for mariners and us/NHC when a storm is brewing or passing near one (in the absence of recon)to help determine wind speed/direction and pressures in the area. This confirms why this particular one is not currently working.
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127663
I think some of you are giving the terrain of Southern Mexico a little too much credit. Barbara should miss the worst.

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SPECIAL MESSAGE: GOES-East
GOES-14 is providing GOES-East coverage. GOES-14 is stationary at 105 degrees West with no current plans to drift east. GOES-13 will remain in storage mode while the anomaly is being investigated. There is no estimate on return to operations at this time. More information: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/SATS/messages.html.

www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/SATS/messages
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127663
Here's the correct area it's crossing... Chivela Pass. It's not too terribly high in that section of Mexico, but the reason why Barbara might not make it to Gulf of Mexico is mostly high sheer in the area along with other factors (someone correct me if I'm wrong).

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Quoting wunderkidcayman:

nope not yet if it does may not survive
I meant over Mexico... not Guatemala... [sigh] obviously did not make myself very clear..
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21584
Quoting Saltydogbwi1:


Its a picture of the clouds before the heavens opened taken from the Barcadere Marina/ GTYC
Thank you. You always take such great photos and I hate it that the images won't show on this government computer :)
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Everyone have a blast . . catch you later (if the sirens are not sounding).
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127663
Quoting Bluestorm5:
It's not crossing over that section of Central America. It's about thousand miles toward the north from the area you're showing.

you know now we know where the eye is for real and its location further S and E and moving NE yeah got a good shot of making it out into the Gulf of Honduras
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 11215
Quoting BahaHurican:
OK. The terrain map WBE posted was showing Guatemala/Belize Honduras, so I thought I'd missed some serious change in track forecast...


Ha my bad, knew something didnt look right. I fixed it
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Darn GOES 13 for being down. Could be having rapid scan imagery of Barb right about now.
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Has recon been out, or scheduled with Barbara?
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29594
been raining all night and day here (south florida). doesn't look like it is going to let up.
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:


For you and Scott...

"Forecast cloudy for Sand Key weather station".

Link



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Topography,warm water and low shear really help this system.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Please stop. It is very immature, especially coming from Grown People. Most of the youngsters here are surprisingly live and let live, and can accept that lots of different people from different situations and backgrounds participate in this blog.


Hear! Hear!


Don't mess with Taz. He's like a founding member of this blog, and a good fella. We all have our persnickety ways, but picking on Taz, well, that'd be like picking on every player on every team in the SEC - probably not a good idea! ;)
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29594
Quoting BahaHurican:
Isn't Barb crossing on the other side of the Yucatan?

nope not yet if it does may not survive
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 11215
Game still on for monsoonal development, however, it might be shifted over into the BOC. We can probably thank what is left of Barbara for this as what is left from her will probably be where the lowest pressures are located. We could be dealing with this for a while.

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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
I am on the computer @ work and cannot see the image. What is it ? TIA


Its a picture of the clouds before the heavens opened taken from the Barcadere Marina/ GTYC
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Quoting BahaHurican:
So, Barb... would "WundarBlog" be us in German ;o)



Nice idea, the WunderbarBlog, lol
Edit: But the best translation would be: Wuntergrund (German "Untergrund" = Underground)
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Quoting MississippiWx:


This.
OK. The terrain map WDE posted was showing Guatemala/Belize Honduras, so I thought I'd missed some serious change in track forecast...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21584
Quoting WDEmobmet:
rough road ahead



6k ft peaks, nothing to sneeker at
It's not crossing over that section of Central America. It's about thousand miles toward the north from the area you're showing.
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Quoting WDEmobmet:
rough road ahead



6k ft peaks, nothing to sneeker at
My beautiful country.
Quoting MississippiWx:
I said this had the potential of becoming a 70mph storm. Looks like that was still conservative. Barbara is at least 75mph, if not stronger than that. I stated the other day that the shape of the Mexican coastline where the storm was forecast to make landfall could help it strengthen quickly. I'm sure that's not the main factor, but it most likely helped some.

She is a 85mph hurricane imo.
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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.