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 SouthernIllinois:
Morning, FMG. Morning BobbyWeather, Torito, ST Scott, VR46L, Everyone Else. Nice to see the gang all here!


Good morning to you too SI! Hope you get the rain you are needing..:)
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1135. pcola57
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1134. Torito
This shows that it will make it over, and still have its name...

Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
Quoting mobhurricane2011:
when is it saying that will happen? And how strong is it


I believe that shows conditions on the 8th of June... and at 998, strong tropical storm/'minimal hurricane.

But be warned thats the 06Z, not neccessarily the most reliable model
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According to latest ATCF Barbara scraped by with her life and is offically in the Bay of Campeche. Just interested to see what she does with her second chance at life.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
The 06z GFS shows the remnant circulation of Barbara dissipating almost entirely, while the remnant vorticity combines with an area of low pressure moving off the Yucatan from the western Caribbean in about 42 hours, sparking cyclogenesis in about 78 hours. In this case, it would be Andrea instead of Barbara.

something close to that I'm expecting just a few things different though
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12147
1130. Torito
Quoting StormPro:
Good morning all! Interesting day for Barbara. I don't wish storms on anyone so she needs to die die die lol


It isnt really doing anything in the way of winds, just rain, and depending on the place, a landfall could actually be a good thing.
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
1129. Torito
Quoting VR46L:


Yep



and



and



Shear at the moment is weak the warmest part of the the Gulf is the BOC!


It really has a shot at this, as conditions are decent, unlike the normal unfavorable conditions around this time of year there..
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
Good morning all! Interesting day for Barbara. I don't wish storms on anyone so she needs to die die die lol
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Some are saying Barb already crossed.
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NHC says remnant low in 12 hours followed by total dissipation in 24. Check back then.
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1125. VR46L
Quoting Torito:
The storm still has a shot at regeneration to up to 50mph before shear kills it if it can enter the GOM at the right place.


Yep



and



and



Shear at the moment is weak the warmest part of the the Gulf is the BOC!
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6927
1124. Torito
Quoting SouthernIllinois:
Morning, FMG. Morning BobbyWeather, Torito, ST Scott, VR46L, Everyone Else. Nice to see the gang all here!


Hello to you, too. :P
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
Quoting Torito:


Low shear where barbara is.



Thank you Torito! Yes, shear looks low... for now
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1122. Torito
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
Quoting StormTrackerScott:
06Z GFS. Yikes!
when is it saying that will happen? And how strong is it
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1120. Torito
Quoting Bobbyweather:
According to the SSD, Barbara is in the Atlantic basin.


Wow, that just changed less than 10 minutes ago, because i was just looking at the satellite.
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
1118. Torito
Quoting FtMyersgal:
Good morning folks. Has anyone got a current wind shear map for the GOM?


Low shear where barbara is.

Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
According to the SSD, Barbara is in the Atlantic basin.
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Based on latest SHIPS text for Barbara, not looking too promising for continued advisories since there are no forecast paramaters after 0 hour. Still time for that to change thought before 11 AM.
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1115. Torito
Alot of rain.

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
RAINFALL...BARBARA IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAIN ACCUMULATIONS
OF 6 TO 10 INCHES...WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 20 INCHES
POSSIBLE...OVER PORTIONS OF SOUTHEASTERN MEXICO. THESE RAINS COULD
CAUSE LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND MUD SLIDES. ARRIAGA IN THE
STATE OF CHIAPAS RECENTLY REPORTED A RAINFALL TOTAL OF 16.02
INCHES...407 MM...IN THE LAST 18 HOURS.

Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
Good morning folks. Has anyone got a current wind shear map for the GOM?
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Quoting Waltanater:
Actually, it's "farther!" :)


Taz, is that you?
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Latest 12z Best Track mantains Barbara as TD.

EP, 02, 2013053012, , BEST, 0, 183N, 943W, 25, 1004, TD


According to those coordinates, Barbara is off the coast and in the BOC.

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The 06z GFS shows the remnant circulation of Barbara dissipating almost entirely, while the remnant vorticity combines with an area of low pressure moving off the Yucatan from the western Caribbean in about 42 hours, sparking cyclogenesis in about 78 hours. In this case, it would be Andrea instead of Barbara.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24164
Quoting FunnelVortex:
Come on Barb, just a little further.

Actually, it's "farther!" :)
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1109. Torito
by 2:00 pm, general model averages show barbara out of mexico and in the GOM as a 29MPH storm,
Directly east of Punta el Lagarto.

Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
Latest 12z Best Track mantains Barbara as TD.

EP, 02, 2013053012, , BEST, 0, 183N, 943W, 25, 1004, TD
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1107. Torito
Classic example of the uselessness of the models at this time of year, 91E...

I mean really, some of the models arent even connected to the storm itself?!
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
have a good day everyone - I'll be back later to see

(1) if Barbara is still Barbara
(2) if SPC forecasts that I'll be dodging hail or twisters later today.

Cheers.
Member Since: June 25, 2011 Posts: 2 Comments: 3733
Come on Barb, just a little further.

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1104. VR46L
Quoting SouthernIllinois:
Liz, I got to hand it to ya. You called it. You held off doubt when everyone else was throwing in the towel with Barbie. Now she looks to be emerging into the BOC still relatively intact.


Thank you very much !!

Yeah I kind of got the feeling last week when I noticed that she was to hit the area she did . But I was more throwing it out there as a half opinion but got convinced she could do it . but I didnt think she would have made it across that Quick.

To be honest its not really skill Just watching satellites images and a Gut feeling . I guess ya would call it intuition
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6927
Just did a blog update on Barbara and 91E.

Have a great Thursday everyone. Only 1 more day until the weekend and 2 until the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season!
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Quoting SouthernIllinois:

Those maps are usually 3 hours behind current time. But point well taken. She has a rough road ahead.

Good Day everyone. Checking up on Barbara it seems she is still structurely intact. Which is impressive considering not a lot of people though it would survive. However, I notice shear is relaxing over the BOC. The models seem a bit unreliable. We need to monitor this in the coming days. This year has been very unpredictable don't sleep on the power of Mother Nature
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1101. Torito
The storm still has a shot at regeneration to up to 50mph before shear kills it if it can enter the GOM at the right place.
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
Quoting SouthernIllinois:

Those maps are usually 3 hours behind current time. But point well taken. She has a rough road ahead.

Good Day everyone. Checking up on Barbara it seems she is still structurely intact. Which is impressive considering not a lot of people though it would survive. However, I notice shear is relaxing over the BOC. The models seem a bit unreliable. We need to monitor this in the coming days. This year has been very unpredictable don't sleep on the power of Mother Nature
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Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4671
Floaters for Barbara have shifted from the EPAC to the Atlantic side.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24164


Circulation still hanging right on the coast
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1096. SLU
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Just as a point of interest, the NHC now lists Barbara under North Atlantic in the satellite imagery section of their website.
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Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4671
1092. SLU
Quoting daddyjames:


I understand, but Barbara will always be (if it survives) an EPAC storm that crossed over into the Atlantic basin.

Not sure the NHC agrees that it has survived (as of yet) since they barely mention it in the Atlantic Tropical Weather Discussion just issued for the Atlantic basin.


Point taken. I like how she choose the area with the least land to traverse to cross over.
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Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4671
Barbara's center is now <15 miles from emerging into hostile, but decreasing shear conditions in the Bay of Campeche.
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Quoting SLU:


Ok. I just don't like the idea of seeing:

Barbara
Andrea
Barry

as our 1st three names. Just a personal preference.


I understand, but Barbara will always be (if it survives) an EPAC storm that crossed over into the Atlantic basin.

Not sure the NHC agrees that it has survived (as of yet) since they barely mention it in the Atlantic Tropical Weather Discussion just issued for the Atlantic basin.
Member Since: June 25, 2011 Posts: 2 Comments: 3733
Not bad!
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4671
1086. SLU
Quoting SLU:
WARNING: For entertainment purposes ONLY.





I wonder how much the GOES-13 satellite failure is hampering the models from accurately resolving their forecasts because both the CMC and now the GFS are showing MDR "development" in early June and that's just crazy.
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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.