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 Thrawst:


Nice! I applied there and they were the 1st college to accept me! Unfortunately I'm not going there.
So where are you going for college? Also, I thought you're older haha :)
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Quoting Gearsts:
Poor SST's what will happen to them?


Strong trade winds, all over the place, expected to decrease at least in the caribbean!!!
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
UNC-Asheville for atmosphere sciences. You can check out my last blog I created a few days ago if you want. Thanks :)


Nice! I applied there and they were the 1st college to accept me! Unfortunately I'm not going there.
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Quoting Civicane49:
91E is not giving up.


kinda reminds me of Karen in the Atlantic a few years ago
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Poor SST's what will happen to them?
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
I've been to 30 different states already (because I grew up in Midwest and East Coast) and I would like to stay close to family. However, if I could pick anywhere in USA, I would go to the Rockies. Beautiful area of the country.


Couldn't disagree with that statement.

Trying to go to Utah this summer too.

Canadian Rockies (BANFF) is awesome too.
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Since,I took 2004 as analog,June and July can be bored

Note: Months chart in spanish.
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Quoting Dakster:


Will do and have fun. I like that area of the country too...

Some coworkers of mine retired up there about 10+ years ago and they seem to really like it as well. I have about another 10years to go before I can retire.

Nice thing about the weather service, if you get into that - you get the opportunity to move around the country. Some places you may like more than other though.
I've been to 30 different states already (because I grew up in Midwest and East Coast) and I would like to stay close to family. However, if I could pick anywhere in USA, I would go to the Rockies. Beautiful area of the country.
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Quoting Dakster:


Everybody I know that traverses Mexico never comes back completely 'intact'...

or if it comes back at all
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completely eroding now

not much longer

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91E is not giving up.

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Quoting nigel20:

Do you think that Barbara will traverse Mexico with its circulation intact?

I think it will split up into little bits and scatter all over the place
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Quoting nigel20:

Do you think that Barbara will traverse Mexico with its circulation intact?


Everybody I know that traverses Mexico never comes back completely 'intact'...
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
UNC-Asheville for atmosphere sciences. You can check out my last blog I created a few days ago if you want. Thanks :)


Will do and have fun. I like that area of the country too...

Some coworkers of mine retired up there about 10+ years ago and they seem to really like it as well. I have about another 10years to go before I can retire.

Nice thing about the weather service, if you get into that - you get the opportunity to move around the country. Some places you may like more than other though.
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Quoting Dakster:


Congrats and welcome to the real world. BTW, the next 18 years of your life is going to fly by a whole lot faster than the previous 18 years did.

College?
UNC-Asheville for atmosphere sciences. You can check out my last blog I created a few days ago if you want. Thanks :)
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
I doubt Barbara is going to make it through the night. However this storm proved me wrong many times so we'll see. I'm going to bed. Tomorrow is my last day of high school ever... going to be bittersweet, but it's time to move on to new chapter of life.


Congrats and welcome to the real world. BTW, the next 18 years of your life is going to fly by a whole lot faster than the previous 18 years did.

College?
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I doubt Barbara is going to make it through the night. However this storm proved me wrong many times so we'll see. I'm going to bed. Tomorrow is my last day of high school ever... going to be bittersweet, but it's time to move on to new chapter of life.
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Quoting Tazmanian:
ouch -100 be low would you want too live there


Link


It's ok, Monday it will warm up to -33.

I don't understand the snowing part, I thought -100 would be WAY too cold to snow.
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Quoting nigel20:

Do you think that Barbara will traverse Mexico with its circulation intact?

There's always the possibility, but I doubt it. The storm will probably lose its tropical cyclone designation in the morning. But then again, it may be on the coast by then.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
So close but so far away.


Do you think that Barbara will traverse Mexico with its circulation intact?
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Barbara look nearly dead lol
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We shall see what happens.

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Quoting hurricanes2018:
Tropical Storm BARBARA will be in the Atlantic soon in the next 24 hours with a yellow mark soon
I don't think so
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night ped tomorrow we get to a humidex of 37c
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So close but so far away.

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Tropical Storm BARBARA will be in the Atlantic soon in the next 24 hours with a yellow mark soon
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Good Night Peeps - Stay Safe - Stay Dry - Stay Warm - 85.9F here today..
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ouch -100 be low would you want too live there


Link
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Quoting nigel20:
Good eveving friends!

We had rain rain all day here in Jamaica..it is still raining in eastern Jamaica as well.

We've had a bit of clearing here... and it looks like that bad area to our south may pass us to the east... but even now it's still sprying, and there hasn't been a rain-free period at my house for more thn 24 hrs now...

The only good thing about this in comparison with last week is that we are not getting all 10 inches in few hours... that's giving some areas time to dry out a bit in between downpours. Plus it's been mostly rain, with only a few thunderstorms.

We'll see how long it lasts..
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big picture
new image comes out in about 45 mins

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It's finally clearing up here in Jamaica.

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Quoting Jedkins01:


lol Taz, they are from tropical convection, deep tropical moisture, its a lot heavier than it looks on radar, Californians aren't too familiar :)
Taz is teasing... he is trying to suggests we are wimping out because we have gotten a mere 5 or 10 inches of rain today... lol

But then Taz is the one saying that there should be a cat 6... ;o)

Obviously we are being measured on the Paul Bunyan scale...
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Quoting hydrus:
This is getting more and more interesting each run now..That is a lot of rain in the gulf.


local forecasts including the NWS are surprisingly not mentioning a word about the models suggesting low pressure in the gulf and heavy rain even though the models have been for days. Given the high level of moisture in place, its kind of strange to see the forecast just at a steady 30% for the next 7 days. I'm not so sure that its a good depiction of what will really happen, lol.

It's weird because we are heading into June now, its not unusual to see such.
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Quoting Jedkins01:


lol Taz, they are from tropical convection, deep tropical moisture, its a lot heavier than it looks on radar, Californians aren't too familiar :)



oh i see now
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Quoting Tazmanian:




LOL from the little showers?


lol Taz, they are from tropical convection, deep tropical moisture, its a lot heavier than it looks on radar, Californians aren't too familiar :)
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The 18z GFS split Barbara into at least 3-4 separate lows during the run, just like it did with Debby.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Yea, no -- this is not good model initialization.

Ive given up on the models. Just going to wait and see what becomes of this whole mess.
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Quoting ncstorm:



hmm now it leave the option of GOH for development before it wasn't really showing them purples in the area it had a few spots in the BOC and SW Carib but now it includes the GOH
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Yea, no -- this is not good model initialization.
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I believe Barbara's LLCOC will dissipate into open trof before it peaks its head out in open waters
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
...BARBARA DUMPING HEAVY RAINFALL ACROSS PORTIONS OF SOUTHEASTERN MEXICO...
8:00 PM PDT Wed May 29
Location: 17.1°N 93.8°W
Moving: NNE at 9 mph
Min pressure: 995 mb
Max sustained: 50 mph

Ironically though. The NHC was calling for it to be a 35 mph TD when it got to this location...Halfway across the Isthmus.

not only that but last forecast had it further N of the current position
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Wichita
NEXRAD Radar

Base Reflectivity 0.50° Elevation
Range 124 NMI

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Good evening friends!

We had rain rain all day here in Jamaica..it is still raining in eastern Jamaica as well.

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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.