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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1336. islander101010
3:43 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
i only like to post my novice forecast upon declaration over and over again will only get you bashed when its wrong
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 4498
1335. Barefootontherocks
3:36 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting seminolesfan:

It IS a joke.

Keep Calm

and

Blog On!
Thanks. Yes. I must keep calm 'cause I'm kind of sitting on a triumvirate of outflow boundaries. You all have fun. Echo... echo.
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 152 Comments: 18537
1334. wunderkidcayman
3:32 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
as Barbara upper level clouds get sheared off an the mid level cloud dissipate you can start to see the very weak low level spin
and I know you guys are going to say it so heres my answer
yes Barbara is getting sheared 15-20kt yes its light but a very weak and fragile system Barbara is now and for a fragile and weak system like that for it to have the slight bit of survival it needs 0-5kts shear
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 11727
1332. Tropicsweatherpr
3:32 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
wunderkidcayman,after those first couple of weak Tropical Waves that were in the charts in the past two weeks,there are none at this time going back one week. But as it normally occurs,as June arrives there will be some impulses rolling off West Africa.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14214
1331. VR46L
3:30 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Nearly Gone now !!!!!!!!!!!

Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6877
1330. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
3:29 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
1329. flcanes
3:29 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
The NHC is likely to declare it post-tropical in the next advisory. This is also when they'll officially say it made it to the Bay of Campeche. If this occurs, even though it made it to the other side, it would've spent no time as a tropical cyclone in the Atlantic because it wasn't declared crossed until its final advisory.

That would mean no basin crosser officially. :/

:(
Member Since: August 20, 2012 Posts: 13 Comments: 1254
1328. Torito
3:29 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
1327. TropicalAnalystwx13
3:28 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
The NHC is likely to declare it post-tropical in the next advisory. This is also when they'll officially say it made it to the Bay of Campeche. If this occurs, even though it made it to the other side, it would've spent no time as a tropical cyclone in the Atlantic because it wasn't declared crossed until its final advisory.

That would mean no basin crosser officially. :/
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31883
1325. Torito
3:27 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Short note i found on the noaa website about barbara, they seem to be confused about the storm too:


TXNT21 KNES 301211
TCSNTL

A. 02E (BARBARA)

B. 30/1145Z

C. 18.1N

D. 93.8W

E. FIVE/GOES-E

F. OVERLAND

G. IR/EIR/SWIR/VIS

H. REMARKS...VIGOROUS MID-LEVEL CIRCULATION REMAINS OVER LAND. HIGH
UNCERTAINTY AS TO EXISTENCE AND LOCATION OF LOW LEVEL CENTER. CONVECTION
HAS WARMED DRAMATICALLY OVER THE LAST SEVERAL HOURS.

I. ADDL POSITIONS

NIL


...MCCARTHY


Quoting flcanes:

Barbara has lost almost all convection
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
1324. flcanes
3:26 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting Civicane49:

Barbara has lost almost all convection
Member Since: August 20, 2012 Posts: 13 Comments: 1254
1323. redwagon
3:26 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting Torito:


its still stuck partially on land. really destroying the storm like that.


I don't think in 7 years I've seen a storm so mercilessly RIPed as Barbara... Pasch must have an ex-wife by that name or something.
Member Since: August 4, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3226
1322. seminolesfan
3:26 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting Tazmanian:



isnt that what i said at the end still a little early too call it a bust buy well see how today plays out


Then why did you say 'today looks like it might be a bust for severe weather'?

When you lead with a statement like that, what do you expect people to think?
Member Since: June 14, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2108
1321. Torito
3:25 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting hydrus:


thanks
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
1320. VAbeachhurricanes
3:25 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting Bobbyweather:
Does anyone else see this?
"48103 Weather Forecast from Weather Underground..."
Or is it just me?


Haha I thought it was just me
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6293
1319. Civicane49
3:25 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
1318. flcanes
3:24 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting hydrus:

eh, not really much of anything.
Member Since: August 20, 2012 Posts: 13 Comments: 1254
1317. flcanes
3:23 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting wunderkidcayman:

no what you see is a mid-low level spin but the low-surface spin is where NHC has it

Bottom line, Its over for Barbara. However, She might briefly make it into the BoC
Member Since: August 20, 2012 Posts: 13 Comments: 1254
1316. hydrus
3:23 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting Torito:
Anyone got satellite on the spot west of africa?

Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20939
1315. flcanes
3:23 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting Torito:


IKR! Such a fail of a model run for this storm.

The point is that the models dont know what to do. This reminds me a lot of Debby, come to think of it
Member Since: August 20, 2012 Posts: 13 Comments: 1254
1314. wunderkidcayman
3:22 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting Hurricane4Caster:
Is it just me or is the center of Barbara actually about 60 miles ENE of the advisory location? Not that I think it will matter; I believe that the demise of Barbara is near.

no what you see is a mid-low level spin but the low-surface spin is where NHC has it
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 11727
1313. flcanes
3:21 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting hydrus:
If the GFS is correct, moisture from Barb would interact with the forecast tropical system late next week. Could make an already wet system wetter.

That will be problematic for my area. With an already wetter than normal may, this might become a serious flooding situation
Member Since: August 20, 2012 Posts: 13 Comments: 1254
1312. Torito
3:21 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting flcanes:

lol. one takes it into my backyard.


IKR! Such a fail of a model run for this storm.
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
1311. seminolesfan
3:20 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting Barefootontherocks:
That seems like a comment unbecoming a moderator. To me, anyway. But then, maybe it's a joke. I hope so.

It IS a joke.

Keep Calm

and

Blog On!
Member Since: June 14, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2108
1310. hydrus
3:20 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting Torito:
It now appears to want to take nogaps model path.

If the GFS is correct, moisture from Barb would interact with the forecast tropical system late next week. Could make an already wet system wetter.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20939
1309. Torito
3:20 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Anyone got satellite on the spot west of africa?

Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
1308. Thrawst
3:19 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting Tazmanian:



isnt that what i said at the end still a little early too call it a bust buy well see how today plays out


I seriously need to invest (ha, see what I did there?) in a pair of glasses.
Member Since: July 18, 2010 Posts: 50 Comments: 1860
1307. flcanes
3:19 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting Torito:

Hmm. I think it makes it into the BoC briefly
Member Since: August 20, 2012 Posts: 13 Comments: 1254
1306. flcanes
3:18 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting Torito:
Models are so confused right now. xD


lol. one takes it into my backyard.
Member Since: August 20, 2012 Posts: 13 Comments: 1254
1305. Torito
3:18 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
1304. Tazmanian
3:17 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting Thrawst:


Lol, already calling it before the event even begins? I would like to point out that the EF-5 Moore tornado of May 20, 2013 had similar tornado probabilities (10% hatched), so the threat is definitely there.

If nothing occurs by 9pm CDT, then I may agree with you Taz, but right now I think it's simply too early.



isnt that what i said at the end still a little early too call it a bust buy well see how today plays out
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114924
1303. Barefootontherocks
3:17 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


just an attempt to create a blog uproar
poor one at that

too much time under the bunker maybe
That seems like a comment unbecoming a moderator. To me, anyway. But then, maybe it's a joke. I hope so.
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 152 Comments: 18537
1302. HurricaneHunterJoe
3:17 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting mikatnight:
Really! What is up with that CMC? I think it does it just so everyone doesn't get bored and fall asleep...

Think the GFS had something similar to what the Canadien is showing now on it's runs last week?
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5219
1301. Torito
3:16 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
looking at RGB floater loop
the spin seen on satellite appears to have moved SE-ESE on last 2-3 frames
but of course the TD is disintegrating so its going to go everywhere


its still stuck partially on land. really destroying the storm like that.
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
1300. Torito
3:15 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
i believe this is a new invest, and it is currently in the west pacific basin.


Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
1299. Hurricane4Caster
3:15 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Is it just me or is the center of Barbara actually about 60 miles ENE of the advisory location? Not that I think it will matter; I believe that the demise of Barbara is near.
Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 44
1298. seminolesfan
3:14 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
whats that forest gump quote


Quoting "wetdog":


"I am not a smart man."



That one, Keep?
Member Since: June 14, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2108
1297. Thrawst
3:14 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting Tazmanian:
today looks like it might be a bust for severe weather still a little early yet too make that call


Lol, already calling it before the event even begins? I would like to point out that the EF-5 Moore tornado of May 20, 2013 had similar tornado probabilities (10% hatched), so the threat is definitely there.

If nothing occurs by 9pm CDT, then I may agree with you Taz, but right now I think it's simply too early.
Member Since: July 18, 2010 Posts: 50 Comments: 1860
1296. wunderkidcayman
3:14 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
looking at RGB floater loop
the spin seen on satellite appears to have moved SE-ESE on last 2-3 frames
but of course the TD is disintegrating so its going to go everywhere
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 11727
1295. Torito
3:14 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
1294. Torito
3:13 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Still has broad rotation.


Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
1293. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
3:12 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting seminolesfan:
@1287:

Naaa. Not mad. :)


More of a *facepalm* at your sneaky-sneakiness attempt!
whats that forest gump quote
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53531
1292. seminolesfan
3:11 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
@1287:

Naaa. Not mad. :)


More of a *facepalm* at your sneaky-sneakiness attempt!
Member Since: June 14, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2108
1291. Torito
3:11 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Models are so confused right now. xD

Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
1290. Torito
3:08 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
It now appears to want to take nogaps model path.

Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
1289. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
3:08 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
Quoting seminolesfan:


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...


just an attempt to create a blog uproar
poor one at that

too much time under the bunker maybe
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53531
1288. wunderkidcayman
3:07 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
hmm interesting SW Caribbean low is moving N-NNW
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 11727
1286. Torito
3:07 PM GMT on May 30, 2013
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

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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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