Tornadoes, Floods, and Severe Thunderstorms Continue in the Midwest

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:46 PM GMT on May 31, 2013

Share this Blog
50
+

It was yet another active day for tornadoes, flooding, and severe thunderstorms in the Midwest on Thursday, with NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) logging 16 preliminary tornado reports. Twisters touched down in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Illinois. The tornadoes missed heavily populated areas for the most part, but seven people were injured in Arkansas in two separate tornadoes, and two other people were hurt by lightning. The severe weather forced organizers of the outdoor Wakarusa Music Festival north of Ozark, Arkansas to delay the start of the festival. The band "Widespread Panic" was one of the groups scheduled to perform, leading to an Associated Press headline from yesterday titled, "Nine hurt in Arkansas storm; Widespread Panic delayed." Heavy rains from this week's thunderstorms have pushed the Mississippi River to major flood stage at most places from Burlington Iowa to Quincy Illinois, and the river is expected to crest near major flood stage at St. Louis early next week. In Iowa, the Cedar River at Cedar Falls, the Iowa River at Marengo, and the Skunk River near Sigourney and at Augusta are also in major flood. The latest forecast from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center calls for a "Moderate Risk" of severe weather today (Friday) over much of Oklahoma and Southwest Missouri, including Oklahoma City and Tulsa in Oklahoma, and Joplin, Missouri, with the potential for several strong EF-2 and EF-3 tornadoes.


Figure 1. Lightning strike from a severe thunderstorm near Guthrie, Oklahoma on May 30, 2013, as photographed by KFOR-TV. (AP Photo/KFOR-TV)


Figure 2. Severe weather outlook for Thursday, May 30, calls for a "Moderate Risk" of severe weather over much of Oklahoma and Southwest Missouri, including Oklahoma City and Tulsa in Oklahoma, and Joplin, Missouri. You can follow today's severe weather outbreak from our Severe Weather page.

A mostly quiet year for violent tornadoes
After a very quiet March, April, and first half of May, the U.S. tornado season has become very active during the last half of May, and is beginning to catch up to normal. TWC's tornado expert Dr. Greg Forbes has a preliminary count of 181 tornadoes for the month of May, through May 29, which is 35% below the 10-year average of 279 through May 29th. May 2012 had only 121 tornadoes. The 2013 tornado tally has risen significantly in the last half of May, due to 7 of the last 15 days having above-average numbers of tornadoes. Fortunately, we are well below-average for strong and violent EF-3, EF-4, and EF-5 tornadoes so far in 2013. According to NOAA, the U.S. has averaged 43 EF-3 or stronger tornadoes per year during the period 1954 - 2012. With tornado season nearly half over, only twelve EF-3 and EF-4 tornadoes have been recorded so far in 2013. An average year should have had at least twenty of these tornadoes by this point in the year. Here are the twelve EF-3 and stronger tornadoes so far in 2013, as detailed in Wikipedia's excellent Tornadoes of 2013 page:

EF-5, May 20, Moore, Oklahoma. 24 deaths, 377 injuries, $2 billion in damage.
EF-4, May 28, Ottawa County, Kansas. Intensity based on mobile Doppler radar data. See the Capital Weather Gang's description of this tornado.
EF-4, May 19, Shawnee, Oklahoma. 2 deaths, 6 injuries.
EF-4, May 15, Granbury, TX. 6 deaths, 24+ injuries.
EF-4, May 18, Rozel, Kansas.
EF-4, February 10, Hattiesburg, MS. 0 deaths, 82 injuries.
EF-3, Corning, KS, May 28.
EF-3, May 27, Lebanon - Esbon, KS. 1 injured. Wind gust of 175 mph measured by TIV2 intercept vehicle.
EF-3, May 15, Cleburne, TX. No deaths or injuries.
EF-3, January 30, Adairsville, GA. 1 death, 17 injuries, 363 buildings damaged or destroyed.
EF-3, April 11, Kemper County, AL. 1 death, 9 injuries.
EF-3, May 19, Luther - Carney, Oklahoma.


Figure 3. The annual number of EF-3 and stronger tornadoes, 1954 - 2012. The greatest number of these dangerous tornadoes was 131 in 1974, the year of the notorious "Super Outbreak." The minimum was just 15, set in 1987. The average is 43 per year. Image credit: NOAA.


Video 1. Impressive 2-minute timelapse of the Bennington, Kansas wedge tornado of May 28, 2013, as filmed by the Aussie Storm Chasers. As discussed in an excellent blog post by Jason Samenow of the Capital Weather Gang, the violent EF-4 tornado stood still for nearly an hour, and had wind gusts as high as 264 mph at an altitude of 300 feet measured by Doppler on Wheels.

Remains of Hurricane Barbara bringing heavy rains to Mexico
Hurricane Barbara died on Thursday as it attempted to cross Mexico's Isthmus of Tehuantepec into the southernmost Gulf of Mexico. While there is no low level circulation apparent on satellite loops this Friday morning, there is a bit of spin at middle levels of the atmosphere, and the remains of Barbara are kicking up some heavy thunderstorm activity over the southernmost Gulf of Mexico and adjacent land areas of Mexico. Wind shear is a high 20 knots in the region, and the area of disturbed weather is quite small, so I don't expect any development to occur over the next few days. Wind shear is predicted to remain high over the Gulf of Mexico for the next six days, and none of the reliable computers models is calling for tropical cyclone development in the Atlantic during that period. Late next week, wind shear is predicted to drop, and there is a better chance for tropical cyclone development in the Gulf of Mexico or Western Caribbean. Both the GFS and ECMWF models suggest that a strong tropical disturbance with heavy rains may affect Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, Western Cuba, and the Southwest Florida by Friday next week.


Figure 4. Remains of Hurricane Barbara in the southernmost Gulf of Mexico as seen by MODIS at 12:05 pm EDT Thursday, May 30, 2013. Barbara had just been declared dead one hour prior to this photo. Image credit: NASA.

Saturday, June 1, is the first day of hurricane season, and I'll post a quick look at what we might expect to see in June.

Jeff Masters

More Wild Weather 4 (Nikongranny)
More Wild Weather 4
Bennington, Ks Tornado (weatherfanatic2010)
This was one of the easiest chase days ever. Left Salina, Ks and thought about going after the storms to the NW but turned back after about 15 miles when the storm that spawned this tornado went up. Me and my group setup just west of Bennington about 20 minutes before this tornado touched down, catching a brief rope tornado about 10 minutes before this tornado touched down. It sat almost stationary for about 45 and we watched it's entire life cycle without having to move.
Bennington, Ks Tornado
LP Supercell (adkinsadam1)
LP Supercell
Lightning (tjlpowell)
Lightning

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 1610 - 1560

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42Blog Index

Quoting Astrometeor:


URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH NUMBER 269
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1145 PM CDT FRI MAY 31 2013

THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF
CENTRAL OKLAHOMA

* EFFECTIVE THIS FRIDAY NIGHT AND SATURDAY MORNING FROM 1145 PM
UNTIL 500 AM CDT.



here's hoping that it does not last until 5am. OKC will become one with the Oklahoma River.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Leaving you guys with this, out for the night. Going to be traveling through the storms tomorrow, wish me luck.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1608. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
area off Africa will be a short area of interest
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54616
Thats the CMC...don't count ha
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting stormchaser19:
CMC, showing a cat.1 hurricane hitting South Carolina!!!
lol i guess its all go when the season start LOL!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting stormchaser19:
Meanwhile the CMC 00z run
As soon as 84 hours




So the 00Z GFS and CMC have come into agreement.

Lets see what the Euro has to say.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Estimated rainfall amounts from NWS

local station KOCO says Doppler estimates from 6-10 inches.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Welcome to the 2013 official start of the Atlantic Hurricane season!! first TWO at 5am edt! thanks aussie!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Skyepony:
Oh the chasers.. These tornadoes were tough to chase. The different vorticity kept going up & down skipping around, strong yet diffuse. This one is hard to watch..

Published on May 31, 2013

StormChasingVideo.com storm chaser Brandon Sullivan and his chase partner Brett Wright got caught in the tornado and (along with another vehicle) slammed with debris northwest of Union City, OK as the tornado hit a barn and exploded in front of them.





They actually didn't get hit by the tornado. Brandon kept shouting during the video "RFD!". They determined that was inflow, that the tornado was still behind them.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
CMC, showing a cat.1 hurricane hitting South Carolina!!!
Member Since: June 20, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2159
Still forming. At the least, it'll contribute to flooding.


Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 159
BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TULSA OK
1156 PM CDT FRI MAY 31 2013

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TULSA HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
SOUTHEASTERN MUSKOGEE COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL OKLAHOMA...
WESTERN SEQUOYAH COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL OKLAHOMA...
HASKELL COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST OKLAHOMA...
NORTHERN LATIMER COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST OKLAHOMA...
EASTERN MCINTOSH COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST OKLAHOMA...
NORTHEASTERN PITTSBURG COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST OKLAHOMA...

* UNTIL 1245 AM CDT

* AT 1153 PM CDT...A LINE OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAPABLE OF
PRODUCING TORNADOES WAS LOCATED ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM 4 MILES
SOUTHWEST OF WARNER TO 6 MILES NORTHEAST OF KREBS...MOVING EAST AT
30 MPH. TORNADOES MAY FORM RAPIDLY ANYWHERE IN THE LINE OF STORMS!

* SOME LOCATIONS IN OR NEAR THE PATH OF THESE STORMS INCLUDE...
BLOCKER...WARNER...ENTERPRISE...PORUM...QUINTON... BRIARTOWN...
WEBBERS FALLS...GORE...WHITEFIELD...ROBBERS CAVE STATE PARK...
KINTA...STIGLER...VIAN...TAMAHA AND LEQUIRE.

THIS INCLUDES INTERSTATE 40 BETWEEN MILE MARKERS 269 AND 306.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1597. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54616
Welcome to the 2013 official start of the Atlantic Hurricane season!! first TWO at 5am edt! thanks aussie!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1595. Skyepony (Mod)
Oh the chasers.. These tornadoes were tough to chase. The different vorticity kept going up & down skipping around, strong yet diffuse. This one is hard to watch..

Published on May 31, 2013

StormChasingVideo.com storm chaser Brandon Sullivan and his chase partner Brett Wright got caught in the tornado and (along with another vehicle) slammed with debris northwest of Union City, OK as the tornado hit a barn and exploded in front of them.



Love how he put on the seat belt moments before taking debris..

Member Since: Posts: Comments:


URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH NUMBER 269
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1145 PM CDT FRI MAY 31 2013

THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF
CENTRAL OKLAHOMA

* EFFECTIVE THIS FRIDAY NIGHT AND SATURDAY MORNING FROM 1145 PM
UNTIL 500 AM CDT.

* PRIMARY THREATS INCLUDE...
SEVERAL LARGE HAIL EVENTS WITH A FEW VERY LARGE HAIL EVENTS TO 2
INCHES IN DIAMETER POSSIBLE
A FEW DAMAGING WIND GUSTS TO 70 MPH POSSIBLE

THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 35
STATUTE MILES NORTH AND SOUTH OF A LINE FROM 55 MILES NORTHWEST
OF CHICKASHA OKLAHOMA TO 40 MILES SOUTHEAST OF CHANDLER OKLAHOMA.
FOR A COMPLETE DEPICTION OF THE WATCH SEE THE ASSOCIATED WATCH
OUTLINE UPDATE (WOUS64 KWNS WOU9).

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

REMEMBER...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE
FAVORABLE FOR SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH
AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR
THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS
AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS. SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAN AND OCCASIONALLY
DO PRODUCE TORNADOES.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1593. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54616
1592. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54616
Meanwhile the CMC 00z run
As soon as 84 hours


Member Since: June 20, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2159
1590. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54616
Quoting daddyjames:


If they went north and west from Norman, it may take him a bit to get back - debris and flooding being a problem. Plus, the fact that the cell system/electricity ain't doing so good in those areas . . . hopefully we hear from him soon, but not surprised if it isn't until tomorrow morning.

glad you came out okay dj
levi's a pretty smart guy and hopefully lucky too
expect we'll hear from him in the a.m.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11358
Quoting FIUStormChaser:


Note the times, 96 and 114 Hours.. these are well in the 120 hours of reliable time period of the Models.


96-114hrs still isn't reliable compared to within 72hrs..but it's still about 25-30% chance it will be correct and on time.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting allancalderini:
Anyone think the disturbance near Africa will recieve a yellow circle?




Maybe
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Skyepony:
They were showing pics of softball size hail out of El Reno.


Saw one on KOCO that was the size of a grapefruit.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 159
1584. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting AussieStorm:
WOW!!!!



wunder of nature
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54616
Quoting Chicklit:
Wow, what a way to herald in hurricane season 2013.
Has anyone heard from levi yet?!
Last I heard he was headed out west of ok city to chase. Hopefully, he's just stuck in traffic.


If they went north and west from Norman, it may take him a bit to get back - debris and flooding being a problem. Plus, the fact that the cell system/electricity ain't doing so good in those areas . . . hopefully we hear from him soon, but not surprised if it isn't until tomorrow morning.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Two tropical waves in the tropical Atlantic:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1581. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
atmospheric system cyclonic turning is evident on sat of area of interest coming out of Africa

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54616
1580. Skyepony (Mod)
They were showing pics of softball size hail out of El Reno.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Wow, what a way to herald in hurricane season 2013.
Has anyone heard from levi yet?!
Last I heard he was headed out west of ok city to chase. Hopefully, he's just stuck in traffic.
anyway, glad there weren't more casualties than there were.
my assignment due at 11:59 pm got turned in at 11:54. what a night.
Will never forget what 3 and 4 tornado signatures looked like on radar as they blew through OK City area. Thanks for that, Patrick!
exhausted. goodnight.
And glad muddertracker's daughter and husband are okay. good grief.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11358
Quoting stormchaser19:
00z run............GFS ... folks of Florida welcome to the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane season




Note the times, 96 and 114 Hours.. these are well in the 120 hours of reliable time period of the Models.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1577. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54616
Quoting Andrebrooks:
Yes
I wonder who else.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1575. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting daddyjames:
Estimates of 6-10 inches of rain in the OKC metro area in some places.


Looking at different weather stations in the area I saw rain fall amounts between 3 and 6.5 inches .. but some stations weren't reporting .. might be because of loss of power ..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting allancalderini:
Anyone think the disturbance near Africa will recieve a yellow circle?
Yes
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AussieStorm:


The official start of the ATlantic Hurricane season is when the first T.W.O is issued at 5am.
lol u always get me!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Anyone think the disturbance near Africa will recieve a yellow circle?
Member Since: October 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 4410
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
as of 0300Z maps

shear continues to be low in the GOH/W Caribbean

shear continues to be high in the BOC/GOM and continues to increase

Vort in the GOH continues to increase and now latched on and sucking in whatever vort is left in 90L in the BOC

sat loops show older convection decreasing cause night time cooling if you want to call it I'll just call it Dmin over the West Caribbean however new convection is starting up though not bursting up quickly like last night I do expect it to start bursting quicker as Dmax nears
You took unintended offense at a previous comment so I'll just make it brief and say I agree with your 4 points. yes, yes, yes, and yesssss!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1570. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting flsky:
Does this look believable? Supposedly, hail from El Reno tonight.

Link

The live news feed kept saying tennis ball size hail in El Reno.

They are saying broken ribs & cuts for TWC Tornado Hunters.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
WOW!!!!

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1568. sar2401
Quoting wxchaser97:
Death toll up to 5 now.

The Associated Press ‏@AP 2m

BREAKING: Oklahoma medical examiner's office says five are killed in tornado outbreak in Oklahoma City suburbs. -MM

Isn't this the same ME's office from the Moore fiasco? If so, I'd wait at least 24 hours before believing in the death toll.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
5 killed when tornado hits Oklahoma City area

I believe that all of these have been confirmed.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting bigwes6844:
30 mins to go!


The official start of the ATlantic Hurricane season is when the first T.W.O is issued at 5am.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1565. sar2401
Quoting flsky:
Does this look believable? Supposedly, hail from El Reno tonight.

Link

Assuming the top stone is frozen to the bottom stone, then it's believable that a small hand could hold both stones. If not, it's shopped.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting flsky:
Does this look believable? Supposedly, hail from El Reno tonight.

Link


Yes, local station KOCO has been posting pictures of hailstones larger than that.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:



URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
TORNADO WATCH NUMBER 268
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1125 PM CDT FRI MAY 31 2013

THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF
NORTHWESTERN ARKANSAS
EASTERN OKLAHOMA

* EFFECTIVE THIS FRIDAY NIGHT AND SATURDAY MORNING FROM 1125 PM
UNTIL 400 AM CDT.

* PRIMARY THREATS INCLUDE...
SEVERAL TORNADOES POSSIBLE
SEVERAL DAMAGING WIND GUSTS WITH A FEW SIGNIFICANT GUSTS TO 80
MPH POSSIBLE
SEVERAL LARGE HAIL EVENTS WITH A FEW VERY LARGE HAIL EVENTS TO 2
INCHES IN DIAMETER POSSIBLE

THE TORNADO WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 80 STATUTE
MILES EAST AND WEST OF A LINE FROM 35 MILES WEST NORTHWEST OF
HARRISON ARKANSAS TO 35 MILES SOUTHEAST OF MCALESTER OKLAHOMA.
FOR A COMPLETE DEPICTION OF THE WATCH SEE THE ASSOCIATED WATCH
OUTLINE UPDATE (WOUS64 KWNS WOU8).

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

REMEMBER...A TORNADO WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR
TORNADOES AND SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH
AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR
THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS
AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting flsky:
Does this look believable? Supposedly, hail from El Reno tonight.

Link

It's not the only picture I've seen of really big hail from those supercells. I wouldn't say it's impossible, they were very intense - storm tops were in the 60-65kft range and they had very strong updrafts. I think we were not hearing of the hail at the time because the tornado threat was much more significant.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Estimates of 6-10 inches of rain in the OKC metro area in some places.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
30 mins to go!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 1610 - 1560

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Overcast
52 °F
Overcast