Tornadoes, Floods, and Severe Thunderstorms Continue in the Midwest

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

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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

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30 mins to go!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1559. sar2401
Quoting floridaT:
phil hendrie had one of those on his show I think he had a pip hat

"phil hendrie"? "pip hat"? Am I supposed to understand what that means? If so, I'm apparently too slow to figure it out.
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Happy hurricane season! Now let's get that heat distributed north!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting stormchaser19:
00z run............GFS ... folks of Florida welcome to the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane season


The GFS has been saying this for a month . . .

KOCO has a picture of a hail stone that is as big as a grapefruit. I hate hail, more than I hate tornados :/
Member Since: June 25, 2011 Posts: 2 Comments: 3733
Quoting flsky:
From what I understand, the furlough would have been occasional days rotating thru the entire staff.



Thank goodness it's been called off.



Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting opal92nwf:

Looks like it won't be terribly active there this year. The Central Pacific is one of the basins that interests me greatly because so few storm form or move there, and yet there have been some real monsters such as Iniki, Ioke, and Flossie. I was literally flying to vacation in Hawaii when Flossie was approaching Hawaii as a 140 Cat 4! Exciting times...


Yeah, this year's Central Pacific hurricane season will be below normal once again, and I'm thinking there would be 1 - 3 tropical cyclones this year, which is below than the average 4 - 5 tropical cyclones. My interest in hurricanes began when Hurricane Flossie neared the Hawaiian Islands in 2007.
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1554. flsky
Does this look believable? Supposedly, hail from El Reno tonight.

Link
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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
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting aquak9:


no, I only trademarked Season™.

You can have Happy.


Thanks! I'll take the Happy. Yu have me laughing so hard right now . . . needed that after a stressful day here in OK.
Member Since: June 25, 2011 Posts: 2 Comments: 3733
1551. sar2401
Quoting Astrometeor:
I feel like the NHC is targeting my family. Several of my relative's names are on the list this year.

I know what you mean. My fiancé's name is Karen, and I suspect that Karen will be a pretty good looking storm. ;-)
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Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 101 Comments: 10423
00z run............GFS ... folks of Florida welcome to the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane season


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
CRAIG OK-DELAWARE OK-
1116 PM CDT FRI MAY 31 2013

...TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 1130 PM CDT FOR NORTHERN
DELAWARE AND SOUTHEASTERN CRAIG COUNTIES...

AT 1111 PM CDT...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO
WAS LOCATED NEAR CLEORA...MOVING EAST AT 45 MPH.

SOME LOCATIONS IN OR NEAR THE PATH OF THIS STORM INCLUDE...BERNICE
STATE PARK...ZENA...HONEY CREEK STATE PARK AND GROVE.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

IF YOU ARE NEAR THE PATH OF THIS STORM...TAKE COVER NOW! IF NO
UNDERGROUND SHELTER IS AVAILABLE MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE
LOWEST FLOOR. MOBILE HOMES AND VEHICLES SHOULD BE ABANDONED FOR MORE
SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER. AVOID WINDOWS!

IN ADDITION TO A TORNADO...THIS STORM IS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING
DESTRUCTIVE STRAIGHT LINE WINDS UP TO 80 MPH. IF NO UNDERGROUND
SHELTER IS AVAILABLE TAKE COVER ON THE LOWEST FLOOR IN AN INTERIOR
ROOM AWAY FROM WINDOWS.
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 101 Comments: 10423
Quoting RevInFL:
I am about 2 miles from Mims, North Titusville. Nice to meet ya neighbor! Just got a call from friends in OKC and they said they have gotten so much rain their yard looks like a lake and there are snakes swimming through it.


Wow! glad they are ok though just beware the snakes! Looks like you and me will be able to update our fellow bloggers as something hits us/if something hits us. Good to meet you too!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting whitewabit:


Am surprised there hasn't been more reports about flooding around Ok City ..


There are a lot of areas flooded in OK. The power being out in many areas, plus the flooding is really hampering any actual survey of damage from both the tornado and the water.
Member Since: June 25, 2011 Posts: 2 Comments: 3733
Quoting Astrometeor:
I feel like the NHC is targeting my family. Several of my relative's names are on the list this year.
my mother in laws name should be on that list a guaranteed disaster
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1544. sar2401
Quoting Bluestorm5:
Fair enough. Many storm chasers did made mistake chasing after that strong tornado. However, there's no need to attack their passion for weather.

The video I saw was done by a commercial storm chasing company. I have no idea about how much passion they have for weather, but I suspect they have a passion for getting some really good footage they can sell to the media. A little different than doing it as a ham radio operator and storm spotter for the NWS. I don't even get free gas. :-)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1543. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting Skyepony:
0935 PM FLASH FLOOD NEWCASTLE 35.25N 97.60W
05/31/2013 MCCLAIN OK EMERGENCY MNGR

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT IN MCCLAIN COUNTY REPORTS NUMEROUS
ROADS CLOSED IN NEWCASTLE DUE TO FLASH FLOODING.


Am surprised there hasn't been more reports about flooding around Ok City ..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I feel like the NHC is targeting my family. Several of my relative's names are on the list this year.
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 101 Comments: 10423
1541. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting aquak9:


no, I only trademarked Season™.

You can have Happy.

LOL
cute
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
1540. Skyepony (Mod)
0935 PM FLASH FLOOD NEWCASTLE 35.25N 97.60W
05/31/2013 MCCLAIN OK EMERGENCY MNGR

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT IN MCCLAIN COUNTY REPORTS NUMEROUS
ROADS CLOSED IN NEWCASTLE DUE TO FLASH FLOODING.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
This year's names:





The Aussie spin on those names
Andre
Bazza
Chanti
Dori
Ezza
Ferdi
Gabbi
Humbo
Ingi
Jezza
Kazza
Lori
Mel
Nes
Oli
Pab
Beka
Seb
Tani
V
Wendz
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1538. Patrap
Published on Oct 29, 2012

NASA captures video of the international space station flying over Hurricane Sandy as the storm approaches land.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129089
1537. flsky
From what I understand, the furlough would have been occasional days rotating thru the entire staff.

Quoting sar2401:


Wait, they were going to furlough all 12,000 employees of NOAA but managed not to do it by "an increase in our flexibility"? There must be more to this story than this memo.
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1536. aquak9
Quoting daddyjames:


You trademarked Happy Season?


no, I only trademarked Season™.

You can have Happy.
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Quoting sar2401:

I was a reserve deputy, which meant I worked for free while I still had my "real" job. I spent most of my time doing search and rescue. Many times, I was looking for lost kids. It sounds like you have some beef with the cops in general, but stereotypes don't apply to individuals well, do they? The only kids I hassled were mine, and they've gotten over it by now, like most adults.
phil hendrie had one of those on his show I think he had a pip hat
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
This year's names:



I don't like Karen...........K and female name!!!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1533. Patrap
Hurricane Sandy SRSOR 6 Day Movie: October 25th - 31st (Faster Version)

Published on Nov 14, 2012

GOES-14 Rapid Scan (SRSOR) movie of Hurricane Sandy
From 17:45 UTC on October 25 to 15:56 UTC on October 31, 2012

The GOES imager visible band shows reflected sunlight.
These rapid scan images were produced experimentally by NOAA NESDIS.

The data was collected by the SSEC Data Center.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129089
1532. Skyepony (Mod)
0955 PM HAIL 1 E ASHER 34.99N 96.91W
05/31/2013 E2.50 INCH POTTAWATOMIE OK EMERGENCY MNGR

HWY 39
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1531. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
1530. sar2401
Quoting floridaT:
just stop you hassled kids thats what cops do

I was a reserve deputy, which meant I worked for free while I still had my "real" job. I spent most of my time doing search and rescue. Many times, I was looking for lost kids. It sounds like you have some beef with the cops in general, but stereotypes don't apply to individuals well, do they? The only kids I hassled were mine, and they've gotten over it by now, like most adults.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1529. Skyepony (Mod)
0855 PM FLASH FLOOD 3 NE MOORE 35.37N 97.45W
05/31/2013 CLEVELAND OK TRAINED SPOTTER

NUMEROUS CARS UNDERWATER/STRANDED ALONG RENO AVE

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1528. RevInFL
Quoting tropicalnewbee:


I've been following the blog everyday and I know he is getting hammered right now. I live in Mims about 1.5 miles from the seashore.
I am about 2 miles from Mims, North Titusville. Nice to meet ya neighbor! Just got a call from friends in OKC and they said they have gotten so much rain their yard looks like a lake and there are snakes swimming through it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting aquak9:
May we all still have our loved ones, our pets and our homes, come December.

Happy Season™ ya'll.


You trademarked Happy Season?
Member Since: June 25, 2011 Posts: 2 Comments: 3733
1526. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
'
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
Quoting Civicane49:


Only few more hours till the start of the Central Pacific hurricane season.

Looks like it won't be terribly active there this year. The Central Pacific is one of the basins that interests me greatly because so few storm form or move there, and yet there have been some real monsters such as Iniki, Ioke, and Flossie. I was literally flying to vacation in Hawaii when Flossie was approaching Hawaii as a 140 Cat 4! Exciting times...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Here's to hoping for another year of Florida's drought of Hurricanes.

Texas actually needs some tropical rain.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ncstorm:
I dont know where some of yall were last year but both Debby and Issac caused flooding in Florida



I was here in OK - sweating my tukas off.
Member Since: June 25, 2011 Posts: 2 Comments: 3733
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
This year's names:

sebastien is really fitting as thats the miami hurricanes mascot
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1521. Patrap
Hurricane Sandy SRSOR 6 Day Movie: October 25th - 31st

Published on Oct 31, 2012

GOES-14 Rapid Scan movie of Hurricane Sandy
October 25-31, 2012

The GOES imager visible band shows reflected sunlight.
These rapid scan images were produced experimentally by NOAA NESDIS.

The data was collected by the SSEC Data Center.
GOES is built by NASA and operated by NOAA.

Credit: NOAA / CIMSS at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129089
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
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7958
Atlantic wide view at the beginning of the season!!!


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1518. aquak9
Quoting ScottLincoln:

It doesn't matter for what reason people chase storms.

People need to understand that you must respect mother nature and the unpredictable things that she can do, because she has no respect for you no matter who you are.


No matter who you THINK you are. Really, we are all the same, just some are a lot noisier than others.

:)
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Quoting tropicalnewbee:


I've been following the blog everyday and I know he is getting hammered right now. I live in Mims about 1.5 miles from the seashore.


Sweet! Sweet, i miss the ocean :(
Member Since: June 25, 2011 Posts: 2 Comments: 3733
This year's names:

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Quoting FIUStormChaser:


You have to understand that Storm Chasing is a way of life, just like a person who engages in Boxing or other dangerous activities such as Coal mining, it is a way of living.

Some chase for the thrill, others chase for fame, and some chase for Science.

It doesn't matter for what reason people chase storms.

People need to understand that you must respect mother nature and the unpredictable things that she can do, because she has no respect for you no matter who you are.
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season had officially started.


Only few more hours till the start of the Central Pacific hurricane season.
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1513. sar2401
Quoting floridaT:
plus your the one said earlier you wouldnt risk your life to go to work

No, I didn't. I risked my life every time I went to work. Another member here wrote that. I'm sure you can find out who if you actually go back and read before putting words in my mouth.
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1512. Skyepony (Mod)
Hoping everyone a great Hurricane Season!


1034 PM FLASH FLOOD OKLAHOMA CITY 35.47N 97.51W
05/31/2013 OKLAHOMA OK BROADCAST MEDIA

HIGH WATER RESCUE SW 86TH AND WESTERN. TIME ESTIMATED.
REPORT FROM KFOR.


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1511. aquak9
May we all still have our loved ones, our pets and our homes, come December.

Happy Season™ ya'll.
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Quoting ncstorm:
I dont know where some of yall were last year but both Debby and Issac caused flooding in Florida

Isaac's flooding lessons could cost South Florida too much to fix

Image from Debby..


Yes you are correct, however the area's that were flooded were primarily Rural low lying country land, the east metro area's were not flooded.

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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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