Can a Sharknado hit Los Angeles?

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:38 PM GMT on July 17, 2013

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I learned something from watching the movie "Sharknado", SyFy Channel's twisted cross between Jaws, The Day After Tomorrow, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which premiered last Thursday (and will be aired again this Thursday.) My hurricane disaster kit is incomplete without a chainsaw. Not only can a chainsaw come in handy to remove fallen debris after the storm--it can be an essential self-defense weapon in case a hurricane spawns a "Sharknado"--a powerful waterspout that picks up man-eating sharks out of the ocean and hurls them miles inland.



"Sharknado" is set in Los Angeles, where huge and dangerous Hurricane David is making landfall. The satellite images of the hurricane show a very nasty-looking storm that is at least Category 3, but has the rather unusual (and impossible) characteristic that it spins clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere. Thousands of bloodthirsty sharks swarm inland with the hurricane's storm surge and are hurled through the air by the EF-4 waterspouts turned tornadoes that accompany the storm. A lot of blood spurts, a lot of bad acting and lame dialog occur, and plenty of improbable or impossible meteorological events happen--complete with cheesy computer graphic animations. ("Sharknado" seriously challenges The Day After Tomorrow for greatest number of impossible meteorological events packed into a single movie.) But, as long as you don't take the movie too seriously, and look at it as a campy low-budget parody of both disaster movies and horror movies, "Sharknado" is a hoot. I give "Sharknado" two stars (out of four.) The movie is produced by "B" movie studio Asylum, and stars Ian Ziering and Tara Reid. "Sharknado" is airing again at 7pm EDT/6pm CDT on Thursday, July 18, on the SyFy Channel.


Figure 1. Hurricane Linda heads north along the Baja California coast towards towards San Diego on September 12, 1997, as seen by the NOAA GOES-9 satellite. Images and rendering by Marit Jentoft-Nilsen of NASA.

Hurricanes do occur in Southern California
Southern California has been affected by one full-fledged hurricane in recorded history, a Category 1 storm that brought 80 mph winds to San Diego on October 2, 1858. More recently, a 1939 tropical storm brought 52 mph winds to the coast south of Los Angeles, and caused $2 million in property damage--mostly to shipping, shore structures, power and communication lines, and crops. Forty-five lives were lost at sea during the storm. Hurricane Linda of 1997, which occurred during a strong El Niño event that significantly warmed the ocean waters along the Mexican Pacific coast, was forecast by the National Hurricane Center for a couple of advisories to make landfall near San Diego as a minimal hurricane or strong tropical storm. Category 5 Linda was the strongest hurricane ever observed in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, but weakened over cold water and turned out to sea without affecting Southern California. A Category 3 or stronger storm affecting Southern California, as depicted in "Sharknado", is pretty much impossible in the current climate, though. The California Current that flows southwards along the coast of California and Baja Mexico features waters temperatures that are too cold to support a major hurricane.

Falls of fish from the sky
There have been numerous reports of waterspouts or tornadoes picking up fish out of the sea or out of lakes and creating a "rain of fish." For example, hundreds of perch bombarded residents of the small Australian outback town of Lajamanu in 2010. In the U.S., thousands of small fish, frogs and crayfish fell from the sky during a rainstorm at Magnolia Terminal near Thomasville, Alabama, on the morning of June 28, 1957. Many of the fish were alive and were placed in ponds and swimming pools. An F2 tornado fifteen miles to the south spawned by the outer bands of Hurricane Audrey was likely responsible for getting the creatures airborne. William Corliss' intriguing book, "Handbook of Unusual Natural Phenomena", has an entire chapter devoted to unusual creatures and objects that have fallen from the sky. He relates that in 1946, a scientist at the American Museum of Natural History named E. W. Gudger documented 78 reliable reports of fish falls from all over the world. The largest fish was a large-mouthed bass 9 1/4 inches long, and the heaviest was a six pound fish that fell in India. There were no reports of large, 2000-pound great white sharks, as depicted by "Sharknado", though. Wunderground, for now, has decided not to create a new "Sharknado" weather icon for the web site, due to the low probability of such an event occurring with the current laws of physics being what they are.


Video 1. Official trailer for "Sharknado."

Jeff Masters

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Quoting 511. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Eww no gross that is yucky you know how many critters crawl on the floor, plus when I pick it up to put it in the sink there is usually hair on it.
Hair is the one thing I don't tolerate.....One time in Band Camp ...Nevermind
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Quoting GTstormChaserCaleb:
The Heat Wave is causing problems to the rail service in New Jersey.

From what I remember with the rail service in New Jersey, it was always a topic of conversation when there weren't any problems. :-)
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 21316
Quoting 508. ChillinInTheKeys:


Wait... I didn't get to here the answer yet.


OK. Contestant number 2. may have a retry according to the judges.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 28051
Quoting 506. tornadodude:


Guilty.


Although I've kicked it under the fridge many more times.
I always kick it under the fridge.To lazy to bend down and pick it up
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Quoting 505. PalmBeachWeather:
Ok...Here's the "Real" question.How many of you that have dropped that ice cube on the floor picked it up and put it in the glass for your drink? Be honest..
Eww no gross that is yucky you know how many critters crawl on the floor, plus when I pick it up to put it in the sink there is usually hair on it.
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 9226
Quoting 502. sar2401:


Wait a minute! I distinctly remember your tales about how much your strategy helped the Duke of Wellington plan Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. You were just fibbing, weren't you? :-)


No, just remembering what I had done before. That is when I initially learned that little phrase , "Alea iacta est"
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 28051
Quoting 477. LargoFl:
booming again..more coming folks...........



??
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Quoting 504. Grothar:


Sorry, you did not pose that as a question. That will put you in the minus for $1000.


Wait... I didn't get to here the answer yet.
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Gonna head out soon but worth keeping an eye on the Grand Bahama Island bouy (which is working thankfully) again in the am. Another slight down-tic for the 5:00 pm reading.

Station SPGF1
NDBC
Location: 26.704N 78.994W
Date: Wed, 17 Jul 2013 21:00:00 UTC
Winds: ESE (110) at 8.9 kt gusting to 11.1 kt
Atmospheric Pressure: 30.10 in and falling
Air Temperature: 79.2 F
View Details - View History


If pressures fall into the 29's overnight, it would certainly be worth a real close look in the morning.

Everyone have a great day and see Yall in the am.
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Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
Ok...Here's the "Real" question.How many of you that have dropped that ice cube on the floor picked it up and put it in the glass for your drink? Be honest..


Guilty.


Although I've kicked it under the fridge many more times.
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8406
Ok...Here's the "Real" question.How many of you that have dropped that ice cube on the floor picked it up and put it in the glass for your drink? Be honest..
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Quoting 498. ChillinInTheKeys:


I'll have "No major land falling hurricanes in 2013" for a $1000 Alex!!!


Sorry, you did not pose that as a question. That will put you in the minus for $1000.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 28051
!!!
Member Since: March 12, 2013 Posts: 149 Comments: 124628
Quoting Grothar:
I read back earlier and saw people were posting with their real names. I have always maintained that was not a good idea. Anyway, this thing looks like it wants to stay around and that wave in the Islands may have potential. Look to the east Atlantic soon.






Alexander the Great


Wait a minute! I distinctly remember your tales about how much your strategy helped the Duke of Wellington plan Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. You were just fibbing, weren't you? :-)
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 21316
The Heat Wave is causing problems to the rail service in New Jersey.

Link
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 9226
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nice tropical wave here
Member Since: March 12, 2013 Posts: 149 Comments: 124628
Quoting 486. Grothar:
I read back earlier and saw people were posting with their real names. I have always maintained that was not a good idea. Anyway, this thing looks like it wants to stay around and that wave in the Islands may have potential. Look to the east Atlantic soon.






Alexander the Great


I'll have "No major land falling hurricanes in 2013" for a $1000 Alex!!!
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Quoting 486. Grothar:
I read back earlier and saw people were posting with their real names. I have always maintained that was not a good idea. Anyway, this thing looks like it wants to stay around and that wave in the Islands may have potential. Look to the east Atlantic soon.






Alexander the Great
I prefer Napolean Bonaparte.
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 9226
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Quoting 453. sar2401:

There's nothing even resmebling a cumulus cloud down here. It's sunny, 96, and the heat index is 109. Usually with this kind of weather, there are at least a few scattered thunderstorms around, Except for south Florida, some scattered storms north of Atlanta, and a few cells in South MS, the whole SE is completely devoid of convection. This usually happens when get those rare periods of drier air, bu the dewpoint is still 75.


Well, we are up to 96, with a dewpoint of 70. Plenty of cumulus, some light winds to boot too. Got what looks like an anvil to the south of me, though a bit wispy. Heat index still holding at 101, although it feels cooler now than earlier, even though the apparent temperature is the only thing to have changed. This weather is my favorite weather, the bugs have seemed to gone off to find some shade, good riddance.
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Quoting wxchaser97:
The entire lower peninsula of Michigan and almost all of Ohio is under a heat advisory. The temp is in the mid 90s with a 105F heat index in Metro Detroit.

Ahh, what a bunch of wienies! It's like that every day down here is SE Alabama. :-)

Just kidding. I grew up in Cleveland and remember those unbearable hot and humid days. Down here, peple are pretty much used to it, but it literally kills people up there. My bedroom was the attic for a number. That was fine with me, since I had the room for my Lionel layout but, in retrospect, I have no idea how I survived summers in that attic. If you think it's bad now, look up the weather in the summers of 1954 and 1955 in the Great Lakes states. The kind of weather you're having now lasted for weeks at a time those two years.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 21316
Quoting 476. PalmBeachWeather:
Just curious...Am I the only one that goes to the refrigerator to get ice out of the ice maker and at least one ice cube falls on the floor? Always


Without fail.
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Quoting 486. Grothar:
I read back earlier and saw people were posting with their real names. I have always maintained that was not a good idea. Anyway, this thing looks like it wants to stay around and that wave in the Islands may have potential. Look to the east Atlantic soon.






Alexander the Great


Too much shear in the area right now.
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ST. PETERSBURG --
Thunderstorms are moving quickly westward through parts of the Bay area.

Storm damage is being reported at the Shady Oaks Mobile Home Park, located on the 12000 block of Jess Walden Road in Plant City. Officials are warning drivers to use caution when driving through eastern Hillsborough County, as they have received several reports of fallen wires and trees on roads, as well as inoperative traffic lights.


Traffic lights are reported out at W. Waters and Himes Avenue in Tampa.

Numerous power outages are also being reported in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

As of 4:50 p.m., nearly 6,500 Duke Energy customers are without power in Pinellas County, while 6,345 Withlacoochee River Electric customers do not have power. Peace River is reporting more than 7,200 people without power.


In addition, Tampa International Airport and St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport are also reporting several delays.
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Quoting 476. PalmBeachWeather:
Just curious...Am I the only one that goes to the refrigerator to get ice out of the ice maker and at least one ice cube falls on the floor? Always


I thought it depends upon what one is drinking at the time.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 28051
Quoting 476. PalmBeachWeather:
Just curious...Am I the only one that goes to the refrigerator to get ice out of the ice maker and at least one ice cube falls on the floor? Always


Nope. Happens to me all the time and chances are I will fall on it.
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I read back earlier and saw people were posting with their real names. I have always maintained that was not a good idea. Anyway, this thing looks like it wants to stay around and that wave in the Islands may have potential. Look to the east Atlantic soon.






Alexander the Great
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 28051
The Amazing Retrograding Low
Posted by Dan Satterfield, 17 July 2013
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Quoting 481. PalmBeachWeather:
Where are you GT?
Quoting 481. PalmBeachWeather:
Where are you GT?
Tampa/St. Pete area, not sure if you are familiar with Largo?
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 9226
Quoting 476. PalmBeachWeather:
Just curious...Am I the only one that goes to the refrigerator to get ice out of the ice maker and at least one ice cube falls on the floor? Always


That is the norm; also a good tropics-weather related issue as opening the freezer door, with the cold air meeting the warmer room air resulting in the "fog", is a mini-lesson for the kids on the issue of baroclinic convection-cloud building caused between the two differently temperatured air masses colliding.......
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here comes the next one..big boomers again............
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Quoting 474. GTstormChaserCaleb:
I'll trade you ;)
Where are you GT?
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Quoting 476. PalmBeachWeather:
Just curious...Am I the only one that goes to the refrigerator to get ice out of the ice maker and at least one ice cube falls on the floor? Always
Nope happens to me all the time.
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 9226
Quoting 474. GTstormChaserCaleb:
I'll trade you ;)
Where are you GT?
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Forecast too warm/too cold (at surface in Celsius) for tomorrow. Check out the site and click "Animation".
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booming again..more coming folks...........
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Just curious...Am I the only one that goes to the refrigerator to get ice out of the ice maker and at least one ice cube falls on the floor? Always
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This is WHY those storms were so strong..the trough is coming across...
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Quoting 472. PalmBeachWeather:
Finally a sunny evening
I'll trade you ;)
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 9226
The North Pole Today.
The Arctic is melting. We cannot stop it.
Some deny the climate is changing.
Look at our pole, look at the jet stream. Is the climate
changing? Can you believe your eyes if not the consensus of science?

Hires gallery and video available at:
http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/gallery_np.html
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Finally a sunny evening
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Indian Hills, Jurupa Valley, California (PWS)
Updated: 2:00 PM PDT on July 17, 2013
Clear
93.7 °F
Clear
Humidity: 18%
Dew Point: 44 °F
Wind: 8.4 mph Variable
Wind Gust: 17.8 mph
Pressure: 29.93 in (Falling)
Heat Index: 90 °F
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 5.0 out of 16
Pollen: 2.20 out of 12
Pollen Forecast new!
Clouds:
Clear -
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 1000 ft

AC is still off, 91.8 outside and 78.5 inside....
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6795
We hit our high of 90 earlier today and now we're back down to 87 and no rain in site, woo hoo! Out of here till later!
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Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8406
Quoting 462. Tropicsweatherpr:


Hi TT. But Dr Gray/Phil Klotzbach eliminated that factor among those that they use.
And for good reason, neither phase is significantly more favorable. But again, the westerly phase is slightly more favorable...

I'ts like the difference between average SSTs and SSTs 0.1C above average. The difference in activity we would experience wouldn't be very significant but that warmer SSTs do favor slightly more activity.
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Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8406
Wow that surface trough east of Florida has gotten a bit more consolidated this afternoon and rain over South Florida is coming in by the buckets. I maybe wrong however this feature is expected to over S.Florida/NW Bahamas for at least 2 more days which will cause flooding concerns.
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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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