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 NiƱo 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 256. stormpetrol:


Is that a closed low? (albeit weak)
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GFS agree's for Saturday...................
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39229
Quoting EcoLogic:
Considering the blog post title and the fact that it is quiet in the tropics, I'll pose a question that is a nexus between two of my geek interests...tropical weather and crypto-currencies.

I'm hoping that there are other fellow wunder-friends who have a familiarity with bitcoin (if not, google it...fascinating). The bitcoin network has a computational capacity that exceeds the combined power of the world's top 500 supercomputers and is growing exponentially. The mathematical algorithm that this enormous system is processing is basically crap. The question is, can we identify someone to adapt a climate model to utilize this or a similar proof-of-work network, essentially creating "Earthcoin?"

Not until everyone associated with bitcoins is put in jail. :-)

The bitcoin is a finite form of digital currency, with an estimated 21 million bitcoins being the limit to how many will ever be created. In order to accommodate things like inflation and increases or decreases on the market value of a bitcoin, the P2P networks have to work together to create a grand ledger of each bitcoin created, how each is subdivided, and what some fraction of a bitcoin is worth at any moment in time. These P2P networks are joined together to make bigger P2P networks. Leaving aside the legal and financial implications bitcoins, the P2P networks have no centralized authority, which opens the question of the reliability of the data. A node on the network is free to join or leave as it chooses, and the ultimate computing power of the bitcoin network is only known on a second by second basis.

Turning to weather, the Seti at Home network is the closest example of a scientific project that uses P2P networks to increase computing power I can think of. As complicated as bitcoin accounting can be, they are still dealing with a finite amount of digital currency. The transactions themselves are very simple. Someone buy or sells a bitcoin to either use as investment or to purchase goods or services. The potential inputs to a weather model, as we understand weather science today, are essentially infinite. Utilizing a P2P network like Seti may be an inexpensive way to gain computing power, but the amount and types of inputs still need a centralized authority, and that authority would need to be international and have some kind of plan about what models have the highest priority, as well as making sure the results are properly normalized and cataloged, so there's confidence that the final data is actually correct. There's no functional reason this couldn't be done, but the command and control decisions are quite daunting. I believe, but have no evidence of this but my own feelings and reading some of the technical literature, that the number of people willing to share idle computing time has decreased drastically since the NSA revelations of recent months.
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262. Ed22
This tropical disturbance over southern Florida have a good spin to it, it looks pretty impressive its underneath a light to moderate its about 5 to 20 knots windshear. So its moving slowly westward about 5 to 10 mph, monitoring closely for possible further development.
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261. 7544
Quoting 258. Grothar:
Looks like another flare-up happening off the Miami coast



huh u beat to me this time was just about to post that more convection forming south of mia now stay alert
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Quoting 257. Matt74:
We really haven't had that much in SE Texas


Nope, we're not doing good. Have yet to get an inch of rain from a single storm or cell moving over me since spring? maybe
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nam for saturday.....................
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39229
Looks like another flare-up happening off the Miami coast

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Quoting 235. RitaEvac:
Waiting for that entity over Florida to head westbound to increase our rain chances again in TX, some models trying to spin down a surface low and close it off but more than likely not, just bring the rain.
We really haven't had that much in SE Texas
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Quoting 248. LargoFl:
lots of street flooding there huh by now.
Quoting 247. SFLWeatherman:


This system seems to just be spinning around South Florida. No end in sight just yet... Wonder what the models are predicting once this systems moves to the GOM...
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Stay off the roads south florida...........dangerous out there..
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39229
FLOOD ADVISORY
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL
100 PM EDT WED JUL 17 2013

FLC011-099-171900-
/O.NEW.KMFL.FA.Y.0075.130717T1700Z-130717T1900Z/
/00000.N.ER.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.000000T0000 Z.OO/
100 PM EDT WED JUL 17 2013

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MIAMI HAS ISSUED AN

* URBAN FLOOD ADVISORY FOR...
NORTHEASTERN BROWARD COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST FLORIDA...
THIS INCLUDES THE CITIES OF...TAMARAC...SUNRISE...POMPANO BEACH...
MARGATE...FORT LAUDERDALE...DEERFIELD BEACH...CORAL SPRINGS...
EXTREME SOUTHEASTERN PALM BEACH COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST FLORIDA...

* UNTIL 300 PM EDT

* AT 1257 PM EDT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR WAS SHOWING
GRADUALLY DIMINISHING LIGHT TO MODERATE RAIN ACROSS NORTHERN BROWARD
COUNTY. ALTHOUGH ADDITIONAL RAIN ACCUMULATIONS ARE EXPECTED TO BE
MINOR, STANDING WATER WILL REMAIN FROM THIS MORNING`S RAINS,
ESPECIALLY IN THE FORT LAUDERDALE, OAKLAND PARK AND POMPANO BEACH
AREAS WHERE MANY STREETS REMAIN FLOODED. THEREFORE, THE FLOOD
ADVISORY HAS BEEN EXTENDED IN TIME TO COVER THE AREAS NORTH OF I-595
IN BROWARD COUNTY.

DO NOT DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE INTO AREAS WHERE THE WATER COVERS THE
ROADWAY. THE WATER DEPTH MAY BE TOO GREAT TO ALLOW YOUR CAR TO CROSS
SAFELY.

A FLOOD ADVISORY MEANS PONDING OF WATER IN URBAN OR OTHER AREAS IS
OCCURRING OR IS IMMINENT. RUNOFF MAY ALSO ELEVATE WATER LEVELS IN
CANALS AND DITCHES.

LAT...LON 2609 8010 2615 8037 2633 8032 2632 8008

$$

MOLLEDA

Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39229
This is what I'm watching, entity from Florida slowly moving west




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Can you imagine the MDR being like this now? Well,is not today but from March 27 when the MDR really warmed a lot. But right now is not so warm but let's see if it warms again in the next few weeks to give fuel to those CV systems. Also to note is the tripole is very weak right now compared to March 27.

March 27



July 17

Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14326
Quoting 249. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Yeah I did say Georges in terms of track, not strength as Georges occurred later in the season when conditions were more favorable, I wouldn't expect conditions to be that favorable for strengthening, but definitely better than the conditions Chantal had to deal with.

Don't say the 2013 C word...
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Quoting 239. Gearsts:
Did someone say Georges?! :O
Yeah I did say Georges in terms of track, not strength as Georges occurred later in the season when conditions were more favorable, I wouldn't expect conditions to be that favorable for strengthening, but definitely better than the conditions Chantal had to deal with.
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Quoting 247. SFLWeatherman:
lots of street flooding there huh by now.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39229
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4681
well we did get 2 days to dry out..thurs-fri rains back again..
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39229
Quoting 236. sar2401:

You can find all kinds of things when you use Google. :-)


I was thought I would be better to learn these things while in school. It saves a lot of time looking up Google.
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Quoting 217. 62901IL:

Great. when did it happen last?


http://i.imgur.com/vYfbB.gif

Lee fujiwhara courtesy ncstorm.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39229
Quoting 241. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Going to catch up on some yard work before the rains come down. Be back later.


Oh, yeah. Forgot. gotta do something.
62901IL out.
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Going to catch up on some yard work before the rains come down. Be back later.

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I was just looking at the image of hurricane Georges track. Made me think, what if Cuba and Hispaniola never existed. How big and strong could some these hurricanes get up to as they head towards the U.S.
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Quoting 202. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Looks like it would want to take a Georges track on this run.

Did someone say Georges?! :O
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Quoting 232. EcoLogic:
Considering the blog post title and the fact that it is quiet in the tropics, I'll pose a question that is a nexus between two of my geek interests...tropical weather and crypto-currencies.

I'm hoping that there are other fellow wunder-friends who have a familiarity with bitcoin (if not, google it...fascinating). The bitcoin network has a computational capacity that exceeds the combined power of the world's top 500 supercomputers and is growing exponentially. The mathematical algorithm that this enormous system is processing is basically crap. The question is, can we identify someone to adapt a climate model to utilize this or a similar proof-of-work network, essentially creating "Earthcoin?"


Theoretically, anything is possible. The current algorithm with which this operates is designed for single purpose of buy and sell. Depending if they were able to increase the satoshis or eventually create sub-satoshis, a workable model might be created. The problem with a model like that is the amount of variables involved in the atmosphere at any given time. Even with the amount of satoshis being employed with the bitcoin, it would be an enormous task to program the different variables which would be involved in a weather and/or climate model. I've often thought the same thing. I got the idea from watching "Person of Interest".
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Quoting 235. RitaEvac:
Waiting for that entity over Florida to head westbound to increase our rain chances again in TX, some models trying to spin down a surface low and close it off but more than likely not, just bring the rain.
More rain for Texas, it seems like this pattern hasn't happened in years. Wonder if the increase in Texas rainfalls have a correlation to storm tracks during hurricane season?
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Quoting 62901IL:

What is a Fujiwhara?

You can find all kinds of things when you use Google. :-)
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Waiting for that entity over Florida to head westbound to increase our rain chances again in TX, some models trying to spin down a surface low and close it off but more than likely not, just bring the rain.
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Pretty cool loop of the fujiwhara on the CMC: It's like the northern low grabs the southern low and slings it up north. Does become a pretty strong extra-tropical low over Newfoundland and Labrador.

Link
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Got to love seeing some bloggers going through July crisis...
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Considering the blog post title and the fact that it is quiet in the tropics, I'll pose a question that is a nexus between two of my geek interests...tropical weather and crypto-currencies.

I'm hoping that there are other fellow wunder-friends who have a familiarity with bitcoin (if not, google it...fascinating). The bitcoin network has a computational capacity that exceeds the combined power of the world's top 500 supercomputers and is growing exponentially. The mathematical algorithm that this enormous system is processing is basically crap. The question is, can we identify someone to adapt a climate model to utilize this or a similar proof-of-work network, essentially creating "Earthcoin?"
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Quoting 186. Grothar:


Keep rubbing it in and you won't be enjoying much of anything today. LOL


Sorry! I'm pretty sure once that lows moves off South Florida we'll get some better chances of rain but we sure don't need it just as you don't!
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3055
NHC still reports nothing in their TWO.
ZCZC MIATWOAT ALL
TTAA00 KNHC DDHHMM

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
200 PM EDT WED JUL 17 2013

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER KIMBERLAIN
NNNN
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Quoting 223. 62901IL:

just wait...
yup...sigh.
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You know its slow in the North Atlantic basin when we are tracking waves closer to the Indian Ocean than the Atlantic.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14326
Quoting 166. sar2401:

Enjoy it while you can. It's already 91 with a heat index of 102 in SE Alabama...and it's headed your way.


I wouldn't be so sure about that! I'm along the coast so the Gulf water keeps us a few degrees cooler than areas inland. The forecast high for today is 89 and then after today the forecast calls for a high of just 85-86 for the next 10 days as that low in South Florida moves West and should give us some cool breezes off the water! We're lucky this year, with all the rain the Gulf water temp near us is only 82 so when we get any kind of southerly breeze and a little cloud cover we stay below average. Our average right now is 90 so I'll take the 85-86 degree days!
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3055
Quoting 217. 62901IL:

Great. when did it happen last?
It's rare. Hurricane Sandy did this with the upper level trough...

Found this link:

http://weather.about.com/od/hurricaneformation/a/ Fujiwhara.htm


In 1955, two hurricanes formed very near each other. Hurricanes Connie and Diane at one point seemed to be one huge hurricane. The vortices were moving around each other in a counterclockwise motion.
In September 1967, Tropical storms Ruth and Thelma began to interact with each other as they approached Typhoon Opal. At the time, satellite imagery was in its infancy as TIROS, the world's first weather satellite, was only launched in 1960. To date, this was the best imagery of the Fujiwhara Effect yet seen.

In July of 1976, hurricanes Emmy and Frances also showed the typical dance of the storms as they interacted with each other.
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Thank you , Gro , thank you very much !
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Quoting 221. Waltanater:
When are the "BEAST" storms arriving!? This season is boring...I want total CHAOS! It will surely wake this blog up with astronomical numbers!

just wait...
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Quoting 220. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Just a TS over PR:


*facepalm*
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When are the "BEAST" storms arriving!? This season is boring...I want total CHAOS! It will surely wake this blog up with astronomical numbers!
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Just a TS over PR:

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Quoting 172. BahaHurican:
Nah... I can't believe the doc posted a Sharknado blog.... lol


Sharknado was freakin' awesome. Perhaps the best Made for TV movie in years.
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Can I just say that the idea that there COULDN'T be a Sharknado event is just the kind of lamestream media hoax that informs a certain other topic on this board?

Come on, justifying an argument on the basics of something as full of uncertainty and imprecision as physics just shows how biased certain people are.

Further, can I just say that the previous statement is an example of a snarknado?


Maine is much more comfortable than yesterday, at least my part of it. Nice breeze, less humidity, slightly lower temperature. The Wilted Wife alert has been canceled for the moment.
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Quoting 216. Waltanater:
where 2 storms in close proximity of each other, may feed off one another for energy. Ususally there is a dominant one of the two. It's pretty cool to see on sat.

Great. when did it happen last?
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Quoting 208. 62901IL:

What is a Fujiwhara?
where 2 storms in close proximity of each other, may feed off one another for energy. Ususally there is a dominant one of the two. It's pretty cool to see on sat.
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Quoting 213. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Just the track not the strength. Yes I hope not too, a track north of the islands would be more ideal, but then CaribBoy won't get his storm.

I'm expecting the remnants of a few storms in Southern IL this year.
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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.