An El Niño Coming in 2014?

By: Michael Ventrice , 2:58 PM GMT on February 21, 2014

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Today's guest blog post is by Dr. Michael Ventrice, an operational scientist for the Energy team at Weather Services International (WSI) - Jeff Masters

We are seeing increasing evidence of an upcoming change in the Pacific Ocean base state that favors the development of a moderate-to-strong El Niño event this Spring/Summer. To begin, here is a snap shot of global sea-surface temperature (SST) anomalies (the departure of temperature from average) 30 days ago:

Note the relatively weak look to the SST anomaly pattern in the equatorial Pacific, with warm anomalies in the western half of the basin and mixed warm and cold anomalies in the eastern half of the basin. The mixed warm/cold signals in the equatorial eastern Pacific are the result of instability “easterly” waves in the ocean, which are associated with short distances between “warm” and “cold” phases. Now let’s compare to what the SST anomaly map looks this week:

We’ve observed strong cooling in the eastern half of the Pacific Basin, giving a spatial map that strongly resembles “La Niña”--the opposite of El Niño. So why I am pushing the idea that El Niño might be right around the corner if the map looks like La Niña!?

It comes down to ocean dynamics. There are other types of waves that are deep in the Pacific Ocean. One such wave is called an “Oceanic Kelvin Wave”. Oceanic Kelvin waves travel only from West to East at extremely slow speeds (2-3 m/s). These waves have been alluded to as the facilitators of El Niño. There two phases of an Oceanic Kelvin wave, the “Upwelling” phase and the “Downwelling” phase. The Upwelling phase of an Oceanic Kelvin wave pushes colder water from the sub-surface towards the surface, resulting in cooling at the surface. The Downwelling phase of an Oceanic Kelvin wave is the opposite, where warmer waters at the surface of the West Pacific warm pool are forced to sink, resulting a deepening of the thermocline and net warming in the sub-surface. To try to illustrate this, imagine someone holding a blanket. They rapidly lift the blanket up (Step 2) and then push it back down (Step 3).

You will get a wave in the blanket, where it travels from the source region (you) towards the opposite direction. This same exact thing happens during Oceanic Kelvin wave events, where the general wave pattern will propagate from west to east. Since Oceanic Kelvin waves travel only from west to the east, you can expect when one phase is located over a region (i.e., today an “Upwelling” phase is in the East Pacific), the opposite phase will soon to follow (i.e., the “Downwelling” phase will be in the East Pacific in 1-2 months). It may be appropriate to illustrate the evolution of the 1997 Super El Niño event to shed some more light on the similarities of the pattern then when compared to now.



Three fields are shown above in the panel of time-longitude plots. The left most figure is of the departure of the west-to-east winds (the "zonal wind anomalies') in the lower troposphere, averaged about the Equator. The figure in the middle is essentially a field to monitor the fluctuations of the thermocline in the Pacific Ocean, or can be thought of as a crude way to isolate the depth of the SST gradient. The right most figure is SST anomalies. In February and March of 1997, we observed strong westerly winds on the surface of the western Pacific (known as “westerly wind bursts”). Strong westerly wind bursts in the lower atmosphere can initiate an oceanic Kelvin wave. We observed a number of oceanic Kelvin waves that Spring, both having upwelling and downwelling phases. With each oceanic Kelvin wave event, the warm pool kept “sloshing” around until the final Kelvin wave event, which reconstructed the base state of the thermocline, and the Super El Niño was born beginning in May 1997, and lasting through April 1998. It was the strongest El Niño event ever recorded.

Let’s take a look at what happens in the sub-surface during one of these “Oceanic Kelvin waves”. Here’s an example from 2003. During the onset of an oceanic Kelvin wave, you will see strong sub-surface warming in the western Pacific, and strong cooling near the surface in the Pacific. With time, the warming pushes eastward in the sub-surface, eventually eroding the cold anomalies in the East Pacific surface, which switch to warm anomalies thereafter.



Some Oceanic Kelvin waves are not strong enough to reconstruct the Pacific Ocean base state, and will only result in minor adjustments. One way to see this is by using the current 20°C isotherm depth and anomaly Hovmoeller plots from February 2014 below. The black solid line represents the center of the “Downwelling” phase (or warming in sub-surface phase); the black-dashed line represents the center of the “Upwelling” phase (or cooling at surface phase).



There have been a series of 3 strong Kelvin waves over the past 7 months. Each Kelvin wave pushed some water from the West Pacific Warm Pool towards the East Pacific, but the subsequent upwelling phase resulted in cooling. This week, a very strong “Upwelling” phase of a Kelvin wave is pushing across the Eastern Pacific, forcing colder waters from the subsurface towards the surface, cooling the Eastern Pacific surface waters. This cooling has put the index we use to track El Niño--the so-called "ENSO 3.4 index"--at -0.5°C, right at the border of La Niña conditions. This is happening while warm surface water is being pushed down into the sub-surface, resulting in massive warming below the surface. Here is the evolution of the sub-surface SST structure beginning in January and ending this week:



Note that there has been strong cooling in the East Pacific, associated with the strong “Upwelling” phase of the Kelvin wave and strong sub-surface warming in the western-central Pacific associated with its “Downwelling” phase. This strong Oceanic Kelvin wave is the reason why today’s SST anomaly snap-shot map has the appearance of a strong La Niña, but is just the result of processes occurring in the Pacific Ocean at sub-seasonal time scales.

The current Kelvin wave in the Pacific Ocean has achieved the same strength as the one that preceded the 1997 Super El Niño event. This is an extremely rare feat but there still has to be a number of things to happen before we can say we are headed towards a strong El Niño. We need to see the continuation of strong westerly winds near the Equator over the Central Pacific to keep the momentum forward.

What caused the development of the strong Oceanic Kelvin wave? A strong westerly wind burst (WWB1) was observed during January 19 - 30 over the equatorial West Pacific:



Note from the time-longitude plot of Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) filtered velocity potential anomalies at 200 mb (VP200), the convectively active phase of the MJO passed across the Western Pacific in late December through early January. Therefore, WWB1 on January 19 - 30 was likely driven by other features in the atmosphere other than the MJO:




Looking more into the finer details, there was a pair of strong gyres (or “low pressure systems”) mirroring each other about the Equator. One gyre set up shop over the Philippines, and caused major flooding. The gyre south of the Equator set up over northern Australia, and also produced a great deal of precipitation and thunderstorm activity.



Since the flow in the Northern Hemisphere around a low pressure system (or gyre) is counterclockwise, it produces low-level westerly flow to the south of the gyre. Vice versa, flow around a low pressure system in the Southern Hemisphere is clockwise. Thus, to the north of the low, there is also accelerated westerly flow. The net combination of these gyres over the equatorial West Pacific aided in a significant westerly wind burst in late January, as these gyres persisted for nearly 1-2 weeks.

Note that the GFS forecast calls for another amplification of mean westerly flow about the Equator west of the Date Line February 18 - 28 (WWB2). Looking at the 1000mb standardized geopotential height anomaly map, the forecast calls for *two* sets of twin cyclones mirroring each other about the Equator, with one of the Southern Hemisphere gyres forming into a tropical cyclone near the Date Line!



The pair of twin cyclones will likely amplify westerly flow in the medium range, and would likely keep the forward momentum of the Oceanic Kelvin wave, providing more evidence in a possible change of the base state in the Pacific. The kicker for a full blown 1997-like Super El Niño to develop would likely be some additional assistance from the development of early-season Pacific tropical cyclones near the Equator, as the GFS model is starting to hint at south of the Equator. Note that the 1997 Super El Niño event had the help from Category 5 Super Typhoon Isa during early April, which developed close enough to the Equator over the Central Pacific to produce another significant westerly wind burst there, and continue to push the West Pacific Warm Pool eastward.

So as it stands now, the ocean has geared in towards another big eastward push of the West Pacific Warm pool towards the East Pacific. We do need to see more westerly winds develop across the Central Pacific to completely swap the base state this Spring. This piece of the puzzle is difficult to predict at such long time-scales, but there are some indications for this to occur at least in the medium-range. Both the CFSv2 and European seasonal model forecasts are extremely aggressive with this transition to El Niño idea, as shown in the time series plots below:




What does this mean for the U.S. this summer? Well, why it’s still a bit early to be certain, typical conditions over the U.S. during strong El Niño’s favor a ridge over the West and a trough over the East. Therefore, you typically see warmer than average summers over the West Coast, and colder than average temperatures over eastern two thirds of the nation, as shown by a simple surface temperature correlation map with the ENSO 3.4 index:




BOTTOM LINE: The Pacific Ocean is now in a state that could reconstruct the base state of the Pacific, favoring an El Niño to develop later this Spring. That being said, it’s not a locked in solution yet as we need to monitor the atmosphere for future westerly wind bursts to help push the Western Pacific Warm Pool along. Thanks go to NOAA for providing the majority of the images used in this post.

Michael Ventrice

Dr. Michael Ventrice is an operational scientist for the Energy team at Weather Services International (WSI), who provide market-moving weather forecasts and cutting-edge meteorological analysis to hundreds of energy-trading clients worldwide.  Follow the WSI Energy Team on Twitter at @WSI_Energy and @WSI_EuroEnergy.

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1339. LargoFl
1:34 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
Quoting 1333. StormTrackerScott:
wow bet that would really dent cars and if you got hit with that ouch....
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38439
1338. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
1:34 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
1337. washingtonian115
1:34 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
Looks like the storm wens will be a non-factor so that I can go about my business.Let's hope the storm for Saturday will be a non factor as well.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16971
1336. StormTrackerScott
1:33 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
This is what the storm looked like when quarter to golf ball size hail was raining down.

Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 6 Comments: 2922
1335. ricderr
1:31 PM GMT on February 24, 2014

You may want check again as I was in it as were many around here.




scott...if you drove through golf ball sized hail...you would be taking your car to have your windshield replaced and then to the body shop
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 673 Comments: 21638
1334. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
1:30 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
Quoting 1333. StormTrackerScott:
looks like about the size of a ping bong ball
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53809
1333. StormTrackerScott
1:29 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 6 Comments: 2922
1332. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
1:28 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
Quoting 1303. islander101010:
lots of warning right in the middle of the daytona 500 and not one tornado. heads should fly.
maybe they should be dragged into the street tied to a post doused with gas and burned for practicing witchcraft

forget that its 2014 not 1714

so that's out

we will have to figure out something else

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53809
1331. StormTrackerScott
1:28 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
Quoting 1329. ricderr:
sorry scott...there's no golf ball sized hail...

here...yo help you...this is what it looks like




You may want check again as I was in it as were many around here.
Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 6 Comments: 2922
1330. StormTrackerScott
1:27 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
Quoting 1328. SFLWeatherman:
Rain all week!! No dry season this year for me!


It's been very summer-ish lately with temps in the mid 80's with upper 60 dewpoints then hefty thunderstorms in the afternoon.

Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 6 Comments: 2922
1329. ricderr
1:26 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
sorry scott...there's no golf ball sized hail...

here...yo help you...this is what it looks like


Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 673 Comments: 21638
1328. SFLWeatherman
1:25 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
Rain all week!! No dry season this year for me!
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4518
1327. StormTrackerScott
1:22 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
Here's a video of some of the hail. Some of it was Golf Ball size. Video not mine one of my friends took this video.

Link

Scratch that video wouldn't load but here's this one from news13
Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 6 Comments: 2922
1326. LargoFl
1:22 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
Nam also has thursday tampa's heavy rain day......
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38439
1325. LargoFl
1:18 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
well for tampa bay gfs says thursday is our heavy rain day..we sure can use all we can get...
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1324. LargoFl
1:16 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
well lets see if this verifies wenesday.......
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38439
1323. LargoFl
1:14 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
Quoting 1316. Thunderfan:
Imagine if there were a tornado in Daytona yesterday WITHOUT a warning...

A mob would be chasing down NWS employees and Congressional investigations would ensue...

Isn't it better to be cautious instead?
yes your 100% right
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38439
1322. StormWx
1:14 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
First week of March will be cooler than average once again.

Member Since: July 10, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 937
1321. ricderr
1:11 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
from NOAA


2130 100 SANFORD SEMINOLE FL 2879 8128 SPOTTER REPORT AND MANY SOCIAL MEDIA REPORTS OF QUARTER-SIZED HAIL THROUGHOUT SANFORD. (MLB)
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 673 Comments: 21638
1320. StormTrackerScott
1:05 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
Quoting 1315. Naga5000:
If you wait to issue a tornado warning until the tornado is confirmed on the ground it is too late for the warning.


I agree the cell I was following in Sanford at the corner of Markham Woods Rd and SR 46 there was a rotating wall cloud but nothing could manage to get to the surface. There was lots of Golf Ball size hail though that covered the ground.
Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 6 Comments: 2922
1319. percylives
12:43 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
Quoting 1303. islander101010:
lots of warning right in the middle of the daytona 500 and not one tornado. heads should fly.


You need to get your priorities straight. The forecasters did the right thing.
Member Since: August 23, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 99
1318. beell
12:29 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
The greatest factor in mid-level rotation being unable to translate to the surface (bold text).

And then there is the text that follows the "BUT".

LOW-LEVEL WINDS REMAIN ANEMIC WITHIN THE WARM SECTOR /0-1 KM SHEAR AOB 10 KT IN MLB VWP DATA/...BUT LOCAL AUGMENTATION OF SHEAR ALONG BOUNDARIES/N OF THE FRONT MAY CONTINUE TO YIELD TRANSIENT SUPERCELL STRUCTURES AS THE REGION LIES ON THE FRINGE OF MODERATE MID-LEVEL W/SWLYS.

SPC Mesoscale Discussion #152
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 142 Comments: 16607
1317. beell
12:20 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
Yesterday, sitting in the safety and comfort of my armchair a thousand miles away I thought...no way these cells drop a tornado. Been surprised enough over the years to keep those thoughts to myself.
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 142 Comments: 16607
1316. Thunderfan
12:17 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
Imagine if there were a tornado in Daytona yesterday WITHOUT a warning...

A mob would be chasing down NWS employees and Congressional investigations would ensue...

Isn't it better to be cautious instead?
Member Since: April 14, 2012 Posts: 3 Comments: 794
1315. Naga5000
12:15 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
If you wait to issue a tornado warning until the tornado is confirmed on the ground it is too late for the warning.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3377
1314. beell
12:15 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
A 5-yr Climatology of Tornado False Alarms
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 142 Comments: 16607
1313. Tropicsweatherpr
12:14 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
Quoting 1310. islander101010:
oh your right heads should not fly they just need to go back to school to study their new toys neos on edge its this extended cold spell.


Is better be safe than sorry. Same happens with the Hurricane Warnings. They issue them for an area but then the hurricane deviates without affecting the warned area.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14252
1312. beell
12:13 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
Quoting 1287. sar2401:
So was there ever a tornado seen on the ground in Florida versus the ones observed on radar? There are people all over the country who are asking why there were tornado warnings if there was no tornado.


The national false alarm ratio for tornadoes has remained somewhat static at around 75%. This is certainly a problem that existed before Sunday's race. Why would you or anyone expect anything different?
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 142 Comments: 16607
1311. Naga5000
12:03 PM GMT on February 24, 2014
Quoting 1310. islander101010:
oh your right heads should not fly they just need to go back to school to study their new toys govt people dont lose their jobs when they blow it they just get transferred


Are you serious? Doppler indicated a rotating thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado heading towards an outdoor event. Of course a warning was issued.

When did erring on the side of caution become an offense worthy of being fired? This anti-government attitude is getting out of control.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3377
1310. islander101010
11:55 AM GMT on February 24, 2014
oh your right heads should not fly they just need to go back to school to study their new toys neos on edge its this extended cold spell.
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 4578
1309. Birthmark
11:52 AM GMT on February 24, 2014
Quoting 1303. islander101010:
lots of warning right in the middle of the daytona 500 and not one tornado. heads should fly.

No. Just no.
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
1308. Neapolitan
11:49 AM GMT on February 24, 2014
Quoting 1303. islander101010:
lots of warning right in the middle of the daytona 500 and not one tornado. heads should fly.
Whose heads? And why? There were close to a quarter-million people sitting there pretty much exposed to the elements. Should the NWS have waited to hand out warnings until a tornado was actually on the ground and headed for the track? I understand the frustration that must have been felt by those temporarily delayed from watching a bunch of cars go around in a circle really fast, but to me such delays are better than risking the lives of hundreds or thousands...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13526
1307. LargoFl
11:44 AM GMT on February 24, 2014
7-day Tampa Bay area.......
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38439
1306. islander101010
11:44 AM GMT on February 24, 2014
dont know how to use their new toys just afternoon thunderstorms
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 4578
1305. LargoFl
11:42 AM GMT on February 24, 2014
wenesday we get a good chance of rain..........
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38439
1304. LargoFl
11:41 AM GMT on February 24, 2014
Quoting 1303. islander101010:
lots of warning right in the middle of the daytona 500 and not one tornado. heads should fly.
no when the radar indicates a possibility of a tornado a warning IS issued..erring on the side of caution,thats their rule and its a good one.....suppose they did NOT issue a warning and those people got HIT with a tornado?..THEN heads WOULD roll huh...they did the right thing
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38439
1303. islander101010
11:38 AM GMT on February 24, 2014
lots of warning right in the middle of the daytona 500 and not one tornado. heads should fly.
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 4578
1302. LargoFl
11:37 AM GMT on February 24, 2014
wont be any water shortage in the panhandle this year huh......
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38439
1301. LargoFl
11:36 AM GMT on February 24, 2014
Quoting 1299. jrweatherman:


Saw the lightening, heard the thunder then the storms went poof just offshore Clearwater - again. So frustrating.
yeah maybe wens when that cool front makes it to central florida we'll get some more rain..
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38439
1300. trunkmonkey
11:33 AM GMT on February 24, 2014
Quoting 1212. Patrap:
:::The Murderous Wake of Change:::

The earth shook for 2 minutes fully, some say 2:15-30 second's but it mattered not.

What the drought had begun in 2014,the Mega Quake decidedly finished on March 2nd, 2016.

Now, with the Human exodus continuing East, Northwest and South,...the Camps along the walking routes were alight with Generators and remarkably, Tiki Torches.

It all made for a surreal scene as we Helo-ed along I-10 East,toward the Desert.


Dr. Masters leaned forward adjusting His Headset,..we were all very quiet.








sweet!
Member Since: August 18, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 581
1299. jrweatherman
11:32 AM GMT on February 24, 2014
Quoting 1295. LargoFl:
THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR WEST CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST
FLORIDA.

.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT.

A DENSE FOG ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT FOR ALL GULF WATERS FROM TAMPA
BAY SOUTH TO BONITA BEACH UNTIL 10 AM TODAY.


Saw the lightening, heard the thunder then the storms went poof just offshore Clearwater - again. So frustrating.
Member Since: May 17, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 943
1298. aislinnpaps
11:11 AM GMT on February 24, 2014
Good morning, afternoon and evening, everyone. It's 56 degrees with a cooler 66 as a high later. We're also under a dense fog advisory. It's a bit pea soupy out there.

Breakfast's on the sideboard: Berry Stuffed French Toast with Vanilla Yogurt Sauce, Ricotta Stuffed French Toast with Caramelized Bananas, Boston Cream Pie Pancakes, bacon, egg and cheese Breakfast Cupcakes, Cinnamon Breakfast Bites, bagels with cream cheese and jelly or lox, scrambled eggs with crawfish Étouffée to pour over it, cheese Danishes, yogurt, fresh fruit and orange, apple or pineapple juice. Creole coffee. Enjoy!
Member Since: August 22, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 3125
1297. Sfloridacat5
11:10 AM GMT on February 24, 2014
0.0" of rain over the weekend. Just lots of sun.
7 Day for Fort Myers Fl. (50% chance of rain Wednesday night) - we need it.
Member Since: September 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6818
1296. Gearsts
10:54 AM GMT on February 24, 2014
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1741
1295. LargoFl
10:48 AM GMT on February 24, 2014
THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR WEST CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST
FLORIDA.

.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT.

A DENSE FOG ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT FOR ALL GULF WATERS FROM TAMPA
BAY SOUTH TO BONITA BEACH UNTIL 10 AM TODAY.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38439
1294. barbamz
10:26 AM GMT on February 24, 2014

Live webcam Mainz.

Good morning hello! Bright spring day in Mainz / Rhine River while beautiful "Yvonne" (system recently has been named) is approaching the western Atlantic coasts of Europe:




(Saved image). Source for updates.
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 54 Comments: 5930
1293. LargoFl
9:31 AM GMT on February 24, 2014
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38439
1292. LargoFl
9:22 AM GMT on February 24, 2014
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38439
1291. LargoFl
9:20 AM GMT on February 24, 2014
Good Morning!......................
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38439
1290. LargoFl
9:17 AM GMT on February 24, 2014
Quoting 1288. Forsaken:
Another one of those teasers here in tampabay tonight. I saw this huge mass of rain coming towards me on radar earlier, and then it just dissolved completely before it got here.
yes happens quite alot huh..some say its the tampa shield and its working..
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38439
1289. Neapolitan
7:57 AM GMT on February 24, 2014
Quoting 1287. sar2401:
So was there ever a tornado seen on the ground in Florida versus the ones observed on radar? There are people all over the country who are asking why there were tornado warnings if there was no tornado.
All those wondering that should spend a few seconds reading NOAA's widely disseminated warning criteria. The organization clearly states that warnings are issued when either a tornado or funnel is spotted, or when radar indicates the presence of one.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13526

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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.