Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:27 PM GMT on March 16, 2006
Violent tornadoes--one rated F4 or F5 on the Fujita scale--are extremely rare. Only one was reported last year, the F4 November 15, 2005 tornado that injured 37 people when it swept through Madisonville, Kentucky. A damage survey completed yesterday afternoon revealed that a violent F4 tornado crossed through Monroe County, Missouri on the evening of March 12. Winds from the tornado were estimated at the lower end of the F4 scale (208-260 mph). The F4 rating was given after meteorologists found a well-built home that had been completely leveled, with debris from the home carried over 1/2 mile away. A pickup truck at the home was lifted and tossed over 100 yards into the living room of an adjacent home. Fortunately, the tornado was much weaker (F1 - F2) when it plowed through the nearby town of Monroe.
Damage surveys from the March 11-13 tornado outbreak still continue, and it is still uncertain how many tornadoes occurred. I wouldn't be surprised if the outbreak turns out to be the largest of the year--the average number of tornadoes for the entire month of March is only 63, and we came close to that in one weekend! However, with the April-June peak of tornado season still to come, we can expect a lot more severe weather this Spring. Severe weather may resume on Tuesday, when the first of a series of major storm systems is expected to move across the country. These systems will also bring a small measure of drought relief to some drought-stricken areas of Texas, Arizona, and surrounding states.
Brazilian disturbance fizzles
The tropical disturbance that was off the Brazilian coast yesterday has lost all of its deep convection, and is now just a swirl of low clouds. No further development of this system is likely--wind shear remains too high to allow deep convection to reform over this low. Climatologia Urbana de Sao Leopoldo, a private weather center in the southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, has posted a detailed analysis of this system. It helps if you can read Portugese!
Comments will take a few seconds to appear.