Tornadoes kill 3 in Michigan...

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:10 PM GMT on October 19, 2007

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More tornadoes hit the U.S. on Thursday and early Friday morning, causing damage and injuries in Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, and Florida. A 29-year old man was killed in Kalkasaka County, Michigan, when a tornado destroyed his home. Two other people were killed in Williamston, Michigan, after a tornado destroyed their lakefront home. In Nappanee, Indiana, five people were injured and 20 homes destroyed by a tornado at 10:30 pm. At least eight people were injured in western Kentucky from a series of tornadoes that raked the area, and a tornado hit downtown Pensacola, Florida, flipping cars and damaging the town's main shopping mall. A tornado that hit near Paris, Missouri, killing two people just after midnight on Thursday, was rated as an EF-2 storm with top winds of 135 mph.

The storm system that spawned this week's severe weather has moved over the Eastern U.S., and there is a chance of severe weather today from Florida northwards to New England, according to the latest severe weather outlook from the Storm Prediction Center. Only isloated tornadoes are likely today, as the atmosphere is not nearly as unstable as it was Wednesday and Thursday.

"Medicane" (Medepression?) hits Spain
A tropical storm-like system swept over the island of Majorca in the Mediterranean on Wednesday, triggering flooding that killed two people. The storm then made landfall on the Mediterranean coast of Spain yesterday morning near the city of Murcia. The satellite presentation of the storm at landfall (Figure 1) showed well-formed spiral bands and a cloud-free center. Murcia, Spain reported sustained winds of 30 mph, gusting to 45 mph, at 14 GMT Thursday. A personal weather station in Santa Pola recorded sustained winds of 40 mph, gusting to 45 mph, and 0.68 inches of rain during passage of the storm. We have a number of other personal weather stations in the region, but none reported higher winds, or a pressure lower than 1013 mb. Radar from the Spanish Instituto Nacional de Meteorologia (Figure 2) showed some well-organized banding. The UKMET model did not indicate the storm had a warm core, so this was likely not a true tropical depression. Sea surface temperatures were about 23° C (about 1° C warmer than normal) under the storm, which is quite a bit colder than the 26.5° C usually associated with tropical storm formation. The satellite presentation suggests that the storm was probably generating a shallow warm core near the surface, and was getting some of its energy from release of latent heat--the same energy source that powers tropical cyclones. Yesterday's "Medepression" was probably a hybrid tropical/extratropical storm, and was predominantly non-tropical.


Figure 1. Satellite image from NOAA-17 polar orbiting satellite at 10:37 GMT 10/18/07. Image credit: U.S. Navy.


Figure 2. Radar image at 6:20 GMT for the Mediterranean coast of Spain. Image credit: Spanish Instituto Nacional de Meteorologia (INM).

Warm-cored hybrid storms have been reported in the Mediterranean Sea before, and there is a large body of scientific literature published on the subject (see below). These storms can become quite severe and cause considerable damage. However, there is no system in place to name these storms, and the National Hurricane Center is not responsible for issuing warnings in the Mediterranean Sea. There are quite a few "Medicanes" in past years that would have earned names as subtropical storms had NHC been responsible for warnings in the Mediterranean Sea. There is concern that global warming may raise sea surface temperatures enough in the Mediterannean later this century to allow full-fledged hurricanes to form and threaten the densely populated cities that dot the coast.

Some of the scientific literature discussing hybrid storms in the Mediterrean Sea:

Emmanuel, K., 2005, "Genesis and maintenance of Mediterranean hurricanes", Adv. Geosci., 2, 217-220.

Lagouvardos K., V. Kotroni, S. Nickovic, D. Jovic, and G. Kallos, 1999: "Observations and model simulations of a winter sub-synoptic vortex over the Central Mediterranean", Meteorol. Appl., 6, 371-383.

Mayengon, R., 1984, "Warm core cyclones in the Mediterranean", Mariners Weather Log, 28: 6?9.

Pytharoulis, I., G.C. Craig and S. P. Ballard, 2000, "The hurricane-like Mediterranean cyclone of January 1995", Meteorol. Appl., 7, 261-279.

Rasmussen, E. A., and Turner J., 2003: Polar Lows, Cambridge Press. 214-219

Rasmussen, E. & Zick, C., 1987, "A subsynoptic vortex over the Mediterranean with some resemblance to polar lows", Tellus, 39A: 408-425.

Reale, O., and R. Atlas, 2001, "Tropical Cyclone-Like Vortices in the Extratropics: Observational Evidence and Synoptic Analysis", Weather and Forecasting, 16, No. 1, pp. 7-34.

Reale, O. ,1998, "Dynamics and classification of two sub-synoptic scale "Hurricane-like" vortices over the Mediterranean Sea", Annales Geophysicae Part II: Hydrology, Oceans & Atmosphere (Supplement II to Volume 16), EGS, C634.

How to search for strongest winds from a storm
A good way to search for the strongest winds from a storm in our personal weather station data is to load a google map for the region of interest:

http://www.wunderground.com/stationmaps/gmap.asp? zip=00000&wmo=08360

Then, click on the station plot for stations of interest. The history page will then pop up, allowing one to see plots and tabular data for today beginning at midnight local time for the station. Airport weather data and conditions from U.S. buoys are also available on the same google map. Use the search box at upper right to change the location the map is centered on.

Tropical update
The tropical Atlantic is quiet today. The GFS model is predicting formation of a tropical cyclone on Tuesday about 800 miles east of the Lesser Antilles Islands. None of the other models are going along with this forecast. If there are no major developments to report this weekend, I may not update this blog until Monday.

Jeff Masters

Pensacola Tornado (Mslider31)
Looking west down Cervantes from Barcelona.
Pensacola Tornado
Storm Clouds (pwaleska)
Storms rumbled throughout MI as October thought it was April. Great clouds, moving fast!
Storm Clouds
Beautiful Storm (Kristina)
Taken while chasing in Oklahoma around the OKC area
Beautiful Storm

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324. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
10:19 PM GMT on October 19, 2007
its startin its north movement now for a bit vapour on increase in ull
trackmark 21.9n/87w
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323. Weather456
6:22 PM AST on October 19, 2007
322. HurricaneGeek 6:22 PM AST on October 19, 2007 Hide this comment.
Post # 306 by Weather456.
Is that on the far right what Dr. M is saying the GFS is saying will develop?


yes

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
322. HurricaneGeek
6:21 PM EDT on October 19, 2007
Post # 306 by Weather456.
Is that on the far right what Dr. M is saying the GFS is saying will develop?
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320. ShenValleyFlyFish
6:15 PM EDT on October 19, 2007
Thanks to you too 456 now I really do have to go
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
319. Weather456
6:12 PM AST on October 19, 2007
I will post illustrations later tonight or on Saturday, but i just want to review the conditions that led to last night severe weather activity over Eastern Plains of the US

Warm moist air was being provided by the low level jet coming from the Gulf of Mexico

Mid-Upper dry air from the West provided for an unstable situation.

The Jet Stream provided the upper level energy needed to spin up the mesocyclones and this was induced by an upper trough across the Central US. As u may know almost all cold fronts are associated with upper tofs.

CAPE Values were high across most major cities across the Eastern Plains



Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
318. cattlebaroness
10:13 PM GMT on October 19, 2007
Flood, I was just scrolling through some of the posts. I thought that squiggly line meant smoke em if you got em. Also I can't even find that symbol on my keyboard. Know it is off subject, it just caught my eye. :)
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317. ShenValleyFlyFish
5:58 PM EDT on October 19, 2007
Thanks StormW that almost made sense to me. I'l have to think a little about the dewpoint bit. And Flood's string art didn't make me just go (:P~ maybe if I hang around for a while something will rub off.
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
316. sammo
9:57 PM GMT on October 19, 2007
That's a really cool thing you taught us there StormW and 456. I never knew that existed...good thing to know about living in FL.
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315. Weather456
5:54 PM AST on October 19, 2007
The Lifted Index (LI) is defined as a rising parcel's temperature when it reaches the 500 millibars level (at about 5,500m or 18,000 feet asl), subtracted from the actual temperature of the environmental air at 500 mbar. If the Lifted Index is a large negative number, then the parcel will be much warmer than its surroundings, and will continue to rise. Thunderstorms are fueled by strong rising air, thus the Lifted Index is a good measurement of the atmosphere's potential to produce severe thunderstorms.

The Lifted Index (LI)
RANGE IN K

COLOR

AMOUNT OF INSTABILITY

THUNDERSTORM PROBABILITY
more than 11

BLUE

Extremely stable conditions

Thunderstorms unlikely
8 to 11

LIGHT BLUE

Very stable conditions

Thunderstorms unlikely
4 to 7

GREEN

Stable conditions

Thunderstorms unlikely
0 to 3

LIGHT GREEN

Mostly stable conditions

Thunderstorm unlikely
-3 to -1

YELLOW

Slightly unstable

Thunderstorms possible
-5 to -4

ORANGE

Unstable

Thunderstorms probable
-7 to -6

RED

Highly unstable

Severe thunderstorms possible
less than -7

VIOLET

Extremely unstable

Violent thunderstorms, tornadoes possible

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
314. Weather456
5:45 PM AST on October 19, 2007
Flood,

Lifted Index is a measure of the thunderstorm potential which takes into account the low level moisture availability:

> 0 Thunderstorms unlikely
0 - -2 Thunderstorms possible - trigger needed
-3 - -5 Thunderstorms probable
-5 - -7 Strong/severe thunderstorms. Tornadoes possible
-7 - -9 Move to Alaska
< -9 Yikes

________________________________________

Gulf of Mexico Cloudtops

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
313. Floodman
4:50 PM CDT on October 19, 2007
BBL, folks!
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312. Floodman
4:46 PM CDT on October 19, 2007
So air at the 850mb level is most likely to be warmer than the air at 500mb; the warmer that air is, the more lift potential it has, therefore lowering the lift index (lower = more disturbance = more storms) increases the risk of unsettled weather/storms. If the dewpoint at 850 is higher, the temp at 850 is higher, and/or the temp at 500 is lower, the index goes down
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311. Floodman
4:41 PM CDT on October 19, 2007
I love it, Storm!
-7 - -9 move to Alaska
< -9 Yikes!

Thanks, I understand now...at least a little better
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310. ShenValleyFlyFish
5:30 PM EDT on October 19, 2007
I got it Flood. Things locked up and i double posted. Between the local kids soaking up bandwidth on my-spaced-out and the WU getting into your wine i think i'll just take a break. Tween gas and net I might have to break down and move to town. Gettin harder to outrun the Bears too and the DC runaways are posting everything and making up all kinds of stupid rules. Next thing they gonna have a law bout spittin bacca juice out the truck window. BBL
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
309. Floodman
4:40 PM CDT on October 19, 2007
Thanks, StormW...
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308. Floodman
4:40 PM CDT on October 19, 2007


Or if you'd rather the link: Current Shear
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306. Weather456
5:33 PM AST on October 19, 2007
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
305. TerraNova
5:32 PM EDT on October 19, 2007
Current shear:

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303. Floodman
4:27 PM CDT on October 19, 2007
Taz, forecast for WCarib is low/mdt shear through 156 hours...
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302. TerraNova
5:26 PM EDT on October 19, 2007
Terranova, I think you may very well be right, based on nothing more than a feeling; well, okay, looking at the historical record as well...

LOL ya I also feel this season's not exactly over and done with yet...

-most likely done with hurricanes IMO but we could still see a tropical storm impacting the US before the end of November.
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301. Floodman
4:23 PM CDT on October 19, 2007
Shen, see post 289
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300. Tazmanian
9:26 PM GMT on October 19, 2007
wind shear is too high it wont do a thing
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299. Tazmanian
9:23 PM GMT on October 19, 2007
hi TerraNova
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298. Floodman
4:21 PM CDT on October 19, 2007
Terranova, I think you may very well be right, based on nothing more than a feeling; well, okay, looking at the historical record as well...
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297. icmoore
9:15 PM GMT on October 19, 2007
Yes StormW, Melrose. If you look at a map and see Gainesville and look mostly east and a little north you will see where 4 counties come together. We are near where they come together.
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296. ShenValleyFlyFish
5:07 PM EDT on October 19, 2007
Nope, I still have it ; )~

Are you sure about that Flood? Something defiantly weird and I'm beginning to think its not just the old hippies. BTW I always wondered what that squiggly key was for
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
295. TerraNova
5:14 PM EDT on October 19, 2007
Afternoon StormW, Floodman, Taz, and others!

Hmm...interesting GFS forecast. Looks like the GFS forecasts one final round of storms out of 2007 especially in the Western Caribbean. I think the Central Atlantic scenerio is the most likely right now as the GFS has been showing consistency for a while now on developing a tight system out of the large wave that's out there. It should recurve though and will quickly be ripped apart due to shear down the road.

The Western Caribbean is favorable for development and I wouldn't be surprised to see a system develop here next week. GFS goes crazy with the Caribbean by the looks of it. There's some consistency on forming a low pressure north of Panama, also,

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294. Weather456
4:57 PM AST on October 19, 2007
I dont normally post my synopsis but i decided to do it today...

GULF OF MEXICO/ATLANTIC OCEAN WEST OF 60W....

An upper trough is digging east across the Eastern CONUS. Water vapor imagery showing this sharp trough accompanied by plenty amount of dry air causing fair skies across the Central South Undated States from 90W to 110W. Meanwhile...the associated cold front is pushing southeast across the Gulf of Mexico accompanied by a band of cloudiness and showers extending from a 1007 MB low near across the Eastern Gulf and Florida...NNEWRD along the Southeast Coast. Additional heavy thunderstorms are associated with the area of low pressure.

Most of the Southwest North Atlantic is dominated by a 1021 MB just to the east of the island of Bermuda. The is high is producing mainly fair weather clouds and anticyclonic flow from 60W to 80W north of Greater Antilles near 20N.

CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN REGION....

An upper low currently moving over the Northern Yucatan Peninsula continues to enhance showers and thunderstorms over the Western Caribbean. Some of this moisture is being pulled north over Western Cuba and with the aid of daytime heating, showers can be expected during the afternoon, not just only over Cuba, but Jamaica, Hispaniola and to a lesser extent the Florida Keys and the Bahamas.

Based on 18Z total precipitable water product from the NAVY and visible cloud motions, a tropical is estimated to be near 75W south of the island of Hispaniola moving west at about 4LONG/6hrs. The wave is enveloped in a very dry airmass associated with a digging upper trough over the Atlantic...thereby void of any shower activity.

Fair skies and warm weather over the Eastern Caribbean Islands thanks a shot of dry air associated with a passing upper trough north of our area. An area of showers is approaching the Central Antilles, associated with a tropical wave. Expected increase moisture, wind and wave activity. Moderate easterly flow dominates the islands in part with eastern branch of the subtropical ridge.

by W456

I left out the tropical Atlantic part.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
293. Floodman
4:16 PM CDT on October 19, 2007
Flood...yeah...I just looked at the 12Z upper air data...Lifted Index for Tampa area was at (minus) -2.39

Teach me, as I'm just an egg: Lifted Index?
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291. Tazmanian
9:14 PM GMT on October 19, 2007
put lightning10 on the Ignored List that will take care of the S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-D blog part in tell in can he can come and take that photo off
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289. Floodman
4:15 PM CDT on October 19, 2007
It's an indicator of inebriation, in this case, much like Zonker Harris from Doonesbury and his dots...I was Zonker Harris in High School, by the way
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287. ShenValleyFlyFish
5:07 PM EDT on October 19, 2007
Nope, I still have it ; )~

Are you sure about that Flood? Something defiantly weird and I'm beginning to think its not just the old hippies. BTW I always wondered what that squiggly key was for
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
286. Floodman
4:13 PM CDT on October 19, 2007
283. StormW 4:13 PM CDT on October 19, 2007
279. Miamiweather 5:06 PM EDT on October 19, 2007
Hey StormW when is the gfs forecasting this to take place? Thank you in advance for your input


Near the end of its 384 hour forecast period.



Yikes! That's a ways out there, StormW...
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285. Tazmanian
9:12 PM GMT on October 19, 2007
you can thanks lightning10 for the S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-D blog
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284. Miamiweather
9:13 PM GMT on October 19, 2007
Thank you you going to go to dinner
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282. Floodman
4:11 PM CDT on October 19, 2007
You're welcome, ic! Let me see if I can remember...you're in Melrose?
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281. icmoore
9:07 PM GMT on October 19, 2007
THANKS StormW and Flood! I will be here.
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280. cattlebaroness
9:05 PM GMT on October 19, 2007
Howdy, the blog is S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-D. Where is the hot spots now? Has everyone weathered these storms okay?
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279. Miamiweather
9:04 PM GMT on October 19, 2007
Hey StormW when is the gfs forecasting this to take place? Thank you in advance for your input
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278. Floodman
4:05 PM CDT on October 19, 2007
Wow, is the blog lagging again?
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277. Floodman
4:02 PM CDT on October 19, 2007
Regardless, it's going to be an interesting weekend in Florida...
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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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