Severe weather outbreak expected today across the Southeast U.S.

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:28 PM GMT on March 04, 2008

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Two tornadoes touched down in Mississippi yesterday, and the record early season onslaught of tornadoes in the U.S. is expected to continue today. An unconfirmed tornado hit Camp Shelby, a Joint Forces Training Center 75 miles northwest of Mobil, Alabama at 11:25 pm CST Monday, injuring 14 National Guardsmen. A second tornado briefly touched down near Cary, Mississippi, and golf ball sized hail and damaging thunderstorm winds were plentiful across Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas yesterday.

Another volley of tornadoes is possible over the eastern portion of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia this afternoon. The Storm Prediction Center has placed this region under its "Moderate Risk" target today--one level below the maximum "High Risk" threat level. A powerful low pressure system will pass north of these states, dragging a strong cold front through. Strong EF2 and EF3 tornadoes are possible along this front, and the action may move into Maryland and Delaware late tonight. Tornado watches have already been posted for portions of Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Tennessee this morning. The tornado page is a good place to track the tornadoes as they occur today, along with our severe weather page.

2008 sets early tornado season records
The year 2008 smashed the record for most January and February tornadoes, with 368. The previous record was set in 1999, with 235 January/February tornadoes. Reliable records extend back to 1950. The 232 tornadoes reported in February of 2008 was a record for the month of February. Second place goes to 1971, with a relatively paltry 83 tornadoes. Each of the past three years has seen an unusually early start to tornado season (Figure 1). One would expect to see a shift in tornado activity earlier in the year in a warming climate, along with an earlier than usual drop off in activity in late spring. We can see that in both 2005 and 2006 that tornado activity dropped off much earlier than usual, and it will be interesting to see if 2008 follows a similar pattern. Note that there is a very high natural variability in tornado numbers, and the record for fewest ever January and February tornadoes was set just five years ago in 2002, when only four twisters occurred. It will be at least ten more years before we can say with any confidence that a warming climate is leading to an earlier peak in tornado season.

La Niña to blame?
There does seem to be a tendency for more early season tornadoes during La Niña years--four of the five years that had January/February tornado counts above 75 were all La Niña years (1971, 1975, 1999, and 2008). The only exception was 1998, which was an El Niño year, and had 118 January/February tornadoes. However, connection between La Niña and enhanced tornado activity is a controversial area of active research, and we don't know enough about the matter to blame this season's early tornado activity on La Niña.


Figure 1. Tornado reports so far this year have totaled 368 for the months of January and February, by far the greatest number of tornadoes observed so early in the year. Image credit: NOAA Storm Prediction Center.

Jeff Masters

Four X (RevBE)
A strong cold front is approaching middle Tennessee this evening. No tornadic storms reported but plenty of rain and interesting lightning. It was spring like in the 70's today. The wild swings continue this winter with snow showers forecast tomorrow afternoon.
Four X

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151. Floodman
6:34 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
It's a puzzlement, hydrus...the patterns are definitely changing, but the question is going to have to be is it permanent, or a blip in the numbers
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
150. Cavin Rawlins
6:34 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
....SYNOPSIS....

GULF OF MEXICO/NORTHWEST ATLANTIC OCEAN WEST OF 50W....

High pressure is situated 1019 mb over Northeast Alabama. This high is producing exceptionally fair weather over the Deep South and Southeast United States. Fair weather is also over Mainland Mexico due to an upper level confluent environment and high ridging extending along the Sierra Madre Mountains. The high is also producing a weak surface pressure pattern over the Gulf resulting in light to moderate variable winds and 6-8 ft seas. Meanwhile, a zone of low cloudiness and scattered showers covers most of the Gulf of Mexico from Yucatan to Florida. This activity mainly associated with remnant moisture behind a frontal boundary extending from Guatemala at 18N/89W across the Southeast Gulf and Southern Florida.

The frontal boundary continues from Southern Florida along 30N/79W 34N/75W to a 995 mb low at 40N/77W. Deep cloudiness and shower activity is positioned along the front and 60 nmi ahead. A very deep surface ridge is centered 1032 mb near 35N/53W producing pronounce anticyclonic flow across the Atlantic between 70W and 45W from the Northeast Caribbean to 35N. Broken to overcast stratocumulus clouds and possible showers are seen rotating in and around the flow around the high. Fair weather seen elsewhere. Meanwhile, the subtropical jet has its axis at 250 mb from just east of the Florida Peninsula to 30W roughly between 15N and 24N with a jet max of 90 knots. No associated accompany moisture.

CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN REGION....

A steady and typical easterly flow is blowing through the Caribbean south of the large high north of the region. This is allowing 15-20 knot trades and 6-8 ft seas. These conditions should be amplified along the Colombian Coast/SW Caribbean Sea where the 1010 mb Colombian Low has established itself. Meanwhile, trades are advecting scattered low clouds with possible shower activity across the Eastern and Northern Caribbean. A sharp upper ridge has its axis extending from Guyana near 5N/58W to a crest at the Yucatan Peninsula near 20N/90W. The associated flow around the ridge is advecting high level moisture in the form of cirriform clouds from thunderstorm activity over Northern South America across the Caribbean south of 15N from 85W to the Tropical Atlantic.

by W456

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149. hydrus
6:20 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
Floodman-I have lived here over 40 years this is the 3rd worst i,ve seen in this area.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22640
148. hydrus
6:19 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
Floodman-I have lived here over 40 years this is the 3rd worsy i,ve seen in this area.
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147. Floodman
6:16 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
I was a little less intense, but yes, Peach, very much like that LOL
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145. Floodman
6:11 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
Peach, I'm very proficient at copying and pasting (what a time saver it is); as a younger man I was rather good at paste eating, but I'll not go into my habits as a kindergartner
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
144. Floodman
6:08 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
It's hard for a boy from the mid west to fathom a 20 inch deficiency in rain for Florida...most folks think of Florida as a warm wet state
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
142. mgreen91
6:07 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
Hurricane Forecaster Predicts Above Average Season

Hurricane forecasters have improved their ability to track storms but need better estimates on their severity, so people will be better prepared to evacuate, officials said.
"With track forecasting, we are making big gains,'' said Bill Read, the new director of the National Hurricane Center.
"We've done nothing with the intensity,'' he said, adding "It's the rapid changes that are the big challenge.''
Read, named permanent director last month of the Hurricane Center, is here for an annual, weeklong conference attended by roughly 200 people from 15 federal agencies that deal with hurricanes.
He noted rapid growth along the coast is complicating the evacuation process. Decisions that previously were made a day in advance might now require two days' notice to get everyone out, he said.
On average, forecasts of a hurricane's path 48 hours out have improved about 3.5 percent yearly since 1985. But predictions on their strength have improved only about 0.8 percent each year, said Mary Glackin, the Commerce Department's deputy undersecretary for oceans and atmosphere.
Better predicting intensity will provide more accurate forecasts of deadly storm surge when a hurricane blows ashore, giving emergency officials a much better idea of which areas need to be evacuated, she said.
The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1. Colorado State University researcher William Gray is predicting an above-average season with seven hurricanes, three of them major.
The Hurricane Center won't issue its forecast until May. Director Read said it's too early to predict what the season will bring.
"The longer you try to forecast in advance, the more error you introduce,'' Read told The Associated Press before the conference. "There's normally a lot of error in those forecasts, so in our opinion, it's best to wait.''
Officials also want to better understand a hurricane's structure, to help better predict possible tornadoes when a hurricane hits, said Samuel Williamson, the head of the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research.


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141. weatherbro
6:03 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
Now that this storm systems out of the way, any interesting reports on the one that will develop in the SW gulf?
Member Since: May 26, 2007 Posts: 47 Comments: 1393
140. hydrus
5:44 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
Floodman-I live in south west Florida and parts of our area are over 20 inches behind.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22640
139. Cavin Rawlins
5:40 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
I was just reading Hurricane Dean's report and somthing caught my attention. I remembered that upper low vividly, when some people was sayin that Dean would turn north into the Gulf. lol lol...looking forward to scenarioes like this in 08.

During this period of rapid deepening Dean’s forward motion slowed to about 15 kt; its heading, however, remained remarkably constant throughout the Caribbean as high pressure was maintained to the north of the hurricane, while a mid- to upper-level low over south Florida on 18 August retreated westward in tandem with the tropical cyclone. The center of Dean passed about 180 n mi south of Puerto Rico early on 18 August, and continued west-northwestward in the direction of Jamaica.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
138. NEwxguy
5:34 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
137. pottery 4:50 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
Trinidad weather now-
81 f, cloudy
74% humid.
wind NE @ 13 mph
1015 steady press.
Showers all last night and more to come.

What I wouldn't give for an 80 degree day.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 888 Comments: 15988
137. pottery
4:50 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
Trinidad weather now-
81 f, cloudy
74% humid.
wind NE @ 13 mph
1015 steady press.
Showers all last night and more to come.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24883
135. Floodman
4:49 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
That is true Flood. They're looking to extend the state border 1 mile to the north. Smaller odds of that happening than winning the lottery.



Apparently they feel they have a legitimate beef; the borders were drawn incorrectly they say, and that the sate line was to include that stretch of the river as a natural boundary...interesting, as they have tried this in the past, obviously without success
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
134. pottery
4:43 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
Good to see that the predicted dread weather fell short of what could have been. More to come they say ??
Its real nice here man ! heheheh
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24883
133. NEwxguy
4:41 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
weather can be such a localized thing,I'm about 10 miles west of boston and I'm at 44 with a light north wind,and a city 12 miles south of me is at 59 and south wind at 15 to 25
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 888 Comments: 15988
132. weatherboyfsu
4:41 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
Actually, I saw that story and its legimate....No one ever disputed the stone placement that displayed the state boundaries. It was just picked back in the day when no one really cared. They do now! And if you read the bylaws drawn up by the states it clearly defines the longitude and latitudes which intervene in the river. I dont see why anyone would care other than hoping to financially gain by Georgia's need for water. The river is immense and should be able to help out tremendously. Obviously, from the commotion, someone, somehow stands to loose something....Question is, what?
Member Since: July 17, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1025
130. cchsweatherman
4:27 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
128. Floodman 11:16 AM EST on March 05, 2008
Can anyone tell me how far behind South Florida is on rain? I know that the recent outbreaks have helped a little in the South East, but not nearly enough; speaking of which, did I not hear that Georgia is pushing to get the borders redrawn so that they get a piece of the Tennessee river?


That is true Flood. They're looking to extend the state border 1 mile to the north. Smaller odds of that happening than winning the lottery.
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129. Floodman
4:16 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
Weatherboy, how are you sir?
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
128. Floodman
4:16 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
Can anyone tell me how far behind South Florida is on rain? I know that the recent outbreaks have helped a little in the South East, but not nearly enough; speaking of which, did I not hear that Georgia is pushing to get the borders redrawn so that they get a piece of the Tennessee river?
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
127. weatherboyfsu
4:14 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
Hello Floodman and StormW........
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126. Floodman
4:13 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
The other issue with trannies is trying to get anyone to do routine service on one in a car with more than 100K miles...and that will be the end of "Flood's Auto Repair Corner" for today LOL
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
125. weatherboyfsu
4:09 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
Good morning folks, gents, ladies, childrens, and want-to-be moderators,


Looks like the tornado outbreak for the southeast fell short of materializing; which means no fatalities......All in all it is a great thing.....Now we need to figure out where we missed the boat and why it did not occur. The more we learn the better......

Member Since: July 17, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1025
123. cchsweatherman
4:02 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
Rain has begun to fall and the winds have increased a bit. Nice little storm. Hoping for more later today.
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
122. NEwxguy
4:00 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
Thanks storm,this is going to be an interesting one,our river banks are pretty full after todays storm,so this weekends storm could be serious
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 888 Comments: 15988
121. Floodman
3:56 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
Yeah...at the tune of about $2000.00

Yikes! Well, trannies don't come cheap...the bad thing is that even at that price you're not looking at a brand new out-of-the-box unit...it's a re-build
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
118. MisterPerfect
3:49 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
I'm on the third floor down in Kendall Miami and I can see the storms coming in from the glades...gonna be wet in an hour or so down here...
Member Since: November 1, 2006 Posts: 71 Comments: 20140
115. Floodman
3:40 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
Storm, always a pleasure...did you get the tranny issues resolved?
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
114. Floodman
3:39 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
Getting my company ready for the upcoming hurricane season...by the way, while I make no claims to be any sort of a met, I too am looking forward to the upcoming season, listening to you more learned folks, and continuing my educattion (does WU offer degrees?)
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
113. cchsweatherman
3:39 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
108. StormW 10:31 AM EST on March 05, 2008
Looks like a major storm for the Mid Atlantic and New England this weekend.


How will this storm affect South Florida? Hoping for some good rains across the state from this system.

112. MisterPerfect 10:36 AM EST on March 05, 2008
where cchs?


I live in Cooper City, FL. It's in Broward County.
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112. MisterPerfect
3:36 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
where cchs?
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111. NEwxguy
3:36 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
GM Storm,models have been hinting at that storm all week,how strong do you think?
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 888 Comments: 15988
110. cchsweatherman
3:34 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
Taking a look at the radar loop, it appears that a few storms may be colliding over my area within the next 10 to 20 minutes. Bring it on.
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
107. cchsweatherman
3:28 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
Good morning Flood! What have you been up to?
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106. Floodman
3:26 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
Good morning folks!
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
105. cchsweatherman
3:25 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
Turning very dark outside my house right now. Hearing a few rolls of thunder, but have not seen any lightning yet. Pretty nasty looking squall is about ready to move over. FINALLY!!!
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
103. hydrus
2:58 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
CCHS-Thank you,I live near Port Charlotte.We still are way behind in the rain department.
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102. cchsweatherman
2:42 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
101. hydrus 9:38 AM EST on March 05, 2008
CCHS-Do you see a significant rain event for south florida this friday?


Based upon my analysis, the heaviest rainfall will come this afternoon and late Friday night into Saturday morning for South Florida. This could change, but that is the way I'm seeing things.

Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
101. hydrus
2:38 PM GMT on March 05, 2008
CCHS-Do you see a significant rain event for south florida this friday?
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22640

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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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