Tornadoes kill 21 in Missouri and Oklahoma

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:44 PM GMT on May 11, 2008

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Killer tornadoes swept through Oklahoma and Missouri, yesterday, killing at least 21 people. Hardest hit were the towns of Picher, OK, where seven died, and Seneca, MO, where ten died. Damage photos I saw from these towns showed buildings swept clean from their foundations, indicative of at least EF-4 damage, and possibly EF-5. Yesterday's deaths brings the 2008 U.S. tornado death toll up to 96--the most tornado fatalities since 1998, when 130 people died. With at least another month left in peak tornado season, 2008 already ranks as the 12th deadliest year in the 59-year record.


Figure 1. Storm damage reports from the Saturday, May 10 tornado outbreak. Image credit: NOAA Storm Prediction Center.

Today's severe weather forecast
Severe weather is not done with the region yet--the Storm Prediction Center has placed much of the Southeast under their "Slight Risk" category for severe weather today. Two tornadoes have already been reported today, one in Georgia, and one in Kentucky. The Weather Underground Severe Weather page and Tornado page are good places to go to follow today's severe weather. A more significant chance of tornadoes and severe weather is expected Wednesday and Thursday over the deep south, from eastern Texas to Alabama.

Storm chasing with Mike Theiss
No word yet from Wunderblogger Mike Theiss on which storms he intercepted during yesterday's mayhem. Mike is in Tornado Alley this week, performing his annual chase efforts. Be sure to catch his spectacular photos and chase accounts.

Jeff Masters

Tornado over McAlester, OK (obso)
Another view of tornado from downtown McAlester.
Tornado over McAlester, OK
Rainbow Left, Funnel Right, House Middle (Californiaboy)
The back edge of a tornadic storm as it left the town of Tom Bean, TX. This storm produced several weak funnels, none of which I ever saw touch down. Still a breathtaking site.
Rainbow Left, Funnel Right, House Middle
Wallcloud near Lacrosse, Kansas (MikeTheiss)
Photo of a wallcloud crossing road near lacrosse, Kansas on May 25, 2008. Photo copyight Mike Theiss
Wallcloud near Lacrosse, Kansas

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105. presslord
6:57 PM EDT on May 11, 2008
all is clear...gonna go ride around and see what's damaged...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
104. CaneAddict
10:57 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
92. sammywammybamy 6:06 PM EDT on May 11, 2008 Hide this comment.
Any Chance of Development in The Atlantic Basin?

The long range GFS has been predicting something for a few runs now.... looks like a TS off the coast of Honduras/Nicaragua. Too far out to mean anything though


I would think that the GFS is hinting the TS to come from the Tropical wave currently near 50W.
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2151
103. CaneAddict
10:47 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
99. sammywammybamy 10:38 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
1 Tropical wave catches my eye ....

the one that might make it to the carribean ...

But even if it makes it past the shear and death trap for hurricanes i forcast it to only make it to Td status


Shear is not as bad as it could be at this time, In the Caribbean the overall shear values have significanly decreased a reasonable amount in the past 12 hours, I have been expecting shear to start to take a rapid decline and i believe this is when it will all start occuring as we are approaching the hurricane season. For instance shear was about 50knts at the highest in the whole Caribbean earlier today, It now stands at between 30knts and 40knts at the highest. (In the Caribbean). That tropical wave though will very likely not become a depression as the circulation would have to make it to the surface or lower levels and become closed. Not only that it would need an overall better cloud/band pattern and better convection (consolidated). SST's are high enough for tropical development and shear within the general area of the feature is between 5-15 knots....However this system is still south of 10N and the further south it is the more unlikely it is that development will occur due to the large area of atmosphere it would have to spin-up, Aside from that it's still May. I mean based on the conditions being somewhat reasonable i won't disgard any chance of it developing but i just dont see it occuring. Just my opinion though.

And wow shear in the western caribbean has tookin a sudden decrease over the past 24 hours.
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2151
102. presslord
6:41 PM EDT on May 11, 2008
tornado comfirmed 1/2 mile from me ....Stono River bridge onto Johns Island...1/2 mile from me....I just got a little rain....
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
101. presslord
6:38 PM EDT on May 11, 2008
media reporting "...several homes demolished..." on Johns Island.....
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
100. all4hurricanes
10:35 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
a least 4 inches of rain today thats just in the afternoon another five hours of really heavy rain there is large puddles forming I bet the mudslides in the dry ponds have grown and multiplied maybe the entire wall of soil will fall in.
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98. presslord
6:20 PM EDT on May 11, 2008
local media reports tornado on on the ground at Fenwick Hall Plantation..Johns Island SC..my house.....there's no tornado here....I swear to God....
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
97. presslord
6:27 PM EDT on May 11, 2008
tornado media reporting tornado on the ground at Fenwick Hall plantation....Johns Island SC...that's my house....no tornado here...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
95. FLWeatherFreak91
6:17 PM EDT on May 11, 2008
92. sammywammybamy 6:06 PM EDT on May 11, 2008 Hide this comment.
Any Chance of Development in The Atlantic Basin?


The long range GFS has been predicting something for a few runs now.... looks like a TS off the coast of Honduras/Nicaragua. Too far out to mean anything though
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94. Patrap
5:11 PM CDT on May 11, 2008
ReliefWEBLink

Staffers, supplies on standby to avert potential public health crisis in MyanmarLink

GDAC NARGIS Stats and Time Line Link


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93. sporteguy03
10:10 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
Central Florida Fire Danger very high the next few days, please don't throw your cigarettes on the grass. This situation might get pretty dicey here, hope it does not become like 98.
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91. presslord
6:04 PM EDT on May 11, 2008
boy....we are right in the crosshairs (Johns Island, SC)....tornado warning....nasty looking blob.....sounds awful....nothing yet....but soon....
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
88. neutrino006
09:44 PM GMT on mai 11, 2008
I'm only need to know... I want to make corelations between the entire structures that could lead to major storms forming, and this structures are including the jet streams, the sun activity, the earth's magnetic field anomaly.... Hope you'll gonna help me to understand better ;)
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86. neutrino006
09:42 PM GMT on mai 11, 2008
this is what I'm saying about solar activity increasing,it is not in the visible spectrum, but right now the intensification is in all areas of the sun, not in spots, this anouncing the start of the aparition of the largest spots later in this year. Link
And I hope the earth will not be in the way of those massive solar storms, but right now the earth is receiving a larger amount of energy from sun, and this is not all;)
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85. TerraNova
5:38 PM EDT on May 11, 2008
The SOI 30-day average today is currently 4.63, in the neutral range right now...not much change in the number for more than a week. SSTs are above average in the Gulf and parts of the gulf stream as well as in the EATL, however in parts of the CATL and most of the Caribbean is below average (but in the Caribbean SSTs could support development now).

I think most of the blame of what is currently inhibiting development goes to hightened wind shear caused by the troughs that are still moving off the east coast. According to the GFS they're not going to stop anytime soon.

What else is keeping things from forming at this time?
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84. extreme236
9:35 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
The SOI 30-day average today is currently 4.63, in the neutral range right now...not much change in the number for more than a week. SSTs are above average in the Gulf and parts of the gulf stream as well as in the EATL, however in parts of the CATL and most of the Caribbean is below average (but in the Caribbean SSTs could support development now).
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83. HurricaneGeek
5:35 PM EDT on May 11, 2008
Hey everybody! AS many of you know I had a contest on my blog then it got deleted one way or another, I emailed to try to get it back. I got no response. I take that as a 'no'. So I took the liberty to make another contest, so if you wish to, please feel free to join. Everything is on my blog. The last day is May 18. Details on my blog... Thanks
Member Since: May 10, 2007 Posts: 110 Comments: 7039
82. TerraNova
5:35 PM EDT on May 11, 2008
Completely blank.

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80. taistelutipu
12:26 AM EEST on May 12, 2008
Thanks for your input, TerraNova. While I was typing my questions you already answered one of them. =) So this is going to develop into a storm. It will be interesting to watch its progress.
Thanks for the pics, 23. If I had not known it's over the CONUS, I would have thought it to be a decent hurricane.
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79. TerraNova
5:24 PM EDT on May 11, 2008
Thinking of lowering your number or highering? I'd personally be highering my number...Conditions are really starting to rapidly fall into place...shear is dropping, SST's are heating up...very little dust...tchp is getting higher...All is setting up for a very active season.....also especially if Neutral conditions maintain through the season...

Honestly; I'm not sure yet...a lot of people have been raising the possibility of an El Nino and this would lower the amount of storms. And with ocean temps warming faster and faster, this is becoming a better possibility. I know that Adrian lowered his count significantly because of this. Also, some of the long scale shear forecasts are showing above average shear in the key areas for development in July and August.

But you are perfectly correct in saying that most other conditions support a very active season. I think I'm going to ask W456 and StormW about how these things are looking in terms of named storms before I post my predictions.

The arguments are strong for both above average season and average season. If I were to lower or make the count higher right now; I would only do so by 1 storm.
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77. stormdude77
5:24 PM AST on May 11, 2008
.
76. aspectre
9:23 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
51 weatherbro "how strong was the volcano that caused the year with out a summer?"

The Mount Tambora Eruption
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74. taistelutipu
12:08 AM EEST on May 12, 2008
Good evening and happy Mother's day to surfmom and other mommies blogging here. My thoughts are also with those who have a sad day due to the recent outbreak. First Super Tuesday, now Mother's Day... really bad timing this year. :-(

This "landcane" looks quite scary, huge system. I wonder whether this rotation will still persist some time by tapping in moisture from the Great Lakes. Is this possible? Could it result in further severe weather potential for the next days or rather more precipitation? I'd appreciate anyone's comments on this, thanks a lot in advance.

*back to lurking mode*
tipsku
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73. neutrino006
09:22 PM GMT on mai 11, 2008
Despite of cooler SST and the direction o the stream, this year could be a new record breaking due to the intensification of the sun activity... 15 named storms? my opinion is that it is too early, still, to predict the number of the major storms. But my fears may become true, if the new patterns are aplying and the new models of storm formig are correct.... so I say about 15 named storms are correct, and maybe more than 15....
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72. CaneAddict
9:18 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
69. TerraNova 9:13 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
Yes , 15 named storms this season right ? Or More ? What you Predicting ( Question directed to All )

Earlier this month I said 15 but now I'm having second thoughts. I'll be putting out my official predictions on June 1.


Thinking of lowering your number or highering? I'd personally be highering my number...Conditions are really starting to rapidly fall into place...shear is dropping, SST's are heating up...very little dust...tchp is getting higher...All is setting up for a very active season.....also especially if Neutral conditions maintain through the season...
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2151
71. CaneAddict
6:58 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
Wow, Early today shear was about 50Knts at the highest in the whole Caribbean and within 3 hours time it has dropped to 40knots, I believe we will continue to see the Caribbean rapidly decrease in shear levels along with other parts of the basin as we approach the hurricane season.
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2151
70. TerraNova
5:13 PM EDT on May 11, 2008
TerraNova here are 2 nice views of the low!

Awesome! It's supposed to spin off another low out of that area of convection off the East Coast and then merge with it; forming the Nor'Easter that will impact the Middle Atlantic and Northeast tomorrow.
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69. TerraNova
5:12 PM EDT on May 11, 2008
Yes , 15 named storms this season right ? Or More ? What you Predicting ( Question directed to All )

Earlier this month I said 15 but now I'm having second thoughts. I'll be putting out my official predictions on June 1.
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68. hurricane23
5:12 PM EDT on May 11, 2008
TerraNova here are 2 nice views of the low!

Animated large zoomed image



Animated normal view

Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13597
67. CaneAddict
9:04 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
60. sammywammybamy 8:50 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
What Happend To Patrap? Or The Other 2003-2004-2005-2006 Blogers


*Correction* The blog wasent started untill 2005.

And Patrap was on here the other day or earlier today.
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2151
65. TerraNova
4:59 PM EDT on May 11, 2008
Afternoon H23; and welcome back sammy!

Are you all seeing this? This looks exactly like a hurricane. It even has an eye-like feature near the center on Water Vapor imagery.

This resembles the Hurricane Huron low that Doctor Masters posted about last year.
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64. all4hurricanes
8:58 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
Were getting all of that rain
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62. hurricane23
4:54 PM EDT on May 11, 2008
Close-up radar view

60. sammywammybamy 4:50 PM EDT on May 11, 2008
What Happend To Patrap? Or The Other 2003-2004-2005-2006 Blogers?

Let the first invest pop close to the U.S. and watch the blog explode.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13597
61. HurricaneGeek
4:53 PM EDT on May 11, 2008
hey sammy, they are still here.
Member Since: May 10, 2007 Posts: 110 Comments: 7039
58. all4hurricanes
8:41 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
There is lots of heavy rain here and miniature mudslides are forming in the dry pond in front of our house, this year really is much wetter than last year.
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55. robomaeyhem
4:22 PM EDT on May 11, 2008
Wow, the center of the low is 2 counties below me
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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.