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Alma dies without causing a major disaster; tornadoes rip Midwest

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:03 PM GMT on May 30, 2008

Tropical Storm Alma has dissipated over the high mountains of Honduras, and thankfully did not dump enough rain to cause a major flooding disaster in Central America. At 3pm EDT yesterday, Alma became the first tropical storm since records began in 1949 to make landfall on the Pacific coast of Central America. All previous Eastern Pacific storms have hit Mexico, which is considered part of North America. Alma came ashore in Nicaragua, near the Honduras border, as a tropical storm with 65 mph winds. So far, one person has been killed in Nicaragua, due to a fallen power cable. However, Alma has not dumped enough rain to cause widespread flooding--rainfall amounts in Nicaragua the past two day have been 3-8 inches. Costa Rica has had rains of similar magnitude, which have caused isolated mudslides that have blocked roads. Additional rain from Alma's remnants should total less than two inches in Costa Rica and four inches in Nicaragua. However, Honduras, El Salvador, Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula are likely to get 4-8 inches of rain over the next two days from this system, which could cause significant flooding and mud slides.


Figure 1. Current satellite image of Alma's remnants.

There is a large area of disturbed weather that has developed in the Western Caribbean between Jamaica and the Yucatan Peninsula in the past few hours, in association with a trough of low pressure extending from the center of Alma. This morning's 7:37am EDT QuikSCAT pass showed winds of up to 50 knots (58 mph) in this region, but no hint of a circulation or wind shift. It is possible that this disturbed area could start to develop on its own later today, as a westward-moving tropical wave currently near Jamaica interacts with it. This area should expand and spread into Honduras, Belize, and Mexico's Yucatan by Saturday. However, I'm not expecting a major flooding disaster with heavy loss of life anywhere in Central America from Alma's remnants. The GFS model is predicting that moisture from Alma will eventually work its way north and bring heavy rains to Florida by June 7. No models are predicting a tropical storm in the Atlantic during the coming week.


Figure 2. Doppler radar winds from the Kearney, Nebraska tornadoes of May 29, 2008. Note that a twin set of vorticies appears in this image, denoting that two adjacent tornadoes may have hit.

Tornadoes rip the Midwest again Thursday; tornadoes expected today in Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri
Numerous strong tornadoes raked the Midwest last night, adding to the extensive damage already wreaked by one of the worst months of tornado damage in U.S. history. Last night's most significant destruction occurred in Jewell, Kansas, and Kearney, Nebraska. In Jewell, numerous businesses were destroyed and the town water tower toppled. In Kearney, multiple twisters hit, and a 90-car train was knocked off of its tracks. Wunderblogger Mike Theiss caught up to the Kearney tornado, and describes his experience in his blog today. All told, there were 55 tornado reports Thursday, but no deaths or injuries.

The Storm Prediction Center is calling for a "Moderate" risk of severe weather across Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri this afternoon---one level below their "High" risk level that was posted yesterday. Expect another significant tornado outbreak today. The Weather Underground Severe Weather page and Tornado page are good places to go to follow the severe weather. Also, tune in to the chase accounts and awesome storm photos from Wunderblogger Mike Theiss. Mike is in Tornado Alley this week, performing his annual chase efforts.

Jeff Masters

TIV 1 under thunderstorm (MikeTheiss)
Photo of the original TIV (Tornado Intercept Vehicle) driving out from underneath thunderstorm. Photo copyright Mike Theiss
TIV 1 under thunderstorm
Osbourne Kansas Tornado (MikeTheiss)
Blurry photo of the Osbourne Kansas tornado taken while driving. Photo copyright Mike Theiss
Osbourne Kansas Tornado
Storm Chasers with eerie skies (MikeTheiss)
Photo of Cloud 9 Tours members parked underneath some really eerie looking skies. Photo copyright Mike Theiss
Storm Chasers with eerie skies
()

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1316. IKE
9:27 AM CDT on May 31, 2008
1307. extreme236 9:22 AM CDT on May 31, 2008
Yep, the models can be right, but every time I look at the models and see a consensus on something I get an expectation that something will form and it drives me crazy lol. I much rather prefer watching models after something forms rather than before lol


It had Alma forming..days before it happened...although some had it forming on the Atlantic side.....
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1315. extreme236
2:26 PM GMT on May 31, 2008
Predicting wind shear in the Gulf 7 days from now is no better than the throwing darts at a dartboard blindfolded.
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1314. IKE
9:24 AM CDT on May 31, 2008
What an influx of moisture going into the Yucatan off of 90L...if not for land, it would have been classified.
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1313. kmanislander
2:24 PM GMT on May 31, 2008
Well I am out for now.

Be back later
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1312. TampaSpin
10:23 AM EDT on May 31, 2008
Kman ok.
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1311. Drakoen
2:22 PM GMT on May 31, 2008
...TROPICAL WAVES...

TROPICAL WAVE IS ALONG 17W S OF 12N MOVING W NEAR 10 KT.
MIMIC-TPW CLEARLY SHOWS THE WAVE AXIS AND A MID LEVEL ROTATION
IS OBSERVED ON SATELLITE IMAGERY NEAR 8N.
SCATTERED
MODERATE/STRONG CONVECTION IS ALONG THE ITCZ WITHIN 60 NM OF
LINE FROM 5N16W TO 4N20W. CLUSTERS OF SIMILAR CONVECTION ARE
WITHIN 90/120 NM OF LIEN FROM 9N17W TO 7N22W. SCATTERED
MODERATE/ISOLATED STRONG CONVECTION IS FROM 2N TO S OF THE
EQUATOR BETWEEN 13W-16W.
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1310. TampaSpin
10:21 AM EDT on May 31, 2008
StormKat i agree with you, i suggested this yesterday. I have seen this too often. I think 7 days we will have something to look at also...
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1309. kmanislander
2:20 PM GMT on May 31, 2008
Tampa,

I always understood the steering flow for waves to be the low level Easterly flow, essentially due West. Given its current position I would be surprised if it were to enter the Caribbean . Perhaps the Northern end of the wave might but I would expect most of the energy to go ashore on the coast down there.
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1308. stormkat
2:21 PM GMT on May 31, 2008
taz that whats worries me the wind shear in the gulf will be gone in the next 7 days...it will be open for business....stormkat
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1307. extreme236
2:19 PM GMT on May 31, 2008
Yep, the models can be right, but every time I look at the models and see a consensus on something I get an expectation that something will form and it drives me crazy lol. I much rather prefer watching models after something forms rather than before lol
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1306. MasterForecaster
2:18 PM GMT on May 31, 2008
1262. tampaENG 2:03 PM GMT on May 31, 2008
Hi everyone!
Wishcasting for rain in East Lake Palm Harbor, FL.
Go Eagles, MasterForecaster!


Maybe we can wishcast a superbowl this year...
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1305. Tazmanian
7:19 AM PDT on May 31, 2008
and with light wind shear in the gulf right now this needs to be watch
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1304. TampaSpin
10:16 AM EDT on May 31, 2008
1296. kmanislander 10:16 AM EDT on May 31, 2008
Tampa, it looks that way. Also heading for South America as well LOL

Kman, actually steering flow keeps it over water and it moving WNW. Bears alot of watching IMO.
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1303. stormkat
2:15 PM GMT on May 31, 2008
no extreme im very concerned down the road in the nexy 7 days everything is setting up and its not good at all this early in the season...i know you guys remember audrey well thats the type of scenario thats setting up...stormkat
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1302. IKE
9:17 AM CDT on May 31, 2008
The GFS didn't have this blocking ridge keeping 90L from going north.......not a week ago it didn't.
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1301. presslord
10:17 AM EDT on May 31, 2008
shuttle launch @5:02P edt today
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1300. Tazmanian
7:17 AM PDT on May 31, 2008
You have posted 5037 entries in your own blog.

You have posted 25619 comments in all blogs


whats see oh gets too 30,000 commats 1st this year
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1299. TheWeatherMan504
2:15 PM GMT on May 31, 2008
we would have problems if the high was not there
Member Since: May 18, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 1042
1298. kmanislander
2:16 PM GMT on May 31, 2008
The models tend to do better once something gets going. At least that is my recollection
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1297. Tazmanian
7:15 AM PDT on May 31, 2008
ok . TampaSpin
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1296. kmanislander
2:15 PM GMT on May 31, 2008
Tampa, it looks that way. Also heading for South America LOL
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1295. Tazmanian
7:14 AM PDT on May 31, 2008
yes they will 236
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1294. IKE
9:14 AM CDT on May 31, 2008
1289. extreme236 9:14 AM CDT on May 31, 2008
These models are gonna drive us all crazy this summer...


You can't help but look at them...sometimes their right on...like Dean and Felix.
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1293. TampaSpin
10:13 AM EDT on May 31, 2008
No jackass your a TAZ........lol
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1292. stormlvr
1:59 PM GMT on May 31, 2008
1243. stormkat 1:48 PM GMT on May 31, 2008

I see that to stormkat. There is a fair amount of energy trapped south of this ridge axis and regardless of what happens with the remnants of Alma there will remain some potential for development in that area. The erosion of the western periphery of the ridge as suggested by the ECMWF and GFS just might allow this energy to stream north.
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1291. BahaHurican
10:12 AM EDT on May 31, 2008
1281. kmanislander 10:11 AM EDT on May 31, 2008

I tend to think of them as a list of possible scenarios. They could happen, but not necessarily.

Anyway, I'm out. Ya'll have a good one!
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1290. Tazmanian
7:13 AM PDT on May 31, 2008
yes HGFL2 there could be
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1289. extreme236
2:13 PM GMT on May 31, 2008
These models are gonna drive us all crazy this summer...
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1288. TampaSpin
10:11 AM EDT on May 31, 2008
Kman look at post 1263. That is one strong wave that is currently under light shear but, heading toward stronger shear.
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1287. Tazmanian
7:12 AM PDT on May 31, 2008
oh i see what your talking about POSSIBLY FORM 91L

am a jackass now
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1286. IKE
9:09 AM CDT on May 31, 2008
1271. stormkat 9:06 AM CDT on May 31, 2008
lol ike....im also worried about the huge blocking high that will form over texas in the next 7 days and leave us wide open for business...im talking about la miss and alabama....this is not good so early in june guys....stormkat


I've noticed the wind flow from the SSE in about a week....and the isobars are rather close.
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1285. kmanislander
2:11 PM GMT on May 31, 2008
Baha, we are on the same page. My comment was perhaps too short !
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1284. stormkat
2:10 PM GMT on May 31, 2008
i agree ike the scenario im looking at is not good for us...we will have to wait and see ..im talking 7 days out...stormkat
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1282. BahaHurican
10:07 AM EDT on May 31, 2008
1273. kmanislander 10:06 AM EDT on May 31, 2008

I was trying to say I don't see 90L in May as an indicator of abnormally high levels of June activity. But I think (now that u have raised the point LOL) that models do have some value, so long as you don't depend on them EXCLUSIVELY. It's like getting a second opinion.

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1281. kmanislander
2:09 PM GMT on May 31, 2008
Ike

You know my opinion of models. While there is no denying their usefulness I pay very little attention to them beyond 48 to 60 hrs out.
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1280. IKE
9:07 AM CDT on May 31, 2008
1273. kmanislander 9:06 AM CDT on May 31, 2008
Hi Baha

Yes, the models did but they also had a very strong storm over Florida this weekend !


You're right..the GFS did...now it's latching back on to possible GOM development in the 10 day time period...ECMWF is too.....
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1279. extreme236
2:07 PM GMT on May 31, 2008
I think 90L has a higher chance of development right now then something that could be a week away thats not even here yet...lets not start talking about LA, MS, AL being hit by a ghost storm. The mechanics could be there however by that time frame but we will see.
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1278. TheWeatherMan504
2:06 PM GMT on May 31, 2008
If that high wasnt there LA might have had a storm simalar to either Arlene in 2005 or cindy in 2005.
Member Since: May 18, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 1042
1277. HGFL2
10:07 AM EDT on May 31, 2008
Taz, leftover energy TO POSSIBLY FORM 91L. ;)
Look at post 1261
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1276. Tazmanian
7:07 AM PDT on May 31, 2008
its the weekend and yet no strong storm for S FL LOL
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1275. TampaSpin
10:05 AM EDT on May 31, 2008
Right now if i was a betting person i would say we will have our first name storm by June 15th somewhere in the Carribean.
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1274. Tazmanian
7:05 AM PDT on May 31, 2008
there is no 91L how can we have leftover energy form 91L if we had not had 91L
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1273. kmanislander
2:05 PM GMT on May 31, 2008
Hi Baha

Yes, the models did but they also had a very strong storm over Florida this weekend !
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1272. hahaguy
10:05 AM EDT on May 31, 2008
I'm still looking towards the CV season as the focus of major activity.

ya going to be an interesting one.
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1271. stormkat
2:02 PM GMT on May 31, 2008
lol ike....im also worried about the huge blocking high that will form over texas in the next 7 days and leave us wide open for business...im talking about la miss and alabama....this is not good so early in june guys....stormkat
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1269. IKE
9:05 AM CDT on May 31, 2008
1265. kmanislander 9:04 AM CDT on May 31, 2008
Ike,

I agree but it came from the Pacific


True....odd track for a system.
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1267. BahaHurican
10:02 AM EDT on May 31, 2008
1258. kmanislander 10:02 AM EDT on May 31, 2008

The most interesting thing about 90L for me in terms of forecasting is that quite a number of the models did forecast a low pressure system crossing Central America and reforming in the Car / GoM.

I'm still looking towards the CV season as the focus of major activity.
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Dr. Masters (r) co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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