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Cyclone Pam Weakens to Category 4; Remembering the Hesston Tornado Outbreak

By: Jeff Masters and Bob Henson 11:13 PM GMT on March 13, 2015

Tropical Cyclone Pam has weakened slightly to a top-end Category 4 storm with top sustained winds of 155 mph, according to the 2 pm EDT Friday advisory from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). The official tropical cyclone warning center for the area, the Fiji Meteorological Service, estimated that Pam's central pressure remained at 899 mb at 2 pm EDT Friday, the same value as at 8 am. Satellite loops show that Pam is still a huge and intimidating storm, with a prominent 14-mile diameter eye and a very large area of intense eyewall thunderstorms with extremely cold cloud tops. The clouds have warmed in recent hours, as the strong updrafts in the eyewall have weakened and are no longer pushing the cloud tops to the base of the stratosphere. Steady weakening should continue over the weekend, but Pam will still be capable of bringing tropical storm-force winds and destructive waves to the northern portion of New Zealand on Sunday.


Figure 1. Tropical Cyclone Pam as seen by the VIIRS instrument on the Suomi satellite at 10:42 am EDT March 13, 2015. At the time, Pam was a Category 5 storm with 165 mph winds, and was just southeast of Efate Island, where the capital of Vanuatu, Port Vila, lies. Image credit: @NOAASatellites.

Pam's eyewall clobbered three major islands of the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu on Friday. Even though Pam had weakened slightly to 155 mph winds, the southern islands of Erromango (population 2,000) and Tanna (pop 29,000) likely took the worst punishment from the storm, due to the fact these islands were hit by the stronger right-front quadrant (southeast) side of the storm. Pam was at its peak strength, 165 mph Category 5 winds, when its weaker left (southwest quadrant) eyewall passed over the eastern side of Efate Island, Vanuatu's most populous island (population 66,000.) However, since the weather station in the capital city of Port Vila survived the storm and reported winds below tropical storm force, this most populous (southwest) portion of the island may have escaped severe damage. Despite this fact, there is a good chance that Pam will be the most expensive natural disaster in Vanuatu's history.

25 Years Ago Today: An Early Outbreak for Tornado Alley
The U.S. is in the midst of an extremely quiet March for severe weather thus far, with no tornadoes and only three reports of large hail. Things looked far different 25 years ago today, as the central Great Plains endured its worst late-winter tornado outbreak on record. From March 11 to 13, 1990, more than 60 tornadoes plowed across Tornado Alley, from north Texas to Iowa. The meteorological setup for this outbreak was classic, but the seasonal timing wasn’t. Never before or since have such strong tornadoes been observed so far northwest so early in the year.


Figure 2. Tracks and intensities of the tornadoes observed on March 13-14, 1990, across the central Plains. Image credit: National Weather Service.

The standouts of this outbreak were two long-lived F5 tornadoes that raked central Kansas on the late afternoon of March 13. The twisters were the first in a family of five generated by a single supercell thunderstorm. The first one developed near the town of Pretty Prairie, west of Wichita, and went on to strike the town of Hesston near the end of its 48-mile path, destroying more than 200 homes. As this F5 tornado narrowed and dissipated, a new one formed about a mile to its north within the same larger-scale circulation. An analysis by eminent tornado scientist Theodore “Ted” Fujita found that the two twisters likely rotated around a common axis as the first one dissipated and the second one expanded, delivering a glancing blow to the town of Goessel along its 22-mile path. There have been only four other days since 1950--and none so early in the year--with at least two tornadoes producing F5 or EF5 damage (May 25, 1955; May 15, 1968; April 3, 1974, and April 27, 2011).

Despite the strength and longevity of the Hesston and Goessel tornadoes, they caused only two fatalities. The low death toll becomes even more impressive when you consider the limits of communication and warning technology circa 1990. At that time, the National Weather Service office in Wichita still relied on a 1957-vintage, pre-Doppler weather radar that tracked precipitation but provided no wind data. ”We would draw what we saw on a reflection plotter and then trace contours on a paper map overlay to locate a storm geographically,” recalled Randy Steadham, who was filling in as meteorologist in charge of the Wichita NWS office. The emergence of a classic hook echo on radar, plus a number of eyewitness reports, helped the office to track the storm closely and issue updates roughly every 9 minutes, which made it to the public via radio, TV, and NOAA Weather Radio.


Video 1. A compilation of videos of the F5 tornado that ended up striking Hesston, KS, on March 13, 1990.

The long-lived Hesston tornado was one of the first to be widely captured on videotape, a feat made possible by the new availability of affordable video cameras. According to storm-chase documentarian Blake Naftel, the only previous F5 to be videotaped from multiple perspectives was the one that struck near Wheatland, PA, on May 31, 1985. After the March 1990 outbreak, a team led by Jonathan Davies drew on a number of photos and videos and a post-storm ground survey to carry out detailed analysis of the Hesston tornado’s evolution and structure and its “handoff” to the the Goessel twister. Their results appeared in a 1994 paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (PDF available at top of linked page). The group’s work touched on several longstanding challenges, including the task of distinguishing between tornadoes and sub-vortexes. ”In a sense, the more information we have, the more confusing and problematic the events become,” they wrote. And though the notion of high-resolution digital video cameras tucked within cellphones lay far in the future, the authors did note: “Given the proliferation of inexpensive, simple video cameras, it is increasing(ly) likely that at least some video images will be obtained for many, if not most, significant tornado events.”

The Wichita NWS office maintains a page on the Hesston/Goessel tornadoes with a number of photos, videos, and writeups. A slideshow from the Wichita Eagle captures the tornadoes’ devastation. Another long-lived supercell to the north produced an F4 tornado or tornado family that tracked across more than 120 miles in Nebraska. The NWS office in Hastings, NE, covers the outbreak’s northern extent in more detail.

This week’s WunderPoster: Frost flowers
As winter winds up in the Northern Hemisphere and flowers begin to dot the landscape, this week’s WunderPoster (Figure 3, right) harks back to the cold-season beauty of frost flowers. These intricately branched features can blossom where very cold, dry, and calm air settles over a thin layer of lake ice or sea ice. All WunderPosters can be downloaded in formats suitable for posters or postcards.

Now it’s your turn: help us create a WunderPoster!
To celebrate our 20th anniversary, we’re looking to you to provide inspiration for a new WunderPoster. Our “picture yourself here” website has all the details.

Tornado tropical cyclone

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

Boy this is neat watch the MJO come in at the end of March beginning of April and notice the height falls across the Eastern US. Yikes!

Quoting 493. StormTrackerScott:




Take a peek of this Jed, Tremendous departures from average in the Gulf right now. If we can get some Homebrews this Hurricane Season then someone along the Gulf Coast will be in for some serious trouble.

Little to no systems in the MDR region with many systems focusing near the US is my forecast this season.




How can we have "many" systems during a dead EL NINO season ;-)
Quoting 502. CaribBoy:


How can we have "many" systems during a dead EL NINO season ;-)


My guess is 9 to 10 systems with many close to the US. JMO


I hope that central Gulf warm pool sticks around through the heart of hurricane season.

Assuming a slow season (which should be the case), I'll take what I can get. Tropical cyclones tend to gravitate toward areas of anomalous heat.

There's no rhyme or reason to assume it will stick around, of course. I just hope it does.
Quoting 504. KoritheMan:


I hope that central Gulf warm pool sticks around through the heart of hurricane season.

Assuming a slow season (which should be the case), I'll take what I can get. Tropical cyclones tend to gravitate toward areas of anomalous heat.

There's no rhyme or reason to assume it will stick around, of course. I just hope it does.


Your right that map says it all as it will be a struggle to get a system going across the MDR this season better chances appear like they will be close to the US. One thing though we need to watch how shear factors in as stronger El-Nino's tend to have lots of shear across our basin.
I wish people would stop obsessing over the MDR anyway*. Outside of the Caribbean, a storm is more likely than not to recurve before hitting the US anyway assuming formation within the aforementioned region.

*Of course, a warm MDR does promote tropical waves remaining healthy, but I don't think people understand that most tropical waves ultimately never actually dissipate; many waves devoid of convection and skeletal in nature tend to redevelop upstream, usually in the east Pacific, amidst more favorable environmental conditions. Sometimes the northern portion of those waves can lead to the formation of a tropical cyclone in the Atlantic.

In El Nino years, the most favorable locations for tropical cyclone formation - as we saw last year (albeit to a lesser degree) is the Gulf of Mexico, the Bahamas region, or the far western Caribbean. The MDR is vastly overrated when talking about landfall potential. You could argue that it breeds more intense hurricanes, but more often than not a Cape Verde hurricane is going to find a trough before reaching the US. A two week transit is a long time.
Quoting 506. KoritheMan:

I wish people would stop obsessing over the MDR anyway*. Outside of the Caribbean, a storm is more likely than not to recurve before hitting the US anyway assuming formation within the aforementioned region.

*Of course, a warm MDR does promote tropical waves remaining healthy, but I don't think people understand that most tropical waves ultimately never actually dissipate; many waves devoid of convection and skeletal in nature tend to redevelop upstream, usually in the east Pacific, amidst more favorable environmental conditions. Sometimes the northern portion of those waves can lead to the formation of a tropical cyclone in the Atlantic.

In El Nino years, the most favorable locations for tropical cyclone formation - as we saw last year (albeit to a lesser degree) is the Gulf of Mexico, the Bahamas region, or the far western Caribbean. The MDR is vastly overrated when talking about landfall potential. You could argue that it breeds more intense hurricanes, but more often than not a Cape Verde hurricane is going to find a trough before reaching the US. A two week transit is a long time.
Easy for you to say when you will be the one getting the TC this year. For me it will be dry and boring. ;)
Quoting 505. StormTrackerScott:



One thing though we need to watch how shear factors in as stronger El-Nino's tend to have lots of shear across our basin.


Theoretically, I think the orientation of equatorial Pacific warm pool is of nearly equal importance. Anomalous warming a couple of degrees north or south can make a big difference in where the deepest convection (and thus shear) will gravitate.
Quoting 507. Gearsts:

Easy for you to say when you will be the one getting the TC this year. For me it will be dry and boring. ;)


Nah, I said all this last year. Yet for some reason, Dolly and Hanna remained infatuated with Mexico. And I was so giddy with Cristobal that I slept very little the week leading up to formation, wanted to work extra hours to pay for the chase, and worst of all, I made a fool of myself in front of my manager by saying the models might be latching onto a Gulf solution.
I'm pinning all my hopes on a chase. For real this time, this is the last year I'll be in Louisiana before going to the military (at least for now; I'll probably come back later). Unless I get lucky enough to be stationed in a hurricane zone, I won't have another chance for awhile.
Quoting 510. KoritheMan:

I'm pinning all my hopes on a chase. For real this time, this is the last year I'll be in Louisiana before going to the military (at least for now; I'll probably come back later). Unless I get lucky enough to be stationed in a hurricane zone, I won't have another chance for awhile.



Good luck Kori!
Quoting 510. KoritheMan:

I'm pinning all my hopes on a chase. For real this time, this is the last year I'll be in Louisiana before going to the military (at least for now; I'll probably come back later). Unless I get lucky enough to be stationed in a hurricane zone, I won't have another chance for awhile.


Have you made up your mind yet as to which branch?

Edit: Dang homophones.
Quoting 489. Astrometeor:

Quoting 464. weatherbro:
Haven't you heard of the Hutchison Effect? Many pilots and ships have reported getting enveloped within a bank of electronic fog. Some have even claimed to have been instantly transported from Puerto Rico to Miami via the charged cloud!
Monsanto practically owns the food and Pharmaceutical industries. They constantly bribe the FDA to approve their products. Thier vaccines and GMO's are known to cause Autism and a host of other woes!


Please tell me you're being sarcastic...
Vaccines do NOT cause Autism. That was a myth stirred up by a medical scientist in Britain who has since lost his license for fabricating a study showing that.


watch it with the big dawg...
he'll bark at you
lol
Quoting 510. KoritheMan:

I'm pinning all my hopes on a chase. For real this time, this is the last year I'll be in Louisiana before going to the military (at least for now; I'll probably come back later). Unless I get lucky enough to be stationed in a hurricane zone, I won't have another chance for awhile.


If you end up on JBER you will have to let me know...
Quoting 512. Astrometeor:



Have you made up your mind yet as to which branch?

Edit: Dang homophones.


Thinking Air Force. Sticking with the original plan. I honestly don't even think I'll need a year to get my GED; this 4 to 5 times a week studying routine I'm into is really paying off.

I'll be around for at least that long though regardless because I want to do a few things while I still can. But after that...

Oh yeah, I meant to text you earlier about something, Nathan. I still will.
Quoting 497. GTstormChaserCaleb:

This brings about a good point, do we have any documented ship reports from back then that can be dug up and shared on the blog. My point still stands ships weren't travelling that far out into the main development region of the Atlantic during those times like they are now and whatever ships that were travelling out that way would have been too busy caught up in the war then actually taking reports in or weren't in the area of the storm. I agree to a certain extent about the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico as there would have been plenty of reports from the islands, Central America, and the US; however, there have also been storms in recent times that would wait to develop in the western Caribbean, move into the Gulf of Mexico and get sheared apart, the most recent example was Tropical Storm Karen. Also, remember we weren't naming subtropical storms during those times either. My point is I find it hard to believe only 1 tropical storm developed that season from Jun. 1st - Nov. 30th. If say 3 or 4 storms I would buy it. Don't be surprised in the coming years when a University program in conjunction with NOAA does another reanalysis project and comes to find out there indeed was more storms during those seasons.

Per the Wiki page, 1914 Atlantic hurricane season:

"Information on the 1914 season is chiefly based on data from the Atlantic hurricane database (HURDAT), which underwent a thorough reanalysis of hurricanes from 1911 through 1914 in 2005. Several changes, mostly of a minor nature, were made to the September tropical storm. Additionally, two other systems during the year were formally considered for inclusion into the hurricane database, one of which was deemed a possible tropical depression, but too weak to be classified a tropical storm. The other was assessed as a non-tropical system. The 2005 HURDAT reanalysis relied largely on historical weather maps and ship reports in place of modern technology, including satellite imagery.[1]"

The citation [1] is the Documentation of Atlantic Tropical Cyclones Changes in HURDAT -
2005 Changes/Additions for 1911 to 1914
, by Landsea, et. al.

A more thorough summary is included here: Documentation of Atlantic Tropical Cyclones Changes in HURDAT. (This also contains the cited reference from Wiki.) From this Documentation:

"In 2005, changes and additions are made for the period of 1911 to 1914.
This is the first era completed in the reanalysis that did not have
the benefit of Jose Fernandez Partagas' efforts. Co-authors on these changes
are William Bredemeyer, John Gamache, and Lenworth Woolcock, with special
thanks are due to Michael Chenoweth and Cary Mock. We revised all 15 existing
tropical storms and hurricanes during this four year period, added 5 new
tropical storms, and discussed (but did not add in) an additional 19 suspect
systems. While there were no major US hurricanes during this relatively quiet
period, Jamaica experienced one of their worst hurricanes ever in a late
season system in November 1912. A surprising finding was the lack of any new
tropical storms or hurricanes for 1914, which was and remains the quietest
hurricane season ever for the Atlantic basin with just one tropical storm
."

The HURDAT reanalysis documentation discusses specific data obtained from ship reports, it relied on the COADs ship database as well as on historical weather maps. They discuss in detail systems they added, made changes to, or did not include, based on the available data.

Were some missed? Sure, it's possible. But the HURDAT team did a pretty thorough job of looking at available sources for data, including ship records.

Ship data is included in the COADS/ICOADS database(s). Available data goes back to the 1600s, and includes millions of records. This site has a good summary of available data, and the records are available (need to register).

As to getting a hold of actual ship reports...no idea how to do that. But considering the database has been a large, multi-decade project, has been QC'd, and is freely available, it doesn't seem that would be necessary.
Quoting 514. Dakster:



If you end up on JBER you will have to let me know...


Yeah.
So the NE Caribbean will be dry and dusty this summer and fall... not good! not not good!!!

By the way it's already dusty! And this is strange!
BOSTON DID IT!!

re-posting after Brian

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAUNTON MA
719 PM EDT SUN MAR 15 2015

...BOSTON BREAKS ALL TIME SEASONAL SNOW RECORD...

AS OF 7PM ON MARCH 15TH...BOSTON LOGAN AIRPORT RECEIVED 108.6
INCHES OF TOTAL SEASONAL SNOWFALL. THIS BREAKS THE OLD RECORD OF
107.6 INCHES FOR THE 1995-1996 WINTER SEASON.
MaxWeather - Yeah, BaltimoreBrian posted it as it was happening.
Quoting 520. Dakster:

MaxWeather - Yeah, BaltimoreBrian posted it as it was happening.

uh oh...

Brian where are you?!
522. JRRP
los ciclones mas interesantes para darle seguimiento son los que se forman en el MDR..
si no se forman ciclones ahi pues la temporada sera aburrida
y no importa si se forman en otra parte...
523. vis0
These VIDs were only for another eMail/cloud like site.  Figured let me post some here as some might find it of interest. These go under my funktopGal category as they show some interaction of ml-d influencing nature as some of the colours show a reaction to intrÆ-sound in influencing air/water.
Was thinking of adding me " " "singing" " " the a-ha soundtrack "Take on me", but figured i would have to contact my lawyers and having to add that "No cats were hurt in the making (squeezing) of this sound (noise) track", when the falsetto part of the song had to be "hit".
...i didn't know cats are 80% liquid... almost like humans no wonder we are so alike (not, except for a few million humans).
 a-ha's (take on me) song had rotoscoping in its Music VID which reminded me of how this colorful animated imagery moves.
(1150x748 org) THUMBTAC::
For the gyfcat (much smaller than gif, loses quality if enlarged, HTML5 required )
(1160x726 org) THUMBTAC::thumbtac of wx201503-07_15ePAC CA
For the gyfcat (much smaller than gif, loses quality if enlarged, HTML5 required )
(1160x722 org) THUMBTAC::thumbtac of wx201503-07_15CanadaPolar
For the gyfcat (much smaller than gif, loses quality if enlarged, HTML5 required )
The TS off Brazil / Brasil was cooked and to freezer IT SEEMED in just seconds. Check out how fast it went from TS to a big ice cube.
Was thinking of adding that these are forming in either the "itsy bitsy Tropical convergence zone" IBTCZ or "uITCZ" for Under ITCZ. Also thought of ITTCZ for International Tropical Tiny Convergence Zone, but i could hear the complaints as NOAA members speak in Brazil of the ITTCZ and Spanish/Portuguese members say ¿aye? ...oh yes, i can,See Si!, many at our fine beaches.
(1178x668) THUMBTAC:: thumbtac to wx20150307_13SouthernAtlantic
For the gyfcat (much smaller than gif, loses quality if enlarged, HTML5 required )
Again i don't create the gyfcat names, a gorilla that ice skates does. Forgot ONE important thing...KEY to these psychedelic imagesHere the same FunkTopGal in mp4s At youtube ::
http://youtu.be/C0WVh9sQ0LQ [wx201503 07 15ePAC Ca]
http://youtu.be/PH-xQIBB9-A [wx20150307_15swPAC]
http://youtu.be/Fiv_zLc2_n0 [wx201503-07_15CanadaPolar]
http://youtu.be/gV80yT8cChU [wx20150307_13SouthernAtlantic]Was to post it all together but it took youtube 90mins to process, gfycat had the same mp4s took them 2 mins, facebook took 5 mins.
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #43
Gale Warning
TROPICAL STORM BAVI (T1503)
15:00 PM JST March 16 2015
=================================
In Sea East Of The Philippines

At 6:00 AM UTC, Tropical Storm Bavi (996 hPa) located at 14.4N 139.5E has 10 minute sustained winds of 35 knots with gusts of 50 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west northwest at 20 knots.

Gale Force Winds
===============
240 NM from the center in northwestern quadrant
120 NM from the center in southeastern quadrant

Dvorak Intensity: T2.5

Forecast and Intensity
==================
24 HRS: 14.8N 135.0E - 35 knots (CAT 1/Tropical Storm) Sea East Of The Philippines
48 HRS: 15.0N 131.5E- 35 knots (CAT 1/Tropical Storm) Sea East Of The Philippines
72 HRS: 15.0N 128.5E - Tropical Depression in Sea East Of The Philippines
Quoting weatherbro:


%uFFFDHaven't you heard of the Hutchison Effect? Many%uFFFDpilots%uFFFDand ships have reported getting enveloped within a bank of electronic fog. Some have even claimed to have been instantly transported from%uFFFDPuerto%uFFFDRico to Miami via the charged cloud!
%uFFFDMonsanto practically owns the food and Pharmaceutical%uFFFDindustries. They constantly bribe the FDA to approve their products. Thier vaccines and GMO's are known to cause Autism and a host of other woes!


1. The Hutchinson effect is more properly called the Hutchinson hoax. Hutchinson is a fake and a liar. Nothing that he proposes has been proven true while almost everything he proposes has been proven false.

2. What exactly is "electronic fog"? How can whatever it's supposed to be transport anything? Many people claim many things. Do you have any actual proof that any of the claims you quoted are true?

3. Monsanto has never produced a human vaccine. The only human pharmaceutical company they owned was G. D. Searle & Company, from 1985 to 2002, when it was sold to Pfizer. Searle also never produced a human vaccine. In addition, there is zero scientific evidence that any vaccine causes autism. There is plenty of evidence that vaccine hysteria is killing children and leading to a reemergence of childhood diseases like rubella, mumps, and measles that had ceased to be a risk to children's health due to vaccines.

4. What scientific evidence do you have that GMO's are harming anyone's health? There is plenty of evidence that transgenetic seed crops haven't harmed anyone, and the modified seeds are more drought and disease resistant, cutting the use of fertilizers and pesticides while producing larger crops. BTW, the most common way Monsanto and any other seed company produces GMO seeds is the same way Luther Burbank did it 100 years ago - crossing two similar species to get a new species. GMO plants have been around a long time.

All this is easily available on the web if you just look for proof that what these tinfoil hat sites say is true. You'll find all these claims spring from the same sources, none of which are at all scientific. What is true is that these web sites all tend to have common links - anti-Semitic views, mistrust of all government and all corporations, and a general belief that the world is ruled by a giant series of conspiracies. As I said previously, it's up to you if want to believe things like shape-shifting reptiles rule the planet, but presenting beliefs as facts is another matter.
Tropical Cyclone Warning Center Brisbane
Tropical Cyclone Bulletin
TROPICAL CYCLONE NATHAN, CATEGORY TWO (17U)
4:43 PM EST March 16 2015
=====================================

At 4:00 PM EST, Tropical Cyclone Nathan, Category Two (984 hPa) located at 14.0S 149.8E or 515 km east northeast of Cooktown and 540 km northeast of Cairns has 10 minute sustained winds of 55 knots with gusts of 75 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving south southeast at 1 knot.

Storm Force Winds
===============
40 NM from the center in northeast quadrant
30 NM from the center in northwest quadrant

Gale Force Winds
==============
120 NM from the center in northeast quadrant
70 NM from the center in southeast quadrant
70 NM from the center in southwest quadrant
120 NM from the center in northwest quadrant

Dvorak Intensity: T3.5/3.5/D0.5/24 HRS

Forecast and Intensity
=====================
12 HRS 14.5S 149.9E - 55 knots (CAT 2)
24 HRS 14.9S 150.1E - 55 knots (CAT 2)
48 HRS 15.8S 149.9E - 60 knots (CAT 2)
72 HRS 16.3S 148.3E - 85 knots (CAT 3)

Additional Information
===========================
Tropical cyclone Nathan continues to present a more symmetrical cloud pattern, although deep convection continues to appear relatively weak. Convective structure is evolving under a changing vertical shear regime, with new convection developing over the eastern flank for the first time in many days. Recent geostationary satellite imagery along with long range radar obs from Willis Island suggest the system greatly slowed its eastwards motion this morning, with recent track slowly to the south southeast.

The latest Dvorak analysis was based on a curved band pattern in visible imagery with a 0.8 degree wrap, giving a DT of 3.5. MET and PAT were both 3.5. FT still based on PAT. The location of the system is rated as fair based visible satellite imagery and Willis radar [at a long range].

Tropical cyclone Nathan up until recently was moving in a general east to southeast direction under the influence of a mid-level trough moving across the Coral Sea and firm upper level westerly winds to the north of the system. As expected, it appears that these two steering influences have weakened, and the system is now under the weak influence of a mid to upper level high situated near the Solomon Islands and is moving slowly to the south.

The CIMMS wind shear product shows a more favourable environment to the south of where the system is currently located, however models suggest the system may continue to encounter light to moderate shear provided by the final in the series of upper troughs moving over eastern Australia in the next day or so. Combined with marginal SST, this should lead to only slight intensification until Wednesday. Following this, the environment appears likely to become very favorable to intensification. At this time, the forecast calls for strengthening at the standard rate from Wednesday, however a period of rapid intensification cannot be ruled out, and this would lead to a higher category impact than the category 3 currently forecast.
Quoting hydrus:
Please forgive me for butting in, but I believe there is "something" unusual going on out in the region known as the Bermuda Triangle. I say this at the risk of being ridiculed, but it is not just me that has witnessed strange phenomenon out there. people who have much better things to do than lie about UFO sightings have reported craft capable of speeds unheard of even today. My uncle spoke of one of the strangest occurrences in the waters N.E. of Puerto Rico, Navy sonar ships had detected something near the puerto Rican Trench at 10,000 feet beneath the ocean, and moving at a fast speed, so the followed it, for several days, it seemed to wait for the ships, and when there neared, it sped off. Around the third day, they made an attempt to move slow, and speed up to surprise it. It sped off at a speed of over 160 kts @ 21,000 feet , and left them sitting, never to be seen ( or heard ) again...This was back in 1961 if my memory is correct.
Can you give me your definition of the "Bermuda Triangle"? It's not a recognized geographic area, and many writers have come up with widely divergent boundaries for this area. How exactly would the Navy, using sonars available in the early 60's, have been able track anything at 21,000 feet? There's a very dense thermocline that occurs at about 1,000 feet deep in the ocean over the Puerto Rico Trench, where the water temperature falls from the low 60's to the high 30's, and this boundary is about 50-75 feet thick. The only thing acoustic sonar can see is its own reflected signal. Note that I'm not saying people like your uncle are lying. What does happen is time passes, memories of details like timeline and depths grow dim, and we then fill in details with our best recollection, which may not be too good. The US Navy has done considerable research into the strange disappearances in and around the Bermuda "Triangle" Their conclusion is that all of them that are not exaggerations or outright falsehoods can be explained by natural occurrences. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me. :-0
Latest Southern Oscillation Index values

SOI values for 16 Mar 2015



Average for last 30 days

-3.0



Average for last 90 days

-6.7



Daily contribution to SOI calculation

-35.2
Short morning hello from Europe where an odd blob is heading from North Africa towards Italy:



Estofex Storm Forecast, Valid: Mon 16 Mar 2015 06:00 to Tue 17 Mar 2015 06:00 UTC, Issued: Mon 16 Mar 2015 04:18
Forecaster: VAN DER VELDE,
A level 1 was issued for Sardinia and Sicily mainly for chances of isolated large hail, tornadoes and excessive convective precipitation.
SYNOPSIS / DISCUSSION
An upper trough is located over western Europe, with relatively shallow storms with isolated thunder in th slightly unstable cold airmass over France and the western Mediterranean. The weak surface low shifts from northeastern Spain to Corsica/Sardinia with a plume of warm unstable air advecting from Tunesia and the Thyrrenian Sea northwestward into an occlusion over the northern Mediterranean basin. MUCAPE of 100-400 J/kg is concentrated mainly along a cold front between Tunesia and Sardinia. Low level convergence is focused into a line which should trigger storms which move only slowly (<5 m/s) while moisture transport is lifted over the east coast of Sardinia. It combines with moderate vertical wind shear (15 m/s and 150-250 m/s 0-3 km SREH). Some supercells may form in such environment, whose main threat is large hail and local excessive precipitation. The low levels are very humid and have 0-1 km shear around 10 m/s, which enhance precipitation and tornado chances. ...




The latest about the aftermath of cyclone Pam (but there aren't really many "news" available as they still struggle to get some sort of contact to regions afield and most of the affected islands):

Relief teams report devastation, death after Vanuatu cyclone
Source: Reuters - Mon, 16 Mar 2015 06:23 GMT
Those are some very toasty temps for this time of year.
. even though they were in the cone pam veered off forecasted course quite a bit. thats the excuse their prime minister is going to use for not being there
if a major storm hits like pam south florida senator who wants to be president would run. not from the storm but his voters. remember he voted against federal aid for sandy relief. that vote could come back at him and bite him in the butt.
Quoting 525. sar2401:



1. The Hutchinson effect is more properly called the Hutchinson hoax. Hutchinson is a fake and a liar. Nothing that he proposes has been proven true while almost everything he proposes has been proven false.

2. What exactly is "electronic fog"? How can whatever it's supposed to be transport anything? Many people claim many things. Do you have any actual proof that any of the claims you quoted are true?

3. Monsanto has never produced a human vaccine. The only human pharmaceutical company they owned was G. D. Searle & Company, from 1985 to 2002, when it was sold to Pfizer. Searle also never produced a human vaccine. In addition, there is zero scientific evidence that any vaccine causes autism. There is plenty of evidence that vaccine hysteria is killing children and leading to a reemergence of childhood diseases like rubella, mumps, and measles that had ceased to be a risk to children's health due to vaccines.

4. What scientific evidence do you have that GMO's are harming anyone's health? There is plenty of evidence that transgenetic seed crops haven't harmed anyone, and the modified seeds are more drought and disease resistant, cutting the use of fertilizers and pesticides while producing larger crops. BTW, the most common way Monsanto and any other seed company produces GMO seeds is the same way Luther Burbank did it 100 years ago - crossing two similar species to get a new species. GMO plants have been around a long time.

All this is easily available on the web if you just look for proof that what these tinfoil hat sites say is true. You'll find all these claims spring from the same sources, none of which are at all scientific. What is true is that these web sites all tend to have common links - anti-Semitic views, mistrust of all government and all corporations, and a general belief that the world is ruled by a giant series of conspiracies. As I said previously, it's up to you if want to believe things like shape-shifting reptiles rule the planet, but presenting beliefs as facts is another matter.

Are you kidding me? Vaccines are created using all sorts of terrible chemicals that cause all sorts of diseases, including cancer. They must be outlawed! It's the government's way of population control! Think of the poor children!
Good morning.You know you've had a cold period when 30 degrees doesn't feel that cold.Came out with a light jacket this morning.The cold will return but 40 degrees? Pfffft nothing after single digits with wind chills in the -20's and 30's
Quoting 534. washingtonian115:

Good morning.You know you've had a cold period when 30 degrees doesn't feel that cold.Came out with a light jacket this morning.The cold will return but 40 degrees? Pfffft nothing after single digits with wind chills in the -20's and 30's


Good Morning. My Daughter is going to DC next week (on Monday) for the Class field trip for a week. What kind of weather should she expect? Thanks in advance.
Cyclone Pam: Is it time for a category-6 cyclone rating?
The Sydney Morning Herald, Date March 16, 2015 - 5:38PM by Peter Hannam, Environment Editor
The unusual strength of Cyclone Pam, which devastated Vanuatu over the weekend, may stir debate about the need for a category-6 rating for storms to reflect their increasing severity.
Jonathan Nott, a professor at James Cook University and expert on cyclone history, said there has "been a lot of discussion over the last five to 10 years" about the need to extend the cyclone severity rating beyond the current maximum of five.
"Everyone's been asking this question: should we have a cat-6 or not?" Professor Nott said. ... [snip]
However, there is evidence that climate change will increase the maximum potential intensity of cyclonic events by increasing the warmth available to be tapped from the oceans. "That will be one factor that will allow cyclones to become more intense in the future," Professor Nott said.
Another issue is that the tropical region where cyclones can form is expanding north and south of the equator. "We've got evidence already that this is happening," he said. ... [snip]

Whole article see link above.
3rd highest Daily SOI index of this El-Nino thus far today!
Quoting 533. TropicalAnalystwx13:


Are you kidding me? Vaccines are created using all sorts of terrible chemicals that cause all sorts of diseases, including cancer. They must be outlawed! It's the government's way of population control! Think of the poor children!


I hope this is sarcasm.
Tropical Cyclone Pam Situation Report No. 4, 16 March 2015
Report from Government of Vanuatu
Published on 16 Mar 2015

Highlights

- Category 5 Cyclone Pam has caused widespread, severe damage and loss of life through the country, particularly in the Central and Southern regions, which experienced a direct hit.
- First Situational Report Received from Tanna confirming 5 fatalities and widespread distraction.
- Aerial assessments carried out on 16 March.
- First emerging aerial images confirm total or near-total distraction of homes, buildings and and crops on the Shepherd Islands.
- Access to affected population is extremely limited due to closed airports in provinces and to broken bridges on Efate.
- Teams of Medical, Urban Search and Rescue and Humanitarian experts arrive from Australia and New Zealand.
- Confirmed Number of fatalities from TafeaShefa provinces 11.
- State of Emergency has been declared for Shefa Province. This is likely to be extended to Tafea and other Provinces as information comes in.
- First Flights with relief supplies arrive from Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia.
- Eight fatalities have been confirmed from Efate to date.
- Twenty Eight (28) evacuation centres have been opened on Efate with 2865 evacuees to date.

Whole text as pdf.
For those who might have missed it:

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAUNTON MA
719 PM EDT SUN MAR 15 2015


...BOSTON BREAKS ALL TIME SEASONAL SNOW RECORD...

AS OF 7PM ON MARCH 15TH...BOSTON LOGAN AIRPORT RECEIVED 108.6
INCHES OF TOTAL SEASONAL SNOWFALL. THIS BREAKS THE OLD RECORD OF
107.6 INCHES FOR THE 1995-1996 WINTER SEASON.
Quoting 538. Naga5000:



I hope this is sarcasm.

You haven't come to expect that from me yet? :)
Anyone have an idea when we might start seeing the severe weather start to kick up? Its been quiet at least since early January.
543. yoboi
Quoting 540. Neapolitan:

For those who missed it:

NOUS41 KBOX 152319
PNSBOX
CTZ002>004-MAZ002>024-026-RIZ001>008-160 330-

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAUNTON MA
719 PM EDT SUN MAR 15 2015


...BOSTON BREAKS ALL TIME SEASONAL SNOW RECORD...

AS OF 7PM ON MARCH 15TH...BOSTON LOGAN AIRPORT RECEIVED 108.6
INCHES OF TOTAL SEASONAL SNOWFALL. THIS BREAKS THE OLD RECORD OF
107.6 INCHES FOR THE 1995-1996 WINTER SEASON.


and with all this [sic] record warmth.....had ice and snow in march in south Louisiana.....
Quoting StormTrackerScott:
3rd highest Daily SOI index of this El-Nino thus far today!


Thanks for the hourly update. Now I'll go back to watching my grass grow.
3rd highest Daily SOI index of this El-Nino thus far today!


hmmm...i wonder why.......might there be a storm in the tahitian region causing daily noise???????.......i seem to remember a blogger hyping daily values minus 45....about a month and a half ago......hmmmm.......however.....i remember just two weeks ago......someone posting that the SOI was going to get hammered......values such as of the '97 el nino....all caused by a super MJO pulse...a pulse...that was forecast to be off the charts.......well.....with a daily SOI that is not in the range seen back in 97...let's look at 97....when we had 30 day averages...that were almost -30.....not a daily value that is just noise...and a 30 day value of a measley -3 value...which isn't even considered where it should be during an el nino event...which is -8.....so nope.....this isn't a big deal....except to say that we're in an el nino...but the atmosphere still isn't responding as usual....what we have....is a lot of hype.......but no delivery

here's the 30 day average SOI value back in '97.....


the graph won't post but you can see it here
25 Die in Rain-Related Incidents in Rajasthan
All India | Press Trust of India | Updated: March 16, 2015 17:52 IST
Jaipur: 25 people were killed in rain-related incidents, while crops in 26 out of 33 districts in Rajasthan were damaged in the last three days, even as various district officials have been directed to conduct surveys to assess crop losses and submit a report to the government at the earliest so that relief could be provided to farmers affected. ...

About 2,000 Vehicles Stranded on Closed Jammu and Kashmir Highway
All India | Press Trust of India | Updated: March 16, 2015 18:53 IST
Jammu: More than 2,000 vehicles are stranded at various places on the closed Jammu-Srinagar National Highway even as incessant rainfall has increased the risk of flooding in several low-lying areas in the Jammu region. ...

Usually March should be one of the driest months in those Indian regions (look here at the climate figures http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaipur).
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
Quoting 541. TropicalAnalystwx13:


You haven't come to expect that from me yet? :)


It's getting very hard to tell anymore. People I have known for years have turned out to be anti vaxxers. I thought you were joking, but you never can tell. :)
Quoting 543. yoboi:



and with all this [sic] record warmth.....had ice and snow in march in south Louisiana.....

I know, it's almost as if the climate is changing. Weird, huh?