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Violent tornado devastates Moore, Oklahoma

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:48 AM GMT on May 21, 2013

A massive and violent tornado at least a mile wide smashed through Moore, Oklahoma near 3 pm CDT Monday, causing catastrophic damage along a 20-mile long path. The National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma has rated the tornado at least an EF-4 (166 - 200 mph winds), and detailed damage surveys may upgrade this rating to the top-end EF-5 level in the coming days. Damage was extreme and covered a huge area, and many buildings swept away down to their foundations. The tornado was on the ground for 40 minutes, from 2:56 - 3:36 pm CDT, and a tornado warning for the storm was issued at 2:40 pm CDT, sixteen minutes before it touched down. The debris ball from the tornado, as seen on Doppler radar, expanded to over two miles in diameter, and debris was carried over 100 miles from Moore. The National Weather Service office in Tulsa, Oklahoma reported at 4:13 pm CDT that they were "seeing reports of light tornado debris falling in the Tulsa metro area again this evening, likely from the Moore area." Tulsa is 100 miles east-northeast of Moore.


Figure 1. The news helicopter from kfor.com caught this image of the shocking near-total destruction of a huge area of Moore, Oklahoma, on May 20, 2013.


Figure 2. Radar reflectivity image taken at 3:06 pm CDT May 20, 2013 of the supercell thunderstorm that spawned the Moore, Oklahoma tornado. A classic "hook echo" terminates in a sphere of colors with high-reflectivity purple at its core, the signature of a "debris ball" of debris hurled into the air by a violent tornado.


Figure 3. Terminal Doppler Weather Radar velocity image taken at 3:06 pm CDT May 20, 2013 of the supercell thunderstorm that spawned the Moore, Oklahoma tornado. Note the couplet of dark red colors right next to dark blues, showing that the air was moving both towards the radar and away from it within a short distance, indicating a tight rotation of the tornado's parent mesocyclone. The velocity folding inside this couplet is extremely unusual to see in Doppler radar data and shows that the winds were so fast, the radar misidentified their speed. This, along with the extremely low beam height (0.5°), suggests that the radar was scanning the upper parts of the tornado and its immediate environment. Thanks go to wunderground's tornado expert, Dr. Rob Carver, for annotating this image.

Moore tornado likely to be one of the five most damaging tornadoes in history
Moore has the unenviable distinction of having previously experienced the 4th costliest tornado in world history, the notorious May 3, 1999 Bridgecreek-Moore EF-5 tornado. There have been only six billion-dollar (2011 dollars) tornadoes in history:

1) Joplin, Missouri, May 22, 2011, $2.8 billion
2) Topeka, Kansas, June 8, 1966, $1.7 billion
3) Lubbock, Texas, May 11, 19780, $1.5 billion
4) Bridge Creek-Moore, Oklahoma, May 3, 1999, $1.4 billion
5) Xenia, Ohio, April 3, 1974, $1.1 billion
6) Omaha, Nebraska, May 6, 1975, $1 billion

The May 3, 1999 Bridge Creek-Moore tornado killed 36 people and injured 583. It damaged or destroyed 8132 homes, 1041 apartments, 260 businesses, 11 public buildings and seven churches. According to rough estimates of the size of the damaged area made by helicopters operated by news9.com and kfor.com, the damage footprint from the May 20, 2013 tornado is easily twice as large. I expect that after the damage tally from the May 20 tornado is added up, Moore will hold two of the top five spots on the list of most damaging tornadoes in history, and the May 20 tornado may approach the Joplin tornado as the costliest twister of all-time.


Figure 4. Comparison of the tracks of the May 3, 1999 and May 20, 2013 tornadoes in Moore, Oklahoma. Both tornadoes caused near-total destruction along a significant portion of their paths. Image credit: ‪NWS Norman, #Okwx‬ ‪pic.twitter.com/4BmUWIyNbo‬


Video 1. Short storm chaser clip of the May 20, 2013 Moore, Oklahoma tornado. The video is notable for the large amount of flying debris seen swirling around the funnel.

I urge you to give generously to the victims of this tragedy, whether through your monetary donations to disaster relief organizations like redcross.org or portlight.org, or with your prayers to those afflicted.

Jeff Masters


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

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651. wooleeacre
6:18 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Can someone enlighten me.. what is the difference between negative cloud to ground and positive cloud to ground lightning. It seems there are more negative to ground lightning strikes in volatile cells..
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
650. Barefootontherocks
5:21 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Quoting BahaHurican:
I can appreciate your feeling because I've been there. I've learned you can let the insensitivity get to you [and it can] or you can take what is helpful to you from what is said and ignore the rest. A lot of times the insensitivity COMES from ignorance, so this blog becomes an opportunity to sensitize others to your experience and to the reality they may not understand. We have a lot of youngsters here who genuinely need to learn about walking in others' shoes. Additionally, while wunderbloggers' comments are often ignorant and insensitive, that doesn't mean that positive change cannot come from them. And sometimes that change starts with reducing one person's ignorance. A lot depends on what we as bloggers are willing to accept.

I am glad you made your comment, because it is easy for those of us outside the situation to react as if it is some kind of "test case" and ignore the human tragedy of such events. Thanks for reminding us and keeping us humane.

Quoting BahaHurican:
I can appreciate your feeling because I've been there. I've learned you can let the insensitivity get to you [and it can] or you can take what is helpful to you from what is said and ignore the rest. A lot of times the insensitivity COMES from ignorance, so this blog becomes an opportunity to sensitize others to your experience and to the reality they may not understand. We have a lot of youngsters here who genuinely need to learn about walking in others' shoes. Additionally, while wunderbloggers' comments are often ignorant and insensitive, that doesn't mean that positive change cannot come from them. And sometimes that change starts with reducing one person's ignorance. A lot depends on what we as bloggers are willing to accept.

I am glad you made your comment, because it is easy for those of us outside the situation to react as if it is some kind of "test case" and ignore the human tragedy of such events. Thanks for reminding us and keeping us humane.

Baha, I ain't bending on this. Sunday page upon page of comments here criticized an OKC TV broadcaster who has followed storms here for 20 years and saved many lives - in the middle a milder episode of "Death by Tornado." In other words, this went on in the thick of things while others tried to discuss a long-tracking tornado. That would not happen in huricane season, and yet admin chose to let it go on. Later Sunday, I tried the "educate the ignorant" approach, nicely :) and got attacked for it. Last night, after not being on wu all day, I came to this blog and saw bloggers arguing over why this tornado shouldn't be designated this or that at the same moment the drowning death of seven Moore, OK children was announced. I used the "eat my shorts approach" and got banned for 12 hours.

I spent many days of my life early last year trying to educate the youngsters (as you call them on) about official resources for severe weather. I've enjoyed watching the youngins' self-taught knowledge and severe weather interest of grow and bloom. Truth is, many of them are more sensitive to others' shoes than are some older wubloggers whose full-grown egos paint a broad picture of their judgmental insensitivity.

Letting insensitivity get to me and speaking up about it is one of my better traits. I wouldn't change it for the all the Cocoa Puffs in Publix.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
649. FLwolverine
5:13 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:
Oklahoma tornado: is climate change to blame?
The Oklahoma twister was a 'classic look', but the data shows we are experiencing more volatility in the US tornado season
a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/21/ moore-oklahoma-tornado-climate-change" target="_blank" onclick="s_objectID="http://www.guardian.co.u k/world/2013/may/21/moore-oklahoma-tornado-climate -change_1";return this.s_oc?this.s_oc(e):true" rel="nofollow">Link
An important point from the Guardan article you lined to:

The point is that all the normal ingredients were there that allowed an EF-4 tornado to spawn and strike. (Examination of the storm site may cause an upgrading to EF-5.) It happened in tornado alley, where warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico often meets dry air from the north and Rocky mountains for maximum instability. There wasn't anything shocking about this from a meteorological perspective. It was, as a well-informed friend said, a "classic" look.

The long-term weather question is whether or not we'll see more or less of these "classic" looks in our changing meteorological environment. It turns out that of all the weather phenomena, from droughts to hurricanes, tornadoes are the most complex to answer from a broader atmospheric trends point of view. The reason is that a warming world affects the factors that lead to tornadoes in different ways.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
648. BahaHurican
4:27 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Quoting EricSpittle:

He made it quite clear he did mean it like that, and there's no other way to construe a blame of people sending "their kids" to school than a blame of the parents. I specifically mentioned, in reply to his comment that suggested I must blame someone, that nobody can be blamed for natural disasters. Please try reading the conversation before you accuse me of assigning blame to anyone.
I did see the conversation - after I had posted my comment. I certainly had no intention of accusing you of anything. However, if that is the way you construed it...

My point is that one can become over-emotional in this context.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
647. DrMickey
4:19 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Quoting Patrap:


Having a WR-100 is a must.





Patrap,
Any idea whatever happened to Reecom? I bought one of their units a few years ago and now I can't find anybody that sells the brand.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
646. zawxdsk
4:09 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Quoting seminolesfan:

I noted the same upslope towards the W and NW upon perusal of the OK topo map.

I, personally, noted the inflow channel vector alignment as being inline with the upslope.

Possible(edit: small?) impact on lifting a parcel into a favorable environment with an additional component of orographic lift as the capping layer is simultaneously broken, IMO.


It's definitely an interest addition to the conversation. It's been considered before, but I'd love to see some of the VORTEX 2 data worked into this. Even if it's only a component, it can mean the difference in intensity or size of a tornado.

It may not neccessarily be the upslope component of the inflow that is the only local topographical effect. Also to consider is the stretching of horizontal vorticity, which tightens the circulation in areas where the slope is increasing.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
645. flsky
4:04 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Quoting Tribucanes:
We are a brave and resilient people. As American's we're not going to run from tornadoes in our heartland. Many have had families for generations there, their jobs are there, and their kid's friends are there. Americans rebuild and come back stronger than before. Shall we abandon the coasts in the Gulf and Atlantic? Shall we flee from California's earthquakes? Like Scott Lincoln said, it can happen anywhere anytime, and to live in fear is no freedom. Shall we flee Alabama/Arkansas/Missouri/Kansas/Oklahoma etc. where tragic tornado events have happened with regularity? No way, in America we overcome.


People are like this all over the world.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
644. Torito
4:01 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
643. Patrap
4:00 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
The multi-media briefing for today from NOAA
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
642. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
4:00 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
640. seminolesfan
3:56 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Quoting yonzabam:


I found this comment on the NYT article:

Has anyone considered the correlation of the windspeed vectors for this storm in Moore (and hence relative helicity) with the local topography? A quick review of the topographical map of Oklahoma shows that it is relatively flat with the exception of a steady downward gradient from west to east coming down from the Rockies.

Could a near perfect alignment of gradually downsloping topography with the helicity axis be the root cause of tornadic activity that is very strong before it achieves significant net vertical vorticity? Thus allowing it to become a 'tornado' before the downdraft has tightened and focused the width of the base?

Is it possible that the width of a devastating funnel like this could come down to something as simple as a vector product between wind sheer and topographical vectors?

I noted the same upslope towards the W and NW upon perusal of the OK topo map.

I, personally, noted the inflow channel vector alignment as being inline with the upslope.

Possible(edit: small?) impact on lifting a parcel into a favorable environment with an additional component of orographic lift as the capping layer is simultaneously broken, IMO.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
639. EricSpittle
3:55 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Quoting BahaHurican:
I don't think he meant it like that. Breathe out. It's easy to feel like casting blame, even if it's only blaming people you think are blaming people.

He made it quite clear he did mean it like that, and there's no other way to construe a blame of people sending "their kids" to school than a blame of the parents. I specifically mentioned, in reply to his comment that suggested I must blame someone, that nobody can be blamed for natural disasters. Please try reading the conversation before you accuse me of assigning blame to anyone.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
638. Patrap
3:55 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
637. Patrap
3:53 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
636. CaicosRetiredSailor
3:52 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
635. Torito
3:51 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
The NWS Storm Prediction Center has issued a

* Severe Thunderstorm Watch for portions of
southern Oklahoma
northwest Texas

* effective this Tuesday morning and evening from 1045 am until
700 PM CDT.

* Primary threats include...
numerous damaging wind gusts to 70 mph likely
several large hail events with a few very large hail events to 2
inches in diameter possible

The Severe Thunderstorm Watch area is approximately along and 45
statute miles north and south of a line from 45 miles southwest
of Altus Oklahoma to 15 miles north northeast of Poteau Oklahoma.
For a complete depiction of the watch see the associated watch
outline update (wous64 kwns wou2).

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

Remember... a Severe Thunderstorm Watch means conditions are
favorable for severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch
area. Persons in these areas should be on the lookout for
threatening weather conditions and listen for later statements
and possible warnings. Severe thunderstorms can and occasionally
do produce tornadoes.


Other watch information... continue... ww 201...

Discussion... the northern flank of an evolving mesoscale convective
system is expected to overspread southern Oklahoma late this
morning... through the afternoon hours. Severe hail may be the
primary severe threat in storms approaching the Oklahoma City
metropolitan area through midday... but potentially damaging wind
gusts may become the predominant severe threat in a swath closer to
the Red River this afternoon.

Aviation... a few severe thunderstorms with hail surface and aloft
to 2 inches. Extreme turbulence and surface wind gusts to 60
knots. A few cumulonimbi with maximum tops to 500. Mean storm
motion vector 27035.


... Kerr
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
634. BahaHurican
3:51 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Gotta run, all. Ya'll keep up the good work and try to minimize the other stuff...
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
633. Torito
3:50 PM GMT on May 21, 2013

The National Weather Service has issued Severe Thunderstorm Watch
202 in effect until 7 PM CDT this evening for the following areas

In Oklahoma this watch includes 10 counties

In east central Oklahoma

Muskogee Okfuskee Sequoyah

In northeast Oklahoma

Okmulgee

In southeast Oklahoma

Haskell Latimer Le Flore
McIntosh Pittsburg Pushmataha

This includes the cities of... Antlers... Clayton... Eufaula...
McAlester... Muskogee... Okemah... Okmulgee... Poteau... Sallisaw...
Stigler and Wilburton.



Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
632. SherwoodSpirit
3:47 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
In Wichita Kansas, on May 3rd, 1999 we had a big tornado too. It lifted a half mile south of my house to pass directly over my head at tree top level. I knew the exact moment it passed over because my ears popped. The noise was horrendous. It took just the tops off the trees on my block. We were very lucky. South Wichita was not.

Afterwards, when I came outside, the debris it left was amazing. Every square inch outside was full of small ground up bits of buildings. Tiny bits of shingles, wood, insulation were everywhere. We had to rake and shovel it out of our yards for weeks. Of course there were larger pieces of debris as well. I had two vent caps, and a few plastic lawn chairs in my yard along with all the wood, shingles and insulation, and there was an aluminum shed left in the street. But I'll never forget how small the pieces of most of the debris had been ground up.

Among the debris, we found papers, envelopes, photographs... with Moore, OK addresses on them. Moore is approximately 170 miles south of Wichita. The storm system carried the debris all that way.

All I could think yesterday was, Oh no! Not again! This is just horrific.

I've been watching coverage between CNN and TWC. On TWC, I've heard Dr. Greg Forbes say the tornado was possibly a mile and a half wide at its largest. And they reported a debris ball had been seen on radar that was over 2 miles wide. CNN keeps reporting that the tornado was two miles wide. Since I've yet to hear a meteorologist quoted who says it was that big, I'm assuming many of the CNN reporters have misunderstood the size, thinking the debris ball is the actual size of the tornado. Has anyone heard anything official about that yet?
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
631. MississippiWx
3:47 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
This is a really awesome video. While interviewing an elderly woman who made it out from underneath her destroyed home, the reporter spotted her dog underneath the rubble. Amazing.

Link
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
630. BahaHurican
3:46 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Quoting Patrap:
Thompson, R.L., B.T. Smith, J.S. Grams, A.R. Dean, and C. Broyles, 2012: Convective Modes for Significant Severe Thunderstorms in the Contiguous United States. Part II: Supercell and QLCS Tornado Environments. Published in Weather and Forecasting.
OOO... this looks interesting...

Thanks Pat and Scott... must be something about the LA gennelmen... lol

Oh, and the MS gennelmun also... ;o)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
629. yonzabam
3:44 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Quoting BahaHurican:
Something I have been speculating about to myself is whether there is something about the geography / topography of that part of OK that lends itself to numerous high velocity tornadoes. However, I don't have any statistical data on # of tornadoes and EF4-EF5 tornadoes that have affected the area.

Is it possible that the "lay of the land" could contribute to torque potential?


I found this comment on the NYT article:

Has anyone considered the correlation of the windspeed vectors for this storm in Moore (and hence relative helicity) with the local topography? A quick review of the topographical map of Oklahoma shows that it is relatively flat with the exception of a steady downward gradient from west to east coming down from the Rockies.

Could a near perfect alignment of gradually downsloping topography with the helicity axis be the root cause of tornadic activity that is very strong before it achieves significant net vertical vorticity? Thus allowing it to become a 'tornado' before the downdraft has tightened and focused the width of the base?

Is it possible that the width of a devastating funnel like this could come down to something as simple as a vector product between wind sheer and topographical vectors?
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
628. Patrap
3:44 PM GMT on May 21, 2013


Having a WR-100 is a must.




Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
627. pipelines
3:43 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Honestly, the best solution to protect our children in schools isn't to send them home. What needs to be done is a building code change in tornado prone areas where "bunker rooms" are created. Going underground is expensive and not always an option in certain areas, but you can make an above ground room strong enough to even survive an EF5 tornado with enough concrete and rebar. An interior,ground level classroom should be picked for the extra structural reinforcement, multiple rooms if the school has a high student count, and all students should report to those designated classrooms during tornado events. THIS is the best solution, not sending children home to houses that are not structurally sound and have a high chance of failure with anything EF3 or stronger.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
626. TampaTom
3:41 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Just wow... Incredible damage. Prayers for Oklahoma and everyone else under the gun today...
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
625. zoomiami
3:40 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Quoting BahaHurican:
I can appreciate your feeling because I've been there. I've learned you can let the insensitivity get to you [and it can] or you can take what is helpful to you from what is said and ignore the rest. A lot of times the insensitivity COMES from ignorance, so this blog becomes an opportunity to sensitize others to your experience and to the reality they may not understand. We have a lot of youngsters here who genuinely need to learn about walking in others' shoes. Additionally, while wunderbloggers' comments are often ignorant and insensitive, that doesn't mean that positive change cannot come from them. And sometimes that change starts with reducing one person's ignorance. A lot depends on what we as bloggers are willing to accept.

I am glad you made your comment, because it is easy for those of us outside the situation to react as if it is some kind of "test case" and ignore the human tragedy of such events. Thanks for reminding us and keeping us humane.




I was looking at a site that listed the worst tornados in history, and we have definitely saved many lives over the past 50 years with the advancements is science and warnings. It was surprising to see that several tornados in the late 1800's, early 1900's killed several hundred people.

The teachers and the others in the school yesterday did everything they could. Nothing you can do will protect you from the "worst" of whatever natural disaster that occurs can create.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
623. Torito
3:40 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
000
AXNT20 KNHC 211152
TWDAT

TROPICAL WEATHER DISCUSSION
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
805 AM EDT TUE MAY 21 2013

TROPICAL WEATHER DISCUSSION FOR NORTH AMERICA...CENTRAL
AMERICA...GULF OF MEXICO...CARIBBEAN SEA...NORTHERN SECTIONS OF
SOUTH AMERICA...AND ATLANTIC OCEAN TO THE AFRICAN COAST FROM THE
EQUATOR TO 32N. THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS BASED ON SATELLITE
IMAGERY...WEATHER OBSERVATIONS...RADAR...AND METEOROLOGICAL
ANALYSIS.

BASED ON 0600 UTC SURFACE ANALYSIS AND SATELLITE IMAGERY THROUGH
1015 UTC.

...TROPICAL WAVES...
TROPICAL WAVE EXTENDS FROM 8N38W TO EQ40W MOVING W AT 10-15 KT.
WAVE COINCIDES WITH A LOW AMPLITUDE MOISTURE MAXIMUM ON THE
TOTAL PRECIPITABLE WATER IMAGERY WITH CURVATURE EVIDENT ON THE
700 MB STREAMLINES AND SATELLITE DERIVED WINDS. WAVE ALSO
DISRUPTS THE ITCZ.

TROPICAL WAVE EXTENDS FROM 15N63W TO INLAND OVER SOUTH AMERICA
TO NEAR 8N65W MOVING W NEAR 5 KT. WAVE COINCIDES WITH A WEAK
MOISTURE MAXIMUM ON THE TOTAL PRECIPITABLE WATER IMAGERY THAT
CONTINUES TO SHIFT NORTHWARD OVER THE E CARIBBEAN WITH A WEAK
CURVATURE ON THE 700 MB STREAMLINES. SCATTERED SHOWERS AND
POSSIBLE ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS DOT THE W TROPICAL ATLC/E
CARIBBEAN FROM 10N-18N BETWEEN 58W-66W.

...ITCZ/MONSOON TROUGH...
THE MONSOON TROUGH EXTENDS ACROSS AFRICA INTO THE E TROPICAL
ATLC NEAR 11N15W CONTINUING ALONG 5N21W TO 3N26W WHERE THE ITCZ
BEGINS AND CONTINUES ALONG 4N34W TO 2N38W. SCATTERED MODERATE/
STRONG CONVECTION IS WITHIN 60 NM OF LINE FROM 4N6W TO 5N12W.
CLUSTERS OF SCATTERED SHOWERS AND ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS ARE OFF
THE COAST OF SW AFRICA FROM 3N-9N E OF 17W TO THE PRIME
MERIDIAN. CLUSTERS OF SCATTERED MODERATE CONVECTION ARE FROM 2N-
5N BETWEEN 19W-30W. CLUSTERS OF ISOLATED MODERATE CONVECTION ARE
FROM 2N-6N BETWEEN 30W-38W AND FROM 2N TO THE EQUATOR BETWEEN
41W-46W.

...DISCUSSION...

GULF OF MEXICO...
A SHORTWAVE UPPER TROUGH EXTENDS FROM SE GEORGIA OVER THE
FLORIDA PENINSULA TO NEAR 24N80W IN THE STRAITS OF FLORIDA. A
BROAD UPPER RIDGE AXIS EXTENDS OVER THE W GULF ACROSS S MEXICO
NEAR VERACRUZ TO OVER THE SE CONUS NEAR THE LOUISIANA/TEXAS
BORDER COVERING THE REMAINDER OF THE GULF. A SURFACE RIDGE
EXTENDS FROM THE W ATLC ACROSS CENTRAL FLORIDA TO OVER THE E
GULF WITH SOUTHERLY RETURN FLOW COVERING THE REMAINDER OF THE
GULF. WATER VAPOR IMAGERY INDICATES MOSTLY STRONG SUBSIDENCE AND
DRY STABLE AIR ALOFT DOMINATING THE GULF THIS MORNING...THUS
CLEAR SKIES FOR ALL BUT THE FAR W GULF WHERE LOW LEVEL CLOUDS
ARE N OF 23N W OF 94W. MODEL GUIDANCE CONTINUES TO SHOW HIGH
MOISTURE AND PRECIPITATION POTENTIAL OVER THE FAR E GULF AND
OVER THE FLORIDA PENINSULA THROUGH EARLY WED BEFORE THE UPPER
TROUGH IS EXPECTED TO MOVE E OF FLORIDA. A COLD FRONT MAY MOVE
INTO THE NE GULF FRI THEN DRIFT S THROUGH SAT.

CARIBBEAN SEA...
AN UPPER RIDGE AXIS EXTENDS ALONG THE N COAST OF SOUTH AMERICA
GIVING THE CARIBBEAN S OF 17N SW FLOW ALOFT. THE AREA N OF 17N
IS UNDER NEAR ZONAL WESTERLY FLOW ALOFT. THE UPPER FLOW IS
DRAWING TROPICAL MOISTURE ALOFT OVER THE S CARIBBEAN AND COUPLED
WITH THE MONSOON TROUGH THAT EXTENDS FROM COLOMBIA NEAR 10N75W
ALONG 11N80W TO ACROSS COSTA RICA NEAR 10N84W ARE GENERATING
SCATTERED SHOWERS/THUNDERSTORMS S OF 12N BETWEEN 74W-84W.
CLUSTERS OF SCATTERED SHOWERS/ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS CONTINUE
OVER PORTIONS OF E CUBA AND FROM 16N-20N BETWEEN 74W-80W. THE E
CARIBBEAN IS COVERED IN THE TROPICAL WAVE SECTION ABOVE. SURFACE
RIDGE OVER THE W ATLC WILL MAINTAIN MODERATE TO FRESH TRADE
WINDS OVER THE REGION WITH STRONGER WINDS AT TIMES OFF THE COAST
OF COLOMBIA AND IN THE GULF OF HONDURAS THROUGH MID WEEK.

HISPANIOLA...
SCATTERED SHOWERS/ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS ARE WITHIN 60 NM ALONG
THE S COAST OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC BETWEEN BAHIA DE YUMA TO
BAHIA DE OCOA. MODEL GUIDANCE INDICATES A SIMILAR PATTERN WILL
PERSIST TODAY WITH THE MOST LIKELY PRECIPITATION TO BE DURING
THE AFTERNOON AND EARLY EVENING HOURS ACROSS THE ISLAND WHEN
PEAK DAYTIME HEATING AND INSTABILITY OCCUR. ANY AREAS THAT
RECEIVE MEASURABLE AMOUNTS OF RAINFALL WILL LIKELY BE PRONE TO
LOCALIZED FLOODING. MOISTURE FROM A TROPICAL WAVE MAY INCREASE
ACTIVITY OVER THE ISLAND TONIGHT INTO WED.

ATLANTIC OCEAN...
A SHORTWAVE UPPER TROUGH OVER THE FLORIDA PENINSULA TO NEAR
24N80W IN THE STRAITS OF FLORIDA AND IS AMPLIFYING AN UPPER
RIDGE OVER THE FAR W ATLC THAT EXTENDS FROM THE TURKS AND CAICOS
NEAR 21N72W TO BEYOND 32N77W AND IS ENHANCING THE SCATTERED
SHOWERS/ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS FROM 24N-32N W OF 78W TO THE
FLORIDA COAST. A SURFACE RIDGE EXTENDS FROM A 1024 MB HIGH NEAR
33N62W ACROSS CENTRAL FLORIDA INTO THE GULF OF MEXICO. CLUSTERS
OF SCATTERED SHOWERS/ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS ARE WITHIN 75 NM
ALONG THE N COAST OF CUBA E OF 79W. A BROAD UPPER TROUGH COVERS
THE REMAINDER OF THE W ATLC INTO THE CENTRAL ATLC SUPPORTING A
COLD FRONT THAT ENTERS THE REGION NEAR 32N47W TO 28N54W WHERE IT
DISSIPATES TO 27N60W. SCATTERED SHOWERS ARE WITHIN 90 NM E OF
THE FRONT N OF 29N. A WEAK SURFACE TROUGH IS TO THE SE EXTENDING
FROM 29N48W THROUGH AN EQUALLY WEAK 1019 MB SURFACE LOW NEAR
27N48W TO 25N49W. THIS FEATURE IS NOT PRODUCING ANY SIGNIFICANT
WEATHER. A BROAD SURFACE RIDGE COVERS THE E ATLC ANCHORED BY A
1035 MB HIGH N OF THE AZORES. A COLD FRONT MAY MOVE INTO THE NW
PORTION FRI SLOWLY MOVING E ACROSS THE WATERS N OF 27N THROUGH
SAT.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION PLEASE VISIT
WWW.HURRICANES.GOV/MARINE

$$
PAW



Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
621. BahaHurican
3:37 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Quoting Barefootontherocks:
I appreciate what you are saying, and I hope you can appreciate when I say most of what I have seen has been insensitive and not in any way constructive given the context. I am sure things will be learned from this tornado and positive changes will be made, just as they have been made in the past. As years go by more is learned about forecasting and safety by those who take an objective look at the situation. These changes will not result from ignorant comments made by wubloggers here in JeffMasters blog.
I can appreciate your feeling because I've been there. I've learned you can let the insensitivity get to you [and it can] or you can take what is helpful to you from what is said and ignore the rest. A lot of times the insensitivity COMES from ignorance, so this blog becomes an opportunity to sensitize others to your experience and to the reality they may not understand. We have a lot of youngsters here who genuinely need to learn about walking in others' shoes. Additionally, while wunderbloggers' comments are often ignorant and insensitive, that doesn't mean that positive change cannot come from them. And sometimes that change starts with reducing one person's ignorance. A lot depends on what we as bloggers are willing to accept.

I am glad you made your comment, because it is easy for those of us outside the situation to react as if it is some kind of "test case" and ignore the human tragedy of such events. Thanks for reminding us and keeping us humane.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
620. Patrap
3:37 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
619. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
3:37 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Quoting mikatnight:


Interesting and ominous. The moisture flowing up from the Gulf...


hopefully not as bad as yesterday

sorry for late reply at work was in on break when posted

on lunch in 20 mins

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
618. ScottLincoln
3:36 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Quoting MississippiWx:


I'm not sure, but I would think it mainly has something to do with Oklahoma being in the heart of tornado alley. In Mississippi, we have had several killer EF4-EF5 tornadoes in the past and our "lay of the land" is much different than Oklahoma. Like I said, probably happens more in places that have the most favorable setups more often. The fact that 3 or 4 have happened right there in Moore is a crazy statistic and I would love to know the percentage chance of that happening.

ScottLincoln might have a better answer for you, though.

I have some thoughts, but really not a "better" answer. I know some people studying tornadoes from the 2011 outbreak had looked into the terrain in AL and how it may have affected some of the tornadoes. That terrain was more rugged than central OK, which is generally lightly rolling hills. I'm not sure that I have any kind of hypothesis related to topography, but Oklahoma City is one of the larger metro areas right in the "sweet spot" for tornadoes and significant tornadoes. Although odd that Moore has been hit so many times, I think when looking at all the more prone areas of the plains and mid-south, it doesn't stand out that much compared to others.

I can certainly see this becoming something of more research after the last few days, which would trump my rough thoughts.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
617. Torito
3:35 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
May be some severe weather across TN today.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
616. mrsalagranny
3:34 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Quoting hydrus:
Rough weather possible over devastated areas.
Oh my that is not good.I am praying for those families who are having to go through this nightmare.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
614. Patrap
3:34 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
613. Patrap
3:33 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
612. ScottLincoln
3:32 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Quoting GOLSUTIGERS:


Please read comment 564.

Calling someone stupid is not an appropriate response to comment 564.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
611. MississippiWx
3:32 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Quoting BahaHurican:
Something I have been speculating about to myself is whether there is something about the geography / topography of that part of OK that lends itself to numerous high velocity tornadoes. However, I don't have any statistical data on # of tornadoes and EF4-EF5 tornadoes that have affected the area.

Is it possible that the "lay of the land" could contribute to torque potential?



I'm not sure, but I would think it mainly has something to do with Oklahoma being in the heart of tornado alley. In Mississippi, we have had several killer EF4-EF5 tornadoes in the past and our "lay of the land" is much different than Oklahoma. Like I said, probably happens more in places that have the most favorable setups more often. The fact that 3 or 4 have happened right there in Moore is a crazy statistic and I would love to know the percentage chance of that happening.

ScottLincoln might have a better answer for you, though.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
610. Tribucanes
3:31 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
We are a brave and resilient people. As American's we're not going to run from tornadoes in our heartland. Many have had families for generations there, their jobs are there, and their kid's friends are there. Americans rebuild and come back stronger than before. Shall we abandon the coasts in the Gulf and Atlantic? Shall we flee from California's earthquakes? Like Scott Lincoln said, it can happen anywhere anytime, and to live in fear is no freedom. Shall we flee Alabama/Arkansas/Missouri/Kansas/Oklahoma etc. where tragic tornado events have happened with regularity? No way, in America we overcome.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
609. Patrap
3:31 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
608. Torito
3:30 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
One watch appeared and then suddenly half of TX turned red.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
607. Patrap
3:30 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
This is a quick view of the initial counties (WOU) product for WW 0201
Full watch page will be available shortly. Please check back soon.

WOUS64 KWNS 211523
WOU1

BULLETIN - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
TORNADO WATCH OUTLINE UPDATE FOR WT 201
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1025 AM CDT TUE MAY 21 2013

TORNADO WATCH 201 IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 700 PM CDT FOR THE
FOLLOWING LOCATIONS

OKC013-023-085-095-220000-
/O.NEW.KWNS.TO.A.0201.130521T1525Z-130522T0000Z/

OK
. OKLAHOMA COUNTIES INCLUDED ARE

BRYAN CHOCTAW LOVE
MARSHALL


TXC001-009-023-027-035-049-059-077-083-085-093-095 -097-099-113-
119-121-133-139-143-145-147-161-181-193-207-213-21 7-221-223-231-
237-251-253-257-267-277-281-289-293-307-309-319-32 7-331-333-337-
349-363-367-379-395-397-399-411-417-425-429-439-44 1-447-467-497-
503-220000-
/O.NEW.KWNS.TO.A.0201.130521T1525Z-130522T0000Z/

TX
. TEXAS COUNTIES INCLUDED ARE

ANDERSON ARCHER BAYLOR
BELL BOSQUE BROWN
CALLAHAN CLAY COLEMAN
COLLIN COMANCHE CONCHO
COOKE CORYELL DALLAS
DELTA DENTON EASTLAND
ELLIS ERATH FALLS
FANNIN FREESTONE GRAYSON
HAMILTON HASKELL HENDERSON
HILL HOOD HOPKINS
HUNT JACK JOHNSON
JONES KAUFMAN KIMBLE
LAMAR LAMPASAS LEON
LIMESTONE MASON MCCULLOCH
MCLENNAN MENARD MILAM
MILLS MONTAGUE NAVARRO
PALO PINTO PARKER RAINS
ROBERTSON ROCKWALL RUNNELS
SAN SABA SHACKELFORD SOMERVELL
STEPHENS TARRANT TAYLOR
THROCKMORTON VAN ZANDT WISE
YOUNG
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
606. Torito
3:29 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
The National Weather Service has issued Tornado Watch 201 in
effect until 7 PM CDT this evening for the following areas

In Texas this watch includes 15 counties

In west central Texas

Brown Callahan Coleman
Concho Haskell Jones
Kimble Mason McCulloch
Menard Runnels San Saba
Shackelford Taylor Throckmorton

This includes the cities of... Abilene... Albany... Anson... Baird...
Ballinger... Brady... Brownwood... Coleman... Cross Plains... Eden...
Hamlin... Haskell... Junction... Mason... Menard... Paint Rock...
San Saba... Stamford... Throckmorton... Winters and Woodson.


Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
605. Patrap
3:29 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
The Getting It Right Conference

Conference Agenda


AGENDA

Monday, June 3, 2013

4:00pm 6:30pm Registration

6:30pm 6:40pm - Welcome, Overview & Conference Expectations, Paul Timmons, Executive Director, Portlight Strategies, Inc.

6:40pm 7:40pm- Dinner (Provided)

7:40pm:8:30pm- Dr. Jeff Masters, Chief Meteorologist, Weather Underground

Dr. Masters co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. He'll discuss current weather and environmental trends, and why we can expect to see more storms like Sandy



..click the link for full Schedule
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
604. Torito
3:28 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
The National Weather Service has issued Tornado Watch 201 in
effect until 7 PM CDT this evening for the following areas

In Oklahoma this watch includes 3 counties

In southeast Oklahoma

Bryan Marshall

In southern Oklahoma

Love

In Texas this watch includes 3 counties

In northern Texas

Archer Baylor Clay

This includes the cities of... Archer City... Durant... Henrietta...
Madill... Marietta and Seymour.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
603. BahaHurican
3:28 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Something I have been speculating about to myself is whether there is something about the geography / topography of that part of OK that lends itself to numerous high velocity tornadoes. However, I don't have any statistical data on # of tornadoes and EF4-EF5 tornadoes that have affected the area.

Is it possible that the "lay of the land" could contribute to torque potential?
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
602. GOLSUTIGERS
3:28 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
Quoting ScottLincoln:

Watch it. Both your assertions and rudeness.
And I suggest you come up with actual risk statistics to back up your forcefully certain comment.

Social scientists and meteorologists study these kinds of issues for years to come up with the recommendations that they do. A tornado that kills kids in a school doesn't necessarily change the risk, nor does it provide us with an alternative with which to objectively compare, because we do not know where those kids would have been instead of at the school.


Please read comment 564.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
601. Patrap
3:27 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
GETTING IT RIGHT: SHELTER & TRANSPORTATION ACCESSIBILITY FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Portlight Strategies, Inc. in partnership w/ Brain Dance & Weather Underground is pleased to announce: The Getting It Right Conference: Shelter & Transportation Accessibility for People with Disabilities. We will bring together the disability community with community first responders to dispel false information & facilitate discussion of the real needs of the community with respect to evacuation and sheltering; draw upon the recent, first-hand experience of people with disabilities, & disaster responders, to define the issues we face, & launch a collaborative effort to address them proactively; focus on simple, easily executable solutions for evacuation transportation & short-term shelter for all people with disabilities, addressing issues of mobility, communication, & cognition; and identify key points to address in planning guidelines & training materials, to be compiled after the conference & incorporated with our TRUE Shelter preparedness program. ??[www.portlight.org/conference]
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:

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Category 6™

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Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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