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Major severe weather outbreak possible today

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 2:25 PM GMT on May 10, 2006

A relative lull in the Spring severe weather season is over, as killer tornadoes have once again struck the southern U.S. At least three people were killed and ten injured last night when a tornado swept through Winchester and Anna, Texas, an area about 45 miles northeast of Dallas. The tornado struck at about 10:30 pm local time, and was part of an intense squall line that you can see in this radar animation. Tornadoes have also touched down in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, and Alabama in the past 24 hours, as you can see from our Storm Report Map.

Figure 1. The Storm Prediction Center is forecasting a moderate risk of a major severe weather outbreak today across the lower Misssissippi Valley and central Gulf states, and northward across portions of the Tennessee Valley.

The significant severe weather event is expected to continue today across the lower Misssissippi Valley and central Gulf states, and northward across portions of the Tennessee Valley today. Strong tornadoes of up to F3 intensity, plus thunderstorms with damaging winds and very large hail are possible prior to the passage of a strong cold front today across the region. Flooding is also a concern in Missouri and Arkansas, where drought had been a major concern until recently.

My next blog will be Thursday.
Jeff Masters
This is a picture of a storm that is currently producing a large tornado over Northern Collin County in N. Central Texas. So far we know that the tornado that this storm produced has taken the lives of 3 people. SEE my other series of pic from May 10th entitled AFTERMATH for storm damage pictures.
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Flash Flooding Downtown Conway
Flash Flooding Downtown Conway
Taken from my apartment balcony. We had severe flash flooding after 2 inches of rain in less than an hour.


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

1st post I rule (LOL)

Seriously more good info from the good Doc
It is Westminister, TX, not Winchester. The dead were in Westminister.
Chanchu is looking excellent, and it seems that Hong Kong is in for trouble!

Did anyone see how many High and Low preasue areas are over the us. Its insane. Just takeing a look at that it looks like there should be wide spreed thunderstroms for most of the mid west today.
Last time I checked, Chanchu had winds of 61 kts. Will become a typhoon.(my prediction) The northern part of a line of t-storms died out before Atlanta. I'm watching what is behind in northern MS. Where I'm at, I would like to see some rain.
rain with no tornadoes
1200GMT estimate is 980mb and 60Kts

just reporting in guys the sheer has not slacked up yet and i would still be looking for and early hurricane season by may 23...something will form in the bay of campeche or the nw caribbean you can bet on it..the temps are entirely to hot down there right now and with la nina still hanging on i wouldnt be surpised to see the sheer slack up very soon..so get ready guys for another active hurricane season...remeber start watching the tropics closely on may 23...this has been a special release from the SNWS OOO1149
I would not be surprised if a high risk is issued for most of Mississippi and Alabama.

Here is the tornado threat,

the hail threat,

and the wind threat.
they already have issued Severe T'storm watches in MS and AL...so I don't think the SPC will bother upgrading the area to "high risk"...
rwdobson, "high risk" areas do not reffer to the risk of a watch or warning being issued. They reffer to a high risk of severe weather overall.
Lightning -
My local TV forecasters were talking rain, with possible thunderboomies late evening to late night in S.E. Wisconsin. Given the intracies of predicting with being on a Great Lake, I tend to rely on my local meteorologists for my hour by hour forecasts. That, and that they have a full array of radar, doppler, et al. I tend to be fairly parochial when it comes to close range forecasting. I rely on national services (like wonderful Weather Underground) to keep an eye on national, and international weather.
STORMTOP, the shear over the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico is forecast to become much lower during the 10-15 day time frame. I expect the sub-tropical westerlies will begin to completely collapse in a week.
Stormtop, while you may be right, I doubt that a viable wave will be available. I'd say W Carib for our first TD.
Colby, there are possible waves forecasted to enter the Caribbean in 10-15 days. Some model runs have even had tropical storms hitting Florida and wild stuff like that.
Yeah guys and get ready for stormtop to predict everything that blows up in the atlantic, caribbean, and gulf to attain cat 5 status and hit SE LA
As the carribean and gulf heat up sooner, I'd expect more activity unrelated to african waves earlier in the season. Not saying it will happen this year, but just saying.
Levi, as I recall, one model run turned Epsilon into a Cat 4 as it entered the eastern Caribbean. Such things do flip-flop a lot. Also note that I said not likely about the BOC, where waves probably will not be. Certainly activity independant from waves will happen, but usually it does not so early in the year.
Levi32>Some model runs have even had tropical storms hitting Florida and wild stuff like that

Where did you see that? I ran gfs and nogaps and no such luck in finding that model run?
my blg is update david
wind & hail so far~

TATE MS ~ 1" hail

Ya'll see the hail storm on Violent Planet on PBS lastnight?
Looks like Cape Verde's getting ready to start spewing out some tropical waves, eh?

Also, check this out:

Looks like something forming on May 12th (12th hour)

It does not look like a tropical storm will form. Link (look for a symmetric warm-core system).
Whirlwind~ a few days ago the long outlook gfs had like a TS hitting central fl from the west side. So far out you know it couldn't come true & with the fires in the muck here it would be too good to be true.

Just checked it out, it's back, toward the end of the forecast range looking like a raggid TD, yesterday it wasn't there, so it still lacks consistancy
So strange watching the tropical systems moving eastward on the models this time of year.
We now have Typhoon Chanchu in the WPAC. 75kt/967mb says JTWC...my question is, why? Looks like maybe 45-50kt to me on the IR, and no more than ~ 65 on the microwave. Oh well.

The CIMSS AODT estimates are even higher, it puts it at 85 kts/970 mb.
today's hail record so far~ 2 3/4" ~2 S DELHI RICHLAND LA BASEBALL SIZE HAIL SOUTH OF DELHI, LA (JAN)

Softball/grapefruit size hail was reported:

2055 400 4 SW STERLINGTON OUACHITA LA 3265 9211 (SHV)

400 = 4 inches.
Wow, softball size hail!

Having never seen such, I gotta ask -- is it ice-hard like some of the the little hail I've seen, or more like a slush-ball?

If the former, I would think that would be lethal, not to mention capable of smashing windshields and pounding cars and house roofs to pieces.
The eastern has a 1008Mb tropical low right now. It around 10N 88W
In fact, even larger hail (4.5 inches) was reported yesterday:


Today's Storm Reports
Yesterday's Storm Reports
The Lucky Taco Blizzard,

Is that You David??? :0) and you like me that much to use me in you handle>>>Wow I like it...:0)

Could someone point me to a good link that would explain the "Hook" that is frequently mention when people "see" a tornado on radar.

Here is a descrpition of a hook echo, along with a picture.
taco2me61 mail for you
I was looking at the long range GFS models that Skepony provided and it sure shows South Florida getting smacked by several storms. I know that longe range models are usually wrong...but still very interesting! anyone else agree?
JTWC has slowed Chanchu down and brought it further north. Watch out Hong Kong!

This does not look like a 75 kt storm:

Nope, it sure doesn't, but it looks like a very healthy and intensifying tropical storm.

It does look like a pretty healthy tropical storm, but it also looks like it is fighting off some shear from the north-northwest.

New Vis Pic
Well lets take a look at the shear then. There is only 10 knots of it over Chanchu, and it is from the NE, not the NNW.

It does show that it is from the NE, however, it appears to me that much off the upper level clouds are being blown to the S-SW.
If shear is from the northeast, clouds should be blown to the southwest.
By the way, about the GFS forecasting tropical storms in Florida, the last three runs all have 2 or 3 storms in the western Caribbean and gulf, at roughly the same time and place. The only weird part is that at the same time that the first 2 form and move into Florida, the GFS forecasts 30-40 knots of shear above them. ??

Models do funny things some times. However, the GFS is still consistently forecasting low shear to develop over the entire Caribbean and parts of the Atlantic. Tropical waves are forecast to enter that area, so the model might not be far wrong.
Typo, I meant are being blown to the S-SE.
And look at the <5 knots of shear northwest of the Philippines. If that area hold its location, then Chanchu will walk right into it.
Myles, think of it this way. Lets assume that Chanchu is only a tropical storm after all. In that case, this pattern of convection is quite normal and actually shows intensification. That convection to the SSE should wrap around the center with time as the storm strengthens.
: Levi32 have you update your blog yet?
Latest microwave image just in:

No David I will update tomorrow if I get time.
It looks like there are two banda, one to the southwest and another that curves around to the southeast. Also, notice how clouds are being blown mainly to the southwest, which is consistent with northeasterly shear.
Dry air might be the problem. The microwave shows almost no solid convection to the NW of the center. It looks like a pocket of dry air has smashed the NW side of the storm. That might make some sense when you look at this water vapor image. There is an area of fairly dry air between the large outside spiral band and the center.

This is just my opinion Michael, but this just doesn't look like a sheared storm to me.
It is definately dry air, just look at the break off of convection north of the storm until the outside band. If that doesn't look like dry air intrusion, I don't know what does.
Chanchu definetly isn't too healthy ATM. But consider that the shear over it is being produced by an anticyclone - that Chanchu is going to move under. Remember what happens then?
Heh - now THIS is cold-core.

One word: Katrina
where is that map tell you that like is it for us like FL and is it like for MX
Heh - now THIS is cold-core.

Watch out Antartica!!!
A cold core Category 3 hurricane?

It shows a pressure of 960 mb at landfall and the indicated pressure is more accurate for extratropical systems (usually underestimated for tropical systems, such as 990 mb for a sub-900 mb storm).
I see we are up to 13 tornado reports now. One hit a meat packing plant.

Good bit of wind ~ the top of a water tower blew off, trees fell & power failed.

Lotta hail~ the softball is huge & nothing soft about it... Back to that PBS show lastnight & their clip on heavy hail. They showed how frogs, insects, fish, baby turtles were sucked up & huge hail would form around them. With the creatures or objects frozen in the center. They said it once happened with 3 people that were handgliding I think. Well they hit the storm & were forced to bail their aircraft, deploying their parashoots on the way down. They didn't go down through, the storm sucked them up & began covering their body's with ice, making them human hail. Somehow one survived, the other two died, frozen, covered in ice.
That's one hailacious story Skyepony!!
LuckyTacoBlizzard...read your post seven times. Now when I close my eyes, they dart around and tickle my eyelids, and I can't get it to stop.
Good morning all. Still looking for good storm video and links for the site. Ya'll stop by and leave any feedback you have in my blog. I am continuing to update the site daily withmore links. Added several new model links last night.


Shear has slacked off a little, but still too high for anything to form right now. Should not be too long before the shear dies down a little more.

Still at 75 kts, JWTC is changing the track every advisory. It's got some decent covection now.

Skyepony wrote:

"They said it once happened with 3 people that were handgliding I think. Well they hit the storm & were forced to bail their aircraft, deploying their parashoots on the way down. They didn't go down through, the storm sucked them up & began covering their body's with ice, making them human hail. Somehow one survived, the other two died, frozen, covered in ice."

Happened to some German glider pilots back in the 1930s. Two gliders got caught up in a thunderstorm and the pilots had to bail out. One of them made it. The other was sucked into the powerful updraft in the center of the storm and covered with heavy layers of ice. He became a human hailstone and fell 7 miles to his death. What a crappy way to die.
Here is one of the coolest and funniest things I have seen in awhile...

Wonder if you could file a claim for insurance for bat damage? LOL
Holy supercells, Batman!