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Major tornado outbreak expected today

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 1:26 PM GMT on April 06, 2006

Another major severe weather outbreak is predicted for today across the central U.S. The Storm Prediction Center has just increased the risk of severe weather to the highest category across eastern Kansas and neighboring regions of Missouri and Nebraska. An extrememly potent mix of warm, moist Gulf of Mexico air, a very strong jet stream, and an intrusion of dry air at mid levels of the atmosphere is expected to trigger another major tornado outbreak over the next two days that may rival the two previous outbreaks this year for number of tornadoes. More strong F3 tornadoes are expected today, along with baseball-sized hail and damaging thunderstorm winds. Tomorrow, the action moves into Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia, as the storm system responsible tracks slowly eastward.


Figure 1.Severe weather outlook for today.

The April 2-3 tornado outbreak
According to NOAA, the 68 tornado reports and 26 tornado deaths Sunday in eight states brought the totals for the year to 355 tornadoes and 38 deaths. Sunday's storms also caused two wind-related deaths and approximately 196 injuries. This is the highest total number of reports for the first three months of the year since 1999 and is a sharp contrast to last year when only 96 tornado reports and five deaths occurred by April 3. The number of deaths to date is the highest since 1998. So far, NWS damage surveys have confirmed five F3 tornadoes from the April 2-3 outbreak.

I'll be back tomorrow with a discussion of why this year's severe weather season has been so bad.

Jeff Masters
AFTER THE STORM
AFTER THE STORM
Killer Supercell
Killer Supercell
Many of you no doubt saw on the news the devastation wreaked by a supercell thunderstorm that spawned in Arkansas and then moved into Tennessee near Memphis unleashing tornados, levelng towns and killing several people. This storm formed to the east of us here in Russellville and by that time, we had entered the dry clear air behind the front. I was out and about and saw above Crow Mountain, the top of the supercell. Then, it was about halfway between Little Rock and Memphis TN, so I was viewing it from nearly 150 miles away. The supercell blew up high enough that its anvil top was clearly illuminated by the setting sun as it flattened out on reaching the lower stratosphere. This was an awesome storm that lit up our eastern horizon with lightning (but no thunder) well into the night, as it went about the tragic business of killing Tennesseeans.

Tornado

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

Awesome Photos!!

1st
Best photo I've seen of a tornado has to be the 1979 Wichita Falls, TX tornado - the photos taken from across Lake Wichita...
The SPC may as well circled my house. Living in KC, the local folks here are sufficiently concerned. I think this is one of the highest amplitude Lows I have seen...

Its kinda wierd when the word Dryline becomes the new buzz word amongst my friends that don't follow weather. That is when you know it has been WAY to active WAY to often.

Hang on tight everyone!

...clicks his heels....
Thanks for the information. Will need to keep an eye on these storms over next few days.

nice pictures

btw wo cares who post first you guys are dumb because the professor post always as first
sayuh, Fox-4 is saying that this will be one of those days where you either get nothing, or get hammered by a big storm...which sounds about right. when we had the may 4 2003 outbreak it barely rained at my house...same as on march 12 2006.
Looks like we're going to ahve some interesting weather here in Lawrence, KS today. I have the digital camera ready to go.

Perhaps..but with the moisture, lift, helocity, CAPE and the amplitude of the Low, I think that there is the opportunity for several shots at the KC area/vicinity. All out breaks are generally hit/miss..and it seems in the KC area, its normally Northtown-Liberty or the Warrensburg-Sedalia track that the storms seem to take. I remember the 5/4 outbreak, and yeah..I just got a bit of thunder..that was it...but KC definitely was affected as a whole. 3/12, I got some wind and hail..but only 40-50/pea. We shall see, but more than the normal storms..I don't like the amplitude of the low and its location.
Look out, weatherwannabe..seems like Lawrence always gets hit..even on clear days! LOL
I already have some severe thunderstorm warnings around my area. Link
Here is the part of the SPC discussion I am most concerned about...

SOUNDINGS CONTINUE TO SUPPORT VERY LARGE AND DAMAGING HAIL WITH SOME HAIL STONES EXCEEDING 3-4 INCHES IN DIAMETER. SUPERCELLS ARE ALSO EXPECTED TO BECOME TORNADIC...ESPECIALLY INTO NERN KS/FAR SERN NEB/NWRN MO WHERE STRONG PRESSURE FALLS AND BACKED SURFACE WINDS WILL ENHANCE LOW LEVEL HELICITIES AND LCLS REMAIN MORE FAVORABLE ESE OF THE LOW CENTER
Michael, where exactly do you live in relation to St. Louis?
I live right to the south of St. Louis on the map; my zipcode is 63129 (Wunderground radar marks your location; you can see this on my blog).
Ok thanks Michael.
That didnt work out right..I was looking at the tornado composite on the left side.
The NWS has placed my county under a severe thunderstorm warning:

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ST LOUIS MO
1034 AM CDT THU APR 6 2006

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN ST LOUIS HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
ST. CHARLES COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL MISSOURI
ST. LOUIS COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL MISSOURI

* UNTIL 1145 AM CDT

* AT 1033 AM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING PENNY SIZE HAIL. THIS STORM WAS LOCATED NEAR NEW MELLE...OR ABOUT 10 MILES SOUTHWEST OF DARDENNE PRAIRIE...AND MOVING EAST AT 30 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
DEFIANCE...
WELDON SPRING...
MARYLAND HEIGHTS...
ST. ANN...
BRIDGETON...
WOODSON TERRACE...
ST. JOHN...
OVERLAND...
HAZELWOOD...
FERGUSON...

SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS PRODUCE DAMAGING WIND IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH...DESTRUCTIVE HAIL...DEADLY LIGHTNING...AND VERY HEAVY RAIN. FOR YOUR PROTECTION MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS. HEAVY RAINS FLOOD ROADS QUICKLY SO DO NOT DRIVE INTO AREAS WHERE WATER COVERS THE ROAD.
Here in N Texas, the dew points are holding steady at this hour with stiff southerly wind and scattered storms. We're expecting some lift as the DL passes around 3-5pm, but current convection may slow daytime heating and limit the severe potential here. I think any storms that fire along and ahead of the DL will quickly go severe and pulse down due to lack of warmer air on the inflow side.

I see a strong potential further north for tornadic supercells, especially from Mcalester OK NE'ward into MO and Northern AR, similar to last weeks event.

From a chase perspective, I'm think I'll head up 75/69 across the Red River and see what happens. Storm's will be too fast to chase so I'll have to be in the right place when the line moves thru.
Yep looks like I'm right in the center of the high risk area. Yippee :(
Michael - New Mesoscale Discussion for you.
Link
Wicked CAPE and Lift on the Skew T 2100 UTC forecast for KC. Curious to when the cap will break.

SkewT
Forecasts on our local NBC affiliate predicted storm late tonight, and early Friday, both with a possibility of being intense. The maps don't seem to indicate any of it coming my way,yet. I live about 15 miles west of Milwaukee. Co-workers said varying times for the storm to hit - 2pm, 6pm, 11pm. Brought my umbrella into the office in case the 2:00 doomsayer is right - I just want it to hold until I get back from buying groceries tonight.
that didnt turn out right..but you get point..sorry
A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for parts of Missouri until 6:00 PM CDT.
High risk for tomorrow also.
DENNIS, KATRINA, RITA, STAN AND WILMA "RETIRED" FROM LIST OF STORM NAMES
International Committee Selects Replacement Names for 2011 List
Why isn't Emily on that list?
There's another record for 2005~ most retired hurricane names in a season.

I wondered why Stan wasn't on NOAA's sweet graphic heading the story

Just cause it didn't hit US?
Emily has become one of the rarest types of cat-5 hurricanes, becoming 1 of only 3 or 4 storms to achieve cat-5 intensity, and not have it's name retired.
From Wikipedia~
Storm names are retired following a request made at the March or April WMO meeting by one or more of the countries affected by a hurricane. While no request for retirement has ever been turned down, some storms such as Hurricane Gordon caused a great deal of death and destruction but nonetheless were not retired as the main country affected did not request retirement.

Perhaps there were no requests? Also with $550 million damage & 6 direct deaths it's borderline for making the list. There has been the exceptions through the years like Juan~ cat2, $210 million & 2 fatalities but from the historical signifigance factor it hit Nova Scotia as a Cat 2, Prince Edward Island as a cat 1 & Quebec as a TS.
Juan was one of the most, if not the most destructive hurricane in Canadian history.

If historical signifigance has anything to do with retiring names then Vince should be retired as well.
Vince was only a tropical depression at landfall.
It's a combination of all the factors & seems ultimately up the the countrys affected to request the retirement.
I know that. I am not, in any way suggesting that I think they should have retired Vince.

I am simply saying that if historical signifigance is a factor, then Vince should be retired, do to the fact that it is the first tropical cyclone known to make landfall in Spain.

Obviously, if you retire storms based strictly on damage, and/or deaths, the name Vince should not be retired.
Also, consider how often Vince could be used as a name; statistically, the chances are against another megaseason in 2011. (I sure hope I'm right!) It has been a long time since we used a V name in the north atlantic. Vince will probably live on in the records unchallenged for a long time.
Vince was actually the first time the V name was used (they didn't name storms in 1933).
I have been reading all your comments... Realizing just how stupid I am when it comes to the WEATHER!! Everything you all have to say is very interesting to me. I am in central IL, and we are currently getting thunder, lightenting & rain.
how do you pronounce Katia? Cat-e-ah?
Not sure 100%, but thats how I said it, RL3AO.
I think it might be Kay-shuh.
i have updated my blog
The SPC has extended the High Risk area into parts of Oklahoma and Arkansas.
new Mesoscale Outlook involving NE Nebraska and West-Central Iowa

MS 442
Here is a visible image showing the first storms blowing up across Kansas and Oklahoma.

Mesoscale Discussion involving WW 153 in Arkansas

MD 143
Osage County in Oklahoma is now under a tornado warning.
First tornado warning of the day has been issued:

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TULSA OK
344 PM CDT THU APR 6 2006

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TULSA HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
OSAGE COUNTY IN NORTHEAST OKLAHOMA

* UNTIL 430 PM CDT

* AT 341 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO 16 MILES WEST OF
HOMINY...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 55 MPH.

* SOME LOCATIONS NEAR THE PATH OF THIS STORM INCLUDE...HOMINY...
WYNONA...PAWHUSKA...BARNSDALL...OKESA...BIGHEART AND HULAH.

IF YOU ARE NEAR THE PATH OF THIS STORM...TAKE COVER NOW! IF NO
UNDERGROUND SHELTER IS AVAILABLE MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE
LOWEST FLOOR. MOBILE HOMES AND VEHICLES SHOULD BE ABANDONED FOR MORE
SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER. AVOID WINDOWS!
First tornado of the day has been reported:

SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TULSA OK
401 PM CDT THU APR 6 2006

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 430 PM CDT FOR OSAGE
COUNTY...

AT 358 PM CDT...WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR AND STORM SPOTTERS
CONTINUED TO TRACK A POTENTIALLY TORNADIC STORM LOCATED 9 MILES
WEST OF WYNONA...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 50 MPH. A TORNADO HAS BEEN
REPORTED APPROXIMATELY 4 MILES EAST OF RALSTON...TAKE COVER NOW!

SOME LOCATIONS NEAR THE PATH OF THIS STORM INCLUDE...WYNONA...
PERSHING...PAWHUSKA...NELAGONEY...BARNSDALL...TALLANT...WOLCO...
OKESA...BIGHEART AND HULAH.

A TORNADO IS ON THE GROUND! IF YOU ARE NEAR THE PATH OF THIS
TORNADO...TAKE COVER NOW!

IF NO UNDERGROUND SHELTER IS AVAILABLE MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON
THE LOWEST FLOOR. MOBILE HOMES AND VEHICLES SHOULD BE ABANDONED FOR
MORE SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER. AVOID WINDOWS!
That is a great picture of after the storm. I took a long look at it. I hope there are no fatalities.
Some of the warnings are actually saying that the storms are producing hurricane force winds:

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NORTH PLATTE NE
509 PM CDT THU APR 6 2006

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NORTH PLATTE HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
WHEELER COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL NEBRASKA

* UNTIL 600 PM CDT

* AT 506 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING QUARTER SIZE HAIL...AND
DESTRUCTIVE HURRICANE FORCE WINDS IN EXCESS OF 80 MPH. SIREN
ACTIVATION IS SUGGESTED. THIS STORM WAS LOCATED 9 MILES SOUTHEAST
OF HIGHWAY 281 MILE MARKER 135...OR ABOUT 22 MILES WEST OF
ALBION...AND MOVING NORTHWEST AT 35 MPH.

* THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WILL BE NEAR...
HIGHWAY 281 MILE MARKER 135 BY 520 PM CDT
HIGHWAY 281 MILE MARKER 140...BARTLETT AND ERICSON BY 525 PM CDT
8 MILES SOUTHWEST OF HIGHWAY 281 MILE MARKER 145 BY 530 PM CDT

DOPPLER RADAR HAS INDICATED SOME WEAK ROTATION WITHIN THIS STORM.
WHILE NOT IMMEDIATELY LIKELY...A TORNADO MAY STILL DEVELOP. IF A
TORNADO IS SPOTTED...ACT QUICKLY AND MOVE TO A PLACE OF SAFETY IN A
STURDY STRUCTURE...SUCH AS A BASEMENT OR SMALL INTERIOR ROOM.
If anyone questions the power of 80 mph winds check this out.
buster~ that'd most likely due to the gulf stream. It's not uncommon for it to produce clouds & showers in odd lines like that. We got a stong wind form the SE today, you can see it being pulled toward FL. Notice the similiar lines along the gulf steam loops of Jax, SC & the GOM. There were showers out there day before yesterday from it, when the winds, temps & dewpoints are right, they form showers out there in the middle of the night & give East central Fl 5-6am showers.
82 mph winds have been measured in Kansas:

2223 82 2 SE MANHATTAN RILEY KS 3916 9654 (TOP)

Also, there are now 15 tornado reports and almost 100 hail reports. Storm Reports
Anybody think Western, specifically NW Ohio will get any severe stuff tonite/tomorrow?
I don't think there is a great chance of severe weather in Ohio. However, I certainly would not rule out the possibility.
KC is spared again. I am glad, but puzzled how this happened. Everything was set up, or so it seemed...guess this is why this isn't an exact science. In the high risk, and will escape without not one rain drop. I feel for those impacted, and urge them to move to KC..it seems to have a weather barrier surrounding it.
is there a round 3 of sever weather comeing
What is causing this strange thin line of clouds from just North of Ft Lauderdale to the South East towards the Bahamas?? WEIRD LOOKING!! They are moveing to the N.W..


Very common here in Florida as Skye mentioned. Just to add. Most likely do to a convergence zone that setup, which happens alot with strong E or SE flow like we had today. E winds meeting SE or S winds right along the coast, this will create an area of convergence and produce clouds and showers. But as you can see, not much today, as it has been a fairly dry air mass over us for the last few days.
Posted By: sayhuh at 12:32 AM GMT on April 07, 2006.

KC is spared again. I feel for those impacted, and urge them to move to KC..it seems to have a weather barrier surrounding it.

Despite your luck so far, I can assure you that there is no "weather barrier" surrounding Kansas City, or any other city for that matter.
I think that today was overhyped - there were far more reports during the last outbreak (70+ tornadoes and 1,000+ reports, April 2-3). We will have to see about tomorrow though.
I don't think today was overhyped, based on the information they had. It did look like there would be a signifigant severe weather outbreak today.

This time it did not turn out to be that bad, and we were very fortunate. It is days like this that make obvious, the need for more research into how our weather works.
Also, I really thought that there should have been a high risk during the last outbreak of severe weather. I checked the SPC website several times expecting them to upgrade the moderate risk to a high risk, and they never did.
Yes, I had a 60% chance of severe hail, 10% chance of tornadoes (both significant as well), and a 45% chance of winds (this is the archived outlook).
We still have to get through tomorrow though...and more severe weather is expected...
Also remember the last outbreak hit much more populated areas.
That is correct. All it takes is one tornado in a populated area for devastation.
That's really odd, I've never known a system on this scale to just sit there.