WunderBlog Archive » Category 6™

Category 6 has moved! See the latest from Dr. Jeff Masters and Bob Henson here.

Tornadoes, Record Downpours Possible This Weekend Over Parts of Plains

By: Bob Henson 4:50 PM GMT on December 11, 2015

Residents of Oklahoma and Texas may need to watch the skies en route to holiday shopping or partying on Saturday, as a severe weather outbreak is possible. A powerful upper-level jet stream bearing winds of more than 170 mph (see Figure 1) is slamming into the West Coast this morning and will carve out a sharp trough over the Southern Plains on Saturday. Very warm air is already in place--record or near-record highs in the upper 70s and low 80s are expected on Friday over western Oklahoma and Texas--and the approaching trough will lead to a rapid return of rich Gulf moisture by Saturday. In its Day 2 forecast issued Friday morning, NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center called for a a slight risk of severe weather on Saturday (see Figure 1). Instability could be meager if thick clouds end up cutting back on sunshine. Yet even the modestly unstable air typical of this time of year can be enough for tornadic storms when a potent upper-level storm brings strong vertical wind shear, which helps foster thunderstorm rotation.

Even if tornadic supercells fail to develop, a nighttime squall line with heavy rain and high wind is a fairly good bet. This is already the wettest year on record for Dallas-Fort Worth, where only 1.22” is needed to reach the 60-inch mark. Values of precipitable water (the amount of water vapor available in the atmosphere) may set record highs for December from the Southern Plains into the Midwest. Rains of 2” - 4” or more will be widespread toward Arkansas and Louisiana by Sunday as the squall line sweeps east. A second focus of very heavy rain (2” or more) will extend from Iowa into Wisconsin, where downpours are rare in December. Some locations in the Midwest could rack up monthly records for their heaviest 1- or 2-day rains. However, SPC is only predicting a marginal risk of severe weather on Sunday due to extensive cloudiness and rain-cooled air.


Figure 1. The Day 2 convective outlook produced by NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center, issued at 0555Z Friday, December 11, 2015 (11:55 pm CST Thursday), and valid on Saturday.


Figure 2. WunderMap depiction of wind speeds (in knots) at 200 mb (about 30,000 feet) predicted by the 06Z Friday run of the GFS model for 6 pm CST Saturday evening, December 12, 2015.


Figure 3. Rainfall projected from 12Z (6:00 am CDT) Friday, December 11, 2015, through 12Z Monday, December 14. Image credit: NWS Weather Prediction Center.

Oklahoma’s history of holiday twisters
A surprising number of tornadoes have targeted Oklahoma during the final month of the year. For the official period of record, starting in 1950, the state has seen a total of 25 tornadoes during December. The most injurious of the bunch was on December 5, 1975, when 38 people were hurt by an F3 tornado that caused extensive damage in northeast Tulsa. (Here’s a Tulsa World gallery with some excellent archival photos.) On Christmas Eve morning of 1982, a pair of twisters injured 17 people, again in the Tulsa area, and on New Year’s Eve 2010, a tornado ripped across a 21-mile path from northeast Oklahoma into northwest Arkansas.

Rare December tornado hits the Columbia Valley of Washington
The upper-level storm heading for Oklahoma has already led to some tornadic trouble. Three dozen homes were damaged late Thursday morning by an EF1 tornado that moved through the Washington town of Battle Ground, just north of the Columbia River, with winds topping 100 mph. Washington and Oregon each average a couple of tornadoes per year, scattered across the calendar. Nearly all are rated F/EF0 or F/EF1 on the Fujita scale. According to the Tornado History Project, the Battle Ground twister was the state’s fifth on record for the month of December since 1950. No serious injuries or fatalities were reported, which keeps the nation on track for what could be its lowest annual tornado death toll in at least 141 years.

Coming soon: the latest science from AGU and the outcome from Paris
Jeff Masters and I will be covering the American Geophysical Union’s 48th Fall Meeting in San Francisco next week. We’ll also report on the landmark global climate agreement that’s expected to be finalized late Friday or Saturday in Paris. The Guardian’s live blog is producing hour-by-hour live-blog coverage of the negotiations and related protests.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Bob Henson




Severe Weather Tornado Extreme Weather

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

Quoting 494. CybrTeddy:

Looks like New England and the Mid-Atlantic states are going to get a taste of what Christmas is like in Florida.




Water temps are in the low to mid 50s on the coast of NY and NJ. Not swimming temps but could wade in a bit. Water that warm might make snowstorms difficult if it gets cold later this winter.
RitaEvac- I will gladly trade you some peanut butter fudge for some cooler temps.
Quoting 499. TheBigBanana:

How high up are you?


elevation is 3325 feet
Quoting 494. CybrTeddy:

Looks like New England and the Mid-Atlantic states are going to get a taste of what Christmas is like in Florida.




It's gross. Take it back.
505. MahFL
10,000 power outages in UT now.
Quoting 503. HurricaneHunterJoe:



elevation is 3325 feet
Do you get heavy snow sometimes?
And Buffalo NY is now 68.
7 Day for Fort Myers. At least we're getting back to temperatures near normal towards the end of the period.

The current Conus look: Old Man Winter finally on the move in earnest for parts of the West and Upper Mid-West of the US...................
Graphic Forecast of Temperatures Across the US from the National Digital Forecast Database




Top ten Decembers at DCA (lowest is warmest).



1998 44.4
1990 44.5
1923 45.0
2011 45.0
2012 45.4
1971 45.5
1982 45.5
2001 45.5
1889 45.6
1984 45.6

12/1-12/13 2015 49.1
Quoting 487. HurricaneHunterJoe:

Her name is Josie and she is the best dog I have had the privilege/ pleasure to share life with. Let's hope for good news! Thanks to all!


I am pulling for her. I have had a couple mast cell tumors removed from my older dog the past couple years. He is my avatar and a very good boy.
Quoting 494. CybrTeddy:

Looks like New England and the Mid-Atlantic states are going to get a taste of what Christmas is like in Florida.




This is precedented for DC area. For New England it looks record smashing.
Quoting 506. TheBigBanana:

Do you get heavy snow sometimes?


Most I have had at my place over25 years is 14", usually1-6" is the norm and about 2-3 times a year.
Quoting 511. wartsttocs:



I am pulling for her. I have had a couple mast cell tumors removed from my older dog the past couple years. He is my avatar and a very good boy.


Thanks for the info and well wishes! Let's set them up on a blind date!
Miss Nola Roux and Crew send prayers and Love to your pet.





Quoting 476. aquak9:

My Broccoli is blooming.

Didn't even make it to Solstice.

Worst winter garden ever.


Mine in DC is doing very very well. I'm actually worried about quality degradation though from the combination of warmth and December dimness.


Quoting 506. TheBigBanana:

Do you get heavy snow sometimes?


DC metro is very disappointing many years. However we do get a surprisingly large number of huge (15"+) huge dumps! 1966, 1979, 1983, 1987, 1996, 2003, 2009-10(3)
Quoting 516. georgevandenberghe:
Mine in DC is doing very very well. I'm actually worried about quality degradation though from the combination of warmth and December dimness.
The Pacman and Nutribud bloomed; I was able to gather about five heads before all of them went. The Goliath has not even attempted to make heads yet. What kind are you growing?
Quoting 502. aquak9:

RitaEvac- I will gladly trade you some peanut butter fudge for some cooler temps.


Nahhhh, lol
Quoting 518. Patrap:

NASA

Global Climate Change : Vital signs of the Planet




Heard the climate talk summit was a success. Did everyone agree to everything mostly?
See where Shell is laying off 2,800 workers announced today.
A shout out to my Son, Jr..who turns 23 today.


Pic from August 2005, a week before K Hit.


Quoting 519. aquak9:

The Pacman and Nutribud bloomed; I was able to gather about five heads before all of them went. The Goliath has not even attempted to make heads yet. What kind are you growing?

I grow arcadia ( which I get from Johnnys seed) for cold hardiness in fall. It survives well into winter here. Premium Crop has done well here in late summer but I haven't evaluated it for cold hardiness.
I grow Imperial in Spring for heat tolerance but Goliath and Pakman (from store packs) and Green Comet also do well in spring. I am evaluating Waltham 29 for cold hardiness because it is more widely available than Arcadia and open pollinated also. Imperial is singularly cold sensitive in fall.. don't grow it when you expect freezes during the ripening season. I have not settled on a good spring variety.
.
Quoting 519. aquak9:

The Pacman and Nutribud bloomed; I was able to gather about five heads before all of them went. The Goliath has not even attempted to make heads yet. What kind are you growing?


Try picking the heads and waiting for side shoots. If normal NE FL temperatures return, they
should grow good sideshoots each of which will produce a small head.
12z GFS was a colder run for the southeast and on Christmas Day, also with a storm
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
Quoting 515. Patrap:

Miss Nola Roux and Crew send prayers and Love to your pet.








Thanks Pat
This thing looks like a sledge hammer busting up the ridge further East. Maybe this is what pops the ridge out of the Us the rest of Winter. Could be a change to Winter well see.