Most of the holiday weekend should be dry, but there is a low chance of rain late Sunday night into early Monday morning. The rain should be gone by Monday afternoon with another round of rain coming in early Tuesday morning.
The National Hurricane Center is predicting what they are terming a ‘very active’ hurricane season which could see many more than average named storms. and 3 to 7 of those storms making landfall. You can watch the nicely produced video above or the text is below:
For the six-month hurricane season, which begins June 1, NOAA’s Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook says there is a 70 percent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 7 to 11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).
These ranges are well above the seasonal average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.
“With the devastation of Sandy fresh in our minds, and another active season predicted, everyone at NOAA is committed to providing life-saving forecasts in the face of these storms and ensuring that Americans are prepared and ready ahead of time.” said Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., NOAA acting administrator. “As we saw first-hand with Sandy, it’s important to remember that tropical storm and hurricane impacts are not limited to the coastline. Strong winds, torrential rain, flooding, and tornadoes often threaten inland areas far from where the storm first makes landfall.”
Climate.gov video: NOAA meteorologist Gerry
Bell describes the outlook and the climate
conditions responsible for the jump in Atlantic
hurricane activity beginning in 1995.
Three climate factors that strongly control Atlantic hurricane activity are expected to come together to produce an active or extremely active 2013 hurricane season. These are:
- A continuation of the atmospheric climate pattern, which includes a strong west African monsoon, that is responsible for the ongoing era of high activity for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995;
- Warmer-than-average water temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea; and
- El Niño is not expected to develop and suppress hurricane formation.
“This year, oceanic and atmospheric conditions in the Atlantic basin are expected to produce more and stronger hurricanes,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “These conditions include weaker wind shear, warmer Atlantic waters and conducive winds patterns coming from Africa.”
NOAA’s seasonal hurricane outlook is not a hurricane landfall forecast; it does not predict how many storms will hit land or where a storm will strike. Forecasts for individual storms and their impacts will be provided throughout the season by NOAA’s National Hurricane Center.
New for this hurricane season are improvements to forecast models, data gathering, and the National Hurricane Center communication procedure for post-tropical cyclones. In July, NOAA plans to bring online a new supercomputer that will run an upgraded Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) model that provides significantly enhanced depiction of storm structure and improved storm intensity forecast guidance.
Also this year, Doppler radar data will be transmitted in real time from NOAA’s Hurricane Operations Center Hurricane Hunter aircraft. This will help forecasters better analyze rapidly evolving storm conditions, and these data could further improve the HWRF model forecasts by 10 to 15 percent.
The National Weather Service has also made changes to allow for hurricane warnings to remain in effect, or to be newly issued, for storms like Sandy that have become post-tropical. This flexibility allows forecasters to provide a continuous flow of forecast and warning information for evolving or continuing threats.
“The start of hurricane season is a reminder that our families, businesses and communities need to be ready for the next big storm,” said Joe Nimmich, FEMA associate administrator for Response and Recovery. “Preparedness today can make a big difference down the line, so update your family emergency plan and make sure your emergency kit is stocked. Learn more about how you can prepare for hurricane season at www.ready.gov/hurricanes.”
Next week, May 26 – June 1, is National Hurricane Preparedness Week. To help those living in hurricane-prone areas prepare, NOAA is offering hurricane preparedness tips, along with video and audio public service announcements in both English and Spanish, featuring NOAA hurricane experts and the FEMA administrator at www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare/.
NOAA’s outlook for the Eastern Pacific basin is for a below-normal hurricane season and the Central Pacific basin is also expected to have a below-normal season. NOAA will issue an updated seasonal outlook for the Atlantic hurricane season in early August, just prior to the historical peak of the season.
Additional information can be found on the following web sites:
- Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season Outlook (discussion) www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/outlooks/hurricane.shtml
- El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Diagnostic Discussion, http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_advisory/
- National Hurricane Preparedness Week, http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare/
- FEMA, www.ready.gov
I’ve talked to several people who are concerned that the lack of rain the past two weeks has put us back into a drought situation and has a long term forecast impact for our summer forecast. While we are over 2″ behind for May, which is usually a wet month with an average of almost an inch a week. We are still actually ahead of the game with a surplus of moisture overall because of our near record wet April.
Yes the short term and mid range forecast is for mostly dry conditions long term indications, (including the graphic above) seem to indicate that we will be near normal pattern through August and will not be in a drought pattern. That’s good so far a least.
My friend Mr. Jones is one lucky man and next time I see him, I will likely give him a big hug. Mr. Jones is one of my best friends and he lives in Moore Oklahoma. It was only yesterday that I had a chance to talk to him about the tornado damage in Moore, only a block away from his house.
To put this in perspective, when I saw this tornado unfold on Monday, I took a moment to call Chris. It was a brief conversation and I asked him where he was and if he was in a safe place. After he told me that he was safe and his wife and daughter were in a shelter, I somberly told him that he might loose his house. When I said that, I no idea how close of a call he would have with the Moore tornado.
Above is an image from the Google Crisis Map. I have highlighted his house with the yellow circle on the bottom. Mr. Jones had minor damage to his house: windows blown out, holes in the roof, debris embedded in the gable, his trampoline was gone and his 5th wheel camper was totaled, but he had no major structural damage to his house. Literally one block to the north of his house, homes lost their roofs and one more block north, the houses are gone. The houses are wiped off their foundations, complete, utter destruction with tornadic winds estimated to be from 180 to 220 mph.
If you click on the link to the Google Crisis Map here, you can actually toggle between satellite imagery from the 29th of April, to yesterday, comparing the before and after.
Moore will rebuild, but they need your help. If you want to help, the best thing you can do today is donate to the Red Cross here.
Has Indiana experienced an EF-5 or F-5 tornado since 1950? Yes, it was April 3, 1974 at Daisy Hill Indiana. Does this mean that the WANE viewing area will never see a tornado of that magnitude ever? No. Take a look at the map above. This map is plotting all EF 5 and F 5 tornadoes since 1950, in order of occurrence. If you look closely, you can see to our north, Michigan has had two destructive tornadoes of that magnitude since 1950.
In the map above, I have highlighted the areas that have had the highest frequency of EF 5 and F 5 tornadoes since 1950. There seem to be 3 areas: Northern Alabama, Northern Iowa, and Central Oklahoma.
So, why do these areas have a higher concentration of the high end tornadoes? There are actually two major areas: Dixie Alley (Alabama and Mississippi) and Tornado Alley (from Oklahoma to Iowa.) These two major areas are where very high spring humidity can connect with very strong spring jet streams. Most times, this occurs in Tornado Alley, but some years, the jetstream is more active over the deep Southeast, possibly a function of La Nina and El Nino.
So, where does that leave us here in Indiana?
The map above is a plot of all tornadoes since 1980 in the WANE viewing area, courtesy the National Weather Service of North Webster. Notice the the majority of our tornadoes are the smaller EF-0 and EF-1 tornadoes, but we have had two EF-4 tornadoes, both in Van Wert County.
Now I hate to come off like a fear monger, but I honesty feel it is only a matter of time that a significant tornado will move through Northern Indiana. It may not happen this year, or in the next 5 years, but I would expect a significant tornado, somewhere on this map, in the next 10 years.
There is still a possibility for some severe weather associated with this slow moving area of low pressure moving through. There is increased lift across the area. However, there has not been a lot of sunshine so this area may be shifting to our east a little and western and central Ohio may be the firing grounds for some strong thunderstorms this afternoon. We are not going to rule out a few strong thunderstorms and some gusty winds across northern Indiana this afternoon though.
Above is the Doppler radar image of the Moore tornado at it’s strongest. This is the classic “hook echo” signature with a “debris ball.” Doppler radar works because the rain in the storm reflects energy back to the radar. When a tornado is strong enough and hits structures, the debris is picked up by the tornado, and the lumber, shingles and insulation shows up on radar as a bright ball and the end of the hook. If you ever see me show this live on tv for a tornado warning, you know it’s the real deal.
The final storm assessment is not complete, but as of now, the Moore tornado is rated a an EF-5 tornado with winds up to 210 mph, and at times, it was 1.3 miles wide, on the ground for 17 miles. The NWS issued the first warning for this storm, 16 minutes before the first touchdown at 2:45 pm. By the time it hit Moore at it’s strongest, there had been 45 minutes of warning.
This is not the first, second, third, or even fourth time Moore, OK has been hit by a violent tornado in the last 15 years. This map shows the track, damage swath, and date of three especially violent tornadoes that affected Moore.
The chances of a community being struck several times by an EF4 or EF5 tornado within 15 years are exceptionally low. You’ve all seen the pictures of the destruction from May 20, 2013′s tornado, but what were the details. The damage survey is releasing new information. This information is from the National Weather Service in Norman, OK. I will BOLD some of the key points.
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DISPATCHED FOUR DAMAGE SURVEY TEAMS TO
THE PATH OF THE NEWCASTLE/MOORE OK TORNADO. NEW STATEMENTS WILL BE
ISSUED THROUGHOUT THE DAY AS THESE TEAMS REPORT FINDINGS. THIS
INFORMATION REMAINS PRELIMINARY AND THE INFORMATION HERE COULD
ESTIMATED PEAK WIND: 200-210 MPH
PATH LENGTH /STATUTE/: 17 MILES
PATH WIDTH /MAXIMUM/: 1.3 MILES
START DATE: MAY 20 2013
START TIME: 2:45 PM CDT
START LOCATION: 4.4 W NEWCASTLE /GRADY COUNTY /OK
START LAT/LON: 35.2580 / -97.6775
END DATE: MAY 20 2013
END TIME: 3:35 PM CDT
END LOCATION: 4.8 E OF MOORE OK /CLEVELAND COUNTY /OK
END LAT/LON: 35.3409 / -97.4007
SURVEY SUMMARY: EXPERTS SURVEYING IN MOORE HAVE DETERMINED DAMAGE IS
EF5 WITH MAXIMUM WINDS OVER 200 MPH. FOUR SURVEY TEAMS CONTINUE TO
INSPECT DAMAGE FROM THIS LONG TRACK TORNADO. INITIAL DAMAGE WAS
FOUND AROUND 4.4 MILES WEST OF NEWCASTLE…SOUTH OF TECUMSEH ROAD
ALSO KNOWN AS NW 16TH STREET AND EAST LAKE ROAD. THE TORNADO TRACKED
NE TO THE INTERSTATE 44 BRIDGE OVER THE CANADIAN RIVER AND THEN TOOK
A MORE EASTWARD TRACK THROUGH MOORE. TORNADO DAMAGE ABRUPTLY ENDS
0.3 MILES EAST OF AIR DEPOT ROAD AND N OF SE 134TH ST.
INITIALLY PRODUCING EF0 AND EF1 DAMAGE THE STORM INTENSIFIED VERY
RAPIDLY IN 4 MILES OR AROUND 10 MINUTES PRODUCING EF4 DAMAGE BEFORE
REACHING INTERSTATE 44. NUMEROUS INDICATIONS OF EF4 DAMAGE WITH SOME
AREAS NOW DETERMINED AT EF5 DAMAGE…THE HIGHEST CATEGORY ON THE EF
SCALE…WITH OVER 200 MPH WINDS.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION SUCH AS MAXIMUM PATH WIDTH WILL BE UPDATED
AS THE TEAMS COMPLETE THEIR SURVEYS.
According to Norman, OK’s NWS, the following tornadoes (not including yesterday’s) have affected Moore, OK in the past 15 years. 4 out of 5 have been either EF4 of EF5.
- The October 4, 1998 Tornado Outbreak Twenty-eight tornadoes occurred in central and eastern Oklahoma, including an F2 tornado which damaged parts of Moore. It was the largest autumnal outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded in Oklahoma.
- The May 3, 1999 Tornado Outbreak This outbreak included nearly 60 tornadoes in central Oklahoma. It was the largest tornado outbreak ever recorded in Oklahoma. The first F5 tornado ever to hit a the Oklahoma City metro area killed 36 people and tore through parts of Newcastle, south OKC and Moore, OK. The damage total was estimated at $1 billion. Two F4 tornadoes also ravaged parts of Kingfisher and Logan counties.
- Oklahoma City Area Tornadoes of May 8, 2003 The central United States experienced a record-breaking week of tornadoes from May 4 through May 10, 2003, when nearly 400 tornadoes occurred in 19 states and caused 42 deaths during the seven days. Included in this total were the tornadoes which hit the southern Oklahoma City metropolitan area on May 8, 2003 including an F4 tornado which tore through parts of Moore, Oklahoma City and Choctaw.
- The May 10, 2010 Tornado Outbreak This outbreak produced 35 tornadoes in the NWS Norman forecast area alone, and a total of 55 tornadoes in Oklahoma. Two EF4 tornadoes struck the Oklahoma City metro area including Moore, killing 3 people and injuring over 80 others.
If you visit this NOAA website, click on the video and you can see a time lapse of the satellite imagery over Oklahoma yesterday. You can see the dangerous, tornadic supercells explode in the afternoon.
If you look at a blog post below, Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Conder has linked how you can help and donate. Destruction of this magnitude is incredibly difficult to recover from, and the people of Moore need your help.
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DISPATCHED FOUR DAMAGE SURVEY TEAMS TO THE PATH OF THE NEWCASTLE/MOORE OK TORNADO. NEW STATEMENTS WILL BE ISSUED THROUGHOUT THE DAY AS THESE TEAMS REPORT FINDINGS. THIS INFORMATION REMAINS PRELIMINARY AND THE INFORMATION HERE COULD CHANGE. .NEWCASTLE/MOORE TORNADO RATING: EF5 ESTIMATED PEAK WIND: 200-210 MPH PATH LENGTH /STATUTE/: 17 MILES PATH WIDTH /MAXIMUM/: 1.3 MILES FATALITIES: N/A INJURIES: N/A START DATE: MAY 20 2013 START TIME: 2:45 PM CDT START LOCATION: 4.4 W NEWCASTLE /GRADY COUNTY /OK START LAT/LON: 35.2580 / -97.6775 END DATE: MAY 20 2013 END TIME: 3:35 PM CDT END LOCATION: 4.8 E OF MOORE OK /CLEVELAND COUNTY /OK END LAT/LON: 35.3409 / -97.4007 SURVEY SUMMARY: EXPERTS SURVEYING IN MOORE HAVE DETERMINED DAMAGE IS EF5 WITH MAXIMUM WINDS OVER 200 MPH. FOUR SURVEY TEAMS CONTINUE TO INSPECT DAMAGE FROM THIS LONG TRACK TORNADO. INITIAL DAMAGE WAS FOUND AROUND 4.4 MILES WEST OF NEWCASTLE...SOUTH OF TECUMSEH ROAD ALSO KNOWN AS NW 16TH STREET AND EAST LAKE ROAD. THE TORNADO TRACKED NE TO THE INTERSTATE 44 BRIDGE OVER THE CANADIAN RIVER AND THEN TOOK A MORE EASTWARD TRACK THROUGH MOORE. TORNADO DAMAGE ABRUPTLY ENDS 0.3 MILES EAST OF AIR DEPOT ROAD AND N OF SE 134TH ST. INITIALLY PRODUCING EF0 AND EF1 DAMAGE THE STORM INTENSIFIED VERY RAPIDLY IN 4 MILES OR AROUND 10 MINUTES PRODUCING EF4 DAMAGE BEFORE REACHING INTERSTATE 44. NUMEROUS INDICATIONS OF EF4 DAMAGE WITH SOME AREAS NOW DETERMINED AT EF5 DAMAGE...THE HIGHEST CATEGORY ON THE EF SCALE...WITH OVER 200 MPH WINDS.
So how did it happen? First off we need to tell you about some facts about these kind of tornadoes. First and foremost this is a very rare tornado. It does not happen every year. Yes, we have seen tornadoes like this int he recent past, but these type of tornadoes which have 200 mile per hour plus winds only account for about 2 percent of all tornadoes. Conversely, these what we term “devastating” tornadoes account for most of the deaths. Quite honestly unless you were underground as this tornado passed there was a very low chance for survival.
Let’s talk about the dynamics of this particular storm, the set up. First off there is a weather phenomena that occurs across this particular part of the country called ‘dry line’ thunderstorms. One side of this line is filled with heavy dry air and the other side has Gulf laden humid air. The line between these two air masses or the “dry line” is a focusing point for thunderstorms as it can cause rapid instability and lifting of humid air to form clouds and thunderstorms.
The second part of this set up are two very important factors which probably take it from a smaller tornado set up to a much larger one. The first feature is the low pressure which is closed or cut off from the main flow of the jet stream. This creates that counter clockwise circulation and causes the clouds around it to circulate that way as well. The last part of the equation is the jet stream. It causes what we term divergent winds which only increase the buoyancy or instability making the area a very volatile one.
These factors combined to form the huge and deadly Supercell tornado which caused mass destruction across the area. This particular cell did regenerate across other areas but fortunately they were much less populated. What also made this storm most devastating is that it stayed on the ground and produced the strongest winds across a densely populated area.