Caribbean disturbance slow to develop; 5 EF-5 tornadoes this year confirmed

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:33 PM GMT on June 03, 2011

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The tropical disturbance (Invest 93L) that crossed over Florida on Wednesday, bringing welcome rains of 1 - 3 inches, is now a naked swirl of low clouds over the central Gulf of Mexico. The disturbance is embedded in a large area of dry air associated with an upper level low pressure system, and this dry air is discouraging development. 93L is also moving into a region of moderate wind shear of 10 - 20 knots, and NHC is giving 93L a 0% chance of developing into a tropical depression before the storm makes landfall in Mexico south of Brownsville on Saturday. There are a few heavy thunderstorms trying to fire up near the center of 93L's fairly well-formed circulation, but I don't think this storm is going to bring more than 1 - 2 inches of rain to the coast on Saturday.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of the Central Caribbean disturbance.

Central Caribbean disturbance 94L
Disorganized heavy thunderstorm activity continues in the region between Central America and Jamaica. Wind shear has fallen to the moderate range, 10 - 20 knots, and is predicted to continue to fall over the next two days. This should allow the disturbance, dubbed Invest 94L by NHC on Friday afternoon, to increase in organization, though it will take many days for it to approach tropical depression status, since it is so large and poorly organized. The last two runs of the NOGAPS model have developed the disturbance into a tropical depression or storm by early next week, with the system moving northwards into Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and eastern Cuba. The other major models do not show the disturbance developing during the coming week. NHC is giving the disturbance a 10% of developing into a tropical depression by Sunday. A surge of moisture accompanying a tropical wave may aid development when the wave arrives in the Western Caribbean on Sunday. Water temperatures in the Central Caribbean are about 1°C above average, 29°C, which is plenty warm enough to support development of a tropical storm. Residents of Jamaica, eastern Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic should anticipate the possibility that heavy rains of 2 - 4 inches may affect them today through Sunday.

Five EF-5 tornadoes confirmed in 2011
The National Weather Service in Oklahoma City announced Wednesday that the violent tornado that hit Binger, El Reno, Peidmont, and Guthrie, Oklahoma on May 24, killing nine people, was an EF-5 with winds greater than 210 mph. The rating was given based on measurements made by a University of Oklahoma portable "Doppler on wheels" radar. The long track, large wedge tornado caused extensive damage, with well built houses cleanly swept from their foundation and trees debarked. This tornado brings the total number of EF-5 tornadoes this year to five, tying 2011 with 1953 for 2nd place for greatest number of these top-end tornadoes in one year. Only 1974 (six) had more. The EF-5 tornadoes of 2011:

1) The April 27, 2011 Neshoba/Kemper/Winston/Noxubee Counties, Mississippi tornado (3 killed, 29 mile path length.)

2) The April 27, 2011 Smithville, Mississippi tornado (22 killed, 15 mile path length.)

3) The April 27, 2011 Hackleburg, Alabama tornado (71 killed, 25 mile path length.)

4) The May 22, 2011 Joplin Missouri tornado (138 killed, 14 mile path length.)

5) The May 24, 2011 Binger-El Reno-Peidmont-Guthrie, Oklahoma tornado. (9 killed, 75 mile path length.)


Figure 2. Aerial view of damage from the May 22, 2011 Joplin, Missouri tornado. Image credit: Wikipedia.

A few other remarkable statistics on the tornado season of 2011, compiled from NOAA's official press release and Wikipedia's excellent tornado pages:

- The April 25 - 28 tornado outbreak, with 330 tornadoes, was the largest tornado outbreak of three days or less duration on record. The previous record was 148 tornadoes, set during the April 3 - 4, 1974 Super Outbreak.

- For April 27, 186 tornadoes have been confirmed. This is the largest 1-day tornado total on record, beating the 148 recorded in 24 hours on April 3 - 4, 1974.

- The April 14 - 16 tornado outbreak, with 162 confirmed tornadoes, ranks as the fourth largest tornado outbreak of three days or less duration on record.

- The May 21 - 26 tornado outbreak, with 158 confirmed tornadoes, ranks as the 5th largest 6-day or shorter tornado outbreak on record. A May 2003 6-day outbreak had 289 tornadoes, and a May 2004 6-day outbreak had 229 tornadoes. The year 2011 now has three of the top five tornado outbreaks on record.

- April confirmed tornado total was 683, making it the busiest tornado month on record. The previous record was 542 tornadoes, set in May 2003. The previous April record was 267 tornadoes, which occurred in April 1974. The 30-year average for April tornadoes is 135.

- If the three deaths in Massachusetts from Wednesday's tornadoes are confirmed, this year's tornado death toll will be 522, beating 1953 as the deadliest tornado year since modern tornado records began. That year, 519 people died, and three heavily populated cities received direct hits by violent tornadoes. Waco, Texas (114 killed), Flint, Michigan (115 killed), and Worcester, Massachusetts (90 killed) all were hit by violent F-4 or F-5 tornadoes. A similar bad tornado year occurred in 1936, when violent tornadoes hit Tupelo Mississippi (216 killed), and Gainesville, Georgia (203 killed.) During that time period, the tornado death rate per million people was 60 - 70 times as great as in the year 2000 (Figure 4), implying that this year's tornadoes would have killed many thousands of people had we not had our modern tornado modern warning system.

- The May 22, 2011 Joplin, Missouri tornado killed 138 people and injured 1150, making it the deadliest U.S. tornado since 1947, and 8th deadliest in history. The $1 - $3 billion estimate of insured damage makes it the most expensive tornado in history.

- Damage from the April 25 - 28 super tornado outbreak was estimated at $3.5 - $6 billion, making it the most expensive tornado outbreak of all-time.

- The tornado that hit Springfield, Massachusetts on June 1 was at least an EF-3 with 136 - 165 mph winds. It was only the 9th EF-3 or stronger tornado to hit Massachusetts since 1950, and the third deadliest, with three deaths.

- The year 2011 now ranks in 3rd place behind 1974 and 1965 for highest number of strong to violent EF-3, EF-4, and EF-5 tornadoes (Figure 3.)


Figure 3. Number of strong to violent EF-3, EF-4 and EF-5 tornadoes from 1950 to 2011. The year 2011 now ranks in 3rd place behind 1974 and 1965. There is not a decades-long increasing trend in the numbers of these most dangerous of tornadoes. Image credit: NOAA/National Climatic Data Center (updated using stats for 2008 - 2011 from Wikipedia.)


Figure 4. Death rate per million people per year in U.S., 1875-2000. Thin line with dots is raw rate, curved thick line is death rate, filtered by 3-point median and 5-point running mean filter, and straight solid lines are least squares fit to filtered death rate for 1875-1925 and 1925-2000. Dashed lines are estimates of 10th and 90th percentile death rates from 1925-2000. The death rate fell from 8 per million to .12 per million between 1940 and 2000. Image credit: A Brief History of Deaths from Tornadoes in the United States, Harold Brooks and Charles Doswell III.

Joplin tornado the 7th U.S. billion-dollar weather disaster of 2011
The Joplin tornado is the 7th U.S. weather disaster of 2011 costing more than a billion dollars. With a major flooding disaster coming on the Missouri River, and hurricane season still to come, 2011 has an excellent chance of beating 2008's record of nine billion-dollar weather disasters. The billion dollar weather disasters of 2011 so far:

1) 2011 Groundhog Day's blizzard ($1- $4 billion)
2) April 3 -5 Southeast U.S. severe weather outbreak ($2 billion)
3) April 8 - 11 severe weather outbreak ($2.25 billion)
4) April 25 - 28 super tornado outbreak ($3.5 - $6 billion)
5) Mississippi River flood of 2011 ($9 billion)
6) Texas drought ($1.2 billion)
7) Joplin tornado ($1 - $3 billion)


Figure 5. River flood outlook for the U.S. Image credit: NOAA.

The next U.S. billion-dollar weather disaster: a Missouri River flood?
A great 100-year flood has arrived along the Missouri River and its tributaries from Montana to Nebraska. Record spring rains, combined with snow melt from record or near-record winter and spring snows, brought the Missouri River at Williston, North Dakota to 27.9' yesterday, just an inch short of the highest crest on record (28.0' on 4/01/1912.) Tributaries to the Missouri, such as the Souris River in North Dakota and the North Platte River in Nebraska, are already flooding at all-time record heights. With warm summer temperatures and additional rainfall expected over much of the area during the coming week, snow melt and rain runoff will swell area rivers even further, creating a damaging 100-year flood. Wunderground weather historian Christopher C. Burt has the details in his latest post, and I will be writing more on this latest epic flood next week.

I'll have a new post on Monday, or earlier if the Caribbean disturbance shows significant development.

Jeff Masters

Joplin Tornado Damage (thebige)
Joplin Tornado Damage
And Bigger.... (weatherfanatic2010)
Here it is turning into a monster.
And Bigger....

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2474. aquak9
If any of you young ones had a chance to spend a week learning about the tropics with him, I doubt you'd turn it down.
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Quoting DamagingWinds:
Nice, Taz.



yup
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114714
Quoting tropicfreak:
Look at the NW end guys, storms are forming north WEST of the COC, especially on that last frame, really showing signs of organization.
94L Floater Rainbow Loop
Look for persistence. This system has gone through a few decent looking blow-ups since we've been watching it, but it fizzles out every night. I don't think we'll see any significant development for the next 4-5 days.
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


That is correct. Hispanola and Puerto Rico are different because of the very tall mountains.


It's a function of size and proximity. 94L is too far away from Jamaica to be impacted by the size of that island.
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Quoting tropicfreak:


Really?
Link


Yes really. Rainbow imagery is the most misleading IR satellite imagery since it overdoes cold cloud tops. When you look at the actual structure of the system and the environment around it, it doesn't really support development in the Caribbean. There is practically no low level convergence outside the monsoon trough and without such, its very difficult to build convection. Add to the mix that the circulation continues to entrain dry air into the western half of the circulation and you will have a hard time developing anything.
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Quoting aquak9:


Good Lord, t-freak! It's a Fox station he broadcasts on!

(pot, kettle...kettle, pot)


Ok, a misunderstanding, I thought he meant the national Fox News team.

Problem solved.
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2466. aquak9
Quoting tropicfreak:


You look it up, Bob Breck is on a local TV station in New Orleans, not on Fox News.

Get your facts straight.


Good Lord, t-freak! It's a Fox station he broadcasts on!

(pot, kettle...kettle, pot)
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2464. aquak9
A little about Bob Breck:

A native of Hammond, Indiana, Bob received a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology & Oceanography from the University of Michigan in December of 1969.

He received AMS TV Seal of Approval # 90 in 1971 and, after passing a comprehensive exam on theoretical & operational meteorology in June of 2009, was awarded the new AMS CERTIFIED BROADCAST METEOROLOGIST Seal. Bob is the only Chief Meteorologist in New Orleans to display the AMS CBM. He has also been twice honored by the National Hurricane Conference and was named AMS Broadcaster of the Year in 2008.

After a stint in the Marine Corps Reserve and the Air Force Reserves, Bob's first television opportunity began in 1971 at WTVT Television Channel 13 in Tampa, Florida where he trained under Tampa Weather legend Roy Leep.


He's gotta LOTTA experience under his belt. Kinda like George Winterling here in NE Fla. He could probably out-forecast MANY of us on here.

And if any of you young ones had a chance to spend a week learning about the tropics with him, I doubt you'd turn it down.
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Quoting kmanislander:
Another note regarding terrain. Storms and hurricanes blow through the Eastern Caribbean islands without so much as a fluctuation in pressure. They are all mountainous, just not enough land mass to adversely impact a system covering thousand of square miles of ocean.


That is correct. Hispanola and Puerto Rico are different because of the very tall mountains.
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not to vouch for stormtop,
but not all hurricane specialists work for the NHC. Our resident hurricane specialist Dr. Keith Blackwell at USA is a great example. Best tropical forecaster I know.
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I dont know if you know this tropic freak could come as a shock to you BOB BRECK advises the NHC quite a bit on his forecasts...
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Quoting aquak9:
thank you beell. If I had to chose between Christmas and the drought, I'd take the drought.


scrooge
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Another note regarding terrain. Storms and hurricanes blow through the Eastern Caribbean islands without so much as a fluctuation in pressure. They are all mountainous, just not enough land mass to adversely impact a system covering thousand of square miles of ocean.
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cchweatherman thumbs up on that....
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Quoting JFVStalker:


How's Southern Cali, Taz? Weather-wise? Hey, did you know that I attended a housing conference over there in San Diego last June at UCSD? it's gorgeous over there.



you mean N CA i live close too YOSEMITE



the weather is wet today
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114714
Really nothing changing or going on with Invest 94L this afternoon. A weak, but defined surface low continues to struggle with dry air and little low level convergence and will likely continue to do so for quite some time. Right now, I see nothing impressive with this system, and unless sudden changes occur within the next few hours, I'm now expecting a downgrade from Medium to Low Chance for development with the upcoming TWO from the NHC.
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2446. aquak9
thank you beell. If I had to chose between Christmas and the drought, I'd take the drought.
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2444. JLPR2
Quoting sammywammybamy:
Model support for Florida Drought Relief:

GFS
NOGAPS
BAMM
ECMWF



According to the models it can go anywhere. O.o
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8499
Quoting JFVStalker:


How's the topography of Jamaica, K?


Very mountainous. On the Eastern end you have the Blue Mountain range around 7400 feet high. I went to school in a town named Spalding which is located in the center of the island at 3700 feet up. It's not so much the terrain but how much of it there is. Compare Jamaica to Hispaniola where, in addition to being many times larger the highest peak is over 10,000 feet up. Jamaica is approximately 4200 sq. miles whereas Hispaniola is over 29,000
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Quoting Tazmanian:



welcome same here i wish they get rid of the Quote


Well taz, we can quote when we are replying to someone reliable, nice and kind.

We can't, or should I say shouldn't reply to trolls, it adds fuel to the fire.
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tropic freak why are you dogging bob breck who knows more about hurricanes then you could ever know in you whole lifetime...you are probably a kid ...dont dogged someone that has been very good at what he does...im sure many on here like hin tropic freak so chill..
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Quoting tropicfreak:


Thanks Tazzo! I have him on ignore, but people keep quoting him, which makes me ticked when he has the same thing to say in every comment.



welcome same here i wish they get rid of the Quote
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114714
2437. beell
Quoting aquak9:
beell- since you're here - do you see anything breaking the omega block pattern in the near future?

Like, maybe before Christmas? :(


Towards the end of the current GFS runs (June 20th or so) maybe the re-appearence of the sub-tropical ridge nosing back into the GOM from the Atlantic-which should bring you some rainy season. Until then, pretty much the same-o, same-o with the ridge staying more or less centralized.

Always the chance of a ripple or two along the southern periphery of the ridge that may bring one of us some short-term relief.

But cheer up! After that, only 187 shopping days left until Christmas...
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2435. Bitmap7
Topographically Jamaica is VERY mountainous. Thats true Cayman even though the Island is mountainous it still isn't large enough to cause any disruption in air intake in the N -NW quadrant of the system.
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For your listening pleasure while bloggingLink
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Look at the NW end guys, storms are forming north WEST of the COC, especially on that last frame, really showing signs of organization.
94L Floater Rainbow Loop
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2431. emcf30
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Quoting kmanislander:


All agreed. These monsoonal lows will drive you crazy waiting for development to happen. The two things it has going for it is a fairly vigorous ( but broad ) circulation that is producing fresh NE winds even where I am and lots of warm water to feed the system once it gets cranking.
Monsoonal lows do take forever to get together and organize into something, but I the bigger issue here is that its June. Early June. June 4th to be exact. Meaning the environment isn't as favorable. Had it been August or September this monsoonal low would have already taken off. SSTs would be warmer, moisture would be greater, and sheer would be lower.

People seem to forget its only June, where conditions in the tropics are far from optimal for tropical development. This is noted by our average of only one storm every two years in June. We got a long road ahead of us folks.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
Well got to go Yall have a Great Day and try to stay "Cool".... Then as I say that we are now at 102 Hot Degress....

Taco :o)
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2426. aquak9
presuureman, you have WU-mail. Top of the screen, red icon.

You guys- lotsa folks make lotsa mistakes here- and ya'll give everyone plenty of slack. Most of you really don't know who/what he/she might be.

Just I beg ya'll, back off a little. Quit trying to find a target to attack.
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Quoting kmanislander:


Quite unlikely. Jamaica is too small a land mass to have that kind of effect on a developing tropical system and in any event the low center is well South of the island itself. Hispaniola on the other hand definitely would.


See?!?! This is the kinda thing which makes this blog valuable...
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tropic freak the key word CHANCE...a big word the tropics are quiet i dont see any named storms out there...its going to take time tropic freak..i told you not until thurs or friday...BOB BRECK said and elongated system like the hardly ever develops...
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.