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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StormPulse says the pressure is at 1007, but I'm not sure how reliable that is....

Ready for another drama filled, ignore-button pushing, troll cleansing season :-)
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They planning to take off at 11?
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6624
3522. pottery
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
I think this is what is going on
("Good Morning and welcome to USAF RECON we are flying on a WC-130J HH our destination round trip to the lovely area of 94L which we will be reaching there at 1800Z we as all to keep your seat belts on because we may experience turbalance")or something of the sort LOL

I hope that is not what's happening.
Tur-balance can really make your head spin....
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The RGB loop of 94L shows the convection waning, I wouldn't be suprised to see a lot of it disappear within the next few hours. However, the gap in the clouds makes it pretty clear that the CoC is just under the convection on it's west side, so the system generally looks more organised.
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Quoting sailingallover:

ahh but yesterday it was 250 miles from the center and expanding away to the east. Since the convection has moved much closer to the center I think 94 is going to make it but we will see what the waves which pressure plots show is just east of it do.
The GFS has 94l sitting about where it is at 120 from now. Thats a long time for it to never develop.




agree sailing. especially when you consider the shear map.
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ithink the NHC is seriously thinking about cancelling this mission...
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3518. Grothar
Quoting pottery:

The annoying thing is, that the Sun has been happily shining for a couple of hours, and it looks to be a fair afternoon.
They could have done it today, no problem.


Life doesn't work that way, does it?
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26558
I think this is what is going on
("Good Morning and welcome to USAF RECON we are flying on a WC-130J HH our destination round trip to the lovely area of 94L which we will be reaching there at 1800Z we as all to keep your seat belts on because we may experience turbalance")or something of the sort LOL
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Any Idea where its taking off from?


None, sorry Aussie.
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3515. Grothar


Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26558
The pressure is 1010 closer to the convection, so I think recon will fly today. The center may be closer to the convection than they have thought. Have a good one ebody. I have to get my house cleaned up for the sitters who will visit today to check things out. They are staying here with my pets while I'm on vacation later this month and into July!
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


Im just ready to break out the google earth tracking map for the first time this year.

Any Idea where its taking off from?
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Quoting sailingallover:

ahh but yesterday it was 250 miles from the center and expanding away to the east. Since the convection has moved much closer to the center I think 94 is going to make it but we will see what the waves which pressure plots show is just east of it do.
The GFS has 94l sitting about where it is at 120 from now. Thats a long time for it to never develop.




Im just ready to break out the google earth tracking map for the first time this year.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6624
3511. pottery
Quoting AussieStorm:

It's always the way,,, Murphy's law. When they get there tomorrow, there will be a big black cloud just waiting to rain on you

Precisely!
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Quoting IKE:
I bet recon is canceled. Convection is close to 100 miles from the center.

I could be wrong about recon though.

ahh but yesterday it was 250 miles from the center and expanding away to the east. Since the convection has moved much closer to the center I think 94 is going to make it but we will see what the waves which pressure plots show is just east of it do.
The GFS has 94l sitting about where it is at 120 from now. Thats a long time for it to never develop.


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3508. pottery
Quoting Chicklit:


You mean, should you start drinking earlier today?
lol
no, you still have to do your projects today Potts.

Nope!
Taking a Sabbath Sabbatical today.
Well, except I HAVE to move some potted plants back to where they were before I moved them to where they are.
They are getting too much water...
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A nice rain maker for Florida would be heaven sent. A few nice depressions park on over us please .Testing 1,2,3 testing 1,2,3 .
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Quoting pottery:

The annoying thing is, that the Sun has been happily shining for a couple of hours, and it looks to be a fair afternoon.
They could have done it today, no problem.

It's always the way,,, Murphy's law. When they get there tomorrow, there will be a big black cloud just waiting to rain on you
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3505. ackee
where do u think recon will find 94L centre ?



A SW
B NW
C west
D EAST
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Quoting pottery:

It's 1013 and falling here.
Should I panic ?


DOOM!!!
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3502. pottery
Quoting Grothar:


Ever hear of quicksand? grrrrrr

The annoying thing is, that the Sun has been happily shining for a couple of hours, and it looks to be a fair afternoon.
They could have done it today, no problem.
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Quoting pottery:

Thanks. What a relief!


Always here for ya Pot!
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I think our HH flyboys are leaving the Briefing room and going to the gate
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Quoting pottery:

It's 1013 and falling here.
Should I panic ?


You mean, should you start drinking earlier today?
lol
no, you still have to do your projects today Potts.
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3497. pottery
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


yes.

Thanks. What a relief!
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3496. Grothar
Quoting zoomiami:
Pottery -- what happened to your concrete?


Ever hear of quicksand? grrrrrr
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26558
Quoting Hurricanes101:


that is based on the latest center fix though; looks to me like the center is further east than that and closer to the convection
Yeah, I agree. If you look at the lower-level cloud deck, the center appears to be somewhere between 16˚N-17˚N 78˚W-79˚W.

GOES East 1 km Visible Weather Satellite Picture
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3494. Bitmap7
Quoting pressureman:
bitmap winds could be up to 50mph with no closed circulation it will not be classified...30mph you are seeing is probable more like gusts in thunderstorms...


Did I say that since winds are 30mph and that the pressure will be down because of this? Or did I ask if the winds are now up to 30mph?
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Quoting pottery:

It's 1013 and falling here.
Should I panic ?


yes.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6624
3492. pottery
Quoting Chicklit:
The MSLP on the floater (click box) indicates lowest pressure is to the Southwest of the convection at 1014.

It's 1013 and falling here.
Should I panic ?
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3491. Bitmap7
Quoting Hurricanes101:


winds have been 30mph for 5 days


I thought it was 25
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An ASCAT bullseye hit would be nice right about now.
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3489. WoodyFL
Quoting Grothar:
Mornining. Hey, a little after 10 PM last night, that woody something called this one great. He explained how the whole thing was going to flare and exactly where it was going to. I didn't see anything on the maps he posted, but I guess a few others like Chicklit and cyclonevoyager and other did. He really got this one good. If he is on, congrats. He even knew the exact location. He made a couple posts. Is Levi going under cover and using words we can acually understand or do we have another good observer?


Thank Grother./ Just a lucky guess. I Don't know all that much about weather, but some of it is just common sense. Somnetimes i think we overanalyze things a lot. Keep it simple. It was easy to see what was happening last night.
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bitmap winds could be up to 50mph with no closed circulation it will not be classified...30mph you are seeing is probable more like gusts in thunderstorms...
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Not sure if this is that old but 94L is getting a nice rain core going.


I'm thinking 3hrs old.
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The MSLP on the floater (click box) indicates lowest pressure is to the Southwest of the convection at 1014. Use this link and click on MSLP.

ShortWaveLink

Recon may wait for closed low though who knows!
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Quoting Bitmap7:


Winds are up to 30 mph?


winds have been 30mph for 5 days
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3484. pottery
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
somebody give him a kick the needle is stuck again

Brilliant!
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3483. IKE

Quoting HouGalv08:
Doubt it's cancelled IKE. Too good a training run for a first season possible TD.
They may fly it. I hope they do. Maybe they should. I just wouldn't be shocked if they don't.
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Quoting IKE:
I bet recon is canceled. Convection is close to 100 miles from the center.

I could be wrong about recon though.


that is based on the latest center fix though; looks to me like the center is further east than that and closer to the convection
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3481. Bitmap7
Quoting IKE:
Invest 94


Wind: 30 MPH —
Location: 16.2 79.3W —
Movement: W







Winds are up to 30 mph?
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
First time I have seen the Navy put out this graphic (others may have seen it before)


LOL...models spraying it all over the GOM, Carib., and ATL. Way,way too early in the game.
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3479. pottery
Quoting zoomiami:
Pottery -- what happened to your concrete?

The guys called to say they got delayed on another one yesterday, and will try to be here tomorrow.
GRRR !
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Quoting sammywammybamy:


This is where i think the Center of Circulation is :


you put the low too far to the W I think it should be more like at 77W/77.5W
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3477. IKE
I can see the center now on visible.

Darn...it's hot outside....pushing a lawnmower.
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Who knows what the pressure is currently and/or where I can find this?


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Ike -- that sat image does show some of the moisture pulling up from the south -- and in my opinion shows the circulation directly to the west of the cloud cover.

Nrt: the models are having a great time -- they all have a different opinion.
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3474. Bitmap7
POSS T.C.F.A.
xx/INV/94L
MARK
16.79N/77.23W
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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.