Damaging Tornadoes Slam Plains

By: Shaun Tanner , 6:50 AM GMT on April 15, 2012

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A devastating string of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes tracked through Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska on Saturday. This severe weather outbreak was remarkable in its duration as supercell thunderstorms began to pop up in western Kansas late Saturday morning, and the dry line that was supposed to represent the end of the severe weather threat was only halfway through Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas by 1:00 AM Central Time Sunday. The moisture difference on either side of this dry line was remarkable as well, with dew points in the upper 60's to the east, and a very dry 20's to the west.


SPC Storm Reports from Saturday

The SPC storm reports show the track of these storms, with Kansas being the hardest hit. Early in the afternoon, most of the supercell thunderstorms were consistently producing weak tornadoes that skipped across western and central Kansas. As the low-level jet stream kicked in late in the afternoon and into the evening, the thunderstorms strengthened considerably. Probably the most remarkable supercell thunderstorm began in western Oklahoma near Woodward as a stunning multi-vortex tornado. The tornado actually was several tornadoes that danced into southern Kansas and eventually threatened Wichita. The tornado passed just south and east of the city, producing an 84 mph wind gust at the Wichita Airport. It also did extensive damage at the airport. In addition, the Oaklawn area of Wichita was declared a disaster area very soon after the tornado passed. The Sedgwick County commissioner declared the county a disaster area. This wedge tornado eventually moved along the Kansas Turnpike northeast of Wichita before finally dissipating.


Figure 1. Double tornadoes in Oklahoma close to the Kansas border. Image credit: news9.com


Figure 2. This tornado sparked a fire in Oklahoma as it passed through the area northeast of Woodward. Image credit: news9.com

The deadliest tornado of the outbreak struck Woodward, OK early Sunday morning, as the main squall line moved through western Oklahoma. This tornado was very large and particularly dangerous since it occurred at night when most residents assumed the threat had ended. There were multiple reports of not hearing the city's siren, so it is entirely possible that the siren was either struck by lightning or hit by the tornado itself. At least five deaths have been confirmed in the Woodward area from this tornado. Probably the scariest video of a tornado I have ever seen was taken of this Woodward tornado as it moved into town. Note you can see the scale of the tornado as between power flashes.


Video 1. Storm chaser video of one of Saturday's impressive tornadoes near Salina, Kansas.


Figure 3. Radar reflectivity image of the tornado that hit the south side of Wichita, Kansas, causing damage at the Wichita airport.

Perhaps the most telling feature of this severe weather outbreak was its repetitive nature. Salina, KS was tornado warned three times by three separate severe thunderstorms. Similarly, areas from Medicine Lodge to Kingman, Kansas were warned for two separate thunderstorms, while Woodward itself was warned very early in the day before a different tornado moved through the city late in the night.

Last night's storms have weakened, but a new round of severe weather is expected Sunday afternoon over portions of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has put the region under their second highest level of alert, a "Moderate Risk."

Shaun Tanner

Thunderstorm Wind Damage (dhennem)
Straight line winds from a thunderstorm this evening blew several semi tractor/trailers over on Interstate 29 in Fremont county, Iowa.
Thunderstorm Wind Damage
Freak Hail Storm Texas Panhandle (Randy7628)
Freak Hail Storm Texas Panhandle
Night tornado (Andrewbre)
Night tornado in Manchester,OK
Night tornado
Clouds II (amo1379)
Clouds II

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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
12Z GFS has the Atlantic System at 52kt, 1005mb in 24 hrs.

TG, 0002, 2012041512_F000_292N_0499W_FOF, 2012041512, 03, GFSO, 024, 342N, 495W, 52, 1005


Wait, how did you get that?

On the graphical output of the GFS for the Atlantic that Wunderground links to I couldn't find a barb that strong.

Are you looking at 10m winds or 850mb winds?
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
12Z GFS has the Atlantic System at 52kt, 1005mb in 24 hrs.

TG, 0002, 2012041512_F000_292N_0499W_FOF, 2012041512, 03, GFSO, 024, 342N, 495W, 52, 1005
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11276
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Cybr,how strong it is on this 12z run?


The 850mb winds is widespread 30m/s but does not make 35m/s.

So I used 33m/s as an estimate of max winds at 850mb, and then calculated down to the surface.

If I'm reading the map properly, It looks like the CoC may be at 1000mb or even just below 1000mb at 0000UTC on the 17 (which is 7p.m. central time tomorrow).

It definitely does not go as low as 995mb on the Euro or GFS though.


the Canadian takes it to 1000mb at 7a.m. central tomorrow, then 999mb at 7p.m. central tomorrow, then 1001mb at 7a.m. central the following day.


So they all seem to agree low 1000's to high 990's mb pressure.


Respectable numbers for any April invest.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Cybr,how strong it is on this 12z run?


Starts the frontal low out at 996 mb.
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240. Zappy
Damage in Woodward (From AP):





And Wichita:







------------------------------------------------- ---------------------

Just wow...
Member Since: April 14, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 62
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
OPC shows the Atlantic system as a Frontal Cyclone in their 24, 48 and 96 hour surface forecasts.


Not surprising.

It's up in the air though whether it actually separates from the front.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
230 CybrTeddy: Must admit, I've never seen the models this consistent, this long on a potential cyclone out of hurricane season.
Heck, it's rare to get them in such good agreement
in hurricane season.

It's a conspiracy. Idle algorithms are the Devil's workshop.
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Quoting aspectre:
225 Ameister12: Gotta watch this area.

I find myself wondering why folks have gotta be so cryptic about the photos they post.
So exactly where on Neptune is that?



30N 53W


It's sort of a mid-level circulation mixed in with that front.

Supposedly it's going to get cut off and become Sub-tropical or even tropical.

We'll see.

It's not like we've never seen that happen before in other locations or anything, but the water up there is only 21C to 22C.

It's got a lot of work to do before getting a name.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting CybrTeddy:
12z ECMWF running, at 24 hours ''Alberto'' begins to develop, much stronger on Monday than predicted at the 00z.


Cybr,how strong it is on this 12z run?
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14598
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Must admit, I've never seen the models this consistent, this long on a potential cyclone out of hurricane season.

Heck, it's rare to get them in such good agreement in hurricane season.

Whats upp CybrTeddy?
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8350
225 Ameister12: Gotta watch this area.

I find myself wondering why folks have gotta be so cryptic about the photos they post.
So exactly where on Neptune is that?
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OPC shows the Atlantic system as a Frontal Cyclone in their 24, 48 and 96 hour surface forecasts.


OceanSat

Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11276
I have a friend that attends the University of North Carolina Asheville and he said this:

"Hmmm, looking at the latest data and models, I'm wondering if the moderate shouldn't be a high... The shear parameters and wind fields are amazing near the low. Directional shear also looks to be much more than projected yesterday. IMHO, a 30% hatched tornado is not out of the question."
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32558
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Good afternoon. The rain is gone and now drier weather is on tap for most of this week.

That's good news.....hopefully we'll get some dry conditions as well because the ground is getting saturated
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8350
Must admit, I've never seen the models this consistent, this long on a potential cyclone out of hurricane season.

Heck, it's rare to get them in such good agreement in hurricane season.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Euro seems to be forecasting 850mb wind speed of around 74mph, so that translates to like 65mph at the surface.



But I have a hunch that's an over-estimate.


the highest barb I found in the GFS for 10m "observation height" winds was a single 40kts barb.

there were quite a few 30kts barbs and a few 35kts barbs.

40kts is 46mph

So even GFS is forecasting a name-worthy system, as 35kts is naming strength for a TS.

Probably ends up being more like 45 to 50mph tops.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting nigel20:

whats up tropicsweatherpr...what are thr reports from Puerto Rico?
Here in Jamaica we had some light flooding from rains over the past two days and rain is in the forecast for today as well


Good afternoon. The rain is gone and now drier weather is on tap for most of this week.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14598
They are already watching it.

Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14598
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Invest 91L later today?

whats up tropicsweatherpr...what are thr reports from Puerto Rico?
Here in Jamaica we had some light flooding from rains over the past two days and rain is in the forecast for today as well
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8350
Gotta watch this area.
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Quoting cyclonekid:
Looks like we may be dealing with Alberto this week.

CMC


EMCWF (Ensemble Mean)


EMCWF (Operational)


GFS


NGP


Wow now they re all in agreement! That means I'll give it a 60% chance that this happens
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Invest 91L later today?


More like afternoon tomorrow.

NHC isn't going to over-hype something, and this thing still has a very long way to go to become tropical or even sub-tropical.

Models are good, but verifying isn't always the same.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Invest 91L later today?


Probably tomorrow.
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Yesterday's outbreak was very incredible. Very sad to hear that people ended up dieing in Woodward.

Here is some awesome footage of the wedge tornado SW of Salina.
Link
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
12z ECMWF running, at 24 hours ''Alberto'' begins to develop, much stronger on Monday than predicted at the 00z.


Invest 91L later today?
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14598
Quoting CybrTeddy:
12z ECMWF running, at 24 hours ''Alberto'' begins to develop, much stronger on Monday than predicted at the 00z.


It would be quite a difficult cold to warm core transition. Rarely do we see these type of feature develop in the off-season.
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Quoting ILwthrfan:
I probably screwed Hudson up.  I was watching that KSN live feed last night.  They showed the velocity radar with the a strong couplet traveling directly through Hudson.  They also had spotters confirmed a large wedge tornado was on the ground hear Hudson too.    When I commented on that Hudson was gone.  I figured it was.  The TV reporters where commenting the same thing.  I  haven't heard any concrete yet with storm reports.  I am scrolling through them now.
So far I haven't seen anything posted on damage relating to Hudson KS.  
Its all good ILwthrfan...Your posts are always legitimate. I was wondering if we had a troll or something, and I did not have time this morning to read all the way back. I am sure the folks in Hudson are glad they were missed by the tornady..:)
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Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32558
12z ECMWF running, at 24 hours ''Alberto'' begins to develop, much stronger on Monday than predicted at the 00z.
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Quoting MZT:
nigel20, although the sea temperatures look comparable - last year was considered an especially warm year to begin with.

This years TCHP is currently higher though
April 14, 2011

April 14, 2012
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8350
FYI... live coverage from KSIB radio in Creston, IA, of the tornado that hit that area last night:
http://www.ksibradio.com/UPDATE16.mp3

NWS is heading from Des Moines to Creston to survey; storm was under severe thunderstorm warning during tornado affecting the town.
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Looks like we may be dealing with Alberto this week.

CMC


EMCWF (Ensemble Mean)


EMCWF (Operational)


GFS


NGP
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
bbl
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Forecast overlay vs. reports

by MARK ELLINWOOD on APRIL 15, 2012
This event was forecast fairly well overall, with plenty of lead time from the SPC to make sure as many people could be informed as possible. That being said, let's take a look at the actual verification of tornado reports compared to their risk area issued in their 1630z update (based on reports as of 1630z today).





http://www.ustornadoes.com/2012/04/15/april-14-20 12-outbreak-forecast-verification/
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210. MZT
nigel20, although the sea temperatures look comparable - last year was considered an especially warm year to begin with.
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April 14 SST Anomaly
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8350
Quoting RitaEvac:

That's quite a bit of damage...where is this?
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8350
206. MahFL
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Do you know if those were mobile homes or well-constructed buildings?


The caption says "Hideaway Trailer Park", so mobile homes. The bricks you see were the foundation they are placed upon.
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April 14, 2011

April 14, 2012
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8350
I gotta say it seems that particular storm was weirdly malevolent.... a lone rogue storm.
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Remains of Tornado siren at Woodward

From:
http://twitpic.com/photos/MikeOKwx
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Quoting Zappy:


They didn't didn't go off. Probably because of a lightning strike or power outage.

Where I live, we don't even HAVE tornado sirens, at least I have never heard it go off if there are sirens.
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Quoting Patrap:
One has to take some personal responsibility during a Severe Weather Outbreak.

There was a active Tornado Watch in effect at the time.

One has to remain vigilante when Severe weather closes in.

Relying on others, or Sirens to Warn one is just a extra Layer of Alertness.

Sirens fail, they are not a end all to being alerted.
was thinking... after all the stuff that happened earlier, I would've found some place else 2 b with my kids.... especially given woodward's history...
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Do you know if those were mobile homes or well-constructed buildings?


The first one is Hideway trailer park, the second was only labeled as Cheyenne drive.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Amazing video of the tornado southwest of Salina yesterday (the first one we all watched and freaked out over):


O__O
No wonder everyone freaked out at it,
it's almost a mile wide!
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Quoting BahaHurican:
They got knocked out by earlier storms. Sounds like some worked,others disnt.



ok
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115379
Good afternoon all!
I must say kudos to the NWS for implementing a warning system that reduce to amount of deaths in Saturday's tornado outbreak as it could have been much worst
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8350
One has to take some personal responsibility during a Severe Weather Outbreak.

There was a active Tornado Watch in effect at the time.

One has to remain vigilante when Severe weather closes in.

Relying on others, or Sirens to Warn one is just a extra Layer of Alertness.

Sirens fail, they are not a end all to being alerted.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tazmanian:
why did the sirens go off
They got knocked out by earlier storms. Sounds like some worked,others didn't.
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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.

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