An early and vicious tornado season

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:22 PM GMT on March 05, 2007

Share this Blog
2
+

It's been a vicious and early tornado season in the U.S. this year. Already, two major tornado outbreaks have killed 20 people each--the Central Florida tornado event of February 2, and last week's swarm of at least 35 tornadoes in the Southeast. In addition, an outbreak of 10 tornadoes hit the deep south February 12, killing one person in New Orleans. Only one year in recorded history has had more tornado deaths so early in the year--1949, when a tornado in Warren, Arkansas killed 55 people on January 3. The 45 fatalities in 2007 is close to the 3-year average of 46 fatalities observed for the entire year, and the 151 tornadoes observed so far in 2007 is about double what is usually observed.

Damage surveys are still being done of the devastation from last week's tornado outbreak, but it appears that five strong EF-3 tornadoes with winds of 136-165 mph touched down. Three of these twisters were killers, including the tornado that hit Enterprise, Alabama, killing eight students at the high school. The two EF-3 tornadoes observed during the Central Florida tornado event bring this year's total of EF-3 twisters to seven, a very high number of these strong tornadoes for so early in the year. What's causing such an early and severe tornado season? Well, the Central Florida outbreak can be blamed on El Nio. The other two outbreaks occurred when El Nio was suffering a rapid demise, so we'll have to blame them on unusually early spring-like weather in the U.S. With the peak months of tornado season still to come, let's hope for an unusally early end to tornado season as well!

Jeff Masters

lady lake 9 (cabdad1)
lady lake 9
Westwego Tornado Damage (GetReal)
Westwego Tornado Damage
()

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

Sign In or Register Sign In or Register

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 180 - 130

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4Blog Index

180. franck
3:46 PM GMT on March 07, 2007
Redevelopment projects like what is needed in New Orleans can't take place unless developer loans can be insured. One reads about this or that developer taking the reigns in New Orleans. None of these developers have that kind of capital. They work with giant loans, which must be underwritten, and the risk of New Orleans going under again is too great for insurers.
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1150
179. ricderr
3:13 PM GMT on March 07, 2007
oh great....whiskey...and after two shots...i'm a gonner...so i won't remember a thing....how about we do whiskey and coke....i'll whiff the whiskey and drink the coke...and...grab some vegetarian crawfish
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 684 Comments: 23098
178. lightning10
3:01 PM GMT on March 07, 2007
... It is now the driest rain season to date in downtown Los
Angeles...

This rain season... or water year... is currently the driest to date
in downtown Los Angeles since records began in 1877. Since the
beginning of the water year... which began July 1 2006... downtown Los
Angeles has received just 2.42 inches of rain. That is a whopping
9.13 inches below the normal precipitation to date... which is 11.55
inches. To date... downtown Los Angeles has received only 21 percent
of normal rainfall. If downtown Los Angeles receives less than 2.00
inches of rain from now through June 30th... this will be the driest
rain season ever.


March... with an average rainfall of 3.14 inches... can be a very
wet month in Los Angeles... as in 1884 when 12.36 inches of rain
fell. However... there do not appear to be any major storms in
sight for Southern California. After March... average rainfall
drops off sharply in April to 0.83 inches... then to 0.31 inches
in may... and just 0.06 inches in June. Normal seasonal rainfall at
downtown Los Angeles is 15.14 inches.

Seasons with the least rainfall from July 1st through March 6th
are listed below.

Rank water precip % of normal final seasonal
season 7/1-3/6 thru 3/6 rainfall
(7/1-6/30)

1... ... ... (2006-07)... ... 2.42"... ... ..21%... ... ... ... ..????"
2... ... ... (1898-99)... ... 2.98"... ... ..26%... ... ... ... ..5.59"
3... ... ... (1923-24)... ... 3.06"... ... ..26%... ... ... ... ..6.67"
4... ... ... (1947-48)... ... 3.21"... ... ..28%... ... ... ... ..7.22"
5... ... ... (1903-04)... ... 3.25"... ... ..28%... ... ... ... ..8.72"
6... ... ... (1962-63)... ... 3.52"... ... ..30%... ... ... ... ..8.38"
7... ... ... (1960-61)... ... 3.99"... ... ..35%... ... ... ... ..4.85"
8... ... ... (2001-02)... ... 4.02"... ... ..35%... ... ... ... ..4.42" *
9... ... ... (1924-25)... ... 4.05"... ... ..35%... ... ... ... ..7.94"
10... ... ..(1998-99)... ... 4.28"... ... ..37%... ... ... ... ..9.08"


* driest season ever in Los Angeles

During the driest season ever... the 2001-2002 season...
precipitation from July 1st 2001 to March 6th 2002 was 4.02
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 41 Comments: 630
175. ricderr
2:47 PM GMT on March 07, 2007
but in an evil twisted way......it had to be fun to watch
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 684 Comments: 23098
171. ricderr
2:40 PM GMT on March 07, 2007
pat....there's also a correlation between military spending and public works
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 684 Comments: 23098
169. ricderr
2:36 PM GMT on March 07, 2007
They not in the Land Levee Buissness.


and thus the reason nothing gets done..you aint got some influence to peddle..the project just isn't as important
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 684 Comments: 23098
167. ricderr
2:35 PM GMT on March 07, 2007
do you remember back in the history books....our country was floundering money wise..some great depression or other...and a president said....i'm gonna put people to work...and dams were built..and roads were built...what ever happeded to that kind of goverment spirit?
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 684 Comments: 23098
164. ricderr
2:30 PM GMT on March 07, 2007
ok...dirt cheap....is that a bit of double entendre?...LOL....strange.....think about it.....they've got the approval....they've got the funds....and they've got the mandate..you'ld think with that...someone in management..would have a brother with a backhoe that they could give the job to and be able to skim some profit
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 684 Comments: 23098
162. ricderr
2:28 PM GMT on March 07, 2007
ok...no dollr numbers...i was just trying to see....how big a bet we're talking about..
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 684 Comments: 23098
158. ricderr
2:18 PM GMT on March 07, 2007
what's the cost of rasing the levees pat..any idea?
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 684 Comments: 23098
155. ricderr
2:13 PM GMT on March 07, 2007
Pat......once the gats are built..will that really protect it..and is the gates project on schedule?
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 684 Comments: 23098
154. hurricane23
2:10 PM GMT on March 07, 2007
Indeed there will be alot of talk in the next couple of months as SST'S are running somewhat above average In parts of the caribbean to the african coast.

Here is another look at current SST'S in the atlantic basin.

(Sea Surface Temps Gulf/Caribbean)



(Sea Surface Temps Atlantic Basin)

Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13846
151. hurricane23
2:01 PM GMT on March 07, 2007
Morning everyone...
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13846
146. Olokun
12:58 PM GMT on March 07, 2007
Atlantic SST anomaly

This is the link I use -

If anyone knows a better one, please let me know.

Is there an animation of the SST graphics shown on this site?

(First ever post in first ever blog, so go easy on me)
145. ricderr
12:57 PM GMT on March 07, 2007
Darn shame that get real took his global warming blog down...since today yahoo news is running a story about scienctists heading towards the canary islands to study a section of sea floor devoid of the earths crust..instead..the mantle is showing through....now in the past decade...scientists have become aware that the mantle contains a high concentration of CO2, but with it being inaccessible truly understanding it has been difficult....I ask...are we ready to sell our soul to the MMGW theory when we have so many unanswered important questions? Mantle
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 684 Comments: 23098
144. philliesrock
12:37 PM GMT on March 07, 2007
Wow, the Euro was right forecasting TS Jacob 5 days ago.
Member Since: June 29, 2006 Posts: 65 Comments: 3197
143. KoritheMan
9:36 AM GMT on March 07, 2007
Also, the Sahara dust ( and the huge pool of super-dry air associated with it ) is becoming more prevalent and stronger each year, as Africa blows away. Here in Trinidad the dust is affecting the weather locally, and is spreading further West each year. Humidity is 38 % today, here.
The dry air is certainly restricting storm development in the Tropical Atlantic, and in a few years will conceivably affect storm development in the Caribbean, and then in the Gulf too.


Are you saying that pretty soon, we won't have tropical storm formation at all? I find that hard to believe...
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 602 Comments: 21780
142. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
7:54 AM GMT on March 07, 2007
Tropical Cyclone Jacob [Cat 2]
10 min sustained winds of 50 knots with gusts up to 70 knots.

Tropical Cyclone Warning now in effect for Christmas Island.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 54 Comments: 48864
141. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
7:47 AM GMT on March 07, 2007
Tropical Cyclone Advice #28
==========================

Severe Tropical Cyclone George [CAT 3]
15.3S 118.6E - 65 knots 958 hPa

wind gusts up to 90 knots

Severe Tropical Cyclone George [Category 3] was located 560 km north of Port Hedland and 630 km north-northeast of Karratha and moving west-southwest at 6 knots.

Severe Tropical Cyclone George [Category 3] is now moving parallel to the Pilbara coast, and is continuing to intensify.

Gales are not expected in coastal communities in the next 24 hours. However, gales may develop in offshore coastal waters during Thursday night as Tropical Cyclone George expands in size, and takes a more southwesterly track


On Friday, gales with gusts to 65 knots are possible in coastal communities between Roebourne and Coral Bay as the cyclone moves closer to the coast.

Tropical Cyclone Watches and Warnings
========================================
A CYCLONE WATCH has been declared for coastal areas from Coral Bay to Roebourne.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 54 Comments: 48864
140. Inyo
7:19 AM GMT on March 07, 2007
holy wow lightning, it was in the 90s there? Only mid 70s here but I'm right by the beach. Isn't it a bit early for the marine layer though? I think it usually kicks in with a vengeance some time in May... if it even happens. I'm sure you remember that last summer the winds came from the east most of the time and blew it away.

I hope that doesnt' happen again this year! We need that marine layer to help offset the drought! Did you know that in oak woodlands and redwood forests, fog condensing and dripping off of plants and lichen can contribute several inches of water a year to the plant community? If the fog fails, so does the so called 'fog drip'.

I'm watching this tropical-type moisture too.. but it's really summer-type stuff... all virga. If its gonna be hot maybe at least we will get a good monsoon in the mountains this year.
Member Since: September 3, 2002 Posts: 42 Comments: 905
139. Skyepony (Mod)
6:20 AM GMT on March 07, 2007
Anyone else getting "Forbiddin" when they go to the FSU model page???
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 269 Comments: 40509
138. Skyepony (Mod)
5:55 AM GMT on March 07, 2007
There is so much weather news going on the last few days, things just got active. I put some of it up in my blog. Including a bit about your drought Lightning.. Had to share this though. After the landslide a few days ago that killed 40 in Indonesia, now they just lost atleast 70 to an earthquake. Here's a list of the recent natural disasters over there.

-- March 6: An earthquake strikes Sumatra Island, killing at least 70 people and damaging hundreds of buildings.

-- March 3: Landslides triggered by days of heavy rain kill at least 40 people in eastern Indonesia.

-- Feb. 1: Rivers in the capital, Jakarta, burst their banks, submerging parts of the city in water up to 12 feet deep, killing 57 and displacing 450,000.

-- Dec. 29, 2006: A ferry sinks in a storm, killing more than 400 people in the Java Sea.

-- Dec. 23, 2006: Heavy rain touches off floods that kill more than 100 people and displace over 400,000 on Sumatra.

-- July 17, 2006: An earthquake triggers a tsunami off Java island's southern coast, killing at least 600 people.

-- June 19, 2006: Floods and mud flows kill up to 300 people in southern Sulawesi province.

-- May 27, 2006: An earthquake in central Java kills at least 5,800 people and injures more than 36,000.

-- May 2006: A series of explosions spew hot ash down the slopes of Mount Merapi, forcing 15,000 villagers to flee.

-- May 2006: A mud eruption at a drilling shaft on Java displaces more than 11,000 people and inundates villages and factories, spewing a million oil drums of muck a day.

-- Jan. 4, 2006: Some 200 people are killed in a landslide on Java.

-- March 28, 2005: More than 900 people are killed and tens of thousands are left homeless when an earthquake hits Nias, Banyak and Simeulue islands off the coast of Sumatra.

-- Dec. 26, 2004: An earthquake sets off a tsunami that kills more than 160,000 people in Indonesia, mostly in Aceh province on Sumatra.

source
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 269 Comments: 40509
137. lightning10
5:40 AM GMT on March 07, 2007
I would love some mid 80's. It was 94 today with high and mid level clouds. Humidity was up a good bit today. Tonight should be more of the same. Infact some very light rain trying to make it to the ground. This is not the Marine layer you would expect to see this time a year it is infact High and Mid Level clouds from the tripical E Pac.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 41 Comments: 630
136. Tazmanian
5:05 AM GMT on March 07, 2007
AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN FRANCISCO CA
850 PM PST TUE MAR 6 2007


TEMPS WILL WARM INTO THE 70S AND LOWER 80S INLAND
BY SUNDAY (MAYBE EVEN SOME MID AND UPPER 80S OVER INTERIOR MONTEREY
COUNTY).


i think where going right in to summer time her
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5092 Comments: 115703
135. Skyepony (Mod)
4:59 AM GMT on March 07, 2007
ajcamsmom~ I remember. You got every right to be nervous. It's impossible to predict the season this far out with anything better than a 50/50, notice TSR forecast that came out yesterday had odds of getting it right around 25% for this time of year forecast. Try to enjoy the rest of the off season & remember the gloom & doom that hung in the air this time last year. I guess I did get hit squarely in '06 by a Tropical Depression..lol.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 269 Comments: 40509
134. Tazmanian
4:56 AM GMT on March 07, 2007
last week i was talking about snow and this week 70s i got my wish lol
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5092 Comments: 115703
133. lightning10
4:55 AM GMT on March 07, 2007
I think nature forgot about Spring. 94 here today. While just a few weeks ago we where talking about near record cold with a weak storm.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 41 Comments: 630
132. ajcamsmom
4:45 AM GMT on March 07, 2007
Thank you Skyepony, I think I get this one. So, I saved it for future reference. Lost both my home and my new home in Katrina and even though nothing happened in 06...well, I am very nervous with all this El Nino/LA Nina talk...just trying to keep a handle on everything and be prepared...I check this site all day long to see what others have to say...so, again, thank you and Michael.
131. Skyepony (Mod)
4:36 AM GMT on March 07, 2007
ajcamsmom~ That link should be that easy, except the months are numbered. Feb=2
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 269 Comments: 40509
130. Skyepony (Mod)
4:34 AM GMT on March 07, 2007
Here is the offical SST average by month for the NAtl, SAtl & Tropical atlantic & their respective anomilies. The anomilies tell you how much above or below "normal" things are. All in all, comparing Feb '07 to Feb '06 & '05, it's warmer than '06, overall no where as near as '05 except in the tropics where it is .02 shy of 2005.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 269 Comments: 40509

Viewing: 180 - 130

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4Blog Index

Top of Page

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.

Local Weather

Mostly Cloudy
40 °F
Mostly Cloudy

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Carrot Nose in Danger
Deep Snow in Brookline, MA
Sunset at Fort DeSoto
New Years Day Sunset in Death Valley