Tornadoes and Climate Change: Huge Stakes, Huge Unknowns

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:05 PM GMT on May 23, 2013

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In 2011, a series of violent severe storms swept across the Plains and Southeast U.S., bringing an astonishing six billion-dollar disasters in a three-month period. The epic tornado onslaught killed 552 people, caused $25 billion in damage, and brought three of the five largest tornado outbreaks since record keeping began in 1950. In May 2011, the Joplin, Missouri tornado did $3 billion in damage--the most expensive tornado in world history--and killed 158 people, the largest death toll from a U.S. tornado since 1947. An astounding 1050 EF-1 and stronger tornadoes ripped though the U.S. for the one-year period ending that month. This was the greatest 12-month total for these stronger tornadoes in the historical record, and an event so rare that we might expect it to occur only once every 62,500 years. Fast forward now to May 2012 - April 2013. Top-ten coldest temperatures on record across the Midwest during March and April of 2013, coming after a summer of near-record heat and drought in 2012, brought about a remarkable reversal in our tornado tally--the lowest 12-month total of EF-1 and stronger tornadoes on record--just 197. This was an event so rare we might expect it to occur only once every 3,000 - 4,000 years. And now, in May 2013, after another shattering EF-5 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, residents of the Midwest must be wondering, are we back to the 2011 pattern? Which of these extremes is climate change most likely to bring about? Is climate change already affecting these storms? These are hugely important questions, but ones we don't have good answers for. Climate change is significantly impacting the environment that storms form in, giving them more moisture and energy to draw upon, and altering large-scale jet stream patterns. We should expect that this will potentially cause major changes in tornadoes and severe thunderstorms. Unfortunately, tornadoes and severe thunderstorms are the extreme weather phenomena we have the least understanding on with respect to climate change. We don't have a good enough database to determine how tornadoes may have changed in recent decades, and our computer models are currently not able to tell us if tornadoes are more likely to increase or decrease in a future warmer climate.


Video 1. Remarkable video of the tornado that hit Tuscaloosa, Alabama on April 27, 2011, part of the largest and most expensive tornado outbreak in U.S. history--the $10.2 billion dollar Southeast U.S. Super Outbreak of April 25 - 28, 2011. With damage estimated at $2.2 billion, the Tuscaloosa tornado was the 2nd most expensive tornado in world history, behind the 2011 Joplin, Missouri tornado. Fast forward to minute four to see the worst of the storm.


Figure 1. Will climate change increase the incidence of these sorts of frightening radar images? Multiple hook echoes from at least ten supercell thunderstorms cover Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee in this radar image taken during the height of the April 27, 2011 Super Outbreak, the largest and most expensive tornado outbreak in U.S. history. A multi-hour animation is available here.

Changes in past tornado activity difficult to assess due to a poor database
It's tough to tell if tornadoes may have changed due to a changing climate, since the tornado database is of poor quality for climate research. We cannot measure the wind speeds of a tornado directly, except in very rare cases when researchers happen to be present with sophisticated research equipment. A tornado has to run over a building and cause damage before an intensity rating can be assigned. The National Weather Service did not begin doing systematic tornado damage surveys until 1976, so all tornadoes from 1950 - 1975 were assigned a rating on the Fujita Scale (F-scale) based on old newspaper accounts and photos. An improved Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale to rate tornadoes was adopted in 2007. The transition to the new EF scale still allows valid comparisons of tornadoes rated, for example, EF-5 on the new scale and F5 on the old scale, but does create some problems for tornado researchers studying long-term changes in tornado activity. More problematic is the major changes in the Fujita-scale rating process that occurred in the mid-1970s (when damage surveys began), and again in 2001, when scientists began rating tornadoes lower because of engineering concerns and unintended consequences of National Weather Service policy changes. According to Brooks (2013), "Tornadoes in the early part of the official National Weather Service record (1950 - approximately 1975) are rated with higher ratings than the 1975 - 2000 period, which, in turn, had higher ratings than 2001 - 2007." All of these factors cause considerable uncertainty when attempting to assess if tornadoes are changing over time. At a first glance, it appears that tornado frequency has increased in recent decades (Figure 2). However, this increase may be entirely caused by factors unrelated to climate change:

1) Population growth has resulted in more tornadoes being reported. Heightened awareness of tornadoes has also helped; the 1996 Hollywood blockbuster movie Twister "played no small part" in a boom in reported tornadoes, according to tornado scientist Dr. Nikolai Dotzek.

2) Advances in weather radar, particularly the deployment of about 100 Doppler radars across the U.S. in the mid-1990s, has resulted in a much higher tornado detection rate.

3) Tornado damage surveys have grown more sophisticated over the years. For example, we now commonly classify multiple tornadoes along a damage path that might have been attributed to just one twister in the past.


Figure 2. The total number of U.S. tornadoes since 1950 has shown a substantial increase. Image credit: NOAA/NCDC.


Figure 3. The number of EF-0 (blue line) and EF-1 and stronger tornadoes (maroon squares) reported in the U.S. since 1950. The rise in number of tornadoes in recent decades is seen to be primarily in the weakest EF-0 twisters. As far as we can tell (which isn't very well, since the historical database of tornadoes is of poor quality), there is not a decades-long increasing trend in the numbers of tornadoes stronger than EF-0. Since these stronger tornadoes are the ones most likely to be detected, this implies that climate change, as yet, is not having a noticeable impact on U.S. tornadoes. Image credit: Kunkel, Kenneth E., et al., 2013, "Monitoring and Understanding Trends in Extreme Storms: State of Knowledge," Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 94, 499–514, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00262.1


Figure 4. Insured damage losses in the U.S. due to thunderstorms and tornadoes, as compiled by Munich Re. Damages have increased sharply in the past decade, but not enough to say that an increase in tornadoes and severe thunderstorms may be to blame.

Stronger tornadoes do not appear to be increasing
Tornadoes stronger than EF-0 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale (or F0 on the pre-2007 Fujita Scale) are more likely to get counted, since they tend to cause significant damage along a long track. Thus, the climatology of these tornadoes may offer a clue as to how climate change may be affecting severe weather. If the number of strong tornadoes has actually remained constant over the years, we should expect to see some increase in these twisters over the decades, since more buildings have been erected in the paths of tornadoes. However, if we look at the statistics of U.S. tornadoes stronger than EF-0 or F-0 since 1950, there does not appear to be any increase in their number (Figure 3.) Damages from thunderstorms and tornadoes have shown a significant increase in recent decades (Figure 4), but looking at damages is a poor way to determine if climate change is affecting severe weather, since there are so many human factors involved. A study in Environmental Hazards (Simmons et al., 2012) found no increase in tornado damages from 1950 - 2011, after normalizing the data for increases in wealth and property. Also, Bouwer (BAMS, 2010) reviewed 22 disaster loss studies world-wide, published 2001 - 2010; in all 22 studies, increases in wealth and population were the "most important drivers for growing disaster losses." His conclusion: human-caused climate change "so far has not had a significant impact on losses from natural disasters." Studies that normalize disaster data are prone to error, as revealed by a 2012 study looking at storm surge heights and damages. Given the high amount of uncertainty in the tornado and tornado damage databases, the conclusion of the "official word" on climate science, the 2007 United Nations IPCC report, pretty much sums things up: "There is insufficient evidence to determine whether trends exist in small scale phenomena such as tornadoes, hail, lighting, and dust storms." Until a technology is developed that can reliably detect all tornadoes, there is no hope of determining how tornadoes might be changing in response to a changing climate. According to Doswell (2007): "I see no near-term solution to the problem of detecting detailed spatial and temporal trends in the occurrence of tornadoes by using the observed data in its current form or in any form likely to evolve in the near future."


Figure 5. Wind shear from the surface to 6 km altitude in May on days with days with higher risk conditions for severe weather (upper-10% instability and wind shear) over the South Central U.S. has shown no significant change between 1950 - 2010. Image credit: Brooks, 2013, "The spatial distribution of severe thunderstorm and tornado environments from global reanalysis data", Atmospheric Research Volumes 67-68, July-September 2003, Pages 73-94.


Figure 6. Six-hourly periods per year with environments supportive of significant severe thunderstorms in the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains. The line is a local least-squares regression fit to the series, and shows no significant change in environments supportive of significant severe thunderstorms in recent decades. Image credit: Brooks, H.E., and N. Dotek, 2008, "The spatial distribution of severe convective storms and an analysis of their secular changes", Climate Extremes and Society

How are the background conditions that spawn tornadoes changing?
An alternate technique to study how climate change may be affecting tornadoes is look at how the large-scale environmental conditions favorable for tornado formation have changed through time. Moisture, instability, lift, and wind shear are needed for tornadic thunderstorms to form. The exact mix required varies considerably depending upon the situation, and is not well understood. However, Brooks (2003) attempted to develop a climatology of weather conditions conducive for tornado formation by looking at atmospheric instability (as measured by the Convective Available Potential Energy, or CAPE), and the amount of wind shear between the surface and 6 km altitude. High values of CAPE and surface to 6 km wind shear are conducive to formation of tornadic thunderstorms. The regions they analyzed with high CAPE and high shear for the period 1997-1999 did correspond pretty well with regions where significant (F2 and stronger) tornadoes occurred. Riemann-Campe et al. (2009) found that globally, CAPE increased significantly between 1958 - 2001. However, little change in CAPE was found over the Central and Eastern U.S. during spring and summer during the most recent period they studied, 1979 - 2001. Brooks (2013) found no significant trends in wind shear over the U.S. from 1950 - 2010 (Figure 5.) A preliminary report issued by NOAA’s Climate Attribution Rapid Response Team in July 2011 found no trends in CAPE or wind shear over the lower Mississippi Valley over the past 30 years.


Figure 7. Change in the number of days per year with a high severe thunderstorm potential as predicted by the climate model (A2 scenario) of Trapp et al. 2007, due to predicted changes in wind shear and Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE). Most of the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains is expected to see 1 - 2 additional days per year with the potential for severe thunderstorms. The greatest increase in potential severe thunderstorm days (three) is expected along the North and South Carolina coast. Image credit: NASA.

How will tornadoes and severe thunderstorms change in the future?
Using a high-resolution regional climate model (25 km grid size) zoomed in on the U.S., Trapp et al. (2007) and Trapp et al. (2009) found that the decrease in 0-6 km wind shear in the late 21st century would more than be made up for by an increase in instability (CAPE). Their model predicted an increase in the number of days with high severe storm potential for most of the U.S. by the end of the 21st century, particularly for locations east of the Rocky Mountains (Figure 7.) Brooks (2013) also found that severe thunderstorms would likely increase over the U.S. by the end of the century, but theorized that the severe thunderstorms of the future might have a higher proportion causing straight-line wind damage, and slightly lower proportion spawning tornadoes and large hail. For example, a plausible typical future severe thunderstorm day many decades from now might have wind shear lower by 1 m/s, but a 2 m/s increase in maximum thunderstorm updraft speed. This might cause a 5% reduction in the fraction of severe thunderstorms spawning tornadoes, but a 5% increase in the fraction of severe thunderstorms with damaging straight-line winds. He comments: "However, if the number of overall favorable environments increases, there may be little change, if any, in the number of tornadoes or hailstorms in the US, even if the relative fraction decreases. The signals in the climate models and our physical understanding of the details of storm-scale processes are sufficiently limited to make it extremely hazardous to make predictions of large changes or to focus on small regions. Projected changes would be well within error estimates."


Figure 8. From 1995 (the first year we have wind death data) through 2012, deaths from high winds associated with severe thunderstorms accounted for 8% of all U.S. weather fatalities, while tornadoes accounted for 13%. Data from NOAA.

Severe thunderstorms are capable of killing more people than tornadoes
If the future climate does cause fewer tornadoes but more severe thunderstorms, this may not end up reducing the overall deaths and damages from these dangerous weather phenomena. In 2012, the warmest year in U.S. history, the death toll from severe thunderstorms hit 104--higher than the 70 people killed by tornadoes that year. Severe thunderstorms occur preferentially during the hottest months of the year, June July and August, and are energized by record heat. For example, wunderground weather historian Christopher C. Burt called the number of all-time heat records set on June 29, 2012 “especially extraordinary,” and on that day, an organized thunderstorm complex called a derecho swept across a 700-mile swath of the Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic, killing thirteen people and causing more than $1 billion in damage. The amount of energy available to the derecho was extreme, due to the record heat. The derecho knocked out power to 4 million people for up to a week, in areas where the record heat wave was causing high heat stress. Heat claimed 34 lives in areas without power in the week following the derecho. Excessive heat has been the number one cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S since 1995, killing more than twice as many people as tornadoes have. Climate models are not detailed enough to predict how organized severe thunderstorm events such as derechos might change in a future warmer climate. But a warmer atmosphere certainly contributed to the intensity of the 2012 derecho, and we will be seeing a lot more summers like 2012 in coming decades. A future with sharply increased damages and deaths due to more intense severe thunderstorms and derechos is one nasty climate change surprise that may lurk ahead.


Figure 9. Lightning over Tucson, Arizona on August 14, 2012. A modeling study by Del Genio et al.(2007) predicts that lighting will increase by 6% by the end of the century, potentially leading to an increase in lightning-triggered wildfires. Image credit: wunderphotographer ChandlerMike.

Lightning may increase in a warmer climate
Del Genio et al. (2007) used a climate model with doubled CO2 to show that a warming climate would make the atmosphere more unstable (higher CAPE) and thus prone to more severe weather. However, decreases in wind shear offset this effect, resulting in little change in the amount of severe weather in the Central and Eastern U.S. late this century. However, they found that there would likely be an increase in the very strongest thunderstorms. The speed of updrafts in thunderstorms over land increased by about 1 m/s in their simulation, since upward moving air needed to travel 50 - 70 mb higher to reach the freezing level, resulting in stronger thunderstorms. In the Western U.S., the simulation showed that drying led lead to fewer thunderstorms overall, but the strongest thunderstorms increased in number by 26%, leading to a 6% increase in the total amount of lighting hitting the ground each year. If these results are correct, we might expect more lightning-caused fires in the Western U.S. late this century, due to increased drying and more lightning. Only 12% of U.S. wildfires are ignited by natural causes, but these account for 52% of the acres burned (U.S. Fire Administration, 2000). So, even a small change in lightning flash rate has important consequences. Lightning is also a major killer, as an average of 52 people per year were killed by lightning strikes over the 30-year period ending in 2012, accounting for 6% of all U.S. weather-related fatalities.

Summary
We currently do not know how tornadoes and severe thunderstorms may be changing due to climate change, nor is there hope that we will be able to do so in the foreseeable future. It does not appear that there has been an increase in U.S. tornadoes stronger than EF-0 in recent decades, but climate change appears to be causing more extreme years--both high and low--of late. Tornado researcher Dr. Harold Brooks of the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma said in a 2013 interview on Andrew Revkin's New York Times dotearth blog: "there’s evidence to suggest that we have seen an increase in the variability of tornado occurrence in the U.S." Preliminary research using climate models suggests that we may see an increase in the number of severe thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes over the U.S. late this century, but these thunderstorms will be more likely to produce damaging straight-line winds, and less likely to produce tornadoes and large hail. This will not necessarily result in a reduction in deaths and damages, though, since severe thunderstorms can be just as dangerous and deadly as tornadoes--especially when they knock out power to areas suffering high-stress heat waves. Research into climate change impacts on severe weather is just beginning, and much more study is needed.

Other analyses of tornadoes and climate change
Making Sense of the Moore Tornado in a Climate Context by Andrew Freedman of climatecentral.org

Tornadoes, Extreme Weather And Climate Change, Revisited by Joe Romm at climateprogress.org

Seeking Clarity on Terrible Tornadoes in a Changing Climate by Andrew Revkin of the New York Times has links to four other excellent blogs on the subject.


Video 2. Dr. Harold Brooks of the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Okla., gave a video interview at a tornado and climate research conference held at Columbia University earlier this year. He discusses why we don't issue seasonal tornado forecasts, but doesn't discuss climate change.

References
Brooks, H.E., 2013, "Severe thunderstorms and climate change," Atmospheric Research, Volume 123, 1 April 2013, Pages 129–138, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosres.2012.04.002.

Brooks, H.E., J.W. Lee, and J.P. Craven, 2003, "The spatial distribution of severe thunderstorm and tornado environments from global reanalysis data", Atmospheric Research Volumes 67-68, July-September 2003, Pages 73-94.

Brooks, H.E., and N. Dotek, 2008, "The spatial distribution of severe convective storms and an analysis of their secular changes", Climate Extremes and Society, edited by Henry F. Diaz, Richard J. Murnane,

Doswell, C.A., 2007, "Small Sample Size and Data Quality Issues Illustrated Using Tornado Occurrence Data", E-Journal of Severe Storms Meteorology Vol 2, No. 5 (2007).

Del Genio, A.D., M-S Yao, and J. Jonas, 2007,
Will moist convection be stronger in a warmer climate?, Geophysical Research Letters, 34, L16703, doi: 10.1029/2007GL030525.

Kunkel, Kenneth E., et al., 2013, "Monitoring and Understanding Trends in Extreme Storms: State of Knowledge," Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 94, 499–514, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00262.1

Marsh, P.T., H.E. Brooks, and D.J. Karoly, 2007, Assessment of the severe weather environment in North America simulated by a global climate model, Atmospheric Science Letters, 8, 100-106, doi: 10.1002/asl.159.

Riemann-Campe, K., Fraedrich, K., and F. Lunkeit, 2009, Global climatology of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and Convective Inhibition (CIN) in ERA-40 reanalysis, Atmospheric Research Volume 93, Issues 1-3, July 2009, Pages 534-545, 4th European Conference on Severe Storms.

Simmons, K.M., Dutter, D., and Pielke, R., 2012, "Normalized Tornado Damage in the United States: 1950-2011," DOI: 10.1080/17477891.2012.738642

Trapp, R.J., N.S. Diffenbaugh, H.E. Brooks, M.E. Baldwin, E.D. Robinson, and J.S. Pal, 2007, Severe thunderstorm environment frequency during the 21st century caused by anthropogenically enhanced global radiative forcing, PNAS 104 no. 50, 19719-19723, Dec. 11, 2007.

Trapp, R. J., Diffenbaugh, N. S., & Gluhovsky, A., 2009, "Transient response of severe thunderstorm forcing to elevated greenhouse gas concentrations," Geophysical Research Letters, 36(1).

U.S. Fire Administration, “2000 wildland fire season,” U.S. Fire Administration Topical Fire Research Series, vol. 1, Issue 2, 4 pp.

Jeff Masters

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1078. pcola57
12:41 AM GMT on May 25, 2013
Quoting Skyepony:
Just caught a Delta4 heavy launch. It's made a few Nocolucent clouds. Hoping they grow big..


New blog Skye.. :)
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6915
1077. Skyepony (Mod)
12:39 AM GMT on May 25, 2013
Just caught a Delta4 heavy launch. It's made a few Nocolucent clouds. Hoping they grow big..
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 225 Comments: 39388
1076. Barefootontherocks
9:39 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting Barefootontherocks:

Thanks, nrt.
:)
By gender but gives some indication of what kind of deaths are listed.
Of the 104 total wind deaths for 2012
~58 from "thunderstorm wind" (which ? met severe thunderstorm criteria 58 mph or more)
~35 from "high wind" (unknown origin but not thunderstorm wind)
~11 that apparently do not fall into either of these wind categories, but are not left out due to unknown gender


Continuing this thought process...
Figure 8 in the blog. "From 1995 (the first year we have wind death data) through 2012, deaths from high winds associated with severe thunderstorms accounted for 8% of all U.S. weather fatalities, while tornadoes accounted for 13%. Data from NOAA."

Any way you grind it, the entire 8% wind deaths on average 1995-2012 in that graph cannot be attributed to severe thunderstorms.

Reminds me of Chief Seattle's famous question "How can one sell the air?"


Really, when you think about it, monitoring death and damages is not a valid way to follow potential impact of climate change on severe weather anyhow. Something equivalent to ACE used for the tropics might be better.

Unless a person's only interest is risk assessment.
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 159 Comments: 19373
1075. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
9:35 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56059
1074. Barefootontherocks
9:27 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


In that wind pdf at the bottom is a table that divides Thunderstorm Wind / High Wind by state. Maybe that helps?
Thanks, nrt.
:)

By gender but gives some indication of what kind of deaths are listed.

Of the 104 total wind deaths for 2012
~58 from "thunderstorm wind" (which ? met severe thunderstorm criteria 58 mph or more)
~35 from "high wind" (unknown origin but not thunderstorm wind)
~11 that apparently do not fall into either of these wind categories, but are not left out due to unknown gender
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 159 Comments: 19373
1073. Dakster
9:22 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Boy scouts have gone LGBTQ... Well, not really the 'L' part, I guess that would be girl scouts. Who cares. Let kids be kids and teach them to do right and be productive members of society.
--

Will continue to watch out for tropical development...

Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10790
1072. mikatnight
9:15 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting Skyepony:
Tomorrow is March against Monsanto day..it's a world wide event..


Why do we march?

- Research studies have shown that Monsanto genetically-modified foods can lead to serious health conditions such as the development of cancer tumors, infertility and birth defects.
- In the United States, the FDA, the agency tasked with ensuring food safety for the population, is steered by ex-Monsanto executives, and we feel that's a questionable conflict of interests and explains the lack of government-lead research on the long-term effects of GMO products.
- Recently, the U.S. Congress and president collectively passed the nicknamed Monsanto Protection Act that, among other things, bans courts from halting the sale of Monsanto's genetically-modified seeds.
- For too long, Monsanto has been the benefactor of corporate subsidies and political favoritism. Organic and small farmers suffer losses while Monsanto continues to forge its monopoly over the world's food supply, including exclusive patenting rights over seeds and genetic makeup.
- Monsanto's GMO seeds are harmful to the environment; for example, scientists have indicated they have caused colony collapse among the world's bee population. The industrial and chemical farming practices add a significant percent of greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere each year.



What are solutions we advocate?

- Voting with your dollar by buying organic and boycotting Monsanto-owned companies that use GMOs in their products.
- Labeling of GMOs so that consumers can make those informed decisions easier.
- Repealing relevant provisions of the Monsanto Protection Act.
- Calling for further scientific research on the health effects of GMOs.
- Holding Monsanto executives and Monsanto-supporting politicians accountable through direct communication, grassroots journalism, social media, etc.
- Continuing to inform the public about Monsanto's secrets.
- Taking to the streets to show the world and Monsanto that we won't take these injustices quietly.

We will not stand for cronyism. We will not stand for poison.
That's why we March Against Monsanto.


An excellent documentary released yesterday. Seeds of Death: Unveiling The Lies of GMO's - Full Movie



Good post Skypony (as always). One of these days people are going to wake up, thanks to folks like you who keep shakin' 'em.
Member Since: October 18, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 3052
1071. wunderkidcayman
9:12 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting anotherwrongyear:
should we get ready to board up in florida yat? or will it be another false alarm?


Look its too early to say. best thing to do is prep and watch, don't put anything into effect like shuttering up yet. we will most likely have to wait till we get an invest. models ain't that good till we got something to track.
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12716
1070. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
9:11 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
1069. wunderkidcayman
9:08 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Notice the new low south of Costa Rica and that one is the one to watch for future development in EPAC.

Maybe maybe not tropical wave plus Colombian low plus Monsoon trough plus good upper conditions I still say W Caribbean development

Kinda reminds me of Nicole 2010
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12716
1068. mikatnight
9:07 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting KeysieLife:
Hurricane center: Beware of the storm surge Link

My favorite line here:

"We were using 'depth,' thinking this was very clear. It turns out that nobody else does," Rhome said. "They're waiting for height, how high it is, and I would never have guessed in a million years that one word — one word — makes a difference in how people interpret something."

Now that completely describes this blog! =)


FYI - smartphone owners in Palm Beach County should have the app, PBC DART.
Member Since: October 18, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 3052
1066. MAweatherboy1
9:06 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
This is from my local NWS office regarding tomorrow:

NOT YOUR TYPICAL START TO MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND WITH COASTAL LOW OVER
GULF OF MAINE AS MID LEVEL LOW DRIFTS ACROSS SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND.
HEIGHTS ALOFT CONTINUE TO FALL WHICH RESULTS IN COOLING FROM TOP
DOWN. VERY IMPRESSIVE SYNOPTIC SCALE FORCING VIA MID LEVEL Q-VECTOR
CONVERGENCE. STRONGEST LIFT WILL ONCE AGAIN BE ACROSS WESTERN
SECTIONS OF CT/MA INTO SOUTHWEST NH...I-91 CORRIDOR. MODEL SOUNDINGS
SUGGEST LATE IN THE DAY ACROSS THIS AREA ESPECIALLY THE HIGHER
TERRAIN OF MA/NH THAT RAIN MAY MIX OR CHANGE TO SNOW AT TIMES WHEN
PRECIP INTENSITY IS GREATEST. THIS WILL BE MOST COMMON AT ELEVATIONS
GREATER THAN 1KFT AS FREEZING LEVELS DROP TO THIS LEVEL. SURFACE AND
GROUND TEMPS LIKELY TOO WARM FOR ANY ACCUMULATION BUT MINOR SNOW
ACCUMULATION POSSIBLE ON TREES/POWERLINES. DON/T EXPECT ANY IMPACT
JUST SOME DECORATIVE SNOW POSSIBLE HIGHER TERRAIN.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 8039
1065. wunderkidcayman
9:04 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting anotherwrongyear:
now with the boy scouts gone to garbage this tropical season will be quite interesting

?
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12716
1064. Tropicsweatherpr
9:04 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting wunderkidcayman:

That tropical wave is actually nearing Trinidad


Notice the new low south of Costa Rica and that one is the one to watch for future development in EPAC.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14896
1063. wunderkidcayman
9:03 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
I strongly still believe that our first storm will form in the Western Caribbean eventually impacting Cuba and S Florida sometime between early next week and late next weekend/ week after
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12716
1061. Barefootontherocks
9:00 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting 1900hurricane:
Chased my first tornado during this outbreak on the other side of the Red River. Although the tornadoes in Texas on that day were not much to write home about, it was definitely a very cool day for me.
A memorable day for you. For me also.

(paragraph relating personal story removed)

Fortunately this 190 mph EF4 on May 24, 2011 raked over lots of cow pasture. It caused no deaths, but it did change many lives. The other EF4 caused one fatality in Chickasha. The longer-tracking EF5, seven fatalities. Our blogger juslivn has a story connected with the EF5 but I will leave her to tell it if she wants to.

"Tornado on the ground" means something here in central Oklahoma. It just does.

Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 159 Comments: 19373
1060. wunderkidcayman
8:59 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting wunderkidcayman:


That tropical wave is actually nearing Trinidad


It's at 59/60W
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12716
1059. wunderkidcayman
8:58 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting GTcooliebai:
The EPAC storm is going to be a large one. Also I'm talking about the wave out in the Central Atlantic I could see that making it to the Western Caribbean.


That tropical wave is actually nearing Trinidad
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12716
1057. mikatnight
8:57 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting KDDFlorida:
Link

Hello Eveyone, been lurking here for years, great source of info and sometimes drama with the Troll activities and opinions! Lol Anyway, part of my work responsibility is employee safety, and NOAA has a great handout for Hurricane Preparedness week called "Tropical Cyclone Preparedness Guide" near the bottom of the page at this link. Nothing new there for this group, but a great concise resource to provide to those less informed on why we all lurk here.

Have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend everyone.


Also, check out the Hurricane Protocol guide, where there are multitudes of links - including the NHC guide you mentioned, as well as PATRAP's Hurricane Preparation 2013 guide. Anybody else have any suggestions? Let me know and I'll add it to the guide! Click on mikatnight...
Member Since: October 18, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 3052
1056. allancalderini
8:56 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting StormTrackerScott:
It may not look like much now but it appears we are going to get a system going on the tail end of this front across the Bahamas. Florida and the Bahamas are in for a serious rain event later next week as this system developes.

Like I say previously that this remind me how Patty develop last year.
Member Since: October 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 4467
1055. barbamz
8:56 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting Patrap:
Horrific EF-5 Moore, Oklahoma tornado: May 20, 2013



For sure one of the most impressive vid's of this one. Too close for comfort.
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 62 Comments: 6707
1053. wxchaser97
8:51 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting GTcooliebai:
I think that's about right ;)



Yeah, seems legit ;)
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7972
1052. Patrap
8:51 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Horrific EF-5 Moore, Oklahoma tornado: May 20, 2013

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129844
1051. barbamz
8:50 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting Bielle:


It used to be said by local gardeners that nothing should be planted before the 24th of May. The theory was that there was almost no chance of frost by then. Today is the 24th and the overnight temperature is supposed to go down to zero. I'll be out with blankets for the begonias.




Photo of the first lilly that has opened yesterday on my rainy balcony. They come back every year. And though we've got cold and wet weather these days, temps fortunately wouldn't drop sub zero (freezing) in the center of my city at Rhine River.
But I had to cover and protect them again and again until very late in spring this year. All the best for your plants, Bielle! And good evening everybody else ...


Temps right now in Europe in Celsius (enlarge)

Keep your socks on - autumn is in the air
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 62 Comments: 6707
1050. Patrap
8:44 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Iceland Tourists Get Stuck on Floating Iceberg
Back To News »

May 23, 2013




Four tourists took an unexpected "trip" on a glacial lagoon in Iceland earlier this week, after the iceberg on which they'd set up a table and chairs for dinner broke away from land, pushing them more than 30 feet away from the shore.

The four tourists from the United States were about to dine May 19 on an ice floe in the Fjallsárlón glacial lagoon in East Iceland, just west of the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, a popular tourist attraction in the area, according to a report in Iceland Review.

While they were setting up dinner on the ice floe, a gust of wind suddenly blew them away, leaving them stranded out on the icy waters of the lagoon, about 10 meters (roughly 32 feet) from land.

Before the ice floe had drifted too far away, one of the tourists jumped off and swam through the water to land, where he called Iceland's 112 emergency number for help.

Thankfully, no one in the tourists' party was hurt and the situation was actually "quite comical," according to Páll Sigurður Vignisson, a member of the team that rescued the stranded diners, said in Iceland Review.

"When we arrived it was quite comical to see them sitting on chairs and with a table on an iceberg," he said, adding: "Yes, the dinner was over."

If the ice floe had drifted much further out, he added, the story might have ended very differently.

"They could have been in danger, and so is this natural iceberg that we never know what does, if he ever rolls or when, you have no idea about it," he told the Icelandic news service RUV.

MORE: Stunning Turquoise Ice on Ancient Lake
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129844
1049. PedleyCA
8:42 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting GTcooliebai:
I think that's about right ;)




This must be Texas.....
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6239
1048. 1900hurricane
8:41 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting Barefootontherocks:
NWS Norman writeup about that day.

Information for the tornado outbreak of May 24, 2011

Two EF4s and an EF5 among others

Chased my first tornado during this outbreak on the other side of the Red River. Although the tornadoes in Texas on that day were not much to write home about, it was definitely a very cool day for me.
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 47 Comments: 11709
1047. bigwes6844
8:40 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting wxchaser97:

There is a pretty good chance that something develops in the NW Caribbean with the setup coming up in the first week of June. It shouldn't be doom, but there is a decent chance something forms. Will it hit Florida or anywhere else no one really knows. It should be monitored for more consistency with other models.


Page 20? I'm on page 6. You must have a lower post per page count.
no teddy posted the storm poss. on page 20 at the end i think its comment 1040 something
Member Since: July 25, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2751
1046. wxchaser97
8:37 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Ugh, I'm getting tired of all of these up and down temperatures. I just want it warm to hot until fall. Also, I'm currently writing a blog about the Moore tornado and my school district's tornado safety.

URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DETROIT/PONTIAC MI
255 PM EDT FRI MAY 24 2013

...TEMPERATURES FALLING INTO THE 30S TONIGHT...

.CLEAR SKIES THIS EVENING COUPLED WITH HIGH PRESSURE BUILDING INTO
SOUTHEAST MICHIGAN WILL SET THE STAGE FOR A COLD NIGHT...AS
TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED TO DROP INTO THE 30S TO AROUND 40
DEGREES...LEADING TO AREAS OF FROST.

MIZ047>049-053>055-060>063-068>070-075-076-082-08 3-251200-
/O.NEW.KDTX.FR.Y.0001.130525T0600Z-130525T1200Z/
MIDLAND-BAY-HURON-SAGINAW-TUSCOLA-SANILAC-SHIAWAS SEE-GENESEE-
LAPEER-ST. CLAIR-LIVINGSTON-OAKLAND-MACOMB-WASHTENAW-WAYNE-
LENAWEE-MONROE-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...MIDLAND...BAY CITY...BAD AXE...
SAGINAW...CARO...SANDUSKY...OWOSSO...FLINT...LAPE ER...
PORT HURON...HOWELL...PONTIAC...WARREN...ANN ARBOR...DETROIT...
ADRIAN...MONROE
255 PM EDT FRI MAY 24 2013

...FROST ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 2 AM TO 8 AM EDT SATURDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN DETROIT/PONTIAC HAS ISSUED A
FROST ADVISORY...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 2 AM TO 8 AM EDT
SATURDAY.

HAZARDOUS WEATHER...

* TEMPERATURES DROPPING INTO THE MID 30S LATE TONIGHT...OUTSIDE
OF THE URBAN HEAT ISLAND OF METRO DETROIT.

IMPACTS...

* AREAS OF FROST DEVELOPING OVERNIGHT MAY DAMAGE SENSITIVE VEGETATION IF
NOT PROTECTED.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

* A FROST ADVISORY MEANS THAT FROST IS POSSIBLE. SENSITIVE
OUTDOOR PLANTS MAY BE KILLED IF LEFT UNCOVERED.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7972
1045. muddertracker
8:34 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting Grothar:


Feeling that riiiight now.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 2351
1044. wxchaser97
8:34 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting washingtonian115:
A imaginary storm with doom.

There is a pretty good chance that something develops in the NW Caribbean with the setup coming up in the first week of June. It shouldn't be doom, but there is a decent chance something forms. Will it hit Florida or anywhere else no one really knows. It should be monitored for more consistency with other models.

Quoting bigwes6844:
check page 20 towards the bottom

Page 20? I'm on page 6. You must have a lower post per page count.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7972
1043. bigwes6844
8:30 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting Dakster:
What's the GFS been forecasting for Florida lately?
check page 20 towards the bottom
Member Since: July 25, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2751
1042. washingtonian115
8:30 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting Dakster:
What's the GFS been forecasting for Florida lately?
A imaginary storm with doom.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17814
1041. Dakster
8:24 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
What's the GFS been forecasting for Florida lately?
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10790
1040. nrtiwlnvragn
8:19 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting Barefootontherocks:
Dr. Masters,
Your Figure 8 graphic is captioned
"From 1995 (the first year we have wind death data) through 2012, deaths from high winds associated with severe thunderstorms accounted for 8% of all U.S. weather fatalities, while tornadoes accounted for 13%. Data from NOAA."

Are all these wind deaths from a severe thunderstorm?

Your text attributes all 2012 104 "wind" deaths to severe weather. I'm having trouble making the stretch. Are those killed by Doug firs toppling in PAC NW wind included here as "not able to be accurately categorized" or are they placed in another cause of fatality? Can't be "winter" because a lot of times that happen in fall (NPI). Also, heat deaths after derecho? does the wind get shorted here?

Found this at the NOAA link - .pdf file titled "Wind 2012":
2012 Wind Related Fatalities
There were 104 wind related deaths in 2012, up from 76 in 2011. This number is also more than twice the 10-year average of 45 victims. New York and New Jersey numbered the highest death tolls with 18 and 11 fatalities, respectively, due to Hurricane/Post Tropical Storm Sandy, followed by 9 in Texas. The largest category of wind victims were those not able to be accurately categorized and thus place in the "other" category, 33 (32%), followed by 20 (19%) in a vehicle, 17 (16%) outside, and 16 (15%) in a permanent home. Adults aged 50-59 were the most impacted age range with 21 victims (20%). More males, 78 (75%), than females, 23 (22%), were killed by wind, with 3% unknown.

Please help me out. I am having one of those "can't tell the difference between 1" and golf-ball-size hail" moments. Where can I discover if all 104 deaths were related to wind during a severe thunderstorm? Which is what we are talking here, right? Severe weather.

From that same NOAA page


In that wind pdf at the bottom is a table that divides Thunderstorm Wind / High Wind by state. Maybe that helps?
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 11343
1038. Chucktown
8:15 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Nice write-up in the Washington Post today about the 5 myths of tornadoes. A little shout out for TV mets as well.

Link
Member Since: August 27, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1785
1037. Barefootontherocks
8:12 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
This time two years ago:

NWS Norman writeup about that day.

Information for the tornado outbreak of May 24, 2011

Two EF4s and an EF5 among others
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 159 Comments: 19373
1036. Some1Has2BtheRookie
8:08 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting Grothar:


Speak for yourself. :)


Ain't it da truth! We did not come this far to not see the next millennium too!
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4772
1035. KDDFlorida
8:07 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
big picture



Sort of like looking down into my Gumbo Pot when she's starting to get cooking!
Member Since: March 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 39
1034. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
8:05 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
big picture

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56059
1033. KDDFlorida
8:01 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Link

Hello Eveyone, been lurking here for years, great source of info and sometimes drama with the Troll activities and opinions! Lol Anyway, part of my work responsibility is employee safety, and NOAA has a great handout for Hurricane Preparedness week called "Tropical Cyclone Preparedness Guide" near the bottom of the page at this link. Nothing new there for this group, but a great concise resource to provide to those less informed on why we all lurk here.

Have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend everyone.
Member Since: March 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 39
1032. TropicalAnalystwx13
8:01 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
This time two years ago:

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32829
1031. CaicosRetiredSailor
8:00 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

SAVE THE DATE! May 30, 2 pm ET:
Join us for a LIVE chat on our @NOAALive Twitter feed with NOAA's NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center Branch Chief James Franklin and hurricane forecaster Robbie Berg. They'll be answering your questions about hurricane preparedness, forecasting and MORE! Details here:

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2013/20130826 _nhc_tweetchat.html

Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6069
1030. bigwes6844
7:58 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Interesting little spinup on the ECMWF by 192 hours, seems to be the result of a trough split in the Caribbean that moves through the Florida Keys and into the Gulf. Not very powerful, no more than a weak TD, but something to keep an eye on if it begins to become more consistent and stronger.


It appears the 12z isn't working on raleighwx for the GFS, but the 06z was showing something similar only being drawn north instead of through the Gulf.
Teddy was does the date say june 3 on a saturday? isnt june 3 on a monday?
Member Since: July 25, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2751
1029. Barefootontherocks
7:56 PM GMT on May 24, 2013
Dr. Masters,
Your Figure 8 graphic is captioned
"From 1995 (the first year we have wind death data) through 2012, deaths from high winds associated with severe thunderstorms accounted for 8% of all U.S. weather fatalities, while tornadoes accounted for 13%. Data from NOAA."

Are all these wind deaths from a severe thunderstorm?

Your text attributes all 2012 104 "wind" deaths to severe weather. I'm having trouble making the stretch. Are those killed by Doug firs toppling in PAC NW wind included here as "not able to be accurately categorized" or are they placed in another cause of fatality? Can't be "winter" because a lot of times that happens in fall (NPI). Also, heat deaths after derecho? does the wind get shorted here?

Found this at the NOAA link - .pdf file titled "Wind 2012":
2012 Wind Related Fatalities
There were 104 wind related deaths in 2012, up from 76 in 2011. This number is also more than twice the 10-year average of 45 victims. New York and New Jersey numbered the highest death tolls with 18 and 11 fatalities, respectively, due to Hurricane/Post Tropical Storm Sandy, followed by 9 in Texas. The largest category of wind victims were those not able to be accurately categorized and thus place in the "other" category, 33 (32%), followed by 20 (19%) in a vehicle, 17 (16%) outside, and 16 (15%) in a permanent home. Adults aged 50-59 were the most impacted age range with 21 victims (20%). More males, 78 (75%), than females, 23 (22%), were killed by wind, with 3% unknown.

Please help me out. I am having one of those "can't tell the difference between 1" and golf-ball-size hail" moments. Where can I discover if all 104 deaths were related to wind during a severe thunderstorm? Which is what we are talking here, right? Severe weather.

From that same NOAA page
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 159 Comments: 19373

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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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