May 3, 2017

Full Unedited Video of Greensburg Tornado

Tomorrow is the ten year anniversary of the F5 Greensburg tornado. On the night of May 4, 2007 a tornado grew to a width of 1.7 miles and destroyed most of Greensburg, KS, where 11 people were killed. It was the first F5 in 8 years.
 

May 2, 2017

Texas Snow and Tornadoes


On April 29th, six tornadoes hit eastern Texas, including an EF4, an EF3, an EF2, and three EF0s. Four fatalities were confirmed.


The April 29th 12Z (7 AM CDT) sounding for Fort Worth showed that there was already 2,500 CAPE:
As dew points rose into the mid 70s in the afternoon east of Dallas, CAPE values exceeded 5,000 by 21Z (4PM CDT) according to NAM:
There was strong low level wind - greater than 40 knots at the 1 km level - and a clockwise turning wind field with height, producing sufficient shear and helicity for tornadoes.
On April 29 and 30, heavy snow fell across the High Plains as far south as the Texas Panhandle. Amarillo received 3" and Dalhart had 9". There were over 50,000 power outages in the Texas Panhandle caused by high winds. At Amarillo, winds gusted to 54 mph and visibility dropped to 1/2 mile.

Garden City, KS had blizzard conditions on the 30th and 11" of snow, causing three structures to collapse. 14" fell in the southwest corner of Kansas at Elkhart. One farmer near Sublette estimated that he had lost 80% of his crop. At Wallace in northwest Kansas, 28" of snow fell, with drifts of 8-10 feet. 33" fell at Lander, WY and 39" fell at San Isabel, CO.

Flooding has killed 7 in Arkansas and 3 in Missouri. In southern Missouri, the town of Houston received 11.15" of rain.

Apr 20, 2017

Minimum Maintenance Road

Yesterday when we were storm chasing in southeastern Nebraska, we came across a "minimum maintenance road". We decided to take a different route.

Mar 14, 2017

Chicago's Winter

It's been a weird winter for Chicago. December had 17.7" of snow - all of which fell before the 18th. The 19th had low temperature of -13. But the day after Christmas had a high 54. Only 0.6" of snow fell in January. February had just a trace. The normal for January and February combined is 19.9". In mid-February, there were six days in a row with a high temp in the 66 - 70 range. Now on March 14th, Chicago just received 7.5" of snow. December had 9.5" above normal snowfall, January was 10.2" below normal, February was 9.1" below normal, and March will be 2.2" above normal even if there isn't any more snow for the rest of the month.

Oct 1, 2016

Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew has become a category 5 storm with 160 mph wind and a minimum central pressure of 941 mb. The wind speed doubled in 24 hours. At 11 PM EDT on September 29th, it was only an 80 mph storm. None of the models had indicated such a rapid strengthening.

Matthew is the first category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic in over 9 years. The last category 5 was Hurricane Felix in September of 2007. Felix made landfall in Nicaragua. The US hasn't been hit by a major hurricane since Wilma in 2005.

Matthew is located south of Haiti and moving westward. It will soon begin curving to the north as it moves toward an upper trough. Matthew will likely pass near Jamaica, and cross Cuba and move into the Bahamas. It's too early to tell if Matthew poses a threat to the US East Coast. It may depend in part on the behavior of a larger trough currently over the West Coast.

Jun 28, 2016

Big Tornado Season Next Year?

The number of tornadoes in the US has been below normal for the last 5 years:
El Nino is gone. Over the last two months, sea surface temperatures have been below normal in the central equatorial Pacific. Trade winds have been above normal across most of the Pacific for the last week. It is likely that La Nina will emerge sometime later this year.

4 out of the last 5 years with tornado counts being more than 1 standard deviation above normal have been during or immediately following a transition from El Nino to La Nina (1998, 1999, 2008, 2011):

Three of these years (1999, 2008, 2011) had well above the normal number of strong tornadoes.