Dangerous tornado outbreak expected Saturday; Gulf of Mexico SSTs warmest on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 02:57 PM GMT die 13o April, anno 2012

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A dangerous tornado outbreak is expected on Saturday over the Plains, says NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC). Warm, moist air flowing northwards from a Gulf of Mexico that has record-warm waters will collide with cold air funneling down from Canada, creating a highly unstable air mass capable of creating strong thunderstorm updrafts. An impressive upper-level low, accompanied by a jet stream with 105 - 125 mph winds at middle levels of the atmosphere, will create plenty of wind shear, giving the air the spin it needs to form tornadoes. SPC has has issued their highest level of alert, a "High Risk," for much of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska for Saturday. Included in the "High Risk" area are the cities of Wichita, Oklahoma City, and Lincoln. This is the second time SPC has issued a "High Risk" forecast this year; the first "High Risk" forecast came for the March 2 tornado outbreak, which killed 41 people and did $1.5 - $2 billion in damage. It is very unusual for SPC to issue a "High Risk" forecast more than a day in advance of a suspected tornado outbreak; according to Wikipedia, today's "High Risk" forecast is only the second time SPC has ever done this. The other instance was for the April 6 - 8, 2006 tornado outbreak focused over Tennessee, which generated 73 tornadoes that killed 13 and did $1.5 billion in damage. People living in the threatened area need to pay close attention on Saturday to this dangerous severe weather situation.


Figure 1. Severe weather risk for Saturday, April 14, 2012, from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center.

Gulf of Mexico water temperatures the warmest on record
Temperatures in the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico were the 3rd - 7th warmest on record during the first three months of 2012, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. This allowed Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) in the Gulf of Mexico (25 - 30°N, 85 - 90°W) to climb to 1.4°C (2.5°F) above average during March 2012, according to a wunderground analysis of the Hadley Centre SST data set. This is the warmest March value on record for the Gulf of Mexico, going back over a century of record keeping. During the first two weeks of April, Gulf of Mexico waters remained about 1.5°C above average, putting April on pace to have the warmest April water temperatures on record. Only one year in the past century has had April water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico more than 1.1°C above average; that year was 2002 (1.4°C above average.) All that record-warm water is capable of putting record amounts of water vapor into the air, since evaporation increases when water is warmer. Because moist air is less dense than dry air, this warm, moist air flowing northwards from the Gulf of Mexico into the developing storm system over the Plains will be highly unstable once it encounters cold, dry air aloft. The record-warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico are a key reason for the high risk of severe weather over the Plains this weekend.


Figure 2. Departure of Sea Surface Temperature (SST) from average for April 12, 2012, as computed by NOAA/NESDIS. SSTs in the Gulf of Mexico are at their warmest levels on record for this time of year.

Follow Weather Underground on twitter for the latest on this potential severe weather outbreak.

Jeff Masters

April Storms (llpj04)
this storm greeted me as I came out of the grocery store, chased me home and got to my driveway the same time I did.
April Storms
Lightning Up the Pond - Oklahoma (mbryan777)
Last night we had a pretty spectacular lightning storm. I put the camera on the tripod in time-lapse mode and laid on my back on the hillside above the pond taking in an amazing show. When it got more exciting than I was comfortable with, I ran for the house.
Lightning Up the Pond - Oklahoma

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Not very warm in the high risk area so far. This could be on reason the storms are so elevated.

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moderate risk for tomorrow
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Quoting StormTracker2K:
Guys there is no way this outbreak will be anywhere near the ones we had last year based on looking at several factors here and this being one of them.



Lots oif clouds and rain.


It doesn't matter, it's not even noon there yet. The atmosphere is so moist and so unstable that even with this activity now, the atmosphere will reload again by the afternoon. Just like April 27. Remember the huge squall line that moved through that morning? Remember the activity that afternoon? The environment for strong tornadoes is locked and loaded.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32565
Yes we will have lots of tornadoes today but nothing on the scale of last April's outbreaks.
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College of DuPage Meteorology
Severe Weather and Flash Flood Warnings


Note: This page will reload every 2 minutes. Warnings are listed with the most recent first.
Click on the station ID to bring up list of recent severe weather statements.

SVR T-STORM WARNING DODGE CITY KS - KDDC 1146 AM CDT SAT APR 14 2012
SVR T-STORM WARNING HASTINGS NE - KGID 1143 AM CDT SAT APR 14 2012
SVR T-STORM WARNING HASTINGS NE - KGID 1134 AM CDT SAT APR 14 2012
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

725
WUUS53 KDDC 141646
SVRDDC
KSC083-135-145-165-141730-
/O.NEW.KDDC.SV.W.0017.120414T1646Z-120414T1730Z/

BULLETIN - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DODGE CITY KS
1146 AM CDT SAT APR 14 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN DODGE CITY HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
NORTHEASTERN HODGEMAN COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST KANSAS...
SOUTHEASTERN NESS COUNTY IN WEST CENTRAL KANSAS...
NORTHWESTERN PAWNEE COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL KANSAS...
RUSH COUNTY IN CENTRAL KANSAS...

* UNTIL 1230 PM CDT

* AT 1139 AM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING QUARTER SIZE HAIL...AND
DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH. THIS STORM WAS LOCATED 6 MILES
NORTHWEST OF BURDETT...AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 50 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
BURDETT...
BAZINE...
ALEXANDER...
NEKOMA...
HARGRAVE...
LA CROSSE...
BISON...
MAINLY RURAL AREAS OF NORTHEASTERN HODGEMAN...NORTHWESTERN
PAWNEE...RUSH AND SOUTHEASTERN NESS COUNTIES.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A TORNADO WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE WARNED AREA. TORNADOES CAN
DEVELOP QUICKLY FROM SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS. ALTHOUGH NOT IMMEDIATELY
LIKELY...IF A TORNADO IS SPOTTED...ACT QUICKLY AND MOVE TO A PLACE OF
SAFETY INSIDE A STURDY STRUCTURE...SUCH AS A BASEMENT OR SMALL
INTERIOR ROOM.

BE ALERT FOR RAPIDLY CHANGING WEATHER CONDITIONS. IF CAUGHT OUTSIDE
SEEK A STURDY SHELTER AND STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS UNTIL THE STORM HAS
PASSED.



LAT...LON 3865 9965 3862 9903 3822 9936 3815 9953
3821 9975
TIME...MOT...LOC 1645Z 212DEG 35KT 3831 9954
WIND...HAIL 60MPH 1.00IN
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Alright I'm here guys.
Never knew you were gone.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
Alright I'm here guys.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32565
Guys there is no way this outbreak will be anywhere near the ones we had last year based on looking at several factors here and this being one of them.



Lots of clouds and rain.

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Storm showing organisation near Burdett with meso, looks like it may be tornado warned soon.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851



MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 0522
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1127 AM CDT SAT APR 14 2012

AREAS AFFECTED...SCNTRL THROUGH SERN NEB

CONCERNING...SEVERE POTENTIAL...WATCH LIKELY

VALID 141627Z - 141830Z

INITIAL THREAT FOR LARGE HAIL EXPECTED TO GRADUALLY TRANSITION TO A
TORNADO THREAT THIS AFTERNOON. A PDS TORNADO WATCH WILL BE NEEDED BY
EARLY AFTERNOON AS CONDITIONS BECOME INCREASINGLY FAVORABLE FOR
SUPERCELLS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING VERY LARGE HAIL AND TORNADOES
...A
FEW OF WHICH COULD BE STRONG.

LATE THIS MORNING STORMS CONTINUE DEVELOPING WITHIN BROAD ZONE OF
WARM ADVECTION FROM NCNTRL THROUGH SERN NEB. WIDESPREAD LOW CLOUDS
ARE SLOWING BOUNDARY LAYER DESTABILIZATION AND STORMS REMAIN
ELEVATED ABOVE A SFC STABLE LAYER WITH AN INITIAL PRIMARY THREAT FOR
LARGE HAIL. LATEST OBJECTIVE ANALYSIS ALREADY SHOWS MODERATE MUCAPE
OVER CNTRL AND SRN NEB. WARM FRONT NEAR THE KS/NEB BORDER WILL LIFT
NWD...AND AS SFC DEWPOINTS INCREASE AND LOW CLOUDS BEGIN TO MIX OUT
FROM THE SW...AN AXIS OF 1500-2000 J/KG MLCAPE SHOULD EVOLVE IN THIS
REGION...PROMOTING DEVELOPMENT OF SURFACE BASED UPDRAFTS. SOME OF
THE STORMS CURRENTLY MOVING THROUGH NCNTRL KS WILL LIKELY BEGIN TO
SHIFT INTO SCNTRL NEB BY EARLY AFTERNOON. OTHER STORMS MAY DEVELOP
FARTHER WEST ALONG THE DRYLINE/TRIPLE POINT LATER THIS AFTERNOON.
THE 50-60 KT LLJ WILL STRENGTHEN AND SHIFT NWD THROUGH KS AND INTO
SRN NEB LATER TODAY WITHIN EXIT REGION OF APPROACHING UPPER JET
CONTRIBUTING TO VERY LARGE HODOGRAPHS. THE VERTICAL SHEAR PROFILES
AND THERMODYNAMIC ENVIRONMENT WILL SUPPORT SUPERCELLS CAPABLE OF
LONG TRACK TORNADOES AND VERY LARGE HAIL.

..DIAL.. 04/14/2012


ATTN...WFO...OAX...GID...LBF...

LAT...LON 40969692 40349634 40039723 40049995 41049978 41629860
40969692
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Thanks 4 #830, pat. just went looking 4 that.
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Any live streams from Oklahoma,Kansas and Nebraska?
Tons Link
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
First time I have ever seen the SPC have all severe weather types list as "high"Hazard Tornadoes EF2+ Tornadoes
Likelihood High High

Severe Wind 65 kt+ Wind
High High

Severe Hail 2"+ Hail
High High
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21874
Any live streams from Oklahoma,Kansas and Nebraska?
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Quoting StormTracker2K:
Lots of clouds and early convection across the high risk area right now. This could limit instability some.
SPC does not expect this to be much of a limiting factor however. Saying this because of enlarging 45% corridor.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
Lots of clouds and early convection across the high risk area right now. This could limit instability some.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
~3 hours to start of major tornado threat.


Storms beginning to develop. 45% tornado probability
here from the SPC, TOR:CON up to a 9/10 (might be 10/10 later today), STP the highest since April 27th, 2011, PDS Tornado Watch.

It's all in place people for a major outbreak today.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24512
FLOOD ADVISORY
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN JUAN PR
1157 AM AST SAT APR 14 2012

PRC017-054-091-145-141900-
/O.NEW.TJSJ.FA.Y.0124.120414T1557Z-120414T1900Z/
/00000.N.ER.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.000000T0000 Z.OO/
BARCELONETA PR-FLORIDA PR-MANATI PR-VEGA BAJA PR-
1157 AM AST SAT APR 14 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SAN JUAN HAS ISSUED AN

* URBAN AND SMALL STREAM FLOOD ADVISORY FOR MINOR FLOODING OF POOR
DRAINAGE AREAS IN
FOR THE FOLLOWING MUNICIPALITIES...

IN PUERTO RICO
BARCELONETA...FLORIDA...MANATI AND VEGA BAJA

* UNTIL 300 PM AST

* AT 1155 AM AST...DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED SHOWERS AND ISOLATED
THUNDERSTORMS WITH HEAVY RAIN IN THE ADVISORY AREA. RADAR ESTIMATES
INDICATE THAT ONE TO TWO INCHES OF RAIN HAVE FALLEN IN THE PAST HOUR
OVER THE AREA AND AN ADDITIONAL ONE TO TWO INCHES ARE POSSIBLE WITH
THESE HEAVY SHOWERS. URBAN AND SMALL STREAM FLOODING IS POSSIBLE AS
WELL AS FLOODING IN ROADS AND LOW LYING AREAS.

MOST FLOOD DEATHS OCCUR IN AUTOMOBILES. NEVER DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE INTO
AREAS WHERE THE WATER COVERS THE ROADWAY. FLOOD WATERS ARE USUALLY
DEEPER THAN THEY APPEAR. JUST ONE FOOT OF FLOWING WATER IS POWERFUL
ENOUGH TO SWEEP VEHICLES OFF THE ROAD. WHEN ENCOUNTERING FLOODED
ROADS MAKE THE SMART CHOICE...TURN AROUND...DONT DROWN.

&&

LAT...LON 1848 6635 1844 6635 1835 6638 1837 6639
1838 6642 1835 6657 1841 6657 1839 6659
1843 6658 1848 6659 1850 6657 1848 6647
1850 6642

$$

JJA
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This guy has a decent meso starting to show up on radar.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
New MD is out concerning the issuance of another PDS Tornado Watch.

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SSE of Oneil and ENE of Broken Bow:

Greeley county

Possible Meso and hook developing.

X1 70 dBZ 37,000 ft. 56 kg/m 100% chance 100% chance 3.50 in. 29 knots SW (234)



There is also a vortex signature in Puerto Rico for some reason.


Edit:

S0 73 dBZ 37,000 ft. 62 kg/m 100% chance 100% chance >4.00 in. 29 knots WSW (237)


Same cell. It's already old though.

Reflectivity is in the white, above 75. Radar says 78.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Be aware, be prepared, help & inform someone who may not know this is coming.


From Joplin last year..



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Quoting hydrus:
84 hour water vapor forecast..Link



Hey Hydrus, early start this morning wouldn't you say?

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Quoting ILwthrfan:

Not seeing it?

The cloud layer in that area is really starting to thin out. You can see the ground in some areas.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851

Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Its really starting to clear out in southern Nebraska now.
Not seeing it?

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Quoting ILwthrfan:
There is an awfully dense overcast over the Plains this afternoon.  This is going to be key in just how unstable it develops this afternoon.  As of right now the only real area of sunshine is in Western Missouri.

 
84 hour water vapor forecast..Link
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21874
Particularly Dangerous Situation (PDS) Tornado Watch 165



Note: Click for Watch Status Reports.
WOUS64 KWNS 141541
WOU5

BULLETIN - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
TORNADO WATCH OUTLINE UPDATE FOR WT 165
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1045 AM CDT SAT APR 14 2012

TORNADO WATCH 165 IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 600 PM CDT FOR THE
FOLLOWING LOCATIONS

KSC007-009-025-027-029-033-041-047-051-053-055-057 -063-065-069-
077-081-083-089-095-097-101-105-113-119-123-135-13 7-141-143-145-
147-151-155-157-159-163-165-167-169-171-175-179-18 3-185-195-201-
142300-
/O.NEW.KWNS.TO.A.0165.120414T1545Z-120414T2300Z/

KS
. KANSAS COUNTIES INCLUDED ARE

BARBER BARTON CLARK
CLAY CLOUD COMANCHE
DICKINSON EDWARDS ELLIS
ELLSWORTH FINNEY FORD
GOVE GRAHAM GRAY
HARPER HASKELL HODGEMAN
JEWELL KINGMAN KIOWA
LANE LINCOLN MCPHERSON
MEADE MITCHELL NESS
NORTON OSBORNE OTTAWA
PAWNEE PHILLIPS PRATT
RENO REPUBLIC RICE
ROOKS RUSH RUSSELL
SALINE SCOTT SEWARD
SHERIDAN SMITH STAFFORD
TREGO WASHINGTON


OKC003-045-047-053-059-093-151-153-142300-
/O.NEW.KWNS.TO.A.0165.120414T1545Z-120414T2300Z/

OK
. OKLAHOMA COUNTIES INCLUDED ARE

ALFALFA ELLIS GARFIELD
GRANT HARPER MAJOR
WOODS WOODWARD


ATTN...WFO...DDC...OUN...TOP...GID...GLD...ICT...

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ILwthrfan:
There is an awfully dense overcast over the Plains this afternoon.  This is going to be key in just how unstable it develops this afternoon.  As of right now the only real area of sunshine is in Western Missouri.

 
Its really starting to clear out in southern Nebraska now.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
Quoting Thundercloud01221991:
45% tornado threat expanded to cover central KS
Might want to expand for a possible area of 60% for later today. Who knows.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
45% tornado threat expanded to cover central KS
Member Since: August 1, 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 3716
There is an awfully dense overcast over the Plains this afternoon.  This is going to be key in just how unstable it develops this afternoon. This is likely going to keep the outbreak down somewhat.   As of right now the only real area of sunshine is in Western Missouri.    Still a long ways to go for things to potentially clearly up, but as of now its looking like this is going to be dynamically driven.

 
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45% Tornado Probability has been pushed southward.

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How do you use the GR2 analyst stuff, its confusing me...?
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3477
Dr. Greg Forbes
26 minutes ago
TODAY
Storms are beginning to fire up on the dryline and there is certainly enough shear for them to develop tornadoes this afternoon and evening. Greatest threat area over south-central NE, central KS, northwest OK. TORCON – 9 in these areas.
Severe thunderstorms and a tornado threat in central and east NE, southeast SD, west and south IA, north and west MO, central and east KS, north and west OK except western panhandle, east TX panhandle, northwest TX from east of Midland to near Childress.
There is still some concern that the storm coverage may be spotty, but there is a high likelihood that they will be tornadic


from dr G facebook page
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DISCUSSION...A CLUSTER OF THUNDERSTORMS IS RAPIDLY INCREASING OVER
SOUTHWEST KS AND SHOULD SPREAD ACROSS CENTRAL KS THROUGH THE
AFTERNOON. OTHER STORMS MAY DEVELOP SOUTHWARD INTO NORTHWEST OK IN
THE NEXT COUPLE OF HOURS. INITIAL STORMS MAY BE ELEVATED.
HOWEVER...SURFACE DESTABILIZATION WILL OCCUR AS LOW CLOUDS BURN
OFF...AIDING IN STORMS BECOMING SURFACE-BASED.
VERY FAVORABLE
VERTICAL SHEAR PROFILES WILL PROMOTE A RISK OF TORNADIC SUPERCELLS
CAPABLE OF VERY LARGE HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS. STRONG TORNADOES
WILL BE AN INCREASING RISK THROUGH THE AFTERNOON.
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the one north of ness city got some rotation on dopp... and a hook to boot
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where do you guys get the radial velocity maps? is that from GR2/3? I am trying to track the storms today while sitting at work =D
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I don't believe any of these storms will have tornadic potential till around 2 or 3 EST. So far none seemed to be based at the surface and we will have to wait till the area ahead of these storms clears up a bit.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
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Irene deserved to be retired.That was the only storm to do any real damage.And you should see how popular she is around the internet.
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Quoting ScottLincoln:


Depends on what you consider to be "relevant data?"
Scott, what are your recommended MDA settings for GR2 again?
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
814. redux
Quoting AussieStorm:

you mean like GRlevel3??


i have the software. i dont know where to find the data. i am a novice at this.
Member Since: June 28, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 227
Quoting AussieStorm:
which cell is going to drop a tornado 1st.... by the way. How populated is this area?


around 20 million within the mdt to high risk areas
Member Since: August 1, 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 3716
The Ord storm has a hook
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 7969
which cell is going to drop a tornado 1st.... by the way. How populated is this area?
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Quoting redux:


i want something where i can look at the storms in the areas affected.


you mean like GRlevel3??
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
I guess they decided to skip out on Lee for retirement. Oh well...




and it did a lot of damg too
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None of the storms in KS seem to be surfaced based yet.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
I guess they decided to skip out on Lee for retirement. Oh well...
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129

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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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