Vortex2 tornado study finally gets some twisters to study

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:56 PM GMT on June 08, 2009

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A proven way to reduce the incidence of dangerous weather phenomena is to schedule a multi-million dollar field experiment to study the phenomena. Up until this past weekend, that has certainly been true of this year's $10 million Vortex2 tornado study. The 7-week study (which also runs next year) has deployed an armada of over 100 storm chasing vehicles across the Great Plains this Spring, but has largely been frustrated by an exceptionally quiet tornado season. Tornado activity in May was less than half of what was observed last year in May, thanks to a ridge of high pressure that has dominated the weather. The residents of Tornado Alley ran out of luck over the weekend, though, as a strong low pressure system and associated cold front brought severe weather and multiple tornadoes to the region. Sixteen tornado reports were received by NOAA's Storm Prediction Center yesterday, and three on Friday. The team of University of Michigan students that has been writing our featured Vortex2 blog caught some excellent pictures of tornadoes on both Friday and Sunday. Yesterday was probably the last best chance for the Vortex2 project to document a strong tornado, since the project ends this Saturday and no significant tornado outbreaks appear likely for the remainder of this week.

Aurora, Colorado tornado yesterday
A tornado with a 3/4 mile wide debris cloud swept through Aurora, Colorado yesterday, staying on the ground for 8 - 11 miles and damaging a shopping mall, but causing no deaths or injuries. The tornado passed close to one of the high-resolution Terminal Doppler Weather Radars (TDWRs) that we now feature on our web site (see the radar FAQ for more details on these great new additions to our radar offerings). Posted below are the reflectivity and Doppler velocity images from the tornado, showing the amazing fine-scale details these high-resolution radars offer.



Figure 1. Radar reflectivity (top) and Doppler velocity (bottom) from the Denver, Colorado Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR), which caught the classic signature of a supercell thunderstorm tornado over Aurora, Colorado. A tornado dropped down from the low-level mesocyclone inside the parent supercell thunderstorm at the time of these images. Yellow colors located right next to greens/blues indicate that winds are moving towards and away from the radar in close proximity, the signature of strong rotation at low levels. Also visible on the plot are the winds spreading out from a downdraft on the rear side of the tornado. Black arrows denote the direction of wind flow. The dryline was bent back into a E-W orientation near Denver, creating an area of moisture convergence, which triggered thunderstorm formation.

Western Caribbean disturbance unlikely to develop this week
As area of disturbed weather over the Western Caribbean has brought rains of 2 - 3 inches over portions of Nicaragua and Honduras over the past few days. Wind shear is a high 20 - 30 knots over the disturbance, and no computer models are indicating that the disturbance will develop this week.

Jeff Masters, with help from wunderground's tornado expert, Dr. Rob Carver

Dying out after an official 24 minutes on the ground
Tornado (Fungus)
Tornado
Twisted (rrose1)
This was taken approximately 30 minutes after a brief tornado passed through South Hutchinson, KS tonight. The building is a bus manufacturing facility.
Twisted

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Quoting Drakoen:


I think you focus too much on trough-splits to be honest. I took a trip to 300mb and I see weak cyclone upper level flow. The closed low is at 200mb. It degenerates into an upper trough that advects up to the north. You need to focus more on isohypse.

There's a prominent closed low at 250mb over the Yucatan. Main energy goes northward

It would be better if you called a close upper cyclone splitting away from an upper trough a cut-off instead of a trough split. Trough-split just implies that the energy along the southern portion of the vorticity lobe has seperated from the main trough.


Which is exactly what is happening right now and what the NAM and 18z GFS forecasted. The GFS opening it back up into the GOM is unrealistic anyway.

I don't think "trough-split" is an officially used term but I could be wrong. I won't attempt to define it. To me it's as simple as what it says. "A trough splits". Typically I use it when referring to when a cut-off low drifts into the GOM or Caribbean and instigates tropical cyclogenesis in the early season.
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786. JRRP
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5964
I now pronounce you Lev And Drak.One of you needs to kiss the other
Quoting Drakoen:


I think you focus too much on trough-splits to be honest. I took a trip to 300mb and I see weak cyclone upper level flow. The closed low is at 200mb. It degenerates into an upper trough that advects up to the north. You need to focus more on isohypse.

There's a prominent closed low at 250mb over the Yucatan. Main energy goes northward
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Quoting Levi32:


Let's take a trip down to 300mb. Paste this image in your browser so you can see it full-size. Look at the Yucatan. The thing splits again after it opens up....one piece goes to Florida one piece to the Yucatan. There is plainly a weak cyclonic circulation with a SW wind barb and a West wind barb....it's not just the gradient.

Anyway I don't see why one model run needs to be so technically anylized.


I think you focus too much on trough-splits to be honest. I took a trip to 300mb and I see weak cyclone upper level flow. The closed low is at 200mb. It degenerates into an upper trough that advects up to the north. You need to focus more on isohypse.

There's a prominent closed low at 250mb over the Yucatan. Main energy goes northward

It would be better if you called a close upper cyclone splitting away from an upper trough a cut-off instead of a trough split. Trough-split just implies that the energy along the southern portion of the vorticity lobe has seperated from the main trough.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30562
Back in 10 mins
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Quoting Drakoen:
There is nothing over the Yucatan. That's the gradient between the upper level high and the upper level trough. The trough is over northern Florida with a shortwave-like signature.


Let's take a trip down to 300mb. Paste this image in your browser so you can see it full-size. Look at the Yucatan. The thing splits again after it opens up....one piece goes to Florida one piece to the Yucatan. There is plainly a weak cyclonic circulation with a SW wind barb and a West wind barb....it's not just the gradient.

Anyway I don't see why one model run needs to be so technically anylized.

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Levi you need to take a look at the frames before that to track the upper level low with the isohypse surrounding it.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30562
There is nothing over the Yucatan. That's the gradient between the upper level high and the upper level trough. The trough is over northern Florida with a shortwave-like signature.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30562
Quoting Drakoen:


Yes it does advect northward look again. The GFS is trying to pull something poleward that the other models are pulling equatorward. It is already cut-off on the NAM 00Z at 42hr. Notice the isohypse.


156 hours it's over the Yucatan:



180 it's further SW:

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Quoting Levi32:


It doesn't advect north it goes southwest over Mexico and the trough leaves. Plus that particular part of it is unrealistic by the GFS.

What the NAM is showing is the beginning of the split and if it were to go beyond 84 hours I could almost guarantee it would split it within 48 hours of the last image.


Yes it does advect northward look again. The GFS is trying to pull something poleward that the other models are pulling equatorward. It is already cut-off on the NAM 00Z at 42hr. Notice the isohypse.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30562
Well while you two duke it out I will turn in. Catch you all tomorrow.
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Oh would you look at that!? 00z NAM totally in agreement with me.

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Quoting Drakoen:


I'm not a fan of the NAM and it is a big difference as far as upper level diffluence is concerned and allowing an upper ridge to be in place. The GFS has the upper level low sitting over the northern Caribbean until it degenerates into an open upper trough in the GOM and then advects northward. I use the NAM, GFS, GGEM, and ECMWF when making forecasts for the southeast. The NAM has the capacity to handle upper level features such as these.


It doesn't advect north it goes southwest over Mexico and the trough leaves. Plus that particular part of it is unrealistic by the GFS.

What the NAM is showing is the beginning of the split and if it were to go beyond 84 hours I could almost guarantee it would split it within 48 hours of the last image.
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The ECMWF is like the NAM only a little later. The GFS is the least progressive solution.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30562
Quoting Levi32:


Not really.....and since when are you a fan of the NAM?


I'm not a fan of the NAM and it is a big difference as far as upper level diffluence is concerned and allowing an upper ridge to be in place. The GFS has the upper level low sitting over the northern Caribbean until it degenerates into an open upper trough in the GOM and then advects northward. I use the NAM, GFS, GGEM, and ECMWF when making forecasts for the southeast. The NAM has the capacity to handle upper level features such as these.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30562
Quoting kmanislander:
"That, folks, is a classic trough-split, upper low pulling away, ventilating the western Caribbean and setting the area up for tropical development, provided there is a trigger in place."


Hmmm. Trigger as in a Twave propogating W into an already unstable environment ??


Unstable? Yes. Favorable? No. The tropical wave will be in there by 48 hours but it's going to take at least 96 to get even a fair environment for development.
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"That, folks, is a classic trough-split, upper low pulling away, ventilating the western Caribbean and setting the area up for tropical development, provided there is a trigger in place."


Hmmm. Trigger as in a Twave propogating W into an already unstable environment ??
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Quoting Drakoen:
The GFS has the upper level low sitting over the northern Caribbean. Two dynamically different solutions. Make a huge difference.


Not really.....and since when are you a fan of the NAM?
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Quoting 7544:



maybe thats what this showing ?
Link


There is a bit of a surge there but the TWave itself is pretty dry. My guess is that the added instability from the wave could be a potential genesis point for some form of development assuming the upper levels cooperate.
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Quoting presslord:
KOG How canh you pass up such a great opportunity?!?!
everything was good till i ask about having a national stomp in the dust day to help kill off hurricanes that was the last i heard from him
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The GFS has the upper level low sitting over the northern Caribbean. Two dynamically different solutions. Make a huge difference.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30562
Quoting Drakoen:


The NAM 00z takes the upper level low and shunts it towards Latin America and pull the upper trough north leaving the upper ridge over the central and southern Caribbean. That would be more favorable conditions but needs model support.


My post from earlier....
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Oh this is just too good. The 18z GFS is catching on!

Look at it form the cut-off like I just mentioned in the western Caribbean at 72 hours:



Now watch that puppy back away to the SW over Mexico! That leaves the ridge building into the Caribbean and whop! Look at this pretty picture sitting there at 174 hours:



That, folks, is a classic trough-split, upper low pulling away, ventilating the western Caribbean and setting the area up for tropical development, provided there is a trigger in place.
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Uh Oh ! outta here

Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
Quoting Levi32:


I said beginning of the trough-split, it hasn't happened yet but it's starting to.


The NAM 00z takes the upper level low and shunts it towards Latin America and pull the upper trough north leaving the upper ridge over the central and southern Caribbean. That would be more favorable conditions but needs model support.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30562
763. 7544



maybe thats what this showing ?
Link
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Quoting Drakoen:


You mean the cut-off


I said beginning of the trough-split, it hasn't happened yet but it's starting to.
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Quoting IKE:


That must be what the NAM model is picking up on and increasing moisture by Wednesday.



It has been showing that since 18z. It needs model consensus though.
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Quoting presslord:
Chuck and OSS....we actually know a couple in our parish who fell for that old scam a couple of years ago...got clipped for over $20,000...


And all they had to do was type some of the email subject line here or an other site !

More should check for their own good and for others who deal with their, not right, forwards. Just my take as I exit. L8R

Link
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
Quoting IKE:


That must be what the NAM model is picking up on and increasing moisture by Wednesday.



Here is the TWave just East of the lake now.

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Quoting Levi32:
On water-vapor loop you can start to see the trough-split beginning just south of western Cuba where the upper flow is closing off within the base of the TUTT.


You mean the cut-off
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30562
Quoting presslord:
Chuck and OSS....we actually know a couple in our parish who fell for that old scam a couple of years ago...got clipped for over $20,000...


That sucks, it's amazing how many people are out there try to scam anyone and everyone.
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KOG How canh you pass up such a great opportunity?!?!
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755. IKE
Quoting kmanislander:
A tropical wave is now in the general vicinity of Lake Maracaibo moving West and will enter the mix just East of Nicaragua by tomorrow morning.


That must be what the NAM model is picking up on and increasing moisture by Wednesday.

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
hey tm i have a tentant of mine that actually dress up her wiener dog as a hot dog last halloween the coat was a hot dog bun with fake mustard relish and ketcup it was so funny
LOL I bet it was!
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Chuck and OSS....we actually know a couple in our parish who fell for that old scam a couple of years ago...got clipped for over $20,000...
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A tropical wave is now in the general vicinity of Lake Maracaibo moving West and will enter the mix just East of Nicaragua by tomorrow morning.
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Quoting presslord:
I just got the coolest e-mail from this very nice widow lady in Nigeria who says she'll give me $2 million if I'll send her a good faith deposit of $10,000....must be my lucky day...
ya i got one of those a while back to press except mine was from sierra leone and he was a son of a king that been exhile from his homeland and needed 10,000 to get the documents to withdraw funds from an swiss account that had a balance of 5 million
i got right on that
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Quoting IKE:

Link


Yup that's a perfect example. I posted something earlier showing the 18z GFS finally catching on to the trough-split. The whole thing is really very cool, but I won't bother to re-post the whole thing.
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749. IKE
Quoting Levi32:
On water-vapor loop you can start to see the trough-split beginning just south of western Cuba where the upper flow is closing off within the base of the TUTT.

Link
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting presslord:
I just got the coolest e-mail from this very nice widow lady in Nigeria who says she'll give me $2 million if I'll send her a good faith deposit of $10,000....must be my lucky day...


Well between the mellon mentioned earlier and the above -----

Link

Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
hey tm i have a tentant of mine that actually dress up her wiener dog as a hot dog last halloween the coat was a hot dog bun with fake mustard relish and ketcup it was so funny
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Quoting presslord:
I just got the coolest e-mail from this very nice widow lady in Nigeria who says she'll give me $2 million if I'll send her a good faith deposit of $10,000....must be my lucky day...


Only 2M? Last week, mine was for a cool 4M
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Quoting Acemmett90:

10 yrs old female almost 30lbs so it a small but fat maltese
I like when their chubby
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Quoting presslord:
I just got the coolest e-mail from this very nice widow lady in Nigeria who says she'll give me $2 million if I'll send her a good faith deposit of $10,000....must be my lucky day...


rofl
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I'm still laughing at that monkey pic!
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I just got the coolest e-mail from this very nice widow lady in Nigeria who says she'll give me $2 million if I'll send her a good faith deposit of $10,000....must be my lucky day...
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Quoting Orcasystems:


A miniature wiener dog?

Yes a hotdog dog
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Quoting Acemmett90:

I have a maltese
Awww how old? My baby is almost 14 weeks old
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On water-vapor loop you can start to see the trough-split beginning just south of western Cuba where the upper flow is closing off within the base of the TUTT.
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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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