Tornadoes, violent thunderstorms rip the U.S.; Richard dies in the Gulf of Mexico

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:23 PM GMT on October 26, 2010

Share this Blog
5
+

Tornadoes, violent thunderstorms, and torrential rains are sweeping through the nation's midsection today, thanks to an explosively deepening low pressure system over Minnesota. The spectacular storm is expected to bottom out at a central pressure of 960 mb later today, the type of central pressure one commonly encounters in Category 2 hurricanes. A powerful cold front trails southwards from the storm, and this cold front has spawned an impressive squall line studded with violent thunderstorms. As many as eleven simultaneous tornado warnings have been issued late this morning for these thunderstorms, from southern Michigan to northern Mississippi. So far, the tornadoes have been embedded within the squall line, and these type of tornadoes are typically weaker EF-0 to EF-1 twisters. However, as the day progresses and the sun's heating adds energy to the atmosphere, strong EF-2 or EF-3 tornadoes are likely, if discrete supercell thunderstorms separate from the squall line and begin to evolve. So far, six reports of tornadoes touching down have been received, but only minor damage has been reported. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has placed much of southern Michigan, eastern Indiana, and western Ohio in their "High Risk" area for severe weather. "High Risk" days occur less than five times per year, on average, and are unusual in the fall. Fall storms this intense only occur perhaps once every 5 - 10 years. You can follow today's severe weather outbreak using our Severe Weather Page and Tornado page.


Figure 1. This morning's severe weather outlook from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center puts most of Indiana and Western Ohio into their highest category for severe weather.

Richard dies
Tropical Depression Richard emerged into the Gulf of Mexico this morning after crossing the Yucatan Peninsula. However, passage over the Yucatan so weakened the storm that it has officially been declared dead by NHC. There was too much dry air and wind shear in the Gulf of Mexico to allow Richard to regenerate. Richard hit central Belize Sunday night as a Category 1 hurricane with 90 mph winds. The storm is being blamed for $18 million in damage, but no deaths were reported. Belize lost about 1/3 of its orange crop to Richard's high winds. Electrical power is still out to 30% of the country, but is expected to be fully restored by tonight.


Figure 2. Visible MODIS satellite image of Hurricane Richard taken at 4:35pm EDT 10/25/10 by NASA's Aqua satellite. At the time, Richard was a tropical depression with 35 mph winds. Image credit: NASA.

Invest 90L
A low pressure system (Invest 90L) in the middle Atlantic Ocean has developed a broad circulation, with a band of heavy thunderstorms in an arc to the north and east of the storm. This hybrid subtropical system is under a moderate 10 - 20 knots of wind shear. Water temperatures are marginal for development, just 26.5 - 27°C (26.5°C is usually the limiting SST that a tropical storm can develop at.) NHC is giving 90L a 30% of developing into a subtropical depression or storm by Thursday.

Next update
I'll have an update on Wednesday morning. I'm at the National Hurricane Center in Miami this week, as part of their visiting scientist program, and will be shadowing NHC forecasters on the evening shift Tuesday - Friday to learn more about their operations. I'll probably talk tomorrow about the severe weather outbreak, but later this week I'll talk about what a shift at the Hurricane Center is like. I also have meetings planned with scientists at NOAA's Hurricane Research Division later this week, and plan to write about some of the research missions performed during this year's hurricane season.

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

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

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

Viewing: 354 - 304

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11Blog Index

Quoting KerryInNOLA:
Everybody needs to treat each other with more respect. But at the same time this hypersensitive politically correct society has got to take pause. We can't blow up Iran every time they call us Satan. We all need to sit down at the table and have a beer together, as President Obama once used as a mediation tool.


Thats an oxymoron!!! You want everyone to get along as long as they think like you! In the words of patrap, Itsa big world!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Chicklit:
Why this dry air in the tropics?

Fall...
Cold fronts start coming through and the North Atlantic storms bring the AB high south and our trades build in..
a bit early this year but welcome! REALLY nice here in the islands
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting doorman79:


Besides, Ignoring them doesn't seem to work! Just gotta sleep with one eye open! Ha


Haha, got a point.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
We saw monsoonal type activity in the Atlantic and Caribbean, strips of moisture near the ICTZ; lots of ULLs and dry air imo, discounting the CV storms that curved and finally went NE.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Chicklit:
Why this dry air in the tropics?


Don't know, but that is one heck of a low up north! Bet KOTG is hang gliding in it! ;)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting bwi:
Geez -- 38 foot waves tonight. On Lake Michigan!

Storm Warning
URGENT - MARINE WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHICAGO IL
641 PM CDT TUE OCT 26 2010

LMZ080-261-362-364-366-563-565-567-669-671-673-675-777-779-868-
870-872-874-876-878-270745-
/O.CON.KLOT.SR.W.0001.000000T0000Z-101028T0200Z/
LAKE MICHIGAN FROM ST. JOSEPH TO SOUTH HAVEN MI 5 NM OFFSHORE TO
MID LAKE-
641 PM CDT TUE OCT 26 2010

...STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 PM CDT WEDNESDAY...

A STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 PM CDT WEDNESDAY.

* EXPECT SUSTAINED STORM FORCE WINDS OR FREQUENT STORM FORCE
GUSTS UNTIL 9 PM CDT WEDNESDAY.

* DURING THE STORM WARNING...THE STRONGEST WINDS WILL BE UP TO
60 KT FROM THE SOUTHWEST. THE HIGHEST SIGNIFICANT WAVES WILL
BE UP TO 25 FT. THERE WILL BE OCCASIONAL WAVES UP TO 38 FT.



This is going to cause a lot of damage to boats and shipping probably..
I don't think people have pulled their boats for the winter yet.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Why this dry air in the tropics?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Skyepony:


The lack of sun for so many months should insure winter storms, ice or no ice. There should be some reduction of temperature gradient & had you applied that to only the summer, I'd totally agree. The sun is the earth's major warming factor & without it in a region at all, day or night should create enough gradient. A certain amount of boundary shift is expected to climb north, but on the other hand the loss of ice has & should continue to disrupt the arctic vortex winter flow allowing cooler air to reach farther toward the equator during winter. Interesting Abstract & paper published last year about the extra build up of heat due to less ice coverage that gets released in fall, causing pressure anomalies.. the extreme pressure highs & their corresponding abnormal lows we've seen after harsh melt season. Remember too the early winter after the 2007 melt where a heat bubble split the arctic vortex in two (NASA covered it well). More heat in the fall encountering extreme sudden cold from lack of sun in future winters..it's been theorized that these extreme highs & lows should be even worse with the ice gone but there is most likely unknown feedbacks..good or bad, that will effect the outcome.


wow that's heavy
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting caneswatch:
Doorman, do what I did with Kerry and Pilotguy. They cause nothing but trouble.


Besides, Ignoring them doesn't seem to work! Just gotta sleep with one eye open! Ha
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Skyepony:


The lack of sun for so many months should insure winter storms, ice or no ice. There should be some reduction of temperature gradient & had you applied that to only the summer, I'd totally agree. The sun is the earth's major warming factor & without it in a region at all, day or night should create enough gradient. A certain amount of boundary shift is expected to climb north, but on the other hand the loss of ice has & should continue to disrupt the arctic vortex winter flow allowing cooler air to reach farther toward the equator during winter. Interesting Abstract & paper published last year about the extra build up of heat due to less ice coverage that gets released in fall, causing pressure anomalies.. the extreme pressure highs & their corresponding abnormal lows we've seen after harsh melt season. Remember too the early winter after the 2007 melt where a heat bubble split the arctic vortex in two (NASA covered it well). More heat in the fall encountering extreme sudden cold from lack of sun in future winters..it's been theorized that these extreme highs & lows should be even worse with the ice gone but there is most likely unknown feedbacks..good or bad, that will effect the outcome.

no fair you typed this all faster than me...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting caneswatch:
Doorman, do what I did with Kerry and Pilotguy. They cause nothing but trouble.


Yea I know, but it is fun!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Doorman, do what I did with Kerry and Pilotguy. They cause nothing but trouble.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting alfabob:
Yes, but if the only time the Arctic regions begin to cool is when there is no direct radiance from the sun; then there must be a defined amount of heat which is released during the winter season in order to create the temperature gradient (similar to black-body radiation, but obviously it's not a perfect black body).

Right now a lot of the gradient is being produced by melting ice; so when the ice begins to decline, we're out of that extra reservoir which has been there for a long time (relative). So IF the arctic ice continues to melt, more feed back systems will likely be involved. Whether this leads to a runaway event or self-corrects at some point is the question. But my point is that without ice at the poles, the temperature gradient will likely decrease; while the boundary between the air masses should shift towards the polar regions.


Bob the "gradient" is not being used up by melting ice. That is if by gradient you mean the delta( difference) in temperature over some distance.

In the summer it is warmer in the polar regions so more ice melts. This is more of a buffering effect as it takes more joules( heat) to melt ice( change of state regquires a lot of energy) than simply warm up water. So once the ice is melted that buffer will be gone which will allow the temperature to rise more in summer..but "blackbody" radiation theory and one of the laws of thermodynamics says that heat loss is exponetial as temperature gradient goes up. Since SPACE is always cold the heat will be lost faster into space in the winter increasing atmospheric instability as well as the tropics will be as much warmer relative to the polar regions so storms will still occur but with more energy available will be worse..
Don't forget storms come from rising warm air..
The warmer it gets the faster and farther it can rise.
I have always wondered if the global warming models take the expansion and therefore extra radiant surface area and depth of the atmosphere into consideration as it warms up..
it will expand and cool and be deeper and sunlight will have to travel through more to get near the surface
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pilotguy1:


You prove my point. Thanks.


You are welcome.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Skyepony:


Sky, where did you find that image?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pilotguy1:


This blog with its' juvenile behavior deserves very little respect.


Ok, are you hitting puberty or just need a good therapist?
how bout that?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Very ugly reports coming out of North Carolina tonight from one area tonight. Warnings still active in the same area 3hours later.

10/26/2010 0745 PM
Claremont, Catawba County.
Tornado, reported by trained spotter.
Several homes and a restaurant badly damaged.

10/26/2010 0745 PM
Claremont, Catawba County.
Tornado, reported by amateur radio.
Several cars overturned in Claremont.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:


Hope this works! After the storms left Louisville, Ky., I looked out my front door, and there was a beautiful rainbow to the north. Before I could take a pic, it disappeared, but I did catch the colorful sunset!

If my picture does not show, I have it in the photo gallery. I do not post very often, but read all the time.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
328. Skyepony (Mod)
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37335
Quoting pilotguy1:


Doorman,
You need to treat people with more respect.


That is cool, when he grows up and respects the blog, I will respect him!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AEKDB1990:


Have two browser windows going. One with your pics, and one here. Click the image button and copy/paste the address of the picture you want to post into the image button popup.


Thank you very much.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
323. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting alfabob:
Yes, but if the only time the Arctic regions begin to cool is when there is no direct radiance from the sun; then there must be a defined amount of heat which is released during the winter season in order to create the temperature gradient (similar to black-body radiation, but obviously it's not a perfect black body).

Right now a lot of the gradient is being produced by melting ice; so when the ice begins to decline, we're out of that extra reservoir which has been there for a long time (relative). So IF the arctic ice continues to melt, more feed back systems will likely be involved. Whether this leads to a runaway event or self-corrects at some point is the question. But my point is that without ice at the poles, the temperature gradient will likely decrease; while the boundary between the air masses should shift towards the polar regions.



The lack of sun for so many months should insure winter storms, ice or no ice. There should be some reduction of temperature gradient & had you applied that to only the summer, I'd totally agree. The sun is the earth's major warming factor & without it in a region at all, day or night should create enough gradient. A certain amount of boundary shift is expected to climb north, but on the other hand the loss of ice has & should continue to disrupt the arctic vortex winter flow allowing cooler air to reach farther toward the equator during winter. Interesting Abstract & paper published last year about the extra build up of heat due to less ice coverage that gets released in fall, causing pressure anomalies.. the extreme pressure highs & their corresponding abnormal lows we've seen after harsh melt season. Remember too the early winter after the 2007 melt where a heat bubble split the arctic vortex in two (NASA covered it well). More heat in the fall encountering extreme sudden cold from lack of sun in future winters..it's been theorized that these extreme highs & lows should be even worse with the ice gone but there is most likely unknown feedbacks..good or bad, that will effect the outcome.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37335
Quoting KerryInNOLA:
Seriously, would you want that guy to be your dad. "Son, source yourself before you talk to me" . Really!


Kerry,

Seriously dude!

Either you are hitting puberty, or you need to find a good therapist!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
busy day on the storm front today bo

Amazing to have a nearly stationary huge Low at 955 MB/28.20 inches parked right over Northern Minnesota.

Over 250 + wind damage reports and 22 tornado reports! Total is 277 and NC is getting slammed!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
busy day on the storm front today bo
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
ok, I give up. How do I post a picture here after I have uploaded it to wunderground photos. Thanks.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KerryInNOLA:
What is that supposed to mean.? And source my discussions? God forbid if you have children. They must go thru hell.


oh m'goodness, I;m gonna be laughing for DAYS at that one...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296

Viewing: 354 - 304

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Overcast
74 °F
Overcast