Christmas Day Tornadoes

31 12 2012

Tornadoes are fairly common in the Southeast during the month of December due to surges of cold air moving into the region.  Unfortunately, one of the strongest tornadoes went through the heart of Mobile.

XMasTORPath

Here is the path courtesy of the National Weather Service in Mobile.  The area of Mobile that was hardest hit is indicated where the yellow is which is where EF-2 damage was found.  Within that damage area is where Murphy High School and the Trinity Episcopal Church are.

MurphyHS TEChurch

This was around 5:00 PM where the storm was at it strongest as indicated from the radar at the Mobile Regional Airport.

KMOB_TORRadar

The classic hook echo is clearly defined and the area where the tornado is with the tightest circulation is circled.  At this time, the tornado had roughly 135 MPH winds which is a high end EF-2 tornado.  So far, the estimated dollar amount for Mobile is $140 to $150 million.  The tornado path was 5.7 miles long and the tornado had a width of about 200 yards.

This wasn’t the only tornado that went through Mobile County.

WilmerTOR

This tornado went South and East of Wilmer as an EF-1.  It traveled 6.8 miles and had a width of about 100 yards.  It was weaker than the Mobile tornado, but it caused a lot of damage to the Wilmer area by damaging homes and demolishing mobile homes like this one.

WilmerTORMH

Nobody was killed in any of the tornadoes that dropped down on Christmas day.  Some minor injuries were reported in Mobile, but other than that it truly was a Christmas miracle that no lives were lost.





Christmas Day Severe Threat

23 12 2012

Christmas time is almost here and we have been looking forward to all the Christmas cheer with Christmas dinner and opening presents with the family.  This Christmas, however, is going to be pretty wet on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but Christmas Day is the one we are concerned with.  We have been watching it and as we continue to monitor it the conditions seem to get worse.  Here is what the Storm Prediction Center is showing for Christmas Day.

XMasDaySVRWX

Another Slight Risk for our viewers and parts of Mississippi and Texas and almost all of Louisiana.  We saw this from the last forecast discussion this far out, but this one has something different that the last one didn’t.

XMasDaySVRWXPERC

Here is where things change.  The last severe storm event we had on Thursday only had a 15% chance of severe weather.  Christmas Day is looking to have a 30% chance of severe weather which extends from Mobile, AL; Eutaw, AL; Jackson, MS; Alexander, LA; New Orleans, LA; and all the places in the middle of those.  The hatched area indicates a 10% or greater chance of significant severe weather which includes the previous locations and even Tuscaloosa, AL; Selma, AL; and Monroeville, AL.

What makes this event so much different than the last is where the low pressure of the system will be.

XMasDaySVRWXLow

A low, an area of low pressure, will develop in South Central Texas Tuesday morning and will progress towards the Northeast throughout the day.  As it does that, it will push warm, moist air ahead of it unstabilizing the air over MS/AL.  As it approaches the MS/AL state line Tuesday night the center of the low pressure system will be far enough south where we have a good chance of severe weather and even a few tornadoes are possible.  This is actually really close to where the low was Thursday night on Dec. 14th when tornado warnings popped up all over the Southwest part of Alabama and even a tornado in Mobile.

All of the ingredients that were discussed in the last severe weather event are there this time, but there is more of it.

We will keep you updated as we continue to monitor the event as it we get closer to Christmas Day.

-Michael Vasquez





Dec. 2012 Mobile Tornado

22 12 2012

The storms that pushed through Alabama Thursday caused a lot of trouble that morning.  The first tornado warning was in Southwest Mobile County at 4:11 AM that morning where a rotating storm moved into the county.  At 4:42, the NWS in Mobile issued a tornado warning that focused on Midtown Mobile.  That’s when conditions deteriorate for Mobile.  At 4:49, the tornado started to make havoc in Mobile by causing damage to the YMCA in Midtown Mobile.

Dec20TORStart

Some damage was reported at this time like roof damage to the YMCA and to the baseball fields.  Other then that, only small limbs and small objects were knocked down and moved around.  It quickly approached I-65 and when it did it had touched down on the ground creating all sorts of destruction.

Dec20TORDZoom

This is where the worst damage started.  The places that were heavily damaged are listed in the previous image.  This is the area where debris was found on the interstate.  One of the big damages seen in this area was the side of the Jenny Craig building that was completely destroyed and the garden section of Lowes that was heavily damaged.  After this damage area, it continued through the suburbs and then go to Dauphin Street.

Dec20TORDZoom2

Here is where it did millions of dollars of damage to the Mercedes of Mobile and additional damage to Krystal’s where the roof collapsed and the Alabama Red Cross where it moved and damaged its equipment outside.  It continued to move towards Springhill Avenue causing all sorts of damage to suburb areas in its path.

Dec20TORDZoom3

This is where the complete destruction of the BP Gas Station occurred.  Following this was going through several other suburb areas and even a medical office until it lifted.

Dec20TOREnd

The tornado lifted at Telegraph Rd. where it ended its rampage on Mobile at 5:05 AM.  The storm continued to move to the Northeast and passed over Bay Minette and continued into Escambia County, AL where it finally weakened and became a typical rain storm.

-Michael Vasquez





Dec. 20, 2012 Severe Weather Update

19 12 2012

It has been a whole day looking at everything for tomorrow and even as tomorrow gets closer the data has relatively stayed the same with some small changes.  As we have looked deeply into everything, we finally came to the conclusion that this will mainly be a wind event, as expected, than a tornado event.  This, however, does not exclude tornadoes out of it though.  The image below shows the area with best chance of experiencing a tornado or, most likely, will have tornado warned storms.  This does not mean that a tornado will be spotted in this area by any means as tornadoes will be very small in numbers if any at all.  The area enclosed in the red box just highlights the are with the highest potential of seeing a tornado warning or a tornado as that area has the ingredients it needs to produce one.

Dec20TORThreat

The area above the red box will most likely see heavy rain and strong or damaging winds as there will be a strong difference in temperature with weaker convection or rising of air.  The area below it will see strong and even some severe thunderstorms that could possible cause the radar to spit out a few tornado warning boxes, but will most likely be storms with strong to damaging winds and a small chance of hail because of the better atmosphere for rising air.

We will continue to update you all as we get closer to Thursday morning.

-Michael Vasquez





Dec. 20, 2012 Severe Weather Threat

18 12 2012

Welcome to our first severe weather forecast post on our blog.  We are looking at an event that is 2 days away and everything looks like it might line up for a severe weather event.  First, just to get a broad point of view on what we are looking at, here is the severe thunderstorm outlook posted from the Storm Prediction Center.  All of our viewers are in the Slight Risk area for severe weather and that entire Slight Risk area is under a 15% chance of seeing severe weather.  That doesn’t seem like much, but for this far in advance and this time of year it poses some paying attention to.
SVRRisk

Now time to break it down.  We all know what the jet stream is right?  It’s basically a narrow band of fast moving air about 30,000 to 40,000 feet above us.  When we get in a certain area of the jet stream, we can either see clouds and thunderstorms or clear blue skies.  Thursday morning to noon hours is looking to have the area of clouds and thunderstorms right over our viewing area.  There is another thing we look for dealing with wind that is called a low-level jet.  That is basically a focused area of strong winds about 5,000 feet above us.  We can actually see this phenomenon when we see clouds that are low moving really fast.  When this focused area of strong winds moves over are area, as it is forecast to do, reaches and exceeds 46 MPH or 40 Knots we tend to get concerned with it because it is another sign of seeing clouds and thunderstorms.  The low-level jet is looking to be 45-70 MPH or about 40-60 Knots Thursday morning.  That really makes us concerned about the chances of severe weather.

Our next concern we look for are in the temperatures.  First of all, this is a strong cold front and what we mean by that is that there is some very cold air behind it and very warm air ahead of it.  Any time we see this it automatically sends up some red flags for us to watch it for the chance of severe weather.  The other thing we look for is the transport of warm air and we look at this in the same area as the low-level jet mentioned earlier.  Any time we get a South or Southwest wind it’s coming from warm, moist area over The Gulf and into cooler, drier area far inland.  This is always a sign of clouds and showers/thunderstorms.  However, when you add the strong winds mentioned earlier in the low-level jet to that it’s more going to help produce thunderstorms which is what we are expecting to happen Thursday.

After looking at all of this, we look into another factor that is a little harder to explain and that is the movement of energy.  Basically, cold fronts are a separation of a lot of energy behind it and little energy in front of it.  We look at about 18,000 feet above us to see where this energy is and the direction the wind is blowing it to.  When we see air moving from high energy to a lower amount of energy it throws up a sign for us to watch it because when this happens we will get clouds and if there is a big enough difference in the energy it could bring up showers and thunderstorms.  There is some disagreement in this area with the forecast models we use which is a problem because this could make the difference between thunderstorms and supercells capable of producing tornadoes with everything else added into it that we have mentioned so far.  We will continue to watch this, but as of right now it is looking like this transport of energy is strong enough for us to watch for a wind event and some isolated tornadoes.

The final thing we look for is the change in wind direction with height from the surface to about 18,000 feet.  The ideal setup for tornadoes is when we have a surface wind from the Southeast and the wind at about 18,000 feet is from the West which is greater than a 45 degree change in direction.  Luckily, this is not what we are expecting Thursday morning, but it will be close.  The surface winds are looking to be from the South and from the Southwest at about 18,000 feet.  Not ideal for a tornadic event, but still poses the threat that a few tornadoes could be seen from this with everything else on top of it.

So to sum it all up now, we are looking at a very good chance of strong thunderstorms Thursday morning with a decent chance of severe thunderstorms capable of producing strong damaging wind and even some isolated tornadoes.  Our biggest concern with all of this is the fact that it will be in the morning hours which is definitely not ideal for severe weather like this to occur because we, typically, will have just have gotten out of the coolest part of the day which is about 6:40 AM right now.  With this included, it will lessen the threat of severe weather some.  But, nonetheless, the threat will be there and since this is 2 days ahead things can change.

We will continue to heavily monitor this and keep you updated with the latest for Thursday.

-Michael Vasquez





Connecticut Tragedy

17 12 2012

Welcome to our blog!  We have decided to dedicate our first official post to all of those who were effected by the traumatic event that happened in Newton, Connecticut this week.  We felt the pain and the heartache that everyone else in the nation felt when we heard what happened.  We send our thoughts and and prayers to all of the kids and parents.





Hello world!

7 12 2012

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