January 29-30 Night-Time-Early Morning QLCS Squall Line
QLCS squall line raced through in the form of one short segment in our northwestern areas & then the main squall line over most of the viewing area January 29-30. Timing of the lines occurred generally between 9 p.m. & 1:30 a.m.
Sporadic severe wind gusts accompanied the line as high as 65 mph. One tornado velocity signature was seen in Carroll County, but rotation signature was largely mid-level & did not drop enough to low-level to warrant tornado warning per NWS.
Trees were reportedly felled in Montgomery County & Tipton counties with an aluminum shed in Carroll County damaged. A trampoline was blown a considerable distance at this site, with limbs & small trees downed northeast of Flora.
Damaging gusts tended to occur where dew points reached 60-61, while much of the intense wind remained a few thousand feet off the ground in areas with dew points below 60 as buoyancy prevented enough updrafts to tap into strong winds close to the ground & bring them to the surface.
Think of an improperly inflated balloon. No matter how much you try to force it upward, it never tends to rise high on its own (lower dew points, bit cooler air). A properly inflated balloon will rise & tap into air currently well above it & float (dew point 60 or 61 & bit warmer air). Same applies to dew points & their associated surface instability.
+80 mph low-level jet & influx of warmth & higher dew points caused the squall line to organize quickly with +115 mph winds at upper levels aiding in lift. Additionally, record warmth preceded the QLCS squall line in the 60s & heavy rainfall accompanied the line & lasted for several hours behind it. This resulted in 1-3″ of rainfall over the 2-day period with areas of minor flooding.
High-resolution model wind projections several hours prior to event:
Precision 18 Doppler radar wind data during event:
Below shows actual measured wind gusts & a few estimated gusts from spotters:
April 10-11, 2013: Day-time Multi-Cellular Hailers & Night-time QLCS Squall Line
Severe weather event unfolded April 10-11 in two parts. 1-3.5″ of total rainfall fell during the two rounds, resulting in areas of flash flooding. River flooding event occurred several days afterward with Wabash cresting 6-8′ above flood stage Lafayette to Covington. Many other rivers & streams reaching either bankfull or over flood stage during & after event.
24-hour rainfall totals for these days are 7 a.m. to 7 a.m.
3 cluster of largely elevated multi-cellular storms passed through north of a surface warm front in the afternoon-evening of April 10. A few were surface-based south of the warm front, where some gusty winds were able to make it to the surface & accompany the large hail. The multiple rounds also trained over the same areas, leading to some locations receiving over 2″ of rainfall. This led to areas of flash flooding particularly in northern Warren, northwest Clinton, southeastern Carroll.
Trees Down – 1.5 Miles Northeast Kirklin
0.25″ Hail – South Lafayette
0.25″ Hail – Klondike
0.25″ Hail – Battle Ground
1.00″ Hail – Kokomo
1.00″ Hail – Converse
0.25″ – Greentown
0.50″ – East of Greentown
1.00″ Hail – 2 Miles Northeast of Dayton
1.00″ Hail – 2 Miles West of Darlington
0.88″ – Darlington
0.88″ Hail – South of Dayton
1.00″ Hail - East of Dayton
0.25″ Hail – Windfall
1.00″ Hail – New Ross
M51 mph Gust – Crawfordsville
E45 mph – Ladoga
0.50″ Hail – WLFI-TV
A QLCS squall line of t’storms raced through the area Wednesday night-early Thursday morning 12 a.m. to 3 a.m. Several small bow & LEWPs formed in the line, mainly in the southeastern half of the viewing area. There, it warmed up to near 61 ahead of the line.
One particular bow produced sporadic wind damage from south of Covington to Hillsboro to near Crawfordsville to near Rossville. This bow developed an LEWP in the line that produced a low-level rotation signature, prompting a tornado warning for northeastern Montgomery, southeastern Tippecanoe, Clinton, southeastern Carroll & Howard counties.
This line dumped additional rainfall that resulted in a total of 1 to 3.5″ of rainfall across the viewing area. Some roads were flooded by the rainfall in Carroll & Clinton counties.
Trees, limbs down near Hillsboro & farm shed damaged with 3 power poles leading
Many trees & some powerlines down near Mulberry
M64 mph: Rossville WLFI Tower Site Weather Station
Several large limbs down south of tower site weather station
E58 mph: 6 ESE Covington
M52 mph: Crawfordsville
M60 mph: Frankfort
M45 mph: Kokomo
M43 mph: Kokomo Municipal Airport
M38 mph: Burlington
M37 mph: Grissom Air Reserve Base
M34 mph: Pine Village
M33 mph: Michigantown
Damage pics from near Hillsboro in Fountain County (courtesy of Tyler Snider & Sam Harding):
APRIL 17, 2013 SOUTHERN SUPERCELL LARGE HAILERS
Several supercell t’storms formed near/on warm front during the evening of April 17. Producing hail as large as golfballs, gusts of 50 mph also occurred with the storms. One particular storm showed a very pronounced, strong low-level rotation signature. Spotters did reports a rotating wall cloud with this feature, but no funnel developed.
Storms brought torrential rainfall of up to 1″ in a short period of time.
1.75″ Hail 1 Mile South of Ladoga
1.50″ Hail Ladoga
E40 mph Gust Ladoga
1.50″ Hail 3 Miles North of New Ross
1.50″ Hail 2 Miles North of New Ross
1.00″ Hail New Ross
E50 mph Gust Ladoga
Rotating Wall Cloud New Ross
1.50″ Hail Mackie
1.25″ Hail Northeast Mackie
1.00″ Hail 3 Miles Northeast of Ladoga
1.00″ Hail Thorntown
0.25″ Hail Advance
Rotating Wall Cloud 3 Miles Northeast New Ross
Rotating Wall Cloudy 3 Miles Northwest of Advance
0.25″ Hail Antioch
0.25″ Hail Rensselaer
0.25″ Hail Kentland
0.25″ Hail WLFI
APRIL 18, 2013 TWO SQUALL LINES
Squall line on the morning of April 18 produced severe gusts & wind damage in Newton, Jasper, Benton, Warren & Fountain counties. The heaviest damage was in Earl Park where several buildings, including a retirement home, were damaged (along with trees & powerlines).
Weak low-level rotation signature was evident on radar with LEWP in the squall line around Earl Park. However, damage all points towards straight-line wind damage of 80 mph in a narrow corridor embedded in a broader swath of 55-65 mph wind gusts.
This particular LEWP’s bow (tornado signature was embedded in the middle of the “S”-shape of LEWP) did produce a gust to 61 mph at Kentland with trees & limbs downed.
After this, waves of showers & t’storms continue all day, but were not severe.
Second squall line in the evening produced wind gusts of up to 50 mph & torrential rainfall.
The training of this line & heavy bouts of rainfall since the evening before, produced the widespread, significant flooding in the area by the morning of April 19 with the Wabash at Lafayette reaching its highest level since June 14, 1950 & at Covington since January 7, 1950. The Wildcat at Lafayette reached its highest level since July 7, 2003. Record flooding occurred on creeks in Howard, Tipton & Boone counties, while Oakdale Dam discharge caused minor flooding downstream. Widespread field & road flooding also occurred area-wide, specifically in our southeastern counties where rainfall totals ended up being the highest.
A wet winter, snowy March & wet mid-April caused this flood to be significant.
Earl Park Trees & limbs down, powerlines down & building damage……….grain bin downed
Earl Park Part of roof of retirement home collapsed
Earl Park Shed blown onto U.S. 41
Mt Ayr Several power poles blown down onto County Road 200 south between Meridian Road & County Road 100 West.
E60 mph Mt. Ayr
M65 mph Morocco
M64 mph Near Dunn’s Bridge
M61 mph Kentland
M60 mph 4 Miles Southeast of Fowler
M53 mph Pine Village
M52 mph Rensselaer
M49 mph Rensselaer High School
M49 mph Winamac
M44 mph Jasper County Airport
M41 mph Frankfort
M40 mph Attica
M37 mph Covington
M37 mph Purdue University Airport
M37 mph 5 Miles Northwest Rochester
M37 mph WLFI-TV
SQUALL LINE GUSTS:
M50 mph Covington
M50 mph Crawfordsville
M48 mph Atlanta
M45 mph Frankfort
M44 mph Michigantown
M44 mph Kokomo Municipal Airport
M41 mph Kokomo
1″ hail & gust to 51 mph measured near Crawfordsville
VIOLENT SEVERE WEATHER OUTBREAK WITH HEAVY RAIN TO UNSEASONABLE SNOWFALL TO WORST RIVER FLOODING ON RECORD……………ALL IN A WEEK IN MARCH 1913………
March 21-26, 1913 was an amazing period of weather in our area. From near-record cold to warm April-like weather, a significant severe weather outbreak (violent tornado nearby at Terre Haute killed 25 on the south side of town) to massive flash floods, then river floods with 2-7″ of snow in-between.
For example, Rensselaer went from 6 degrees on the morning of March 17th to three days in the 60s, including 68 on the 19th & 67 on the 20th. This was followed by our severe weather outbreak, then temperature dropped to 10 degrees. After 50s March 25 with heavy rainfall, 2″ of snow was measured on the morning of March 25. On March 27 the high/low was 31/20 with 55 on March 29. A total of 4.74″ of rain/melted precipitation occurred March 21-26.
Up to 8″ of rainfall occurred in our southern counties during this period. Up to 11″ fell in eastern Indiana, leading to the infamous great Flood of 1913.
It was a week of weather to remember!
I am working on a complete write-up, complete with graphics, on that event & what caused the historical events of that time.
March 19, 1913
March 20, 1913
March 21, 1913
March 22, 1913
March 23, 1913
March 24, 1913
March 25, 1913
March 26, 1913
March 19, 1913
March 20, 1913
March 21, 1913
March 22, 1913
March 23, 1913
March 24, 1913
March 25, 1913
March 26, 1913
Recent Storms Highlight Flaws In Top U.S. Weather Model
The U.S., which pioneered the groundbreaking science of weather forecasting using mathematical simulations of the atmosphere, has fallen behind other nations when it comes to the accuracy of its global forecasting model. The consequences could be dire for people in harm’s way if the U.S. is less prepared for extreme weather and climate events.
The emerging “modeling gap” could erode the accuracy of U.S. weather forecasts and also cause greater economic losses from weather events. A 2011 study found that routine weather variability alone affects the American economy to the tune of approximately $485 billion each year, not including the billions that are lost when major storms strike heavily populated areas.
Interviews with more than a half-dozen weather forecasters and federal officials reveal widespread concern over that modeling gap, and guarded optimism about the government’s ability to narrow it in a harsh budgetary climate.
A more accurate U.S. model, and a more capable national and regional weather forecasting system as a whole, could help Americans better anticipate extreme events at longer lead times, which would save lives and limit economic losses at a time when global warming is making some extreme events, such as heat waves, more likely and severe.
Hurricane Sandy is the poster child for that discussion. As Sandy was spinning its way northward from the Caribbean Sea, it was the model run by the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) that sounded the earliest alarm. The European Center’s model projected about a week in advance that the storm would make an unprecedented and devastating left hook into the Mid-Atlantic coastline, wreaking havoc the likes of which parts of the East Coast had not seen in modern times.
The top-of-the-line U.S. weather forecasting model, known as the Global Forecasting System (GFS) didn’t catch on to that worst-case scenario until the storm was closer to making landfall in the U.S. That delay contributed to a large degree of uncertainty in the forecasts until just three to four days before the storm hit.
Fast-forward four months to the Feb. 7 blizzard that paralyzed the Northeast by dumping up to 40 inches of snow. Again, it was the European Center’s model that proved to be the most accurate, giving local officials throughout southern New England ample time to prepare, while the U.S. model vacillated between varying projections of the storm’s path, strength, and snowfall amounts.
When it comes to medium-range projections, the gap between the two models’ accuracy is especially wide. Most U.S. weather forecasters now look to the ECMWF model run by the Europeans, which is located in Reading, England, as well as models run by other organizations — like the U.K. Met Office — to get the most accurate picture of how weather systems are likely to evolve in the 3-to-8-day time frame. Forecasters still take the GFS model into account in those time frames, but usually with greater caution compared to the European Center’s simulations.
That disparity is, in part, the result of years of decisions made by officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as the agency has tried to cope with increasingly strained resources while still making advancements in climate science, meteorology, and ocean research. At the same time, NOAA has struggled to stem the financial bleeding from long-delayed and mismanaged weather and climate satellite programs. The end result is that NOAA’s operational weather capabilities are not keeping pace with those of other countries
“There’s no question that our global modeling system is inferior,” said Cliff Mass, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington who has written a series of blog posts criticizing NOAA, which runs the National Weather Service (NWS), for the lackluster performance of some American weather models during recent high-profile weather events.
At its most basic level, this is about a power struggle. But not your classic power struggle. Rather, it’s about who has enough juice to run their computers.
Computer models simulate how weather or climate conditions evolve based on a set of initial atmospheric and oceanic conditions, and they help guide meteorologists in making forecasts. The models divide the world into grid boxes — the smaller the size of the grid box, the higher the model’s resolution, and the more fine-grain details it can pick up on. Many storms and weather features, from thunderstorms to the all-important rain/snow line, occur on smaller scales than many computer models were designed for. This means that higher-resolution models often produce more accurate projections.
High-resolution models require more computing power to run, and this is where the National Weather Service has been stymied in recent years, as the lion’s share of the supercomputing resources within NOAA have gone to climate science research, rather than operational weather forecasting.
Currently, the European Center’s model is run at about twice the resolution of the GFS model (16-kilometer grid spacing vs. 28-kilometer grids). For forecasts beyond eight days the GFS model has an even coarser resolution, which means it divides the world into larger grid boxes, on the order of 84 kilometers.
In other words, it’s like the GFS model is looking at the atmosphere with slightly blurred vision, while the European Center’s model has a clearer view.
Newly appointed National Weather Service director Louis Uccellini said the European Center’s model has a distinct advantage when it comes to helping forecasters anticipate the development of extreme storms many days in advance.
“Their model is better on a day-to-day basis and what they have shown on extreme events is that they can forecast the possible occurrence of these events further out in time” before the National Weather Service’s models pick it up, Uccellini said.
One of the main obstacles to improving the accuracy of the U.S. models is that running higher-resolution models requires more powerful computers, and NOAA has devoted far less computing power to day-to-day weather modeling than the Europeans. Currently, NOAA is using the equivalent of a V6 engine from the family minivan to power the GFS model, whereas in Europe, they are using the equivalent of a V8 engine from a high-performance racing car.
Mass said there is an imbalance between the computing resources devoted to climate modeling, compared to the resources going to operational weather forecasting. “We put so much resources into climate simulation, what I’m saying is that we should put less into that and more into weather forecasting.”
Uccellini said he is working to boost the supercomputing resources devoted to those operational weather models so that the GFS model and other U.S. weather models can be run at higher resolutions. “We’re not there yet with our computing capacity operationally,” Uccellini said. “That’s what I’m focused on, even before I walked in the door.”
Uccellini rejects the zero-sum approach that Mass and others advocate, which pits climate-computing resources against weather resources within NOAA. “There’s a synergy here” between weather and climate research,” Uccellini said. “I work closely with the climate community and the research that they do.”
The National Weather Service has already upgraded the way weather data is fed into the GFS model, a process known as data assimilation, and is putting in place a three-fold increase in computing capacity and speed for the GFS model later this year, Uccellini said. “We have made it a very high priority to enhance the computing capacity even more.
“We expect a significant bump up in our operational computing capacity” once the computing upgrade is put in place at the end of August, he said.
While the automatic budget cuts known as the sequester went into effect on March 1, NOAA may have the money necessary to make those improvements.
The Hurricane Sandy relief bills, which passed Congress in January, authorized $207 million for upgrades to weather infrastructure, including the National Weather Service’s supercomputing resources. But the agency has not submitted a plan for spending that money to the House and Senate appropriations committees, which must approve the proposal before any cash can flow. A NOAA spokesperson said the spending plan should be delivered to Congress by the end of this week.
Uccellini said the additional funds will help the National Weather Service close the gap between its capabilities and other countries. “This is a high priority for us, for NOAA and for the Department (of Commerce) and we believe we have the support on the Hill to address this issue,” he said. “I’m optimistic.”
Adequate funding and computing power, however, may be only half the battle. According to climate and weather experts, there are also organizational challenges that the National Weather Service faces that make it difficult for the agency to take advantage of the latest atmospheric science research to improve its forecast models.
Compared to the European Center, which is an integrated research and modeling agency dedicated solely to medium-range weather forecasting, the National Weather Service has far broader responsibilities and lacks its own research arm. Instead, it is dependent on the fruits of weather and climate research programs scattered throughout NOAA. A prime example of that is NOAA’s Earth Systems Research Lab in Boulder, Colo., which does not fall under Uccellini’s purview, even though much of the research it conducts is related to weather forecasting.
Uccellini said he admires what he likes to call “The European business model,” with the more integrated research and operations structure. However, NOAA is not about to adopt that business model, especially considering that the European Center charges a hefty sum for full access to its data. The National Weather Service forecasts and model data are made available to the public for free.
Uccellini said he is hopeful that he can work with NOAA’s research centers to meet the National Weather Service’s goals. Those goals include far more than just advancing the GFS model to be more on par with the Europeans. They include making improvements in estimating and communicating the uncertainties of each forecast, and adding capabilities for short-term models that could detect smaller-scale, high-impact events like the severe thunderstorms that knocked out power to much of the Mid-Atlantic one sultry July evening last year.
One of the major strengths of the National Weather Service is that it provides a suite of weather forecast models and tools for forecasters, the media and businesses. Those resources are used in a wide array of industries, from aviation and shipping to electric utilities and the financial industry. Many of those same resources are unavailable in Europe.
“My colleagues and I are able to avail ourselves to an array of shorter-term (3- to 4-day) model output, which is absolutely invaluable in our day-to-day work as a forecasters and which isn’t available — certainly not in (the) scope or range of the products I access in my weather office — from the European Center,” said Tom Skilling, chief meteorologist for Chicago’s WGN-TV, in an email message.
But while that abundance of data may be helping to minimize the impact that one poorly performing model can have on overall forecast accuracy, experts like Mass say that the U.S. risks becoming increasingly dependent on the European Center and other organizations like it for weather forecasting. That despite the fact that American taxpayers are already on the hook for the data gathering used to feed the flawed model.
Closing the modeling gap will require sustained investments from Congress and commitment from NOAA’s leadership. Uccellini, who as the former director of NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center is intimately familiar with the challenges involved with forecasting high-impact weather events, said he is intent on ensuring that his agency has the resources that are required to address the issue.
In the meantime, weather forecasters have their eye on a series of potential storm systems that will impact much of the U.S. next week, from the West to the East Coast. True to form, the European Center’s model is showing a distinctly different evolution of these storms compared to the GFS. Time will tell which model is more accurate this time around, but the smart money is on the European Center model.
March 21-28, 1913 was one wild, wild week of weather around here. From a significant severe weather outbreak to a killer tornado at Terre Haute, Indiana to record floods, record cold & even up to 7″ of snow. This week was one for the record books!
We are indeed maximizing sun in many parts of the area. As of 2:50 pm it is 66 at WLFI. This is the warmest day since tying the a time record high of 71 in December ( at leat 1887-2012 in west Lafayette).