Twister of El Niño

February 25, 2016

tornado___speed_painting_by_ojollands-d35q684High, fleecy clouds with lots of yellowed sunshine this early Thursday on California’s north coast as we roll through another not-unpleasant portion of our cock-eyed winter season.
Rain forecast for tomorrow afternoon, a quick squirt, and clear Saturday with another short drizzle/rain spell, then back to quiet and warm supposedly for next week.

Nice out here right now on the Left Coast, but not at all back eastward, where a most-hated natural phenomenon has run among (The Weather Channel): ‘As of Thursday morning, survey teams from the National Weather Service have confirmed 26 tornadoes in this outbreak, and crews will likely confirm more on Thursday. These twisters have killed a total of seven people, and one more was killed by a falling tree in South Carolina.’

In Virginia the first deadly tornadoes ever there for the month of February killed four people, and likely to continue…

(Illustration: ‘Tornado – speed-painting,’ by FableImpact, found here).

As a source-product of south Alabama and the panhandle of Florida, I’ve had my share of tornadoes — my fright is humongous. Earthquakes are way-worse, though, but that’s another scary story…

The current tornado epidemic has been spawned by warm.
Even as the fabled El Niño rains are dripping slow, the event might be creating an environment of a shitload of twisters.
From The Weather Channel yesterday:

According to Dr. Greg Forbes, severe weather expert for The Weather Channel, a preliminary total of 235 tornadoes occurred in the U.S. from November 2015 through early morning, Feb. 24, 2016.
This count is almost 57 percent higher than the 20-year average count through that same time period of 150 tornadoes, according to Forbes.

El Niño does not, by itself, spawn tornadoes or tornado outbreaks.
El Niño is the periodic warming of the central and eastern equatorial Pacific water that exhibits a forcing on the overall atmospheric pattern, particularly in the winter months.
One thing common to strong El Niños is a more bullish southern-branch, or subtropical jet stream.
While this subtropical jet stream typically camps, at times, over parts of the southern U.S. each winter, in a strong El Niño, it is most anomalously strong farther south, from the eastern Pacific Ocean through Mexico, into the Gulf of Mexico, then into the Florida Peninsula.
This tends to pull the track of winter frontal systems closer to the Gulf Coast and Florida. Coupled with a stronger southern-branch jet stream, severe thunderstorms can be more numerous in parts of the South.

Essentially, tornadoes, and tornado outbreaks occur at a much smaller scale than the huge scale of an El Niño.
Tornadoes are notoriously fickle, forming on some days with a favorable overall environment for severe weather, but not on others.
El Niño simply doesn’t operate on that small a scale to determine whether you’ll simply have an area of thunderstorms with flooding rain, or a tornado outbreak.
Basically, even a record-tying El Niño is not the only “driver” of the atmospheric pattern at any given time.

Couple it all with climate change and more shitstorms…

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