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THE 3 MAY 1999 OKLAHOMA TORNADOES

MANUSCRIPT
Submissions for the Special Issue of Weather and Forecasting

Roebber, Schultz, and Romero (2001), "Synoptic Regulation of the 3 May 1999 Tornado Outbreak", was published in the Special Issue of Weather and Forecasting dedicated to the 3-4 May 1999 Tornado Outbreak.


HIGH-RESOLUTION MODEL SIMULATION OUTPUT

Prof. Paul Roebber (University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee) and I have performed high-resolution MM5 simulations of the May 3 storms. Here are some preliminary results and supplemental output not shown in our manuscript.

  • The initial and lateral boundary conditions: Animated gif: Dynamic tropopause map from the AVN 0000 UTC 3 May 1999 run, interpolated to the D1 grid (54-km horizontal grid spacing).
  • Animated gif: Vertical motion at 1.5 km greater than 0.5 m/s (red) and ice at 9.0 km in D4 (smallest domain: 2-km grid spacing): 1800 UTC 3 May to 0300 UTC 4 May 1999

  • Initial dynamic-tropopause map for NOPV simulation
  • Initial dynamic-tropopause map for CNTL simulation
  • Initial dynamic-tropopause map for 2XPV simulation
  • Animated gif: Initial dynamic-tropopause map for NOPV, CNTL, and 2XPV simulations

  • Upper-level PV at 2200 UTC 3 May for NOPV simulation
  • Upper-level PV at 0300 UTC 4 May for NOPV simulation


    OPERATIONAL MODEL DATA

    Dynamic-Tropopause (2 PVU) Maps from the RUC
    [1200 UTC 3 May] [1500 UTC 3 May] [1800 UTC 3 May] [2100 UTC 3 May] [0000 UTC 4 May] [0300 UTC 4 May]


    OBSERVATIONAL DATA
    Profilers
    [JTN: MAY 3] [PRC: MAY 3] [TCU: MAY 3] [VCI: MAY 3] [WSM: MAY 3] [LMN: MAY 4] [PRC: MAY 4]

    Radar-Derived Precipitation
    Accumulated precipitation: 2120 UTC 3 May to 0631 UTC 4 May


    THERE IS NO LINK BETWEEN LA NINA AND THE OKLAHOMA TORNADOES!

    From an AP wire story, a National Weather Service employee is quoted as saying, "The incidence of tornadoes on the central Plains is slightly higher during La Niņa."

    Tornadoes happen every year regardless of whether we're in a La Niņa or El Niņo. The best studies conducted to date show tenuous evidence for a link between tornadoes and the phase of El Niņo. "None of the statistical comparisons that we presented allow us to differentiate tornado activity as a function of the El Niņo-Southern Oscillation phase." (Schaefer and Tatom 1998, 19th Conference on Severe Local Storms)

    For further discussion of this nonsense, see http://www.cimms.ou.edu/~schultz/enso.shtml or Chuck Doswell's discussion, section B.12

    An interesting point was raised via email by Prof. John Monteverdi of San Francisco State University. He says, "The only different slant that I have on what you have here is that although there is no evidence (in terms of hard statistical counts) of greater or lesser frequency of tornadoes in the great plains during La Niņa, there is evidence that the synoptic scale PATTERNS during La Niņa (on average) are more favorable for supercell thunderstorms (in terms of shear) than during El Niņo." See his web page for further information.


    LINKS

    National Severe Storms Laboratory: FAQ About 3 May tornadoes
    Norman, Oklahoma National Weather Service Office (graphics, public information statements, damage and aerial photos)
    Roger Edwards' Lessons to be Learned from 3 May 1999
    Roger Edwards' Chase Summary
    Chuck Doswell's Thoughts on May 3, 1999
    Scott Bachmeier's Satellite-Imagery Web Page
    Travis Smith's Radar-Imagery Web Page
    Randy Peppler's Damage Photos
    NOAA News
    National Severe Storms Laboratory: Other Links


    OTHER IMAGES

    All photos on this page and linked below are copyright David Schultz.

    Damaged vehicle in F5-damage area
    Damaged vehicle in F5-damage area (close-up showing wood penetrating the metal)
    Name the make and model of this vehicle
    Same mystery vehicle, different angle
    Remains of a steel-framed and brick building
    Remains of a wood-framed building for local business: Note carpet has been pulled up from cement foundation
    Close-up of metal-rod anchor connecting cement foundation to (former) wooden wall of same business
    Displaced electric power box outside of same business
    Outside of the Church's Fried Chicken (corner of NW 12th and Santa Fe in Moore), looking northwest
    Inside of the Church's Fried Chicken with removed ceiling panels and exposed insulation
    Remains of brick and wood house


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    David Schultz david.schultz@noaa.gov
    Last update: 16 January 2003

    Number of hits: (initiated 5/6/99).