Tornado outbreak in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area in north Texas

May 15th, 2013 |
GOES-15 (left) and GOES-13 (right) 0.63 µm visible channel images (click image to play animation)

GOES-15 (left) and GOES-13 (right) 0.63 µm visible channel images (click image to play animation)

An outbreak of tornadoes across the Dallas/Ft. Worth area in north Texas on 15 May 2013 produced up to 16 tornadoes (NWS summary) which were responsible for 6 fatalities. Hail as large as 4.0 inches in diameter and a wind gust as high as 80 mph also accompanied these severe thunderstorms (SPC storm reports). A McIDAS image comparison of GOES-15 (GOES-West) and GOES-13 (GOES-East) 0.63 µm visible channel data (above; click image to play animation)  showed the rapid development of convection across the north Texas region, with the storms exhibiting a number of overshooting tops. The locations of Granbury (G) and Cleburne (C) were noted on the images, where EF-4 and EF-3 tornado damage occurred.

A similar comparison of GOES-15 (GOES-West) and GOES-13 (GOES-East) 10.7 µm IR channel images (below; click image to play animation) showed the cold cloud top IR brightness temperatures associated with these storms, which were as cold as -63 C (darker red color enhancement) in the vicinity of Granbury and Cleburne around the time of the tornadoes.

GOES-15 (left) and GOES-13 (right) 10.7 µm IR channel images (click image to play animation)

GOES-15 (left) and GOES-13 (right) 10.7 µm IR channel images (click image to play animation)

 

GOES-13 sounder Lifted Index derived product images (click image to play animation)

GOES-13 sounder Lifted Index derived product images (click image to play animation)

These storms developed along an axis of instability and moisture that was located to the east of a dryline that was bulging eastward across north Texas — the GOES-13 sounder Lifted Index (LI) derived product images (above; click image to play animation) revealed LI values as low as -12.4 C (dark purple color enhancement) at 23:00 UTC, and the GOES-13 sounder Total Precipitable Water (TPW) derived product images (below; click image to play animation) showed that TPW values were as high as 46.7 mm or 1.84 inches (darker red color enhancement) at 22:00 UTC. METAR surface reports are plotted on the sounder images (Granbury is station identifier KGDJ, and Cleburne is station identifier KCPT).

GOES-13 sounder Total Precipitable Water derived product images (click image to play animation)

GOES-13 sounder Total Precipitable Water derived product images (click image to play animation)

 

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