Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:22 PM GMT on April 25, 2010
A powerful 1/2 to 1-mile wide tornado cut a path of enormous destruction across the state of Mississippi yesterday, killing at least ten and injuring dozens. It was the deadliest tornado in the U.S. since May 10, 2008, when an EF-4 tornado killed 22 people in Oklahoma and Missouri. The damage I've seen so far from photos of yesterday's tornado appears to be mainly of the EF-3 variety, though we will have to wait for the official damage surveys to be sure. The supercell thunderstorm that spawned the tornado or family of tornadoes maintained a continuous circulation from the time the tornado first touched down in Louisiana near the Mississippi border until the tornado reached the Alabama border. This is an extremely rare occurrence. If the 188-mile path of destruction across Mississippi was from a single tornado, it would rank as one of the longest tracks by a single tornado on record. The record of 219 miles is held by the deadliest tornado of all time, the great Tri-State Tornado of 1925 (though there is some dispute over whether this was one tornado or a family of tornadoes.) Our severe weather expert Dr. Rob Carver has a more complete analysis and imagery of yesterday's tornadoes.
Figure 1. Doppler radar storm-relative velocity of the mile-wide tornado that affected Yazoo City, Mississippi On April 24, 2010. This is an unusually wide and strong circulation for a supercell thunderstorm.
More severe weather expected today along the East Coast
The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) outlined a "Slight Risk" region of concern for severe weather today along the East Coast, from Maryland to Northern Florida. Yesterday, SPC had Mississippi underneath the first "High Risk" area of severe weather concern for the year. As usual, you can follow today's severe weather outbreak with our interactive tornado page and our severe weather page..
Figure 2. Severe weather reports for Saturday. Note the long line of red tornado reports extending across the state of Mississippi. These reports originated from a single supercell thunderstorm that spawned one or more tornadoes that carved out a 188-mile lone path of destruction across the state. Image credit: Storm Prediction Center.
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