Weekend tornado outbreak causes heavy damage in Virginia, Iowa

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:00 PM GMT on April 11, 2011

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Floods, fires, and tornadoes hammered the nation this weekend, a sure sign that April is here. The severe weather action began on Friday night in the mid-Atlantic when twin tornadoes touched down in Pulaski, Virginia. The twisters, one a strong EF-1 with 105 - 110 mph winds, and the other an EF-2 with 125 mph winds damaged 450 buildings, caused $8 million in damage, and injured eight people. The most significant day of the weekend tornado outbreak occurred on Saturday as a powerful storm over the Upper Midwest dragged a cold front through Iowa. Twenty-seven tornado reports were recorded in Iowa by NOAA's Storm Prediction Center. The most powerful of these tornadoes was the huge, 3/4 mile-wide tornado that plowed through the tiny town of Mapleton, Iowa on Saturday evening, leaving a trail of destruction 3.5 miles long. The tornado, preliminarily rated as an EF-3 with 136 - 165 mph winds, flattened 20% of the town of 1200 residents and damaged half of the buildings. Fourteen were injured, but miraculously no one died. The severe weather continued on Sunday with seven reports of tornadoes over Wisconsin. The most serious was a tornado in Lincoln County, which destroyed or heavily damaged 30 buildings, and caused three serious injuries.


Figure 1. Tornado chaser video from Saturday's twisters over Iowa from tornadovideos.net.

More severe weather today
As the cold front that triggered the weekend's severe weather progresses eastwards across the U.S. today, NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has placed a wide swath of the Northeast and Southeast under their "slight" risk area for severe weather, one notch down from the "Medium" risk that was posted for Wisconsin on Sunday and Iowa on Saturday. Tuesday and Wednesday should be relatively quiet days for severe weather, but Thursday will see a renewed chance of a significant severe weather outbreak in the Oklahoma-Arkansas region, as a major new spring storm gathers strength over the Midwest.


Figure 2. Severe weather outlook from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center for Monday places much of the Northeast and Southeast in the "Slight" risk area for severe weather.

Tornado season near average so far this year
According to statistics compiled by NOAA's Storm Prediction Center, 2011's tornado season has been near-average so far. The preliminary number of tornadoes reported as of April 10 was 301, and the six-year average from 2006 - 2010 was 339. Preliminary tornado counts are typically about 15% too high, so the actual number of confirmed tornadoes will end up being around 256. The peak part of tornado season is just getting started--typically, only 17% of the season's activity has occurred by April 10. The number of strong (EF-2 and EF-3) tornadoes has been rather low so far; the Mapleton tornado was just the seventh EF-3 of 2011. There have been no violent EF-4 or EF-5 tornadoes so far this year. The death toll of just three so far in 2011 is remarkably low for mid-April, a testament to good warnings and a good helping of luck.

Jeff Masters

Cold in April (Railheel)
Hail, wind, and rain came through with unknow damage as of now. did break windshilds.
Cold in April
Tornado-damaged house (ChrisAnthemum)
Early Tuesday morning, a tornado raked along Ararat Road in Pilot Mountain, NC, damaging several houses and downing many trees. A cleanup crew was working on this one when we drove by on Sunday.
Tornado-damaged house

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Quoting Neapolitan:

Your numbers are correct, but as the nuclear plant is on the edge of a fairly straight coast, I calculated the "deadland" area as roughly half those numbers.


I was just adjusting my post on realizing what you pointed out but we also ''know'' that it will probably get a lot worse than this and the USA advised a 80 KM zone a long time ago now.

With a 40 kilomter radius exclusion zone there are about a 1000 sq miles of farmland taken out of production, if you exclude the sea area of also about 1000 sq miles.
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2065
Quoting Neapolitan:

Your numbers are correct, but as the nuclear plant is on the edge of a fairly straight coast, I calculated the "deadland" area as roughly half those numbers.

Good point.
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Quoting Neapolitan:

If the entire 20 kilometers is bought out, that takes a bit over 600 km2 out of service. If it's 30 kilometers, it's closer to 1400 km2. (And if it's, say, 10 kilometers, that's "just" 150 km2 or so.)

To reiterate, there's no concrete talk about this, but government talk seems to be heading that way...

Thanks.
I was more interested to find out what Industrial output might be affected.
If factories have to move and re-start, that could take a year or two, depending...

In any case, it's a serious situation. And it doesnt seem to be getting any better.
The funds needed to rebuild towns, lives and infrastucture are already vast. An abandonment of an area that large will raise that funding a lot.
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Not to pile on misery, but does anyone know the frequency of a tropical cyclone hitting the NE of Japan?
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 265
Quoting PlazaRed:


The size of the area is 2827 square kilometers at a 30 kilometer radius.

At a 40 kilometer radius it would be 5027 kilometers

sizes are approx.

Apart from fishing and agriculture there are probably a lot of service industries here but the main loss must be the farming industry,plus of course a big percentage of the areas power generation is permanently gone.

Your numbers are correct, but as the nuclear plant is on the edge of a fairly straight coast, I calculated the "deadland" area as roughly half those numbers.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13457
Quoting pottery:

What size area are we talking about?
What industries are in that area?
Anyone know??


The size of the area is 2827 square kilometers at a 30 kilometer radius.

At a 40 kilometer radius it would be 5027 kilometers

sizes are approx. About half the exclusion area is sea but this is also excluded to fishing etc we assume.

Apart from fishing and agriculture there are probably a lot of service industries here but the main loss must be the farming industry,plus of course a big percentage of the areas power generation is permanently gone.
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2065
259. beell
Quoting Skyepony:
Situation Update No. 2
On 11.04.2011 at 13:19 GMT+2

Wildfires roared through Texas yesterday, burning more than 230,000 acres and destroying about 80 homes. One West Texas blaze covered 20 miles in 90 minutes, crossing railroad tracks and state highways as it burned more than 60,000 acres and destroyed 40 homes. "Frankly, it moved almost as quick as a truck," the county emergency management coordinator tells Reuters. "When you hear the word firestorm, this is what I imagine." Dry, windy conditions have fed wildfires for the past eight days across the state, and officials say that the West Texas blaze could continue burning for days or weeks if the wind doesn't change. In the northern Panhandle, a firefighter fighting an estimated 60,000-acre blaze was in critical condition after suffering severe burns. Crews and equipment from 25 states are in Texas to help.


Nasty turn of winds from the SW to the NW yesterday. Wonder if the injured firefighter got caught in that?
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 141 Comments: 16213
Quoting pottery:

What size area are we talking about?
What industries are in that area?
Anyone know??

If the entire 20 kilometers is bought out, that takes a bit over 600 km2 out of service. If it's 30 kilometers, it's closer to 1400 km2. (And if it's, say, 10 kilometers, that's "just" 150 km2 or so.)

To reiterate, there's no concrete talk about this, but government talk seems to be heading that way...

So far as industry, it all appears to be light, with farming at the top of the list.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13457
Quoting Neapolitan:

Well, to begin with, it's an admission by the Japanese government that things really are FUBAR, far more than they've been admitting. For another, it paves the way to more international cooperation and understanding so far as the cleanup is concerned. And, as I stated a few comments back, it sets the stage for the buyout and close-out of hundreds of square kilometers of land, and the relocation of thousands of residents, each of who will need new homes, new schools, new jobs...


Great!!! Sounds like a construction boom!! So...Everything's good....Right?
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Quoting swampliliy:


Uncalled for and a mite lacking in the social skills.
I was doing my best to describe exactly what xyrus does when he responds to anything nuclear related.

Has nothing to do with social skills...but if you think so, maybe you have poor social skills
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
Quoting presslord:



as a practical matter...What does this mean?

Well, to begin with, it's an admission by the Japanese government that things really are FUBAR, far more than they've been admitting. For another, it paves the way to more international cooperation and understanding so far as the cleanup is concerned. And, as I stated a few comments back, it sets the stage for the buyout and close-out of hundreds of square kilometers of land, and the relocation of thousands of residents, each of who will need new homes, new schools, new jobs...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13457
Quoting Neapolitan:

The government is doing more than that; they are in the process of declaring it off-limits to anyone but designated clean-up personnel. As I said yesterday, another step on the path to declaring a Pripyat-like buyout and permanent clear-out of the entire area.

What size area are we talking about?
What industries are in that area?
Anyone know??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting presslord:



as a practical matter...What does this mean?


They rate nuclear, uhm, "situations" with a number, 1 to 7, 7 being a Chernobyl situation.

Tokyo et al has raised the calamity status of the Fukushima situation to a 7; it had been at a 5.

Personally I don't think things really got any worse- they're just admitting and facing reality now.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting Neapolitan:

More than weighing it; both Kyodo and NHK say it's a done deal...



as a practical matter...What does this mean?
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Quoting P451:


A few people on Blizz's weather blog have experienced them and said they were short lived, a little gusty, and a 10 minute or less burst of rain. They look meaner than they are. I'm in the Hudson Valley Region these days and it looks like I'll experience them but it won't be for hours. Temp steady at 75F after a high of 81F so maybe there will be enough juice for a rumble of thunder. Not expecting anything serious.


I'm used to the opposite here, storms being meaner than they look on radar when it gets really tropical in Central Florida.

That's good to hear, no severe weather! They must just be elevated convective cells. The PWAT is only around an inch there too so nothing special. That's not too surprising. They usually don't start getting real thunderstorms up there till summer.
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 7278
Quoting WatchingThisOne:
from that story above:

"Japan was weighing raising the severity level of its nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to a level 7 from level 5, putting it at par with the accident at the Chernobyl reactor in 1986, Kyodo news agency reported on Tuesday."

That means it's a 7, IMHO. Not good.

WTO

More than weighing it; both Kyodo and NHK say it's a done deal...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13457
Quoting P451:
Because of accumulated radiation contamination, the government is encouraging people to leave certain areas beyond its 20 km (12 mile) exclusion zone around the plant. Thousands of people could be affected by the move.

The government is doing more than that; they are in the process of declaring it off-limits to anyone but designated clean-up personnel. As I said yesterday, another step on the path to declaring a Pripyat-like buyout and permanent clear-out of the entire area.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13457
Xyrus is eating crow.

Taz fixed it for him.
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<
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
242. Skyepony (Mod)
The ENSO Precipitation Index (ESPI) for the last 30 days is -2.05
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240. Skyepony (Mod)
Situation Update No. 2
On 11.04.2011 at 13:19 GMT+2

Wildfires roared through Texas yesterday, burning more than 230,000 acres and destroying about 80 homes. One West Texas blaze covered 20 miles in 90 minutes, crossing railroad tracks and state highways as it burned more than 60,000 acres and destroyed 40 homes. "Frankly, it moved almost as quick as a truck," the county emergency management coordinator tells Reuters. "When you hear the word firestorm, this is what I imagine." Dry, windy conditions have fed wildfires for the past eight days across the state, and officials say that the West Texas blaze could continue burning for days or weeks if the wind doesn't change. In the northern Panhandle, a firefighter fighting an estimated 60,000-acre blaze was in critical condition after suffering severe burns. Crews and equipment from 25 states are in Texas to help.
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from that story above:

"Japan was weighing raising the severity level of its nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to a level 7 from level 5, putting it at par with the accident at the Chernobyl reactor in 1986, Kyodo news agency reported on Tuesday."

That means it's a 7, IMHO. Not good.

WTO
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Quoting TomTaylor:
The agency believes the cumulative amount from the Fukushima plant is less than that from Chernobyl.


Just slightly better than the worst nuclear disaster of all time? Not to mention the questionable "believes," they throw in there. Thats not a confident answer at all.


XYRUS! WHERE ARE YOU?! Surely you can twist these words around to make it sound like this disaster is no disaster at all. And then proceed to lecture us on how nuclear energy is the better option because saving money is obviously far more important than potential environmental disasters which span the course of many generations and effect all that is living.


Uncalled for and a mite lacking in the social skills.
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Here is a link to the news on the latest earthquake and the "small fire" at Fukushima.

(sorry to interrupt the weather discussion)

p.s. the fire is attributed to a building near reactor no. 4
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Quake cluster

(Can someone tell me how to remove the NOAA emblems? I seem to remember those being an issue)



red = last hour, orange = last day, yellow = last week

arrows are to Tokyo, quake cluster and Fukushima Daiichi
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Quoting aquak9:
I just hate when forecasters underestimate a season just becuase it's going to look like it's nutreal or an El nino year

Don't make me post the nutria again.

Neutral. NEW-Truhll.


Snork! :)
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Apparently 3 workers have had some "unintended" radiation exposure at the Cooper Nuclear Station near Brownville, Nebraska.

Reading the description of what happened is a bit unreal. Did they lower a fuel rod out of (primary) containment? If so, how long did it sit like that?

MSNBC Open Channel
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OK...Who's in charge here?!
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Quoting aquak9:
The agency believes the cumulative amount from the Fukushima plant is less than that from Chernobyl.


Well yeah!! DUH!! Chernobyl's had a 25 year head-start!


And Chernobyl didn't happen to be in the middle of a highly active and possibly intensifying earthquake zone.

Plus they only had a major problem with one reactor!!
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2065
Member Since: September 16, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1492
Old Fashion Shaving Bunnie's
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222. beell
Convective activity drawing closer to a wedge of lower dewpoints over N GA and E TN.

Is it gonna end/diminish soon?


Link

Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 141 Comments: 16213
I just hate when forecasters underestimate a season just becuase it's going to look like it's nutreal or an El nino year

Don't make me post the nutria again.

Neutral. NEW-Truhll.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The agency believes the cumulative amount from the Fukushima plant is less than that from Chernobyl.


Well yeah!! DUH!! Chernobyl's had a 25 year head-start!
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50 years ago tomorrow,,a Russian test pilot Yuri Gagarin rode the Vostok Rocket to Orbit and returned safely to Earth for man's first Venture into Space.


I wunder how he felt this night before, being first, ready to see the Earth, whole from above.







Vostok 1 Launch April 12, 1961

Gagarin's flight lasted 108 minutes for a single orbit around the Earth. The mission was brought to a close with the de-orbit firing of the reentry rockets. Gagarin ejected from the capsule at 7 km altitude because the hard landing of the capsule was too dangerous for people. So he parachuted safely to the ground. April 12 has been celebrated as Cosmonautics Day in Russia every year since 1962. Vostok 1 was Gagarin's only flight.
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Quoting emcf30:
Fox news reporting a possible fire at Fukushima power plant in one of reactor building after last quake

Kyodo verifies the fire, but says it was extinguished in short order.

Narita airport has re-opened, but many subway lines in and around Tokyo are still closed.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13457
217. beell
click for discussion


Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 141 Comments: 16213

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.