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 beell:


RUC-Surface base CAPE (SBCAPE) and Convective Inhibition (CINH).

Thanks!
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Quoting jitterboy:
I was wondering if anyone could tell me what the map in post 45 is displaying? Thanks


RUC-Surface base CAPE (SBCAPE) and Convective Inhibition (CINH).
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Here's a tsunami video slightly taken from a slight different viewpoint from one that was released earlier. Absolutely incredible destruction...with a bit of selfless bravery thrown at the end.

Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13743
Quoting jitterboy:
I was wondering if anyone could tell me what the map in post 45 is displaying? Thanks
I agree Jitterboy. Without an indication of what the map denotes, it is useless.
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I was wondering if anyone could tell me what the map in post 45 is displaying? Thanks
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DAY 1 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1109 AM CDT MON APR 11 2011

A FEW TORNADOES WILL BE POSSIBLE ALONG AND SE OF MIGRATORY SURFACE
LOW TRACK WHERE AN ISALLOBARICALLY BACKED WIND FIELD WILL ENHANCE
LOW-LEVEL SHEAR. A MORE SUBSTANTIAL TORNADO THREAT APPEARS TO BE
LIMITED BY THE ANTICIPATED LINEAR CONVECTIVE MODE AND THE
ABOVE-MENTIONED TENDENCY FOR DEEPER BOUNDARY LAYER MIXING WHICH WILL
INCREASE T-TD SPREADS.


(Click graphic for full text and additional graphics)
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
#59


A knife's edge...
Member Since: March 26, 2006 Posts: 44 Comments: 1520
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Best indicated surface convergence and surface pressure falls are currently located right at the TN/MS borders-near the Mississippi River.
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Quoting MrMixon:
Another decent-sized earthquake hit Japan today... revised down to 6.6 (from 7.1), but this one hit onshore and a bit closer to Tokyo than previous quakes, so I imagine it rattled quite a few nerves. No reports of damage or injuries yet, but they did briefly lose power at the Fukushima Daichi reactor.... I guess things aren't going to quiet down there anytime soon...



Glad to here the power is back up....last week, they were beginning to be less intense....but not to be, I guess.
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It is supposed to hit 92 degrees today in Gainesville, FL. Yes, the GOM will be heating up a lot prior to hurricane season even starting.
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Little Rock is already W of the wind shift-no problems.
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Another decent-sized earthquake hit Japan today... revised down to 6.6 (from 7.1), but this one hit onshore and a bit closer to Tokyo than previous quakes, so I imagine it rattled quite a few nerves. No reports of damage or injuries yet, but they did briefly lose power at the Fukushima Daichi reactor.... I guess things aren't going to quiet down there anytime soon...

Member Since: March 26, 2006 Posts: 44 Comments: 1520
Balmy, hot and moist here in SCentral Ms.....just wondering what that long tail will bring across here later..:0
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Not surprised that SPC went to moderate in certain locations......Record highs on tap today for some locations in the South with lots of moisture surging up from the Gulf............It might not be pretty going into Tueday but hopefully the Cape values will not be too elevated as the front pushes through.
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29. Jedkins01 3:24 PM GMT on April 11, 2011
HEY GUYS ITS TIME TO FREAK OUT, THE SPC JUST ISSUED ANOTHER "SEE TEXT" TOMORROW FOR FLORIDA!

WE ARE ALL DOOM, ANOTHER SEVERE WEATHER OUTBREAK IS ARRIVING FAST.


LOL: It is not official until RastaSteve makes the announcement
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Quoting TampaSpin:

What is post 45 a map of sir? Thanks
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Quoting jeffs713:

Gee willikers, the front isn't obvious on that map AT ALL.

(and nasty shear incoming for the TN valley...
Quoting jeffs713:


Not much shear, but plenty of wind from any storms that pass through (or move past) there.



Does not appear for much in Tornado dynamics are in place yet.....,but that can change from the heating of the day...yet!
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Quoting TampaSpin:
Little Rock Arkansas



Not much shear, but plenty of wind from any storms that pass through (or move past) there.
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Quoting TampaSpin:

Gee willikers, the front isn't obvious on that map AT ALL.

(and nasty shear incoming for the TN valley...
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Little Rock Arkansas

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Quoting Jax82:

That's amazing; it shows a warm-up in many parts of the northern Gulf of up to six degrees Celsius (nine degrees Fahrenheit) in just a bit over three weeks.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13743
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Quoting Jedkins01:
I guess the severe weather threat didn't turn out as bad in Wisconsin as it was expected to be. Maybe the storms were too elevated because it is the far northern plain in April instead of summer. But then again I don't really know cause I didn't pay much attention.


There were about 6 reports of tornadoes across the state yesterday. Damage surveys are taking place now. Here's a quick map of some of the storm reports from NWSO Minneapolis:

Orange dots are damaging winds
Blue dots are large hail
Green dots are flash flooding


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Quoting hydrus:
.....thats it...i,ma goin down to Floridy to put up me shudders....*&^*&^*&^*&*


hunker down boys, hunker down!
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URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
TORNADO WATCH NUMBER 128
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1030 AM CDT MON APR 11 2011

THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A
TORNADO WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF

PARTS OF EASTERN ARKANSAS
PARTS OF SOUTH CENTRAL KENTUCKY
MUCH OF NORTHERN MISSISSIPPI
PARTS OF CENTRAL AND MIDDLE TENNESSEE

EFFECTIVE THIS MONDAY MORNING AND AFTERNOON FROM 1030 AM UNTIL
500 PM CDT.

TORNADOES...HAIL TO 1.5 INCHES IN DIAMETER...THUNDERSTORM WIND
GUSTS TO 80 MPH...AND DANGEROUS LIGHTNING ARE POSSIBLE IN THESE
AREAS.

THE TORNADO WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 90 STATUTE
MILES EAST AND WEST OF A LINE FROM 25 MILES SOUTHEAST OF
MONTICELLO ARKANSAS TO 60 MILES EAST NORTHEAST OF BOWLING GREEN
KENTUCKY. FOR A COMPLETE DEPICTION OF THE WATCH SEE THE
ASSOCIATED WATCH OUTLINE UPDATE (WOUS64 KWNS WOU8).

REMEMBER...A TORNADO WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR
TORNADOES AND SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH
AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR
THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS
AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS.

DISCUSSION...STRONG S/WV TROUGH AND ASSOCIATED WIND FIELD ROTATING
EWD ACROSS LWR MS VALLEY THIS AFTERNOON DEVELOPING A SURFACE WAVE ON
FRONTAL ZONE SRN AR. STRONG HEATING WILL INCREASE INSTABILITY EWD
AHEAD OF ONGOING CONVECTION ACROSS THE WATCH. THUNDERSTORMS
INCREASING ACROSS CENTRAL SRN AR WILL MOVE RAPIDLY NEWD AHEAD OF THE
SURFACE LOW WITH AN ENHANCED WIND PROFILE SUPPORTING BOTH DAMAGING
WINDS AND POSSIBLE TORNADOES THRU THE AFTERNOON.

AVIATION...TORNADOES AND A FEW SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WITH HAIL
SURFACE AND ALOFT TO 1.5 INCHES. EXTREME TURBULENCE AND SURFACE
WIND GUSTS TO 70 KNOTS. A FEW CUMULONIMBI WITH MAXIMUM TOPS TO
500. MEAN STORM MOTION VECTOR 24040.


...HALES
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areas becoming favorable for dev in east pacific basin

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Quoting IKE:
  • Oil 1.86
  • Price/barrel $112.16
I wish I could buy a barrel of gas for that...he he...
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22307
Quoting Jedkins01:
HEY GUYS ITS TIME TO FREAK OUT, THE SPC JUST ISSUED ANOTHER "SEE TEXT" TOMORROW FOR FLORIDA!

WE ARE ALL DOOM, ANOTHER SEVERE WEATHER OUTBREAK IS ARRIVING FAST.
.....thats it...i,ma goin down to Floridy to put up me shudders....*&^*&^*&^*&*
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22307
Brent Spot monthly

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30. IKE
  • Oil 1.86
  • Price/barrel $112.16
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
HEY GUYS ITS TIME TO FREAK OUT, THE SPC JUST ISSUED ANOTHER "SEE TEXT" TOMORROW FOR FLORIDA!

WE ARE ALL DOOM, ANOTHER SEVERE WEATHER OUTBREAK IS ARRIVING FAST.
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Quoting Neapolitan:

Sorry; I should have been more clear. In the context I used, DBA = database administrator--a job that entails, among many other things, deduplication of data.

And that ends today's IT lesson. ;-)


Thanks, Nea.

Quoting eddy12:
dba=database administrator

Thanks, Eddy.
...
(mod)
Past time for me to TCB. Later...
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The recent (8:16:16GMT) magnitude6.6earthquake struck
42miles(~67.6kilometres) at 227.1degrees(SW) from FukushimaDaiichi
100miles(~161kilometres) at 23degrees(NNE) from centralTokyo

followed within 42minutes by a magnitude5.2 and a magnitude5.0
(as represented by the two unconnected dots)
Then (11:42:36GMT) yet another, a magnitude5.6 (near where the 6.6 struck)
45miles(~72.4kilometres) from FukushimaDaiichi
97miles(~156kilometres) from central Tokyo
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Quoting TampaSpin:



That is UTC time........that happened several hours ago, 4 hours ago.
These earthquakes are amazing..The energy being released is astounding to me...And we here in middle Tennessee are about to be nailed yet again with bad weather. Winds are gusting to over 30 already..img src="http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/eaus/rgb-l. jp
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22307
I guess the severe weather threat didn't turn out as bad in Wisconsin as it was expected to be. Maybe the storms were too elevated because it is the far northern plain in April instead of summer. But then again I don't really know cause I didn't pay much attention.
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,,,BTO,,?


Taking Care of Business
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Quoting Neapolitan:

Sorry; I should have been more clear. In the context I used, DBA = database administrator--a job that entails, among many other things, deduplication of data.

And that ends today's IT lesson. ;-)


Thanks for the clarification. Sounds exciting! Glad to know-I can ditch the hyphen.
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MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 0410
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0946 AM CDT MON APR 11 2011

AREAS AFFECTED...PARTS OF SRN-SERN AR....FAR NRN LA AND CENTRAL/NRN
MS

CONCERNING...SEVERE POTENTIAL...TORNADO WATCH LIKELY

VALID 111446Z - 111515Z

A TORNADO WATCH WILL BE NEEDED SOON FOR PARTS OF SRN/SERN AR...FAR
NRN LA INTO CENTRAL/NRN MS. THIS CONCERN IS ASSOCIATED WITH A
RECENT INCREASE IN TSTM ACTIVITY OVER SWRN/SRN AR...WITH THE
EVENTUAL TORNADO WATCH POTENTIALLY EXTENDING FARTHER NWD INTO TN/KY
/REFER TO SPC MESOSCALE DISCUSSION #409/.

MID MORNING OBJECTIVE ANALYSES INDICATED AN AREA OF SURFACE PRESSURE
FALLS /2-4 MB PER 3 HRS/ EXTENDING FROM NRN LA INTO SRN AR AND
CENTERED ON THE AR/LA BORDER
. SURFACE WINDS OVER SERN AR/NERN LA
INDICATED BACKING WINDS DURING THE LAST 1-2 HOURS IN RESPONSE TO
THESE PRESSURE FALLS
. THIS COMBINED WITH BACKING LOW LEVEL WINDS
PER NRN LA WIND PROFILER ARE LIKELY IN RESPONSE TO HEIGHT FALLS
SPREADING EWD AHEAD OF THE SRN PLAINS SHORTWAVE TROUGH.

REGIONAL RADAR IMAGERY AND COOLING CLOUD TOPS PER IR SATELLITE
IMAGERY INDICATED AN AREA OF EXPANDING TSTM COVERAGE OVER SRN AR
WITH THIS ACTIVITY MOVING ENE AT 45-50 KT. AS COMPARED TO AREAS
FARTHER N INTO TN/KY...GREATER MOISTURE IS AVAILABLE ACROSS THIS
REGION WITH SURFACE DEWPOINTS IN THE MID-UPPER 60S. THIS COMBINED
WITH MOSTLY CLEAR SKIES SUPPORTING STRONG DIABATIC HEATING WILL
SUPPORT MODERATE INSTABILITY BY EARLY AFTERNOON
. STRONG WIND FIELDS
AND HEIGHT FALLS SPREADING EWD TODAY WILL SUPPORT AN INCREASE IN
TSTM DEVELOPMENT WITH A TORNADO AND DAMAGING WIND THREAT

EXPECTED...WITH THE AFOREMENTIONED BACKED LOW LEVEL WINDS FAVORING
THE FORMER THREAT.

..PETERS.. 04/11/2011
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Quoting Barefootontherocks:
DBA could be: "Doing Business As".

Thanks, bl.
I knew that. Doing business as just didn't work for me in the context of the SPC de-duplicating.

Sorry; I should have been more clear. In the context I used, DBA = database administrator--a job that entails, among many other things, deduplication of data.

And that ends today's IT lesson. ;-)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13743
Somehow I doubt that "much cooler drier air" will sweep over the area next Sunday. Its mid April, and warm air has been dominating since February. I don't think a cold front is now gonna bring much cooler air in mid April. I mean, I'm not gonna rule it out, but I'm not sure why forecasters would jump on the band wagon so soon. Chances are it won't be a very big deal at all.
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The gulf is going to be loaded for the season. I can't archieve anything past 2009 on the website, but I am curious if this is as warm as the Gulf has been for this time of year since records have been kept? That is one HUGE eddie developing in the Gulf current.
Member Since: February 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1539
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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.

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