Tornadoes rip Alabama, Misssissippi; 17 dead in 2-day outbreak

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:51 PM GMT on April 16, 2011

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Dozens of tornadoes and dangerous severe thunderstorms tore through the Southeast U.S. on Friday, bringing a second day of severe weather havoc to the nation. The death toll from the two-day severe blitz now stands at seventeen, with up to 100 people injured and tens of millions of dollars in property damage. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center logged 98 tornado reports yesterday, bringing the two-day total for the outbreak to 120 tornadoes. These preliminary reports are usually a 15% over-count of the actual number of tornadoes, which still means over 100 tornadoes have probably touched down during the past two days. The deadliest tornado of the outbreak hit near Prattville, Alabama at 10:55pm CDT last night, killing three people in a mobile home, and injuring four others. One of the most damaging tornadoes occurred just west of Jackson, Mississippi, when a tornado touched down just south of I-20, crossed the expressway, flipping cars and semis, then plowed through the town of Clinton. At least nine people were injured in Clinton, and extensive damage characteristic of an EF-2 tornado is apparent in damage photos.


Figure 1. Radar reflectivity image of the Clinton, Mississippi tornado at 10:57am CDT as the twister crossed I-20 and hit the town. Note the classic hook-shaped echo of the parent mesocyclone in the rotating severe thunderstorms that spawned the tornado.


Figure 2. Doppler radar velocity image of the Clinton, Mississippi tornado at 10:57am CDT.

On Thursday, tornadoes and deadly severe thunderstorms tore through Oklahoma and Arkansas, killing at least nine people. A EF-3 tornado hit the small town of Tushka, Oklahoma, population 350, ripping off the roof of the local high school and destroying dozens of buildings in Tushka. Two people were killed and 25 injured. The tornado moved over farmland and dissipated a short time later, but the squall line that spawned the tornado moved into Arkansas overnight, spawning severe thunderstorm winds that killed seven more people.

Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina under the gun today
The action shifts eastwards to southern Virgina and eastern North Carolina and South Carolina today, which NOAA's Storm Prediction Center have placed under its "moderate risk" region for severe weather. This is the same level of risk as we've seen for the past two days for this storm system, and it is very unusual for this portion of the U.S. to experience such a high severe weather risk. Tornado watches have already been posted for portions of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. You can follow today's severe weather using our severe weather page and interactive tornado map. This map now shows links to Youtube storm chaser videos of tornadoes, plus any wunderphotos taken of the storm.


Figure 3. Satellite image from 23:32 UTC (7:32pm CDT) April 15, 2011, showing the strong low pressure system over the middle of the country that brought yesterday's severe weather outbreak. Image credit: NASA/GSFC.


Figure 4. Water vapor satellite image from 23:15 UTC (7:15pm CDT) April 15, 2011, showing a dry, eye-like feature in the strong low pressure system over the middle of the country. This eye-like feature persisted for many hours, but was not visible on infrared or visible satellite images. According to an analysis done by Scott Bachmeier at the University of Wisconsin, the stratosphere, which has very dry air, sunk down to the 600 mb height at the center of the storm, and it is possible that dry air from the stratosphere is responsible for this eye-like feature. This is a different mechanism than how hurricanes develop eyes, and yesterday's storm had only a shallow area of low clouds with light rain near the center--nothing like an eyewall of a hurricane. Image credit: NOAA.


Figure 5. Storm chaser video from Reed Timmer of the Clinton, Mississippi tornado on April 15, 2011. Numerous transformers blow as the tornado wipes out power lines, creating bright blue-green flashes.


Figure 6. Storm chaser video from tornadovideos.net of a huge tornado in Oklahoma during Thursday's outbreak there.

Jeff Masters

Monster Supercell (Californiaboy)
Plowing over the countryside on its way to Madill.
Monster Supercell
Stacked Up (Californiaboy)
Tractor rig picked up and placed on top of the others. Taken 2 miles north of Madill.
Stacked Up
Madill Tornado (Californiaboy)
Taken shortly after 6 p.m. on Hwy 70 looking east. The tornado hit 2 miles north of town.
Madill Tornado

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Large tornado on the ground just hit the center of the city of Wilson and hitting Elm City right now
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1957
Quoting cat5hurricane:

I could tell you most shopping centers, such as a Lowe's on a Saturday afternoon on a spring day, wouldn't be quiet by any stretch.
I agree with that but most busy shopping centers arent downtown. And alot of buisnesses are closed on the weekends downtown. Hopefully this limited the amount of people there today.
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Quoting aquak9:
164- and what's creepy- look how blue the sky is, P'cola

like nothing happened

I hope those folks in there are ok- I thought Lowe's were built a little better than that


(Second quote added:)
Quoting PcolaDan:


From what I just heard, sounds like everyone okay, ran to the back of the store just before it hit.

Nothing withstands these things no matter how good they are built.

Blue sky is weird. Would have thought clouds from the front would still be there with rain.


PcolaDan's right, aqua. A strong tornado has more capacity for building damage than a hurricane, as you probably know. Record highest tornado winds, 318 mph. Not much will stand up to an F5. (Not saying Raleigh was one.)

Here's what an F5 will do to a well built home.

Did you hear that guy who was in the Lowe's talking on the live TV feed? He helped people take the best available shelter. Away from windows, duck and cover, etc. Lucky he kept his head.
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<
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ABC11 news reported 2 fatalities in the area they just did a live shot.
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1957
Quoting scott39:
Would Downtown be as populated on a Saturday?


No way, state employees off for the weekend.
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
Quoting aquak9:
164- and what's creepy- look how blue the sky is, P'cola

like nothing happened

I hope those folks in there are ok- I thought Lowe's were built a little better than that


I thought lowes were built better than that?

Its a strong tornado, it doesn't matter how you build. Strong tornadoes can shred apart strong structures.
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8014
Quoting seflagamma:


Hi Aqua and everyone,

I thought the same thing.. people don't look panic..maybe there was not much human injury.



Thus far, there have been no reports of injuries or deaths. Hopefully that will not change, but the TV stations here are still concentrating on storm warnings vs. reporting news.
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
229. beell
Unless Lowe's lost more than one store today...

This one is about 30-35 miles SW of Raleigh. Same cell.

1920 SANFORD LEE NC
3548 7918
LOWES HARDWARE DESTROYED (RAH)
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 145 Comments: 16920
Quoting RastaSteve:


Yeah I'm reports on CNN and TWC that most structures in Downtown Raleigh are either damaged or destroyed. No reports of fatalities yet.
Would Downtown be as populated on a Saturday?
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0
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223. beell
Not sure how exact the radar overlay is with respect to Google earth but downtown seems pretty close to ground zero.

Photobucket
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 145 Comments: 16920
Quoting aquak9:
post 210- LOOK at the people walking around!! oh God is good, they will call their families and cry, but they are ALIVE


Hi Aqua and everyone,

I thought the same thing.. people don't look panic..maybe there was not much human injury.

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Quoting aquak9:
post 210- LOOK at the people walking around!! oh God is good, they will call their families and cry, but they are ALIVE
Amen!
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post 210- LOOK at the people walking around!! oh God is good, they will call their families and cry, but they are ALIVE
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TORNADO WARNING
NCC131-VAC025-081-162145-
/O.NEW.KAKQ.TO.W.0012.110416T2112Z-110416T2145Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WAKEFIELD VA
512 PM EDT SAT APR 16 2011

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN WAKEFIELD HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
NORTHWESTERN NORTHAMPTON COUNTY IN NORTHEAST NORTH CAROLINA...
SOUTHEASTERN BRUNSWICK COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL VIRGINIA...
SOUTHERN GREENSVILLE COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL VIRGINIA...

* UNTIL 545 PM EDT

* AT 509 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO. THIS DANGEROUS
STORM WAS LOCATED 6 MILES SOUTHEAST OF LITTLETON...OR 11 MILES
SOUTHWEST OF ROANOKE RAPIDS...AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 50 MPH.

* THIS DANGEROUS STORM WILL BE NEAR...
GASTON AND BARLEY AROUND 525 PM EDT.
DAHLIA AROUND 535 PM EDT.

OTHER LOCATIONS IMPACTED BY THIS DANGEROUS STORM INCLUDE VULTARE...
GUM FORKS...SLATES CORNER...TURNERS CROSSROADS...PLEASANT HILL AND
BRINK.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TAKE COVER NOW. MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A
STURDY BUILDING. AVOID WINDOWS. IF IN A MOBILE HOME...A VEHICLE... OR
OUTDOORS...MOVE TO THE CLOSEST SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER AND PROTECT
YOURSELF FROM FLYING DEBRIS.

&&

LAT...LON 3644 7763 3648 7765 3648 7777 3650 7781
3650 7784 3669 7766 3655 7734 3641 7756
TIME...MOT...LOC 2112Z 223DEG 44KT 3640 7779

$$

BHURLEY
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6704
Did anyone see the weather channel interviewing a lady about what she was doing when the tornadoe went through? She said she was baking cookies. He asked "were you scared when you went down in your basement" and she replied, " no it happened so fast all I could think about was my cookies turning out good." Luckly her and her family are ok.
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Just had a scary thought (yes it hurt), wonder how many cars are on I95 headed south for spring break for the beaches and Disney in the middle of this mess and not really know what is going on.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
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snork snork

thanks ya'll

I needed a moment of stress relief
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Another pic of Lowes in Sanford
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1957
Quoting TarheelNMiami:


it might not be that bad. I was in RobCo in 1984. 50+ died. helluva a benchmark.
I hope not. It "sounds" bad when a wide tornadoe has been on the ground for almost a 100 miles. Not to mention the other ones.
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Throw my chainsaw in the truck and head to Raleigh?
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1462
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Quoting RastaSteve:
Boy some huge tornadoes in NC. Amazing how I was warning people about this yesterday but got accused of over hyping it by the same individuals that never seem to get banned on here. Anyways people in Eastern NC please be aware of possible tornadoes through the evening.

I even saw a post by this ORCA guy that called my friend TampaSpin this below. I bet he didn't get banned for this.

493. Orcasystems 4:19 AM GMT on April 16, 2011
ROFLMAO, Princess is on a roll tonight :)


telling people all day to stay in. Prom weekend in NC. Tons of folks out today and lots of teens tonight.
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Quoting aquak9:


if that was a slap, then GFY

otherwise- looks like regardless of sound structure, folks were safe


Good For You too, ;)

Oh, wait..........
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Great mister drama is here...
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6704
200. IKE
Quoting aquak9:


if that was a slap, then GFY

otherwise- looks like regardless of sound structure, folks were safe
lol
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Quoting scott39:
1984 may pale to today---unfourtunately.


it might not be that bad. I was in RobCo in 1984. 50+ died. helluva a benchmark.
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Quoting notverylikely:


Think much?


if that was a slap, then GFY

otherwise- looks like regardless of sound structure, folks were safe
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


Its headed right at me... 2 hours away but still right at me

Hopefully it will weaken before getting to you, but it's a fast mover.
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194. IKE
Jabs being thrown all over the blog.
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Quoting cat5hurricane:
Heads up Smithfield. Population 13,201. Link

SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RALEIGH NC
442 PM EDT SAT APR 16 2011

NCC101-162100-
/O.CON.KRAH.TO.W.0024.000000T0000Z-110416T2100Z/
JOHNSTON NC-
442 PM EDT SAT APR 16 2011

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 500 PM EDT FOR JOHNSTON
COUNTY...

AT 440 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR WAS TRACKING
A DESTRUCTIVE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO. THIS TORNADO WAS
LOCATED NEAR FOUR OAKS...OR NEAR SMITHFIELD...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 45
MPH.

jesus, that tornado looks like its following the path oh the 95 highway
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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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