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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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54479
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54479
Quoting Tazmanian:



any one want a free tracker lol


Glad you find it so f'ing amusing.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6599
1984 may pale to today---unfourtunately.
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Quoting scott39:
Give me a hurricane to plan for any day of the week--- over this.

Amen
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1937
Quoting Ameister12:
Raleigh storm still going strong. This tornado has been on the ground for 96 miles according to WRAL!


Its headed right at me... 2 hours away but still right at me
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6599
Give me a hurricane to plan for any day of the week--- over this.
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Quoting PcolaDan:
picture of the Lowes




any one want a free tracker lol
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115244
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Raleigh storm still going strong. This tornado has been on the ground for 96 miles according to WRAL!

Unfortunately, if a tornado is still on the ground, it's probably rain wrapped.
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Smithfield, Tornado on the ground heading into town. Debris falling at the hospital just N of I95
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1937
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.
Now thats amazing!
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Quoting PcolaDan:
picture of the Lowes

I fear the news coming out of that kind of destruction will not be good. Just the employees alone!!
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Quoting PcolaDan:
picture of the Lowes


Terrible. Absolute terrible.
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x
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54479
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


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.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Large tornado on the ground going through Roseboro. Clinton and Mount Olive is next.
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Tornado as it moved NE
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1937
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54479
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
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 168 Comments: 26076
Quoting PcolaDan:
picture of the Lowes


Just saw that picture! Absolutely terrifying! Hopefully everyone was ok in that Lowes.
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picture of the Lowes

Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
How weird is this, Yesterday a tornado slammed Clinton MS, Now a tornado on the ground fixing to hit Clinton NC
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1937
The news reports dont sound good for the entire region. Lee County was hit very hard also
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1937
4 clearly visible hook echoes over N Carolina alone


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Theres more than 1 tornadoe on the ground
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Quoting PcolaDan:
Cantore tweet

@JimCantore
Jim Cantore
Just got this tweet. I hope everybody is safe RT @bennastix Sanford, NC Lowes hit.70 people missing. My daughter lives there!!! #tornado
I hope thats turns out to be a misprint!!!
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Forward Triage being co-ordianted in the field,,Raleigh EMS,,Pol,Fire channel

TAC-5 feed


Wake County and Cary Fire and EMS Live Audio Feed
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WRAL from NC live feed
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Cantore tweet

@JimCantore
Jim Cantore
Just got this tweet. I hope everybody is safe RT @bennastix Sanford, NC Lowes hit.70 people missing. My daughter lives there!!! #tornado
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Thats bad, all the live feeds are going down on radio reference. They must be losing power. Aunt lives in Wake Forest area. Called my mom about 30 mins ago said debris was falling from the sky. Phones are down now.
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1937
Weather channnel reports that tornado has been going for 50 minutes now!
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Live weather coverage from Raleigh ABC news.
Link
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Pretty impressive. Given NEXRAD radar updates, it appears the storm hit maximum vorticity on the velocity charts right near the most populated area in Raleigh.
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Ya know, the cell's fast forward speed might be the chief limiting factor - to loosely use the term - in the extent of damage around Raleigh...

Still pretty bad, as I'm sure reports coming in will show...
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1 Mile North of Rolesville,,even a tighter Core shown.
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WRAL says that there is damage in downtown Raliegh. Witnesses say that debris was flying through the air in the downtown area.. reports that brick buildings along Saunders Street in the downtown area were damaged.
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Even DocMasters is here with us

(teardrop)
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 168 Comments: 26076
TWC Live cam shows that same Vortex near Rolesville
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Quoting Ameister12:
Oh my god.


Stunning :(
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Quoting Ameister12:
Oh my god.


holy f***** s***
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6599
Oh my god.
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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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