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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Oh my god.
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140. beell
click graphic for storm reports.


Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 143 Comments: 16723
Lets hope the cool sea water will wrap into it and weaken it!
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138. JeffMasters (Admin)
Yikes, that's a bad one for Raleigh.

Jeff Masters
The NWS in Raleigh took shelter from the Tornado
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128636
another tv south of fayetteville

looks as bad as what just went thru raleigh

radar looks like paisley from hell
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Link

Live audio of rescue efforts Raleigh / Wake County
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134. mnsky
Interesting.!labels=1 labels=1 labels=1:)
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Trying to get in touch with a friend north of Raleigh to see the conditions. ABout 2 hours before we are under teh gun.
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This doesnt sound good at all.
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Weather channel said Tornadoe looks wide also.
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Quoting TomTaylor:


all that reflectivity in the hook right after the passing of raleigh... usually signify s a ton of debris.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6592
Lot of damage reports from weather channel. Homes leveled and a lowes destroyed. Debris being thrown miles ahead of tornadoe!
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127. beell
Photobucket
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 143 Comments: 16723
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
co-worker got family right NE of raleigh...she on the phone...

please please let this not be as bad as it looked
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742
NWUS52 KRAH 162003
LSRRAH

PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RALEIGH NC
403 PM EDT SAT APR 16 2011

.TIME... ...EVENT... ...CITY LOCATION... ...LAT.LON

.DATE... ....MAG.... ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE.

..REMARKS..

0358 PM TORNADO RALEIGH 35.81N 78.64W
04/16/2011 WAKE NC TRAINED SPOTTER

NUMEROUS BRICK BUILDINGS DESTROLYED ALONG SOUTH
SAUNDERS STREET IN SOUTHEAST RALEIGH.
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
Debris is being shown on radar indicating possible damage.
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122. beell
Another very intense couplet E of Florence, SC
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 143 Comments: 16723
2,now 3 Traffic Cams went down during the passing

Raleigh Webcams
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128636
120. beell
Still plenty of action farther S down the line.
Fayetteville & Lumberton, NC to name a couple.
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 143 Comments: 16723
Hello Aqua,
True, but might not be as lucky here...

Ditto that Beell... I've got as sick queasy feeling over this one... just ugly...

God help 'em...
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It's moving away from Raleigh at the time. I hope the best for the city.
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* At 354 PM EDT... National Weather Service Doppler radar was tracking
a large and extremely dangerous tornado near Raleigh... moving
northeast at 50 mph.

This is an extremely dangerous and life threatening situation. This
storm is capable of producing strong to violent tornadoes. If you are
in the path of this tornado... take cover immediately!

Please relay severe weather reports to the National Weather Service
by calling toll free... 1... 8 6 6... 2 1 5... 4 3 2 4.

Lat... Lon 3590 7795 3578 7824 3581 7826 3564 7855
3586 7881 3603 7860 3601 7855 3607 7855
3622 7834
time... Mot... loc 2000z 232deg 42kt 3582 7858


Ams



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Could be as bad as Oklahoma City... Hopefully not but that ring of debris says maybe otherwise...
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6592
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Right over Raleigh, this could be really bad





Stay safe people!
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
Moving through or near Downtown Raliegh right now. Radar shows what appears to be a ring of debris..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
112. beell
Quoting DocNDswamp:
#94
Hiya Beell,
Yes just horrible watching this unfold before us... would take a miracle, lifting off the ground to miss being the disaster it appears will be...


It' already traversed a whole slew of suburbia...
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 143 Comments: 16723
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting aquak9:
it can happen, doc- it can be ok

there was a super long tracker, went thu memphis, hit a college dorm around 10pm- no one was injured

Please let God hold everyone in His hands right now

have faith ya'll


tons of debris reportedly falling, meaning the tornado has hit a lot of things. this could be a disaster.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6592
it can happen, doc- it can be ok

there was a super long tracker, went thu memphis, hit a college dorm around 10pm- no one was injured

Please let God hold everyone in His hands right now

have faith ya'll
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
962
NWUS52 KRAH 161951
LSRRAH

PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RALEIGH NC
351 PM EDT SAT APR 16 2011

.TIME... ...EVENT... ...CITY LOCATION... ...LAT.LON

.DATE... ....MAG.... ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE.

..REMARKS..

0351 PM TORNADO RALEIGH 35.81N 78.64W
04/16/2011 WAKE NC AMATEUR RADIO

DEBRIS FALLING IN NORTH RALEIGH FROM LARGE TORNADO ON
THE GROUND.
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
#94
Hiya Beell,
Yes just horrible watching this unfold before us... would take a miracle, lifting off the ground to miss being the disaster it appears will be...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
347
WWUS52 KRAH 161950
SVSRAH

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

NCC183-162000-
/O.CON.KRAH.TO.W.0016.000000T0000Z-110416T2000Z/
WAKE NC-
350 PM EDT SAT APR 16 2011

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 400 PM EDT FOR WAKE
COUNTY...

AT 345 PM EDT...TRAINED WEATHER SPOTTERS REPORTED A TORNADO. THIS
TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR LAKE WHEELER...OR 6 MILES SOUTHEAST OF
CARY...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 55 MPH.

THIS IS A TORNADO EMERGENCY FOR THE CITY OF RALEIGH.

TAKE COVER NOW. MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A
STURDY BUILDING. AVOID WINDOWS. IF IN A MOBILE HOME...VEHICLE OR
OUTDOORS...MOVE TO THE CLOSEST SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER. IF NO SHELTER IS
AVAILABLE LIE DOWN IN A LOW LYING AREA. PROTECT YOURSELF FROM FLYING
DEBRIS.

WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO...PLEASE CALL IN YOUR REPORTS OF PENNY OR
LARGER SIZED HAIL...AS WELL AS WIND DAMAGE...INCLUDING TREES OR LARGE
LIMBS DOWNED BY CALLING THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TOLL FREE AT...
1...8 7 7...6 3 3...6 7 7 2.
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
As of 3:45, there is a large tornado on the ground 4 miles SSW of Raleigh.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
903
NWUS52 KRAH 161946
LSRRAH

PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RALEIGH NC
346 PM EDT SAT APR 16 2011

.TIME... ...EVENT... ...CITY LOCATION... ...LAT.LON

.DATE... ....MAG.... ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE.

..REMARKS..

0345 PM TORNADO 4 SSW RALEIGH 35.76N 78.67W
04/16/2011 WAKE NC 911 CALL CENTER

LARGE TORNADO ON THE GROUND.
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
WOW.. That is one big Hook Echo heading Straight towards Downtown Raleigh. I hope people are in their shelters now. Holly Springs looks to have taken a direct hit.
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* AT 336 PM EDT...EMERGENCY OFFICIALS REPORTED A DESTRUCTIVE AND
EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO NEAR HOLLY SPRINGS...OR 9 MILES SOUTH
OF CARY...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 50 MPH. GOLF BALL SIZED HAIL AND
DESTRUCTIVE WINDS IN EXCESS OF 70 MPH ARE ALSO LIKELY WITH THIS
STORM.

* THIS IS A TORNADO EMERGENCY FOR...
RALEIGH...
NEW HOPE...
KNIGHTDALE...
ROLESVILLE...
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6592
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
oh damn

someone please tell me the low level MRV is iffy

please let it bounce like a marionette

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The tornado should hit the metro within 10 minutes or less.
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I live near Leakesville Ms. I talked to some family that live over there, and they said a mother and child are missing . Also a Piggly Wiggly grocery store and Dollar General were destroyed. The manager of the Piggly Wiggly lived behind the store in a trailor, and he's missing too.
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.
Quoting DocNDswamp:
Indeed, a PDS for Raleigh as radar velocity indicates strong tornadic cell heading right at them...

Gregg Forbes on TWC emphasizing the danger looming as well... cell moving NE at near 65 mph...




Whatz up, Doc
10 minutes or less at 65-70mph...
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 143 Comments: 16723
Still, a very strong hook echo. This is a very dangerous situation for the Raleigh area. I hope everyone is taking shelter in Raleigh.
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Very densely populated area along the path to Raleigh.
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 143 Comments: 16723
Dr. Greg Forges "A tornado is making a B-line towards downtown Raleigh. Please take cover immediately.
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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.