Tornadoes pound North Carolina and Virginia, killing 25

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:45 PM GMT on April 17, 2011

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In a stunning display of violence, dozens of tornadoes rampaged through North Carolina and Virginia on Saturday, killing at least 25 people, injuring at least 130, and damaging or destroying at least 450 homes and businesses. Hardest hit in yesterday's outbreak was the the town of Askewville in northeast North Carolina, where a violent tornado that was likely at least an EF-3 ripped homes off their foundations and killed eleven people. Also hard-hit was the Raleigh area, where a mile-wide EF-3 tornado with 140 - 150 mph winds roared through the downtown region, killing five people. The 22 deaths in North Carolina made yesterday's outbreak the deadliest day for tornadoes in the state since 1984, when the infamous March 28 tornado outbreak killed 57 people and injured 1248.


Figure 1. Viewer-uploaded photo sent to WRAL of the Raleigh tornado shortly before it leveled a Lowes store in Sanford, NC.


Figure 2. Radar reflectivity loop of the Raleigh, North Carolina tornado at 3:59pm EDT as the twister passed through downtown. Note the classic hook-shaped echo of the parent mesocyclone in the rotating severe thunderstorms that spawned the tornado.


Figure 3. Doppler radar velocity image of the Raleigh, North Carolina tornado at 3:59pm EDT.

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center logged 105 tornado reports on Saturday, 113 on Friday, and 23 on Thursday, bringing the 3-day total to 241 twisters. These preliminary tornado reports are typically an over-count of about 15%, so the 3-day April 14 - 16 2011 tornado outbreak likely will end up with 200 - 210 confirmed tornadoes. This is a huge number of tornadoes; an average April typically has just 150 tornadoes across the entire U.S.

On Thursday, the first day of this remarkable outbreak, 23 tornadoes and numerous deadly severe thunderstorms tore through Oklahoma and Arkansas, killing at least nine people. An 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 Thursday night, spawning severe thunderstorm winds that killed seven more people. The outbreak ramped up significantly on Friday, with 113 tornado reports. The deadliest tornado of the day an EF-3 twister that hit Prattville, Alabama at 10:55pm CDT, killing three people in a mobile home, and injuring four others. One of the most damaging tornadoes occurred just west of Jackson, Mississippi, when an EF-3 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 Malaco Records, one of the top Blues/Gospel/Soul labels in the country, was destroyed by the tornado.


Figure 4. Satellite image from 21:40 UTC (5:40pm EDT) April 16, 2011, showing the strong low pressure system that brought yesterday's severe weather outbreak. Image credit: NASA/GSFC.

WRAL has an impressive time lapse animation from a skycam on a tall skyscraper in Raleigh showing what at the time was believed to be a rain-wrapped Raleigh tornado moving through downtown, but was actually just a thunderstorm downdraft.

Wikipedia has a nice summary of the tornado outbreak.

Jeff Masters

Northeast Raleigh Tornado (CaryWeatherman)
Tornado moved from 440 Beltline in NNW direction towards 540 Beltline severly damaged homes along Skycrest, New Hope, and Buffalo Road. Large Utility lines down, large trees down, overturned vehicles, flattened and severely damaged homes are prevalent in affected areas.
Northeast Raleigh Tornado
Uprooted (CaryWeatherman)
Tornado damage and downed trees NE Raleigh
Uprooted
Projectile (CaryWeatherman)
The tornado took a tree trunk and used it as a missile through the attic of this house in NE Raleigh.
Projectile

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VAbeach...check your WU mail
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The 12z Euro doesn't quite get the cut-off at 200mb, and the surface low is under the divergent jet-streak on the southeast flank of the 200mb trough. This is why, shortly afterwards on the run, the surface low falls off into the trade winds to the west and dissipates.

12z Euro 120 hours (MSLP, 200mb wind barbs):

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26731
Quoting Gearsts:
With 60+ knots of shear?


If it stays underneath the subtropical jet then no, but if it settles underneath a cut-off upper low north of the jet, then maybe.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26731
Quoting Levi32:


It's nothing to be "concerned" about. Subtropical low activity has almost nothing to do with the actual tropical season. They are things to watch for starting right about this time of year when the water is starting to warm up. In a La Nina, trough-splits start occurring underneath the eastern U.S. ridge, and we all know that mischief can come from such trough-splits if they have enough time to sit and fester.


The concern was an early start... that's seldom good. I still have not forgiven you for your statement we were in for a cold winter.. which has not really stopped yet!
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
we have some very unfriendly, arrogant, and rude bloggers here. Its a shame some here think so highly of their viewpoints here and childishly mock other views like immature children.

Good thing not everyone is like that.

I don't know why you would want to live like that, there is nothing enjoyable about being that way, maybe some of you enjoy being antisocial. Anyone who thinks that way will find themselves st the end of their life shocked when they discover their superior opinion is compromised and never really mattered.

Good riddance...
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CMC seems to have become even less accurate this year. 12z showing a strong 990 MB Tropical Storm between Bermuda and Hispanoila (forming out of the Hybrid Low NE of PR right now.) In other tropical news shear is suppose to be 0, that's right, 0 knots off the coast of the carolinas that extends a good 500 miles out toward bermuda, so watch, you never know what might happen. Also the Subtropical Jet is suppose to be going in a straight line this week(from GOM/BOC division line to Sahara into Spain, so no other threats that would be able to exist besides the Carolina coasts late this week, early next week.
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Quoting Orcasystems:


If anyone else had said that... I would have thought they were "wishing". With you saying it.. I am concerned... a bit early isn't it?


It's nothing to be "concerned" about. Subtropical low activity has almost nothing to do with the actual tropical season. They are things to watch for starting right about this time of year when the water is starting to warm up. In a La Nina, trough-splits start occurring underneath the eastern U.S. ridge, and we all know that mischief can come from such trough-splits if they have enough time to sit and fester.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26731
Quoting Levi32:
It's a trough-split that occurs after the current trough over the eastern U.S. clears out and the ridge builds back in over the north. With the cold low already showing significant presence out there, it could certainly be worth a look if it gets stuck sitting down there for a week. Upper lows festering over ~26C SSTs can sometimes get convection going.
With 60+ knots of shear?
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2337
Quoting Levi32:
You never know. It could be worth watching for subtropical low development.



The Euro also has it dissipating after 162 hours.
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Quoting Gearsts:
Remote link disable


Changed it.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26731
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
we have some very unfriendly, arrogant, and rude bloggers here. Its a shame some here think so highly of their viewpoints here and childishly mock other views like immature children.

Good thing not everyone is like that.

I don't know why you would want to live like that, there is nothing enjoyable about being that way, maybe some of you enjoy being antisocial.

Good riddance...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:
You never know. It could be worth watching for subtropical low development.



If anyone else had said that... I would have thought they were "wishing". With you saying it.. I am concerned... a bit early isn't it?
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
It's a trough-split that occurs after the current trough over the eastern U.S. clears out and the ridge builds back in over the north. With the cold low already showing significant presence out there, it could certainly be worth a look if it gets stuck sitting down there for a week. Upper lows festering over ~26C SSTs can sometimes get convection going.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26731
Quoting Levi32:
You never know. It could be worth watching for subtropical low development.

Remote link disable
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2337
You never know. It could be worth watching for subtropical low development.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26731
Quoting PlazaRed:


Thanks for the that, we will have about 5 months now without rain at least, same every year.About October we will get a few clouds and then the storms will start.

We have massive interest in your up and coming season and I would hazard a guess that you might have one of those big Catherine Wheel things roll up the East coast of Florida this year, everything is probably too well in place for it to miss this time round. We do so hope that everybody is well prepared and takes notice of the warnings this time.
That heat coming out of Africa is going to have some consequences in the lower Caribbean soon and with all that high SST in the gulf early this year the northerly direction might be the only course if there is a vortex over the GOM.

Keep well everybody.


I hope you are wrong. They are interesting to watch when they are over open waters, but not too great of a view when they are approaching land. I have been through a number of them, so I am as prepared as one can be, but it is never enough. I am sure you will watch with great interest.
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Quoting IceCoast:
This Sky 5 Aerial footage of Bertie County NC where 10 fatalities occurred is truly heartbreaking. The structural damage is unreal. I keep failing on posting the video, so here is the link.
Link


What I don't understand is how grass with roots a couple of inches deep can remain intact while buildings are leveled. Can someone explain?
Member Since: March 8, 2011 Posts: 1 Comments: 917
Just one of those coincidences, today a lady came out of her house in her back yard in Norfolk, Va. Found a license from Coleman, NC. 90 miles away.
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Quoting Grothar:


Not looking forward to this season. Conditions are too ripe. Yes, it has been a tragic week. Disturbing to see those times of tragedies. Enjoy your balmy weather.


Thanks for the that, we will have about 5 months now without rain at least, same every year.About October we will get a few clouds and then the storms will start.

We have massive interest in your up and coming season and I would hazard a guess that you might have one of those big Catherine Wheel things roll up the East coast of Florida this year, everything is probably too well in place for it to miss this time round. We do so hope that everybody is well prepared and takes notice of the warnings this time.
That heat coming out of Africa is going to have some consequences in the lower Caribbean soon and with all that high SST in the gulf early this year the northerly direction might be the only course if there is a vortex over the GOM.

Keep well everybody.
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Quoting Neapolitan:

And thus mankind invented religion... ;-)

I don't speak for all, but I've never seen or experienced anything that wasn't completely explainable in the light of science. Some things took longer to understand, of course, but in the end the natural has triumphed over the supernatural 100% of the time.

There's something very comforting about that, I think.


That I do find hard to believe. There have been many things that have happened to me over the years that were beyond coicidence and not explainable at all. I believe we all have them, some just admit it for fear of ridicule.
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Quoting aquak9:
God blesses you, VABeach. Thank you for what you are doing. Thank you for doing what a few of us wish we could do. May God give your strong arms and no blisters.


Haha, thanks aqua, the soreness and blisters I can deal with. It's nothing compared to what they are going through right now.
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88. JRRP
Quoting Gearsts:
Link Hurracane north of PR! LOL

Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6294
Quoting PlazaRed:


You got it made now, Senor!
Rain clouds in the air, heat in the sea, warmth in the bones and one hell of a season to look forward to in those balmy climes?

Here at the bottom westerly end of Europe we have winds, and fog in the Canary Islands, endless blue skies and about 30/c in the mountains of Grazalema, Cadiz, days and days of high winds and just on time rain, of all things forecast for ''Semana Santas'' processions.

We can only offer our sincere condolences to all those people in the USA who have been so tragically affected by the untimely storms you have had recently.


Not looking forward to this season. Conditions are too ripe. Yes, it has been a tragic week. Disturbing to see those times of tragedies. Enjoy your balmy weather.
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This Sky 5 Aerial footage of Bertie County NC where 10 fatalities occurred is truly heartbreaking. The structural damage is unreal. I keep failing on posting the video, so here is the link.
Link
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54. Jedkins01 7:45 PM GMT on April 17, 2011



Alright guys I know this video is long and the music is way too panicky, and I know this is really out there. But watch it anyway, its some freaky stuff.

I had a very disturbing encounter myself so it is interesting to here of this kind of stuff. I am not a superstitious person either so its not driving me mad, I just try and keep an open mind and not dismiss everything.


some of those UFO files has been mentioned on Sci-Fi Channel's "Paranormal: Fact or Fiction".
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 54 Comments: 48896
Quoting 74 Jedkins01 9:42 PM GMT on April 17, 2011:


nahhh I never had an alien abduction. I just saw a bright object one night that made a very disturbing sound that awoke me from my sleep, I had the window open.


Try Googling "hypnopompic".



BTW, sadly some people are close minded and will always be critics of the unexplained to the bitter end.


And some people are closed minded and will never be willing to accept mundane or conventional explanations for things they find "disturbing" and/or "interesting". Instead, they will insist that anything they cannot (easily) explain themselves must either have an exotic explanation, or no explanation at all.



I'm not superstitious person who confuses rockets for aliens... lol


Are you sure?
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Quoting Jedkins01:



Alright guys I know this video is long and the music is way too panicky, and I know this is really out there. But watch it anyway, its some freaky stuff.

I had a very disturbing encounter myself so it is interesting to here of this kind of stuff. I am not a superstitious person either so its not driving me mad, I just try and keep an open mind and not dismiss everything.


You might want to go and look at #752 on my blog, and see if it looks familiar?
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
Quoting Gearsts:
Link Hurracane north of PR! LOL


Ahem.... I resemble that remark.

CRS
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6069
Quoting Grothar:


I am here Plaza!


You got it made now, Senor!
Rain clouds in the air, heat in the sea, warmth in the bones and one hell of a season to look forward to in those balmy climes?

Here at the bottom westerly end of Europe we have winds, and fog in the Canary Islands, endless blue skies and about 30/c in the mountains of Grazalema, Cadiz, days and days of high winds and just on time rain, of all things forecast for ''Semana Santas'' processions.

We can only offer our sincere condolences to all those people in the USA who have been so tragically affected by the untimely storms you have had recently.
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Quoting PlazaRed:


Wheres, ''Dusty'' Grother?

Tangled up in a sun shade, doubling as an umbrella.{Para Lluvia!}


I am here Plaza!
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:




area near miami


Wheres, ''Dusty'' Grother?

Tangled up in a sun shade, doubling as an umbrella.{Para Lluvia!}
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Link Hurracane north of PR! LOL
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2337
Physics has proven the existence of other dimensions, and we lived in an extremely vast Universe. It would be unwise and stubborn to say there couldn't be some sort of alien life out there. I'm not saying any of these sightings are, or the one I saw. But let's be honest, you'd have to be full of yourself to think you can explain everything that's being sighted, its a complicated world. There isn't always a hoax or rational explanation for these things, some people need to learn to except that. Some scientists are at least being honest enough to admit there are some things going in the sky in recent years that cannot be explained, so please I advise for your own health not to mock me.

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Quoting aquak9:
and let me add this one to the mix:

And the day that Jedkins finally admitted why he's so feisty - he's been abducted by aliens.

Ahhh..today has been a good day.


nahhh I never had an alien abduction. I just saw a bright object one night that made a very disturbing sound that awoke me from my sleep, I had the window open.

BTW, sadly some people are close minded and will always be critics of the unexplained to the bitter end. I'm not superstitious person who confuses rockets for aliens... lol


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Quoting plywoodstatenative:
watches and warnings just posted for South Florida.




area near miami
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 187 Comments: 57805
Askewville NC


from here


Link


from what see be low and i no this sounds bad but we may have are 1st EF5 rateing

11 deaths - Catastrophic damage in the area. Numerous homes were destroyed, some were ripped off their foundations. At least 50 people injured.

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Quoting aquak9:
had to read back, and see what ya'll were talking about-

"hang on, I love ya"
If I ever said that, I'd be screaming it from under a mattress

"cool as the other side of a pillow"
Ike- that's just as memorable as the first one


The guy in the car, video thing:-

Easy when you know how.
He would probably be a, buddhist monk or a Scientologist who had just gone clear, or even more lightly he was listening to the tornado reports by the Fox, ''News-Casters,'' on his I phone, who were assuring him he had nothing to worry about as it was only a 'spike' in the ambient background atmospheric conditions and all would soon return to 'normal,'

Alternatively he could have been working for ''special UFO, forces.''
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watches and warnings just posted for South Florida.
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God blesses you, VABeach. Thank you for what you are doing. Thank you for doing what a few of us wish we could do. May God give your strong arms and no blisters.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 192 Comments: 27357
Been out helping people all day pick up from damage, Gloucester, VA was hit very hard. 3 fatalities so far, over 80 injured a couple still in critical condition. It is really mind-numbing seeing what weather can do to what looks like a very sturdy home or building.
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and let me add this one to the mix:

And the day that Jedkins finally admitted why he's so feisty - he's been abducted by aliens.

Ahhh..today has been a good day.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 192 Comments: 27357
had to read back, and see what ya'll were talking about-

"hang on, I love ya"
If I ever said that, I'd be screaming it from under a mattress

"cool as the other side of a pillow"
Ike- that's just as memorable as the first one
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 192 Comments: 27357
Quoting Jedkins01:



Alright guys I know this video is long and the music is way too panicky, and I know this is really out there. But watch it anyway, its some freaky stuff.

I had a very disturbing encounter myself so it is interesting to here of this kind of stuff. I am not a superstitious person either so its not driving me mad, I just try and keep an open mind and not dismiss everything.
....thats really. a rocket launch over kaizicstan,spectacular nonoculant cloud trails,perfect conditions....
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Jakarta Tropical Cyclone Warning Center
Tropical Cyclone Bulletin
TROPICAL CYCLONE ERROL (29U)
3:00 AM WIB April 18 2011
==========================================

At 1:00 am WIB, Tropical Cyclone Errol, Category One (1001 hPa) located near 10.6S 123.6E, or 25 NM east northeast of Rotecand 25 NM south southwest of Kupang has 10 minute sustained winds of 35 knots with gusts of 50 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving northwest at 3 knots.

Gale Force Winds
=================
30 NM from the center in northeast quadrant
25 NM from the center in southeast quadrant
30 NM from the center in southwest quadrant
35 NM from the center in northwest quadrant

Forecast and Intensity
========================
24 HRS: 10.6S 123.4E - 30 knots (Tropical Low)
48 HRS: 11.3S 122.1E - 30 knots (Tropical Low)

STRONG WIND WARNING:
For coastal waters BETWEEN TIMOR ISLAND AND ROTE ISLAND

HIGH WAVES WARNING:
For coastal waters TIMOR ISLAND AND ROTE ISLAND
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 54 Comments: 48896
Quoting Jedkins01:



Alright guys I know this video is long and the music is way too panicky, and I know this is really out there. But watch it anyway, its some freaky stuff.

I had a very disturbing encounter myself so it is interesting to here of this kind of stuff. I am not a superstitious person either so its not driving me mad, I just try and keep an open mind and not dismiss everything.


I can explain every one of those.
The one spiraling for example of Australia was the upper stage of the Falcon 9 that was doing a test burn back in 2010, during launch the booster was sent into a spin.

Matter of fact most of those are rocket launches at low sun angles, at dawn.
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:
Did anyone notice the two earthquakes off both coasts of Australia?

Magnitude 5.2 - QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA - 2011 April 16 05:31:19 UTC

Magnitude 5.2 - NORTHWEST OF AUSTRALIA - 2011 April 17 18:41:19 UTC

There's also a video circulating on the internet of one tornado growing two revolving funnel clouds which both become tornadoes touching the ground.


Hi, and Good Afternoon,
I saw the Australian earthquakes but have basically dismissed them, (as much as one can,} at the moment as bit of settlement in some outlying areas as they are not on major fault lines.
The ones to watch out for are still to the East of Japan and there are four main groups or 'clusters,' of these. Steaching from a bit East of Tokyo to the North by East, for a few hundred miles, these clusters are increasing in activity and may be heading for a loose join up in the not too distant future. Last week there were only 70 quakes above 4.5 reported by USGS in the previous week. This week there are 87 quakes in the same area.
All this, subject to me being shot down for saying it? Might be leading to a type of 'Zipper' effect on the East coast of japan with a new major fault line surfacing in the near future.
Only speculation of cause as always!

Did you see that excellent video clip Kepper put up aright at the end of the last blog?
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sunline:

Ya. We're airborne. No, we're fine. Ya. Fine.

Eggs? Do I need to get anything else?
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Nice bunny, beell.
he is always trying to be funny
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 187 Comments: 57805

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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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