Tornadoes pound North Carolina and Virginia, killing 25

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

Share this Blog
4
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 60 - 10

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6Blog Index

Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Nice bunny, beell.
he is always trying to be funny
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 55972
Quoting beell:


Only one DAY 3, keep.


Nice bunny, beell.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PcolaDan:
How did this guy remain so calm?!?!?!?!




Either he is really stupid or really scared, some people get like that when they are scared. Either way he is extremely lucky that it just missed him...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
This is what could have happened to that guy....

Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
incredible tornado outbreak... Man...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:
"""I happen to be recording it. That's even better isn't it?"""

"""Oh....a 1/2 a mile"""

"""I'd say it's coming straight toward me."""

"""There goes a roof off of a house"""

This guy should run for president! As cool as the other side of a pillow.
lol +1
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358



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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting sunlinepr:


Did he say "I've been hit" cause there's a lot of smoke inside the car...?
:)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hmm... also one in Argentina.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
50. IKE
"""I happen to be recording it. That's even better isn't it?"""

"""Oh....a 1/2 a mile"""

"""I'd say it's coming straight toward me."""

"""There goes a roof off of a house"""

This guy should run for president! As cool as the other side of a pillow.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Yep, eastern NC has pretty much no basements. Anywhere.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PcolaDan:
How did this guy remain so calm?!?!?!?!

because it's just picking up leaves...no biggy


oh look the roof just came off
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
47. IKE

Quoting sunlinepr:


Another perception mistake he makes:
Its not one of those..... devastation or terrible, it's just picking up leaves, (while power line transformers are blowing up)
Exactly.

This guy's probably had a few ups and downs in his life.....and coped well with them:)
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting hydrus:
.. Yep........pffffft.....


Did he say "I've been hit" cause there's a lot of smoke inside the car...?
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
IIRC, a lot of the houses in NC don't have basements the way most midwestern homes do.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
why move and risk knocking the heater off the joint sit back enjoy the awe of nature
.. Yep........pffffft.....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
When u look up the word "laconic" in the dictionary, that video pops up....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting clwstmchasr:


That guy had to been on some serious weed or Valium. I would have been in a total panic.
and the total panic would more than likly gotten you killed
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 55972
Quoting IKE:

He said it was a half-mile away 13 seconds into the video and then he says it's coming right toward him. He had another 40-50 seconds to haul azz somewhere.
why move and risk knocking the heater off the joint sit back enjoy the awe of nature
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 55972
Quoting IKE:

He said it was a half-mile away 13 seconds into the video and then he says it's coming right toward him. He had another 40-50 seconds to haul azz somewhere.


I'm thinking reverse... ;>)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:

He said it was a half-mile away 13 seconds into the video and then he says it's coming right toward him. He had another 40-50 seconds to haul azz somewhere.


Another perception mistake he makes:
Its not one of those..... devastation or terrible, it's just picking up leaves, (while power line transformers are blowing up)
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
37. IKE

Quoting klaatuborada:
ignorance is bliss... but perhaps he had no where to go to..... you see it coming, but what's its path? Will it go right, left, if there's no shelter, perhaps he figured the best he could do was sit tight....
He said it was a half-mile away 13 seconds into the video and then he says it's coming right toward him. He had another 40-50 seconds to haul azz somewhere.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
ignorance is bliss... but perhaps he had no where to go to..... you see it coming, but what's its path? Will it go right, left, if there's no shelter, perhaps he figured the best he could do was sit tight....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
35. IKE
"Hang on....I love you"

"I've got a problem with what I'm driving"

As soon as the video ended......."yeah hun....that weed did the trick"....."go ahead and roll us up another one....I'll be home soon"
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting IKE:

Vehicle damaged. Uh....I think I would have moved somewhere...anywhere and avoided having a damaged vehicle. Wonder if the insurance company will pay if they viewed his attempt at avoiding damage?


Always get the full coverage on a rental car- never know when you might be in a tornado. :))
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Wow.... Amazing damage in the NC area... the house in the 1st picture looks a lot like one my sister used to live in the Charlotte area about 10 years ago.

I need to touch bases with some friends living in the area, make sure they are OK.

Sure hope all our NC wunderbloggers are ok.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
An overdose of blissful ignorance?

Hun, I love ya...
I'm Ok
Don't worry for me
Just a roof that hit the car
I've got a problem with what I'm driving... it'is damaged
yap, I'm Ok, I feel good...


OH!!! I can see the neighborhood and our house from up here...
Beautiful, Yap
But don't worry
I'm Ok, feel good...
Just a small F1 passing by...
picking up leaves...
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
What was amazing was the longevity of these tornadoes. These were long-life tornadoes that I was used to seeing in my days of living in Ohio. The perfect radar signature of the super cells was just amazing, something belonging in Oklahoma, not eastern NC.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Lost power last night, but here with an update. Camp Lajuene base housing took some damage. Jacksonville they are reporting 5 homes destroyed and 25 damaged. One tornado hit near Havelock, about 1-2 miles from my house. Looks like at least 2 homes are a total loss, at least 5 times that many damaged. Trees are just snapped in half and twisted. Red Cross is already on the scene here. Crazy...no warning. The news guys were saying they were dying down and more straight line wind threats, then 30 min later a twister came through. Would have been the end of me, watching from the porch.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Complete Update





Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
Quoting Neapolitan:

Valium? Xanax? An overdose of blissful ignorance?

Unbelievable.


I'll go with "C".
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
24. IKE

Quoting PcolaDan:
How did this guy remain so calm?!?!?!?!

Vehicle damaged. Uh....I think I would have moved somewhere...anywhere and avoided having a damaged vehicle. Wonder if the insurance company will pay if they viewed his attempt at avoiding damage?
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting PcolaDan:
How did this guy remain so calm?!?!?!?!


Valium? Xanax? An overdose of blissful ignorance?

Unbelievable.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
How did this guy remain so calm?!?!?!?!

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
not again- -

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Accumulating snow and mixed precipitation in S. Ontario north of Toronto, 2C (36F) and windy. Same storm system that killed more than 40 people in many States. I'm still predicting heavy river flooding along the upper Mississippi River, particularly in Iowa, Missouri and Illinois.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
day 3 yep new update comes out in about an hour from now give or take a few minutes

Good morning Keep....Will ya shut the severe weather machine off already.....or at least talk to them about it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting beell:


Only one DAY 3, keep.
yeah i use prop. for reference on days 2 and 3 and tornados day one
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 55972


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 2manymarks:
I'm still trying to find "Askewville, NC" in NE NC. It doesn't come up on a Yahoo search.??


Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
More coming, more to go.... Too bad....

Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Here's an update to a homemade graphic I threw together this morning combining the SPC's latest storm data and graphics for the last three days.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
day 3 yep new update comes out in about an hour from now give or take a few minutes



Only one DAY 3, keep.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 2manymarks:
I'm still trying to find "Askewville, NC" in NE NC. It doesn't come up on a Yahoo search.??


One of these should do I hope.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 2manymarks:
I'm still trying to find "Askewville, NC" in NE NC. It doesn't come up on a Yahoo search.??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 60 - 10

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Overcast
29 °F
Overcast

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Lake Effort Snow Shower Over Windsor, Ontario
Sunset on Dunham Lake
Pictured Rocks Sunset
Sunset on Lake Huron