Tornadoes, floods, and fires assault the nation

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:43 PM GMT on April 26, 2011

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A 1/2 mile-wide tornado smashed through Vilonia, Arkansas last night, killing four and destroying 50 - 80 houses. Vilonia is a small town of 3,800 north of Little Rock. The storm system responsible produced 38 suspected tornadoes yesterday, and also dumped 10 - 15 inches of rain over portions of Arkansas and southern Missouri. Flash flooding from the heavy rains killed four people in Arkansas last night. The heavy rains have also resulted in overtopping of the Black River levee near Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and over 500 homes have been evacuated in the town due to fears that the levee might fail. Poplar Bluff has received 12.86" of rain over the past three days, as of 11am EDT this morning. The greatest rain gauge-measured precipitation from the storm occurred in Springdale, Arkansas, where 17.09" inches has fallen.


Figure 1. Animation of a supercell thunderstorm 45 minutes after it produced the Viloni, Arkansas tornado at 7:25 pm CDT.


Figure 2. Radar-estimated precipitation from last night's storms.

Dangerous tornado outbreak expected today
Yesterday's tornado outbreak was merely a warm-up for today's onslaught, as NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has issued their highest level of severe weather potential, a "High Risk" forecast, for Northeast Texas and Southern Arkansas. This is just the second time this year that SPC has issued a "High Risk" forecast--the other was for the devastating North Carolina tornado outbreak of April 16, which generated 52 tornadoes that killed 26 people. Severe thunderstorms have already rumbled across Louisiana and Mississippi this morning, but today's main action is expected to erupt late this afternoon and early this evening in the "high risk" area. The tornado and severe weather outbreak will continue on Wednesday, when severe weather is expected to be concentrated in Tennessee and Kentucky, with a "moderate risk" of tornadoes. Preliminary tornado reports for the year 2011 show that this year is probably the busiest tornado season on record for this point in the season.


Figure 3. Severe weather threat for Tuesday, April 26, 2011.


Figure 4.
Chaser video of the Viloni, Arkansas tornado of April 25, 2011.

Extremely critical fire danger in Texas and New Mexico today
Spring storms commonly bring high winds to the Midwest this time of year, but today's storm will bring exceptionally high winds--and no precipitation--to the drought-stricken regions of West Texas and eastern New Mexico. As a result, an "extremely critical" fire weather day has been declared by the National Weather Service for the region, where high temperatures, low humidities, and powerful winds gusting to 60 mph will occur. The 24,000 acre Last Chance fire burning 33 miles southwest of Carlsbad, New Mexico near the Texas border is a particular concern, since it is currently 0% contained and is threatening many structures. This fire is expected to rage out of control today, thanks to humidities near 5%, temperatures in the low 90s, sustained winds near 40 mph, and gusts to 60 mph.


Figure 5. Fire weather forecast for today from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center.

2011 sets record for most acreage burned for April
According to the Interagency Fire Center, wildfires in 2011 have already burned nearly 2.3 million acres in the U.S. This is the greatest acreage on record so early in the year, and is more area than burned all of last year. The largest U.S. acreage to burn since 1960 was the 9.9 million acres that burned in 2007, so we area already 25% of the way to the all-time record fire year--with summer still more than a month away. Last night, a line of thunderstorms brought heavy rains of 2 - 3 inches from Dallas southeastwards through Louisiana, providing precious rains to a portion of Texas that was under their worst drought since 1925. However, the portion of Texas that has seen the worst wildfires (the black spots in the image below), received no rain.


Figure 6. Perimeters of the major wildfires in Texas during 2011 as of April 25. Image credit: GEOMAC Wildland Fire Support.

For those who want to lend a helping hand to those impacted by the widespread destruction this month's severe weather has brought, stop by the portlight.org blog.

Jeff Masters

Lambert St. Louis Tornado Damage (WindyCityBob)
Taken after the good friday tornado at Lambert Field St.Louis, MO
Lambert St. Louis Tornado Damage
Super fat rainbow! (murphymom)
I watched as an anvil formed and as it apprached my house, it rained a bit and passed over, I thought to myself, that looks like there will be a rainbow with it, and voila!
Super fat rainbow!

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On the news right now they are talking about cancelations at our airport due to storms.
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WOW
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933
Quoting emcf30:


Memphis tonight


Now that is a scary image.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 25976
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Live Memphis TV Coverage


Show-off!
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 25976


Memphis tonight
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Live Memphis TV Coverage


Thanks Geoff...was hoping for that :)
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Quoting Chicklit:
more bad news for memphis tonight unfortunately.


memphisWUmap

I panned the map down into Texas. Glanced at the mid-Atlantic. Don't think I've ever seen that much heavy rain.
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Live Memphis TV Coverage
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Crazy!! Deep trough!! You people be careful up there!!
Hope everyone comes out alright!
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New watch out:

URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
TORNADO WATCH NUMBER 223
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
945 PM CDT TUE APR 26 2011

THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A
TORNADO WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF

CENTRAL AND EAST TEXAS

EFFECTIVE THIS TUESDAY NIGHT AND WEDNESDAY MORNING FROM 945 PM
UNTIL 500 AM CDT.

TORNADOES...HAIL TO 2.5 INCHES IN DIAMETER...THUNDERSTORM WIND
GUSTS TO 75 MPH...AND DANGEROUS LIGHTNING ARE POSSIBLE IN THESE
AREAS.

THE TORNADO WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 75 STATUTE
MILES NORTH AND SOUTH OF A LINE FROM 15 MILES NORTH NORTHWEST OF
AUSTIN TEXAS TO 40 MILES EAST NORTHEAST OF LUFKIN TEXAS. FOR A
COMPLETE DEPICTION OF THE WATCH SEE THE ASSOCIATED WATCH OUTLINE
UPDATE (WOUS64 KWNS WOU3).

REMEMBER...A TORNADO WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR
TORNADOES AND SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH
AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR
THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS
AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS.

OTHER WATCH INFORMATION...THIS TORNADO WATCH REPLACES TORNADO
WATCH NUMBER 220. WATCH NUMBER 220 WILL NOT BE IN EFFECT AFTER
945 PM CDT. CONTINUE...WW 215...WW 217...WW 218...WW 219...WW
221...WW 222...

DISCUSSION...COMPLEX OF SVR TSTMS...INCLUDING SUPERCELLS WITH
TORNADO RISK...WILL CONTINUE TO MOVE SSEWD AS EMBEDDED TSTMS MOVE
EWD. CONVECTION WILL ENCOUNTER RELATIVELY UNDISTURBED ENVIRONMENT
CHARACTERIZED BY VERY FAVORABLE DEEP-LAYER SHEAR AND 1500-2500 J/KG
MLCAPE. ACTIVITY ALSO MAY BACKBUILD...BRINGING AT LEAST CONDITIONAL
SVR POTENTIAL TO PORTIONS CENTRAL TX S THROUGH SE OF ACT.
STRENGTHENING CINH WITH TIME SHOULD LIMIT POTENTIAL FOR ACTIVITY TO
REAR-PROPAGATE W OF I-35.

AVIATION...TORNADOES AND A FEW SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WITH HAIL
SURFACE AND ALOFT TO 2.5 INCHES. EXTREME TURBULENCE AND SURFACE
WIND GUSTS TO 65 KNOTS. A FEW CUMULONIMBI WITH MAXIMUM TOPS TO
600. MEAN STORM MOTION VECTOR 28030.


...EDWARDS/HALES

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The two tone recoon!
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Quoting Chicklit:
more bad news for memphis tonight unfortunately.


memphisWUmap


Thanks, Chicklit, I was just posting that. HA


Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 25976
more bad news for memphis tonight unfortunately.


memphisWUmap
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53494
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 25976
Quoting Grothar:


Moving toward Ruston, La.....a large college town
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Here are a bunch of nasty storms near Waco with rotation. I was out chasing this area earlier today:

Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 46 Comments: 11666
Statement as of 9:25 PM CDT on April 26, 2011
The National Weather Service in Shreveport has issued a

* Tornado Warning for... northern Jackson Parish in north central Louisiana... southeastern Lincoln Parish in north central Louisiana... east central Bienville Parish in northwest Louisiana...

* until 1000 PM CDT

* at 921 PM CDT... National Weather Service meteorologists detected a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado near Liberty Hill... or 13 miles southwest of Grambling... moving east at 40 mph.

* Other locations in the warning include but are not limited to Quitman... Choudrant... Chatham and Eros...

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

A Tornado Warning means that strong rotation has been detected in the storm. A tornado may already be on the ground... or is expected to develop shortly. If you are in the path of this dangerous storm... move indoors and to the lowest level of the building. Stay away from windows.
If driving... do not seek shelter under a Highway overpass.

Lat... Lon 3228 9240 3232 9288 3242 9290 3262 9241
time... Mot... loc 0225z 270deg 36kt 3238 9281


Eleven


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Tornado warning up west of Cooperstown, NY (North of Albany):

Cooperstown
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Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 25976
Quoting RandomText:
Yeah, the New Mexico low is down to 989mb now as well.


reload. incredible.
PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... .THE SAFEST PLACE TO BE DURING A TORNADO IS IN A STORM SHELTER. IF NO STORM SHELTER IS AVAILABLE...SEEK SHELTER ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF THE BUILDING IN AN INTERIOR HALLWAY OR ROOM SUCH AS A CLOSET. USE BLANKETS OR PILLOWS TO COVER YOUR BODY AND ALWAYS STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS.
IF IN MOBILE HOMES OR VEHICLES...EVACUATE THEM AND GET INSIDE A SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER.
IF NO SHELTER IS AVAILABLE...LIE FLAT IN THE NEAREST DITCH OR OTHER LOW SPOT AND COVER YOUR HEAD WITH YOUR HANDS.
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8:58 PM CDT on April 26, 2011
... A Tornado Warning remains in effect until 930 PM CDT for southeastern Anderson County...

At 858 PM CDT... National Weather Service meteorologists detected a developing tornado. This tornado was located just west of Elkhart... moving east at 40 mph.

The tornado will affect... Elkhart through 910 PM CDT

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

A Tornado Watch remains in effect until 1000 PM CDT Tuesday evening for eastern Texas.


Lat... Lon 3160 9526 3153 9576 3157 9572 3162 9571
3166 9574 3161 9577 3165 9579 3169 9578
3187 9549 3188 9545 3182 9540 3177 9539
3168 9528
time... Mot... loc 0158z 263deg 35kt 3164 9560




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Here comes the thunderstorms.So far it's gusty outside with a few raindrops.You can smell the rain outside...as I'm typing I here thunder now and see lightning.
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Quoting cat5hurricane:

Passed them down to younger generations.
youre a terrible influence!
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holy crap Round Four.
looking particularly nasty ESE of Shreveport.

Loop
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Quoting cat5hurricane:

Talk about a guzzler Tom. I used to have a couple beer bongs that looked just like that.
lol. what did you do with them?
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,,,,,Recoon.,nice coverage.

Semper Fi
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too tired

all washed up-

ya'll be safe

go in peace, carry on
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 165 Comments: 25835
Another view of the Vilonia Tornado



view image in another tab to make it way bigger
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Quoting cat5hurricane:

wash...i really have a feeling you're right about that too. I have been wondering that myself and been meaning to do a little research on that correlation. But at the very least, get that magic wand working at least tonight. We'll need it.



Brows through the 1st 200 post. Tampaspin asked the same question and some data/info was posted.
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Gotta' love Recoon!
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Quoting cat5hurricane:

wash...i really have a feeling you're right about that too. I have been wondering that myself and been meaning to do a little research on that correlation. But at the very least, get that magic wand working at least tonight. We'll need it.
I waved my magical wond for Texas and Arkansaw/Louisiana to have some rain.Yes they are getting rain but not in a good way...
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Eyes- thanks. Gotta love Recoon.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 165 Comments: 25835
BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MEMPHIS TN
847 PM CDT TUE APR 26 2011

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MEMPHIS HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
DECATUR COUNTY IN TENNESSEE...
CHESTER COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST TENNESSEE...
HENDERSON COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST TENNESSEE...
SOUTHEASTERN MADISON COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST TENNESSEE...
NORTH CENTRAL MCNAIRY COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST TENNESSEE...

* UNTIL 945 PM CDT

* AT 848 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM PRODUCING A TORNADO 7 MILES SOUTHWEST OF
HENDERSON...OR NEAR T O FULLER STATE PARK...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 50
MPH.

* LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO DARDEN...
DECATURVILLE...HENDERSON...JACKS CREEK...LEXINGTON...MIFFLIN...
PARSONS...REAGAN...SARDIS...NATCHEZ TRACE STATE FOREST AND NATCHEZ
TRACE STATE PARK.

THIS WARNING ALSO INCLUDES AREAS NEAR BEECH LAKE...PIN OAK LAKE AND
PINE LAKE.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

.TORNADOES ARE DIFFICULT TO SEE AND CONFIRM AT NIGHT. TAKE COVER NOW.



LAT...LON 3542 8834 3543 8836 3542 8836 3532 8870
3554 8878 3583 8824 3582 8818 3585 8817
3585 8816 3565 8801 3561 8802 3555 8797
3553 8797
TIME...MOT...LOC 0148Z 243DEG 42KT 3542 8868
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Aquak....that racoon is hilarious.....a good stress-buster, for sure...lol...:)
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Very Dangerous Tornado Warned storm in Northern Mississippi near Holly Springs.
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933
Quoting jasonweatherman2010:
lots of rain here
Oh lookey more rain for me.The rain is starting to get a bit ridiculous up here though.It sucks.George town was flooded thanks to someone not putting up the floog gate/levee...
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65
WFUS54 KSHV 270146
TORSHV
LAC013-027-119-270230-
/O.NEW.KSHV.TO.W.0050.110427T0146Z-110427T0230Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SHREVEPORT LA
846 PM CDT TUE APR 26 2011

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SHREVEPORT HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
NORTHWESTERN BIENVILLE PARISH IN NORTHWEST LOUISIANA...
SOUTH CENTRAL CLAIBORNE PARISH IN NORTHWEST LOUISIANA...
SOUTHEASTERN WEBSTER PARISH IN NORTHWEST LOUISIANA...

* UNTIL 930 PM CDT

* AT 842 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO NEAR HEFLIN...OR
14 MILES SOUTH OF MINDEN...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 30 MPH.

* OTHER LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO
SIBLEY...DUBBERLY...GIBSLAND AND ARCADIA...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A TORNADO WARNING MEANS THAT STRONG ROTATION HAS BEEN DETECTED IN THE
STORM. A TORNADO MAY ALREADY BE ON THE GROUND...OR IS EXPECTED TO
DEVELOP SHORTLY. IF YOU ARE IN THE PATH OF THIS DANGEROUS STORM...
MOVE INDOORS AND TO THE LOWEST LEVEL OF THE BUILDING. STAY AWAY FROM
WINDOWS. IF DRIVING...DO NOT SEEK SHELTER UNDER A HIGHWAY OVERPASS.



LAT...LON 3233 9334 3242 9342 3278 9311 3255 9287
3252 9288
TIME...MOT...LOC 0147Z 232DEG 25KT 3244 9331



ELEVEN


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418
WFUS53 KPAH 270146
TORPAH
KYC047-107-177-270230-
/O.NEW.KPAH.TO.W.0112.110427T0146Z-110427T0230Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PADUCAH KY
846 PM CDT TUE APR 26 2011

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PADUCAH HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
SOUTHEASTERN HOPKINS COUNTY IN NORTHWEST KENTUCKY...
NORTHWESTERN CHRISTIAN COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL KENTUCKY...
WEST CENTRAL MUHLENBERG COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL KENTUCKY...

* UNTIL 930 PM CDT.

* AT 842 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR DETECTED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO 5 MILES EAST OF
DAWSON SPRINGS...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 20 MPH. THIS STORM HAS BEEN
SHOOTING OUT HAIL WELL AHEAD OR NORTHEAST OF THE MAIN PART OF THE
STORM. AT 837 PM CDT...LAW ENFORCEMENT REPORTED GOLF BALL SIZE HAIL
AT NORTONVILLE.

* LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE...
DAWSON SPRINGS...
NORTONVILLE...
MORTONS GAP...
EARLINGTON...
GRAHAM...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

IN ADDITION TO THE TORNADO...THIS STORM IS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING GOLF
BALL SIZE HAIL AND DESTRUCTIVE STRAIGHT LINE WINDS.



LAT...LON 3741 8736 3718 8722 3709 8762 3718 8771
TIME...MOT...LOC 0144Z 230DEG 19KT 3717 8758




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518
WFUS54 KFWD 270142
TORFWD
TXC001-270230-
/O.NEW.KFWD.TO.W.0070.110427T0142Z-110427T0230Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORT WORTH TX
842 PM CDT TUE APR 26 2011

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN FORT WORTH HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
SOUTHERN ANDERSON COUNTY IN NORTHEAST TEXAS...

* UNTIL 930 PM CDT

* AT 843 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED A
DEVELOPING TORNADO 14 MILES WEST OF ELKHART...MOVING EAST AT 35
MPH.

* THE TORNADO WILL BE NEAR...
ELKHART AND PALESTINE AROUND 900 PM CDT...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

MOVE TO AN INTERIOR BATHROOM...CLOSET...OR HALLWAY ON THE LOWEST
FLOOR OF YOUR BUILDING. COVER YOURSELF WITH BLANKETS...PILLOWS...OR A
MATTRESS FOR PROTECTION.

A TORNADO WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 1000 PM CDT.



LAT...LON 3153 9576 3160 9571 3165 9572 3165 9575
3161 9577 3165 9579 3169 9578 3169 9586
3175 9587 3181 9598 3194 9544 3185 9544
3182 9540 3177 9539 3168 9528 3160 9526
TIME...MOT...LOC 0143Z 258DEG 32KT 3162 9577



85/NH


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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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