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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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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The Nexlab TX Page Main Text Page
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Radial velocity image on the system north of Waco.

Waco
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Quoting EYEStoSEA:


Amazing technology.....TY for sharing


Trying to get ahold of the storm slicing technology. That is cool. Can really view the storms good
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1957
ally ♥

goose - take care of your family and the animals, ya'll will be alright :)
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 178 Comments: 26648
Curly cue in there


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Quoting cat5hurricane:

Because nobody likes you.

Can't you get the clue :-)
Lol.But I could generally careless if they did.Anyway I think that their is a little just a tinsy whinsy little correlation between an active tornado season,and an active hurricane season.And I have serval years to back up my statement.Now watch them all dissapear as I wave my magical wond.Ha ha.
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Quoting emcf30:
Eyes, Don't know if you saw this one earlier I posted. It is the Vilonia Tornado last night


Amazing technology.....TY for sharing
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Recoon was watching that vortex last night, too.

(apologies)

Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 178 Comments: 26648
Nights like these, I'm thankful to live in the mountains and not the plains- until winter, of course. We do usually get a few storms, but severe storms and tornadoes are vanishingly rare and remembered for a very long time. Please be safe everyone!
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Eyes, Don't know if you saw this one earlier I posted. It is the Vilonia Tornado last night
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1957
Does Reed Timmer have a stream out?
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Thanks Aqua..
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Tornado in the torrential rain, rain wrapped tornado in the middle of the cell!

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Quoting IFuSAYso:


So, is that a tunadic event?


if you say so...
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 178 Comments: 26648
Quoting aquak9:
that's tunica, mississippi, not tennessee ya bonehead


So, is that a tunadic event?
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Quoting DestinJeff:


more than can be said for some FAA controllers.


Ya gotta wake them up 1st.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56059
Quoting RandomText:
Just to put that in perspective.

It is off the color code scale on the radar by 15 points, or 3 "extra" color codes beyond the scale...


I love extrapolation, I really really do, it's like linearity, only imaginified.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 178 Comments: 26648
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56059
Quoting DestinJeff:
TWC music alone will make storms rotate


at least sit and spin.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56059
* AT 901 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM
CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO OVER CENTRAL
HARDY COUNTY...OR 9 MILES EAST OF MOOREFIELD...MOVING EAST AT 30
MPH.


there ya go, goose
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 178 Comments: 26648
Quoting emcf30:


Sherveport 3D radar image


Super Visual !!
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Reed Timmer: Meteorologist and Extreme Storm Chaser
Just intercepted in the Dominator. Debris slamming right side of the vehicle.
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1957
actually ally I think that line is gonna miss thurmont to the west

she may see the tail of it, see lightning hear thunder, get some gusts

I guess there's a reason that so much of Texas is open and not heavily populated, geeeezz

hi spathy
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 178 Comments: 26648


Sherveport 3D radar image
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1957
000
WFUS51 KLWX 270101
TORLWX
VAC069-171-WVC027-031-270130-
/O.NEW.KLWX.TO.W.0021.110427T0101Z-110427T0130Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
901 PM EDT TUE APR 26 2011

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
SHENANDOAH COUNTY IN NORTHWEST VIRGINIA...
HARDY COUNTY IN EASTERN WEST VIRGINIA...
HAMPSHIRE COUNTY IN EASTERN WEST VIRGINIA...
FREDERICK COUNTY IN NORTHWEST VIRGINIA...

* UNTIL 930 PM EDT

* AT 901 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO OVER CENTRAL
HARDY COUNTY...OR 9 MILES EAST OF MOOREFIELD...MOVING EAST AT 30
MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
KIRBY...
RIO...
WARDENSVILLE...
DELRAY...
CAPON SPRINGS...
YELLOW SPRING...
LEHEW...
WILDE ACRES...
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alley- looking at all the cells in the line that's headed that way- I see no high VILS, nothing over 30 really. One over forty but that was not a worry. I see no winds swapping directions.

Maybe some small hail, winds not over 35.

I hope that helps.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 178 Comments: 26648
Between Houston/Galveston recording an air pressure of 996mb was 995mb hr or two ago.

Massive smoke plumes heading eastbound from west and westcentral Texas. TX is on fire and gonna get worse tomm.
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Let's see what this hurricane season will be all about.And why the....why the hell does everyone dissapear when I get on.
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Quoting aquak9:
TT- those are some NASTY lookin' cells, north of and NE of Waco

amazes me how they get so heavy like that out there in Texas

(caicos if you're lurking- I is clean, I clean drain, all's good)

yea storm chart below the radar showed > 4.00 in hail

Scary stuff
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caicos if you're lurking- I is clean, I clean drain, all's good

woof woof
wag wag wag!
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Quoting goosegirl1:
OK, I'm finally worried- there's a tornado warning for Frostburg, MD about 20 miles away. This area hasn't seen a tornado since 1998, and I'm not ready for another one yet :) Can one of you radar gurus check it out, and tell me if I need to run for the basement?? We are east and south of Frostburg.


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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56059
Quoting aquak9:
sorry goose- I mean Moorefield not Moorehead


Whew, I think we're in the clear- Moorefield is south and east, and it's heading away. I'll cancel the run for the bunker for right now, but the poor dog is still pacing and panting because the EBS signal startled her. I'll keep watching...thanks!




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O.K..folks...my daughter and her family live in Thurmont, MD up near the PA border - please help me watch this area as the stormline approaches. Tks!
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TT- those are some NASTY lookin' cells, north of and NE of Waco

amazes me how they get so heavy like that out there in Texas

(caicos if you're lurking- I is clean, I clean drain, all's good)

Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 178 Comments: 26648
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556. Skyepony (Mod)
0412 PM TSTM WND DMG 1 ESE SOUTH BAY 43.16N 75.75W
04/26/2011 MADISON NY TRAINED SPOTTER

NEAR ONEIDA LAKE...ROOF BLOWN OFF AND LANDED 1 MILE
AWAY... 3 - 4 FOOT DIAMETER TREES SNAPPED

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Ameister - thanks for the historical update. I was in Oklahoma the day the 1991 Andover outbreak occured. On a lark I had decided to spend an extra day visiting with the folks instead of starting a 22 hour drive home.

I saw the lace-curtain horizon-to-horizon lightening as the line passed over us and drove past a half-dozen locations the following day where tornadoes had crossed the highway in Oklahoma and Kansas.

Take care everyone who is in harm's way tonight. These are nothing to fool around with.
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actually I think GetReal caught it better, it is(was) B2 in his post

Thanks GR

I missed the tail on that one
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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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