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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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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553. Skyepony (Mod)
VA is taking damage..trees down, power outages, lot of hail reports.

0654 PM TSTM WND DMG 1 NW MONTICELLO 38.02N 78.47W
04/26/2011 CITY OF CHARLOTTES VA TRAINED SPOTTER

*** 1 INJ *** PINE TREE DOWN ON AUTOMOBILE WITH ONE
INJURY. TREE DOWN DUE TO WIND GUST.


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aquak, there's a storm right now with 90 VIL

F2

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sorry goose- I mean Moorefield not Moorehead
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goose- your warned cell is just east of Moorehead now; it is(was) labeled H0 on this map

I think you're ok



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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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k...tks aqua..
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hold on a sec goose- I checking
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Cell J0, south of memphis. That's where I'm afraid, is gonna start a bad twist, head for Nashville. I mean it's gonna head that direction regardless of what I think.

and tornado sticken Jackson, TN is located inbetween Memphis and Nashville...:(
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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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Good Lord that cell in Northern Louisiana has got to be one of the largest super cells Ive ever seen.
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This one caught my eye:

The National Weather Service in Fort Worth has issued a

* Tornado Warning for...
southern Freestone County in north central Texas...
east central Limestone County in north central Texas...
northern Leon County in northeast Texas...

* until 830 PM CDT

* at 749 PM CDT... a severe thunderstorm with a history of producing
tornadoes
was 9 miles southwest of Teague... moving east at 40 mph.
Significant damage has been reported in the city of Groesbeck.

* The tornado will be near...
Teague around 755 PM CDT...
Jewett around 805 PM CDT...
Buffalo around 810 PM CDT...
Oakwood around 830 PM CDT...

This will impact I-45 between mile markers 169 and 192.

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 3158 9573 3157 9572 3154 9576 3151 9573
3131 9583 3137 9630 3147 9636 3163 9635
3167 9579 3165 9579 3161 9577 3166 9574
3162 9571
time... Mot... loc 0049z 269deg 36kt 3152 9632
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Looks like an active night all round...

Oh yeah the weather man did say something about an isolated thunderstorm tonight.Totally forgot about that.And x91L is enhancing some tropical moisture along the coast.Well I this was august....
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So much server weather to keep up with.It's making my brain turn into mushy srambled eggs.It's making my eyes all rolly-olly and my head hurt.We'll be getting our fair share here soon.Sometime Wensday or Thursday.I just need some rain to wash this pollen away.
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Shreveport / Bossier City





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Looks like an active night all round...

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Cell J0, south of memphis. That's where I'm afraid, is gonna start a bad twist, head for Nashville. I mean it's gonna head that direction regardless of what I think.

developing rotation, in the upper levels.

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746
WFUS54 KFWD 270043
TORFWD
TXC161-217-293-349-270130-
/O.NEW.KFWD.TO.W.0062.110427T0043Z-110427T0130Z/

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

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN FORT WORTH HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
WEST CENTRAL FREESTONE COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL TEXAS...
SOUTHEASTERN HILL COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL TEXAS...
NORTH CENTRAL LIMESTONE COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL TEXAS...
SOUTHWESTERN NAVARRO COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL TEXAS...

* UNTIL 830 PM CDT

* AT 743 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED A
DEVELOPING TORNADO NEAR HUBBARD...MOVING EAST AT 30 MPH.

* THE TORNADO WILL BE NEAR...
DAWSON AROUND 755 PM CDT...
COOLIDGE AROUND 805 PM CDT...
TEHUACANA AROUND 815 PM CDT...
WORTHAM AROUND 825 PM CDT...
RICHLAND AROUND 830 PM CDT...

THIS WILL IMPACT I-45 BETWEEN MILE MARKERS 213 AND 223.

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 TUESDAY EVENING
FOR EASTERN TEXAS.



LAT...LON 3201 9645 3194 9636 3184 9631 3174 9639
3170 9651 3176 9675 3181 9688 3193 9688
TIME...MOT...LOC 0043Z 272DEG 26KT 3186 9682



85/NH


CLICK HERE TO GO TO PREVIOUS BULLETINS.

The Nexlab TX Page Main Text Page
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//www.wunderground.com/tornado/
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Saw that,,looks like they will Open the Spillway in Norco above NOLA.


Ted Jackson, Times-Picayune archive
The last time the spillway was opened was April 2008, above, when the Army Corps of Engineers opened it to relieve the dangerously high water in the Mississippi River.


High Mississippi River in New Orleans could lead to May opening of Bonnet Carre Spillway
Published: Monday, April 25, 2011, 8:00 PM



National Weather Service hydrologists predict the Mississippi River at New Orleans will crest at 17.5 feet above sea level on May 17, the highest the river has risen in more than a dozen years, and a level that could require the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway to ease pressure on the city's levees.
pillway-april2008.jpgView full sizeTed Jackson, Times-Picayune archiveThe last time the spillway was opened was April 2008, above, when the Army Corps of Engineers opened it to relieve the dangerously high water in the Mississippi River.

The spillway, 28 miles above New Orleans, was last opened April 11-29, 2008, with pins removed from 160 of the structure's 350 individual bays, which allow water to flow into the spillway and then into Lake Pontchartrain. The river that year crested on April 26 at 16.96 feet.

The record water level at the Carrollton Gauge was 21.27 feet on April 25, 1922. The river reached 21 feet on the same day during the historic 1927 flood.

The unusually high river has been triggered by heavy rains in the Midwest, including more than 11 inches in Cincinnati and almost 7 inches in St. Louis during the past three weeks, according to hydrologists with the National Weather Service's Lower Mississippi River Forecast Office.

"A small part of this is snow melt, but the primary driver of this is the ongoing heavy rain stretching from St. Louis to the west and in the Ohio Valley," said David Reed, hydrologist in charge of the river forecast center in Slidell.

Computer models indicate the cold front moving over the Midwest and Ohio Valley could drop another 10 to 15 inches of rain during the next three days, although official forecasts at a number of locations indicate only 2 to 4 inches are expected.

In New Orleans, the official flood stage at the Carrollton Gauge is 17 feet, but the city is protected from water rising to at least 20 feet by a combination of levees and floodwalls.



A high river is likely to require restrictions by the Coast Guard on shipping moving through New Orleans because of the increased speed of river water and its potential to cause or exacerbate steering problems. Notifications will be sent to navigation interests when the river reaches 12 feet, which is expected Friday, and 17 feet, a Coast Guard spokeswoman said.

Officials with the Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the spillway and regulates water flow in the river, are watching the rising water carefully, said Mike Stack, chief of emergency management for the corps' New Orleans District office. Water begins leaking through spaces between the wooden pins in the concrete spillway when the river reaches about 12 1/2 feet.

Corps officials already have begun inspecting levees along the river, in part because of an earlier high river event about a month ago, he said. The first stage inspections are conducted twice a week by corps officials looking for seepage, sand boils, bank erosion or other threats to the levees, such as ships or debris in the water. Similar inspections also are being conducted by local levee district employees.

When the river reaches 15 feet, the inspections will be conducted once a day.

The decision to open the spillway is based on a combination of concerns, including whether the amount of water flowing south of the spillway is expected to climb above 1.25 million cubic feet per second, and how long the upper portions of the levees have been saturated with water.

It takes about 10 days to prepare for an opening, he said. The long, wooden pins that keep the bays closed to water are removed by a crane that moves on a track atop the spillway structure.

"We'll monitor it for the next week and see where we are," Stack said. "If we see that we are likely to reach 1.25 million cubic feet per second, we'll start the process of notifying stakeholders, who will give us their input and then send our recommendations to the Mississippi River Commission."



The commission, chaired by the commander of the corps office overseeing the entire Mississippi River, is based in Vicksburg.

The rising river also is creating concern at Red River Landing, a largely rural area on the river's west bank across from Angola State Prison, where a predicted crest of 59 feet above sea level on May 16 is just 2 1/2 feet below a record crest of March 1997. A crest of 41.5 feet at Baton Rouge that same day is almost 12 feet above the official flood level, but still about 6 feet below the 1927 record crest. Donaldsonville's crest of 33.5 feet that same evening will be about 3 feet below its 1927 record, while Reserve's May 17 crest of 25 feet will be only a foot below its 1929 record.

At Morgan City, the Atchafalaya River, which carries 30 percent of the Mississippi's water, already is at 4.9 feet, almost a foot above flood stage, and is forecast to rise to 7 feet by May 22. That water level is likely to cause some flooding of businesses located on the river side of floodwalls in both Morgan City and Berwick, according to the river forecast center.

While the southern end of one cold front storm system now dumping rainfall on the Midwest is expected to pass through New Orleans on Wednesday, local rainfall generally does not increase the height of the river, as most of it is drained into area lakes and wetlands, and not over the levees and into the river.

Breaks in levees upstream from Louisiana caused by what's expected to be record high water levels also could result in lowered forecasts during the next three weeks for the river in New Orleans.

•••••••
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We might even see a third MCC form in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and move up to the NE and ENE.

There is still so much energy feeding into that region and the low is still deepening.
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Pat.... Delta Council predicting Ms River at Vicksburg may reach the 1927 flood stage by May 20
Link
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Alec Jones is streaming a pretty good looking wall cloud near Waco
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She said the sky is green,

Speaking from experience...

Green... or Purple sky = NOT good!

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..."CRS, hope your well this year."

Well... I'll check with da shrink and get a third opinion.

Water doggy, please remember to clean da doggy hair out da shower drain to maintain domestic tranquility...

woof
CRS

Avaast! I am happy with but the rotating orange eyeball is a bit creepy...
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East Baton Rouge
Forecasts for Louisiana — Return to U.S. Severe Weather
Current Severe Weather

Flood Warning

Statement as of 3:38 PM CDT on April 26, 2011

The Flood Warning continues for
the Mississippi River at Red River Landing.
* From late Wednesday night until further notice... or until the
warning is cancelled.
* At 2:00 PM Tuesday the stage was 47.3 feet.
* Moderate flooding is forecast.
* Flood stage is 48.0 feet.
* Forecast... the river is expected to rise above flood stage by late
Thursday morning and then continue to rise until cresting at around
60.0 feet by Saturday may 21st.
* Impact... at 59.0 feet... the East Bank levee will be topped and the
Prison Farm land between the two levees will be inundated. Angola
Landing will be under water closing the Ferry there. All river
islands along The Reach from Red River Landing to Baton Rouge will
remain inundated with recreational camps and river bottom farm land
under water.
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Evening everyone. My dad just talked to my aunt in Kentucky. She said the sky is green, and it's been really windy most of the day. Looks like they're in for an intense night. If you guys are up that way stay safe.
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hi gambler

rough crowd tonite (on radar)

think I'm gonna shower, might be back later

ya'll, watch over Nashville, ok? I just don't like it, no sir, don't like it a bit.
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Reed Timmer: Meteorologist and Extreme Storm Chaser
Heading east for supercell west of Shreveport.. Residents watch out for this thing. Likely has strong tornadoes
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1950
520:

Yeah, this thing is getting ridiculous.

It's still back-building both in Texas and Oklahoma.

This is going to go on easily another 6 to 12 hours at this rate for Arkansas and Missouri.

Missouri is just getting started with this one.
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Quoting RandomText:
I think Waco just took a direct hit from a tornado.

Radar looks like the circulation hit directly on them.


Let's hope it wasn't a strong tornado hitting the downtown.

A bit of weather history: May 1953
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KOTG, How are you my friend? CRS, hope your well this year.
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Quoting emcf30:
Paluxy, Tx 3 hours ago

Link









uploaded 3 hours ago but from yesterday
but still impressive
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54770
Evening Water Puppy
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It's 78º in Nashville, ya'll. Look at the big pic. Winds wet and outta the south, ~12 mph?

Someone tell me, things are gonna be ok for Nashville. I gotta bad feeling.

I know it's like 1-2 hours out, but still....
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Quoting aquak9:
tomtaylor, thank you very much. Guess I just wondered how high they had been able to go, looks like 75 is reliable, as I said, a little bit of linear extrapolation goes a long way.

IF you can trust the math, which looks good throughout the graph.

thank you.
no prob :)
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oops...
Misunderstood "stress" is
NOT my cup of Tea,
I shall observe and perhaps learn...
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515. xcool
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randomtext- you might be right, MRV was iffy (cone of silence) when it passed over, I couldn't get a good grip on 0.5 MRV at that point.

Upper levels agreed with you, though.
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Today in Weather History: In 1991, Severe storms spouted 55 tornadoes in mainly Kansas and Oklahoma, including an F5 tornado which destroyed the town of Andover, Kansas.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5070
Paluxy, Tx 3 hours ago

Link








Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1950
tomtaylor, thank you very much. Guess I just wondered how high they had been able to go, looks like 75 is reliable, as I said, a little bit of linear extrapolation goes a long way.

IF you can trust the math, which looks good throughout the graph.

thank you.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54770
I think Waco just took a direct hit from a tornado.

Radar looks like the circulation hit directly on them.
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hi caicos

I'm about as stressed as a lost cat at a rocking chair contest
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Quoting aquak9:
I KNOW WHAT THE ANGLES ARE- HOW HIGH CAN VIL GO??

(grabs fourth RedBull and chugs it)

VIL is an attempt to find the total mass of the water in a column of air, usually written as kg/m^2. So theoretically, you could get some ridiculous values if say you had an extremely tall, dense column of water. Say for example a waterfall magically appeared 70,000 ft up in the air, you'd see much much higher values than 75 (the limit of the scale on most radars).

Here's a graph as well, showing the correlation between cloud top, hail size, and VIL.



Link

Clearly, when the northern and central plains get 5-6 in hail with 55-60 kft cloud tops, VIL would be greater than 75 as well.

Remember just last year, the us set our hail record? The hailstone that set the record was 19.375 pounds and had a circumference of 18.5 in. Apparently the hailstone was not measured till several hours later and was not the largest of the stones that fell, the person who found it only kept it because he thought it looked funny. ANYWAY, point being, this stone likely had a ~6 in diameter and the storm that produced the hailstone must of had at least 55kft cloud tops, so according to the table provided, likely had a VIL of 105-110.

Link to news report of record hail
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nasty-lookin' bad storms exploding like bad zits east of dallas and waco, VIL's up 75 plus.

SafeInTexas- you safe? really?
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...um barkeep,
Could you set me up with a double of whatever
aquak9 is having....
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Quoting aquak9:
helena, west helena Keeper

look a little south further down the mississippi river

no rotation in lower levels in memphis- just straight line pounding winds I think


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54770

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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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