Massive tornado outbreak kills 202; 100-year flood coming on Mississippi River

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:49 PM GMT on April 28, 2011

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A stunning tornado outbreak of incredible violence has left at least 202 dead across the Eastern U.S.; injuries probably number over a thousand, with 600 injured in the town of Tuscaloosa alone. The tornadoes carved huge swaths of damage, completely flattening large sections of many towns, and damage from the storms is likely to be the greatest in history for any tornado outbreak. Hardest hit was Alabama, with at least 149 dead; at least 36 were killed in neighboring Mississippi. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center logged 160 preliminary reports of tornadoes between 8am EDT yesterday and 8am EDT today. At least 11 of these tornadoes were killer tornadoes; deaths occurred in six states. Damage from some of these storms appeared to be at least EF-4, and it is likely that there were multiple violent EF-4 or EF-5 tornadoes. The death toll makes the April 27 - 28 outbreak the third deadliest tornado outbreak of the past 50 years, behind the April 3 - 4, 1974 Super Outbreak (315 killed) and the 1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak (256 killed.)


Figure 1. Damage in Birmingham, Alabama from last night's tornado. Image posted to twitter.


Figure 2. Damage in Tuscaloosa, Alabama from last night's tornado. Image posted to twitter, photographer unknown.


Figure 3. Radar reflectivity image of the Tuscaloosa, Alabama tornado.

The 3-day total of preliminary tornado reports from this outbreak is 278, close to the 323 preliminary tornado reports logged during the massive April 14 - 16 tornado outbreak. That outbreak has 155 confirmed tornadoes so far, making it the largest April tornado outbreak on record. It is unprecedented to have two such massive tornado outbreaks occur so close together. According to a list of tornado outbreaks maintained by Wikipedia, only two other tornado outbreaks have had as many as 150 twisters--the May 2004 outbreak (385), and the May 2003 outbreak (401).


Figure 4. Satellite image of last night's storm at 8:15pm EDT April 27, 2011. Image credit: NASA/GSFC.

Tornado outbreak winding down today
Tornado warnings continue to be issued this morning along the cold front now pushing towards the Atlantic coast, and a tornado was reported at 7:35am EDT in McBee, South Carolina. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has placed a large swath of the coast, from Florida to Vermont, in their "Slight Risk" region for severe weather. The high instability and high wind shear that triggered so many killer tornadoes yesterday is gone, and we should see only a few weak tornadoes today. No severe storms are predicted for Friday. Saturday has a slight risk of severe weather over Oklahoma and Texas.


Figure 5. Severe weather threat for Thursday, April 28, 2011.


Figure 6. Remarkable video of the tornado that hit Tuscaloosa, Alabama yesterday. Fast forward to minute four to see the worst of the storm.


Figure 8. Tornado near Empire, Alabama, moving rapidly down a hill.

Unprecedented flooding predicted on Ohio and Mississippi Rivers
This week's storm system, in combination with heavy rains earlier this month, have pushed the Ohio River and Mississippi River to near-record levels near their confluence. The Ohio River at Cairo, Illinois is expected to crest at 60.5 feet on May 1. This would exceed 100-year flood stage, and be the highest flood in history, besting the 59.5' mark of 1937. Heavy rains of 10 - 15 inches have inundated the region over the past few days, and one levee breach at Black River levee near Poplar Bluff, Missouri, has resulted in the evacuation of over 500 homes. Poplar Bluff has received 15.45" of rain since Friday morning. The greatest rain gauge-measured precipitation from the storm occurred in Springdale, Arkansas, where 19.70" inches has fallen since Friday morning.


Figure 9. The latest River Flood Outlook from NOAA shows major flooding is occurring over many of the nation's major rivers.

Record 100+ year flood expected on Mississippi River
Snow melt from this winter's record snow pack across the Upper Mississippi River has formed a pulse of flood waters that is moving downstream on the Mississippi, and is currently located in Iowa. When this floodwater pulse moves south of Cairo, Illinois over the next two weeks, it will join with the record water flow coming out of the Ohio River, and create the highest flood heights ever recorded on the Mississippi, according to the latest forecasts from the National Weather Service. Along a 400-mile stretch of the Mississippi, from Cairo to Natchez, Mississippi the Mississippi is expected to experience the highest flood heights since records began 100 or more years ago, at 5 of the 10 gauges on the river along this stretch. The records are predicted to begin to fall on May 3 at New Madrid, and progress downstream to Natchez by May 20. Areas that are not protected by levees can expect extensive damage from the flooding, and it is possible that the Army Corps of Engineers will have to intentionally dynamite a levee at Birds Point and New Madrid, Missouri to protect the town of Cairo from flooding.

The Mississippi River at New Madrid, MO, about 40 miles downstream of the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, is currently at 44', the 3rd highest flood in history. The river is predicted to crest on Tuesday very near the all-time record height of 48 feet. The NWS warns that at this height, "Large amounts of property damage can be expected. Evacuation of many homes and businesses becomes necessary." Previous record heights at this location:

(1) 48.00 ft on 02/03/1937
(2) 44.60 ft on 04/09/1913
(3) 43.60 ft on 04/04/1975
(4) 43.50 ft on 02/16/1950
(5) 42.94 ft on 03/17/1997

The timing of the floods crests will depend upon a complex mix a factors, including how much rain falls over the next month, the possible influence of southerly winds holding up the floodwater pulses, the potential opening of flood control structures and reduction of flows from flood control reservoirs, and potential levee failures (no levee has failed on the Lower Mississippi south of the Ohio River junction since 1950, however.) The Mississippi River is expected to crest at 17 feet at New Orleans on May 22, three feet below the top of the levees. This would likely require opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway 28 miles upstream from New Orleans, to relieve pressure on the city's levees. Opening the spillway drains 250,000 cubic feet per second of flow into Lake Pontchartrain.

Helping out tornado victims
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.

Related post: Are tornadoes getting stronger and more frequent? The answer is--we don't know.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting jeffs713:

Such is Wikipedia. No fault of yours, I got stuck there a bit too.



ok so what we do now
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
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Quoting Tazmanian:
ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh



this is nuts we got Wikipedia yelling EF5 and we have no word from nws about any thing


am gussing there no point in fighting overe this


what do we do

Such is Wikipedia. No fault of yours, I got stuck there a bit too.
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Alabama Severe Storms, Tornadoes, and Straight-line Winds

Emergency Declared April 27, 2011 (EM-3319)


News Releases

* Apr 27, 2011: Federal Aid Programs For State Of Alabama Emergency
* Apr 27, 2011: President Declares Emergency For Alabama

* [ More News
* Region IV News
* All FEMA News
* RSS Feed icon RSS Feed ]

Resources

* Individual Assistance FOIA
* Hazards: Thunderstorms
* The Three-Step Process To Disaster Assistance
* Alabama Office of the Governor
* Alabama Emergency Management

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
My guess just looking a pictures............more like EF-4s as their is some structures of homes on Foundations. EF-5 leaves little on Foundations. UNREAL THO with a lot of suffering people that have nothing left and not know what to do?
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Quoting Tazmanian:




ohs Testy LOL



now socll down too where you see Tuscaloosa to Birmingham and you see EF5



Link

From that page (emphasis mine):
"Unofficial surveys have categorized the damage from the tornado that hit Tuscaloosa and the northwestern suburbs of Birmingham as EF4 and possibly EF5"
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ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh



this is nuts we got Wikipedia yelling EF5 and we have no word from nws about any thing


am gussing there no point in fighting overe this


what do we do
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
Quoting jeffs713:
Wikipedia |= facts.

Its a good place to get a rough reference of non-controversial topics, but considering that citations are *not* required, and I could go on there and post something about nuclear physics (of which I have very little expertise), its validity in those statements is shaky at best.


Citations are required, it's just hard to enforce when any old ip can come in and do anything. That EF5 information was obviously false as of this time, and has been reverted.
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Severe Weather Alerts
Link

Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Glynn and Wayne County in GA until 4:30pm EDT. #gawx about a minute ago
Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Indian River and St. Lucie County in FL until 5:00pm EDT. #flwx 2 minutes ago
Tornado Warning for Pender County in NC until 5:00pm EDT. #ncwx 2 minutes ago
Tornado Warning for McIntosh County in GA until 4:45pm EDT. #gawx 7 minutes ago
Severe Thunderstorm Warning for McIntosh County in GA until 4:45pm EDT. #gawx 16 minutes ago
Tornado Warning for Brantley, Camden, and Glynn County in GA until 4:30pm EDT. #gawx 17 minutes ago
Tornado Warning for Craven, Duplin, Jones and Lenoir County in NC until 4:30pm EDT. #ncwx 25 minutes ago
Tornado Warning for Brantley, Camden, Charlton, Glynn, Ware and Wayne County in GA until 4:00pm EDT. #gawx 36 minutes ago
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Wikipedia |= facts.

Its a good place to get a rough reference of non-controversial topics, but considering that citations are *not* required, and I could go on there and post something about nuclear physics (of which I have very little expertise), its validity in those statements is shaky at best.
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Good thing the Low has lifted North!


I think there should be a round of cheering and applause when this tornado-spawning demon finally leaves our continent. Maybe if we all stand outside and blow to the east we can give this unwelcome visitor a little nudge out to the Atlantic...
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BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WILMINGTON NC
410 PM EDT THU APR 28 2011

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN WILMINGTON NC HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
WESTERN AND NORTHERN PENDER COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST NORTH CAROLINA

* UNTIL 500 PM EDT

* AT 409 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO NEAR ROOKS...OR
ABOUT 17 MILES WEST OF BURGAW...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 40 MPH.

* SOME LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE...
WARDS CORNER...
PENDERLEA...
VAN EDEN...
MURRAY TOWN...
MAPLE HILL...

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

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...
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Those that think that FEMA is overworked obviously do not work with them in any capacity. FEMA has plenty of time to turn their attention to these disasters. As a matter of fact, it will be good for them since they have been rather pesky lately due to the lack of worthwhile activities requiring their attention.
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Thank goodness there will be a break for a couple of days, although it looks like Texas and Arkansas are in for more severe weather in a couple days.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Sheer ugliness by air:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image.

Click for larger image:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image.


Click for larger image:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image.


Click for larger image:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image.


Click for larger image:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image.


Click for larger image:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image.


The 4th pic is the most telling to me.

Almost like a "finger of God", just erasing stuff from the landscape. Notice the lack of tree cover, and of anything more than about 5 feet tall.
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Quoting clwstmchasr:


Taz, no need to get testy. You said that it is confirmed EF5. Where's the link?




ohs Testy LOL



now socll down too where you see Tuscaloosa to Birmingham and you see EF5



Link
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
332. IKE

Quoting TampaSpin:


Close to 500 would not be all surprising with a count like this already!
Looking at the pictures and listening to different news sources, I'm wouldn't be shocked if it wasn't at least 500....maybe more.

Devastating.

My son....said west Knoxville,TN(where he lives), is riddled with cars damaged or totaled from hail storms.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHARLESTON SC
406 PM EDT THU APR 28 2011

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CHARLESTON HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
MCINTOSH COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST GEORGIA...

* UNTIL 445 PM EDT

* AT 405 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO 10 MILES WEST OF
DARIEN...MOVING EAST AT 35 MPH.

* SOME LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE...
DARIEN...WOLF ISLAND...SAPELO ISLAND...HARRIS NECK...BLACKBEARD
ISLAND...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THIS STORM IS ALSO CAPABLE OF PRODUCING LARGE HAIL AND DAMAGING
STRAIGHT LINE WINDS.
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Quoting IKE:
Per CNN....273 dead now.


Close to 500 would not be all surprising with a count like this already!
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Good thing the Low has lifted North!
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324. IKE
Per CNN....273 dead now.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
323. srada
They have extended the Tornado watch in our area to 8pm tonight..thats not good..the original watch was till 4pm...

Several tornadoes reported; damage reported in Columbus Co.
Submitted by WWAY on Thu, 04/28/2011 - 3:51pm.READ MORE:

News
Bladen County News
Severe weather
tornado
Weather
Columbus County News

0Share
clouds.jpg

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- There have been several reports of tornadoes in Bladen County and Columbus County.

There are a few reports of damage in Columbus County. The National Weather Service reports a suspected tornado tore the bedroom off a home about a mile south of Evergreen. That's in western Columbus County near US 74 and NC 242. Columbus County Dispatch earlier told us of some car windshields damaged by the storm in the Five Points area.

If you have photos or video of damage, send them to newsroom@wwaytv3.com.

We have crews in Bladen and Columbus Counties tracking the storms and information. We'll have the latest information throughout the evening on-air on WWAY NewsChannel 3 and online here at wwaytv3.com.
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Quoting clwstmchasr:


Taz, this is from the article. EF5 not confirmed from Tuscaloosa.

Unofficial surveys have categorized the damage from the tornado that hit Tuscaloosa and the northwestern suburbs of Birmingham as EF4 and possibly EF5




you dont need too show me that i seen it and they have not updated the hole thing yet so that is old news too me
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
ULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE JACKSONVILLE FL
356 PM EDT THU APR 28 2011

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN JACKSONVILLE HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
EASTERN BRANTLEY COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST GEORGIA
GLYNN COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST GEORGIA
NORTHWESTERN CAMDEN COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

* UNTIL 430 PM EDT

* AT 355 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS WERE
TRACKING A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO 7
MILES SOUTHWEST OF WAYNESVILLE...OR 8 MILES SOUTHEAST OF NAHUNTA...
MOVING EAST AT 65 MPH.

* OTHER LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO
WAVERLY...THALMANN...DOCK JUNCTION...BRUNSWICK...COUNTRY CLUB
ESTATES...ST. SIMONS...SEA ISLAND AND LITTLE ST. SIMMONS ISLAND.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...
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Quoting Tazmanian:
nop you guys are all wong it was rated EF5

it say so here


Link


Dude it's Wikipedia :)
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Quoting Tazmanian:
nop you guys are all wong it was rated EF5

it say so here


Link



Thats in Wiki........that is not a fact yet!
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Thanks guys, looks like EF4 to me but a 5 wouldn't surprise me.
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nop you guys are all wong it was rated EF5

it say so here


Link
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
Quoting MrstormX:
Anybody know what the preliminary rating of the Tuscaloosa tornado was?



see post 307
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
Here we go today now......hopefully not as bad as tomorrow it does not appear



TORNADO WARNING NEWPORT/MOREHEAD CITY NC - KMHX 348 PM EDT THU APR 28 2011
TORNADO WARNING JACKSONVILLE FL - KJAX 337 PM EDT THU APR 28 2011
TORNADO WARNING WILMINGTON NC - KILM 337 PM EDT THU APR 28 2011
TORNADO WARNING NEWPORT/MOREHEAD CITY NC - KMHX 329 PM EDT THU APR 28 2011
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EF5 rateing this posted here


Link
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
Anybody know what the preliminary rating of the Tuscaloosa tornado was?
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292. Dropsonde 12:44 PM PDT on April 28, 2011 Hide this comment.
Surveys begin to trickle in. Here is the first one from Memphis. There will be more violent ratings seen in coming days.



...PRELIMINARY EF-4 TORNADO IN MONROE COUNTY MISSISSIPPI...

SMITHVILLE TORNADO

* COUNTY/COUNTIES: MONROE

* LOCATION/TIME OF EVENT: DAMAGE AT SMITHVILLE 344 PM CDT

* BEGINNING POINT: UNKNOWN

* ENDING POINT: UNKNOWN

* RATING: EF-4

* ESTIMATED PEAK WIND: 190 MPH

* PATH LENGTH: UNKNOWN

* MAXIMUM WIDTH: 1/2 MILE

* FATALITIES: 13...5 STILL MISSING

* INJURIES: 40

* SUMMARY OF DAMAGES: DOZENS NEWLY CONSTRUCTED TWO STORY FULLY BRICK HOMES LEVELED. TREES DEBARKED. PROFESSIONAL BUILDINGS DESTROYED.



OMG wow all most EF5



i want more damge reports rateing there killing me for wating so long ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
Quoting winter123:

I thought the low over the great lakes was huge.. look at the one south of Alaska, it's bigger! 0_0

Thats normal. North Pacific storms are generally massive in size, on par with the Icelandic Low
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Reuters says 284.

Wow.

A simple graphic:

Click for larger image:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image.

Even if you cut the preliminary counts by 50% based on SPC's new storm reporting structure, you are still WAY ahead of the curve.
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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.