Tornadoes rip Midwest, killing 9; heavy snow hits Upper Midwest

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:05 PM GMT on February 29, 2012

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Strong tornadoes plowed through the Midwest U.S. last night and this morning, killing at least nine people. Six people died in Harrisburg, Illinois when a tornado hit near 5:37 am CST this morning, damaging or destroying 200 buildings. Another person was killed in southwest Missouri near Buffalo when a possible tornado ripped through a mobile home park. Thirteen others were injured in the mobile home park. Two others died in the Cassville and Puxico areas. A tornado also moved through downtown Branson, Missouri early this morning, causing heavy damage to the city's famous theaters, and injuring at least twelve people. A tornado plowed through the small town of Harveyville, Kansas (population 275), twenty miles southwest of Topeka, at 9:03 pm last night. The tornado destroyed 40 - 60% of the structures and injured ten, one critically. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center logged fifteen preliminary tornado reports yesterday and today.

The same storm system also brought the heaviest snows of the winter to portions of the Upper Midwest, which has received scant snowfall this winter. Blizzard warnings are posted in South Dakota this morning, where snowfall amounts of 6 - 10 inches are common. According to NOAA's latest storm summary, five states have experienced snowfall amounts of ten inches or more--Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Michigan, and Nebraska. The highest snow amount as of 8 am CST was recorded at Tripoli, Wisconsin, where fourteen inches had fallen.


Figure 1. Radar image of the squall line that passed through Harrisburg, Illinois this morning, spawning a tornado that killed three people. The position of Harisburg is marked by a circle with a "+" symbol.


Figure 2. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center logged thirteen preliminary tornado reports yesterday.

More tornadoes likely today
The powerful late-winter storm system that spawned the deadly tornadoes will move eastwards, bringing snows of 5 - 10 inches to northern Wisconsin, northern Minnesota, Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and northern New England. The storm's cold front is triggering severe thunderstorms over much of Kentucky this morning, and these thunderstorms are expected to grow in severity and spawn more tornadoes this afternoon, once the heat of the day destabilizes the atmosphere. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has posted tornado watches for portions of Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio this morning, and has placed much of Tennessee and portions of surrounding states in their "Moderate Risk" area for severe weather today. Consult our Severe Weather Page and Interactive Tornado Page to follow today's severe weather.


Figure 3. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has placed much of Tennessee and portions of surrounding states in their "Moderate Risk" area for severe weather, one level below the highest level of alert, "High Risk."

Jeff Masters

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Going towards Hogdenville


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Docntheswamp (I believe this is his handle) had a great post on this yesterday. He explained how NOLA has been getting big rain events as of late as a result of this moisture plume which has also helped TX some the last several weeks.
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Well, based on reports from the midwest, i think I am satisfied with my boring slow rain right now. Nothing threatening me, thats the way to go lol
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4488
Quoting Ameister12:
Flatten buildings in Harrisburg, IL.



that looks like EF5 damg there
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Pretty impressive moisture feed pulling up into this system.

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Quoting KeyWestSun:

Thanks. :)


Your welcome
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Quoting Jedkins01:



Its most likely due to the effects of a strong La Nina, its the same reason we haven't had any severe weather all winter and now still no severe weather into spring here in Central Florida. La Nina means drought in Florida and in general, wacked out weather patterns across the U.S.

The good news is, after roughly 2 to 3 years straight of significant La Nina conditions, La Nina should be coming to an end. However, it takes time for that to actual translate to a change in weather here at home.


La-Nina is all but gone now. I'm thinking this has a lot to do with the rapid increase in SST's across the eastern equatorial Pacific. You can see how deep tropical moisture is being pulled up into these systems now.

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NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LOUISVILLE KY
1056 AM EST WED FEB 29 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN LOUISVILLE HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
SOUTHEASTERN HARDIN COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL KENTUCKY...
LARUE COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL KENTUCKY...
SOUTHWESTERN NELSON COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL KENTUCKY...
EASTERN GRAYSON COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL KENTUCKY...

* UNTIL 1130 AM EST/1030 AM CST/...

* AT 1051 AM EST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO. THIS DANGEROUS
STORM WAS LOCATED NEAR LACON...MOVING EAST AT 50 MPH.

* THIS TORNADIC STORM WILL ALSO IMPACT...
HODGENVILLE...
GLENDALE...
MATHERS MILL AND BOUNDARY OAK...
LEAFDALE AND BUFFALO...
HOWARDSTOWN AND ATHERTONVILLE...
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NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PADUCAH KY
950 AM CST WED FEB 29 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PADUCAH HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL KENTUCKY...
NORTHERN TODD COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL KENTUCKY...

* UNTIL 1015 AM CST.

* AT 945 AM CST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO. THIS DANGEROUS
STORM WAS LOCATED 9 MILES EAST OF CADIZ...AND MOVING EAST AT 60
MPH.

* LOCATIONS IN THE WARNED AREA INCLUDE...
HOPKINSVILLE...ALLEGRE AND CLIFTY.

THIS INCLUDES THE PENNYRILE PARKWAY BETWEEN EXITS 7 AND 12.
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Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22718



Its just above the Ground....Maybe on the Ground.
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Quoting KeyWestSun:

That's the dangerous one heading directly at Hopkinsville, KY.

Nope, heading towards Hodgenville and Elizabethtown
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Major damage along the Kentucky/Indiana border. Link
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Two TVS ENE of Leitchfield

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Quoting KeyWestSun:
Thanks for this interesting new blog, Dr. M. Do you have a new entry every day?


during hurricane season Dr. Masters usually updates on the atlantic daily; offseason, not so much :D
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4488
tornado

From NOAA:

"Feb 29, 2012
NOAA Radar Tracks Tornadoes in Midwest
NOAA's NEXRAD system of radars deployed throughout the United States provide meteorologists the most up-to-date information on the ground regarding severe weather, especially when it comes to identifying potential tornado outbreaks. By analyzing both the rotational velocity of the storm systems (the spinning of tornadoes has high rotational velocity compared to the surrounding storms) and presence of hail, scientists at the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory have developed a product that approximates the track of tornadoes, shown here for the February 29, 2012 storms in Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas. At least four people have been killed and many others injured as these storms swept through the Midwest early in the morning. The NOAA Storm Prediction Center has issued advisories for Tennessee and the surrounding areas for the remainder of the day. Although the tracks shown in this image are not actual confirmed ground tracks, they are helpful in identifying features associated with tornadoes, preparing communities for such potentially deadly outbreaks, and emergency response once a severe weather outbreak has passed."
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NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LOUISVILLE KY
1047 AM EST WED FEB 29 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN LOUISVILLE HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
MERCER COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL KENTUCKY...
SOUTHERN WASHINGTON COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL KENTUCKY...

* UNTIL 1115 AM EST...

* AT 1042 AM EST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO. THIS DANGEROUS
STORM WAS LOCATED NEAR BEARWALLOW...MOVING EAST AT 65 MPH.

* THIS TORNADIC STORM WILL ALSO IMPACT...
SPRINGFIELD...
HARRODSBURG...
MACKVILLE AND JENKINSVILLE...
BATTLE AND CORNISHVILLE...
RIVERVIEW ESTATES AND JACKSON...
STRINGTOWN AND BRAXTON...
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Damage on Peachtree St. in Newburgh, Indiana.


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Hopkinsville is a city in Christian County, Kentucky, United States. The population at the 2010 census was 31,577 people. Hopkinsville is also the county seat of Christian County[1].
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Quoting TampaSpin:



WOW....NOT MUCH DOUBT HERE! Take cover NOW!

Yep, can't argue with ya there.

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WOW....NOT MUCH DOUBT HERE! Take cover NOW!
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BransonRecovery Facebook page.
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Quoting KeyWestSun:
It appears to be what looks like a very dangerous hook forming in that tornado-warned area to the WSW of Hopkinsville, KY:




Click for larger image.
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Good morning all. What a tragic night. I dread what today will bring. Everyone stay safe.
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Radar image of the tornado that destroyed Harrisburg, IL.
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New TVS just south of Careyville





Click for larger images.
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Just south of me is reporting 12-14" of snow. I haven't gone out to measure in the last few hours, but I have around 9" at the moment, still snowing. I'll post a couple pictures from my back door.

Many highways across northern Wisconsin are being declared "impassable". US Highway 2 was just closed in Ashland, WI and Superior, WI. Of course, most businesses and all schools are closed. Not surprisingly, my sister ventured out and reported that she needed two tow trucks and a guy shoveling to get her unstuck.







BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
LAW ENFORCEMENT WARNING
MINNESOTA EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY DULUTH MINNESOTA
RELAYED BY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DULUTH MN
925 AM CST WED FEB 29 2012

THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE IS TRANSMITTED AT THE REQUEST OF THE
ASHLAND COUNTY SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT.

THIS IS AN URGENT MESSAGE FROM THE ASHLAND COUNTY 911
COMMUNICATIONS CENTER.

U.S. HIGHWAY 2 IS DECLARED IMPASSABLE AND CLOSED BETWEEN SANBORN
AVENUE AND STATE HIGHWAY 13 NORTH DUE TO EXTREME WEATHER
CONDITIONS. MOTORISTS ARE TO USE THE DESIGNATED STATE HIGHWAY 137
DETOUR.

THE CLOSURE WILL REMAIN IN AFFECT UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
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From TWC Breaking:

Law enforcement reports significant damage on the SE side of Elizabethtown, KY. A mobile home park was struck. Damage to a factory.
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1449 UNK GREENVILLE MUHLENBERG KY 3721 8718 REPORTS OF ROOFS BLOWN OFF HOMES AND 1 SCHOOL. (PAH)
1508 UNK 2 SE ELIZABETHTOWN HARDIN KY 3768 8585 MOBILE HOMES DESTROYED ALONG KY 210 (LMK)
1508 UNK 2 E ELIZABETHTOWN HARDIN KY 3770 8584 FACTORY DAMAGE NEAR INTERSECTION OF KY 210 AND US 31W. (LMK)
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NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PADUCAH KY
927 AM CST WED FEB 29 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PADUCAH HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
SOUTH CENTRAL CALDWELL COUNTY IN WESTERN KENTUCKY...
WEST CENTRAL CHRISTIAN COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL KENTUCKY...
TRIGG COUNTY IN WESTERN KENTUCKY...

* UNTIL 1000 AM CST.

* AT 922 AM CST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO. THIS DANGEROUS
STORM WAS LOCATED NEAR LAND BETWEEN THE LAKES AREA...AND MOVING
EAST AT 55 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IN THE WARNED AREA INCLUDE...
CADIZ AND HOPKINSVILLE.



NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LOUISVILLE KY
926 AM CST WED FEB 29 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN LOUISVILLE HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
SOUTHEASTERN BRECKINRIDGE COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL KENTUCKY...
SOUTHWESTERN HARDIN COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL KENTUCKY...
GRAYSON COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL KENTUCKY...

* UNTIL 1000 AM CST/1100 AM EST/...

* AT 923 AM CST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO. THIS DANGEROUS
STORM WAS LOCATED NEAR CANEYVILLE...MOVING EAST AT 60 MPH.

* THIS TORNADIC STORM WILL ALSO IMPACT...
LEITCHFIELD...
FISHER...
CLARKSON AND GRAYSON SPRINGS...
WEST CLIFTY AND BIG CLIFTY...
SUMMIT AND LACON...
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Flatten buildings in Harrisburg, IL.
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All these cells seem to be moving in the same direction, so towns are being hit more than once, crazy.

Quoting TampaSpin:



Appears on the GROUND.....

Couldn't see a TVS on GR3
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NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LOUISVILLE KY
1021 AM EST WED FEB 29 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN LOUISVILLE HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
EASTERN LARUE COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL KENTUCKY...
SOUTHERN NELSON COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL KENTUCKY...
WESTERN WASHINGTON COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL KENTUCKY...
NORTHERN MARION COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL KENTUCKY...

* UNTIL 1045 AM EST...

* AT 1019 AM EST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO. THIS DANGEROUS
STORM WAS LOCATED 7 MILES WEST OF HOWARDSTOWN...MOVING EAST AT 60
MPH.

* THIS TORNADIC STORM WILL ALSO IMPACT...
SPRINGFIELD...
LEBANON...
GETHSEMANE AND GLEANINGS...
SAINT FRANCIS AND DANT...
BURKES SPRING AND LORETTO...
CISSELVILLE AND BEARWALLOW...
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Quoting WDEmobmet:


Yea pretty much thats about it... But times like these I dont care.

I understand, it's 2:25am here, should of been in bed about 2hrs ago, but I don't care
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Quoting AussieStorm:

They can just slap ya on the wrist and give ya a severe talking to


Yea pretty much thats about it... But times like these I dont care.
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Quoting KeyWestSun:

Strange times there are. Generally Nebraska's severe weather season is late April through approximately the first half of July, depending upon geographic variables (whether you reside in the northern or western or southern or eastern half of the state).

But, February? Interesting. And scary.



Its most likely due to the effects of a strong La Nina, its the same reason we haven't had any severe weather all winter and now still no severe weather into spring here in Central Florida. La Nina means drought in Florida and in general, wacked out weather patterns across the U.S.

The good news is, after roughly 2 to 3 years straight of significant La Nina conditions, La Nina should be coming to an end. However, it takes time for that to actual translate to a change in weather here at home.
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Quoting WDEmobmet:
From previous blog...

776. WDEmobmet 3:11 PM GMT on February 29, 2012 +0
Quoting AussieStorm:

DoD. nice, don't get caught or you could get court marshaled. lol

Haaha luckily I am just a civilian so cant do that.


They can just slap ya on the wrist and give ya a severe talking to
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Appears on the GROUND.....
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Thanks for the update Jeff. Also guys I just purchased a Davis Instruments Vantage Pro2 for my home, and once its installed I will be uploading the current conditions in my area to the site. Cant wait :)
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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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