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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Winter in Northern Minnesota
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509. wxmod
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

Looks like even SPLbeater may get his ass kicked in round 2. Might make him wish he went bungi jumping for an adrenalin rush. Too bad we won't hear from him under the pile of rubble.
Member Since: October 4, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1772
KoritheMan, I'm sorry. I hope you find another opportunity soon.
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Portlight Disaster Relief
Harrisburg, IL, Response



We are sending people into the Harrisburg, IL, area at this time in response to the storm event there.. They will be assessing needs there and surrounding areas.

We expect we will find much to do and ask for your continued support.

We will likely need volunteers and will certainly need financial assistance.

As usual, we will be focusing our efforts on the unserved, under served and forgotten.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129903
btw Brian, don't know if you're still around, but if you are, know that I didn't get the job in electronics. The store is apparently still struggling with hours.
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Quoting kipperedherring:
If the Mamatus continues to build, only Koritheman can help us ...


Ready and willing! ;)
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March looks to be coming in like a lion.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6705


something much bigger may be coming


posted wrong image first time
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This just isn't right for February...
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500. hamla
levi
in ak.said back in nov that we would be warmer this winter,and so far he hit it on the head now the 64k???what and when will the tropics do to follow suit with above normal activity???
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Quoting Barefootontherocks:
Twin 190 mph EF4's. Central Oklahoma, May 24, 2011 - the same day as the Piedmont EF5. One day after Joplin.




Possibly TN office is hunkered down. Happened in Norman on May 24, due to those two tornadoes in the graphic.

Hey BF, Hope you and everyone here are doing well. :) Yes that picture from last year ~ I saw that one tornado near Choctaw. Before the tornado appeared there were green leaves falling from way up in the sky for several minutes. It was a very surreal experience. Some say tornadoes look beautiful to them but to me they definitely do not. Just can't stand to see another year like last year with the tornadoes. Prayers for all and may this year be better than the last.
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Wow a 980 mb low in the great lakes, should be a very active Friday/Saturday
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6705
Quoting washingtonian115:
If a tornado hit D.C I couldn't even...Their is A possiblity It can happen.And it has happened a few times in history.But if it was an E-3 or higher...man..I would just break down.


I had a EF-0 less than two miles from me on October 13th of last year.... The storm weakened before me but the mesocyclone went right over my house.
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3477
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Quoting hamla:
its like the seasons all moved fwd about 6 weeks.it was colder in late oct and early nov.last yr.than its been all winter here in bay st.louis,ms.in lower 80s today and in the mid 70s as i write this tonight
maybe the myans knew something imho


During the last couple winters, the NAO was mostly negative. That tends to displace the mean storm tracks far to the south, allowing for cold air to spill into the lower 48, particularly the southeast. This year, La Nina actually behaved normally, in that it wasn't overwritten by a negative NAO.
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494. hamla
its like the seasons all moved fwd about 6 weeks.it was colder in late oct and early nov.last yr.than its been all winter here in bay st.louis,ms.in lower 80s today and in the mid 70s as i write this tonight
maybe the myans knew something imho
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My prayers are to the victims and the people who lost their friends, and loved ones during this terrible outbreak. What a terrible way to end this month.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5086
Quoting KoritheMan:


We are fortunate most major population centers haven't had to deal with a disaster of that magnitude. But when it finally does happen, I fear the worst.
D.C has been lucky the past few decades.A few years ago their was a tornado that hit 30 miles away from us in La plata M.D back in 02.Then their was one in college park M.D in 01.D.C was very fortunate.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17832
Sunflower seeds are a good snack to have around when you must feed your stomach frequently due to storm monitoring lol


And yes, that was random.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
If a tornado hit D.C I couldn't even...Their is A possiblity It can happen.And it has happened a few times in history.But if it was an E-3 or higher...man..I would just break down.


We are fortunate most major population centers haven't had to deal with a disaster of that magnitude. But when it finally does happen, I fear the worst.
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What a gorgeous day it was today up here in Cincy. The day started off stormy and after the storms moved by and it cleared up, it got into the low 70s! Tomorrow is going to be cooler with a high in the mid/upper 50s and then Friday comes the severe storms.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5086
Quoting SPLbeater:
grrr...

stupid ol boring rain. GO AWAY!!!

P.S. you can come back if you bring significant lighting and thunder, and/or high winds.


thats what i have now :(


Also Jeff Haby's site is where i 1st started with weather 5 or 6 years ago.
I had gotten a walkie talkie with weather radio, finally dedided after a year or two to go to "weather.gov/atlanta" and ended up reading convective outlooks. I wanted to know what CAPE was and googled it, and ended reading his site for 5 or 6 hours.
Been hooked ever since!
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If a tornado hit D.C I couldn't even...Their is A possiblity It can happen.And it has happened a few times in history.But if it was an E-3 or higher...man..I would just break down.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17832
Tonight


Rain

Lo 32 °F

Yeah. I don't think I'm getting any more snow tonight or tomorrow.
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I'm sure a lot of you already have this, but for those of you who don't, meteorologist Jeff Haby has put together a rather useful site. I learned some of what I know from there.
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Quoting SPLbeater:
grrr...

stupid ol boring rain. GO AWAY!!!

P.S. you can come back if you bring significant lighting and thunder, and/or high winds.
every storm that comes your way will disapate before reaching there this day
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grrr...

stupid ol boring rain. GO AWAY!!!

P.S. you can come back if you bring significant lighting and thunder, and/or high winds.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


needs to come south to GA.


Haha, you remind me of myself. "Why does the large scale forcing always remain to the north? Dammit!"
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Both MDT risk convective outlooks were warranted but should have been moved about a state north.
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comma head moving into lower grt lakes now
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Quoting Ameister12:
Dr. Greg Forbes has me under a 6 on his TOR:CON Index for Friday. I'm kind of concerned as excited for Friday.


needs to come south to GA.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


If things set up the way I think they will, we should see most of the activity concentrated along the Caribbean, Gulf, and western Atlantic, where upper tropospheric westerlies will be less.

However, I am no fan of long-range predictions, so I would advise all of you to take this with a grain of salt.

ProgressivePulse said it best last year: "No two years are the same. 2011 will be 2011." Replace 2011 with 2012 and it illustrates the point nicely.
I agree.We can compare a season all we like with past seasons.But their is no exsact copy of a season.All the warm water is bundled up in the carribean and gulf this year.That could give us a hint of where the storms might form this year.In 2010,and 2011 their was plenty of heat out in the MDR their for we had some good cape verde long trackers.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17832
Dr. Greg Forbes has me under a 6 on his TOR:CON Index for Friday. I'm kind of concerned and excited for Friday.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5086
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
No Warnings in effect


Good! I see a flash flood warning on the Virginia/West Virginia border. But no severe thunderstorm or tornado warnings.
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No Warnings in effect
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Quoting washingtonian115:
I think the gulf might play a role this up comming hurricane season.it's certainly playing a role now in the tornado activity.


If things set up the way I think they will, we should see most of the activity concentrated along the Caribbean, Gulf, and western Atlantic, where upper tropospheric westerlies will be less.

However, I am no fan of long-range predictions, so I would advise all of you to take this with a grain of salt.

ProgressivePulse said it best last year: "No two years are the same. 2011 will be 2011." Replace 2011 with 2012 and it illustrates the point nicely.
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The warm Gulf of Mexico may play a role in the hurricane season. But it will need the supporting actors of favorable upper air conditions and a weather pattern that maintains the above normal warmth to play a starring role.
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Quoting BaltimoreBrian:
Not surprising I guess. Ran across the first Feb tornado known in Nebraska too. Guess that is old news.

It's very unfortunate however.

Hopefully the warm Gulf of Mexico will evaporate enough water vapor to break the Texas drought.


By itself, the warm SSTs probably aren't enough to curb the Texas drought. But with the seemingly imminent demise of La Nina, the synoptic pattern over that portion of the US will probably transition to that more characteristic of a neutral ENSO phase, which should allow, at least theoretically, for more precipitation. But it will come at the expense of hurricanes.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


I don't think it's that surprising, given the anomalously warm winter we've had. As a result, Gulf of Mexico sea surface temperatures have remained strongly above normal.

I think the gulf might play a role this up comming hurricane season.it's certainly playing a role now in the tornado activity.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17832
Not surprising I guess. Ran across the first Feb tornado known in Nebraska too. Guess that is old news.

It's very unfortunate however.

Hopefully the warm Gulf of Mexico will evaporate enough water vapor to break the Texas drought.
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I'm hoping for a snow day tomorrow, or at least a school delay... 3-6 inches expected for me
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Quoting Patrap:


Thanks Pat.
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Quoting BaltimoreBrian:
Haven't had a chance to look at weather lately. I can't remember such a deadly tornado outbreak in the Midwest in February!


I don't think it's that surprising, given the anomalously warm winter we've had. As a result, Gulf of Mexico sea surface temperatures have remained strongly above normal.

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Quoting TheOnlyBravesFan:
Sorry SPL, same here... looks like rain here... friday might be better tho...


Saturday is my day :D
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129903
Haven't had a chance to look at weather lately. I can't remember such a deadly tornado outbreak in the Midwest in February!
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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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