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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359. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
10:21 PM GMT on February 29, 2012
<
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55665
358. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
10:21 PM GMT on February 29, 2012
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55665
357. Ameister12
10:20 PM GMT on February 29, 2012
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5080
356. aspectre
10:19 PM GMT on February 29, 2012
266 wxmod "China chemical plant fire [photo]"
271 aspectre "Deadly explosion rips through chemical plant ~164miles(263kilometres) southeast of Beijing; killing at least 16 people, injuring more than 40, and leaving dozens missing."
279 wxmod "News reports put this explosion at Shijiazhuang City, which is 170 miles from the black smoke on satellite photos. Was there another inferno the same day??? (Or is China hiding something and not doing a very good job of it)"

My thinking is that it's the same event: that Beijing was near the northwestern end of the astonishingly black smokeplume that you posted a satellite photo of earlier.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
355. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
10:19 PM GMT on February 29, 2012
n cen al next up coming in from ne cen miss
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55665
354. StormTracker2K
10:18 PM GMT on February 29, 2012
These cells in MISS are starting to looks bad.


Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
353. Ameister12
10:17 PM GMT on February 29, 2012
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
When was the last time anyone saw a hook that looked this good? Joplin?

That's a classic hook. Sorta reminds me of the Piedmont hook on May 24, 2011.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5080
352. hurricanehunter27
10:17 PM GMT on February 29, 2012
Seems to me that the Smithville storm is starting to strengthen again.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
351. Articuno
10:17 PM GMT on February 29, 2012

The current situation right now in a nutshell
Member Since: October 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2553
<
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55665
Mississippi

... A Tornado Warning remains in effect until 430 PM CST for
northwestern Holmes... northern Humphreys and southern Leflore
counties...

At 402 PM CST... National Weather Service meteorologists continue to
track a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado. This
storm was located 4 miles northeast of Belzoni... moving east at 50
mph.

Other locations in the warning include but are not limited to Morgan
City... Cruger... Tchula and Sidon

In addition to the tornado... this storm is capable of producing
destructive straight line winds of 70 mph across northeast
Humphreys... northwest Holmes... and extreme southern Leflore
counties.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 175
bak later guys
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
When was the last time anyone saw a hook that looked this good? Joplin?
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
Quoting Articuno:

I don't think that will work when I have a history project I have to do by tonight.
Currently I have only 859 words and need at least 1500.
It's looking very good right now so far.


well I be prayin you do a good job! :D
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MORRISTOWN TN
508 PM EST WED FEB 29 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MORRISTOWN HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
LEE COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA...
SCOTT COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA...
WISE COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA...
CITY OF NORTON IN SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA...

* UNTIL 545 PM EST

* AT 505 PM EST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO NEAR HARLAN.
DOPPLER RADAR SHOWED THIS TORNADO MOVING EAST AT 60 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE...
JONESVILLE...NORTON...GATE CITY...WISE...PENNINGTON GAP...BIG STONE
GAP...WEBER CITY...ST. CHARLES...PATTONSVILLE...DRYDEN...JASPER...
DUFFIELD...APPALACHIA...CLINCHPORT...FORT BLACKMORE...DUNGANNON...
COEBURN AND HILTONS.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 175
hydrus ya on how ya faring bro
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55665
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NASHVILLE TN
409 PM CST WED FEB 29 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NASHVILLE HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
NORTHERN CUMBERLAND COUNTY IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE...
SOUTHWESTERN FENTRESS COUNTY IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE...
SOUTHEASTERN OVERTON COUNTY IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE...
SOUTHEASTERN PUTNAM COUNTY IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE...
NORTH CENTRAL WHITE COUNTY IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE...

* UNTIL 445 PM CST

* AT 406 PM CST...TRAINED WEATHER SPOTTERS REPORTED A TORNADO 8 MILES
NORTH OF SPARTA. DOPPLER RADAR SHOWED THIS TORNADO MOVING EAST AT
65 MPH.

AT 350 PM CDT...DAMAGE FROM A LIKELY TORNADO WAS REPORTED NORTH OF
SMITHVILLE IN DE KALB COUNTY.

* THE TORNADO WILL BE NEAR...
MONTEREY AROUND 420 PM CST.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TO REPEAT...A TORNADO IS ON THE GROUND.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 175
Quoting jamesrainier:
TWC Breaking ‏ @TWCBreaking

Reply
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· Open

Structural damage reported in DeKalb Co., TN near Smithville on Arrowhead Drive.


Some friends of mine are very near there and they said the wx there is extreme right now. Lots of lightning and heavy rain right now. It looks as if the tornado will pass just 4 or 5 miles south of them.
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Another nice signature near South Wallins.

Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5080
The National Weather Service in Morristown has issued a

* Tornado Warning for...
Morgan County in east Tennessee...
Scott County in east Tennessee...

* until 530 PM EST

* at 440 PM EST... National Weather Service Doppler radar indicated a
severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado 13 miles south
of Jamestown. Doppler radar showed this tornado moving east at 60
mph.

* Locations in the warning include...
Wartburg... Oneida... Huntsville... High Point... deerlodge... Rugby...
Sunbright... big South Fork National Refuge... Elgin... Slick Rock...
Petros... Winfield... Norma... smokey Junction and Ketchen.

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

In addition to the tornado... this storm is capable of producing 1
inch size hail and destructive straight line winds
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
<
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55665
@TWCBreaking

Structural damage reported in DeKalb Co., TN near Smithville on Arrowhead Drive.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 175
...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR NORTHERN WHITE COUNTY
UNTIL 415 PM CST...

AT 401 PM CST...TRAINED WEATHER SPOTTERS REPORTED A TORNADO. THIS
TORNADO WAS LOCATED 7 MILES NORTHWEST OF SPARTA...MOVING EAST AT 65
MPH.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
<
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55665
Quoting StormTracker2K:


Agreed! Good look on that one. Are you in that area?
No I live in Atlanta GA. I just have a knack for telling when a supercell is about to form a hook. What happens is a small straight appendage starts forming from the edge of the storm, this is the image I was looking at.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
Possible tornado west of Crossvile,TN. Take Cover if you are in Crossvile NOW! I know people there:/



Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Maybe I should work with the NWS. With me you get 10 minutes extra warning time lol. Said Smithville need a warning at 4:40. Warning was issued at 4:50.


Agreed! Good look on that one. Are you in that area?
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

Storms moving into extreme Western Virginia and extreme North-Western Virginia currently.
Member Since: October 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2553
This is very bad.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
Quoting Ameister12:
Several tornado warnings are popping up again. The strongest signature is definitely the one that passed near Smithville, Tennessee.
That is just n.w. of my location. It looked pretty intense on radar.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22314
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Ok this storm has an epic hook on it right now.


O____________O
Member Since: October 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2553
<
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55665
Several tornado warnings are popping up again. The strongest signature is definitely the one that passed near Smithville, Tennessee.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5080
Quoting Ameister12:
Oh my!


HOLY $#!% !
Member Since: October 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2553
Do believe we just broke the previous record high by 4 degrees.

It is the 29th, Leap year, so smaller sample, but still...

Previous record was 1992.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Maybe I should work with the NWS. With me you get 10 minutes extra warning time lol. Said Smithville need a warning at 4:40. Warning was issued at 4:50.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55665
From 274 BobWallace's AtlasObscura Hail No: An account of the world's biggest, deadliest hailstorms, a YouTube video of a not so good day to go swimming.
An eyebrow raiser from the beginning, then it gets really astounding at ~1minute40seconds.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
Strong rotation in Tennessee
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Nice TVS in Mississippi.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5080
Hook Echo in Mississippi:

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.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 175
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NASHVILLE TN
346 PM CST WED FEB 29 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NASHVILLE HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
EASTERN DE KALB COUNTY IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE...
SOUTH CENTRAL PUTNAM COUNTY IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE...
WHITE COUNTY IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE...

* UNTIL 415 PM CST

* AT 345 PM CST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO. THIS DANGEROUS
STORM WAS LOCATED NEAR SMITHVILLE...AND MOVING EAST AT 60 MPH.

* THIS DANGEROUS STORM WILL BE NEAR...
SPARTA AROUND 405 PM CST.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 175
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Ok this storm has an epic hook on it right now.


Damm! Good call on that!
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE JACKSON KY
447 PM EST WED FEB 29 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN JACKSON KY HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
NORTHEASTERN BELL COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST KENTUCKY...
HARLAN COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST KENTUCKY...
EXTREME EAST CENTRAL KNOX COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST KENTUCKY...
SOUTH CENTRAL LESLIE COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST KENTUCKY...

* UNTIL 530 PM EST

* AT 443 PM EST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO. THIS DANGEROUS
STORM WAS LOCATED NEAR CLEAR CREEK SPRINGS...OR NEAR PINEVILLE...
AND MOVING EAST AT 60 MPH.

IN ADDITION...THIS STORM HAS A HISTORY OF PRODUCING SEVERE
WEATHER. DAMAGING WINDS AND LARGE HAIL WILL BE POSSIBLE.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
HARLAN...RELLA...CALVIN...EROSE...KETTLE ISLAND...VARILLA...
FIELD...MIRACLE...CALLAWAY...OAKS...BALKAN...STONY FORK JUNCTION...
CUBAGE...BLACK SNAKE...SANDY FORK...MOLUS...INSULL...TACKY TOWN...
PATHFORK AND LAYMAN.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 175
The National Weather Service in Morristown has issued a

* Tornado Warning for...
Morgan County in east Tennessee...
Scott County in east Tennessee...

* until 530 PM EST

* at 440 PM EST... National Weather Service Doppler radar indicated a
severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado 13 miles south
of Jamestown. Doppler radar showed this tornado moving east at 60
mph.

* Locations in the warning include...
Wartburg... Oneida... Huntsville... High Point... deerlodge... Rugby...
Sunbright... big South Fork National Refuge... Elgin... Slick Rock...
Petros... Winfield... Norma... smokey Junction and Ketchen.

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

In addition to the tornado... this storm is capable of producing 1
inch size hail and destructive straight line winds.

The safest place to be during a tornado is in a basement. Get under a
workbench or other piece of sturdy furniture. If no basement is
available... seek shelter on the lowest floor of the building in an
interior hallway or room such as a closet. Use blankets or pillows to
cover your body and always stay away from windows.

If in Mobile homes or vehicles... evacuate them and get inside a
substantial shelter. If no shelter is available... lie flat in the
nearest ditch or other low spot and cover your head with your hands
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE JACKSON MS
347 PM CST WED FEB 29 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN JACKSON HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
NORTHWESTERN HOLMES COUNTY IN CENTRAL MISSISSIPPI...
NORTHERN HUMPHREYS COUNTY IN CENTRAL MISSISSIPPI...
THIS INCLUDES THE CITY OF BELZONI...
SOUTHERN LEFLORE COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL MISSISSIPPI...
SOUTHERN SUNFLOWER COUNTY IN NORTHWEST MISSISSIPPI...

* UNTIL 430 PM CST

* AT 348 PM CST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO NEAR ISOLA
MOVING EAST AT 45 MPH.

* THE TORNADO WILL BE NEAR...
BELZONI BY 400 PM CST...
SWIFTOWN BY 405 PM CST...
TCHULA BY 420 PM CST...
SIDON BY 425 PM CST...
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 175
Oh my!

Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5080
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
OK! SMITHVILLE NEEDS A TORNADO WARNING NOW! The cell is heading straight for it seems to be forming a hook and has rotation starting to show up. Would upload image but file size is to large for what I was using.
Ok this storm has an epic hook on it right now.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

That's definitely not true, they have been primarily severe weather all freaking day. They'll stop maybe a minute to talk about winter weather, but that's it. Don't bash them and accuse them when severe weather isn't the only thing that matters. Winter weather is dangerous too.

#sickoftheTWCbashing


I only saw little bits of severe wx coverage early today and that's it while CNN had non-stop coverage and this is not even a weather channel.
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Quoting StormTracker2K:


Your missing the point. That cell had a large area of rotation when it passed south of Corbin. These big cells are the ones that produce these m0onster tornadoes i.e Joplin, Jarrel, Greensburg, Tuscaloosa, Smithville.


ad Sanford 2011 to that list :D

wedge EF3
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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.