High risk of a major tornado outbreak today; 13 dead from Leap Day outbreak

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:14 PM GMT on March 02, 2012

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A powerful spring storm system is gathering strength over Missouri this morning, and will track northeastward into Southern Michigan tonight. The atmosphere in the storm's warm sector, south of the the warm front and east of the cold front, is very unstable, thanks to a flow of warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico at the surface, and very cold, dry air aloft. A powerful jet stream with winds winds aloft blowing at 150 mph will interact with this unstable air, and the strong change of wind speed and direction with height (wind shear) associated with this jet will impart a strong twisting motion to updrafts that from in this afternoon's thunderstorms along the cold front. These are ideal conditions for tornado formation, and a large tornado outbreak with damaging long-track tornadoes is likely late this afternoon in the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has placed Central Kentucky, Northern Tennessee, and a small portion of Southern Indiana in their "High Risk" area for severe weather Friday afternoon and evening, and is warning of the possibility of long-track significant tornadoes. While the conditions are not as dangerous as those we saw in 2011 during the May 21 - 25 Joplin, Missouri and late April Southeast U.S. tornado outbreaks, the potential exists for a punishing tornado assault with many more strong and violent tornadoes than occurred during the Leap Day outbreak. A number of severe thunderstorms with damaging winds have already formed this morning along the storm's warm front, in Missouri, Indiana, and Illinois. Consult our Severe Weather Page and Interactive Tornado Page to follow the storms.


Figure 1. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has placed Central Kentucky, Northern Tennessee, and a small portion of Southern Indiana in their "High Risk" area for severe weather Friday afternoon. This is highest level of alert.


Figure 2. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center is calling for a 30% chance of tornadoes today within 25 miles of each point in the pink shaded area. Within the hatched area, there is a 10% or greater probability of strong EF-2 and EF-3 tornadoes, or violent EF-4 and EF-5 tornadoes within 25 miles of a point.

Leap Day tornado outbreak death toll hits 13
The cleanup continues today from the round of deadly tornadoes that pounded the Midwest on Leap Day, killing thirteen people. The outbreak began on February 28, when nine confirmed tornadoes touched down. A pair of EF-2 tornadoes hit Buffalo, Missouri and Harveyville, Kansas, with each twister causing one death. Also on that day, a weak EF-0 tornado moved over open fields near Gandy, Nebraska--the first February tornado in Nebraska since record keeping began in 1950. The outbreak continued on Leap Day, February 29, with 27 more confirmed tornadoes. Hardest hit was Harrisburg, Illinois, where a violent EF-4 tornado with 180 mph killed six, injured approximately 100, and damaged 200 homes and 25 businesses. The tornado cut a path 26.5 miles long and 275 yards wide across the town, according to the NWS damage survey. The only EF-3 tornado of the outbreak hit Asherville, Missouri that day, killing one person. The other deadly tornadoes of the outbreak included an EF-2 tornado that killed one person in Cassville, MO; an EF-2 that killed two in Monterey, Tennessee, and an EF-1 that killed one person in Smithville, Tennessee. An EF-2 tornado also plowed through downtown Branson, Missouri on Leap Day, injuring 33 people. An NWS storm survey found the tornado was 400 yards wide and carved a path 22 miles long. Overall, damage from the two-day tornado outbreak will run in the hundreds of millions, and could add up to the first billion-dollar weather disaster of 2012 in the U.S. The 36 confirmed tornadoes from the outbreak make it the second largest February tornado outbreak since record keeping began in 1950. The biggest February tornado outbreak occurred on February 5 - 6, 2008, when 92 tornadoes touched down.


Figure 3. Damage at the Branson, Missouri Hilton after the Leap Day tornado. The tornado blew out or cracked windows in 219 of the hotel rooms in the 12-story/295 room Hilton Branson Convention Center, and extensively damaged three of Branson’s 50 plus theatres--Americana Theater, Branson Variety Theater and Dick Clarks’ American Bandstand Theater. Image credit: BransonRecovery Facebook page.

Portlight disaster relief charity responds to the Harrisburg, Illinois tornado
Portlight has a seasoned veteran from last year's tornado recovery efforts in Harrisburg, IL, and is looking for more people to volunteer their time. They are teaming with another disaster recovery charity, Team Rubicon, in the effort. As usual, they will be focusing efforts on the unserved, under served and forgotten. Please visit the Portlight Disaster Relief blog to learn more. Donations are always welcome!


Figure 4. Team Rubicon at work during last year's tornado recovery efforts.

Jeff Masters

HARRISBURG IL (catfish10)
HARRISBURG IL
HARISBURG IL. (catfish10)
Golden circle building
HARISBURG IL.

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TWC Breaking ‏ @TWCBreaking

#Knoxville: keep close eye on cell with a #tornado warning headed toward the W side of the metro in next 30-45 min
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 175
Quoting Bluestorm5:
TOR:CON for Raleigh is 4 from 2 am-6 am... look like my weather radio will be on tonight :\

Would you rather be woken up by your weather radio or sleeping while getting hit by a tornado.
Unfortunately many people choose the second option and this creates preventable injuries and fatalities
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Rome about to get nailed.
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TOR:CON for Raleigh is 4 from 2 am-6 am... look like my weather radio will be on tonight :\
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Devastating news out of Morgan County tonight. Multiple fatalities have been reported. Officials say many people were inside businesses when the storm hit. Vehicles outside flipped and rolled in the heavy wind.

Governor Steve Beshear has authorized the deployment of 50 Kentucky National Guard troops and a mobile Guard unit to Morgan County to assist with storm recovery efforts.

Officials say they are still working to determine how many people have been killed, and how many others have been injured. Reports say that West Liberty has essentially been leveled.

In other counties, the CEOC has confirmed four fatalities in Menifee County and one fatality in Kenton County.

We'll have the latest from West Liberty tonight on LEX 18 News at 11:00pm

Link
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 14167
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Not looking as strong.

Want to take a look at it again? Its still very strong the couplet is right on the edge of that appendage.
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Geez... bad damage in Harvest, Alabama, but I think that is partly from April 27th tornado. TWC reporter said damage from today tornado isn't as bad as April 27. Not even close.
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Quoting jamesrainier:
TWC Breaking %u200F @TWCBreaking

#Tornado debris signature indicated near Ewing, VA moving east. TAKE SHELTER!

Virginia? There's nothing in Virginia.

Edit: Nevermind, I see it now.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 33600
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Not looking as strong.


Still could be a tornado in there
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Its about to form a epic hook.
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TWC Breaking ‏ @TWCBreaking

#Tornado debris signature indicated near Ewing, VA moving east. TAKE SHELTER!
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 175
Quoting TheOnlyBravesFan:
tornado warning for me too, in Kennesaw.. in direct path of tornado

You might want to consider taking shelter...like...now!
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 33600
the weather ch is not in the path are they ?
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1538. redux
weather channel showing hook signature with the red and green wind. : (
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Not looking as strong.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 33600
tornado warning for me too, in Kennesaw.. in direct path of tornado
Member Since: January 30, 2012 Posts: 10 Comments: 224
1535. pottery
Quoting hydrus:
Very intense lightning at the moment, had two rounds of hail and high winds here. I am still waiting for more info on what happened just east of me, but it does not sound good.

Good to know you are OK.
Sad to hear that others have had a Bad Time today.
Incredible weather....
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 25408
1534. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting Patrap:
Its going to be a stark chilly and tempered morning come first light in many areas hard hit.


they get seven days to clean up
god bless the children
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TORNADO WARNING MOBILE AL - KMOB 747 PM CST FRI MAR 2 2012
SVR T-STORM WARNING GREENVILLE-SPARTANBURG SC - KGSP 844 PM EST FRI MAR 2 2012
SVR T-STORM WARNING JACKSON MS - KJAN 743 PM CST FRI MAR 2 2012
TORNADO WARNING TALLAHASSEE FL - KTAE 743 PM CST FRI MAR 2 2012
SVR T-STORM WARNING JACKSON KY - KJKL 841 PM EST FRI MAR 2 2012
SVR T-STORM WARNING JACKSON MS - KJAN 741 PM CST FRI MAR 2 2012
TORNADO WARNING PEACHTREE CITY GA - KFFC 840 PM EST FRI MAR 2 2012
TORNADO WARNING MORRISTOWN TN - KMRX 838 PM EST FRI MAR 2 2012
SVR T-STORM WARNING JACKSON MS - KJAN 738 PM CST FRI MAR 2 2012
SVR T-STORM WARNING BIRMINGHAM AL - KBMX 736 PM CST FRI MAR 2 2012
TORNADO WARNING MORRISTOWN TN - KMRX 835 PM EST FRI MAR 2 2012
SVR T-STORM WARNING PEACHTREE CITY GA - KFFC 834 PM EST FRI MAR 2 2012
SVR T-STORM WARNING MORRISTOWN TN - KMRX 829 PM EST FRI MAR 2 2012
SVR T-STORM WARNING CHARLESTON WV - KRLX 829 PM EST FRI MAR 2 2012
SVR T-STORM WARNING JACKSON MS - KJAN 726 PM CST FRI MAR 2 2012
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 175
Quoting MississippiWx:
Have family in the Dallas, Georgia area. Looks like that tornadic storm is going to him them head on. Let's hope it's not actually on the ground...
sadly it's confirmed tornado on ground in Dallas :\ prayers for your family.
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Quoting Patrap:
Its going to be a stark chilly and tempered morning come first light in many areas hard hit.

Yes it is...I posted earlier about today's high temperature in Indianapolis being 65 degrees and tomorrow's being 41. This is a strong storm system.
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1530. Melagoo
Stay Safe friends to the south!
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Ok, now where do you live? =P
Live on the Border of Cobb an Fulton.
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Wow.. i'm saying a prayer for all of those in the path of these storms.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

My GR2Analyst never reached red TVS...you may want to go to Algorithms, then MDA settings, and hit Default.
Lol I know I was also looking at the volictys with it. Seems to me it would support it.
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1526. hydrus
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
tornado warning for me, possible debris.Tornado sighted by spotter
Stay safe G.S.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 23827
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Area it will hit is still extremely populated. Red TVS, very very strong rotation.


Yep. Atlanta metro is huge. Cherokee county to the north as over 200,000 people. Cobb county has nearly 700,000 people. Atlanta has several suburbs to the north.
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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Lovely now getting tornado warning across the TV. Sirens going off. Its saying a confirmed tornado that has has extreme damage and is a very dangerous and life threatening storm. Also said about a report of destroyed homes.

Ok, now where do you live? =P
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 33600
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 175
Lovely now getting tornado warning across the TV. Sirens going off. Its saying a confirmed tornado that has has extreme damage and is a very dangerous and life threatening storm. Also said about a report of destroyed homes.
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1521. hydrus
Quoting pottery:

Good to see you are keeping your spirits up.
But keep an eye on the sky....
Very intense lightning at the moment, had two rounds of hail and high winds here. I am still waiting for more info on what happened just east of me, but it does not sound good.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 23827

1449. TheOnlyBravesFan 1:19 AM GMT on March 03, 2012 +0
BTI up to 5 now.


TORNADO WARNING
GAC143-223-233-030200-
/O.NEW.KFFC.TO.W.0017.120303T0114Z-120303T0200Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PEACHTREE CITY GA
814 PM EST FRI MAR 2 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PEACHTREE CITY HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
NORTHERN HARALSON COUNTY IN NORTHWEST GEORGIA
NORTHWESTERN PAULDING COUNTY IN NORTHWEST GEORGIA
SOUTHERN POLK COUNTY IN NORTHWEST GEORGIA

* UNTIL 900 PM EST

* AT 809 PM EST...DOPPLER RADAR CONFIRMED A TORNADO 17 MILES
SOUTHWEST OF ROCKMART...MOVING EAST AT 40 MPH.

* OTHER LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO
BRASWELL.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THIS IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND LIFE THREATENING SITUATION. THIS
STORM IS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING STRONG TO VIOLENT TORNADOES. IF YOU ARE
IN THE PATH OF THIS TORNADO...TAKE COVER IMMEDIATELY!

IF YOU SEE WIND DAMAGE...HAIL OR FLOODING...WAIT UNTIL THE STORM HAS
PASSED...AND THEN CALL THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TOLL FREE AT 1 8
6 6 7 6 3 4 4 6 6. YOU CAN ALSO TWEET YOUR REPORT USING HASHTAG GAWX.

A TORNADO WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 1100 PM EST FRIDAY EVENING
FOR NORTHERN GEORGIA. A TORNADO WATCH ALSO REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL
100 AM EST SATURDAY MORNING FOR NORTHWESTERN GEORGIA.

&&

LAT...LON 3406 8490 3388 8488 3377 8532 3395 8536
TIME...MOT...LOC 0114Z 258DEG 35KT 3388 8523
Member Since: January 30, 2012 Posts: 10 Comments: 224
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
tornado warning for me, possible debris.Tornado sighted by spotter

Where do you live?
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 33600
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Area it will hit is still extremely populated. Red TVS, very very strong rotation.

My GR2Analyst never reached red TVS...you may want to go to Algorithms, then MDA settings, and hit Default.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 33600
tornado warning for me, possible debris.Tornado sighted by spotter
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1513. j2008
This is the best I've seen the blog in a long time, its sad that it has to come at a time like this. Thoughts and prayers out to anyone in the path of these storms.
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1511. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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Have family in the Dallas, Georgia area. Looks like that tornadic storm is going to him them head on. Let's hope it's not actually on the ground...
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1507. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Area it will hit is still extremely populated. Red TVS, very very strong rotation.
Let's hpoe it stays aloft as it is moving into a bit more of a stable air mass.
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Quoting mikatnight:
My friend has kin in WEST LIBERTY, and I was fortunate enough to go there on vacation with him and his parents when I was around 14 years old (1971?). His uncle had a funeral parlor there, not far from the courthouse. Appreciate any info y'all can provide, as I'm relaying it on...

Say a prayer for them, because West Liberty got hit by the strongest looking tornado I've ever seen.
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Prayers for folks in Yorkville, GA.
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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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