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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Headed to Georgia now!!!!





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1303. redux
Quoting Ameister12:
The tornado that hit West Liberty. Looks like a violent stove pipe.


estimated range?
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Are you kidding me???

@TWCBreaking

Cell with strong rotation, possible #tornado may brush south side of Montgomery, AL in next 10 min!
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TWC Breaking ‏ @TWCBreaking

Cell with strong rotation, possible #tornado may brush south side of Montgomery, AL in next 10 min!
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 159
1180 hurricanehunter27 "Possible very strong tornado forming." [1189 ditto]

Jeeze Louise, that's a skunk-load of tornadoes that've formed in the wedge between East to ENE of Lexington,Kentucky.
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OMG I just did a storm track on the AL supercell that heading towards Atlanta. Goes right over my house.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3841
Sad that we all can sit and watch images of a really bad tornado(s). Warnings go out. But still loss of life. It's like watching a disaster but being unable to do anything about it.

Just glad all those areas did get warned.
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1297. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting hydrus:
Tornado siren just went off here in Warren County TN..Warning is in effect...Wish us good luck please.
stay safe bro i am right there with ya in spirit
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0010 WOOD CREEK LAKE LAUREL KY 3720 8419 NEAR LAUREL/ROCKCASTLE LINE ... THE TORNADO WAS MOVING EAST. (JKL)
0010 SALYERSVILLE MAGOFFIN KY 3775 8306 ADVANCED AUTO ROOF RIPPED OFF. RESCUE SQUAD FLIPPED WITH ACTIVE POWER LINES ON UNIT. TORNADO ON THE GROUND. (JKL)
0014 BERNSTADT LAUREL KY 3716 8419 ON THE GROUND (JKL)
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The tornado that hit West Liberty. Looks like a violent stove pipe.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 4902
TWC Breaking ‏ @TWCBreaking

#Tornado warning for Charleston, WV metro! Moving NE 70 mph! Will cross I-64/77 S of Downtown in next 10 min!
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 159
Quoting hydrus:
Tornado siren just went off here in Warren County TN..Warning is in effect...Wish us good luck please.


Stay safe!!
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@breakingweather Unconfirmed reports that dozens have been killed in West Liberty, KY. Please confirm if you can.
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Dozens of dead in West Liberty is what I'm hearing from couple of meteorologists. Hope this is just another one of those twitter rumors...
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1290. pottery
Quoting hydrus:
Tornado siren just went off here in Warren County TN..Warning is in effect...Wish us good luck please.

Stay Safe there....
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There is a strong storm south of Meridian, MS moving NW with no warning on it.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
1288. txjac
Quoting hydrus:
Tornado siren just went off here in Warren County TN..Warning is in effect...Wish us luck please.


Hydrus ..stay safe. Positive thoughts and prayers going out to you
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1287. Patrap
Hunker down Hydrus, were with yas.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127592
Sounds like it's really bad in West Liberty :(
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1285. txjac
Quoting Phatkhat:
Been some nasty looking cells in E. Ky and into WV. My husband delivered furniture out there last week. Lucky - he's been running close to storms all last month. Guess it's time to send Portlight and Red Cross some money...


I'm with ya Phatcat ...time to donate!
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1284. hydrus
Tornado siren just went off here in Warren County TN..Warning is in effect...Wish us good luck please.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20514
Link

West Liberty twitter pick.
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Been some nasty looking cells in E. Ky and into WV. My husband delivered furniture out there last week. Lucky - he's been running close to storms all last month. Guess it's time to send Portlight and Red Cross some money...
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1281. Patrap
Jackson,Alabama TVS

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127592
1280. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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tornado warning in w al maybe eventually heading my way
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9720
Quoting Bluestorm5:
Good news now...

All 80 students in #henryville school when #tornado hit survived.


Miracle...so glad to read that
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
CRAP! Tornado warned cell heading straight for Atlanta. Will get there in a hour.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3841
WKYT TV is reporting major damage in Salyersville, KY. Also confirmed tornado on the ground near London, KY.
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TWC Breaking ‏ @TWCBreaking

Paintsville, KY in IMMINENT DANGER!
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 159
Developing: RT @GCornishABC36: NEEDED: More ambulances in West Liberty, KY Grim scene after direct hit from a deadly tornado.
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1273. Patrap
084
WFUS54 KBMX 030019
TORBMX
ALC015-029-030100-
/O.NEW.KBMX.TO.W.0022.120303T0019Z-120303T0100Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BIRMINGHAM AL
619 PM CST FRI MAR 2 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BIRMINGHAM HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
CENTRAL CALHOUN COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL ALABAMA...
NORTHEASTERN CLEBURNE COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL ALABAMA...

* UNTIL 700 PM CST

* AT 616 PM CST...THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE INDICATED A SEVERE
THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO. THIS DANGEROUS STORM
WAS LOCATED NEAR OHATCHEE...OR 6 MILES NORTHWEST OF SAKS...AND
MOVING EAST AT 45 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
JACKSONVILLE...WEAVER...FRUITHURST...MUSCADINE...M ARS HILLS...
LIBERTY HILL AND OAK LEVEL.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TAKE COVER NOW. FOR YOUR PROTECTION MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE
LOWEST FLOOR OF A STURDY BUILDING.



TO REPORT SEVERE WEATHER...
CALL 1-800-856-0758.

LAT...LON 3372 8598 3382 8600 3392 8539 3372 8535
TIME...MOT...LOC 0019Z 263DEG 40KT 3376 8591
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127592
.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 159
1271. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127592
Time for some DINNER and a Break.....


Graphic i posted on FB from Today...WOW

http://s1160.photobucket.com/albums/q496/TampaSpi n/
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Look like tornado didn't miss Saylersville

#Damage reported in Saylersville, KY #Tornado EMERGENCY for . TAKE COVER NOW!!
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1268. txjac
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


I'm so happy that this is moving south of my mom in north central Ohio
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Paintsville needs to take cover. Probably a large tornado on the ground with this one.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 4902
1266. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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1265. txjac
Quoting Bluestorm5:
Good news now...

All 80 students in #henryville school when #tornado hit survived.


Thank you for posting that ...been worried about them since earlier this afternoon
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From #NWS: Reports from West Liberty #KY-there have been reports of MULTIPLE INJURIES & DEATHS. @WYMT-TV
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
Good news now...

All 80 students in #henryville school when #tornado hit survived.
Thats excellent news.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3841
1262. Patrap
Note the convergence downstream indicated

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127592
1261. Patrap

571
WFUS54 KOHX 030015
TOROHX
TNC031-177-030045-
/O.NEW.KOHX.TO.W.0041.120303T0015Z-120303T0045Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NASHVILLE TN
615 PM CST FRI MAR 2 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NASHVILLE HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
NORTHERN COFFEE COUNTY IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE...
SOUTHWESTERN WARREN COUNTY IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE...

* UNTIL 645 PM CST

* AT 612 PM CST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO. THIS DANGEROUS
STORM WAS LOCATED 8 MILES NORTHWEST OF MANCHESTER...AND MOVING EAST
AT 55 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
MCMINNVILLE AND MORRISON.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TAKE COVER NOW. MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A
STURDY BUILDING. AVOID WINDOWS. IF IN A MOBILE HOME...A VEHICLE OR
OUTDOORS...MOVE TO THE CLOSEST SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER AND PROTECT
YOURSELF FROM FLYING DEBRIS.



LAT...LON 3548 8625 3560 8624 3572 8576 3558 8570
3546 8624
TIME...MOT...LOC 0015Z 250DEG 46KT 3556 8614
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127592
Good news now...

All 80 students in #henryville school when #tornado hit survived.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 0221
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0541 PM CST FRI MAR 02 2012

AREAS AFFECTED...MUCH OF SRN-CNTRL-NERN AL / W-CNTRL AND NWRN GA /
FAR SERN TN

CONCERNING...TORNADO WATCH 59...61...63...

VALID 022341Z - 030145Z

THE SEVERE WEATHER THREAT FOR TORNADO WATCH
59...61...63...CONTINUES.

TORNADIC SUPERCELL POTENTIAL WILL CONTINUE TO INCREASE THIS EVENING
AND INTO THE EARLY OVERNIGHT HOURS ACROSS A LARGE PORTION OF AL AND
WRN-NWRN GA. ASIDE FROM THE THREAT OF TORNADOES /POTENTIALLY
SIGNIFICANT/...SUPERCELLS WILL ALSO POSE AN ACCOMPANYING DMGG
STRAIGHT-LINE WINDS RISK.

23Z SURFACE ANALYSIS SHOWS A LARGE UNIMPEDED WARM/MOIST SECTOR
ACROSS AL AND MOVING INTO WRN PARTS OF GA --AHEAD OF A DRYLINE OVER
NWRN MS. 3 HR CHANGE IN SURFACE TEMP/DEWPOINT SHOW A DECREASE OF
2-7 DEG F AND A 2 DEG F INCREASE...RESPECTIVELY. THE FORECAST
CONTINUED TREND IN LOWERING SURFACE SPREADS AND LESS SUBSTANTIAL
BOUNDARY LAYER MIXING WILL SEEMINGLY PROVE MORE FAVORABLE FOR LOW
LEVEL MESOCYCLONES. SLIGHT IMPROVEMENTS IN THE LOW LEVEL
THERMODYNAMIC PROFILE WILL ACCOMPANY A STRENGTHENING IN THE LLJ
/40-55 KTS/ FROM SWRN AND W-CNTRL AL NEWD INTO NRN GA IN THE NEXT
FEW HOURS. THIS WILL SET THE STAGE FOR A POSSIBLE NOCTURNAL TORNADO
EPISODE FROM CNTRL AND E-CNTRL AL NEWD INTO N-CNTRL GA. THIS
SCENARIO IS AT LEAST SUPPORTED TO A CERTAIN EXTENT BY THE LATEST
STORM-SCALE MODEL ENSEMBLE /SSEO/. AS SUCH...SCATTERED DISCRETE
SUPERCELLS WILL POSE AN ATTENDANT ISOLD TORNADO THREAT --WITH
PERHAPS A FEW STRONG TORNADOES WITH THE MORE INTENSE SUPERCELLS.

..SMITH.. 03/02/2012


ATTN...WFO...GSP...MRX...FFC...TAE...BMX...HUN...M OB...

LAT...LON 32598809 34718606 35228482 34928377 34058355 33468366
31108573 31158740 31898840 32598809
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The NWS is obviously overwhelmed with storms. I'm seeing a couple supercells that should be tornado warned.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 4902
Quoting SPLbeater:


am i in the clear as for tornado danger?


Where are you?
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
RT @stormchaser4850: Developing: ***Widespread major damage reported in West Liberty, KY with injuries and possible fatalities***
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Quoting SPLbeater:


am i in the clear as for tornado danger?

Probably. The main threat in North Carolina will be damaging winds.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31502
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear declares statewide emergency in response to vicious storms.
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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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