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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Ameister12 "Near Crittenden, Kentucky. It looks like they got a direct hit."
799 TampaTom I'm terrified "If people didn't take cover, there could be a large number of casualties..."

Was watching CNN LIVE. Crittendon had maybe a 5minute warning that it was headed their way when WAVE (Louisville,Kentucky) called the TORNADO.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
I have family in Brentwood, TN..they are hunkering down
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852. 2atod
Quoting LargoFl:
a friend just called me and said, look at the weather, now think about what the Mayans said about dec 21 this year, is This..the beginning?


No.
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The sun is peaking out in Warren County, Ohio. This could fuel more storms.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5074
Several tornadoes today have had their velocities wrapped in spirals. that must be bad. Also 2 torn warns in S AL
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9737
My head is spinning trying to keep up with everything that's going on. Geez.
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Wedge tornado about to come into Nashville!

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Quoting DookiePBC:


I still have the live feed. Tempted to try to find a live stream from Nashville.


Nashville live stream
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Quoting GOLSUTIGERS:
Link

Here is a Nashville live stream


Thanks!! :-)
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Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21751
Nashville live feed:
Link
Lots of loud hail right now.
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Quoting DookiePBC:


I still have the live feed. Tempted to try to find a live stream from Nashville.
Link

Here is a Nashville live stream
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3 severe storms moving toward Nashville. 2 of them are tornado warned.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5074
Nashville Towercam. I think I see the tornado wraped in rain.

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Low.
whew, many thanks
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 40965
Listen to the hail on this Nashville live feed!

Link
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a friend just called me and said, look at the weather, now think about what the Mayans said about dec 21 this year, is This..the beginning?
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 40965
I cannot keep track of 24 tornadic supercells.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32524
Two tornadoes in the same county..Grundy of course.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21751
Quoting LargoFl:
whats the chances of these storms with tornado's going into washington d.c. tonight? any chance?

Low.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32524
Quoting Neapolitan:
Nashville towercam:

sdfgsd
Ok this is getting really bad storm behind it seems to be tornadic also. Training tornadoes over Nashville is unthinkable.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
click for larger map http://synoptic.envsci.rutgers.edu/site/radimg/an im_nrc.gif

Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 175
whats the chances of these storms with tornado's going into washington d.c. tonight? any chance?
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 40965
Quoting Ameister12:

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? How can it get worse than this?!


I'd be careful asking questions like that, ask and you shall see.

on another note, got this in an email from FEMA today


"Oregon Severe Winter Storm, Flooding, Landslides, and Mudslides

Major Disaster Declared March 2, 2012 (DR-4055) "
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Tornado reported on the ground in Clermont County, Ohio.

It doesn't get much stronger then this. :(
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5074
Quoting GOLSUTIGERS:


I have lost signal from them, is it me or the station?


I still have the live feed. Tempted to try to find a live stream from Nashville.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Nashville towercam:

sdfgsd


OMG
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Nashville towercam:

sdfgsd
omg look at that, geez
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 40965
OMG Nashville!

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
A tornado has been reported on the ground headed directly towards Nashville, TN! Take cover NOW!



It's getting real scary now, huge rotation
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
Quoting DookiePBC:
Wow...the met on WHAS is doing a great job. Good mix of showing where the storms are and impressing on people the severity and urgency of the situation.


I have lost signal from them, is it me or the station?
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Now there are two vortex signatures on Cincinnati radar Link

Re 820: That's doesn't look good.
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rotation
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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Strange but radar is showing almost no rotation on it.


its because of how fast its moving
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Nashville towercam:

sdfgsd
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Likely. The worse hasn't come yet.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? How can it get worse than this?!
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5074
Wow...the met on WHAS is doing a great job. Good mix of showing where the storms are and impressing on people the severity and urgency of the situation.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
A tornado has been reported on the ground headed directly towards Nashville, TN! Take cover NOW!

Strange but radar is showing almost no rotation on it. Well no radar velocity couplet.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
NASHVILLE OMG
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Marysville,IN is GONE! Body bags being requested by police.

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Likely a significant tornado on the ground heading for Nashville.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5074
4 deaths in jefferson co. indiana
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eventeen states are under threat of major weather.

Tornado warnings were issued Friday in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

In Moores Mill, AL, a tornado caused injuries after people were stuck in rubble from a fallen structure hit by the twister, according to NWS. Cars, trees, power lines and homes were all damaged by the tornado.

The NWS says a tornado touched down in Harvest, AL, and possibly struck a school. Harvest is located north of Huntsville.

The Limestone Correctional Facility in Athens, AL, took a direct hit from a tornado. Department of Corrections spokesman Brian Corbett says they're still assessing the extent of the damage, but no inmates were injured. A perimeter fence, a K-9 kennel and a training facility sustained damage, as well as two inmate cell blocks.

Approximately 300 inmates in those cell blocks will be moved to other dormitories within in the facility as needed.

The facility continued to operate on emergency power as the area was without electricity.

A tornado emergency has been issued for Madison County, AL, where a tornado has caused widespread damage. Madison County emergency managers said in a statement that several houses were "leveled" in one neighborhood in the Walker Lane area, AP reported.

WAFF-TV is reporting that people were trapped in cars in the town of Meridianville. As of 11:44 ET, The NWS Doppler radar continues to report a tornado spinning near Jericho, AL, moving east.

The forecast

As many as 50 to 100 tornadoes might be produced Friday, according to CNN's weather team.

Some of those tornadoes could be long track tornadoes, which stay on the ground longer and do more damage, according to the NWS. Most at risk for these tornadoes are southern Indiana, central Kentucky and parts of Tennessee.

It was a long track tornado that slammed into Tuscaloosa, AL, killing 43 and injuring 800 on April 27, 2011, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The NWS said the threat of twisters will increase as the day goes on, but most of the areas hit hard by the Leap Day storms only have a 15 percent chance of seeing tornadoes before Friday afternoon.

The storms come two days after 13 people died in 35 twisters across several states.

Bracing for yet another round of storms, parts of Tennessee are still battered and reeling from Wednesday's tornado touchdowns in Cumberland and DeKalb counties that killed three.

In Illinois, six people died after an EF-4 tornado hit the southern town of Harrisburg. Three people were killed after storms and tornadoes ravaged Missouri and one died from injuries after a tornado in Kansas.

The Red Cross is one of many organizations reaching out to victims in Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Missouri. They plan to continue providing food and shelter through the predicted storms.

"Pick a safe place in your home or apartment building where household members and pets can gather during a tornado," said Rick Bissell, a member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council and chair of the Preparedness Sub-Council. "Use a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows."

Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 40965
Quoting Ameister12:
Will we see another round of storms later this afternoon/evening?

Likely. The worse hasn't come yet.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32524
Quoting StormTracker2K:
North FL could be under a moderate risk tomorrow! People now this is getting close to me!
stay safe up there, good thing your aware
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 40965
Will we see another round of storms later this afternoon/evening?
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5074
A tornado has been reported on the ground headed directly towards Nashville, TN! Take cover NOW!

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32524
Quoting JNCali:
how you holdin' up Hydrus? We have about 10 minutes until a couple cells come over the top of us..
Good so far..I am wondering how they are doin in Grundy tho...wow.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21751
By my number's, 21 minutes to Nashville



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
1 confirmed death in henryville
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Dickson, TN:

100% chance severe hail. 3 and 3.75 inches max hail size respectively on two different cells.

This is going to be catastrophic.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520

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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.