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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Nashville needs to watch this storm!
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5026
OMG.

Greg Forbes is giving parts of Kentucky Torcon 9 between 5 and 10pm.

It's only 430 eastern right now, which means that suggests it's actually going to get worse over the next few hours, instead of better.

I hope this doesn't end up being as bad as last year.

These outbreaks are getting worse almost every year it seems.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
click for larger map Link


Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 159
Quoting weathermanwannabe:
I am sure that the Feds and State authorities have probably declared emergencies so that the National Guards and other resources/Red Cross can mobilize and start moving in for assistance..........Donations to the Red Cross if you can would be a good start at this point.


Many of these areas are going to receive round 2 shortly or this evening, it'll be unbelievably dangerous to have anyone out on the streets until the whole event is over
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


Oh, my God. There's a lot of activity on that map. This is going to be a very bad one...
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Sirens going off in Louisville, KY
Member Since: June 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 886
Gosh its so sad to return to the blog, reading posts of deaths and massive damage....effects me to an extend and i aint even under it. so so sad.
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4486
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 159
Quoting Neapolitan:
Extreme damage in southern Indiana; the town of Marysville is "completely gone"
OMG the news tomorrow morning is going to be horrible
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Nashville, TN has a tornado warned cell heading straight for it.
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726:

Looks like at least EF4 just from the scale and shape?
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
TORNADO WARNING LOUISVILLE KY - KLMK 420 PM EST FRI MAR 2 2012
TORNADO WARNING MEMPHIS TN - KMEG 319 PM CST FRI MAR 2 2012
TORNADO WARNING WILMINGTON OH - KILN 418 PM EST FRI MAR 2 2012
SVR T-STORM WARNING JACKSON MS - KJAN 317 PM CST FRI MAR 2 2012
TORNADO WARNING HUNTSVILLE AL - KHUN 316 PM CST FRI MAR 2 2012
SVR T-STORM WARNING HUNTSVILLE AL - KHUN 316 PM CST FRI MAR 2 2012
SVR T-STORM WARNING LOUISVILLE KY - KLMK 415 PM EST FRI MAR 2 2012
SVR T-STORM WARNING MORRISTOWN TN - KMRX 414 PM EST FRI MAR 2 2012
TORNADO WARNING GREENVILLE-SPARTANBURG SC - KGSP 414 PM EST FRI MAR 2 2012
TORNADO WARNING MEMPHIS TN - KMEG 313 PM CST FRI MAR 2 2012
TORNADO WARNING WILMINGTON OH - KILN 411 PM EST FRI MAR 2 2012
TORNADO WARNING LOUISVILLE KY - KLMK 311 PM CST FRI MAR 2 2012
SVR T-STORM WARNING WILMINGTON OH - KILN 410 PM EST FRI MAR 2 2012
SVR T-STORM WARNING LOUISVILLE KY - KLMK 410 PM EST FRI MAR 2 2012
SVR T-STORM WARNING MEMPHIS TN - KMEG 309 PM CST FRI MAR 2 2012
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 159
South Carolina has its first tornado warning... These things are racing
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Will experience this in 10 minutes...

Radar Detected Storms
Location: Hurricane Mills, TN Lat: 36.01 Lon: -87.76
Type: Rotating Thunderstorm (H9)
Max Reflectivity: 68 dBZ
Severe Hail: 100% Chance
Hail: 100% Chance
Max Hail Size: 2.75 in.
Echo Top: 32,000 ft.
Vert. Integrated Liquid: 51 kg/m²
Speed: 60 mph (52 knots)
Direction (from): W (259)
Radar Site: PAH
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128659
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
having been paying attention.

OMG...

The insane super-hail storm outbreak is underway, with tornadoes.

I guess all that heat build-up from the past several days had to go somewhere.

widespread 1.75 to 2.5 inch max hail size.

This is going to be very bad in total damages, even if we get lucky regarding tornadoes.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
TWCBreaking:
"Debris falling from the sky" in Boone Co., KY. Now crossing I-71 E of Warsaw, KY! TAKE COVER! http://wxch.nl/ADwJs4#tornado[via Twitter]
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Quoting atmosweather:


Look for that debarking and we'll have our answer
we are far from done atmo
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
Obviously this is from earlier, Im too busy to edit atm,

But we could use some folks in these areas.





Portlight has a wunderblogger, Tornadodude,who if taking his Team into the Harrisburg area to Help us with that relief Mission.

Also Team Rubicon is partnering with us during this mission of relief. Anyone interested in Helping, or forming a Go team to assist can do so in the Portlight Blog, or contact Presslord, floodman, or myself via Wu-Mail.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128659
live radio dispatch in Henryville, ID..

Link
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Caneyville has a massive hook about to roll over it.
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Has this become the new norm. This is awfully early to see this degree of tornadic activity as far north as this outbreak is.
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I am sure that the Feds and State authorities have probably declared emergencies so that the National Guards and other resources/Red Cross can mobilize and start moving in for assistance..........Donations to the Red Cross if you can would be a good start at this point.
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128659
Quoting Neapolitan:
I haven't seen pictures, but an on-scene reporter said by phone that many trees were stripped, or broken off at ground level. We'll have to see, however...


Look for that debarking and we'll have our answer
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4 dead in Jefferson being reported...
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Video just out taken in Borden, Indiana:

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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


Oh lord all those discreet cells running into dews in the mid 60s and max heating...
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One word for this "AMAZING!"

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Quoting Neapolitan:
Anybody nearby with a wheelbarrow?


I heard shes empty, all Moved High Up above Denver.

;)
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128659
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Debris Ball heading for Fort Knox!
Anybody nearby with a wheelbarrow?
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Debris falling in Hamilton County.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5026
TORNADO WARNING WILMINGTON OH - KILN 409 PM EST FRI MAR 2 2012
TORNADO WARNING HUNTSVILLE AL - KHUN 307 PM CST FRI MAR 2 2012
TORNADO WARNING LOUISVILLE KY - KLMK 407 PM EST FRI MAR 2 2012
SVR T-STORM WARNING LOUISVILLE KY - KLMK 407 PM EST FRI MAR 2 2012
SVR T-STORM WARNING PADUCAH KY - KPAH 306 PM CST FRI MAR 2 2012
SVR T-STORM WARNING MEMPHIS TN - KMEG 305 PM CST FRI MAR 2 2012
TORNADO WARNING WILMINGTON OH - KILN 403 PM EST FRI MAR 2 2012
SVR T-STORM WARNING LOUISVILLE KY - KLMK 402 PM EST FRI MAR 2 2012
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 159
Debris Ball heading for Fort Knox!
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Henryville is "gone"?

This thing was an EF4 or EF5.
I haven't seen pictures, but an on-scene reporter said by phone that many trees were stripped, or broken off at ground level. We'll have to see, however...
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128659
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Are you under any warnings right now?

Not right now, but these are heading right in me direction.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5026
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Henryville is "gone"?

This thing was an EF4 or EF5.


EF4 easy.
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Unbelievable... Henryville destroyed
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TWC Breaking ‏ @TWCBreaking

Strong indications of a #tornado headed toward Ft. Knox, KY, moving east at 75 MPH!
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 159
Henryville is "gone"?

This thing was an EF4 or EF5.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32275



Recently posted photo...Sure there will be many more from this outbreak

Severe Chase, FB
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128659
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
What are the odds of a 24 degree record high max break on a 57 year old record?

this is incredible how big some of these record breaks are for highs and high minimums.

http://wx.hamweather.com/maps/climate/records/yes terday/us.html?cat=

also, I don't think they got all the data in yet, because some of the record breaks from yesterday in Louisiana are not reported there, although those stations were apparently unofficial.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Oh my. These people are in my prayers!
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TWC Breaking ‏ @TWCBreaking

Per Clark Co., IN emerg. manager: Report of damage to Borden High School (Borden, IN)
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 159
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Tornadic supercell headed right towards the radar station. If it goes down, we won't be able to get radar from there.



That thing is toast.
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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.