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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1704. hydrus
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20536
1703. redux
The American Red Cross Bluegrass Chapter is mobilizing volunteers to help with disaster relief in West Liberty.

That's after reports Friday night of widespread damage, injuries and deaths the Morgan County community.

The Red Cross is assessing the situation across the state.

It says its trained volunteers will be sent out as needed.

The National Weather Service reported around 6:15 pm Friday that Morgan County law enforcement officers inside a vehicle had been hit by a tornado.

Meanwhile the Morehead Fire Department says Morgan County officials are asking surrounding areas to send ambulances and search and rescue crews to help.

http://www.wtvq.com/content/localnews/story/Red-C ross-Mobilizing-Volunteers-to-Help-in-West-Li/aTuu 7_SXfUqb8rgkrlPhxA.cspx?rss=3441
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
2nd death reported by Kentucky State police in West Liberty.
Just now getting to Liberty?
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1701. ncstorm


day 2 outlook
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14602
2nd death reported by Kentucky State police in West Liberty.
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Quoting Chapelhill:

No.


wrong. it's not that easy an answer.

warmer oceans = more energy into the equation that gives us tornadoes.

right now, GOM is above average.
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Quoting TheOnlyBravesFan:
John's Creek radio is down, they were in the path of this tornado.

Edit: Roswell radio is down too.
Could be power outage only, but they usually have generators. That does not sound like good news.
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Quoting NorthofAtlanta:
We missed it in Canton, looks like there is one headed this way. WSB has the dual plane radar and is good to watch. Waiting to hear from my daughter as she lives in the path of first one and they were headed for the center bathroom.
It was right across the River from me thought it was gona miss but then I looked at the Fox radar and the area were the tornado was located was right on top of us. I was out on the patio noticing how impressive the inflow was and lightning with no precip. Lets say I freaked out cause I was no longer expecting it.

Edit: chattahoochee river
Edit: I live on the Chattahooche river directly south of Roswell.
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Damage in Henryville is unreal. I don't think this is EF5 damage as people feared earlier, but this is EF4 damage IMO. However, NEVER ASSUMED TORNADO RATING until NWS is done with the reports.
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Quoting hydrus:
Definitely..Excellent posts and info from everyone...And not one troll...go figure.


Well, not until now.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


north cobb county in the bend of i 75


ah, ok :D
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Saw this tweet from one of news reporter in Kentucky: We're hearing hundreds of people now being bussed from West Liberty to ROWAN COUNTY to get them to a safe place....
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Quoting SPLbeater:


TWC says a night torcon of 4 for central NC(my region) and SPC says 0% lol.

I trust SPC over twc:D
IMO Smart move. ;)
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still going donut hole:
http://radblast-mi.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/radar /WUNIDS_map?station=FFC&brand=wui&num=1&delay=15&t ype=N0R&frame=0&scale=0.206&noclutter=0&t=13307424 66&lat=0&lon=0&label=you&showstorms=0&map.x=400&ma p.y=240¢erx=130¢ery=674&transx=-270&transy =434&showlabels=1&severe=0&rainsnow=1&lightning=1& smooth=0

ramping up a little too.
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:
According to TWC one confirmed dead in West Liberty.. so far.

That number will rise. I hate to be a downer, but I'm expecting over dozens dead from this tornado. I pray for those poor people in West Liberty.
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1687. hydrus
Quoting violet312s:
Hard to believe we have nearly 1600 posts in a non-tropical thread.

Appreciate all the info folks have been posting.
Definitely..Excellent posts and info from everyone...And not one troll...go figure.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20536
1685. redux
Quoting FatPenguin:


would not be surprised if that number doubles after emergency officials go through West Liberty, KY.


there were unconfirmed reports ( source unknown) that there were "dozens" killed, and also of "mass casualties".....the lack of information doesn't bode well.

it looked like the tornado passed directly over the center of town.
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Quoting TuMama:
For the person in NC they say on TWC severe weather in NC so be careful tornado and all.


TWC says a night torcon of 4 for central NC(my region) and SPC says 0% lol.

I trust SPC over twc:D
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John's Creek radio is down, they were in the path of this tornado.

Member Since: January 30, 2012 Posts: 10 Comments: 224
Tomorrows main threat will be damaging winds, with a small possibly for tornadoes. The strongest storms will be around northern Florida and Southern Georgia.
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According to TWC one confirmed dead in West Liberty.. so far.
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Quoting FatPenguin:


would not be surprised if that number doubles after emergency officials go through West Liberty, KY.


And or any town in the line of that one. It just would not quit. Went directly over several towns. These are very rural poor towns too.
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Jim Cantore also said he would be shocked if Henryville is not at least EF4...
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Long time no see Tu Mama ... Flag!!!
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Quoting SPLbeater:



where exaclty does u live?


north cobb county in the bend of i 75
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
18 people have been confirmed dead now...This is going to rise.


would not be surprised if that number doubles after emergency officials go through West Liberty, KY.
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Quoting TuMama:
Are the tornado caused by global warming quite possible?

No.
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Quoting TuMama:
For the person in NC they say on TWC severe weather in NC so be careful tornado and all.


There are many of us on here from NC. Thank you for your concern. :)
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roswell fire dept. radio

Link
Member Since: January 30, 2012 Posts: 10 Comments: 224
Looking at the several tornadoes today, I'd say that there are several EF2-EF3 tornadoes, a few EF4 tornadoes, and maybe an EF5. Obviously a deadly and sad day.
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We missed it in Canton, looks like there is one headed this way. WSB has the dual plane radar and is good to watch. Waiting to hear from my daughter as she lives in the path of first one and they were headed for the center bathroom.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Severe Thunderstorms, primarily in the form of a line of Damaging Winds, will be possible across all of North Carolina tonight into tomorrow afternoon.
It is possible, but unless we can get the CAD (reason for dense fog) pushed out, and more unstable air near the surface, all severe weather(strong winds) will not be able to reach the surface.
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
No wonders why there isn't a word from West Liberty...

Kentucky Emergency Management confirms to CNN they have lost contact with the town of West Liberty, KY after being hit with tornado


I had a hunch it might be that bad, but didn't say anything.

this could mean the police and fire department have been damaged or destroyed.
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Quoting IFuSAYso:

ty, C6 in NC bounces back and forth to it.


your welcome :D
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
Someone sent a golfball size hail report in my neighborhood. I doubt the reliability of it but oh well.
Another tornado may pass close to my north through cartersville maybe.


where exaclty does u live?
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Roswell fire radio.... they were in tornado path

Member Since: January 30, 2012 Posts: 10 Comments: 224
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GREENVILLE-SPARTANBURG SC
928 PM EST FRI MAR 2 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN GREENVILLE-SPARTANBURG HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
NORTHERN MACON COUNTY IN WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA...
THIS INCLUDES THE CITY OF FRANKLIN...
SOUTH CENTRAL SWAIN COUNTY IN WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA...

* UNTIL 1015 PM EST

* AT 925 PM EST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO 5 MILES WEST OF
NANTAHALA LAKE...OR 4 MILES EAST OF ANDREWS...MOVING EAST AT 45
MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
NANTAHALA LAKE...
KYLE...
FRANKLIN AND ALARKA...
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 159
Holy smokes no rain tons of lighting and really strong inflow. Lol had to stop typing this. It went right across the river. Omg almost had a heart attack.
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18 people have been confirmed dead now...This is going to rise.
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
What would really scare me is a smart fog advisory.


On a day like today...I needed a laugh. :)

And yeah it's rather foggy outside my door here in Durham.
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Quoting SPLbeater:


tornado signature

ty, C6 in NC bounces back and forth to it.
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Quoting Chucktown:


For some of the youngins on here using GR2, also gotta make sure that you continuously update the Storm Motion Vector for a particular warned cell. Its always located at the end of the actual warning.

LAT...LON 3428 8417 3403 8392 3391 8454 3408 8460
TIME...MOT...LOC 0209Z 253DEG 40KT 3400 8452

Yeah, I do it, it's a pain sometimes though when trying to track several different storms.
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Someone sent a golfball size hail report in my neighborhood. I doubt the reliability of it but oh well.
Another tornado may pass close to my north through cartersville maybe.
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
so I don't have to worry much about tornadoes?

Yes, there's always a threat.
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Quoting ScottLincoln:


GR2Analyst is a great tool. I use it frequently. But as with any tool, if not configured properly, it will tell you false information. Similar situation happened to a trained met I know.
Had a very different picture with Normalized Rotation and the TVS symbols. Found out later that he had forgotten to reset his MDA settings after a day of low-topped convection.


For some of the youngins on here using GR2, also gotta make sure that you continuously update the Storm Motion Vector for a particular warned cell. Its always located at the end of the actual warning.

LAT...LON 3428 8417 3403 8392 3391 8454 3408 8460
TIME...MOT...LOC 0209Z 253DEG 40KT 3400 8452
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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.