First U.S. billion-dollar disaster of 2012: March 2-3 tornado outbreak

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:17 PM GMT on April 09, 2012

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The first billion-dollar weather disaster of 2012 for the U.S. was the March 2 - 3 tornado outbreak in the Midwest and Southeast, said NOAA today. They put the total cost of the tornadoes that killed 41 people in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and Alabama at 1.5 billion. Global reinsurance company AON Benfield, in their latest monthly Global Catastrophe Recap Report, put the damage at $2 billion. The outbreak spawned two EF-4 tornadoes, one which devastated Henryville, Indiana, and another that plowed through Crittenden, Kentucky. The two other tornado outbreaks of note that occurred in February and March had damages less than $1 billion: the Leap Day tornadoes in Illinois and surrounding states ($475 million), and the Dexter, Michigan tornado EF-3 tornado of March 15 ($275 million.) I expect that the tornadoes that swept through the Dallas, Texas region last week will likely have a damage tally in the hundreds of millions, but fall short of the billion-dollar mark. In 2011, we already had two billion-dollar weather-related disasters by the first week of April, so we are behind last year's pace. NOAA's National Climatic Data Center logged a record fourteen billion-dollar weather disasters in 2011. There has been just one other billion-dollar disaster in the world this year, according to AON Benfield--severe flooding in Australia's New South Wales and Victoria states in late February and early March that caused $1.58 billion in damage. A separate flooding episode in late January and early February caused an additional $920 million in damage in Australia.


Figure 1. A school bus mangled by the EF-4 Henryville, Indiana tornado of March 2, 2012. Image credit: NWS Louisville, Kentucky.



A week for severe severe weather across the Plains and Midwest
Expect severe weather and tornadoes every day this week across the Plains and Midwest U.S., says NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC). A warm, unstable airmass will collide with cold air funneling down from Canada most of the week, creating conditions ripe for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes all week. The main focus of severe weather today will be over Western Oklahoma and portions of the Texas Panhandle, where SPC has issued their lowest highest level of alert, a "Slight Risk."


Figure 2. Severe weather threat for Monday, April 9, 2012.


Video 1. Wunderground tornado expert Dr. Rob Carver alerted me to this remarkable railroad surveillance video recently posted to YouTube that captures a train derailed by a Tornado January 7, 2008 in Harvard, IL. The tornado moved across the Chicago and Northwestern railroad where it blew 12 railroad freight cars off the track. The train was moving at the time the tornado hit it, so as the main engine stopped, the remaining cars on the track continued along it and slammed into the front part of the train. No one was injured, but 500 residents in the nearby unincorporated town of Lawrence were evacuated because of the potential for a hazardous materials situation.

Jeff Masters

tornado damage 3/2/12 (clerese3)
3/2/12 tornado damage to a business I pass on my way to and from work. This was a beautiful brick building.
tornado damage 3/2/12
Franklin Tornado/Mesocyclone (BySurasWeather)
Beginning of Tornado in Franklin, NC. Taken by a local Wal Mart Worker and was uploaded to Weather Channel on March 2, 2012
Franklin Tornado/Mesocyclone
Tornado (JimAtTn)
This picture of a small tornado was taken on Friday March 02, 2012 in southern Lincoln County, Tennessee about 7 miles south of Fayetteville. Photographer: Angela Currey-Echols
Tornado
Lumberton Lightning (TopekaStormChasers)
This pic was taken last night near Lumberton Mississippi
Lumberton Lightning

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More hail pictures in Oklahoma. This one is really spiky.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5082
Quoting MississippiWx:
Today's Sharon, OK tornadic supercell:

Looks like a flying saucer.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22725
Quoting MississippiWx:
Today's Sharon, OK tornadic supercell:



Beautiful wall cloud
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Speaking of more ouchness, this storm in Texas is producing hail stones the size of softballs and larger. It is also tornado warned.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32802
Quoting weatherh98:


When!!!!
well if i knew that i would be very rich
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 55972
Quoting MississippiWx:
Today's Sharon, OK tornadic supercell:


Wow! That's a monster wall cloud! Very incredible.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5082
Quoting Neapolitan:
Ouch:

hail
I would hate to be outside in those.Wow.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17794
Quoting BahaHurican:
YIKES.... two miles wide????

How does one build to survive this kind of wind speed + torque?

Underground. :)
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32802
Today's Sharon, OK tornadic supercell:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BahaHurican:
YIKES.... two miles wide????

How does one build to survive this kind of wind speed + torque?
only if underground

rare storms EF5 can be as large as 3 to 5 mile wide with winds 300+mph in force and rise upwards too 70 80 thousand feet but there rare
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 55972

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIDLAND/ODESSA TX
802 PM CDT MON APR 9 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MIDLAND HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
WEST CENTRAL WARD COUNTY IN WEST TEXAS...
CENTRAL REEVES COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST TEXAS...

* UNTIL 830 PM CDT

* AT 756 PM CDT...TRAINED WEATHER SPOTTERS REPORTED A FUNNEL CLOUD 16
MILES NORTHWEST OF PECOS...OR 9 MILES SOUTHWEST OF MENTONE...MOVING
SOUTHEAST AT 15 MPH. A TORNADO MAY FORM AT ANY TIME.

* THE TORNADO WILL AFFECT THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS...
U.S. HIGHWAY 285 SOUTH OF THE STATE HIGHWAY 302...
THE CITY OF PECOS...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A TORNADO MAY FORM AT ANY TIME... TAKE COVER NOW. ABANDON MOBILE
HOMES AND VEHICLES FOR MORE SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER. AVOID WINDOWS.

BRIDGES AND OVERPASSES DO NOT PROVIDE PROTECTION FROM TORNADIC WINDS.
VEHICLES STOPPED UNDER BRIDGES AND OVERPASSES BLOCK TRAFFIC AND
PREVENT OTHERS FROM REACHING SAFETY. IF YOU ARE CAUGHT IN THE PATH OF
A TORNADO... SEEK SAFETY IN A CULVERT...DITCH... OR A LOW LYING AREA
AWAY FROM YOUR VEHICLE. LIE FLAT AND COVER YOUR HEAD WITH YOUR HANDS.

A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 100 AM CDT
TUESDAY MORNING FOR SOUTHEAST NEW MEXICO AND SOUTHWESTERN TEXAS.

&&

LAT...LON 3152 10336 3133 10355 3156 10374 3162 10366
TIME...MOT...LOC 0100Z 312DEG 6KT 3159 10367

$$

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 8032
Quoting BahaHurican:
YIKES.... two miles wide????

How does one build to survive this kind of wind speed + torque?


Think you just basically bend over and kiss your own butt goodbye. :-)
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
wait till the pineapple and watermelon size hail comes then it will be somin


When!!!!
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Quoting Chucktown:
Some serious hail in OK.

Link
wait till the pineapple and watermelon size hail comes then it will be somin
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 55972
Quoting Neapolitan:
Lots of chatter about Woodward. For what it's worth, Oklahoma's deadliest tornado ever occurred on this date in 1947. In Woodward.
YIKES.... two miles wide????

How does one build to survive this kind of wind speed + torque?
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22725
310 Neapolitan: Here's a short but nice video of some baseball-sized hail shot a little while ago near Woodward.
317 TropicalAnalystwx13: There was a report from there that the hail was so large that it went through a garage roof, through the car's hood in the garage, and destroyed the car's muffler.

Did you notice the size of that huge*whatever (toward the left at ~15seconds) that plummeted outta the sky into the river?

* Appears to be at least goose-sized.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
Possibly a right-mover near Childress. Certainly was an impressive supercell earlier with strong rotation and a hook.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
UPDATE: Tornado Watch 151 was cancelled.

Member Since: July 14, 2009 Posts: 51 Comments: 1731
Quoting hydrus:
Good one..:)


I can throw out a corny one every now and then! Hope all is well, hydrus.
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Quoting MississippiWx:


Thought this was a weather blog. What's with the handful of baseballs? ;-)
Good one..:)
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Evening, everyone. Hope you all are well. Looks like a nasty evening/night in the Southern Plains.

As a side note, our lack of winter has really excited the mosquito population in South Mississippi. They are bigger and in greater numbers than ever. I hope the rest of ya aren't having to deal with it. I'm dead serious when I say we get attacked in the middle of the day in an open field. Hoping we don't see a resurgence of West Nile/other diseases because of the greater numbers of mosquitoes.


Same in south Louisiana when you walk outside, they come and attack you in droves.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
...
Member Since: July 14, 2009 Posts: 51 Comments: 1731
Quoting Neapolitan:
And yet more ouchiness:

hail again

(Also near Woodward.)


Thought this was a weather blog. What's with the handful of baseballs? ;-)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Evening, everyone. Hope you all are well. Looks like a nasty evening/night in the Southern Plains.

As a side note, our lack of winter has really excited the mosquito population in South Mississippi. They are bigger and in greater numbers than ever. I hope the rest of ya aren't having to deal with it. I'm dead serious when I say we get attacked in the middle of the day in an open field. Hoping we don't see a resurgence of West Nile/other diseases because of the greater numbers of mosquitoes.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
And yet more ouchiness:

hail again

(Also near Woodward.)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NORMAN OK
736 PM CDT MON APR 9 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NORMAN HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
EXTREME NORTHWESTERN FOARD COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL TEXAS...
HARDEMAN COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL TEXAS...

* UNTIL 830 PM CDT

* AT 732 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED
A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING LARGE DESTRUCTIVE HAIL
UP TO BASEBALL SIZE AND DESTRUCTIVE WINDS IN EXCESS OF 70 MPH.
THIS STORM WAS LOCATED NEAR KIRKLAND...MOVING SOUTH AT 25 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
GOODLETT AND COPPERS BREAK STATE PARK.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 175
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIDLAND/ODESSA TX
739 PM CDT MON APR 9 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MIDLAND HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
SOUTHERN LOVING COUNTY IN WEST TEXAS...
NORTHWESTERN WARD COUNTY IN WEST TEXAS...
NORTH CENTRAL REEVES COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST TEXAS...

* UNTIL 815 PM CDT

* AT 734 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING VERY LARGE AND DAMAGING
HAIL UP TO THE SIZE OF SOFTBALLS AND DESTRUCTIVE WINDS IN EXCESS OF
70 MPH
. THIS STORM WAS LOCATED 3 MILES NORTHWEST OF MENTONE...
MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 25 MPH.

* THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WILL AFFECT THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS...
MENTONE...
STATE HIGHWAY 302...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THIS IS A VERY DANGEROUS STORM. IF YOU ARE IN ITS PATH... PREPARE
IMMEDIATELY FOR DAMAGING WINDS... VERY LARGE AND DESTRUCTIVE HAIL...
AND DEADLY CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING. PEOPLE OUTSIDE SHOULD MOVE TO
SHELTER...PREFERABLY INSIDE A STRONG BUILDING AWAY FROM WINDOWS.

THIS STORM HAS A HISTORY OF PRODUCING DESTRUCTIVE WINDS AND
DESTRUCTIVE HAIL. SEEK SHELTER NOW INSIDE A STURDY STRUCTURE AWAY
FROM WINDOWS.

A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 100 AM CDT
TUESDAY MORNING FOR SOUTHEAST NEW MEXICO AND SOUTHWESTERN TEXAS.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 175
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Updraft speeds typically between 80-100 mph.


For a typical t storm?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I created a blog about ENSO that includes different graphics,forecasts by CPC and the Australians and the ENSO models/SOI etc,so if anyone wants to stop by to discuss,go there.

Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Neapolitan:
Ouch:

hail

my word!
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 12 Comments: 8465
Quoting weatherh98:



Think of the updrafts necessary to maintain hail stones that big.

Updraft speeds typically between 80-100 mph.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32802
Quoting Neapolitan:
Ouch:

hail



Think of the updrafts necessary to maintain hail stones that big.
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Quoting aspectre:
Jedkins01: Great article from BCC about a new way to charge electric vehicles for longer distance travel, I sure hope it catches on because its a great idea, and it would work VERY well. I'm actually going to use the article for my college paper on environmental ethics :)

Essentially equivalent to an inefficient linear induction motor one step removed. The inefficiency of power transfer would manifest as heat and electromagnetic waves.
Electric cars have their inverters and boost converters and associated wiring shielded to prevent escape of those radio waves.
The proposed system is open; ie unshielded between the charging cable and the automobile.

1kiloWatt is equal to 1.34horsepower. The average car uses 25to30horsepower solely to maintain freeway speed. Say 28horsepower(21,000Watts) just to keep things simple.
A cellphone transmits radiowaves at ~1Watt. A 99.9% efficiently coupled roadbed-to-car would broadcast 21watts.
There are 252million cars in the US. The average car is being driven 45minutes per day (average commute). The equivalent to 252million divided by 24hours times 3/4 or 7.9million cars would be on the road at any given time if commuter times were spread evenly across the day (they're not).

7.9million times 21watts is ~166megaWatts of broadcast power radiating out into the environment for 24hours every day. I doubt that the coupling would be 99.9% efficient.
99% efficiency would broadcast 1.66gigaWatts. 90% efficiency would broadcast 16.6gigaWatts. And somewhere between the two, you'd be broadcasting one HECKUVALOT of radio power.

But those would be averages in just maintaining freeway speed. Need to use a lot of extra horsepower for what we accept as an acceptable level of acceleration. Since we don't all accelerate at the same time, induction&capacitance&resistance would vary throughout the buried charge"cable". So the broadcast frequencies would be all over the place.
Then there's airconditioning/etc.
And commutes tend to bunch into peak hours. So the radiowaves would have power peaks higher than average.

Talk of radioNOISY. Besides polluting the airwaves, there are highly suspected biological effects of chronic high-level radio-frequency exposure.
Probably not good for us, not good for the critters who share the environment with us.



Wowowowowowowowow, my brain hurts
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting nigel20:

hey korithe


yo yo yo
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Ouch:

hail
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Doppler22:


Haha thanks for stealing my picture thing :) just kidding
Well, I'd just look at the join dates to see who stole what.

But they do say imitation is the highest form of flattery.... lol

And I do freely admit Isabel was a thing of beauty and terror....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22725
Quoting nigel20:

Good luck if you do go chasing

Thanks! I've still got lots of time to evaluate the situation and hopefully it works out for the best. I've called of my previous chase attempt this year the day of and I've been really anxious to get back out there.
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 47 Comments: 11707
Quoting KoritheMan:


Look at the water.

hey korithe
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 12 Comments: 8465
Quoting nigel20:


Massive anvils
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Yeah that's ridiculous...

There was a report from there that the hail was so large that it went through a garage roof, through the car's hood in the garage, and destroyed the car's muffler.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32802
Quoting Neapolitan:
Here's a short but nice video of some baseball-sized hail shot a little while ago near Woodward.

I thankfully have never seen hail like that while chasing, although I have come very close a couple times. I was about two miles south of some softball sized hail while chasing last year in North Texas.
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 47 Comments: 11707
Jedkins01: Great article from BCC about a new way to charge electric vehicles for longer distance travel, I sure hope it catches on because its a great idea, and it would work VERY well. I'm actually going to use the article for my college paper on environmental ethics :)

Essentially equivalent to an inefficient linear induction motor one step removed. The inefficiency of power transfer would manifest as heat and electromagnetic waves.
Electric cars have their inverters and boost converters and associated wiring shielded to prevent escape of those radio waves.
The proposed system is open; ie unshielded between the charging cable and the automobile.

1kiloWatt is equal to 1.34horsepower. The average car uses 25to30horsepower solely to maintain freeway speed. Say 28horsepower(21,000Watts) just to keep things simple.
A cellphone transmits radiowaves at ~1Watt.
A 99.9% efficiently coupled roadbed-to-car would broadcast 21watts.
There are 252million cars in the US. The average car is being driven 45minutes per day (average commute). The equivalent to 252million divided by 24hours times 3/4 or 7.9million cars would be on the road at any given time if commute times were spread evenly across the day (they're not).

7.9million times 21watts is ~166megaWatts of broadcast power radiating out into the environment for 24hours every day. I doubt that the coupling would be 99.9% efficient.
99% efficiency would broadcast 1.66gigaWatts. 90% efficiency would broadcast 16.6gigaWatts. And somewhere between the two, you'd be broadcasting one HECKUVALOT of radio power.

But those would be averages in just maintaining freeway speed. Need to use a lot of extra horsepower for what we accept as a comfortable level of acceleration. Since we don't all accelerate at the same time, induction&capacitance&resistance* would vary throughout the buried charge"cable". So the broadcast frequencies would be all over the place.
Then there's airconditioning/etc.
Commutes tend to bunch into peak hours: radiowaves would have power peaks higher than average.

Talk of radioNOISY. Besides polluting the airwaves, there are highly suspected biological effects of chronic high-level exposure to radio-frequency electromagnetic waves.
Probably not good for us, not good for the critters who share the environment with us.

* All three vary with the conductor's heat and the power load being drawn. And all three are involved in setting the radio frequency and harmonics that are broadcast.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
Quoting KoritheMan:


Look at the water.

Listen to it.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32802
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 12 Comments: 8465
Quoting Neapolitan:
Here's a short but nice video of some baseball-sized hail shot a little while ago near Woodward.

Yeah that's ridiculous...
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32802
Quoting Neapolitan:
Here's a short but nice video of some baseball-sized hail shot a little while ago near Woodward.


Look at the water.
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Lots of chatter about Woodward. For what it's worth, Oklahoma's deadliest tornado ever occurred on this date in 1947. In Woodward.
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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
What is the NWS doing? That storm near Childress really needs a warning.


You can see the rain wrapping around it on radar.
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Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 12 Comments: 8465
Quoting 1900hurricane:
If there is a high risk in or close to the North Texas area either Friday or Saturday, I'll probably be chasing. I really can't go any further than that though, due to my classes as well all of the hours I put in for work. I've chased a tornado north of Fort Worth on a high risk day last year, so I know I can get that far, but probably not much further than that.

Good luck if you do go chasing
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 12 Comments: 8465

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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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