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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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Nothing compared to the physical injuries one might sustain to themselves while reading WU during lulls in hurricane season.


My advice is HeadOn.

whats up CybrTeddy?
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 7480
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I'm having a bad day :P

My arm is bleeding because I cut it on a tree, my leg is bleeding because I skint it on the sidewalk at kid jail. My mouth is bleeding because somehow I cut it on a bubble gum ball, and my finger is bleeding because I got a paper cut.

Maybe I should go to bed and try again tomorrow?

On the plus side, you should heal very quickly at your age. :)

I don't think there was a day in my teenage life when I didn't have a cut, scrape, bruise, sprain, break or something somewhere on my body. Funnily enough, I had substantially fewer once I joined the Army.
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Quoting 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 :)


Link




Its already based on technology we know that works. We just have to hope power companies would catch on to the idea. Granted it would probably mean an increase in electric bills for us all but it would be worth it in the end. Sacrifice always comes along with doing what is right for all.


One unfortunate thing with this technology is it's loss of efficiency in transfer of the power multiple times. I also wonder how well we could construct something like that considering that we already have had plans for electric high-speed rail lines between high-demand locations not get constructed due to infrastructure cost issues.

Quoting Barefootontherocks:
163. ncstorm 8:25 PM GMT on April 09, 2012
Dr. Greg Forbes Torcon Index

I'm curious what his scale is. Zero to what number is the top of the scale?


I believe it is supposed to be probability-based, like chance of tornadoes within a certain range of a point. Similar to the SPC probabilities.
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Quoting weatherh98:


When using Dr. Masters' blog, please refrain from posting material not relevant to the discussion of tropical weather, or the topic of the blog entry itself. Please do not engage in personal attacks or bickering. Material not conforming to these standards should be flagged with the button and ignored.

have a fantastic day :)


Please re-read the paragraph you quoted:

When using Dr. Masters' blog, please refrain from posting material not relevant to the discussion of tropical weather, or the topic of the blog entry itself. Please do not engage in personal attacks or bickering


The rebuttal was not off topic, nor is suggesting that someone back up their scientific claims with science on a science blog anything near a personal attack.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
"Total ice sheet mass loss in 2011 was 70% larger than the 2003-09 average annual loss rate of -250 Gt y-1 [for a 2011 total of ~425gigatons]. According to satellite gravity data obtained since 2002, ice sheet mass loss is accelerating."


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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I'm having a bad day :P

My arm is bleeding because I cut it on a tree, my leg is bleeding because I skint it on the sidewalk at kid jail. My mouth is bleeding because somehow I cut it on a bubble gum ball, and my finger is bleeding because I got a paper cut.

Maybe I should go to bed and try again tomorrow?


Nothing compared to the physical injuries one might sustain to themselves while reading WU during lulls in hurricane season.


My advice is HeadOn.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I'm having a bad day :P

My arm is bleeding because I cut it on a tree, my leg is bleeding because I skint it on the sidewalk at kid jail. My mouth is bleeding because somehow I cut it on a bubble gum ball, and my finger is bleeding because I got a paper cut.

Maybe I should go to bed and try again tomorrow?

yeah, maybe
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 7480
Quoting OrchidGrower:
Wow, Nigel -- re: 178 -- suddenly our TCHP values in the Caribbean have bounced ahead of 2011! Up 'till now hasn't the Gulf been the only North Atlantic Basin water that's been warmer than same-time-last-year?

Puerto Ricans: Please have everyone face South Florida and b-l-l-l-l-o-o-o-o-w-w-w-w!! We will TAKE those pesky rain clouds and that excess rainfall off your hands...happily....

yeah, we had quite a bit of warming over the last week or two
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 7480
Quoting swampdooogggg:

Used to happen to her all the time...the italics in the membership date and number of posts. It was her signature, so to speak. It happens from time to time, if I explained to it you how you did it...you probably wouldn't understand.

Although I can bet you it won't happen again. Just on of 'em flukes...


Yea, I don't want to know
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I'm having a bad day :P

My arm is bleeding because I cut it on a tree, my leg is bleeding because I skint it on the sidewalk at kid jail. My mouth is bleeding because somehow I cut it on a bubble gum ball, and my finger is bleeding because I got a paper cut.

Maybe I should go to bed and try again tomorrow?
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 109 Comments: 30291
Quoting ncstorm:


So at the end of the two frames, it keeps heads west..(I had to be the first to say it)

The system comes from the the southwest, and head north before being sucked under the strong azores high, and heads northwest. This could actually imporve tropical circulation being stuck between the two highs.. would increase ventilation for the system, and would overall crank up the circulation.. This could become an interesting scenario.
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Quoting swampdooogggg:

Remember NRAamy?


Yea
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168. ncstorm
Thank you.

172. MAweatherboy1
Interesting in MCD 479 that goes with that watch... A DISTINCT VORT MAX
IS IMPLIED ON WV IMAGERY AS OF 1945Z OVER ERN NM/WRN TX...LIKELY
CONTRIBUTING TO FORCING FOR ASCENT.
If you look real close, can see it on WVL.
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Quoting hydrus:


So at the end of the two frames, it keeps heads west..(I had to be the first to say it)
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This will be something to watch for in the models I presume.
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How the hell did I Italic the date and my membership on post 184

Action: Quote | Modify Comment
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 6357
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Wow, Nigel -- re: 178 -- suddenly our TCHP values in the Caribbean have bounced ahead of 2011! Up 'till now hasn't the Gulf been the only North Atlantic Basin water that's been warmer than same-time-last-year?

Puerto Ricans: Please have everyone face South Florida and b-l-l-l-l-o-o-o-o-w-w-w-w!! We will TAKE those pesky rain clouds and that excess rainfall off your hands...happily....
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Oh wow! The GFS also is an agreement in the same sub-tropical system at 168 hours out, like the Euro.
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Quoting StormTracker2K:
Look at this! Could be some good news for a drought striken SE.



Yeaaaaa, TX was always in the Below average brown during winter, when in reality it was complete opposite. Florida is the Above average in green...means it will be opposite and bone dry
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Quoting hydrus:
I dont believe we will get a named storm from that. It is a week out and the models show systems like that regularly that never develop. The CMC has a more northerly component to the system you are watching on this run..

hard to beleive that the Euro is predicting a system while the Canadian is not... That canadian usually pulls out wierd systems this time of year... More in May and June though.
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Whoa, didn't realize that the Euro operational run was showing a strong sub-tropical low in the middle fo the Atlantic... Though this is just one run... and its toward the end of it as well. Which makes it not trustworthy whatsoever.
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Quoting PlazaRed:

That blue whirlpool on your chart, just below Alaska looks dismally depressing. Whats it lightly to do that might cause anoyance?
The Aleutian Low I think...
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Quoting nigel20:

whats up hydrus?
greetings.
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April 8, 2011 TCHP

april 8, 2012 TCHP

Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 7480
177. Skyepony (Mod)
It has been smokey here all day..
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Day 1 of a possible huge severe weather outbreak that lasts through the weekend.

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Quoting MahFL:
http://www.news12.com/articleDetail.jsp?articleId =3 15523&position=1&news_type=news

Live chopper over Long Island, filming a wildfire.
hope ya all dont have high winds like i have
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52383
173. MahFL
http://www.news12.com/articleDetail.jsp?articleId=3 15523&position=1&news_type=news

Live chopper over Long Island, filming a wildfire.
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URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH NUMBER 152
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
325 PM CDT MON APR 9 2012

THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF

SOUTHWEST OKLAHOMA
WEST TEXAS INCLUDING THE PANHANDLE

EFFECTIVE THIS MONDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING FROM 325 PM UNTIL
1100 PM CDT.

HAIL TO 2.5 INCHES IN DIAMETER...THUNDERSTORM WIND GUSTS TO 70
MPH...AND DANGEROUS LIGHTNING ARE POSSIBLE IN THESE AREAS.

THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 100
STATUTE MILES EAST AND WEST OF A LINE FROM 50 MILES NORTHWEST OF
CLINTON OKLAHOMA TO 30 MILES EAST SOUTHEAST OF LUBBOCK TEXAS.
FOR A COMPLETE DEPICTION OF THE WATCH SEE THE ASSOCIATED WATCH
OUTLINE UPDATE (WOUS64 KWNS WOU2).

REMEMBER...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE
FAVORABLE FOR SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH
AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR
THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS
AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS. SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAN AND OCCASIONALLY
DO PRODUCE TORNADOES.

OTHER WATCH INFORMATION...CONTINUE...WW 151...

DISCUSSION...THUNDERSTORMS ARE INTENSIFYING THIS AFTERNOON ACROSS
WEST TX AS WEAK ASCENT SPREADS EASTWARD INTO A MODERATELY UNSTABLE
AIR MASS. STEEP LOW/MID LEVEL LAPSE RATES AND SUFFICIENT EFFECTIVE
SHEAR WILL PROMOTE A RISK OF ORGANIZED/SUPERCELL STORMS CAPABLE OF
LARGE HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS PERSISTING THROUGH MUCH OF THE
EVENING.

AVIATION...A FEW SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WITH HAIL SURFACE AND ALOFT
TO 2.5 INCHES. EXTREME TURBULENCE AND SURFACE WIND GUSTS TO 60
KNOTS. A FEW CUMULONIMBI WITH MAXIMUM TOPS TO 500. MEAN STORM
MOTION VECTOR 27025.


...HART
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Tornadoes
Probability of 2 or more tornadoesMod (40%)

Probability of 1 or more strong (F2-F5) tornadoes
Low (20%)

Wind
Probability of 10 or more severe wind events Mod (30%)

Probability of 1 or more wind events > 65 knots
Mod (30%)

Hail
Probability of 10 or more severe hail events
High (70%)

Probability of 1 or more hailstones > 2 inches
Mod (50%)

Combined Severe Hail/Wind
Probability of 6 or more combined severe hail/wind events High (80%)
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STILL VIS
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52383
Quoting hydrus:
I dont believe we will get a named storm from that. It is a week out and the models show systems like that regularly that never develop. The CMC has a more northerly component to the system you are watching on this run..

whats up hydrus?
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 7480
Quoting Barefootontherocks:
163. ncstorm 8:25 PM GMT on April 09, 2012
Dr. Greg Forbes Torcon Index

I'm curious what his scale is. Zero to what number is the top of the scale?

Meanwhile, today's 3pm outlook from the SPC, Roger Edwards has identified a MOST PROBABLE SUPERCELLULAR GESTATION ZONE (cute) NEXT FEW HOURS... ON MANUAL AND AUTOMATED MESOANALYSES...


TOR:CON Value Descriptions

*
8:High probability of a tornado
*
6:Moderate possibility of a tornado
*
4:Low chance of a tornado nearby, but hail and/or strong wind gusts possible
*
2:Very low chance of a tornado, but hail and/or strong wind gusts possible
*
0:Near-zero chance of a tornado or a severe thunderstorm
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Quoting hydrus:
I dont believe we will get a named storm from that. It is a week out and the models show systems like that regularly that never develop. The CMC has a more northerly component to the system you are watching on this run..

That blue whirlpool on your chart, just below Alaska looks dismally depressing. Whats it lightly to do that might cause anoyance?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
163. ncstorm 8:25 PM GMT on April 09, 2012
Dr. Greg Forbes Torcon Index

I'm curious what his scale is. Zero to what number is the top of the scale?

Meanwhile, today's 3pm outlook from the SPC, Roger Edwards has identified a MOST PROBABLE SUPERCELLULAR GESTATION ZONE (cute) NEXT FEW HOURS... ON MANUAL AND AUTOMATED MESOANALYSES...
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165. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting StormTracker2K:
This could be our first named storm of the year but as a STS.

I dont believe we will get a named storm from that. It is a week out and the models show systems like that regularly that never develop. The CMC has a more northerly component to the system you are watching on this run..
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Dr. Greg Forbes Torcon Index

Monday April 9
KS southwest, south-central - 2 to 3
NM east - 2
OK west - 4
TX east panhandle - 4
TX southwest - 2
Other areas - 1 or less


Tuesday April 10
AR southwest - 2
LA north, central - 2
OK southwest - 4
OK southeast - 2
TX eastern, southern panhandle - 3
TX northeast - 2
Other areas - 1 or less


Wednesday April 11
CO southeast - 2
NM east - 2
OK southwest, west panhandle - 2
TX southern panhandle - 3
TX northern panhandle - 2
TX southwest - 2 to 3
TX north-central - 2 to 3
Other areas - 1 or less


Thursday April 12
KS west, central - 5
NE southwest - central - 5
OK west, central - 5
TX northwest - 4 to 5
Other areas - 2 or less
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Quoting weatherh98:
Nigel, where do you get your maps??

I got it from here
Link
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 7480
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 :)


Link




Its already based on technology we know that works. We just have to hope power companies would catch on to the idea. Granted it would probably mean an increase in electric bills for us all but it would be worth it in the end. Sacrifice always comes along with doing what is right for all.
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Quoting Doppler22:
I've heard alot of talk about this weekend's possible severe weather outbreak... Does anybody think it'll be as strong as the one in early March?

The severity of the storms could be similar to the Early March Outbreak. We could see some violent tornadoes, very large hail, and damaging winds on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, but since the upcoming outbreak won't be as widespread, there might not be as many tornadoes.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 4504
POPPERS
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52383
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

One thing I find interesting from your maps is that the water around all the islands (Cuba, Hispaniola, PR, Bahamas) is cooler this year than last year, even though most of it is warmer

yeah, that's interesting!
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 7480
Had a nice shower yesterday of 2.25".
Filled the cisterns to the top!
First rain in over 2 weeks.
Real Nice!

Showers in Barbados this afternoon as well, delaying the Cricket Match between Australia and West Indies.
As I typed this, we have just taken the wicket of Aussie Capt. Michael Clarke.

If anyone sees Aussie around here, tell him his team is BOO !

heheheheh
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I haven't seen FL paintd in the green shade for several months now by the CPC.
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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.