Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:22 PM GMT on March 14, 2006
Violent tornadoes of up to F3 intensity ripped through Missouri, Illinois, and many other states over the weekend, according to preliminary damage surveys conducted by the National Weather Service. The first violent tornado on Saturday that struck St. Mary, MO and killed two people was an F3 tornado (158-206 MPH). Ironically, the two were killed as they fled the tornado in their car. They drove directly into the tornado, which hurled their car into a large propane storage tank. Their house survived the storm--more evidence of why you take shelter in a building during a tornado, and not try to escape in your car.
Two tornadoes struck Springfield, IL on Sunday night, and both were rated as F2 tornadoes with 120 mph winds, according to an NWS storm survey performed yesterday. The tornadoes were over a half mile wide at times, and had damage paths 5.5 and 4 miles long, respectively.
A supercell produced an F3 tornado (158-206 MPH) with a 31 mile long path in Webster County, Missouri. Another F3 tornado with a 40 mile long track passed through mostly rural land between Verona and Christianville, MO. An F2 tornado hit Gravois Mills, and numerous other F0 and F1 tornadoes also passed through Missouri. Damage surveys are not yet complete for some of the other violent tornadoes that affected the area, but I will pass along the results when they become available.
F0 40 MPH TO 72 MPH
F1 73 MPH TO 112 MPH
F2 113 MPH TO 157 MPH
F3 158 MPH TO 206 MPH
F4 207 MPH TO 260 MPH
F5 261 MPH TO 318 MPH
March Madness forecast contest
If you want to try your luck (or skill) at forecasting, The University of Michigan's Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Science is sponsoring its annual "WeatherDance" forecasting contest for the duration of the NCAA basketball tournament. The object is to forecast which of the two teams' campuses will be warmer (or cooler, it alternates between rounds) on the day of the tournament game. Hence the teams that advance in the Weather Tournament will not necessarily be the same teams that advance in the basketball tournament. You can play the men's or women's bracket, or both. It is free to participate--register at weatherdance.org to play. One Grand Prize winner will be the guest of the University of Michigan on an expense-paid tornado chase May 29-June 2 in Tornado Alley (but must be at least 18 years of age). Sixteen additional participants will win signed copies of the excellent book, Extreme Weather, by Chris Burt. It's no problem if you don't know where Gonzaga or Northwestern State University are, there are links for each college's home page on the forecast entry page. It's pretty easy to participate, but you must make your first forecast by midnight Wednesday (tomorrow!)
Good luck to all participants!
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