Tornadoes kill 21 in Missouri and Oklahoma

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:44 PM GMT on May 11, 2008

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Killer tornadoes swept through Oklahoma and Missouri, yesterday, killing at least 21 people. Hardest hit were the towns of Picher, OK, where seven died, and Seneca, MO, where ten died. Damage photos I saw from these towns showed buildings swept clean from their foundations, indicative of at least EF-4 damage, and possibly EF-5. Yesterday's deaths brings the 2008 U.S. tornado death toll up to 96--the most tornado fatalities since 1998, when 130 people died. With at least another month left in peak tornado season, 2008 already ranks as the 12th deadliest year in the 59-year record.


Figure 1. Storm damage reports from the Saturday, May 10 tornado outbreak. Image credit: NOAA Storm Prediction Center.

Today's severe weather forecast
Severe weather is not done with the region yet--the Storm Prediction Center has placed much of the Southeast under their "Slight Risk" category for severe weather today. Two tornadoes have already been reported today, one in Georgia, and one in Kentucky. The Weather Underground Severe Weather page and Tornado page are good places to go to follow today's severe weather. A more significant chance of tornadoes and severe weather is expected Wednesday and Thursday over the deep south, from eastern Texas to Alabama.

Storm chasing with Mike Theiss
No word yet from Wunderblogger Mike Theiss on which storms he intercepted during yesterday's mayhem. Mike is in Tornado Alley this week, performing his annual chase efforts. Be sure to catch his spectacular photos and chase accounts.

Jeff Masters

Tornado over McAlester, OK (obso)
Another view of tornado from downtown McAlester.
Tornado over McAlester, OK
Rainbow Left, Funnel Right, House Middle (Californiaboy)
The back edge of a tornadic storm as it left the town of Tom Bean, TX. This storm produced several weak funnels, none of which I ever saw touch down. Still a breathtaking site.
Rainbow Left, Funnel Right, House Middle
Wallcloud near Lacrosse, Kansas (MikeTheiss)
Photo of a wallcloud crossing road near lacrosse, Kansas on May 25, 2008. Photo copyight Mike Theiss
Wallcloud near Lacrosse, Kansas

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155. presslord
9:01 PM EDT on May 11, 2008
last year on June 3 TS Barry created quite a bit of trouble here for us...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10479
153. Chicklit
1:01 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
It's bone dry and windy as hell here in east Central Florida. Does anyone know if/when we're gonna get some rain?
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152. presslord
9:00 PM EDT on May 11, 2008
I don't know about the Pitcher tornado taz...but I can tell you the Johns Island SC tornado was a figment of someone's imagination....
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10479
151. hurricane23
1:00 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
147. CaneAddict 8:57 PM EDT on May 11, 2008
More like the next 6 maybe even 7 weeks look clear of activity.Maybe an invest or two without any significant development.

Theres no way you can predict almost 2 months away. Terra was being reasonable and saying 2 weeks. In 2 weeks you can say 2 weeks from then you have to go with the flow not jump 2 months ahead.

Dont worry the blobs will come but just because its june1 in no way does it mean all hell will brake loose.Typically in a normal season june/july are very slow for tropical cyclone development.Iam thinking this year will be no different.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13621
150. Stormchaser2007
1:00 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
Large area of convection about to come off Africa soon....

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15776
149. Tazmanian
12:58 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
has any one find any news on how storng the Picher Tornado was???
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114652
148. hurricane23
12:58 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
Recorded a high of 95 degrees with my vantage pro 2 near the NHC close to FIU.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13621
147. CaneAddict
12:57 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
More like the next 6 maybe even 7 weeks look clear of activity.Maybe an invest or two without any significant development.

Theres no way you can predict almost 2 months away. Terra was being reasonable and saying 2 weeks. In 2 weeks you can say 2 weeks from then you have to go with the flow not jump 2 months ahead.
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2151
146. pottery
12:56 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
Evening, everyone.
Looking at the wave off Brazil/ FrenchGuiana. Still holding together, in spite of a lot of dry air north of it. Lost a good deal of its moisture though.
Hopefully, it will migrate a little further north in the next day or two, and drop some rains here in Trinidad.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23895
145. nrtiwlnvragn
12:55 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
Powerpoint Presentation from TPC An Early Perspective of the 2008 Hurricane Season

CONCLUSIONS (Above Average Season Potential Exists)

ENSO phase of La Nina continues…however the signal has been weakening with SOI
near long term neutral value. (A number of dynamical/statistical ENSO models are
predicting a shift to neutral late in season)

ENSO predictors are unreliable during the spring which increases difficulty in forecasting
phase during the peak of the season. (July forecast update significantly more reliable)

AMM (Atlantic Meridional Mode – low SLP anomalies, high SST departures/E. Atl, weak
Azores high, low shear, low-level convergence, low static stability) and Multi-decadal
Signal (slides) continue to suggest long term favorable conditions over the MDR
(main development region).

Of interesting note, over the past 40 years, instances of powerful and devastating TCs that
existed in the Bay of Bengal were prior to El Nino phases, ’71 ~400,000 dead; ’82 ~60,000;
’91 ~140,000 dead; ’08?)
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 10838
144. melwerle
12:55 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
Press - Kite was apparently destroyed altogether...that's what the news is reporting to us at this point.
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 1837
142. hurricane23
12:54 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
135. TerraNova 8:40 PM EDT on May 11, 2008
What would the steering currents look like for that now? We've seen storms (especially STS) deal with a little shear.

The steering currents at the 850mb level (for weak storms and waves) would put it ashore in Nicaragua, not giving it enough time to develop as it would be accelerated to the west far too fast.

I think the next two weeks look clear of activity.

More like the next 6 maybe even 7 weeks look clear of activity.Maybe an invest or two without any significant development.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13621
141. presslord
12:53 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
mel....I used to work for a member of Congress from GA...Kite was in our district...What happened there?
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10479
139. melwerle
12:48 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
just give mcintosh county a break for tonight - i feel sorry for those folks - understand that Kite, GA is all but gone.
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 1837
138. HIEXPRESS
12:48 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
134, 135
Playing it safe. LOL
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
137. NorthxCakalaky
12:47 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
Looks like this 3day severe weather will end Monday in N.C.

Cold air pushing from the mountains will be moving east and so will the severe weather going to the ocean.

** Cold air will meet with moisture on Grandfather Mountain and some of the Highest peaks in the state to produce light snow.**Other locations could be impacted are the peaks around Grandfather and the Black Mountains.No accumulation EXPECTED.High wind warnings should prevent snow to sticking.
136. melwerle
12:45 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
just give mcintosh county a break for tonight - i feel sorry for those folks - understand that Kite, GA is all but gone.
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 1837
135. TerraNova
12:40 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
What would the steering currents look like for that now? We've seen storms (especially STS) deal with a little shear.

The steering currents at the 850mb level (for weak storms and waves) would put it ashore in Nicaragua, not giving it enough time to develop as it would be accelerated to the west far too fast.

I think the next two weeks look clear of activity.
Member Since: July 30, 2007 Posts: 76 Comments: 4063
134. extreme236
12:34 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
I seriously doubt any development will take place yet.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
133. HIEXPRESS
12:32 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
130. MichaelSTL 8:25 PM EDT

"the year before"
1976
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
132. melwerle
12:31 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
I agree with you press - they scared us terribly today but then they came on and said even though it's starting to warm up and be sunny now after the storm - that is the biggest threat - now we are really in for trouble. So now I've been watching wx all night - I gotta say - for nothing going on in the low country - you don't have to stir it up for excitement.
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 1837
131. HIEXPRESS
12:30 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
128. JFLORIDA 8:20 PM EDT
Good call- apparent brief TVS with that, high tops, tstm wng up
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
129. CaneAddict
12:24 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
...TROPICAL WAVES...
TROPICAL WAVE IS ALONG 49W S OF 9N MOVING W 10-15 KT. SCATTERED
MODERATE CONVECTION IS FROM THE EQUATOR TO 6N BETWEEN 43W AND
THE NE COAST OF BRAZIL. THIS WAVE IS EXPECTED TO REACH THE
EASTERN CARIBBEAN ON TUE.


Once in the Western Caribbean, Development is possible...
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2151
127. NorthxCakalaky
12:20 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
Link

Eastern N.C. Few tornadoe warnings.
126. HIEXPRESS
12:20 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
92. sammywammybamy 6:06 PM
The long range GFS has been predicting something for a few runs now.... looks like a TS off the coast of Honduras/Nicaragua. Too far out to mean anything though
118. TerraNova 7:51 PM
...I think it's unlikely due to it being 300+ hours out, and being too close to land. It's very hard for storms to develop in the SW Caribbean unless there is a southerly steering current, or else they ram into shore before they can do anything


What would the steering currents look like for that now? We've seen storms (especially STS) deal with a little shear.
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
125. NorthxCakalaky
12:18 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
I hope this weather pattern changes in N.C. I know its May,(severe-weather month).
For three days there has been 3hailstorms and 2days of several tornado warnings.

The deadly EF3 tornadoe that ripped thru Advance,North Carolina has now reported another funnel.(I would not be surprised that just today Eastern N.C has around half dozen confirmed tornadoes.)

Where I live we had a small hail-storm this morning which I guess saved my area of getting more severe weather durring daylight.Around the time the Sun came up we had clouds and fog with temps at 49-53degrees aross the county.I noticed when you get fog, most of the time you dont get severe weather.
124. presslord
12:13 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
Well....we just rode all over Johns Island....and saw not so much as a twig in the road...ran into stormjunkie....I think maybe he saw a tree down on the side of the road...please allow me to vent: the local Charleston media had us all scared crapless...it's just unforgivable to create that sort of hysteria without any basis in reality...at any rate, all is well in the Lowcountry...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10479
123. melwerle
12:11 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
Hi Guys and Gals (god did that make me sold OLD)...

weather to the south of us was awful all day - I am hoping the folks there are okay - all day long warnings for them. Tornados, Tstorms etc - they don't separate our county from theirs and we were lucky. Something of their store landed on the 95 and there was a warning of some sort - I haven't heard much since we haven't turned on the news yet but this day was rather exhausting starting with me waking up the kids at 8:15 in the am telling them to gte into the bathroom to hide. being from the west, I'm not used to this...

Having a glass of vino now to ease out of the day - anything interesting going on?
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 1837
122. HIEXPRESS
12:00 AM GMT on May 12, 2008
113. CaneAddict 7:26 PM EDT on May 11, 2008 Hide this comment.
112. HIEXPRESS 11:21 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
1976 season started early

So what are you saying?

CaneAddict
Are you asking if I wanted to go out on a limb & say that, we would have a similar start to the season as the year before the 1977 climate change, a year with a similar waning LaNina? PDO

Nope! Wasn't even thinking that. Just plucked it out of mid air.
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
120. stormdude77
11:53 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
8:00pm discussion on the CATL Tropical wave...

...TROPICAL WAVES...
TROPICAL WAVE IS ALONG 49W S OF 9N MOVING W 10-15 KT. SCATTERED
MODERATE CONVECTION IS FROM THE EQUATOR TO 6N BETWEEN 43W AND
THE NE COAST OF BRAZIL. THIS WAVE IS EXPECTED TO REACH THE
EASTERN CARIBBEAN ON TUE.


Yes...So my rain chances should increase!
119. all4hurricanes
11:52 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
You know where you see news reporters video tape cars going through puddles while their poncho blows in the wind during a T.S or hurricane
Thats what is like in VA heavy rain strong wind gust an minor flooding this is the heaviest rain I have ever seen just 5 inches this afternoon. The mudslides haven't escalated though but I'm sure they will by this morning
Member Since: March 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2342
118. TerraNova
11:51 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
92. sammywammybamy 6:06 PM EDT on May 11, 2008 Hide this comment.
Any Chance of Development in The Atlantic Basin?

The long range GFS has been predicting something for a few runs now.... looks like a TS off the coast of Honduras/Nicaragua. Too far out to mean anything though

I would think that the GFS is hinting the TS to come from the Tropical wave currently near 50W.


Is see it; it's been placed near the coast of Costa Rica. I think it's unlikely due to it being 300+ hours out, and being too close to land. It's very hard for storms to develop in the SW Caribbean unless there is a southerly steering current, or else they ram into shore before they can do anything.
Member Since: July 30, 2007 Posts: 76 Comments: 4063
117. AWeatherLover
11:48 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
Hey all, my mother called me and said there was a storm that produced many tornadoes, and almost looked like it had an eye. Now my mom tries, but she doesn't know much about weather. I have been without tv or Internet most of this weekend so I'm not sure when this "eye" occurred. Do any you have any more info on this? I still shot would be over and above... Thanks!
Member Since: November 2, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 431
116. Skyepony (Mod)
11:43 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
Yeah it's like a potentail firestorm building quick around here...I-95 (Brevard, Indian River), US1 in Brevard, LPGA up in Volusia, Friday road in Cocoa, Weber in Malabar..Closed. Fire near I-4.. Alotta major arteries. I reprised my Fire blog with the links & posted the road closings in the there.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37169
115. HIEXPRESS
11:32 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
Several new Brush fires along the east coast of Florida, not the least of which is the 600 Acre fire in Brevard that has I-95 shut down - maybe until tomorrow.
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
113. CaneAddict
11:26 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
112. HIEXPRESS 11:21 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
1976 season started early


So what are you saying?
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2151
112. HIEXPRESS
11:21 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
1976 season started early
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
111. CaneAddict
11:21 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
Hey folks!
I now have my forum page ready to be used! Come discuss the different topics with me and others!

Click here!

Either go to the "Tropical Forum" page or you can discuss my blog on my blog page which is here

thanks!
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2151
110. presslord
11:06 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
the modify button still isn't cooperating....sorry for the duplication
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10479
109. presslord
11:04 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
the weird thing about this was....it happened 1/2 mile from me...yet I heard and saw nothing....just a bit of rain....
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10479
108. CaneAddict
11:03 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
107. franck 11:02 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
presslord...let us know. I really like Charleston area.


They have fixed the "Modify Comment" button....So when you make a mistake just click it, Thanks ;)
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2151
107. franck
11:02 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
presslord...let us know. I really like Charleston area.
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106. franck
11:01 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
presslord...let us know. I really like Charleston are.
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105. presslord
10:59 PM GMT on May 11, 2008
all is clear...gonna go ride around and see what's damaged...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10479

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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.