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Fall tornado rips Indiana

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 5:01 PM GMT on November 07, 2005

An rare November tornado killed 22 and injured over 200 as it ripped through mobile home park near Evansville, Indiana at 2 am Sunday morning. A preliminary damage survey of the tornado indicates that it was an F3 on the Fujita damage scale. Winds in an F3 tornado range from 158 mph to 206 mph. The tornado was 1500 feet wide, and had a 15-20 mile long damage path. The squall line of supercell thunderstorms that spawned the tornado was very low-topped, with echo tops of only 10-15 thousand feet. More typically, severe thunderstorm echo tops reach 40,000 feet. Forward motion of the line was exceptionally fast, estimated at 70 to 75 mph.

A separate strong F2 tornado touched down in central Kentucky in Munfordville. This tornado had a 200 yard wide path and traveled one mile through the center of Munfordville, causing significant damage to roofs in the downtown area. No injuries or deaths occurred with this tornado. A third tornado, also rated at F2 with 140 mph winds, touched down in Kentucky about 50 miles southwest of Evansville, Indiana. This tornado injured five as it cut a 150 yard wide, 11-mile long swath of damage.

Figure 1. Damage to a mobile home park near Evansville, Indiana. Image credit: Paducah, KY NWS.

Tornado outbreaks in the Fall are uncommon compared to the Spring in the Midwestern United States. The most recent Fall tornado to affect the Midwest occurred when an F4 tornado struck Ohio near the Indiana border on November 10, 2003, killing four and injuring 26. One might expect Fall to have a similar level of tornado activity compared to Spring, since strong cold air masses interact with warm, humid air masses in both seasons. However, there are important differences between the seasons. For example, the amount of sunlight is much lower in the Fall, when we are approaching the annual minima of sunlight on the December 21 Winter Solstice. With autumn's longer nights, morning temperatures are usually cooler than in Spring. This cooling causes more atmospheric inversions, where the temperature at the surface is cooler than it is aloft. This increases the stability of an air mass, and stable air is a strong deterrent to storm formation. Of the 25 most deadly tornadoes to affect the U.S., only one has occurred in the Fall.

Figure 2. The annual cycle of tornado activity for southern Indiana shows strong peak in Spring, and just a slight peak late in the Fall. Image credit: NOAA Storm Prediction Center.

Jeff Masters
Indiana/Kentucky Tornado - Ellis Race Track Backside 1
Indiana/Kentucky Tornado - Ellis Race Track Backside 1
There used to be what appears to be apartments in the background and horse stalls in the foreground.


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

Anyone seen a tornado? I saw one accross the river driving down SR50 east back in 1998...it was over KSC. It was beautiful here in my town, but a dark omnious cloud over KSC and a long skinny rope looking cloud coming from it...didn't cause any damage...I guess they get them out there regularly.
I also remember Erin in 1995 produced a tornado that traveled N on US1 in my town too...Link Erin's Link
I've seen one in my lifetime. Living in Arkansas back in the 70's. Thankfully the thing picked up and went over our house and, unfortunately, set down a few houses away from us. Will never forget that!
.....good afternoon Stormy :-)
Hey 65, that was karma on your side...mother nature and karma work hand in hand, in my opinion. :-)
I believe that you are right.
I got a response back to my e-mail to Anheuser-Busch. All they sent me was their recycling history with their Breweries, which looks very good, even though I asked about their theme parks. I sent them another e-mail asking about their theme parks again, so I will see what they send this time.
I saw the path of one that struck at night in rural Colorado. It was about 200 ft. wide, set down and moved about two miles. Picked up about 1/4 mile from our house and set down about 1/2 mile beyond our house and went along for about four more miles. Fortunately, it only swept farmland, but straw was stuck in power poles and the ground was clean where it on the ground. Sure glad it hopped the house.
ITS MONDAY!!!! I just spilt a whole entire large cup of coffee ALL OVER MY DESK and important papers while talking on the phone, looking up an invoice, reconciling the bank and pulling a drawer open...Urrg!
Well, thank goodness this day is half over...can it get worse? I hope not!!
stormy...I'm sure that it won't get any worse :-)
...on the bright side stormy, you are pretty good a multi-tasking :-)
65, kerigangirl put two links on my blog Link for them...I filled them both out...and Im fixing to put my response from Busch Gardens on my blog...they are full of $h!t
stormy, I just thought that it was intersting the response they gave me.
I hate when the rest of the state is having a nice sunny day Link and we have this!
storm. I saw one close up. Xenia Ohio, April 3rd, 1974
65, heehee, I brushed it off...Accept the things I cannot change...now I just got a bigger mess, thats all! On the positive side it smells like coffee everywhere and I love that smell! :-)
65, Busch Gardens claims they recycle.. B.S. Same with Universal...They cannot lie, I was just at both parks last month. I really appreciate you helping me/us/the Earth...I have a feeling this is gonna be a toughie....did you read what they said on my blog? Check it out when you get a chance...
65, if you want post what they said on my blog :-)
Looking for a place in Georgia to move to...........Don't want to be in Palm Beach county next year.... Gives me hives
Just enjoying the beautiful sunny weather here in Tampa...we're just getting into my favorite time of year here...highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s...sunny and dry...perpetual fall until next April...and NO HURRICANES...ya gotta love it!
melly....Warner Robins Ga is a nice place to live
melly, did the tornado cause any damage? Everyone all right?
Stormy...saw it, and I don't believe it either
Tampasteve...over here on the east coast we have had sprinkles off and on today
whats up with the sun? It was a pretty weekend...I guess Id rather have this cloudy day today then yesterday...and I guess it must be an east coast thing since Steve has some sun! :-)
thanks 65 :-) I really, really appreciate it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
stormy, The Xenia Ohio tornado of April 3rd ,1974 was an F5. One of the strongest ever recorded. Literally destroyed Xenia. 35 killed in my town. i knew many of them. I have seen Andrew, but in a smaller scale ,this was total devistation
Melly, Id be in the mountains if it weren't for the family here in FL...those hurricanes last year were too much and, although we were spared here in Brevard Cty this year, it doesn't lessen the anxiety for next year.

I have seen about seven, all different sizes. I've also seen about 4 - 5 waterspouts and loads of funnel clouds. The largest was when I was traveling across Kansas back in the late sixties or early seventies. We were miles away, and it still seemed huge.

The most recent may not technically be a tornado, but it's the one that was closest to me. During Wilma, our neighbor's roof was ripped off and tossed onto our roof and cars. The sheets of metal were then picked up and spun in a cyclone that did not actually touch the ground but stayed about 15-18 feet above our street. It then dissipated or rose back up and dropped the roof pieces onto our house and lawn. My daughter tried to get film footage, but we haven't had a chance to check her vid-cam yet.

Just don't ask me about lightning strikes! LOL!!

weatherdude. I've been looking in the Acworth, Roswell, Canton, & Woodstock area
WOW Melly, that is scarey! Did it happen at night or during the day?
stormy, I love the weather in Florida, but now I break out in hives when I hear the word "Hurricane", just kidding but close to the truth
mouseybabe, seems to me your at the wrong place at the wrong time... and lightning worse for you? I hope you have good karma! Just glad everyone was alright from Wilma's baby spawn...that was probably very freaky!!!
stormy, The Xenia tornado happened April 3rd, 1974, at 3:40 PM. Go to google search and type in "Xenia tornado". Horrific.
I know what you mean Melly....Need a bottle of Valiums just to make it thru a Florida summer now. LOL
stormy....anything I can do to help out :-)
stormy, valiums, beer, rum, ..Stormy, i was one of the last few female USAF weather observers before they disbanded us way back in 19 **
oh, boss is back...I need to finish drying my papers out and get my butt back to work, pronto...talk to you all tomorrow...have a great night!!! TGMAO (thank god monday's almost over) ha/ha
Take care stormy
melly..beautiful there as well
oh ya Link for the Xenia Tornado...will check it later Melly when I finish my work. Thanks!
BYE :-)
Stormy, just popped in the new blog after replying to jcasey. Wow, can tell he/she has not been around! Will check your blog. Thanks for the info to you and 65. Was at Universal last weekend. Will put in my 2 cents. The mountains are rough too though, lots of ice storms in the Appalachian's if that is what you are referring to. Would rather be here without power than freezing to death!
bye stormy..have a good night :-)
Hey all...
hey 21
I feel so sorry for the folks that went through the tornado... That is just horrible..
I've heard a few tornadoes... One when I was little, it was storming and a tornado warning came on tv. So we got in the hallway and about 5 minutes later it started hailing and our walls felt like they were breathing, it was really really loud... The tornado passed over us and didn't touch down until it reached Hwy 29 & 9 mile road in Ensley, FL.. It destroyed a loacl hardware store..

I also heard 3 small tornadoes in Hurricane Ivan... And finally, I once saw 2 waterspouts over Pensacola Bay coming home (on the bridge) from the beach..
Gee, the blog just died.. :-(
Western New York had the Tornado Warning, strong winds and large sized hail did fall in a few locations. No known Tornado's touched down in these locations.
What's a good severe weather blog?
Hey all, is there any one on here tonight???
Ivan has the all-time record, and dropped a bunch of tornadoes in the DC area, including one right up the street from our friend in Northern VA...it was craziness...
I been away for a few days, darn reality sucking all my time. Hopefully I can post some more weather photos in a couple of days. And maybe it will finally get cold up in my neck of the woods. Sunday was 72 up here, its usually 20 degrees colder by this time of year.
I discussed this tornado with my buddy. Of course he saw nothing when it hit as he was hunkered down. Ten minutes before it hit he called his sister on his cell phone and his parents. His parents house was hit but was on the periphery suffering only trees down, a smashed car and few shingles blown off the house. Ten minutes and a cell phone call were all that separated them from disaster.

One of the most interesting phenomema from this tornado and the one that went through my front yard a few years ago is the even pasting of small leaves on vertical surfaces that are normal to the wind. You see this from the ground to the peak of the roof on houses and from ground to roof on cars.
Dang how'd I miss this...

Thanks Dr. Masters.