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Violent tornado rakes Tennessee

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 1:44 PM GMT on April 03, 2006

Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms ripped through Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Ohio, Tennessee, and surrounding states Sunday, killing at least 23 people. Hardest hit was northwest Tennessee, where tornadoes claimed at least 12 lives in Dyer County. Damage reports indicated that many houses in the tornado's path were completely destroyed leaving only the foundation, making it likely that the Dyer County tornado will be ranked as a violent F4 tornado (207-260 mph winds) on the Fujita scale. This would be the second F4 tornado of the year--an F4 tornado struck Monroe City, MO on March 13, as part of an 84-tornado assault on the Midwest that also featured 11 strong F3 tornadoes. There is a slight possibility that last night's Dyer County tornado was an F5--the most violent type of tornado, capable of incredible damage--but we won't know until the National Weather Service has a chance to get out today in daylight and perform a damage survey. The U.S. has not had an F5 tornado since the infamous Moore, Oklahoma tornado of 1999, which had the highest winds ever recorded in a tornado, 301 mph. The U.S. has already equalled last year total of F4 tornadoes (one), and this Spring's severe weather season is shaping up to be far more deadly and destructive than last year's unusually quiet one.


Figure 1. Damage reports for the 24 hours ending at 9am EST April 3 show the wide scope of yesterday's severe weather.

The threat for severe weather continues today. The "Moderate Risk" area in the latest outlook by the Storm Predisction Center covers a region unused to seeing tornadoes--coastal areas of North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland. A strong cold front will push across the region this afternoon, creating a squall line with embedded supercells likely to produce tornadoes, damaging straight-line thunderstorm winds, and hail golf ball size and larger. The severe weather episode will end tonight as the cold front pushes off the coast and more tranquil weather returns to the U.S.

Tomorrow: An update on the severe weather outbreak, plus a look at Dr. Bill Gray's new forecast for the hurricane season of 2006.

Jeff Masters
Severe WX in Tennessee
Severe WX in Tennessee
Here are some of the unusual cloud formations while riding in the mountains of E. Tennessee
Severe Weather
Severe Weather
I just shot this 3 minutes ago from my Front Porch!

Tornado

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

rist F5 of the year
Confirmed?
How strange - I just sign on to Wunderground, turn on my TV and start reading this entry and the news turns to the tornadoes back east. I guess it's all in the timing. Looks like some severe destruction. I feel for those that lost everything - most especially their lives.
IT HAS NOT BEEN CONFIRMED YET, the rating is unknown, but we are well overdue for an F-5
It wouldn't just be the first F-5 of the year, it would be the first F-5 of the millenium.
Yup, we certainly overdue. From the destruction I've heard it produced, I would expect it be at least F4. F5 would not surprise me, though.
So far, it has been a nasty sping, not just for the number of storms, but the number of deaths too.
I'm more interested in Dr. Gray's new forecast, but I can't find it. Wasn't it like March 31?
What was the exact time this F-4 tornado caused it's damage?
Suppose to be out today, I think Colby.
Dr. Grey's forcast comes out tomorrow
EDIT: I think it comes out today
Dr. Gray's forecast for what? Hurricane season?
Wow, NE Arkansas and the Memphis area of TN; that is where I use to live and family still does. But they are use to this type of weather and since I haven't heard from any of them this morning; they must have all come throught OK.

This time of year the storms there are so bad; almost everyone has a "storm celler" in that area.

Thanks for the info.
Anyone been in or near a tornado? When I was younger and back in NC back in the mid 80's had a F1 come across the top of the trailer I was living in. Lifted a barn off its foundations and moved it six feet, the barn beside it looked normal until you looked down the sides of it and saw the sides slighly caved in.

Sounded like the devil's train, what spooky me more was the total quiet afterwards
I was in the tornado that hit Nashville in 1998. It was an incredible experience. i was on the eleventh floor of a downtown building and watched it aproach. It was an f2 when it made a direct hit on the building I was in, a window blew out on the conference room I was in and the doors to the conference room and a couple of chairs blew out the window.
Here's SST's for the whole Atlantic; and the anomolies, which really arent all that high except in a couple isolated areas.



Gordello,

Wow, did you have to clean you undies out after the fact?

I didn't get to see too much being dark and all. Funny thing was I remenber they just had annouced on the TV they where lifing the torondo watch.
Part of the gulf is. More specifically a warm spot that is just south of LA. There's Aaso a warm spot in the BoC. There both 1-1.5C above normal. Most of the Atlantic, however, is around normal, or just a tad bit higher, and off the East coast there's significant cooler water then normal.
Wow... has anybody taken a look at all of the storm reports?



There were 669 reports on March 12, which means that yesterdays outbreak was worse, especially if you look at the number of wind reports (most of the reports on March 12 were hail). Also, yesterday's outbreak was more widespread.
Full details for yeterday's reports here
I had seen the graphic, but comparing it to the 3/12 outbreak brings it to a better light.

And cyclone, which part of the coast are you talking about?
Cyclone I have a confession to make. I was loading this page and accidentaly pressed the report as "spam" button. I couln't stop it and I officialy reported you accidentaly. Please forgive me.
Cyclone,

I'm not excactly sure how low the SST gets near the coast, but I'd say the low's 60's is about right. Maybe colder if we have a cold winter since the water is pretty shallow and more affected by air temps.
It's been lively in "Little Tornado Alley" over in Bangladesh, too, I understand (see here). A frisky spring all around.
I dont know if there are many coral reefs around the areas that get that cold, but the change is gradual over months so there isnt much stress put on them.

And yes, I saw the thunderstoms and they were quite impressive. We may have our first F5 since 1999, too.
Local radars give constant updates as the sweep around the area. Unfortunetly we cant get that kind of instant data feed over the internet, at least not for free. Accuweather may offer more real-time radar for a price, but I dont know.
News reports now say that at least 27 were killed.
Hey everyone,

My heart and deepest prayers go out to all the families, friends, and loved ones who were so adversely impacted by these devastating tornadoes (especially those who lost their lives).

It reminds me of the thesis that I wrote in college about why Hurricanes are far more devastating than tornadoes.

The point I am making is that the central premise of that thesis was indeed accurate in my humble opinion, but I would gladly endure a major hurricane where I have ample amount of time to seek safe shelter usually days in advance.

In contrast, the extreme violence of the tornado far too often strikes its unfortunate victims with little or no advance warning whatsoever, where they find themselves helplessly hoping that they will somehow manage to survive the relatively small but truly incomprehensible voilent fury of a tornado!

Honestly, many people naturally question the logic of me intercepting hurricanes and either think I am "crazy" or "brave" which in my humble opinion believe that neither of the two adjectives accuractely apply.

However, I know that I could never be brave enough to chase a tornado nor do I ever want to see one with my own eyes much less find myself just as unfortunate as those poor souls last night who had to endure the intense core of one of these true freaks of nature.

In short, I pray that this tornado season comes to a screaching halt as quickly as possible and that no more innocent lives will be lost to any more of them.

Thanks,
Tony


Do different states have different ideas about when to sound the tornado sirens? I was placed under a tornado warning 30 minutes in advance of a storm. If we are under a tornado watch every severe storm is enough for them to sound the sirens, whether there is a tornado or not.
Dr. Masters, I have a question in the statement that you made about the tornado in Moore, OK in '99 that had a wind reading of 301mph. I was in the Xenia tornado in the 70's and as far as I know this is the only tornado that to this day, the NWS wanted to rate this as an F6. Did the Moore, OK tornado surpass this? Thanks for the answer!!
Hey everyone,

I just wanted to post one last comment before I have to get back to work.

I want to personally commend all those of you who were here keeping everyone abreast throughtout these tragic events last night as they were unfolding.

I also want to clarify that my thesis was about hurricanes being far more devastating than tornadoes for obvious reasons (i.e. massive geographical size of area impacted, storm surges, etc.).

However, there is no doubt that the core of a violent tornado is truly unmatched in ferocity by any other storm on the planet including a major hurricane (which overall are still the most devastating storms on earth).

Once again, I will take a major hurricane over trying to helplessly survive a violent tornado anyday.

I hope you all have a great day.:)

Thanks,
Tony


Hurricane Beta update is out and the last update from the 2005 hurricane year is now out by the nhc
What loop? I see a site on coral.
Cyclone now it's a link to this very page! lol
Umm............ Second link isn't getting me anywhere.
You got it!!! Yey!!!!!! lol!
it worked that time.
Link

wow you all got to look at this link there will be all most no sher in the gulf on day 6 wow! so look out so look at the link and say wow! oh the red means no shear at all
That is not a six day forecast. That only goes 72 hours in advance.
louastu ok 72 hour out then but wow! look
Oh my... low shear in the western Gulf and the GFS forecasts a warm-core system to develop... Alberto?
tx start keeping a eye on the gulf you no what the most of the red where there no shear is vary low and the bule meane vary high shear not low shear and thhe drak bule means vary vary high shear
Hmmm...shallow warm core but definately a threat Michael
It will at least be something to pay attention to.
where would it be going
Hurricane Beta update is out and the last update from the 2005 hurricane year is now out by the nhc
Michael, the wind shear forecast only goes out to 72 hours and the warm core system is forecast to form in 114 hours. The wind shear needs to stay low for 3 days after that forecast david gave.
are the water temps hit for the low to pop up
Here is tropical forecast models that have wind shear forecasts. On the list select "850-200 mb shear," and select forecast hour.
sorry for my trps i sould watch what i say be for i post lol
i did it one more time i sould watch out be for i post
By the way, the NHC still has three East Pacific reports to complete!
Scratch the violent..... how about killer tornado!
Prayers for the families....



My local utility company is still reporting over 46,000 customers without power (this would be like 100,000 people).
I am not sure how many people actually lost power in Indiana last night, but I know that when I said 5,200 my information was outdated. During the morning rush hour there were around 38,000 customers still without power.

Unfortunately I have not heard any reports since around 5:00 AM local time.
cyclone,

Are you seeing actual closed off low level circulations? Or just disturbances?
Here is a local news report on yesterday's storms here.

Link
Alright, just making sure. They're pretty scrawny though. There would need to be a real good fire up in convection if a good low level center wants to get going.

That mid-upper level feature in the middle Atlantic has quite a bit of spin. Looks like its at the tail end of a trough, might break away, but shear will probably be too high for anything to happen.
Anyone see the pictures of the damage in downtown indy? They still don't know if it was a tornado or not, but the uppar part of one of the biggest buildings in Indy had glass blown out and some damage done inside the building.

Ya, I have seen it. I live in Plainfield Indiana, which is about 15 miles away from Downtown Indianapolis. It is the third tallest building in Indiana at 36 stories. It apparently got hit by wind gusts in excess of 80 mph.
I hope this works.

Link
Wow, my first link ever and it worked perfectly!!!
yeah I drove along the south side of downtown on 70 JUST after the storm passed. Looked north and could see water shooting from the west side of the building near the top. apparently (according to the radio guy) it was a busted sprinkler line or something like that. A really eerie sight.
We didn't really get anything here. We had a tornado warning, but all that happened here was a downpour that lasted about 2 minutes, winds gusting to 30 mph, and some flashes of lightning.

Just a few miles North, in Avon, there was at least 1 large tree reported down. Mooresville, Brownsburg, and Elwood had 60+ mph wind gusts. And Indianapolis had an 82 mph wind gust.
To give an idea of how insignificant the storm was at my location, we moved to Plainfield just over a year ago, and already we have lost power 3 times (2 of those due to storms, and of the 2 storms only 1 was actually severe).
So 80 mph took out the walls of that building!
Good ole American 'smoke and mirrors' downtown construction, financed on 100 year city bonds.
I have already lost power 3 times in the last month, as well as a dozen times or more last year (as well as having half a dozen trees blown down, minor house damage, etc in my neighborhood). Also, water leaks into my basement whenever a long period of heavy rain occurs.
That 82 mph gust was probably measured close to the ground. It is likely that the upper floors would have experienced a higher gust than what would be observed at ground level.

During the severe storm we had last year that knocked out the power, water started pouring into our basement. We have 2 sump pumps down there, but because we had no power the water got to about an inch deep.
Oh, and that happened in under a minute.
Hey take a look at this. The low level circulation centers cyclone was talking about north of Puerto Rico are trying to fire up a little convection. Link
I was just reading some of the reports from yesterday. I found a report of 4.50 inch diameter hail in Centerville, Missouri.
come on A storm of 2006 youcan do it what are the ch
The line of convection heading toward DC is just 'esplodeene'.
Yes it is getting pretty nasty out there.
The convection heading toward Richmond is worse.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning

VAC075-085-087-145-760-032300-
/O.NEW.KAKQ.SV.W.0029.060403T2237Z-060403T2300Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WAKEFIELD VA
637 PM EDT MON APR 3 2006

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN WAKEFIELD HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
CITY OF RICHMOND IN CENTRAL VIRGINIA
GOOCHLAND COUNTY IN CENTRAL VIRGINIA
HANOVER COUNTY IN CENTRAL VIRGINIA
HENRICO COUNTY IN CENTRAL VIRGINIA
POWHATAN COUNTY IN CENTRAL VIRGINIA

* UNTIL 700 PM EDT

* AT 631 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS
OF 60 MPH. THIS STORM WAS LOCATED NEAR OILVILLE...OR ABOUT 7 MILES
EAST OF GOOCHLAND...AND MOVING EAST AT 45 MPH.

* THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WILL BE NEAR...LONGDALE...GLEN ALLEN...
SOLOMONS STORE AND LAUREL BY 650 PM EDT...ATLEE...CHAMBERLAYNE...
ASHCAKE AND HANOVER AIRPORT BY 655 PM EDT...

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

PLEASE SEND YOUR REPORTS OF HAIL AND/OR WIND DAMAGE...INCLUDING TREES
OR LARGE LIMBS DOWNED...BY CALLING NOAA'S NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
TOLL FREE AT...1...800...7 3 7...8 6 2 4.

LAT...LON 3801 7771 3760 7786 3749 7744 3776 7735

$$

WAMSLEY




Here is a better visible shot. It might not work though.
It worked!!! So you can do images from the NASA site. Sweet!
That lone supercell in N. Carolina looks really nasty, too. Appears to have the highest cloud tops of em all.
good job,levi....wish we could get closer up (visual or radar) to baltimore...
Yeah I wish so too aquak.
Storms moving into D.C. Baltimore is next...

those sst anomolies mentioned earlier, right of the coast of florida in the gulf they are way in the blue. I want to go for a swim, and sometimes warmer is better.
Yeah, but the cold areas this year match last year's - the Sargasso Sea, coast of Florida, and extreme east atl.
Yeah the SST anomily from last year matches this year pretty well, save the Gulf is hotter. If the gif isn't animated hit refresh, it stops once it goes through a few times. The start is March 20, 2005. Ending on March 19, 2006. Can get a decient comparasion as it starts over again. It really shows the birth of La Nina.

Credit~ NOAA-CIRES

At least someone corrected my error from last night~ Thanks Jeff... That's the second time I said East when I ment West while blogging latenight.
hey : JeffMasters where are you at? and how bad was your sever weather was?
Weekly ENSO update

Credit~NOAA/CPC/NCEP
interesting~ the hot grows cooler, while the cold grows warmer...
I noticed that the cold waters off the east coast are quite similar but that the caribbean and gulf temps are kinda reversed. Last year at this time the gulf was normal and the caribbean was warm, now we have a warm gulf and a normal caribbean. I wonder if climatology has predictions for things like that?
Doesn't look like todays damage will be near anything like yesterdays Link. No tornado reports, 102 hail reports~ nothing over golf ball size & 52 wind reports. As far as wind damage~ 2 homes lost a roof, the rest is tree damage. No injurys reported:)
Hawaii Residents See Sun After More Than 40 Days Of Rain
hightlights~

Nearly 92 inches of rain were recorded during March at Mount Waialeale, which is considered the rainiest spot on the planet. The previous record was about 90 inches in April 1971, according to the National Weather Service. & none too soon.

Kahala Mall closed and was evacuated shortly before 1 p.m. Friday because of ankle-deep water in the shopping center. Water also cascaded down stairways into the mall's warehouse, one floor down from the ground level. Store clerks barely had time to move their merchandise to higher ground.

Roundtop Drive, which already had been the scene of several mudslides, saw several major slides Friday. Cars were buried under one slide, which also undermined the roadway, KITV reported.
92 inches? This says 126 inches (scroll down).
wow thoes pictures of the dammage are just so sad. I have a fealing that thoes will be upgraded to F-5 tornadows after the NWS takes there survay of the dammage.
Does anyone remember the Super outbreak of tornadoes that occured EXACTLY 32 years ago? I thought about this when those tornadoes hit this time.
Australia may be dealing with another cyclone in a few days, depending on the direction it moves:



Dvorak says 35 kts and stronger than earlier today.
This says that it will make landfall in about 5 days.
Not the 1st time accuweather & NOAA had a difference of opinion. My source was off too, though atleast only 1.71 shy.
RAIN SINCE MARCH RECORD RECORD FOR
FEB 19 RAIN MARCH ANY MONTH/YR
KAUAI...
MOUNT WAIALEALE 130.40 93.71** 81.95(1951) 90.07 APR71
That didn't copy & paste so well...here's the link
MOUNT WAIALEALE

RAIN SINCE FEB 19 130.40
MARCH RAIN 93.71
RECORD MARCH 81.95(1951)
RECORD FOR ANY MONTH/YR 90.07 APR71
130.4 inches since February 19 - that means that AccuWeather probably was not talking about March rainfall only.
Dr. Gray's team has posted the April 4th update :) It doesn't seem as if there has been much change, if any, to the inital December forecast. Still looks like an active one.

April 4th Update

Have a great day guys!
copied from your link~ Mount Waialeale has racked up 116.25" in the past 30 days.

The tourism hasn't stopped in Hawaii. That's Disney (Parent owner of accuweather chasing customers to Fl). Notice too, accuweather predicted it wouldn't let up this week & finally has.