Severe Weather Outbreak Winding Down in East and Southeast

Jonathan Belles
Published: March 1, 2017

The two-day severe weather outbreak that hammered the Midwest, East and Southeast with tornadoes, damaging winds and hail Tuesday into Wednesday will gradually wind down through Wednesday night.

(MORE: March's Typical Tornado Risk | Tornado Central

Happening Now

A broken line of severe thunderstorms, extending from southeast Virginia to southern Mississippi, continues to drift south and east toward the coast.

(INTERACTIVE: Where the Storms are Now)

Current Radar, Watches and Warnings

The heaviest storm damage appears to have been from a tornado which struck parts of Perryville, Missouri, about 65 miles south-southeast of St. Louis, around 9 p.m. CST Tuesday. Preliminarily, this tornado has been rated EF3.

Aerial footage shows some homes simply a pile of rubble and vehicles tossed.

There were 22 reports of tornadoes Tuesday and Tuesday night, the majority of which were in Illinois. At least 15 tornadoes have been confirmed between Tuesday and Wednesday, but the complete number of tornadoes is yet to be determined, pending damage surveys by local National Weather Service offices. 

Significant damage was reported in Washburn (EF3), Marseilles, Naplate (EF3), Ottawa (EF1, EF3) and near Vergennes, Elkville, Mulkeytown, Christopher and Crossville, Illinois (EF3).

(NEWS: Tornadoes Confirmed in Midwest; At Least 3 Killed)

Numerous trees were downed and structural damage reported as the squall line blasted through the Nashville metro area early Wednesday morning.

Storms across northwestern Alabama produced hailstones up to 1.75 inches in diameter (golf ball-sized).

Here are some notable storm reports from Wednesday:

  • Quantico, Maryland: A 78-mph wind gust was recorded
  • Dover Air Force Base, Delaware: 76-mph wind gust
  • Williamson, West Virginia: Roof blown off home
  • Oakland, Kentucky: Multiple structures damaged
  • Paducah, Kentucky: Structural damage to the U.S. Bank and a church downtown; wind gust to 76 mph
  • Carrollton, Kentucky: Damage to warehouse and church roofs; "substantial damage" to a concrete building; gust to 79 mph measured
  • Irvine, Kentucky: One two-story home lost its top story in severe straight-line winds
  • Apple Grove, West Virginia: Trees down and mobile home damaged due to wind; possible tornado damage

In the two-day period of severe weather, there were more than 800 reports of severe weather. 

We have a more-complete recap of the severe weather outbreak in our recap section below.

Forecast Timing

Wednesday Night

  • A broken line of scattered severe storms may persist from parts of Virginia into the Southeast (Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi).
  • Damaging winds will be the primary threat, though a few tornadoes and large can't be ruled out.
  • Cities: NorfolkRaleigh | Columbia | Atlanta | Birmingham

Wednesday Night's Thunderstorm Forecast

Outbreak Recap

Just over 400 reports of severe weather (mainly damaging winds and hail) in 24 hours ending 7 a.m. EST Tuesday morning was the most in any 24-hour period since July 13, 2016. 

Reports of tornadoes (red dots), thunderstorm high winds and wind damage, and large hail (blue dots) in a 24-hour period ending 6 a.m. CST, March 1, 2017.

Power poles were snapped in Dyer County, Tennessee. Roofs were blown off homes in Ranvenden, Arkansas, Milan, Tennessee, and La Center, Kentucky. 

A power transmission tower was downed and a school portable building blew off its foundation near Washington, Indiana, early Wednesday.

The northern end of the squall line roared through the Cleveland early Wednesday morning, with gusts to 61 mph at Hopkins Airport and reports of trees downed.

Late Tuesday afternoon, a tornado was reported near Ottawa, Illinois, which lead to at least one fatality. Baseball-sized hail was also reported with this storm by spotters. Hail up to tennis-ball sized was reported earlier Tuesday afternoon near Galva, Illinois, southeast of Davenport, Iowa.

The parent supercell spawning the Perryville, Missouri, tornado then tracked into southern Illinois, where homes were destroyed north of Elkville, and U.S. 51 was impassable north of town. The tornado may have then gone on to impact Mulkeytown, Illinois, where homes were destroyed and numerous trees and powerlines were snapped.

Another tornado was observed by weather spotters Tuesday evening over Bald Knob, Arkansas, and damage was reported in nearby Kensett. This prompted a shelter-in-place at a basketball tournament in the area.

MORE: Severe Weather Outbreak (Feb. 28 - Mar. 1)

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