Tornado Outbreak Update

A few light showers moving through as I write the blog this evening, but nothing to write home about. A beautiful day on the way for Friday. Westerly winds and plenty of sunshine will warm us into the 60s with no lake breeze. Enjoy.

I have found myself for the last week thinking about all the images I saw and people I met in the tornado ravaged Tuscaloosa area. I knew it would be a story that would haunt me. Those people need our help so please do what you can to give to the Red Cross, Salvation Army, United Way, or other charities you trust.

I wanted to give an update on tornado numbers and share a few more thoughts about what happened. The Tuscaloosa tornado has been rated a high-end EF-4 with winds of 190 miles per hour. If you have not seen the pictures, take a look at the blog from Monday.

Here are the overall numbers updated today:

Date Eyewitness Reports NOAA’s Estimate Tornadoes Surveyed by WFOs (to date)
25-26 55 40 25
26-27 111 75 42
27-28 268 190 134
Total: 434 305 201


Note that the number of tornadoes is not nearly as many as the original reports. That is because the eyewitness reports of tornadoes are often duplicates. This causes the same tornado to be counted numerous times. After the National Weather Service survey team finishes the survey the number is usually trimmed down. There are still more surveys to be done. A third EF-5 tornado was confirmed today. Here is part of the write-up.

In parts of northeast Neshoba and northwest Kemper counties, there was very high end tree damage with extensive denuding and debarking of trees, along with areas where the ground was scoured out to a depth of two feet in places, and asphalt was scoured off pavement.

Author’s note: This tornado was originally rated an EF-4 tornado with winds of 180 mph. Due to the ground by scoured out and asphalt being completely removed from the pavement, this tornado received an EF-5 rating.

The part that caught my eye was the scouring of ground to two feet and asphalt taken off the pavement. That really is hard to fathom. If you have not seen the storm tracks of all the tornadoes, I wanted to share them here.

Here is a little more information from the outbreak from the NWS.

There were approximately 318 fatalities during the entire outbreak from April 25 to April 28

There were approximately 309 fatalities during the 24-hour-period from 8:00 a.m. April 27 to 8:00 a.m. April 28. This is currently the fifth deadliest day of tornadoes on record.

Ongoing (preliminary) List of Tornadoes by EF Rating (EF0 to EF5):
EF-5 2
EF-4 12
EF-3 21
EF-2 47
EF-1 62
EF-0 57
Total: 201
  • The Tuscaloosa-Birmingham tornado during the April 2011 event caused at least 65 fatalities. This tornado had a maximum width of 1.5 miles and a track 80 miles long.
    • These are the most fatalities from a single tornado in the United States since May 25, 1955, when 80 people were killed in a tornado in southern Kansas with 75 of those deaths in Udall, Kansas.
    • The deadliest single tornado on record in the United States was the Tri-State tornado (Mo., Ill., Ind.) on March 18, 1925, when 695 died.

According to National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office Storm Survey teams, from 8 a.m. April 27 to 8 a.m. April 28 there were 20+ killer tornadoes in five states–Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia–that caused 309+ fatalities. 

Note:  All numbers are based on combined NOAA and historical research records and current fatality estimates. The historical research records extend back to 1680.


5 Responses

  1. Up here in northern Dodge County we are not enjoying much of that nice sunshine that was forecasted. There is a heavy layer of clouds with a few breaks of sun between once in a while. Don’t think it’s going to get in the 60’s here today, maybe upper 50’s.

    • Chris,

      The morning should have been beautiful. Cold air aloft creating some instability clouds and even a few light showers this afternoon. Juneau is 64 degrees right now.

  2. Hi Mark,

    Very tragic ordeal. I hope you will allow yourself to take some time and reflect on how much worse it no doubt would have been were it not for people like you that make it their business to watch the weather closely and provide whatever warnings they’re able to. Could have been worse, much worse.

    Tony (Pl. Prairie)

    • Hey, Tony,
      Thanks for the note. You wonder how many more people would have died if the outbreak happened 30 years ago. I am looking forward to a quiet weekend to decompress.

  3. Hi, Mark!

    Could you please check out the questions I asked in the last post to yesterday’s blog — and let me know your answers. If you have time.

    Thanks alot!


    PS: Here in Reeseville — Dodge Cty. — we’re getting that same kind of mixed sky that Chris referred to above. Looks like rain at times. But this morning was awesome — at last check, our temp here was 62.

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