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North Carolina 4-16-2011 Tornado Outbreak Pics, Vids, Personal Accounts Thread


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#1
eyewall

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Ok as promised here is a more detailed account of the chase:

We left on our short drive to the target area which was the middle of the NC coastal plain and set up shop at a McDonald's first in Benson then Newton Grove, NC. We kept up with the SPC products and issuances as expected along with the radar. As we entered early afternoon the high risk and a PDS tornado watch were issued. Keep in mind in NC I believe this was the first issuance of a high risk since the '80s! We couldn't help but wonder if it would verify though as the low clouds were determined not to break and everything seemed linear frame after frame on the radar. Sure enough as we approached 2 and 3pm everything began to change. Cells along the line quickly became discrete classic supercells with signatures more reminiscent of OK than NC.




It was time to get on the road and pick our first storm. In the car we had pykl3 radar on my android and ham radio to guide us (still need a mobile card for the laptop). We chose the Raleigh storm and got to it just as a large rain wrapped tornado was hitting southern Raleigh. We saw multiple power flashes with it near I-440's exit 16 (close to where 40 comes into the beltline). It was jungle and populated and we were in a pretty dangerous spot so we decided to bail on the storm (It was also rainwrapped with no shot of the funnel itself).




We than leapfrogged south to catch the next cell in Wilson County. We got around the forward flank easily (despite fast forward motions of the storm) and got a great spot on the south side near where the hook and circulation were expected to pass. It is also much more open down there with flat farmland. On a side note the synoptic winds were screaming ahead of these storms at the surface so at times there was a quite alot of blowing dust/sand (which we worried might obscure views). Sure enough we ended up on I-795 south and west of Wilson, NC in Wilson County. After 10-20 minutes of waiting the meso and a large cone appeared! One of my chase partners Kevin Smith got on the radio and called it in to RAH at around 5:15pm. This is when the video was shot! It was hard to tell exactly how far from the funnel we were to estimate its width but it obviously looked quite powerful. Looking at the damage reports that came in later as it hit populated areas it could very well be near an EF-3 when it is finally surveyed. Either way we had a good view and with the fast movement we knew if we tried to get closer we might lose the shot we had. So we remained there and watched it cross the road. It then faded into the rain.




It became obvious that we were not going to catch up with it again so we decided to go for the next storm down the line and tried to get ahead of it much like we did the second one. In this case we failed due to road options and we didn't have as much time to spare. We were most certainly cored at Farmville, NC and as it turns out VERY close to another dangerous circulation. The couplet was JUST to our south on the radar so we decided to take an escape route north. We would have never seen the funnel from where we were anyway. We were not in a safe spot. After it had passed we then drove south back to the town and came across the damage path including many large trees snapped off, significant roof damage, downed power poles and lines, and a van upended leaning on a tree and a house. It was the first time I have seen tornado damage up close and personal. Emergency crews were already on the scene which was a relief to see and we got out and snapped a few photos (which I will post later). We were also checking to be sure people were ok that may not have been checked yet by EMS etc. It appeared injury was minimal and people were mostly shaken up. This was hard seeing the human tool first hand but it makes you remember how real it is. Thankfully again nobody seemed to be hurt. One very nice man came out of his house and asked if he could use my phone to call his family which I of course did. He offered to give me something for that but I declined. I didn't think that was necessary and I could tell he probably had hard times to deal with aside from this disaster. We were then RFD'd by what I would say were 50-60 mph gusts and so we bolted out of there (as to avoid being hit by any loose debris still on the ground).




This was pretty much the end of our chase as we tried for one more storm behind the Farmville one but were again screwed by roads. We were going to survey some more damage on the way home in the Wilson area but we were losing the daylight and after 300+ miles on the roads of NC we were exhausted. This was a truly historic outbreak for this part of the country and will certainly be remembered for a long time.






#2
phil882

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Excellent recap Jeremy... seems like this event saved the best for last with no sloppy seconds (or thirds) this go around!! Posted Image Congrats on seeing the tornado up close... and my thoughts go to all the families affected by the storms yesterday. Posted Image

As for me... I didn't do any chasing myself on saturday, since I went out for the MS/AL portion of the event on Friday. However, there were some other folks from UNCA that were able to get out and likely saw the same tornado Jeremy did further upstream.

#3
CNYWeather

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great recap and great video!

#4
VeronicaCorningstone

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Wow Eyewall! Definitely a memorable day for you - and that video is great. I think that your spotter report was one of the last we heard before power went out here.

We didn't see the tornado (though a friend who lives behind the Walmart in Wilson did - the circulation was a short distance from their home). Probably best that I didn't, as I was already pretty worried - think I probably would have completely lost my s**t. We hunkered down in a closet for a few minutes, knowing that it was getting close. Before that, everything got kind of yellow-tinted, exceptionally calm, and there was no rain - then the power went out. Cue me and the husband running for the closet at that point. :yikes: While we were in there, had very brief high winds and then it calmed down We ventured out a few minutes later and we could already hear fire and rescue sirens, and the weather radio reporting that a possible tornado was bearing down on Elm City, so we knew it had passed our area.

Later in the evening, since we didn't have power and were getting pretty hungry, we decided to get out and see if anything was open. We had heard the downtown area was hard-hit. We got about 3 blocks and the tree damage started - with hunks of insulation and other debris in people's yards - obviously had been carried from a distance, as there was no real house damage that we could make out, other than damage from falling limbs and trees. Several trees across streets, lots of folks out with the chainsaws, power outages all over our area (still outages right down the street from us even now - we were lucky and got power back around 9:30 last night).

We came back out this morning and were able to get a better idea of the damage path. We didn't go down to the worst-hit areas, as there are roadblocks and you have to have passes to get into certain areas. We did get into downtown and didn't really see any damage - I think the NWS report was actually from our neighborhood (we're pretty close to the old main business district, in an older neighborhood and I guess it could be considered downtown). Damage appeared to be in a stretch from the hospital area, behind the mall and across Ward Blvd, then across Raleigh Rd. into the Cavalier/West End Park area near Barton College. Not sure how much further northeast past that point it extended; we haven't headed out that way. From what I could actually see, it looked like EF-0, EF-1 damage near our house, but I'm pretty sure that the damage surveys will show it was much stronger on the outskirts of town, and as it came up to 42/Forest Hills Rd.

edited to add: Found about 3 foot piece of siding and big piece of insulation in our backyard this afternoon. No idea what area of the city it came from, as there was no house damage to that extent in the neighborhood.

#5
NEGa

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wow - what a video and what a chase! thats like something you'd normally see from TX or OK

in retrospect, i am not all that upset n ga missed out on the severe wx this time since there were some monster tornadoes on the ground in nc. yikes!

#6
calculus1

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Great recap and writeup, eyewall! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the exploits of the chase. The video was really great too. It seems like this was a once-in-20-years event, but I'm going to have get out there and see some of this up close at some point in the future should the situation arise again. Again, very well done!

#7
eyewall

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Wow Eyewall! Definitely a memorable day for you - and that video is great. I think that your spotter report was one of the last we heard before power went out here.

We didn't see the tornado (though a friend who lives behind the Walmart in Wilson did - the circulation was a short distance from their home). Probably best that I didn't, as I was already pretty worried - think I probably would have completely lost my s**t. We hunkered down in a closet for a few minutes, knowing that it was getting close. Before that, everything got kind of yellow-tinted, exceptionally calm, and there was no rain - then the power went out. Cue me and the husband running for the closet at that point. :yikes: While we were in there, had very brief high winds and then it calmed down We ventured out a few minutes later and we could already hear fire and rescue sirens, and the weather radio reporting that a possible tornado was bearing down on Elm City, so we knew it had passed our area.

Later in the evening, since we didn't have power and were getting pretty hungry, we decided to get out and see if anything was open. We had heard the downtown area was hard-hit. We got about 3 blocks and the tree damage started - with hunks of insulation and other debris in people's yards - obviously had been carried from a distance, as there was no real house damage that we could make out, other than damage from falling limbs and trees. Several trees across streets, lots of folks out with the chainsaws, power outages all over our area (still outages right down the street from us even now - we were lucky and got power back around 9:30 last night).

We came back out this morning and were able to get a better idea of the damage path. We didn't go down to the worst-hit areas, as there are roadblocks and you have to have passes to get into certain areas. We did get into downtown and didn't really see any damage - I think the NWS report was actually from our neighborhood (we're pretty close to the old main business district, in an older neighborhood and I guess it could be considered downtown). Damage appeared to be in a stretch from the hospital area, behind the mall and across Ward Blvd, then across Raleigh Rd. into the Cavalier/West End Park area. Not sure how much further northeast past that point it extended; we haven't headed out that way. From what I could actually see, it looked like EF-0, EF-1 damage near our house, but I'm pretty sure that the damage surveys will show it was much stronger on the outskirts of town, and as it came up to 42/Forest Hills Rd.


Wow glad you are ok and didn't get a worse hit at your house! Thank you all for the compliments and Veronica for sharing your account.

#8
buckeyefan1

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Awesome recap Jeremy :thumbsup: Thank you for sharing your exciting adventure :hug:
Sending positive thoughts for all those affected by the storms the last 3 days :wub:


wow - what a video and what a chase! thats like something you'd normally see from TX or OK

in retrospect, i am not all that upset n ga missed out on the severe wx this time since there were some monster tornadoes on the ground in nc. yikes!


+1 :wub:

#9
Gastonwxman

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Terrific summary Jeremy, and an awesome video I'll add! The description of your experience made me feel as if I were there with you while all of this occurred. You truly deserved to see something impressive this go around, considering the number of fails that you usually end up with. Again, congrats on this. :clap: Here's to more excitement in your future chases! :thumbsup:

#10
eyewall

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Terrific summary Jeremy, and an awesome video I'll add! The description of your experience made me feel as if I were there with you while all of this occurred. You truly deserved to see something impressive this go around, considering the number of fails that you usually end up with. Again, congrats on this. :clap: Here's to more excitement in your future chases! :thumbsup:



Thank you! It has been hard fought for sure but it certainly paid off. My thoughts however also go out to all those impacted by damage and lost loved ones.

#11
eyewall

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Some stills (tornado images are contrast enhanced vid caps):

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Damage from a different tornado in Farmville, NC:

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#12
Ellinwood

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My full write up will be coming later, but here's some pictures and video for now:

NE Raleigh (re-post):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgGEZjFSCKE

Snow Hill:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTP5o5hvLFI

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All images: http://madusweather.com/?p=1011
All videos (so far just the two): http://madusweather.com/?p=1025

#13
RaleighWx

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Hi folks. We are still without power here in my neighborhood in NE raleigh. The tornado literally passed a couple tenths of a mile from my house. My actual house suffered no damage just limbs down, as I mentioned literally a couple tenths of a mile away in my neighborhood a house was off its foundation and the garage was smashed. Trees sheared off, mobile homes destroyed, roofs blown off, mobile home park destroyed. The news crews are all at the top of my neighborhood. HEre are a few pics. We borrowed a generator from our neighbor and my internet connection is through a slow tethered modem. I will post more pics later.

Attached Images

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#14
Ginxy

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Hi folks. We are still without power here in my neighborhood in NE raleigh. The tornado literally passed a couple tenths of a mile from my house. My actual house suffered no damage just limbs down, as I mentioned literally a couple tenths of a mile away in my neighborhood a house was off its foundation and the garage was smashed. Trees sheared off, mobile homes destroyed, roofs blown off, mobile home park destroyed. The news crews are all at the top of my neighborhood. HEre are a few pics. We borrowed a generator from our neighbor and my internet connection is through a slow tethered modem. I will post more pics later.

Allan so glad you did not suffer any damage and everyone is OK, damn that was close, did you hear the roar and the debris breaking?

#15
RaleighWx

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One more pic

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#16
RaleighWx

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Allan so glad you did not suffer any damage and everyone is OK, damn that was close, did you hear the roar and the debris breaking?



I would be lying if I said I heard it without a doubt. There was a wind rush, then silence, then a low roar that me and my wife thought may have been it, her ears popped. That was it. We were in the bathtub with a matress over our head. When I first emerged, all I saw was some branches down. Then we drove up to the top of the neighborhood and saw the destruction. Our power just popped back on!

#17
eyewall

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Wow those are some incredible damage pics Mark and Allan!

#18
ocala

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Wow those are some incredible damage pics Mark and Allan!


Thanks for the pics and vids guys.
Awesome stuff.

#19
ICEHOCEY77

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Initial target was Florence, SC. Was having lunch when the high risk went up, and decided to re-position to Lumberton, NC. I had my eye on the cell that went through Darlington, SC before finally getting warned and repositioned just to the east of South of the Border on the NC side. Inflow was incredible, multiple times where driving through dust/dirt coming off the surrounding farms made visibility absolutely zero.

When finally was able to clear the trees and find some farmland, we came upon this:

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Eventually repositioned to be more prepared to advance down the road.

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Still can't decide if there are one, two, or no funnels in this pic.
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and finally the last one before we decided to try and get ahead of it to no avail.

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Eventually hopped on highway 74 and was in position to see the cell that produced a tornado in Bladenboro, NC. We were setup in Boardman, but visibility was a huge problem and it appeared a cell to the south was going to cut off the hook, so we decided to abandon the storm just as we could see a wall cloud crossing 74 from the rear view mirror. Last cell we tried was the cell that was tornado warned, at the time, in Braintree, SC. Setup just northeast of Conway, SC, but rotation was pretty weak by the time it got to us.

But all in all, a great day of chasing.

#20
Moose4

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Nothing really to report here in west central Durham, other than a tree snapping off and falling across my truck and into the corner of my house. No significant damage, just a couple dents in the hood and a smashed gutter. The Raleigh tornado missed here by a good 15 miles, so believe me, I'm counting myself lucky.

I listened to the local NWS Skywarn net on the 146.880 MHz repeater out of Raleigh to keep up with things. I did hear one heartbreaking thing on there. A guy came on about an hour after the tornado tore through Dunn, gave his callsign and said he had a damage report. When the net control came back to him, he just said, in this weirdly dead calm voice, "ah, yes, I'm near Dragstrip Road and Highway 242 in Dunn, and I'm in my front yard, and my house is gone. My neighbors' houses are gone. They don't even have any debris. My roof's across the street and the rest of my house has fallen into the basement." He might as well have been ordering at McDonald's, that's the tone of voice he had, completely calm. That's just...damn.

#21
buckeyefan1

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Glad to hear you had no damage :thumbsup:

Amazing shots Ellinwood :thumbsup: Thank you for sharing them and congrats on a successful chase :hug:

Glad you and your family are safe Allen :wub:

But all in all, a great day of chasing.

Nice pics and congrats on a great chase :hug:

Nothing really to report here in west central Durham, other than a tree snapping off and falling across my truck and into the corner of my house. No significant damage, just a couple dents in the hood and a smashed gutter. The Raleigh tornado missed here by a good 15 miles, so believe me, I'm counting myself lucky.

I listened to the local NWS Skywarn net on the 146.880 MHz repeater out of Raleigh to keep up with things. I did hear one heartbreaking thing on there. A guy came on about an hour after the tornado tore through Dunn, gave his callsign and said he had a damage report. When the net control came back to him, he just said, in this weirdly dead calm voice, "ah, yes, I'm near Dragstrip Road and Highway 242 in Dunn, and I'm in my front yard, and my house is gone. My neighbors' houses are gone. They don't even have any debris. My roof's across the street and the rest of my house has fallen into the basement." He might as well have been ordering at McDonald's, that's the tone of voice he had, completely calm. That's just...damn.

Glad to hear it was not worse :hug:
Houses can be replaced...people can't :wub:

#22
SluggerWx

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http://www.youtube.c...h?v=UPsQkamAOlw


Spanish speaking man recorded this from Dunn, NC from his EVO, but held his phone th wrong way so it's sideways.

Dunn, NC.

Terrifying, but don't forget to turn your head sideways to watch.


And here's another video from the Dunn, NC tornado... you get to see the crazy wind fields circulating around the main funnel that makes it's appearance VERY visibile at the end.



#23
lilj4425

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Video from inside of Lowe's: http://www.wral.com/...43/#/vid9456843

#24
Siberian Express

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Still.....It's depressing. So many deaths in manufactured housing, houses without shelter, etc, not only in NC/VA, but including the other states. Why in the world didn't those folks take cover with such a forewarning that bad stuff was a coming.

#25
downeastnc

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Still.....It's depressing. So many deaths in manufactured housing, houses without shelter, etc, not only in NC/VA, but including the other states. Why in the world didn't those folks take cover with such a forewarning that bad stuff was a coming.



Honestly there just isnt anywhere to go....and there are no basements in eastern NC, you dig a hole in the ground around here and it fills with water. So you hunker down and hope it doesnt hit your neighborhood. The worse hit areas like Askewville are small towns with no major buildings bigger than a church. They have two options ride it out or get in their cars and flee.

I did get to see the rotation/wall cloud that passed directly over Greenville around 7pm but luckily it was not producing anything more than possibly a few weak funnels. Had it been a strong tornado on the ground the path it took across town would have produced horrifying damage.

#26
FoothillsNC

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Great pics and vids Jeremy and Alan. It must be absolutely amazing to go through an experience like that, glad everything is ok for you personally..and wishing the best and speedy recovery for the others who were impacted. Great call also Alan and its good to know we have some expert forecasters right here on this forum. I was so busy with non-weather work that day, so just now getting a chance to really see all of this. I will say NC has been wracked pretty badly over the last couple of weeks, with all the major hailstorms,high non-storm winds, weak and strong tornadoes and loss of life and property. We need time to recuperate.

#27
Ginxy

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You guys seen this?There are three vortexes, looks like that was filmed right before it entered Raleigh, you guys would know where it might be.



#28
stormitecture

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Ellinwood already posted this one, skip it if you watch it.
http://www.youtube.c...gGEZjFSCKE?hd=1
HD LINK: http://youtu.be/AgGEZjFSCKE?hd=1

Just uploaded this:
Snow Hill post tornado damage:

HD LINK: http://youtu.be/Bf5ebTswhSM?hd=1

#29
buckeyefan1

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Great video WeatherWarrior :thumbsup: Thank you for sharing :hug: Amazing how just across the street from the house off it's foundation, it doesn't look like they lost a single shingle.

#30
eyewall

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You guys seen this?There are there vortexes, looks like that was filmed right before it entered Raleigh, you guys would know where it might be.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRNwsm-GmKg


HOLY CRAP! is all I can say to that one ! Wow that is obviously well before it became rainwrapped.

#31
eyewall

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Great pics and vids Jeremy and Alan. It must be absolutely amazing to go through an experience like that, glad everything is ok for you personally..and wishing the best and speedy recovery for the others who were impacted. Great call also Alan and its good to know we have some expert forecasters right here on this forum. I was so busy with non-weather work that day, so just now getting a chance to really see all of this. I will say NC has been wracked pretty badly over the last couple of weeks, with all the major hailstorms,high non-storm winds, weak and strong tornadoes and loss of life and property. We need time to recuperate.


Thank you and this is very true. I honestly would be ok with a long break right now without question. On a side note I think this is the first youtube video I have posted that was popular enough to bring out the trolls.

#32
eyewall

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Enhanced Contrast Version:



#33
Ginxy

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Thank you and this is very true. I honestly would be ok with a long break right now without question. On a side note I think this is the first youtube video I have posted that was popular enough to bring out the trolls.

Great vid man, congrats. Here is a contrast adjusted screen cap of that vid I posted. Amazing structure
for the East coast
Posted Image

#34
eyewall

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Great vid man, congrats. Here is a contrast adjusted screen cap of that vid I posted. Amazing structure
for the East coast
Posted Image


Wow! Where exactly was this taken?

#35
FoothillsNC

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You guys seen this?There are three vortexes, looks like that was filmed right before it entered Raleigh, you guys would know where it might be.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRNwsm-GmKg

wow , amazing to this this happened in NC...those are suction vortices..something usually reserved for the best twisters in the alley. EDit..come to think of it I don't think SV touch the ground. Either way, amazing vid.




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