Jump to content
  • Member Statistics

    17,540
    Total Members
    7,904
    Most Online
    lakebreeze
    Newest Member
    lakebreeze
    Joined

Historic Tornado Outbreak April 27, 2011


 Share

Recommended Posts

Just now on fox they had someone from the SPC on and they were comparing this one with the super outbreak they made a very good point..and that is the warning system, communications, and building codes are so much better today than then that for the death toll to be even in shouting distance of the super outbreak is incredible and speaks volumes.

happen to catch who? I'd be curious if it was one of the forecasters or someone higher up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, the fact that some of the most violent and long-lived twisters hit highly populated areas really made heavy casualites inevitible, unfortunately.

Fatalities-wise, this may end up close to the Super Outbreak, but in terms of scope, not quite. 1974 had strong/violent tornados from the deep South all the way up to nearly Canada...13 different states, I believe.

Actually, there were a few touchdowns in Canada in the 1974 Super Outbreak.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, there were a few touchdowns in Canada in the 1974 Super Outbreak.

And deaths too-I think at least 8 or so in Windsor.

I wonder what this outbreak would have been like if it had a northern component like in 74-with Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky being severely affected.

-the Tuscaloosa tornado reminds me of both the Xenia tornado and the Andover tornado.

-when that tornado was moving through the northwest of Birmingham, and I was watching it on TWC, and they were saying it did not even look like a tornado, just like the supercell/wall cloud/whatever was on the ground, it made me think of what the Tri-State tornado must have looked like-it was always described as looking like a 'cloud on the ground' or 'an amorphous black cloud'. Now I can imagine what that must have looked like back then-and why so many people did not realize what it was.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a good point. We've seen some instances...I think even in the previous outbreak in AL and NC where homes were severely damaged, but then you had clues to more EF1 damage, like mailboxes which were untouched. Even EF0 tornadoes can overturn cars. It's not just the horizontal velocity of the wind, but you have vertical motions that can combine to overturn a car.

Another surprisingly difficult thing for me, and I'm sure the survey teams will run into this as well, is to go into the damage assessment without preconceived notions. You can't go in thinking EF5 otherwise you will naturally search for indicators that prove it correct, while ignoring those that suggest otherwise. I never ran into tornadoes anywhere close to this intense, but it was often an issue with tornado vs. straight line wind.

These survey teams will have to mentally prepare themselves to be completely objective, despite the devastation laid out before them. I don't envy their position at all, because as much as I would want to be on the team I don't know how I would handle it. The EF2 in Putnam Co., Illinois on 6/5/10 was enough to shake me (being my first significant tornado damage).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The super outbreak might have covered a larger area but the concentration of so many tornadoes over a smaller area makes this more impressive in some ways.

What a horrific year though. Before this outbreak, there was a report on tv there had been 70 billion dollars worth of damage so far this year or that would be the expected number for the season. That number is going to rise obviously.

The case for La Nina favoring lots of severe continues to grow. This year is setting all sorts of records, 2008 was huge, 1999 had some big outbreaks, 1974...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All... I'm seeing a lot of slaps with debris surrounding a barren slab in the Cartersville, GA aerial damage surveys...

http://www.myfoxatla...-20110427-am-sd

Can someone with a little more professional POV on EF-intensity/scale give a hypothesis surrounding projected EF-scale for the Cartersville tornado?

This is far worse damage than Murfreesboro, TN (rated EF-4) because JUST the slab remains on many of these homes....

Probably not as wide as Greensburg (maybe so), but definitely the same 'slab only' profile with some of the damage I'm seeing at the above link.

post-5832-0-60093300-1304005884.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All... I'm seeing a lot of slaps with debris surrounding a barren slab in the Cartersville, GA aerial damage surveys...

http://www.myfoxatla...-20110427-am-sd

Can someone with a little more professional POV on EF-intensity/scale give a hypothesis surrounding projected EF-scale for the Cartersville tornado?

This is far worse damage than Murfreesboro, TN (rated EF-4) because JUST the slab remains on many of these homes....

Probably not as wide as Greensburg (maybe so), but definitely the same 'slab only' profile with some of the damage I'm seeing at the above link.

Certainly looks like an EF4 candidate, with even the interior rooms destroyed. But I will reiterate that it is virtually impossible to say with any certainty whether a tornado was EF5 without inspecting construction of the building.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This was easily the most intense outbreak I have ever followed in my dozen or so years of outbreak-following experience. The staggering death toll and the magnitude of the devastation have been tragic and unexpected even to me. Although I suspected an event of historic magnitude would occur, this event has surpassed all of my expectations and deepest fears. If someone said yesterday that the death toll would be into the hundreds, even I (being one of the more bullish on this event) would've thought it was total alarmist hogwash. Shows you how naive I was...

It was pretty apparent to me early on that either Tuesday or Wednesday would be the biggest day. The timing of the subtle waves embedded within the larger-scale trough determined which of these days would be bigger. I think it was on Monday when it really became apparent that although parameters were quite impressive on Tuesday aftn/evening, the main wave would eject out on Wednesday...sparking off a new secondary low.

The screaming mid-upper level jet associated with the large-scale synoptic trough and the quality of the moisture over such a large area screamed "historic outbreak" to me. The one remaining question was the morning convection and how much that would hamper instability in the warm sector. It did actually accomplish this to some extent...much of the area north of the SE 1/3 of TN were largely spared from this outbreak. The RUC runs from the overnight hours before the event had no precip over this region, and had this verified in reality, the outbreak would've been incomprehensible.

I have followed many big tornado outbreaks over the past dozen years, and this was the first one in which I was genuinely fearful in the day or two preceding the event. This one really scared me. I didn't say that directly in any of my posts, as I'd much rather stick to the cold hard analysis of the event and leave much of the drama and emotional side out of it. Probably some of you were able to read between the lines anyways. But in any case, starting on Monday and going into Tuesday evening/overnight, this felt different from the other outbreaks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another surprisingly difficult thing for me, and I'm sure the survey teams will run into this as well, is to go into the damage assessment without preconceived notions. You can't go in thinking EF5 otherwise you will naturally search for indicators that prove it correct, while ignoring those that suggest otherwise. I never ran into tornadoes anywhere close to this intense, but it was often an issue with tornado vs. straight line wind.

These survey teams will have to mentally prepare themselves to be completely objective, despite the devastation laid out before them. I don't envy their position at all, because as much as I would want to be on the team I don't know how I would handle it. The EF2 in Putnam Co., Illinois on 6/5/10 was enough to shake me (being my first significant tornado damage).

Yes, confirmation bias is a tough thing to overcome.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have followed many big tornado outbreaks over the past dozen years, and this was the first one in which I was genuinely fearful in the day or two preceding the event. This one really scared me. I didn't say that directly in any of my posts, as I'd much rather stick to the cold hard analysis of the event and leave much of the drama and emotional side out of it. Probably some of you were able to read between the lines anyways. But in any case, starting on Monday and going into Tuesday evening/overnight, this felt different from the other outbreaks.

I couldn't agree more. I made the comment to a buddy of mine (sarwx here on the boards) before leaving work Monday that there was a completely different feeling... not the usual anticipation / excitement, but fear. You just knew the potential was up there. It definitely looked like the most dangerous setup I personally had ever seen a couple of days out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This was easily the most intense outbreak I have ever followed in my dozen or so years of outbreak-following experience. The staggering death toll and the magnitude of the devastation have been tragic and unexpected even to me. Although I suspected an event of historic magnitude would occur, this event has surpassed all of my expectations and deepest fears. If someone said yesterday that the death toll would be into the hundreds, even I (being one of the more bullish on this event) would've thought it was total alarmist hogwash. Shows you how naive I was...

It was pretty apparent to me early on that either Tuesday or Wednesday would be the biggest day. The timing of the subtle waves embedded within the larger-scale trough determined which of these days would be bigger. I think it was on Monday when it really became apparent that although parameters were quite impressive on Tuesday aftn/evening, the main wave would eject out on Wednesday...sparking off a new secondary low.

The screaming mid-upper level jet associated with the large-scale synoptic trough and the quality of the moisture over such a large area screamed "historic outbreak" to me. The one remaining question was the morning convection and how much that would hamper instability in the warm sector. It did actually accomplish this to some extent...much of the area north of the SE 1/3 of TN were largely spared from this outbreak. The RUC runs from the overnight hours before the event had no precip over this region, and had this verified in reality, the outbreak would've been incomprehensible.

I have followed many big tornado outbreaks over the past dozen years, and this was the first one in which I was genuinely fearful in the day or two preceding the event. This one really scared me. I didn't say that directly in any of my posts, as I'd much rather stick to the cold hard analysis of the event and leave much of the drama and emotional side out of it. Probably some of you were able to read between the lines anyways. But in any case, starting on Monday and going into Tuesday evening/overnight, this felt different from the other outbreaks.

Very well put. Really can not sum it up much better than this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Certainly looks like an EF4 candidate, with even the interior rooms destroyed. But I will reiterate that it is virtually impossible to say with any certainty whether a tornado was EF5 without inspecting construction of the building.

I might say EF4 based on the damage and also that depends on the construction. If I had to do this survey I might start with EF3-EF4 and if I think any of this damage might qualify as an EF5 I would get several experts opinions before rating it that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know I said no I told you so.......I don't think I have to do that at this point do you???? I tried to make my point the last two days but I was deemed crazy, they wanted to moderators to suspend my account because I expressed an opinion that it would be a horrific outbreak...But no I was clueless...Didn't turn out that way did it..We ended up with one of the worst tornado outbreaks in United States history. I truely wish I had been wrong with all those lives lost...:(

Stop.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know I said no I told you so.......I don't think I have to do that at this point do you???? I tried to make my point the last two days but I was deemed crazy, they wanted to moderators to suspend my account because I expressed an opinion that it would be a horrific outbreak...But no I was clueless...Didn't turn out that way did it..We ended up with one of the worst tornado outbreaks in United States history. I truely wish I had been wrong with all those lives lost...:(

You would have been better off not posting anything. Don't come here at this point looking for vindication or sympathy. I don't think you will find it. There were several people that thought this was going to be real bad. The difference between them and you is that they have the proper tact while posting combined with a critical scientific breakdown of the potential.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

CNN Live Blog:

Updated at 11:53 a.m. ET] In the DeKalb County, Alabama town of Rainsville, 25 bodies were recovered near one parking lot in the center of town, said Israel Partridge, a local business owner who teaches search and rescue and volunteered to help the Rainsville Fire Department Wednesday night. Rainsville Police Chief Charles Centers confirmed the 25 dead, adding eight were in one trailer park. Many people are unaccounted for, Centers said.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was around for May 4, 2007 when the Greensburg, KS Tornado struck. I remember seeing an image of the Normalized Rotation (NROT) in 3D and thought it couldn't get any more impressive then that. I was wrong... This is as the tornado was passing over Tuscaloosa. I've never seen such a violent, deep mesocyclone indicated like this before using this product.

kbmx_20110427_2210-L.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The warning system is not designed to help people in tornadoes as strong as we witnessed today. The advice is go to the basement (we don't have basements in the southeast b/c of the water table) or go to an interior room on the lowest floor.

That's great advice for most situations.

It's terrible advice for a long-track EF-4 or EF-5. The vast majority of the people took the "standard advice" and those in the path died. People are not standing outside and ignoring these things. Almost everyone I know pays close attention.

The old advice..."get in your car and get the heck outta the way"....it contradicts the new advice that has been well engrained. Go back and look at some of the footage today. Today, the best advice was the old advice. Get in the car and take your chances. It's easy in the Midwest...I've lived there. Everyone has basements and storm cellars.

What sort of irks me a little bit is that we have so, so many people who trust the authorities and follow the standard advice against their own gut feeling and that standard advice is just horrible if you're in the path of a storm that will clean the foundation of the home.

Someone said it earlier...the modern warning system saves many lives in the smaller tornadoes but it is costing lives in these big ones. People think they'll be OK in their bathtub on the first floor of their home when they're in the path of an EF-5. Personally, I think you should run like hell if you don't have an underground shelter. Run and don't look back. There's nowhere you can reasonably be safe in "riding out" tornadoes like this.

If you look at most of the damage photos, you're going to see that the places where most people were killed were places that have no business being used as shelter from a powerful, long-track wedge tornado. The conventional wisdom is usually right but it is occasionally horribly, horribly wrong. It bothers me to see educated mets go on TV and repeat the mantra to stay in an interior room of their wood-frame home while looking at something that powerful. It's time to panic. It's time to run like hell.

People did what they were told and huddled in their homes and died when they could've literally run to relative safety. They had time, but doing what they were told cost them their lives.

In the Moore tornado, the fatality rate in the strongest presumed wind areas was ~2%. That was an ideal situation though, as the media was great, many residents had tornado shelters, the residents largely heeded warnings, and the warning lead time was huge.

In this case, the media was great, the warning time was huge, but it's unclear if warnings were heeded and/or if shelter was adequate. That being said, I think, based on previous studies, that you're likely overstating the fatality rate in the most violent areas of this tornado. I assume it will be looked at eventually.

Regardless, I doubt very seriously that the fatality rate will get as high as to advocate media sending hundreds if not thousands of civilians to the streets into their cars to flee the tornado. The impending chaos and traffic jams would be a complete disaster. I don't think we want to know what the fatality rate is of a violent tornado making a direct hit on a civilian in a motor vehicle. Let's just say it's far, far worse.

In the end, the media did their job, they did it well, and they did it a way that maximized the probability that the citizens of the town as a whole would survive. Any indication otherwise is not supported by the available information at this time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You would have been better off not posting anything. Don't come here at this point looking for vindication or sympathy. I don't think you will find it. There were several people that thought this was going to be real bad. The difference between them and you is that they have the proper tact while posting combined with a critical scientific breakdown of the potential.

Not looking for vindication or sympathy...I highly doubt you have the time for such nonsense. So to understand this correctly your "hating" on me just because of the lack of tact I use while posting and for the fact that I didn't breakdown my opinion scientifically for you?? That doesn't make me less correct you know...I am straight and to the point. Period.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder what this outbreak would have been like if it had a northern component like in 74-with Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky being severely affected.

:yikes:

It will happen again at some point but it could take a long time. Regardless, the death toll with this tornado outbreak is probably as anomalous as Hurricane Katrina. You look at hurricane fatalities on a year by year basis and they have gone down...then you come to 2005. Similar principle with this event.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The screaming mid-upper level jet associated with the large-scale synoptic trough and the quality of the moisture over such a large area screamed "historic outbreak" to me. The one remaining question was the morning convection and how much that would hamper instability in the warm sector. It did actually accomplish this to some extent...much of the area north of the SE 1/3 of TN were largely spared from this outbreak. The RUC runs from the overnight hours before the event had no precip over this region, and had this verified in reality, the outbreak would've been incomprehensible.

I am extremely thankful here in far NW Bama that the morning storms and rain mass held on until about 2pm, otherwise may have had similar outcome here in Florence. In fact as things were really ramping up further south we had one storm come over town with a rotating wall cloud with 61 temps/ 58dp.

Thanks to all the mets and severe weather enthusiasts here who gave their analysis and opinion during the lead up to this disaster. And to echo many others a HUGE shout out to the NWS and on-air mets in the HSV and BHM market who provided timely information to those effected; especially James Spann who may be the best on air severe weather met in the country.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:yikes:

It will happen again at some point but it could take a long time. Regardless, the death toll with this tornado outbreak is probably as anomalous as Hurricane Katrina. You look at hurricane fatalities on a year by year basis and they have gone down...then you come to 2005. Similar principle with this event.

Not to be morbid, but I have to think the total death toll this spring from severe weather will be the greatest in a long time. I know there have been a number of other deadly tornados this spring.

Amazing year/event from a weather standpoint, yet horrifying for so many people.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not looking for vindication or sympathy...I highly doubt you have the time for such nonsense. So to understand this correctly your "hating" on me just because of the lack of tact I use while posting and for the fact that I didn't breakdown my opinion scientifically for you?? That doesn't make me less correct you know...I am straight and to the point. Period.

There is no respect here for saying "I was correct" when you couldn't back up what you have to say with supporting evidence. If a person claims there will be some extreme event without supporting evidence and the event occurs, this person is technically correct but wrong by method. So, yes, it does make you less correct than someone that offers supporting evidence to back up a bullish claim.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not looking for vindication or sympathy...I highly doubt you have the time for such nonsense. So to understand this correctly your "hating" on me just because of the lack of tact I use while posting and for the fact that I didn't breakdown my opinion scientifically for you?? That doesn't make me less correct you know...I am straight and to the point. Period.

If you're gonna dare to say that something could approach 1974, then you should post some solid meteorological reasoning. Almost all of your posts were one or two sentenced and some variation on "I think this could be like 1974." That's not going to win you a lot of support around here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...