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Historic Tornado Outbreak April 27, 2011


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There is no respect here for saying "I was correct" when you can'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.

Just because I didn't offer the evidence to you does not mean I didn't have it.....Number 2 No one asked for it...I was belittled and put down that I had no clue and was nuts...No one asked me for any information it was assumed I didnt have any

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Just because I didn't offer the evidence to you does not mean I didn't have it.....Number 2 No one asked for it...I was belittled and put down that I had no clue and was nuts...No one asked me for any information I was plainly attacked first

Then by all means give us a run down. That would be much more valuable to the forum here and could prompt some good discussion.

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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.

Look back in the posts .....I was told there was a 1 in a million shot of me being correct......Well I must have been going on some type of data or I am one lucky SOB. I should play the lottery lol

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Then by all means give us a run down. That would be much more valuable to the forum here and could prompt some good discussion.

Ok I will post all my information later this evening. I am at work so I don't have the time to post everything at the moment but I will post my evidence later today

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Meteorologically, yesterday, to me, still does not compare to 1974. Yes I know the deaths may, which IS more impressive given the technology of today, but from a meteo perspective, while yesterday looked like the best setup I have ever tracked, it doesn't quite measure up to something that could spawn simulaneous F5s 1000 miles apart. That is something that is even harder to fathom in my view, again just from the met perspective.

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Updated at 12:38 p.m. ET] The death toll from severe weather in Alabama has reached 162, Alabama Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Yasamie August said Thursday. The overall death toll is as many as 247 people in six states.

I think the deaths will beat the Superoutbreak, unfortunately.

I used to work part-time for the Census and even in Maryland I'd find these little trailers out in the woods on an unnamed dirt road that had no mailing address; I can't imagine how many of those there are scattered around the Southeast in these damage swaths, where people wouldn't even know to look for anyone.

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Meteorologically, yesterday, to me, still does not compare to 1974. Yes I know the deaths may, which IS more impressive given the technology of today, but from a meteo perspective, while yesterday looked like the best setup I have ever tracked, it doesn't quite measure up to something that could spawn simulaneous F5s 1000 miles apart. That is something that is even harder to fathom in my view, again just from the met perspective.

Agree really puts yesterday into perspective though as it could have been much worse as there had originally been a moderate risk up to Cleveland only to be scaled back some. As bad as yesterday was, it could have been much worse.

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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.

It differs in every situation. In the 1979 Wichita Falls tornado, most fatalities were in cars, people trying to escape by car and getting caught in congestion. In the Jarrell, TX tornado, it was an F-5 in a rural area moving under 10 mph, it could have easily been outrun by car, most of the fatalities were in a single subdivision where I assume most people had sheltered in an interior room.

Since there are so many variables, like storm speed, population density and therefore the likelihood of congestion, and since so few storms are EF-4 or EF-5, it would seem to be the advice that would work best most often, even if not 100% perfect, is an interior room on the lowest floor.

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Meteorologically, yesterday, to me, still does not compare to 1974. Yes I know the deaths may, which IS more impressive given the technology of today, but from a meteo perspective, while yesterday looked like the best setup I have ever tracked, it doesn't quite measure up to something that could spawn simulaneous F5s 1000 miles apart. That is something that is even harder to fathom in my view, again just from the met perspective.

Exactly.

I was pretty sure by late in the morning given the setup with the big, slow-moving MCS in TN/KY that serious convection would have trouble getting going further north...and sure enough, the most favorable dynamics weren't able to push further north than southern KY.

That being said, we won't be able to truly compare 1974 to 2011 until we get all the numbers in...number of strong and violent tornados, EF-3/EF-4/EF-5, track lengths, etc. But I'm pretty sure we will fall well short of the Super Outbreak in just about every category, except damage and deaths (and maybe sheer number of twisters). But that is more due to where exactly the strongest/most dangerous storms tracked.

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It differs in every situation. In the 1979 Wichita Falls tornado, most fatalities were in cars, people trying to escape by car and getting caught in congestion. In the Jarrell, TX tornado, it was an F-5 in a rural area moving under 10 mph, it could have easily been outrun by car, most of the fatalities were in a single subdivision where I assume most people had sheltered in an interior room.

Since there are so many variables, like storm speed, population density and therefore the likelihood of congestion, and since so few storms are EF-4 or EF-5, it would seem to be the advice that would work best most often, even if not 100% perfect, is an interior room on the lowest floor.

Yes, while real-time observations of tornadoes are much better than they used to be and can be communicated more efficiently through new media, it's still a guessing game to some extent. Tornadoes change direction/translational speed and undergo rapid fluctuations in intensity over short-time scales (certainly shorter than the observing period of the 88D). Trying to orchestrate a rapid mass-scale evacuation is not reasonable IMO.

That being said, if I were in that situation myself (I wouldn't be, I have a tornado shelter and I'd be out chasing anyway), I'd have to think about getting out of town based on what I know about tornadoes and being familiar with them from an observational perspective.

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It differs in every situation. In the 1979 Wichita Falls tornado, most fatalities were in cars, people trying to escape by car and getting caught in congestion. In the Jarrell, TX tornado, it was an F-5 in a rural area moving under 10 mph, it could have easily been outrun by car, most of the fatalities were in a single subdivision where I assume most people had sheltered in an interior room.

Since there are so many variables, like storm speed, population density and therefore the likelihood of congestion, and since so few storms are EF-4 or EF-5, it would seem to be the advice that would work best most often, even if not 100% perfect, is an interior room on the lowest floor.

Agreed. We would see a lot more fatalities every year if "taking shelter" like that wasn't effective. I'd say it is 95% of the time, for people who live in normal, well-constructed houses.

If you're in a mobile home and get hit by an EF-2 or higher, though, you're pretty much screwed.

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Meteorologically, yesterday, to me, still does not compare to 1974. Yes I know the deaths may, which IS more impressive given the technology of today, but from a meteo perspective, while yesterday looked like the best setup I have ever tracked, it doesn't quite measure up to something that could spawn simulaneous F5s 1000 miles apart. That is something that is even harder to fathom in my view, again just from the met perspective.

Yeah it's really incredible to see the dynamics and instability it takes to make a monster like that in a spread of 1000 miles. That's something that might not be seen again

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Part of the latest PNS from WFO Birmingham:

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BIRMINGHAM AL

1122 AM CDT THU APR 28 2011

...UPDATED FOR JEFFERSON AND TUSCALOOSA COUNTY SURVEYS...

IN REGARDS TO THE JEFFERSON AND TUSCALOOSA COUNTY DAMAGE...SUBJECT

MATTER EXPERTS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY WILL BE ARRIVING TODAY TO

ASSIST WITH SURVEYS...AND DAMAGE RATINGS WILL BE PROVIDED AFTER A

THOROUGH ASSESSMENT IS CONDUCTED.

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Agree really puts yesterday into perspective though as it could have been much worse as there had originally been a moderate risk up to Cleveland only to be scaled back some. As bad as yesterday was, it could have been much worse.

I would argue that if the morning MCS had not been there that this would not have been as crazy in the Deep South. Also, I hate to be an anvil-level wind freak but anyone catch how different Wednesday's numbers were from Tuesday's? They were substantially lower yesterday over the Deep South and allowed several supercells IMO.

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twitter @tuscaloosa tornado that EMS has reached decimated area east of Rosedale housing projects. "Dozens of bodies" are in the streets and have asked for a cold storage unit from the State.

THIS IS NOT the same request that we heard from for the mobile morgue last night...that was on the GA AL line. Weather channel reporter is in the middle of a debris field...said he could hear moans coming from rubble, with no organized rescue within site. HVY equipment needed for extraction but the area is just too damaged.

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I would argue that if the morning MCS had not been there that this would not have been as crazy in the Deep South. Also, I hate to be an anvil-level wind freak but anyone catch how different Wednesday's numbers were from Tuesday's? They were substantially lower yesterday over the Deep South and allowed several supercells IMO.

No I agree with you on this, as that MCS probably laid a boundary in N. AL that enhanced the shear even more in the area. Plus the loss of power aspect that the MCS caused too.

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twitter @tuscaloosa tornado that EMS has reached decimated area east of Rosedale housing projects. "Dozens of bodies" are in the streets and have asked for a cold storage unit from the State.

THIS IS NOT the same request that we heard from for the mobile morgue last night...that was on the GA AL line. Weather channel reporter is in the middle of a debris field...said he could hear moans coming from rubble, with no organized rescue within site. HVY equipment needed for extraction but the area is just too damaged.

The Rosedale area was what was originally mentioned in that report last night that we denounced earlier as being false. Lets hope it is still false.

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The Rosedale area was what was originally mentioned in that report last night that we denounced earlier as being false. Lets hope it is still false.

update

Per twitter, 35 have been found dead in the Rosedale housing project, so far. These ARE NOT included in the Official numbers yet.

<BR clear=all>

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update

Per twitter, 35 have been found dead in the Rosedale housing project, so far. These ARE NOT included in the Official numbers yet.

<BR clear=all>

If thats correct, then we are looking at over 70 alone in Tuscaloosa. Not counting what happened as the tornado moved Northeast.

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No I agree with you on this, as that MCS probably laid a boundary in N. AL that enhanced the shear even more in the area. Plus the loss of power aspect that the MCS caused too.

I was focused heavily on the HSV-area storms yesterday, since I have family there, and I agree to an extent. It appeared to me that the outflow boundary from the MCS may have been draped across the northern row of counties in AL for several hours during the height of the outbreak. One storm in particular, which initially produced the catastrophic Hackleburg/Phil Campbell tornado, seemed to weaken a bit as it moved northeast from that area. Then, it suddenly went crazy upon reaching the Tennessee River, producing the Limestone Co. wedge near Tanner/Athens with visibly much-lower LCL's than the southern storms. For the rest of the afternoon, supercells trained over this general corridor and would each develop strong low-level rotation as they entered the Dectaur/Huntsville metro area.

On the other hand, it still seems that the most prolific, violent tornado-producers were over the open warm sector, south of any clearly-defined boundaries from early convection. So, while I don't believe the MCS is what "made" this outbreak by any means, it may have at minimum not reduced its overall severity.

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We seem to be well prepared when hurricanes and large winter storms effect parts of the country. Heavy media coverage, pre storm emergency declarations, mobilization of FEMA USAR teams and national guard, etc. Maybe its time to prepare for high risk days like we do hurricanes. I' m sure Alabama could really use FEMA USAR teams right now.

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First of likely many violent tornadoes:

This is a very high-end EF4.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MEMPHIS TN

111 PM CDT THU APR 28 2011

...PRELIMINARY EF-4 TORNADO IN MONROE COUNTY MISSISSIPPI...

SMITHVILLE TORNADO

* COUNTY/COUNTIES: MONROE

* LOCATION/TIME OF EVENT: DAMAGE AT SMITHVILLE 344 PM CDT

* BEGINNING POINT: UNKNOWN

* ENDING POINT: UNKNOWN

* RATING: EF-4

* ESTIMATED PEAK WIND: 190 MPH

* PATH LENGTH: UNKNOWN

* MAXIMUM WIDTH: 1/2 MILE

* FATALITIES: 13...5 STILL MISSING

* INJURIES: 40

* SUMMARY OF DAMAGES: DOZENS NEWLY CONSTRUCTED TWO STORY FULLY

BRICK HOMES LEVELED. TREES DEBARKED. PROFESSIONAL BUILDINGS DESTROYED.

A MAJOR CONTRIBUTION TO THE SUCCESS OF OUR SEVERE WEATHER WARNING

PROGRAM IS THE RECEIPT OF STORM REPORTS FROM ALL OUR CUSTOMERS AND

PARTNERS ACROSS THE MIDSOUTH. IF YOU WITNESSED OR ARE AWARE OF

ANY STORM DAMAGE DUE TO HIGH WINDS OR TORNADOES...PLEASE CONTACT

YOUR LOCAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT OFFICE...OR FOLLOW THE LINK AT THE

TOP OF OUR WEB PAGE AT WEATHER.GOV/MEMPHIS.

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We seem to be well prepared when hurricanes and large winter storms effect parts of the country. Heavy media coverage, pre storm emergency declarations, mobilization of FEMA USAR teams and national guard, etc. Maybe its time to prepare for high risk days like we do hurricanes. I' m sure Alabama could really use FEMA USAR teams right now.

I believe that's what is being sent in and 1400 troops have been mobilized

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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.

Well, I hope you're correct. I'd like to get a decent handle on the survival rate but the 50% was an approximate number I got from a met but that doesn't mean that its necessarily accurate. This is a most important point, though. The survival rate for a violent (EF4+) tornado for people suffering a direct hit and who are sheltering in an interior room on the lowest floor of a standard wood-frame house is really a key point. If it's something like 90%+, then you would be correct in saying that sheltering in place is probably the best thing to tell the population in the path to do. However, if it's more like 60% or less, there is probably something viable that could be done for those in the path...because those types of probabilities are unacceptable.

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I was focused heavily on the HSV-area storms yesterday, since I have family there, and I agree to an extent. It appeared to me that the outflow boundary from the MCS may have been draped across the northern row of counties in AL for several hours during the height of the outbreak. One storm in particular, which initially produced the catastrophic Hackleburg/Phil Campbell tornado, seemed to weaken a bit as it moved northeast from that area. Then, it suddenly went crazy upon reaching the Tennessee River, producing the Limestone Co. wedge near Tanner/Athens with visibly much-lower LCL's than the southern storms. For the rest of the afternoon, supercells trained over this general corridor and would each develop strong low-level rotation as they entered the Dectaur/Huntsville metro area.

On the other hand, it still seems that the most prolific, violent tornado-producers were over the open warm sector, south of any clearly-defined boundaries from early convection. So, while I don't believe the MCS is what "made" this outbreak by any means, it may have at minimum not reduced its overall severity.

Virtually speaking, that's where I targeted. I wanted to tuck in behind that morning MCS, so I ended up going with Bear Creek, AL (5 S of Phil Campbell).

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