Tornadoes, severe thunderstorms kill nine in OK, AR; more severe weather today

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:07 PM GMT on April 15, 2011

Share this Blog
3
+

Tornadoes and deadly severe thunderstorms tore through Oklahoma and Arkansas last night, killing at least nine people. The action began Thursday afternoon, when a powerful spring low pressure system intensified over western Kansas. The intensifying storm pulled in frigid Canadian air behind it and warm, moist Gulf of Mexico air in front of it, and where two air masses collided over eastern Oklahoma, a powerful cold front spawned a dangerous squall line of severe thunderstorms late Thursday afternoon. Doppler radar indicated the spinning signatures of mesocyclones inside numerous thunderstorms, and the National Weather Service began issuing multiple tornado warnings. At 6:22pm CDT, storm spotters reported a wide "stovepipe" shaped tornado had touched down in south-central Oklahoma four miles south of Milburn in Johnson County. Huge hailstones up to 4 1/2 inches in diameter--the size of softballs--began pelting the ground. The tornado roared to the northeast, ripping through the small town of Tushka, population 350, at 7:23pm. The powerful twister ripped off the roof of the local high school and destroyed dozens of buildings in Tushka, killing two people and injuring 25. The tornado moved over farmland and dissipated a short time later, but the squall line that spawned the tornado moved into Arkansas overnight, spawning severe thunderstorm winds that killed seven more people. The nine deaths made yesterday the deadliest severe weather outbreak of 2011.


Figure 1. Radar reflectivity image of the Tushka, Oklahoma tornado at 7:16pm CDT in Atoka County, seven minutes before the twister hit the town. Note the classic hook-shaped echo of the parent mesocyclone in the rotating severe thunderstorms that spawned the tornado.


Figure 2. Doppler radar velocity image of the Tushka, Oklahoma tornado at 7:16pm CDT in Atoka County, seven minutes before the twister hit the town.

The Tushka tornado brings this year's tornado death tally to five people, which is low for mid-April. In total, yesterday's severe weather outbreak had 10 tornado reports, 122 instances of large hail greater than 2" in diameter, and 91 reports of damaging winds. The action shifts eastwards to Mississippi and Alabama today, which NOAA's Storm Prediction Center have placed under its "moderate risk" region for severe weather. This is the same risk Oklahoma had during yesterday's tornado outbreak. You can follow today's outbreak using our severe weather page and interactive tornado map. This map now shows links to Youtube storm chaser videos of tornadoes, plus any wunderphotos taken of the storm. Tornado warnings have already been posted in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi today. A report visible on our tornado page indicates that a tornado touched down just west of Jackson, Mississippi near noon EDT today, crossing Interstate 20 and ripping the roof off of a bank in Clinton, MS.


Figure 3. Satellite image from 23:03 UTC (5:03pm CDT) April 14, 2011, showing the strong low pressure system over the Plains that brought yesterday's severe weather outbreak. Image credit: NASA/GSFC.


Figure 4. Storm chaser video of the Tushka tornado.

Jeff Masters

Rope Tornado 1 (rrose1)
Rope Tornado 1
()

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 58 - 8

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12Blog Index

Seven dead in severe storms

Atlanta (CNN) -- At least seven people in Oklahoma and Arkansas have died as the result of a powerful line of storms now pushing into the Southeast, authorities said Friday.
The system posed the greatest threat Friday to parts of Alabama and Mississippi, where forecasters warned of possible tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds. Forecasters said severe weather was possible Friday afternoon across northern Mississippi and Alabama and into central Tennessee.
The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings for at least eight counties in Mississipi for Friday morning, indicating tornadoes were occurring or imminent.
"We're in the bull's-eye now," said Gregg Flynn of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, who said the front came in earlier than expected. There were no reports of major damage Friday morning.
he storm tore through parts of the Midwest on Thursday, leaving a trail of downed trees and power lines, scattered cars and crushed homes as it moved east. It killed two people in the southeastern Oklahoma city of Tushka, where authorities say a tornado touched down Thursday night. It also left five dead when trees fell on homes in four separate Arkansas incidents, authorities said.
Nearly 36,000 people were without power Friday morning in Arkansas, half of them in Pulaski County, the state Department of Emergency Management reported.
The five deaths reported in Arkansas came from trees falling on homes, agency spokesman Tommy Jackson said.
The victims included a 24-year-old man and an 18-month-old girl who died when a tree fell on their trailer while they were sleeping in Garland County, the sheriff's office there said.
"It was terrifying, seeing that this could happen to anybody," Zach Kelly told CNN affiliate KTHV. "There are so many trees around this neighborhood and it was just a scary thought walking over here that this could happen to any family here, including mine."
In Bald Knob, Arkansas, a 6-year-old boy died when a tree fell on his house, KTHV reported. A man died in Scott, Arkansas when a tree fell into his recreational vehicle, crushing him, according to police. The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management also reported a death from a falling tree in St. Francis County.
In Oklahoma, in addition to the two deaths, the storm caused 15 injuries and extensive property damage in the southeastern town of Tushka, about 125 miles south of Tulsa. The state Department of Emergency Management said a "relatively large" tornado sliced through the area around Tushka.
"There's a tremendous amount of property damage," said Capt. Jeff Sewell with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. "Cars have been blown together. A lot of electric wires are down all over the place. Several houses were totally destroyed."
In Oklahoma, the weather service received reports from media and trained storm spotters who witnessed the tornado in Tushka. Sewell said the tornado stayed on the ground for seven miles.
The tornado was reported about three miles north of Caney, Oklahoma, near the towns of Tushka and Atoka, said Lamont Bain with the National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma.
Damage was also reported in the city of Hominy; in the Allen and Stonewall areas of Pontotoc County; and in the Madill area, the state Department of Emergency Management said.
South of Stonewall, a trailer had its roof blown off and three other homes also lost their roofs, the department said. A tree fell on a car, and softball-sized hail was reported near Hickory.
Severe weather could be in store for much of the Midwest and Southeast this weekend.
Eastern Missouri, central and southern Illinois, southwest Indiana and parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and the Florida panhandle could also see severe weather through early Saturday as moist air spreading out from the Gulf collides with a cold front pushing east from the Plains, the weather service said.
The forecast from the National Weather Service says the primary threat outside of Mississippi and Alabama will be damaging thunderstorm winds, but there also will be the possibility of isolated tornadoes.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Cars picked up and thrown into building at Home Depot off I-20. Bank building totally destroyed. Live FeedLink
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933
SPC was sure dead-on with it's highest risk areas today over MS-AL... Strong chance of long-track tornadoes from these multiple supercells...

Safe wishes to all!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
This setup seems worse for major tornados today, much less of a line and much more single supercells. The ones capable of producing long track tornados.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6149
TWC Breaking
Major damage in Clinton, Miss. but no injuries so far. Between Morrison Heights and Eastside School in Clinton.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53308
SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE JACKSON MS
1139 AM CDT FRI APR 15 2011

MSC089-121-151715-
/O.CON.KJAN.TO.W.0060.000000T0000Z-110415T1715Z/
RANKIN MS-MADISON MS-
1139 AM CDT FRI APR 15 2011

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 1215 PM CDT FOR CENTRAL
MADISON AND NORTH CENTRAL RANKIN COUNTIES...

...THIS IS A TORNADO EMERGENCY FOR THE WARNED AREA...

AT 1139 AM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS AND STORM
SPOTTERS WERE TRACKING AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO. THIS
TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR GOSHEN SPRINGS MOVING NORTHEAST AT 35 MPH.

THE TORNADO WILL BE NEAR...
PISGAH BY 1145 AM CDT...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A TORNADO WARNING MEANS THAT A TORNADO IS OCCURRING OR IMMINENT. YOU
SHOULD ACTIVATE YOUR TORNADO ACTION PLAN AND TAKE PROTECTIVE ACTION
NOW.

A TORNADO WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 300 PM CDT FRIDAY AFTERNOON
FOR NORTHEAST LOUISIANA AND MISSISSIPPI.

&&

LAT...LON 3261 8974 3259 8978 3246 8975 3242 9001
3251 9006 3268 8973 3265 8973
TIME...MOT...LOC 1639Z 239DEG 29KT 3249 8993

$$

BYB




Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6149
Hope Eye is alright, reed right west of him, then watching a tornando on the ground in reed's feed. scary stuff!
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6149
TWC Breaking
Tornado reported to have caused damage to buildings and trees at the Hunt Oil Refinery in Melvin, Ala.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Both Jackson MS and Jackson AL under the gun right now... fairly notable couplet indicated with that rogue cell in SW Alabama...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
TWCBreaking TWC Breaking
Storm chaser Vincent Webb (severestudios) streaming destruction in west Jackson metro. Cars flipped and crushed.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
TWCBreaking TWC Breaking
Reports of multiple structure damage in Clinton, MS., per SkyWarn spotter.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting jeffs713:

Yeah, THAT's intelligent!

"Oh, look! A rapidly whirling cloud of debris and nastiness is nearby! Let me stand behind a glass window and look right at it!"

Those kids should be in a safe area, not watching it from behind glass.

That's what I thought when i say it.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting AussieStorm:
TWCBreaking TWC Breaking
Students looking out school window of Jackson, Mississippi tornado.


Yeah, THAT's intelligent!

"Oh, look! A rapidly whirling cloud of debris and nastiness is nearby! Let me stand behind a glass window and look right at it!"

Those kids should be in a safe area, not watching it from behind glass.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
44. Skyepony (Mod)
Timmer drove through some debri & damage.. How you doing Eye?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
TWCBreaking TWC Breaking
Students looking out school window of Jackson, Mississippi tornado.

Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Radar from Jackson, MS showing the "debris ball" (radar signature of wind-lofted damage by #tornado):
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
TWCBreaking TWC Breaking
North Jackson, including Ridgeland, Madison, Tougaloo College, Northpark Mall, I-220/I-55 interchange. TAKE COVER NOW!! #tornado
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Looking like the Florida Peninsula might be spared from severe weather due to the NE trajectory but this is a really dangerous situation for all folks in the path of squall lines moving east......Hopefully, folks are paying attention to their media/NOAA radios as the system approaches them and taking suitable precautions...Good time to call relatives and freinds in the path of the system to give them a heads up.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting emcf30:
reed is showing a tornado on the ground on his stream
i always miss it by the time i get the comment on it... cam still has the 'tornado on ground' caption up, but i haven't seen one for last couple minutes.. of course the cam has about the wackiest angle, half the time i can't tell what plane in the frame the ground is even at..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting jeffs713:

Ewww.

Having Reed Timmer set up next to you is very similar to having Joe Cantore set up near you during hurricane season.
Hey, any time Yankees set up close to you it's trouble. Especially around Vicksburg! ;~)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good Morning all. I saw a dust devil last evening as I was driving on a suburban side street. Even though the air was still, out of no where comes this small cyclone. And it was spinning rather quickly. There were no clouds overhead and as I said, there was no breeze. What causes these? They are rare here. I saw my first one in the same general area 40 years ago and sat and watched it approach my car in which I was sitting with open windows (no AC back then). When it overtook the car, I then had swirling dust and dirt inside the car LOL.
Boy did I feel like an idiot. I never thought it would survive hitting the car. I guess it is the same principle as a tornado, but without clouds above I don't see how it forms.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
reed is showing a tornado on the ground on his stream
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933
Quoting Grothar:


It's Spring, Canes! Terrible new from last night and more bad news on the way.


Coming our way, huh? We need it though.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Tornado on the ground west of the Waynesboro area in SE Mississippi. Take cover if you're in the area.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting emcf30:
I know it is not the only factor for tornado development but the EHI is high in the south today. Enough to support EF3 and above depending on all the other factors.
Link
well... for one thing, the highest EHI values on that link are located in the very region popping up tornado warnings at this very moment. so it may not be the end all determinate, but it's definitely correlative under these conditions!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Tornado on the ground SW of Crandall MS
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933
I know it is not the only factor for tornado development but the EHI is high in the south today. Enough to support EF3 and above depending on all the other factors.
Link
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933
North Carolina State - 2011 Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Outlook

Excerpt:


1. Expected number of tropical cyclones (tropical storms and hurricanes) developing in the Atlantic basin: 13-16 (1950-2000 average: 9.6);

2. Expected number of hurricanes developing in the Atlantic basin: 7-9 (1950-2000 average: 6);

3. Expected number of major hurricanes in the Atlantic basin: 3-5 (1950-2000 average: 2.3);

4. Expected number of tropical cyclones in the Gulf of Mexico: 3-5;

5. Expected number of hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico: 1-3;

6. Expected number of major hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico: 0-1;

7. Number of tropical cyclones making landfall along the US Gulf coast: 2-4. There is a 97% chance at least one tropical cyclone will strike the US Gulf Coast, which reduces to 72% for a hurricane and 45% for a major hurricane;

8. There is a 70% chance at least one tropical cyclone will strike the US Southeast coast. This probability reduces to about 40% for a hurricane, and approximately 15% for a major hurricane;

9. There is a 30% chance at least one tropical cyclone will make landfall along the US Northeast coast. The chance reduces to about 12% for that storm to be a hurricane. The chance for a major hurricane to make landfall in the Northeast US coast is historically small, and is essentially unpredictable due to insufficient data sample.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting jeffs713:

Ewww.

Having Reed Timmer set up next to you is very similar to having Joe Cantore set up near you during hurricane season.

Yeah, and having "stovepipe" and "tornado" in the same sentence is not a good thing either.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting EYEStoSEA:
Oh, Lordy, Reed Timmer is sitting and waiting near Vicksburg.....just west of me....not a good sign...

Ewww.

Having Reed Timmer set up next to you is very similar to having Joe Cantore set up near you during hurricane season.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Impressive storm. I hope it is not as deadly today...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting caneswatch:


A common photo this winter.


It's Spring, Canes! Terrible new from last night and more bad news on the way.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


A common photo this winter.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Umm, that's more CAPE that I thought we'd see today.

(And, clearly something amiss with dewpoints)

Lake Charles:

(Click for full size)


Very high supercell index at Slidell:

(You know...click)
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
CNN article. BP oil spill Grand Isle, Louisiana.

"It was a gem," says Hopkins. "But from the very beginning, we didn't trust BP. Why? Because they locked the gates right off the bat when the oil came ashore. They didn't want us in there because they didn't want us to see what a mess had been made, or how they were cleaning it up."

Link

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
20. JRRP
nice pictures
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Busy 24 hours on the planet.
DATE links are into the IRIS WILBER system where you can see seismograms and request datasets.

DATE LAT LON MAG DEPTH km REGION
15-APR-2011 13:00:19 38.64 144.69 5.0 25.7 OFF EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
15-APR-2011 12:53:10 37.74 140.82 4.6 22.0 EASTERN HONSHU, JAPAN
15-APR-2011 11:59:09 -9.68 114.17 4.7 25.5 SOUTH OF BALI, INDONESIA
15-APR-2011 10:33:31 -36.06 -96.96 4.5 10.1 WEST CHILE RISE
15-APR-2011 09:05:04 -5.89 150.99 4.9 34.8 NEW BRITAIN REGION, P.N.G.
15-APR-2011 08:54:11 -6.13 153.74 4.8 16.2 NEW BRITAIN REGION, P.N.G.
15-APR-2011 08:49:33 -4.26 35.73 4.9 9.8 TANZANIA
15-APR-2011 07:44:48 26.72 103.10 4.9 26.1 YUNNAN, CHINA
15-APR-2011 06:50:26 50.57 -175.18 5.4 21.5 ANDREANOF ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN IS.
15-APR-2011 05:02:15 -55.58 -28.14 5.4 47.0 SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION
15-APR-2011 03:18:29 36.47 22.99 4.3 10.2 SOUTHERN GREECE
15-APR-2011 03:10:32 -6.80 129.89 4.8 94.2 BANDA SEA
15-APR-2011 02:06:27 -15.27 -173.24 5.9 10.3 TONGA ISLANDS
15-APR-2011 00:59:47 -37.14 -73.58 4.9 16.9 NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
15-APR-2011 00:56:28 36.45 142.57 4.8 40.0 OFF EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
15-APR-2011 00:53:34 -36.35 -73.22 4.8 28.5 NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
14-APR-2011 23:50:24 37.28 140.98 4.8 96.3 EASTERN HONSHU, JAPAN
14-APR-2011 23:45:22 -1.78 100.53 4.9 64.8 SOUTHERN SUMATERA, INDONESIA
14-APR-2011 22:41:52 -10.67 161.36 5.2 35.3 SOLOMON ISLANDS
14-APR-2011 22:12:51 -3.32 131.45 4.7 36.2 IRIAN JAYA REGION, INDONESIA
14-APR-2011 20:50:19 11.31 -86.25 5.9 56.2 NEAR COAST OF NICARAGUA
14-APR-2011 16:11:53 5.88 126.23 5.1 143.3 MINDANAO, PHILIPPINE ISLANDS
14-APR-2011 15:52:06 75.39 8.00 4.5 14.2 GREENLAND SEA
14-APR-2011 10:32:35 39.72 143.38 5.1 29.5 OFF EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
14-APR-2011 08:47:16 36.56 141.80 4.6 54.9 NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
14-APR-2011 06:08:48 35.68 141.87 5.7 14.4 NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
14-APR-2011 06:07:10 36.72 141.52 5.0 44.1 NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
14-APR-2011 05:45:18 -32.96 -178.57 5.7 24.2 SOUTH OF KERMADEC ISLANDS
14-APR-2011 04:46:34 40.00 142.57 4.8 20.3 NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
14-APR-2011 04:13:43 36.06 142.27 4.1 33.2 OFF EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
14-APR-2011 03:09:00 37.06 140.68 5.4 23.8 EASTERN HONSHU, JAPAN
14-APR-2011 01:56:33 12.84 -87.93 4.4 82.1 NEAR COAST OF NICARAGUA
14-APR-2011 01:34:39 40.75 -126.43 4.3 7.5 OFF COAST OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
14-APR-2011 01:33:27 40.12 142.79 4.7 44.4 NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
16. IKE

Quoting RastaSteve:


Can you imagine the thousands sitting in there second story house thinking they are safe from the Tsunami. Truely Amazing video! Very very sad as you know thousands were lost in that town alone!
Terrible....tragic and a quick death for quite a few.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
14. IKE

Quoting ILwthrfan:
New Japan Tsunami video. This one is unreal. No ocean in site. A valley town is completely engulfed in a 10-15 meter tsunami. This is every bit a couple miles inland maybe several.

(Yahoo U Tube source)

Link

Incredible.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
Quoting ILwthrfan:
New Japan Tsunami video. This one is unreal. No ocean in site. A valley town is completely engulfed in a 10-15 meter tsunami. This is every bit a couple miles inland maybe several.

(Yahoo U Tube source)

Link



Holy crap! I hadn't seen this one. Thanks for posting it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Great Blog, Dr. Masters, thanks!

* at 836 am CDT...National Weather Service meteorologists detected a
severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado near Goodman
moving east at 60 mph.

* Other locations in the warning include but are not limited to
Newport...McAdams...Smyrna and Zama


And also fantastic page on tornado outbreaks.

WUTornadoMap
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4/14/2011



4/14/2011



4/4/2011 - 4/13/2011



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Oh, Lordy, Reed Timmer is sitting and waiting near Vicksburg.....just west of me....not a good sign...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 58 - 8

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.