Deadly tornadoes rip OK, KS, and AR; high tornado risk today; Joplin tornado an EF-5

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:48 PM GMT on May 25, 2011

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America's deadliest tornado season since 1953 continued its relentless onslaught of violent tornadoes yesterday. Numerous destructive and deadly tornadoes raked Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, and Arkansas, killing at least nine people. Yesterday's deadliest tornado hit El Reno and Piedmont, Oklahoma, about 30 miles to the west and northwest of Oklahoma City. Four people died, and one child is missing. Video of the damage from this tornado near the town of Piedmont shot by a news9.com helicopter shows damage characteristic of an EF-4 tornado, with many homes completely demolished and swept off their foundations. This tornado produced a wind gust of 151 mph at an Oklahoma Mesonet station in El Reno, Oklahoma.


Figure 1. Radar reflectivity image of the supercell thunderstorm that spawned the Piedmont, Oklahoma tornado that killed at least four people about 30 miles northwest of Oklahoma City.


Figure 2. Doppler velocity image of the supercell thunderstorm that spawned the Piedmont, Oklahoma tornado.


Figure 3. Top wind gusts recorded by the Oklahoma Mesonet yesterday showed that over 2/3 of the state received gusts of 40 mph or greater, and ten stations got gusts in excess of 58 mph (the definition of a severe thunderstorm.) A remarkable gust of 151 mph was recorded in El Reno, about 30 miles west of Oklahoma City.


Video 1. Chase video of the 1/2-mile wide tornado that killed four people in Canadian/Caddo Counties about 30 miles northwest of Oklahoma City on Tuesday, May 24, 2011.

Joplin, Missouri got a scare last night when Doppler radar showed a rotating thunderstorm approaching the city from the southwest. A tornado warning was issued and the sirens sounded, but the storm passed just to the northwest of the city, bringing Joplin only heavy rains, wind gusts to 41 mph, and intense lightning. A tornado warning forced the evacuation of NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman Oklahoma late yesterday afternoon, and the center was out of commission for a 50-minute period. However, yesterday's dangerous tornadoes missed the most heavily populated areas of Oklahoma, and SPC was able to resume normal activity after the storms cleared Oklahoma City. The center logged 47 reports of tornadoes yesterday, bringing the preliminary 4-day total of the current outbreak to 153 twisters. With more tornadoes expected today over a wide swath of the country from Arkansas to Ohio, this week's tornado outbreak is likely to rank as one of the top ten tornado outbreaks in history. This year already has the two largest tornado outbreaks in history, the April 25 - 28 outbreak (327 tornadoes) and the April 14 - 16 outbreak (162 tornadoes.)

This year's tornado death toll is in the 495 - 499 range, making it the deadliest year for tornadoes in the U.S. since 1953, when 519 people died. That year, three heavily populated cities received direct hits by violent tornadoes. Waco, Texas (114 killed), Flint, Michigan (115 killed), and Worcester, Massachusetts (90 killed) all were hit by violent F-4 or F-5 tornadoes. A similar bad tornado year occurred in 1936, when violent tornadoes hit Tupelo Mississippi (216 killed), and Gainesville, Georgia (203 killed.)


Figure 4. Satellite image taken at 22:32 UTC (6:32pm EDT) May 24, 2011, showing a line of tornadic thunderstorms over Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas. Image credit: NASA/GSFC.


Figure 5. Radar image of an unusual "J"-shaped tendril emerging from a tornadic thunderstorm near Dallas, Texas. This storm had unusually high radar reflectivity (note the pink colors of 70 dbZ echoes), because of large hail in the storm. This thunderstorm produced softball-sized hail (4.5 inch diameter.)


Video 2. Chase video of several Oklahoma tornadoes intercepted yesterday by Reed Timmer of tornadovideos.net.

The Joplin tornado an EF-5, and the costliest tornado in history
The Springfield, Missouri office of the National Weather Service announced yesterday that storm surveys of the 7-mile long, 3/4 mile-wide path of damage carved by the Joplin tornado revealed that winds in the violent tornado exceeded 200 mph, making it the 4th EF-5 tornado of the year. The twister roared through Joplin beginning at 5:41pm CDT on Sunday, May 22. In nine terrifying minutes, the tornado killed at least 125 people, injured 750 more, and destroyed 2,000 buildings. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) rates this year's Joplin tornado as the 8th deadliest U.S. tornado of all-time, and the deadliest since at least 1947, when a violent F-5 tornado hit Woodward, Oklahoma, killing 181.

Catastrophe risk modeling firm EQECAT said yesterday that insured damages from the Joplin tornado could be between $1 billion and $3 billion dollars. According to NOAA's National Severe Storm Laboratory, the costliest tornado between 1890 - 1999 was the May 3, 1999 Oklahoma City tornado, which did $1 billion in damage (1999 dollars.) There were no tornadoes during the period 2000 - 2010 capable of causing $1 billion in damage; the only two EF-5 tornadoes during that period, the 2007 Greensburg, Kansas tornado and the 2008 Parkersburg, Iowa tornado each did less than $300 million in damage. Thus, with the possible exception of this year's Tuscaloosa-Birmingham tornado of April 27, the Joplin tornado is probably the most damaging tornado of all-time.

Another "High Risk" day for severe weather and violent tornadoes today
The Storm Prediction Center has placed portions of seven states, from Arkansas to Indiana, in their "High Risk" region for severe weather potential, and warn of the potential for long-lived strong or violent tornadoes. This is their second consecutive "High Risk" forecast day, and fourth of the year. A high risk forecast was also issued on April 27, which was the busiest tornado day in world history, with 198 tornadoes occurring in a 24-hour period. Over 300 people died. The other "High Risk" forecast by SPC came during the final day of the April 14 - 16 outbreak over the Southeast U.S. Fifty-two tornadoes hit that day, and 26 people died in North Carolina and Virginia. The severe weather threat will diminish considerably on Thursday, when only a slight risk of severe weather is expected from Alabama to New York.


Figure 5. Severe weather threat for Wednesday, May 25, 2011.

Joplin tornado the 7th U.S. billion-dollar weather disaster of 2011
The Joplin tornado is the 7th U.S. weather disaster of 2011 costing more than a billion dollars. With hurricane season still to come, 2011 has an excellent chance of beating 2008's record of nine billion-dollar weather disasters. The billion dollar weather disasters of 2011 so far:

1) 2011 Groundhog Day's blizzard ($1- $4 billion)
2) April 3 -5 Southeast U.S. severe weather outbreak ($2 billion)
3) April 8 - 11 severe weather outbreak ($2.25 billion)
4) April 25 - 28 super tornado outbreak ($3.5 - $6 billion)
5) Mississippi River flood of 2011 ($9 billion)
6) Texas drought ($1.2 billion)
7) Joplin tornado ($1 - $3 billion)

Links
The New York Times has an interactive tornado fatality map showing how this year's killer tornadoes have mostly clustered over the Southeast U.S., with the glaring exception of the Joplin, Missouri tornado.

NOAA's Visualization Laboratory has an impressive animation of the satellite imagery during the month of April, showing the locations of all the tornadoes as they happened.

Helping out tornado victims
For those who want to lend a helping hand to those impacted by the widespread destruction this month's severe weather has brought, stop by the Red Cross website, or portlight.org blog. Portlight has been very active bringing aid to the victims of this year's tornadoes.

Jeff Masters

joplin lightning (thestig1)
The storm in Joplin Mo. before destruction
joplin lightning
Tornado (smyezek)
Tornado near Okeene, Ok
Tornado
Much clearer view of it as it roped out (vortecguy)
Much clearer view of it as it roped out
()

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We should watch 7-10 days from now for our first tropical system in the Atlantic.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32558
I think Ill b up half the nite ..trackin this line ... N just an hour or so Daytons next n line
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Their feed came back up, they're not talking about Bloomington at the moment though.
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WISH's live feed just went down. The tornadic line is just crossing downtown Indianapolis right now. I'm sure these two things are related.
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"mass casualty incident" near Bloomington, IN. - WISH/Indianapolis
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Quoting WaterWitch11:
there is no drama for the california tornadoes except for the fact that WE are not suppose to have them. kinda like the midwest, south or east experiencing a earthquake of 7 or greater. RARE IN FORM.

Ya'll r missin all the FUN!
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Quoting WaterWitch11:
there is no drama for the california tornadoes except for the fact that WE are not suppose to have them. kinda like the midwest, south or east experiencing a earthquake of 7 or greater. RARE IN FORM.
but it does and can happen
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54864
there is no drama for the california tornadoes except for the fact that WE are not suppose to have them. kinda like the midwest, south or east experiencing a earthquake of 7 or greater. RARE IN FORM.
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How lovely.
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WFUS53 KIND 260235
TORIND
INC011-015-023-057-063-067-097-159-260315-
/O.NEW.KIND.TO.W.0076.110526T0235Z-110526T0315Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE INDIANAPOLIS IN
1035 PM EDT WED MAY 25 2011

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN INDIANAPOLIS HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
BOONE COUNTY IN CENTRAL INDIANA...
CARROLL COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL INDIANA...
CLINTON COUNTY IN CENTRAL INDIANA...
HAMILTON COUNTY IN CENTRAL INDIANA...
HENDRICKS COUNTY IN CENTRAL INDIANA...
HOWARD COUNTY IN CENTRAL INDIANA...
MARION COUNTY IN CENTRAL INDIANA...
TIPTON COUNTY IN CENTRAL INDIANA...

* UNTIL 1115 PM EDT

* AT 1033 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE SQUALL LINE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING BRIEF RAIN-WRAPPED
TORNADOES IN ADDITION TO WIDESPREAD STRAIGHT LINE WIND DAMAGE.
THESE DANGEROUS STORMS WERE LOCATED ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM 9
MILES WEST OF LOGANSPORT TO 6 MILES SOUTHWEST OF PLAINFIELD...AND
MOVING EAST AT 40 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
INDIANAPOLIS...
KOKOMO...
BROWNSBURG...
PLAINFIELD...
ZIONSVILLE...
SPEEDWAY...
SOUTHPORT...
CARMEL...
BEECH GROVE...
TIPTON...
NOBLESVILLE...
FISHERS...
LAWRENCE...
ULEN...
AVON...
MICHIGANTOWN...
BURLINGTON...
KIRKLIN...
WHITESTOWN...
CAMBY...

THIS INCLUDES INTERSTATE 65 BETWEEN MILE MARKERS 101 AND 158.

THIS INCLUDES INTERSTATE 69 BETWEEN MILE MARKERS 0 AND 8.

THIS INCLUDES INTERSTATE 70 BETWEEN MILE MARKERS 62 AND 93.

THIS INCLUDES INTERSTATE 74 BETWEEN MILE MARKERS 53 AND 100.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TAKE COVER NOW. MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A
STURDY BUILDING. AVOID WINDOWS. IF IN A MOBILE HOME...A VEHICLE OR
OUTDOORS...MOVE TO THE CLOSEST SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER AND PROTECT
YOURSELF FROM FLYING DEBRIS.

THIS LINE OF THUNDERSTORMS IS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING TORNADOES AND
WIDESPREAD SIGNIFICANT WIND DAMAGE. DO NOT WAIT TO SEE OR HEAR THE
TORNADO. FOR YOUR PROTECTION MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST
FLOOR OF YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS.

&&

LAT...LON 4074 8653 4070 8652 4070 8637 4057 8636
4057 8596 3964 8595 3963 8656 4073 8673
TIME...MOT...LOC 0235Z 259DEG 34KT 4071 8649 3965 8645

$$

CP
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32558
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54864

Complete Update





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Looks like everything has pretty much morphed into a Serial Derecho tonight.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


It's very linear in nature.

yes it is and packing some wind. The Lowes in Paducah lost its roof. Dont know what it is with home depots and lowes getting damaged or destroyed in these events.
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1952
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54864
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54864
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54864
ANd I think it was pottery who was asking earlier about debris balls, correct me if I am wrong but that little ball off the main hook would be a debris ball
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We just had a tense couple of hours ... and more 2 come ... 1100 residents w/o power n Bellbrook OH...and a touch down in Centerville OH near Dorthy Lane Market w damage ... Kettering Oh ... just had golf ball size hail ... I was just worried about my car! :)
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image above was from yesterdays round of tornado just south west of Oklahoma city, I think this one hit Norman
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
tomorrow will be our concearn as daytime heating builds it once more and the swirly get close ever more


Thanks Keep. I am just scared and they are terrified. I have told them the best places to go for the storms, but they are just panicked. I wanted to go get them and bring them to Texas, but there just is no way I could drive up there around all this weather. Thank u please let me know if u see anything else for that area.
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Quoting emcf30:


There is about 20 counties currently under tornado warning with this line


It's very linear in nature.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32558
img src="
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There is about 20 counties currently under tornado warning with this line
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1952
Quoting BarometerGirl:


TERRACANE!

I want to coin the name and call such extreme land crossing low pressure systems "terracanes". This would include blizzards and nor'easters in the winter and severe tornadic systems (such as this current one) during the spring.

The scale of intensity for these lows could be contigent on non-tornadic atmospheric pressure in the "eye" center of the storm, wind predictions, water vapor and convective outlooks.

Terracane season would be opposite from hurricane season - Nov 1 - June 1.

'Cane season all year long!

Ha you can take credit for that one if you like, but certainly not the first

I prefer the more colloquial Landocane / Landicane! :)
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i hear thunder now storms have arrived rainy 36 hrs ahead
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54864
Blog Update

2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast (With Video)
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Quoting messageinabottle:



Thank u for responding. I appreciate it
tomorrow will be our concearn as daytime heating builds it once more and the swirly get close ever more
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54864
Current convective risk: MODERATE



Current MD's: 969...971



Current watches: 373...374...375...376



Total reports for today: 591

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32558
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54864
Quoting BarometerGirl:


TERRACANE!

I want to coin the name and call such extreme land crossing low pressure systems "terracanes". This would include blizzards and nor'easters in the winter and severe tornadic systems (such as this current one) during the spring.

The scale of intensity for these lows could be contigent on non-tornadic atmospheric pressure in the "eye" center of the storm, wind predictions, water vapor and convective outlooks.

Terracane season would be opposite from hurricane season - Nov 1 - June 1.

'Cane season all year long!

terracane season it be
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54864
Quoting BarometerGirl:


TERRACANE!

I want to coin the name and call such extreme land crossing low pressure systems "terracanes". This would include blizzards and nor'easters in the winter and severe tornadic systems (such as this current one) during the spring.

The scale of intensity for these lows could be contigent on non-tornadic atmospheric pressure in the "eye" center of the storm, wind predictions, water vapor and convective outlooks.

Terracane season would be opposite from hurricane season - Nov 1 - June 1.

'Cane season all year long!



Hah! I like it.
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Quoting srada:


Oh okay..I must have caught an old news stream..thanks


I finally turned it off, there were tornados with debris balls on them tearing stuff up and all they were showing was him. It was a very brief touchdown.
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1952
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
High risk was downgraded to a moderate risk.
been off my blog header for awhile now its a good thing it has passed still heavy t storms rain wind hail but settling down
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54864
Quoting twincomanche:
Tornado watch until five AM. No active warnings but vigilance is suggested. Wish there was better news however I would stay alert.



Thank u for responding. I appreciate it
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Area forecast discussion
National Weather Service Wilmington Ohio
953 PM EDT Wednesday may 25 2011


Synopsis...
active weather pattern with potential for severe storms will
continue through Thursday as strong trough of low pressure
continues to move slowly northeast through the Great Lakes. This
will be followed by a pattern change with a large eastern United
States ridge of high pressure...and western United States low
pressure. This will bring a significant warming trend to the Ohio
Valley through the Holiday weekend...and a chance to dry out.


&&


Near term /until 5 am Thursday morning/...
lewp with embedded rotating storms will push into County Warning Area later
tonight. Damaging winds are pretty much a foregone conclusion with
this storm type. The airmass ahead of it...particularly south of
I-71 between cvg and cmh has not been worked over this evening.
This will keep a good batch of available moisture and unstable middle
levels to be entrained into the squall line. This might actually
help the line to speed up.


Will issue a new set of zones at 10 to allow the watch over the
east and southeast to expire...and the far northwest in the colder
stratified air. Eastern County Warning Area may need an expanded watch early this
morning if the line holds up...but I see the main threat as
damaging winds.
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TERRACANE!

I want to coin the name and call such extreme land crossing low pressure systems "terracanes". This would include blizzards and nor'easters in the winter and severe tornadic systems (such as this current one) during the spring.

The scale of intensity for these lows could be contigent on non-tornadic atmospheric pressure in the "eye" center of the storm, wind predictions, water vapor and convective outlooks.

Terracane season would be opposite from hurricane season - Nov 1 - June 1.

'Cane season all year long!

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BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE JACKSON MS
900 PM CDT WED MAY 25 2011

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN JACKSON HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
SOUTHEASTERN BOLIVAR COUNTY IN NORTHWEST MISSISSIPPI...
THIS INCLUDES THE CITY OF SHAW...
CENTRAL SUNFLOWER COUNTY IN NORTHWEST MISSISSIPPI...
THIS INCLUDES THE CITY OF RULEVILLE...

* UNTIL 945 PM CDT

* AT 900 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO 6 MILES WEST OF
SHAW MOVING EAST AT 50 MPH.

* OTHER LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO
BOYLE...SUNFLOWER AND BLAINE

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.

IN ADDITION TO THE TORNADO...THIS STORM IS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING
QUARTER TO GOLF BALL SIZE HAIL AND DESTRUCTIVE STRAIGHT LINE WINDS
IN EXCESS OF 70 MPH!
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1952
BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PADUCAH KY
858 PM CDT WED MAY 25 2011

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PADUCAH HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
EASTERN DAVIESS COUNTY IN NORTHWEST KENTUCKY...

* UNTIL 930 PM CDT.

* AT 855 PM CDT...TRAINED WEATHER SPOTTERS REPORTED A FUNNEL CLOUD
NEAR OWENSBORO...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 55 MPH. TRANSFORMER FLASHES
HAVE BEEN SEEN AND DEBRIS HAS BEEN SPOTTED IN THE AIR..

* LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE...
OWENSBORO...
MASONVILLE...
KNOTTSVILLE...

Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1952
613. srada
Quoting emcf30:


That was hours ago


Oh okay..I must have caught an old news stream..thanks
Member Since: August 17, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 774
Quoting srada:


TWC just said it..LOL

all the warnings are over, the watches are even over.
idk what they are hearing...
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I'm sorry to be repetitive, but I was wondering if anyone could tell me how bad they think Ohio in Dayton/Greenville area will be. There is already hail and storms and I have family there who have never been in a tornado. Can anyone please tell me if they think it will get worse and/or around what time? I'm just really worried. Thank you so much.
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Quoting srada:
Tornado reported near Popular Bluff, MO..and guess who is in Popular..Cantore..


That was hours ago
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609. srada
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:



no warnings in MO...


TWC just said it..LOL
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Link
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Quoting srada:
Tornado reported near Popular Bluff, MO..and guess who is in Popular..Cantore..



no warnings in MO...
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605. srada
Tornado reported near Popular Bluff, MO..and guess who is in Popular..Cantore..
Member Since: August 17, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 774
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I don't like the way this year has been going...

1.) We've had a really bad winter

2.) Really bad floods

3.) Really bad tornadoes

Makes you wonder, will our hurricane season be really bad too?
I've been thinking that to.AND! also I noticed that in active tornadoe years the U.S that same year has seen multiple tropical cyclone hits.....2003..2004..2008...1974...oh the list goes on..Maybe a small correlation?
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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