Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:33 PM GMT on January 11, 2008
A rare tornado hit Vancouver, Washington (just north of Portland, Oregon) on Thursday at noon local time. The unusual twister demolished a rowing club, downed power lines, uprooted trees, and tossed shopping carts into cars along its four mile path. No injuries were reported, though. The state of Washington averages about two tornadoes per year. Yesterday's tornado was only the third January tornado observed in Washington since 1950, according to the National Climatic Data Center (2000 and 2006 were the other years). Tornadoes were also reported yesterday in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. About 100 houses were damaged and destroyed and 11 people were injured in Lowndes County, Mississippi from one of the tornadoes. A total of 34 tornadoes have been confirmed for the severe weather outbreak that began on January 7th, and total number of tornadoes could reach 60 or more by the time all the damage surveys are complete. More tornadoes are expected today from the Florida Panhandle northeastward to coastal North Carolina. Watch the Weather Underground's Severe Weather Page and Tornado Page to keep up with the storms.
Figure 1. Storm reports for Thursday, January 10, 2008. Image credit: NOAA's Storm Prediction Center.
Katrina damage claims exceed $3 quadrillion
According to the Associated Press, $3,014,170,389,176,410 in claims have been filed against the federal government over damage from the failure of levees and flood walls following Hurricane Katrina. Of the 489,000 total claims, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said 247 were for at least $1 billion, including one for $3 quadrillion.
"That's the mother of all high numbers," said Loren Scott, a Baton Rouge-based economist.
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