Friday, July 31, 2009

Tornadoes strike the Memphis area - July 30, 2009

...Updated for increase in intensity of Cordova tornado to EF-1...

Another savage storm system swept through the Mid-South late Thursday afternoon and evening (July 30, 2009), unleashing multiple tornadoes and flooding rains in the Memphis metropolitan area and throughout the region. Tornadoes struck Cordova, on Germantown Parkway just south of I-40 (and just south of Wolfchase Galleria), Olive Branch, MS, and there are also reports of possible tornado damage in southwest Memphis and other areas throughout the Mid-South, from west-central TN to northwest MS. In fact, a probable tornado passed very near a personal weather station in Henning, TN, in southern Lauderdale County northeast of Covington. The result was an 86 mph measured wind gust!

Preliminary damage reports on the Cordova and Olive Branch storms indicated EF-1 and EF-2 damage, respectively. MLGW reported 12,000 customers without power shortly after the storm, while DeSoto County officials estimated 9,000 people lost power in their county. Gas leaks were also reported in the area around Kohl's department store on Germantown Parkway and high-water rescues were made in DeSoto County as well.

A couple of amateur videos of damage in Cordova taken shortly after the storm passed through can be found here: video 1 and video 2. Scott Merrill (MidSouth PC Repair) of College Park subdivision took an excellent amateur video of the Olive Branch tornado as it approached his subdivision and also has damage photos of one of the hardest hit areas.

The Commercial Appeal has published a couple of articles on the storm's aftermath, which can be found here and here, as well as a photo gallery. Covering Olive Branch, the DeSoto Times Tribune has an article here. The Weather Channel also has a story on the Olive Branch storm and video story of the Cordova aftermath.

The National Weather Service in Memphis also has a webpage with storms reports, damage surveys, and damage photos located here.

My photos from the Cordova storm, taken less than 24 hours after it passed, are shown in the slideshow below.

Miraculously, with all of the destruction, there were NO reported injuries or fatalities!

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