Sunday, April 25, 2010

Recap of severe weather outbreak on 4/24/10, including Yazoo City tornado

(updated 4/27/10)

A day of violent weather across the Lower Mississippi and Tennessee Valleys, including the Mid-South, brought many reports of tornadoes, high wind, and large hail on Saturday, April 24, 2010. This followed an afternoon and evening of severe, but not as intense, storms the previous day. Locally, the National Weather Service in Memphis issued dozens of severe thunderstorm warnings, several tornado warnings, and several flash flood warnings.

The graphic above recaps the severe weather reports for the nation on 2/24/10. Most reports from the immediate area were of the high wind and hail variety, but a few weak tornadoes also touched down in the Mid-South. A report issued by NWS-Memphis highlights three of the tornadoes (two EF-1's and an EF-0), as well as lists all storm reports received on the 24th. The list is lengthy.

To our south, the story is much worse. Information that is currently available (as of 4/26/10) on the devastating storm that struck Yazoo City and many other locations across central Mississippi around mid-day on Saturday. Several facts are known:

* A single supercell was responsible for multiple tornadoes that left damage across the state of Mississippi from west to east, from Louisiana to Alabama.
* Preliminary storm reports (as of 4/27/10) indicate that there were 76 tornadoes, 157 wind reports, and 67 hail reports on April 24. A full 50%, or 38, of the tornado reports come from MS (see graphic at top - note the line of red dots across MS indicating tornado reports from the single supercell).
* The initial damage survey from Yazoo City by the NWS in Jackson indicates a monster storm: an EF-4 with 170 mph wind, 1.75 miles in width at its maximum, and a path length of at least 149 miles across central Mississippi!
* 10 dead in Mississippi and dozens injured

Embedded below is video of some of the damage near Yazoo City. You will also find a link to video of the tornado, as captured by storm chasers, near the end of this article.

Next is an image of the Doppler velocity (or wind) data from the Jackson/Brandon, MS radar as the storm tore through the southeast side of Yazoo City. The very bright blues (inbound wind towards the radar at lower left) and browns (outbound wind away from the radar) right next to each other indicate very tight circulation and the position of the huge tornado. More Doppler radar imagery, including loops, can be found here.

Finally, the satellite image below shows the damage path (yes, it can be seen from space) of the storm. You have to look closely (here is a full-resolution unaltered version or click the image below to enlarge), but you will see a "scar" mark extending from left to right (west-southwest to east-northeast) just below Yazoo City and to the right (east) of Yazoo City, marked by white arrows. Amazing!

Other links of note:

* NWS-Jackson, MS's event summary of the severe weather in central Mississippi
* Weather Underground's Jeff Masters' blog on the storm
* had chasers on the storm and captured this amazing footage from near Yazoo City
* The AP has first-person video of the tornado from a resident of Yazoo City
* Check out damage photos from ChaserTV as well as NWS-Jackson

Certainly, will keep the people of central Mississippi and all other locations affected by severe weather the past couple of days, in our thoughts and prayers and asks you to do the same. It is a miracle that the Mississippi supercell did not do more damage and that there were not more fatalities. It could have been so much worse and is definitely a storm that will live on in Mississippi weather lore.

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