What a wild April it has been for severe weather across the central & eastern parts of the country. The latest rounds of severe storms pounding Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Georgia has left widespread damage from violent tornadoes and sadly the loss of over 300 people. First off, here is a map of the storm reports from Tues April 26th-Thurs April 28th in the U.S.
I should note that the 233 twisters being sighted during this 3 day period will likely be lower than the final tally since the same tornado likely was spotted by many individuals as it moved from one town to the next. The NWS storm survey teams will also be working straight through the weekend and into the new week trying to determine not only the track but also the intensity of each of the tornadoes. Based on what I've seen on video, I won't be surprised if a fair number rank in the EF3 to EF5 range.
Next, here are some stats for April 2011 when it has come to tornadoes in both the U.S. and Wisconsin.
So to put this a bit more into perspective, May 2003 featured the previous record for a month with a total of 543 tornadoes in the U.S. Even after the last tornadoes are documented, it appears likely this April will exceed that number. In addition, the Super Outbreak on April 3-4, 1974 included 148 confirmed tornadoes, causing 307 deaths and injuring over 5,000 people. Here's a map depicting the paths of many of those tornadoes from April 1974....
To learn more about the Super Outbreak of 1974, check out this article on Wikipedia.
Back to April 26-28th, the ingredients for a large amount of severe weather were in place across the southeast. Unseasonably warm air, a sharp contrast in temperatures and higher dew points from southeast to northwest, along with mid and upper level energy from the jet stream cutting across the eastern half of the country. Probably most chaotic about this is some parts of Mississippi and Alabama had 2 to 3 rounds of supercell storms rip across their states. Imagine us providing nearly non-stop severe weather coverage for 12-18 hours. Some local tv stations in this part of the country did just that. And it wasn't until the dryline (front which ushers in drier air and lower dew points) came across their areas did the severe threat finally subside.
Many NWS offices in the southeastern U.S. will be providing more detailed information on the impacts of the individual tornadoes. With that in mind, I am going to provide some links below so you can keep up to date.
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