Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tornado Update


Last night Diane and I were chatting about the most recent outbreak of tornados across the country and felt that an update to our two earlier articles (April 16 and 30) was needed. During my research this morning I found this information on Wikipedia which provided a nice recap of the past two months. In addition, located a good preparedness article:

April 2011 was the most active month on record, capped by an extreme tornado outbreak that killed over 340 people in the final week. By contrast, the first three weeks of May were remarkably quiet with no major outbreaks and only isolated tornadoes. However, that pattern abruptly changed as a strong low pressure area and associated dry line and cold front tracked eastward.



EF3 tornado that struck Reading, Kansas



On May 21, a small system of thunderstorms began to develop in Brown County, Kansas. At the same time, another system formed to the southeast of Emporia, Kansas. The Brown county system developed into a tornado over Shawnee County, Kansas, and touched down over Topeka, Kansas, for several seconds causing minor damage nearby. Meanwhile the Emporia system continued to move to the northeast, where an EF3 (Enhanced Fujita Scale) tornado heavily damaged the town of Reading, Kansas. One person was killed there, several others were injured and at least 20 houses were destroyed. After hitting Topeka it hit several towns including Oskaloosa, Kansas, doing extensive damage to that community. Several other tornadoes touched down in the region that evening.



A moderate risk of severe weather was issued for much of the Midwest south to Oklahoma for May 22. The first tornadic supercell that day developed in the mid-afternoon hours over the western Twin Cities with a swath of damage, especially in and around Minneapolis, Minnesota. An intense tornado also tracked towards Harmony, Minnesota, that afternoon and a tornado emergency was issued. Late that afternoon, a very large and intense multiple-vortex tornado resulted in catastrophic damage in Joplin, Missouri EF-4). It was the deadliest single tornado in the U.S. since at least 1953.



Once again, a moderate risk of severe weather was issued for two regions on May 23 - the southern Plains and the lower Great Lakes - although the tornado threat was lower with the main threats being damaging wind and large hail. Such was also issued for May 24 across the southern Plains, centered around eastern Oklahoma, with strong to violent tornadoes considered to be a major threat.



Please join us in keeping these folks in our thoughts and prayers and give generously, if you can, to the American Red Cross (http://www.redcross.org/).



We will continue to monitor this year's tornado season and provide updates as needed. With regard to preparedness, this week in Hurricane Preparedness Week and we will post an article this week.



Almost a post script...the weather folks are predicting more severe storms today and tomorrow in many of the same areas hit since this past weekend.

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