"But seeing they could not See; hearing they could not Hear"
“The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the National Weather Service or affiliate/related organizations. Please consult .gov sites for official information”

"From its chamber comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds." - Job 37:9.

"The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course".

Saturday, April 30, 2011

April 27, 2011: And 7 Hours 24 Minutes, 380 Miles That Redefined Tornado History

Radar Composite of the one, single  MegaTornadic Supercell Thunderstorm that originated in Mississippi at 3:40pm EDT and lasted until 10:40pm  (at least) on April 27, 2011. Note that it had a 'hook' shape (indicative of a tornado or the high potential to contain one) almost from birth.  Nearly every thunderstorm that erupted this day was rotating.
Swath of Rotating Storms this Day, nearly all of which produced a tornado, some extremely long tracking. If you live in Florida, can you imagine a tornado producing thunderstorm to be in  South Carolina while enjoying your morning coffee, only to have it cross Orlando near bed time the same day, same storm? Not unlike anticipating the approach of a very small but very violent Hurricane Charley, only smaller, but much stronger.
THE EPIC TORNADO EVENT OF APRIL 27th 2011 HAS OR WILL GO DOWN IN METEOROLOGICAL HISTORY, ALONG WITH THE TRI-STATE TORNADO, THE SUPER OUTBREAK, AND A NUMBER OF SMALLER OUTBREAKS BUT OF NO LESS INTENSITY (some of them were actually STRONGER if that's possible).   No point to go into the details of this event, the information is aplenty...beyond what we may even want or need to hear or know.

It should also be pointed out that BEFORE the day in the Deep South, there was two to three previous days while this system was still evolving that produced tornadoes and large hail back torward Abilene, Texas and east and north into Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois.

The point is, we have lived during a period in history now with not only this event, but just recently those of the Tsunami/Earthquake in Japan and Haiti, Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina, the dubbed Moore, Oklahoma EF5 Tornado with the strongest recorded tornado wind yet measured (305 mph). Further information, videos, and stories will be coming across the air waves for many more days to come. 

Many lives have been lost, and the number continues to rise with reportedly those still unaccounted for (which may or may not equate to fatalities).  I watched the entire event unfold on the internet 'as it happened', beginning back in the time this one storm only had passed Birmingham, AL there was no doubt how fully epically extraordinary the day had become. Realize, that during the time of the 'big one' making news, there were many other tornadoes occurring as well, of no less significance. The  Smithville, Mississippi tornado, for instance, has already been confirmed as being of  EF-5 intensity. That is strong enough to wipe a two story structure to the foundation, pull pavement from the ground, and as I heard recently, it pulled a fire hydrant out of the ground! 

I suspect that at some point the Tuscaloosa to Birmingham storm will be found to have exhibited EF5 strength at some point during its grind across the state, most certainly EF-4.

BEFORE AERIAL VIEW: What appears to be a common Strip Mall and surrounding community
AFTER: Same Location. Note the Strip Mall area. Almost looks like the pavement was scoured. In fact, there is not even debris laying around. It is simply GONE! Imagine those huge projectiles flying through the air for the next area down the line and the impacts those would have on the human skin....that's one way of 'imaging' it to be, uh, conservatively. (I do not believe this was from Tuscaloosa)

BEFORE/AFTER within the same track, same tornado. Your common, everyday neighborhood
If you were to stand in the middle of this, it would almost cover an area as far as the eye can see, 360 degrees of it.


I had never heard the term, "Debris Ball" until this year. I don't know if it is something new, or if these events are just so rare that the term was not used widely enough to be easily heard (by myself).  

Below is an image captured during live coverage on the internet. We can see the tornado on a building mounted video cam, and  radar at the same time.

The following day Florida experienced some severe, non tornado producing weather as well. However, had the conditions that evolved during the early evening over East Central Florida been only a bit different, a weak tornado or strong waterspout could have occurred near Port Canaveral. This would have been if the surface winds had been just a bit more from the SE rather than the SSE and the storm had made a harder turn toward the right than it did into  Titusville/Port St. John instead where it produced pea to golf ball sized hail. This storm was mean, inhaling 35mph easily strong SSE winds from the coast and across both intracoastal waterways. The moisture at low levels was so  dense, and the atmosphere so unstable away from the coast that the beaches appeared to be in a dark fog bank under subsidence (settling) behind the East Coast Sea-breeze when seen from Merritt Island. The view into this storm was quite different.
Near the top we see the normal shelf cloud that precedes a strong storm; meanwhile, the storm acquired an attendant inflow band close to the ground near Frontenac. You can see how moisture was feeding into the storm from left to right just above the ground. Hail was falling toward the right side of this photo. That's water vapor in action. Lighting was quite frequent in this storm, even where it originated back in Osceola County.
TODAY: Chance of showers far SE Florida and possibly thunder western portions of Dade/Broward Counties, evolving more into an isolated strong storm or two into Collier, Hendry, or Lee Counties. Very late toward dark a storm could evolve as far north as Sarasota. Otherwise, further north into Central and North Florida it will be quite pleasant with hardly a cloud in the sky. ENE-E winds at 10-15mph with a high near 80F at the coast and mid-80Fs inland.

TONIGHT/SUNDAY: Chance of a coastal shower or two beginning near daybreak Sunday over Indian River to St. Lucie Counties...perhaps crossing into far South Brevard before 11AM. If these materialize they will be low topped showers. Any activity will progress a bit inland and diminish by mid- afternoon. Perhaps some rejuvenation toward the west side of the state in the early evening.

During Sunday North Brevard near the Beachline will be on a 'gradient' of greater atmospheric moisture with more moist air to the south and much drier air toward the north, those areas from there to the south will see more clouds and maybe the showers...whereas the area just to the north into Georgia will be under full subsidence and much less moisture and may see another clear day altogether.

TUESDAY-FRIDAY: I'm leaving this open ended at this point, other than it will be getting much warmer once again as a frontal boundary approaches late Tuesday through Thursday. The latest European Model was almost a full 18 hours faster than the GFS, but in either case I'm not expecting any stormy weather impacts from this front as it approaches. Rain chances appear will mainly exist during the first few hours after the front moves by in a more stable environment. This boundary will wash out to be replaced by possibly another within 48-72 hours. Again, the details are even more sketchy as model discrepancies are now compounded.  

One thing does seem to be in the process though, as I write...if fact, as of yesterday.
Florida is in a transitional phase. Fronts can barely clear the state, and when forecast to do so, could start to actually hang up over South Florida instead..oops. This trend will continue into the first week of June, with the fronts stalling further and further north toward Central and then North Florida. Where ever the fronts stall, chances of thunderstorm activity (some strong) will be possible going into the first two weeks of June, during which time the bona-fide Thunderstorm season will also be evolving. First over the Southern Portion of the state, possibly as soon as within the next 10-20 days..and spreading north with time. Some years, the evolution occurs almost everywhere all at once or nearly so...other years the trend is more 'classic'.

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