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 Mississippi...by 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|
|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.
THIS IS A RADAR IMAGE OF THE TORNADIC STORM RIGHT AFTER PASSING
OVER TUSCALOOSA. NOTE THE PURPLE RADAR RETURN IN THE LOWER LEFT/CENTRAL PORTION OF THE IMAGE. THIS IS DEBRIS BEING PICKED UP BY RADAR (the term being thrown around lately as if common knowledge is "Debris Ball". IT WAS NOT AS EVIDENT BEFORE PASSING OVER THE CITY.
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.
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.
THUNDERSTORM SEASON WILL SOON BE HERE:
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'.