A couple of questions to try to spark some pre-season tornado discussion.

Discussion in 'General Weather Discussion' started by Austin Dawg, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. Austin Dawg

    Austin Dawg Member

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    #1

    Which Tornado was the strongest on record? OR Can you really say?

    I read through the older thread about the 20th Anniversary of the Jarrell tornado was brought back up on the board, so I thought I would share this list that I found recently.
    https://extremeplanet.me/2012/07/01...est-tornadoes-ever-recorded-damage-intensity/

    I don't know how you can rank any storm before 1970 really, maybe even 2000 since there has been such a huge change in the technology used to study and gauge storms, but I thought it might help create some discussion.

    #2

    Do storms follow historical paths?

    I became interested in which F5 tornadoes were considered the strongest since I live near Jarrell and my hometown Smithville, MS was the site of one of the strongest tornadoes ever recorded. I moved out of Smithville in 1994. I moved to Austin in 2007.

    The Smithville F5 was crazy destructive. I know because of the change I saw first hand from living there over 20 years, then visit a year after the storm. My Brother and Mother both lived in Smithville when the tornado struck on April 27, 2011. My brother's house was right on the edge of what the NWS people called ground zero, or the worse damage. He nor his wife or sons were at home luckily. There was some structure left to his house, yet across the road, there was nothing as houses were wiped from their foundation. Because it was mid-afternoon, most people were at work or else the death toll would have been higher because anyone who was home and not underground in that neighborhood died. The tornado traveled about 1/2 mile west of my Mom's house and it still cracked the foundation of her home and many others in her neighborhood. The storm did major damage north of town over into Alabama that was not really talked about because it was mostly timber country.

    (Now finally to the question...)

    One of the reasons why I bring all of this up because every "big" storm we had when I lived there pretty much traveled the same path as this tornado. Everyone used to say that if we ever had a tornado, it would roll right up Hwy 25 right through town... and it did.

    I'm not even going to bring up Moore, OK...

    Has there been any study of any major storms following historically repetitive paths?
     
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  2. Kory

    Kory Member

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    We sort of have these overlapping tracks in the south part of town here in Tuscaloosa. We've had many take the Taylorville and AL-69S out to the Loop Road/Veterans hospital path. Some places have a topographical influence on paths/genesis (Sand Mountain), while others it seems like really bad luck (Moore).

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. rolltide_130

    rolltide_130 Member

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    Did somebody say HISTORICAL TORNADO DISCUSSION? Oh goodness I haven't had a good one of these in a long time.

    Question 1) Which tornado do you think is the strongest?

    Well.. it's hard to say in all honesty. However, I'm gonna keep this in the modern era (Sorry tri-state) and try to narrow it down to a couple and explain my reasoning as to why. I picked these two tornadoes due to number 1 being what I consider to have the single most extreme instance of damage, and number 2 being what I would consider the tornado that was the overall most intense, despite not having an instance of damage that was as impressive.

    1) Jarrell, TX 5/27/97

    While determining the most POWERFUL tornado on record is a very subjective argument, it's very, very difficult to challenge the notion that this tornado produced the most extreme instance of damage we've seen in the modern era in the Double Creek Estates subdivision. It completely annihilated that neighborhood, turning it into an empty field of mud and bare foundations. The tornado produced such a strong sandblasting effected that it granulated the homes to particles so small, there was hardly any sizable debris left for first responders to clean up. 27 deaths occurred in that one neighborhood alone. That's more fatalities than 43 other F/EF-5 tornadoes generated along their entire path lengths. Not to mention, the extreme, extreme slow forward speed caused the tornado to practically sit still over areas it impacted, exposing many houses to tornado-force winds for up to several minutes.

    2) Hackleburg, AL 4/27/11

    A lot of people in the meteorology community, myself included, consider this tornado to be the closest modern resemblance to the Tri-State tornado. It traveled 132 miles, and it completely decimated multiple small communities in N Alabama. It didn't have many instances of absolutely insane damage like the Jarrell tornado, but it maintained EF-5 intensity for an exceedingly long time, staying above the threshold across 3 whole counties (Marion, Franklin, Lawrence). It never scored a direct hit on a major town or city (Which is a miracle as it threaded the needle between Decatur and Athens, and was only about 15 miles too far north and weset for a direct strike on the Huntsville/Madison metropolitan area), but it still caused 72 fatalities. That is a sickeningly high number when you consider the fact that the tornado traversed over mostly rural terrain, only directly impacting smaller towns.

    Question 2) Historical paths

    Yes, they do. Why they do is a really big research interest of mine, especially the NW Alabama alley that includes the Hackleburg track. There's some working theories such as topography locally enhancing tornadic environments, but its still very cutting edge research and there's still so much more that has to be worked on to fully understand. You have some more historical examples such as the Caprock and the Moore corridor out in the Plains, but you also have several instances across Alabama, including the NW Alabama track, the Cullman/Arab track, and generally a very large clustering on top of Sand Mountain in NE Alabama. There are several like these, but the research as to why is, as I stated, still very young, and the same hypothesis that applies to say, Sand Mountain, may not apply to areas such as Northwest Alabama or Moore. It's a very, very complex topic and it's one that scientists will be working on for many years.
     
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  4. Austin Dawg

    Austin Dawg Member

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    Thanks for posting this map!

    Spending 40 years of my life in East Mississippi, I know well of the storms in Alabama. I lived in Starkville for a long time and watched many storms head towards Tuscaloosa, and before living in Smithville when I watched storms heading towards NW Alabama.


    Back to strongest tornadoes... The one I have heard a lot about was the Guin, AL tornado in the 74 outbreak. I was 12, living in Smithville and it seemed as though every storm that came through East Mississippi went to tornado warned storm as it passed us. I saw the largest hail I have ever seen in those storms... it was brief but the size of a softball.

    Anyway, I heard a lot about the destructive power of that tornado from people on the street and meterologists. Where do you think it ranks on this list?
     
  5. Bamamuscle

    Bamamuscle Member

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    In Madison Co AL I know the Anderson Hills subdivision in the NW portion of the county has been hit several times by strong tornadoes also. Just seem to be a tornado magnet for that area.


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  6. Lori

    Lori Administrator
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    Great topic discussion y'all!!


    Sent from my iPhone using TalkWeather
     
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