• Welcome to TalkWeather!
    We would love for you to become a part of our community.
    Take a moment to look around and join the discussion.
    CLICK HERE TO JOIN TALKWEATHER

Discussion of April 27, 2011 Outbreak (2 Viewers)

Messages
836
Location
Missouri
So, I've been looking for some footage of the Cullman tornado that I saw years ago on YouTube but can't find the video for the life of me now. It was a taping of the tornado as it was going right through Cullman; the video had a part where the multivortex structure of the tornado was clearly visible and the tornado was going right over the church, it looks like 2 octopus tentacles are reaching down from the sky. If anyone can find this video it would be much appreciated.
 
Messages
836
Location
Missouri
I had never seen that Smithville photo before... fascinating. Other than the reservoir video there are very few clear shots of it.

Great discussion topics re: vortex tilt, phases, and horizontal vortices on historic outbreak days. I'd love to see some sort of research and comparisons made but I'm not sure how one would specifically quantify or compare some of these things.

I can still pick out the tornado paths knowing precisely where to look but it's pretty impressive how much difference eight years makes in tree growth and reconstruction... the Cordova to Sipsey path on Hwy 78 is becoming fainter and the Adamsville area path just down the road from the Tuscaloosa tornado is honestly overshadowed now by the nearby 4/28/14 EF2's swath of shredded trees; even that is slowly recovering. Downtown Cullman is completely rebuilt but the historic district is really depressing still with many empty properties where turn of the century houses once stood and a near total lack of trees in what was once a very shaded district. Hopefully people won't forget that day as fast as nature seems to have... it's going to happen again some decade in the future
Some other good videos of Smithville, surprising how little documentation there was of this storm:

1. Immediately right after it hit Smithville:

2. Security footage of it hitting the police station:

3. Apparently this is footage of the tornado's formation over the reservoir:

4. Shot from the boat ramp at the reservoir area. No audio from this video, apparently the uploader deleted it. It's the only video that captures the direct formation of the tornado:
 
Last edited:

TH2002

Member
Messages
280
Location
California, United States
Special Affiliations
  1. SKYWARN® Volunteer
So, I've been looking for some footage of the Cullman tornado that I saw years ago on YouTube but can't find the video for the life of me now. It was a taping of the tornado as it was going right through Cullman; the video had a part where the multivortex structure of the tornado was clearly visible and the tornado was going right over the church, it looks like 2 octopus tentacles are reaching down from the sky. If anyone can find this video it would be much appreciated.
Is this the footage you're talking about?

 
Messages
836
Location
Missouri
Two videos of Smithville when it was in the Shottsville, AL area after crossing the state line. As can be seen, it narrowed quite a bit but was still fairly strong:

1.


2.



Another video of Smithville when it was in the Hamilton, Al area (heads up for annoying music):

3.

 
Last edited:
Messages
836
Location
Missouri
So this is pretty incredible. This video is of the birth of the Hackleburg tornado (or just its early stages). I was a bit skeptical of this video as being genuinely of Hackleburg at first, but the video can be found on NWS Birmingham's table of the tornadoes of 2011 as "Hamilton Tornado" under the Phil Campbell-Hackleburg Event.

Source: https://www.weather.gov/bmx/tornadodb_2011 although you'll have to scroll a bit or do Ctrl+F "Hamilton tornado" to find it



 

TH2002

Member
Messages
280
Location
California, United States
Special Affiliations
  1. SKYWARN® Volunteer
Yes, that's it! Cullman had a striking appearance and structure.
Out of all the tornadoes documented during the 2011 Super Outbreak, the Cullman tornado has particularly interested me for that reason and the fact that it was (along with the Tuscaloosa-Birmingham tornado) one of the, if not the most filmed tornado during the entire event.
 
Messages
836
Location
Missouri
Out of all the tornadoes documented during the 2011 Super Outbreak, the Cullman tornado has particularly interested me for that reason and the fact that it was (along with the Tuscaloosa-Birmingham tornado) one of the, if not the most filmed tornado during the entire event.
These 2 videos of Cullman demonstrate how it had a shifting appearance when it was going through Cullman, by the time it got to Arab it was a more traditional Dixie wedge. The horizontal vortices and multiple vortices are clearly visible on this thing, a rarity for Dixie Alley. Also, it one of the videos it appears to lack a visible condensation funnel for a brief period, simialr to the DePauw, IN F5 of 1974 and the Henryville, IN EF4 of 2012.

1.

2.
 
Last edited:

buckeye05

Member
Messages
929
Location
Riverside, Ohio
So there were a couple of tornadoes from the 2011 outbreak that were rated EF3 based on rather non-traditional DIs. These were both QLCS tornadoes embedded within the morning squall line.

-The Lexington, MS EF3 was rated as such based on large wooden high-tension poles being snapped. As far as I know, high-tension poles have to be metal in order for an EF3 rating to be considered.

-The Holman, AL EF3 was rated based on a 3,500-lb trailer being thrown 100 yards.

Anyway, these two ratings always left me feeling a little skeptical. Thoughts?
 
Last edited:

TH2002

Member
Messages
280
Location
California, United States
Special Affiliations
  1. SKYWARN® Volunteer
So there were a couple of tornadoes from the 2011 outbreak that were rated EF3 based on rather non-traditional DIs. These were both QLCS tornadoes embedded within the morning squall line.

-The Lexington, MS EF3 was rated as such based on large wooden high-tension poles being snapped. As far as I know, high-tension poles have to be metal in order for an EF3 rating to be considered.

-The Holman, AL EF3 was rated based on a 3,500-lb trailer being thrown 100 yards.

Anyway, these two ratings always left me feeling a little skeptical. Thoughts?
The EF scale shows a little over 140 mph as the upper-bound threshold for wooden power poles being snapped, so my guess is that the fact that the poles were snapped only a few inches above the ground led the survey team to conclude lower-end EF3 intensity.

As for the Holman tornado, ratings based on vehicles being thrown certain distances has been used before, the 1995 Great Barrington tornado was rated F4 solely based on a car being thrown thrown 1,000 feet. Interestingly though, the 2018 Tescott, KS tornado threw a pickup truck 900 feet and received an EF3 rating. Shows how the EF scale is more stringent than the original Fujita scale, though there are likely still some discrepancies between different survey teams and forecast offices. I do believe that an EF2 rating may have been more appropriate for the Holman tornado, unless there were other damage indicators that led the survey team to conclude EF3 intensity.
 

buckeye05

Member
Messages
929
Location
Riverside, Ohio
The EF scale shows a little over 140 mph as the upper-bound threshold for wooden power poles being snapped, so my guess is that the fact that the poles were snapped only a few inches above the ground led the survey team to conclude lower-end EF3 intensity.

As for the Holman tornado, ratings based on vehicles being thrown certain distances has been used before, the 1995 Great Barrington tornado was rated F4 solely based on a car being thrown thrown 1,000 feet. Interestingly though, the 2018 Tescott, KS tornado threw a pickup truck 900 feet and received an EF3 rating. Shows how the EF scale is more stringent than the original Fujita scale, though there are likely still some discrepancies between different survey teams and forecast offices. I do believe that an EF2 rating may have been more appropriate for the Holman tornado, unless there were other damage indicators that led the survey team to conclude EF3 intensity.
I didn’t realize that wooden poles could be rated up to 140 MPH! I should have known that.

Now with Holman though, the EF scale is not designed in a way that allows for vehicles to be an established DI for ratings. Tescott was indeed rated EF3, but it was based on a house that sustained roof and exterior wall loss near the end of the path. As far as I know, movement of heavy objects cannot be used solely to determine a rating, so the EF3 rating in Holman is still questionable to me.

But then we have events like Pierson, IA 2013 which was rated EF4 based on a heavy grain cart being thrown, which is whole separate can of worms.
 

TH2002

Member
Messages
280
Location
California, United States
Special Affiliations
  1. SKYWARN® Volunteer
I didn’t realize that wooden poles could be rated up to 140 MPH! I should have known that.

Now with Holman though, the EF scale is not designed in a way that allows for vehicles to be an established DI for ratings. Tescott was indeed rated EF3, but it was based on a house that sustained roof and exterior wall loss near the end of the path. As far as I know, movement of heavy objects cannot be used solely to determine a rating, so the EF3 rating in Holman is still questionable to me.

But then we have events like Pierson, IA 2013 which was rated EF4 based on a heavy grain cart being thrown, which is whole separate can of worms.
You are definitely correct in that vehicles can't be used as damage indicators to determine a final EF rating.

According to the National Weather Service damage survey for the Holman tornado the basis for the EF3 rating was NOT the trailer being thrown but in fact a residence:
"Large sections of roof structure removed; most walls remain standing" with an estimated wind speed of 140 MPH. Again the upper-bound wind speed for this degree of damage is 142 MPH which would equal a low-end EF3 rating.

Regardless, I do believe that a high-end EF2 rating may have been more appropriate.
 

buckeye05

Member
Messages
929
Location
Riverside, Ohio
You are definitely correct in that vehicles can't be used as damage indicators to determine a final EF rating.

According to the National Weather Service damage survey for the Holman tornado the basis for the EF3 rating was NOT the trailer being thrown but in fact a residence:
"Large sections of roof structure removed; most walls remain standing" with an estimated wind speed of 140 MPH. Again the upper-bound wind speed for this degree of damage is 142 MPH which would equal a low-end EF3 rating.

Regardless, I do believe that a high-end EF2 rating may have been more appropriate.
Hmm interesting. This might be an example of exceptional construction garnering a higher rating, despite not having classic visual EF3 damage. This exact topic was being discussed earlier on another thread actually.
 
Messages
836
Location
Missouri
This is a pretty scary clip of Cordova. The rapid forward speed on this thing is evident and a multiple vortex structure is visible in the thumbnail, according to the uploader it hit their house and somehow they survived a direct from it. If you read the uploader's descriptions it shows how tornadoes can climb hills and mountains unimpeded, disproving that long-held myth.

 

buckeye05

Member
Messages
929
Location
Riverside, Ohio
This is a pretty scary clip of Cordova. The rapid forward speed on this thing is evident and a multiple vortex structure is visible in the thumbnail, according to the uploader it hit their house and somehow they survived a direct from it. If you read the uploader's descriptions it shows how tornadoes can climb hills and mountains unimpeded, disproving that long-held myth.

Yeah I remember this clip from years ago. IRRC, the house was completely swept away and the family members were thrown from the site and injured, but somehow survived.
 

TH2002

Member
Messages
280
Location
California, United States
Special Affiliations
  1. SKYWARN® Volunteer
Speaking of Cordova here are two clips that show the tornado going RIGHT over mountains. Definitely disproves the myth that tornadoes can't happen in the mountains. During the 2011 Super Outbreak there was another EF4 that caused heavy damage in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and an EF3 in Glade Springs, Virginia. There was also an outbreak of tornadoes in Park County, Colorado on June 8, 2014.

 

Users who are viewing this thread

1-800-PetMeds
Top