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Significant Tornado Events (2 Viewers)


locomusic01

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84
Location
Pennsylvania
(My apologies if there's already a thread in this vein; I checked but I didn't find one.)

So, once upon a time, Talkweather was host to a pretty swell thread called "Significant Tornado Events." I'm sure some of y'all will remember. Full disclosure: I think I initially started the thread in a desperate attempt to get someone to read my blog. Anyhow, thankfully, it quickly evolved beyond that into something I thought was really pretty special. It was a place for lots of knowledgeable folks and newbies alike to post about any particular significant tornado event that tickled their fancy. We swapped stories of obscure events few people even knew existed. We shared hard-to-find photos of popular events. We endlessly debated the proper ratings for any of a thousand different tornadoes. We speculated about which tornadoes were the most intense, which outbreaks were the worst, etc.

It was pretty dang fun. I know there are different threads already started that sort of cover certain aspects of this, but the old thread was always kinda used as a catch-all for stuff that concerned violent tornadoes but didn't really fit elsewhere. I'm not sure what ever became of that thread, but I think it'd be pretty cool to revive it once more. So, sound like a plan?

If we're good to go ahead, I'll be back either tonight or tomorrow with a few things I'd like to share. Y'all are more than welcome to do the same!
 
Messages
74
Location
Lenexa, KS
It is just mind boggling to see the damage that extremely violent tornadoes cause.

Some of the most extreme damage I have seen from pictures are the Sherman,Texas tornado of 1896, the tri-state tornado of 1925, and the Jarrell, Texas tornado in 1997. There are many others though that seem almost comparable.
 
Messages
332
Location
Madison, WI
We've been in a relative lull for high-end tornadoes the last few years, although I've seen a good case made on this and other weather forums that the Camp Creek, SD tornado last year was likely stronger than its official EF3 rating.

2019 has picked up the pace a bit, although we got (relatively) lucky during this recent outbreak sequence with intense, but not exceptionally violent (high end EF4/"plausibly EF5") tornadoes tracking through metro areas after dark. On the other hand, the radar signatures of the northeast Kansas/northwest MO EF4 were absolutely mind-boggling, but it largely skirted the most densely populated areas of Lawrence, Eudora and Bonner Springs and then dissipated shortly before it would have tracked into the heart of metro KC. The Beauregard/Lee County, AL tornado back in early March was extremely impressive as well.
 

locomusic01

Member
Messages
84
Location
Pennsylvania
It is just mind boggling to see the damage that extremely violent tornadoes cause.

Some of the most extreme damage I have seen from pictures are the Sherman,Texas tornado of 1896, the tri-state tornado of 1925, and the Jarrell, Texas tornado in 1997. There are many others though that seem almost comparable.
I wish I had more photos of Sherman. From the available photos + accounts of the damage, it certainly seems to have been very intense.







Full album here:


Tri-State is another case where the photos are impressive, but still don't even show the most impressive damage accounts you can find. Like, this home in Bollinger County, MO, was destroyed and the damage is clearly intense, but it was also on the southern edge of the damage path. Just to the north, witnesses reported that trees were "reduced to naked stumps" and the grass was "stripped bare and scoured of several inches of soil."



The large and well-built home of Perry County District Judge Claus Stueve, near Frohna, was also largely swept away. Two people were killed and there was reportedly intense vegetation damage in the area, which you can sort of see in the photo.



The absolutely complete devastation in Gorham obviously stands out, along with the utility poles snapped not far from the ground.



I think I'm running out of space for photos here, so I'll wrap it up. Anyhow, as violent as everyone knows the Tri-State tornado was, I don't doubt it'd be at or near the top of the list if there were more/better photos from the worst-hit areas. Some of the accounts are just staggering. I won't even get into Jarrell because I could go for hours on that lol

Edit: Oh, there's also this, which.. I'm not entirely sure what to make of it.

 

locomusic01

Member
Messages
84
Location
Pennsylvania
We've been in a relative lull for high-end tornadoes the last few years, although I've seen a good case made on this and other weather forums that the Camp Creek, SD tornado last year was likely stronger than its official EF3 rating.

2019 has picked up the pace a bit, although we got (relatively) lucky during this recent outbreak sequence with intense, but not exceptionally violent (high end EF4/"plausibly EF5") tornadoes tracking through metro areas after dark. On the other hand, the radar signatures of the northeast Kansas/northwest MO EF4 were absolutely mind-boggling, but it largely skirted the most densely populated areas of Lawrence, Eudora and Bonner Springs and then dissipated shortly before it would have tracked into the heart of metro KC. The Beauregard/Lee County, AL tornado back in early March was extremely impressive as well.
I haven't really followed as closely the past couple of years, so I feel like I kinda missed out on some of them. Camp Creek certainly sounds very violent from the bit I've read here and elsewhere. Kansas is pretty much ground zero for tornadoes with insane radar signatures that, fortunately, don't end up doing as much damage as they could have. The May 23, 2008 Mullinville, KS tornado is pretty much the gold standard for that, IMO. One of the most violent signatures I've ever seen on radar, a monster 1.8 miles wide but officially "only" an EF3.

Edit: I mean, goodness gracious. I'll have to check later, but I don't think this was all that high AGL, either.



 

Equus

Member
Messages
1,202
Location
Saragossa, AL
This was always one of my favorite threads on the old TW; legendary stuff. I actually did manage to save that thread through mid 2014 (the first 30-something pages) before the site went down but don't have the bandwidth to do much with it. There has indeed been interesting events since then. Chapman, Wynnewood, Camp Crook, Beauregard, etc.
 

locomusic01

Member
Messages
84
Location
Pennsylvania
Yeah, that thread was awesome. I think we all learned a lot from it over the years. It's a shame it kinda fizzled out even before it went down. I don't think there are really many good places to talk about stuff like this elsewhere on the web, or at least not that I've seen. Makes it a little less exciting to do research when there isn't a good place to share it.

On an unrelated note, I'm feeling good health-wise and in more of a stable place again so I'm finally trying to get back into the swing of things w/my blog. I'm hoping to have one article done sometime this month, maybe sooner if I can find some more free time. After that, I wanna start on the Tupelo - Gainesville article again. It's probably 50-60% done, but the amount of research is so overwhelming that jumping back into it is kinda intimidating lol
 
Messages
332
Location
Madison, WI
Udall and Greensburg are examples of what happens on the rare, but tragic occasions when the path of one of those beasts does intersect with one of the towns that dot the Kansas prairies.
 

locomusic01

Member
Messages
84
Location
Pennsylvania
Yup. Mullinville was basically Greensburg without the town. And it wasn't the only one that night, either. Quinter was officially the only violent tornado that day and yet it very easily could've been the third or fourth most intense. Which isn't surprising, really. The more outbreaks I research, the more I find that the most famous/highly rated tornadoes aren't necessarily the most intense ones. It's equal parts fascinating and frustrating.

For instance, I've found some things that've pretty well convinced me at least one tornado in Tennessee on 4/5/36 was on par with Tupelo, if not even stronger. Although Tupelo itself was probably also more violent than people realize, IMO.
 
Messages
332
Location
Madison, WI
I didn't even notice Greensburg off in the upper right of that radar image. They all had to be on tenterhooks with that signature off to their southwest (assuming a general SW-NE supercell motion) barely over a year later.
 

warneagle

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On an unrelated note, I'm feeling good health-wise and in more of a stable place again so I'm finally trying to get back into the swing of things w/my blog. I'm hoping to have one article done sometime this month, maybe sooner if I can find some more free time. After that, I wanna start on the Tupelo - Gainesville article again. It's probably 50-60% done, but the amount of research is so overwhelming that jumping back into it is kinda intimidating lol
Glad to hear that on both accounts. I think all of us have missed reading it (or I certainly have at least).
 

Equus

Member
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1,202
Location
Saragossa, AL
That's the thing with a lot of especially plains outbreaks, the most violent tornadoes are usually not the most memorable as a likely less intense tornado strikes towns or at least well built structures and gets a high end rating. Yeah, the Greensburg tornado was extremely strong, but not only was it probably stronger south of town, but the following tornadoes that hit very little were probably even stronger. Only the enthusiasts remember those, but had a town been in the path of the following tornado instead, the opposite would have been true.
 

locomusic01

Member
Messages
84
Location
Pennsylvania
I didn't even notice Greensburg off in the upper right of that radar image. They all had to be on tenterhooks with that signature off to their southwest (assuming a general SW-NE supercell motion) barely over a year later.
IIRC, it took a bit of a Greensburg-like path with more of a curving NNE component that eventually recurved pretty sharply westward. Still must've been pretty terrifying, though. The supercell and tornado both bore a resemblance to Greensburg, as did some of the others that night.

Glad to hear that on both accounts. I think all of us have missed reading it (or I certainly have at least).
Thanks, appreciate it! I'm hoping I'll be able to keep going with them because there are so many events I'd love to cover. Just hard to find the time to invest months' worth of research and writing.
 

warneagle

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Thanks, appreciate it! I'm hoping I'll be able to keep going with them because there are so many events I'd love to cover. Just hard to find the time to invest months' worth of research and writing.
I’m a historian, so I completely understand what you mean. It’s a huge time investment even when it’s your day job.
 

locomusic01

Member
Messages
84
Location
Pennsylvania
That's the thing with a lot of especially plains outbreaks, the most violent tornadoes are usually not the most memorable as a likely less intense tornado strikes towns or at least well built structures and gets a high end rating. Yeah, the Greensburg tornado was extremely strong, but not only was it probably stronger south of town, but the following tornadoes that hit very little were probably even stronger. Only the enthusiasts remember those, but had a town been in the path of the following tornado instead, the opposite would have been true.
Yeah, that event is just remarkable. When a violent, 1.7 mile wide wedge that basically engulfs a whole town probably isn't even the most exceptional tornado produced by the parent supercell.. yikes. And the evolution of the whole thing, with that incredibly strong and broad rotation - much stronger than most any meso but much broader than your typical tornado - and the fascinating radar presentation and everything.

Man, what I wouldn't give for mobile radar data of that whole event.
 
Messages
74
Location
Lenexa, KS
I wish I had more photos of Sherman. From the available photos + accounts of the damage, it certainly seems to have been very intense.







Full album here:


Tri-State is another case where the photos are impressive, but still don't even show the most impressive damage accounts you can find. Like, this home in Bollinger County, MO, was destroyed and the damage is clearly intense, but it was also on the southern edge of the damage path. Just to the north, witnesses reported that trees were "reduced to naked stumps" and the grass was "stripped bare and scoured of several inches of soil."



The large and well-built home of Perry County District Judge Claus Stueve, near Frohna, was also largely swept away. Two people were killed and there was reportedly intense vegetation damage in the area, which you can sort of see in the photo.



The absolutely complete devastation in Gorham obviously stands out, along with the utility poles snapped not far from the ground.



I think I'm running out of space for photos here, so I'll wrap it up. Anyhow, as violent as everyone knows the Tri-State tornado was, I don't doubt it'd be at or near the top of the list if there were more/better photos from the worst-hit areas. Some of the accounts are just staggering. I won't even get into Jarrell because I could go for hours on that lol

Edit: Oh, there's also this, which.. I'm not entirely sure what to make of it.

I believe some of your most intense tornadoes may have winds as high as 350 mph. Also the Greensburg tornado did EF5 damage although it was very marginal.
 

warneagle

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Silver Spring, MD
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Oh, cool! Do you have a particular focus?
Not weather, haha. I work on European history. I’m trying to find a way to work weather into it. I feel like there’s something to be done on the 1984 outbreak in the Soviet Union. There are all those rumors about the Ivanovo tornado doing absurd things but I’ve never seen any real independent confirmation of it (probably because there aren’t many people researching weather history who speak Russian). I’m working on learning Russian now for work reasons so maybe one day I can do that.
 
Messages
74
Location
Lenexa, KS
The Sherman tornado was an extraordinarily rare event. It was rather narrow and never took on a wedge appearance usually associated with F5 or EF5 tornadoes. However, it did among the most intense tornado damage ever documented. It may have been a skinny Jarrell like tornado.
 

warneagle

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Silver Spring, MD
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The Sherman tornado was an extraordinarily rare event. It was rather narrow and never took on a wedge appearance usually associated with F5 or EF5 tornadoes. However, it did among the most intense tornado damage ever documented. It may have been a skinny Jarrell like tornado.
Maybe sort of like Elie, MB in that respect.
 

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