It's a somber morning here at AccuWeather.com HQ while we report the news that over 230 people have been killed by yesterday's tornado outbreak, mainly in Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia. This is the deadliest outbreak since I was born in 1974, and it's a real shame that it can happen in this time of modern technology. Here are maps of the tornado and funnel cloud reports yesterday:
Throughout the day today, I will be updating the changing statistics below as new information comes in, so that we may gauge this historic weather event, while avoiding the inevitable hype from the media. I am mainly using WikiPedia Tornado Records and the Tornado FAQ.
Deaths Yesterday: 231 (149 Alabama)
Deaths This Month: ~282
SPC Tornado Reports This Week: 329 (276 in 3 days; 232 in 2 days)
"Reports" may contain multiple reports of the same tornado, and is therefore not comparable to previous historical extremes such as the 148 confirmed tornadoes during the Super Outbreak. "Yesterday" is defined as 12Z 4/27 to 12Z 4/28.
Here is a radar loop of the event:
Other "Stats" From the Media:
EF-5 Tornadoes: There is no basis to estimate tornado strength before the NWS does an official storm survey, even in areas that appear to have been razed. When storm surveys are done, you will hear the results here.
Longest tornado track ever: A statement is floating around about a 300 mile tornado path. Again, it will be impossible to determine the length of a particular tornado until NWS does their surveys. The previous record for "longest tornado path" is 219 miles in 1925, and the "longest tornado family path" is 293 miles, set in 1917. However, because these records were set before modern times, either could be in question; often tornadoes lift and come back down.
Yazoo City hit by a tornado again? At least two people were killed in Yazoo City yesterday, the city that was hit more than once by tornadoes in 2010. However, there are no indications that a tornado touched down there at this time; only hail and wind were reported.
Tuscaloosa Alabama was hit twice by tornadoes in 12 days: I cannot confirm this.
Most tornado path miles ever? Maybe since 1974. According to Mike Smith: "I think we are going to find that this is the largest number of "path miles" of F-3, F-4, and F-5 tornadoes since the "Superoutbreak" of April 3-4, 1974."
Highest significant tornado index? Maybe since 1974. According to Mike Smith: "The "significant tornado index," which is designed to indicate when tornadoes of F-2 or greater intensity will occur, had the highest numbers I have ever seen yesterday. For comparison, during the recent [North Carolina and Missouri outbreaks the number was] around 6. Much of yesterday in Mississippi and Alabama the index was running around 12-14."
Power Outages: Still >300,000 without power in Tennessee this morning. Alabama Power set a new record for outages: 413,000. Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant repairs could take "weeks." At one point it was estimated that over 1 million people in Alabama alone were without power. Over 50,000 lost power in Georgia.
Other weird tornado news: One Tree Dog: "One tree uprooted/tossed by tornado had a dog tied to it. Alive, freed, given to a family to take care of." -CNN
The numbers above include twisters outside of the main outbreak area as well:
By the way, if I may get on my soapbox for a second: Here's what disappoints me in the wake of this tragedy. Cable news networks are essentially ignoring the travesty in favor of the Royal Wedding coverage. President Obama issued a statement, but he needs to hit the ground there and help coordinate relief efforts. And worst of all -- people in social media are blaming the tornado outbreak on a number of presidents, including Obama and Carter, or using it to forward a political agenda around climate change. Really, folks?
From AccuWeather.com (find the original story here); reprinted with permission.