The atmosphere over the Deep South is primed for a third straight day of intense, long-track tornadoes over pretty much the same areas that were slammed by severe weather yesterday. The worst storms will start to form over Mississippi early this afternoon, and begin to move eastward as they organize later this afternoon.
The Vane has obtained the full video of WTVA-TV in Tupelo, Mississippi evacuating the studio and heading to the basement in the middle of their tornado coverage this afternoon as a large, violent tornado barreled towards the city. The station went off-air for a time this afternoon, but is back up and running in a limited capacity.
A large, wedge tornado moved through Tupelo, Mississippi around 230-245PM CDT as part of a larger tornado outbreak across the Deep South. Radar is showing that the tornado lofted debris over 20,000 feet into the air, and pictures of major damage in the northeast Mississippi city are starting to come in across Twitter.
The second episode in a days-long tornado outbreak will unfold today across parts of the Deep South known as "Dixie Alley," an area of the U.S. highly susceptible to intense tornadoes. The Storm Prediction Center is calling this a "particularly dangerous situation" due to the high likelihood of seeing intense, long-lived tornadoes like we saw in Arkansas yesterday.
A large, devastating tornado northwest of Little Rock, AR lofted so much debris into the air that the tornado and its parent mesocyclone (broad column of rotation within the storm) were visible on 3-D radar imagery. The debris reached over 12,000 feet high as the up-to-a-mile-wide tornado tore a path through central Arkansas extending dozens of miles.
At this moment three years ago today, a large EF-4 tornado was getting ready to tear through Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The storm stayed on the ground for over 80 miles, tearing through Tuscaloosa and the Birmingham suburbs, killing 64 people and injuring over 1,500 more. The outbreak was the most prolific in recorded history (producing 358 tornadoes in 4 days) and most violent ever recorded in the southern United States.
This impressive video shows a meteorologist in Albuquerque, New Mexico getting knocked around by 50-60 MPH wind gusts as he released a weather balloon on Saturday evening. Once he let go of the balloon, it rocketed away while narrowly missing an observation tower and the NWS office itself.
Trailer parks are often the butt of jokes in American culture, and not the least among them is the idea that they seemingly "attract" tornadoes. A study by scientists at Indiana's Purdue University recently found that tornadoes really are more likely to hit trailer parks simply due to where they're located.
There's a lot of talk about a potentially major tornado outbreak across parts of the Plains states this weekend, with tornadoes possible from Texas to Nebraska on both Saturday and Sunday. There's a good chance that the hype is just that — hype. But there is also a chance that the hype is warranted.
Two of the most important terms that weathermen use are also the two terms that people mix up the most, and the confusion could prove lethal. When the atmosphere is ripe for tornadoes, meteorologists will bat around the terms "tornado watch" and "tornado warning" almost every other sentence, but people often get the two confused and don't always know what they mean.