May 15, 2021

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MSE Creative Consulting Blog: Sad News: Fatal Overnight Tornado

1 min read

Tragic news. This is why nighttime tornadoes are so dangerous. 

Evidently, the damage was extensive. 

Here is what the radar was showing when I was warning of it on Twitter (@useatherexpert) as the tornado was approaching Palmetto. 

At 10:25pm,

  • Upper left panel is conventional radar (the type you see on television). There is a hook echo which is a signature of a tornado.
  • Upper right is the Doppler velocity data. There is a clear “couplet” — which shows significant rotation in the storm. 
  • Lower left is the rate change of velocity data and can, as in this case, highlight the location of the tornado itself. 
  • Lower right is lofted debris. 

Because of the inconvenience of sheltering during the night, I was using an objective method for detecting tornadoes using radar and atmospheric conditions. Below were the numbers for a radar-indicated tornado in Mississippi. 

This photo is of a different tornado in Mississippi than the one cited above.

Brandon Clement

It is too soon to know if my forecast (below) met the criteria I have set for an “extreme” risk. Based on radar, there were other tornadoes. At least two were in rural areas (fortunately!) so I don’t know if damage surveys will be done so they can officially be put into the NWS’s official database. 

Mike Smith

2021-04-10 15:43:00

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