Our group of meteorologists in StormTrack Central spent the week before April 24th and 25th warning central Georgia that a severe weather outbreak was likely that weekend. Unfortunately, it was a good forecast. I say unfortunately because a lot of damage was caused and a lot of lives were lost. Fortunately, the strongest of the storms stayed west of central Georgia.
The most talked about tornado is the one that tore through Yazoo City, MS. The National Weather Service conducted a survey of the damage path Monday and have ranked the tornado as an EF-4 tornado with winds up to 170 mph. More amazingly, the tornado was on the ground for a whopping 149 miles, from Tallulah, LA to West Point, MS. It was nearly 2 miles wide at times.
Eric Law, a meteorologist at WLBT in Jackson, MS, and a friend of mine, is on record as saying that it's one of the worst storms he has ever covered.
One tornado was recorded in Georgia during this outbreak. The twister touched down in Chatooga county. It is being ranked an EF-1 tornado with winds up to 105 mph. Hundreds of trees are down around Highway 157 and Gilreath Mill Road. At least 8 homes are reported to have damage. A hanger was destroyed at a small grass strip airport including a couple of airplanes being overturned.
Unfortunately, this outbreak of tornadoes resulted in a loss of life. As of April 26th, the Storm Prediction Center is reporting 11 tornado deaths in 2010. There were 21 for all of 2009. The current three year average is 76.
The big story leading up to this past weekend was that the number of tornadoes was running well below average. The more than 60 tornadoes that were reported this past weekend will certainly put us closer to average for the January through April time period.