The Weather Service is also getting initial survey results suggesting that several EF4 tornadoes and at least one EF5 tornado were part of this tornado outbreak. This is one storm complex that meteorologists will be studying for years.
I also really want to point out the excellent work that Birmingham TV station ABC 33/40 is doing: they are posting on Youtube their aerial damage surveys from several different tornadoes.
At least 230 dead; as of now, that total is still rising. (That means more than 280 have been killed in tornadoes in April 2011.)
At least 120 tornadoes, touching down all over the East.
A huge tornado touched down in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and apparently stayed on the ground all the way through the northern suburbs of Birmingham. (Possibly farther.) This is probably the deadliest of the tornadoes, due to its intensity, size, and the metropolitan area it tore through, but it is far from clear that it was the biggest or most intense.
The above map is based on reports to the Storm Prediction Center. The official total is going to be lower than the 164 shown above; these are based on reports, and some duplicates and mistakes get swept up in the total. A good rule of thumb is to estimate that the actual total is going to be approximately 75%-80% of the reported total. Still - that means 120 - 130 tornadoes touched down yesterday. (And some were monsters - big, and stayed on the ground for a long time.)
The number, intensity, and extent of yesterday's tornadoes is prompting comparisons to the Super Outbreak of 1974, but we won't really know how April 27, 2011 compares for weeks to come.
Today marks the 150th anniversary of the shelling of Fort Sumter, the first shots of the American Civil War.
The battle itself would only last thirty-two hours; undermanned and out of ammunition, the Union force holding the fort could only mount a brief defense for honor and principle's sake before surrendering the afternoon of April 13th, 1861. They had suffered only a few casualties but were out of ammunition.
It would be a long four years before the guns again fell silent.
Jim Lacey has an excellent piece on the battle over at National Review; this first battle contained some of the quirks that typified the Civil War - opposing commanders knew one another, men had acquaintances and friends on both sides, journeys were made full circle. It would be a hard, heartbreaking, and strange war.