Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Black Wednesday

We knew going in that yesterday was going to be a bad day, but predictions are just numbers. Now we know the cold hard reality:

  • 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.

More information:

Jesse Ferrell (WeatherMatrix) at Accuweather tries to summarize yesterday's and this month's tornadoes.

Accuweather story on outbreak

CNN story and for latest news, CNN Live Blog

The Weather Channel - Outbreak page