Storms of the decade: the 2010s (pre-discussion)

Aug 9, 2012
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Would also like to nominate April 9 2011 in Northwest Iowa. Not for photogenic quality because most of the event was after dark. However I believe at one point before 10pm (955-10pm) there were at least 4 tornadoes on the ground with this one cell near Pocohontas, Iowa including a 1.5 mile wide EF3 and correct me if I’m wrong, the EF4 in that area was a satellite of that large tornado? I had a hard time finding information to determine for sure since there was so many in that small area, but based on the time frames given by NWS DMX it seems possible. Nevertheless to see a single storm produce roughly 17 (possibly more?) tornadoes is very impressive in its own right and I think it deserves a mention. Whole event kinda reminded me of Greensburg. I should note I chased the next day instead so I have no ties to this event personally :)
 
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Jeff Duda

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Would also like to nominate April 9 2011 in Northwest Iowa. Not for photogenic quality because most of the event was after dark. However I believe at one point before 10pm (955-10pm) there were at least 4 tornadoes on the ground with this one cell near Pocohontas, Iowa including a 1.5 mile wide EF3 and correct me if I’m wrong, the EF4 in that area was a satellite of that large tornado? I had a hard time finding information to determine for sure since there was so many in that small area, but based on the time frames given by NWS DMX it seems possible. Nevertheless to see a single storm produce roughly 17 (possibly more?) tornadoes is very impressive in its own right and I think it deserves a mention. Whole event kinda reminded me of Greensburg. I should note I chased the next day instead so I have no ties to this event personally :)
I'm glad someone brought up this event. I did chase this event and it gave me my first legitimate nighttime tornadoes. Rather unusual for early April that far north, and I recall the cap was pretty strong south of the warm front to limit convective coverage, thus making the chase easier. I missed Mapleton because I was too far east, and was sort of down on the day when we suddenly saw the first nighttime twisters churning miles to the north. That's when it all started.

But yeah, this is a pretty good contender for the "miscellaneous" category given now unusual it was. Seriously, read some of the event narratives in the Storm Events Database. They're pretty sick. Check out this one:

Storm Events Database said:
An intense EF4 satellite tornado on the west flank of a large wedge tornado passing through western Pocahontas county. This tornado approached from the northwest and completely destroyed a home leaving little debris at the site. Grove of mature hardwood trees near the home was decimated and debarked and a large combine in the machine shed was tossed and rolled several hundred feet. This tornado also absorbed the circulation of an EF2 satellite tornado.
 
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-aesthetic qualities: No doubt, Campo. There may have been other events with more tornadoes to photograph, but this was the **perfect** shot, coming from a photographer. Subject matter, composition, contrast, etc. The road leading to the tornado was an extra bonus and really gave the shot depth. I do plan to better Bogg's shot next year, so we still have a year to go.... :)
 
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Jul 5, 2009
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
Thanks to all who have contributed their thoughts and opinions so far. I am going to let this initial stage of discussion and nomination thoroughly run its course before moving on to the next step, and I hope that many more weigh in before then.

At this point I am getting the sense that it would probably be better to develop a set of categories (hinted at by @Dan Robinson 's post) to eliminate the difficulty with distinguishing between which qualities make one event better than another. I think the following broad types of categories may work:
-meteorological significance: severe report count extremes, seasonal/geographic/diurnal anomalies etc.
-scientific significance, e.g., measurement extremes
-aesthetic qualities: most photogenic, most thoroughly documented, best available videos
-human impact
-miscellaneous, e.g., unexpected events, overperforming events, events outside the typical tornado alley

Feel free to suggest specific categories as well.

I think it’s striking how many of these categories El Reno 5/31/13 would be a leading contender in: meteorological significance, check; scientific significance (measurement extremes), check; aesthetic qualities - maybe that’s not what immediately comes to mind, but if this category includes “most thoroughly documented” as defined above, then definitely, and the videos are definitely among the most dramatic; human impact, maybe not in terms of sheer numbers or a large town/city, but of course this box was checked in a most tragic, unfortunate way and very close to home for our community; and definitely the miscellaneous category as defined, with a most “unexpected” and tragic event that was a watershed moment for chasers.

I was not there, having stupidly kept my scheduled flight home instead of rescheduling for Saturday morning (although there were some family reasons for doing so), so I am not biased about any chase experience of my own.
 
Jan 16, 2009
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Kansas City
2: The Moore FE5 tornado of 2013. It had scientific / historical significance because it was the third supercell to produce a violent tornado over almost the exact same path. The radar presentation was textbook perfect and the live coverage / images were spellbinding. It had a major social impact by initiating a very strong national discussion over school safety and the city had to consider incentives for people to move there.

View attachment 17306
I agree with Moore especially as it went from nothing to a tornado on the ground in something like 16 minutes!

I also think without a doubt these need to be in there as well ...
Pilger - Two EF-4's
Wayne - Mile and a half wedge
El Reno - Largest ever plus chasing impact
Joplin - Loss of life and impact to Joplin
 
Mar 2, 2004
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I am going to throw in the latest largest tornado outbreak of the high plains on November 16, 2015. Lots of chasers documented numerous tornadoes in TX, but a long-track supercell dropped multiple tornadoes, including an hour-plus long EF-3 from roughly Liberal to near Dodge City.





April 14, 2012 should also get a nod; probably one of the last, more wide-spread outbreaks we've seen over the last few years.

Of course, I have to toss my vote in for Pilger as well... that's a no-brainer in my mind for several reasons, none more so than having four EF-4s within such close proximity with a pair of them ongoing at once.
 
Jul 12, 2008
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Sulphur , Oklahoma
I would like to add May 9 2016 Number of violent / large Tornado's .
Killer videos of Katie and Sulphur Tornado's.
Twirl data from Sulphur.
2 killed.

Another good good one is May 16 2015 Tipton tornado and May 10th 2010 watkita tornado
 
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Jeff Duda

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I'll wait just a few more weeks to confirm that the fall season won't offer any new nominees.

In the meantime I don't think anyone has yet nominated the 16 June 2010 Dupree, SD event. That was a mostly stationary supercell that produced at least a dozen tornadoes. I think I heard some claims that it was upward of 20. I recall Mike Hollingshead had quite a day on that storm.

The Storm Events Database report on this day only lists 7 tornado reports, but the narrative states 16 tornadoes occurred. I suspect many satellites are included in the 16 that weren't given reports in the SED.
 
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Dec 8, 2003
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16 June 2010 Dupree, SD event. That was a mostly stationary supercell that produced at least a dozen tornadoes. I think I heard some claims that it was upward of 20. I recall Mike Hollingshead had quite a day on that storm.
Oh, yeah, that day sucked for me. I and Mike chatted a bit on the roadside as that storm developed. I went one way and he went another, and I got trapped on the west side of the storm on US 212. It just refused to get the hell out of my way, I was unwilling to corepunch, and I literally sat there for several hours until finally giving up near sunset and getting the last available room in Faith with the whole town blacked out. There is much more to my story of that day and night, and the next day, too, but it would be inappropriate for me to elaborate in this thread. I remember that Roger Hill and the people with him also saw close to 20 tornadoes.
 
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Apr 10, 2008
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I would give El Reno May 31, 2013 the title of meteorological significance due to the record-breaking size along with impacts to the storm chasing community.

El Reno/Piedmont 2011 May 24, 2011 earns scientific significance in IMO based on the ground-breaking work done by Leigh Orf.

Dodge City May 24, 2016 earns the title for producing the most aesthetically appealing tornado family.

Joplin May 22, 2011 gets my vote for human impact as it was the deadliest tornado in decades.