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Special thread: 3/12/06 Will it go down in history?

Is this gonna be one of those days that will go do in severe weather history? Looks like it right now, the light of tomorrow will certainly give us more answers.

It's going to go do in my personal history. I've been watching storms since 8am and its finally time for bed.
I hear ya. I've been at my desk all day doing homework and have been tracking supercells since I work up. This is ridiculous! Already in the #stormchase chat room, comparisons are being made to past outbreaks. Supposedly the beast storm that crossed MO and IL has had a tornado on the ground for over two hours now. If that's true, then that will indeed be one epic storm.
It's historic, if only for the monster long duration supercell. For how many hours did it maintain a tornado on the ground? 2? 2-1/2?
The most recent example of anything is always "the greatest/worst/etc." Still, this looks to be special; it's the most impressive single storm I can remember over the last few years. If daylight reveals extensive damage, maybe the event will justify a "Tri-State Lite" comparison.
Regardless of the TOR, that supercell has been alive for a little over 10 hours, which is equally impressive.

From the SPC:

I woke up this morning knowing today had the potential to be " one of those days." I've been watching a tornado watch box over Mo. it seems like for over 24 hours now-absolutely amazing. Also, seeing the storms this morning form in such a cold air environment was equally impressive. But for a supercell to live for 10 hours and track 500 miles, that definitely has to make a mark in someone's book for sure. I wonder with the way March has started out, if this could be a prelude of what's to come in April and May?
It will definitely be a historic day for people around Kansas City. How many storms moved across KC today with baseballs? What about Sedalia Mo? Four wedge tornadoes reported on the ground within 25 miles over an 8 hour period. I would have to say that 30% hatched verified there. Let me be the first to throw a name out there, how about the I-70 outbreak. From the SPC reports I would say there were more tornadoes on I-70 today than cars. Everything about today was impressive. 115knt 500mb jet, a 70knt 850 jet, supercell index of 32 and helicity over 1000 all day. I think it speaks volumes for how widespread the damage was that a tornado touchdown and damaged several homes 2 miles from my cousin in Columbia this afternoon, and tonight a tornado touchdown within 10 miles of my father in laws in Rogers Ar. I have a feeling tonight's tornado count will exceed 7 dozen by the time all the surveys are conducted. I would be interested to know what the top ten one day outbreak numbers are if anyone has that information compiled.
Wow, thats all I can say about today. Woke up this morning to thunder and lightining and have been tracking storms from home all day. It is just insane how far the supercell that went through Springfeild has lasted. Wow that all I can say just an amazing day. I can only hope that not too many people where injured hopefully everyone heeded warnings from the NWS.

I woke up this morning and found enough hail on the ground to make the roads slick. I remember wondering whether the day was going to be a dud if the MCS crud still had enough oomph to dump buckets of hail. Holy moly did today turn out to be incredible. Yes, it will probably go down in history, if for no other reason than what is about to become the quad-state storm. Tomorrow should be real interesting, once the media figures out what happened where. I have a feeling the quiet we're hearing right now about damage and loss of life is related to the time of night and the fact that it tends to take the media at least until the next day to sort things out. I think once all of this gets sorted out tomorrow, this will be a national news story.
SPC currently indicates over 103 tornadoes on the reports page. Though that number may go down due to multiple reports, it is nonetheless impressive. I certainly did not think there would be a PDS for the Chicago Metro area too, especially with the cold air in place. No tornadoes in my neck of the woods, but a helluva straight-line wind event! How many tornadoes would denote a super-outbreak a la 1974 Xenia, or the infamous Palm Sunday? There have been nearly 600 SVR/TOR reports combined. Also does anyone think that we may have some EF-5 damage out there? I think the 4 state MOAS could have done it. It just looked incredible on the initial radar image for PDS box 77. And what about multiple tornado tracks over the same area? This has to be a record outbreak!! :shock: :shock: :shock:
It all depends on how you want to measure the outbreak. How widespread the damage is, how destructive it's been, how long it's lasted, or endurance of individual supercells...

Overall, this outbreak will probably rank up among the top 15, maybe top 10, but it's certainly not #1, by any means.

The "twin-turbo's" (as I'm calling them) that initiated over KS and traversed completely across MO, merged over IL and went on it's own path of terror were all impressive, no doubt.

But, what about November 10, 2002...? Does anyone remember that day? That was probably the biggest and most intense outbreak the country had seen since '74.

I think there are historic aspects of the day yesterday ... certainly the monster storm of the day that everyone is talking about is pretty incredible. And like the 5/4/03 outbreak, it seemed like the entire state of Missouri had supercells covering it ... it was almost hard to find a spot WITHOUT a supercell at one point. Also, the early morning convection in such a cold environment has me fascinated ... I've never chased in 40 degree temps before - but I was certainly doing it yesterday.

Damage-wise it's hard to tell how this one ranks ... it takes a few days to really assimilate all the reports. ... To me, 5/4/03 was a stronger day from a chaser point of view, just because the tornadoes were highly visible and there were plenty of them during early afternoon. Like 5/4/03, yesterday's storms lasted well overnight, making them exceptionally frightning for folks living here. It's again the talk of the town today, and people are taking the weather seriously.

Yesterday during the afternoon hours there were PLENTY of rotating supercells, but for whatever reason they were not inclined to produce tornadoes unless you were in Sedalia or Lawrence in the early a.m. After dark the storms became highly tornadic, but I'm not inclined to chase Missouri after dark ... you can barely get me to do it when there's light.

I think that due to the way information streams in near real-time these days, while we are going through a huge event like yesterday it seems like everything is breaking loose and we are living through history in the making ... but when you look back, there have been several similar - and more intense - events in years past. Yesterday may have been historic in some respects, but definitely not the top event in every respect.
How about this oddity for historic consideration? How many times have two cities with the same name (Springfield) been targeted twice each within a 24 hour period?

Unusual to say the least.
Threads about severe weather events during the past 48 hours are prohibited in Weather & Chasing. Since this was a record-setting outbreak, we will allow this thread to stand as long as the focus of each post is on its historical significance. Any discussion of forecasting aspects or chase reports will be deleted. We've also cleaned up this thread so that it may stand, instead of deleting it or locking it entirely. The moderator team will delete, at their personal discretion, any post that strays from these special guidelines. This restriction will be waived tomorrow night.
With 99 of the 110 tornado reports coming from missouri is that a record number for 1 state in 1 event?? I know the 78 tornados on May 3rd, 99 in Oklahoma was supposedly the most in 1 state so I guess this would be the new record.

Please corect me if I am wrong (as usual).
Moline (Quad Cities) IL set a new all time record high wind gust last night. I'd say that's historic...




Edit: Here's a link to the observational data, you don't see this everyday!
As far as records go, I just checked the SPC storm reports from yesterday, at last count 113 tornado damage reports from yesterday. Does anyone know what the record is for most tornadoes in a 24 hour period? The Super Outbreak? I know it had 148, but wasn't that was over a 48 hour span. The Palm Sunday outbreak had only 48, The Oklahoma outbreak of 1999 had only 76. This has to have been a top 3 for tornadoes in a 24 hour period.
Super Outbreak had 148 tornadoes over something like 18 hours (it spanned 3rd-4th). I think the highest 2-day total goes to May 29-30 2004. Remember, the tornadoes on the SPC Reports page are just reports... It's quite common to end up with far fewer actual tornadoes than is indicated on Storm Reports. This seems particularly true for long-track tornadoes that affect several towns/cities -- sometimes it seems that LSRs are issued as "progress updates".

In my experience of chasing and armchair chasing, I don't think I've ever seen so many supercells in one day, however. There were several waves of incredibly impressive, "textbook" supercells from extreme eastern KS, ne OK, nw AR, MO, IL, and IN.
There is a difference between the number of tornado reports in the LSRs (SPC storm reports pages) and the number of individual tornadoes in the final count after damage surveys are complete.

Most single tornadoes end up getting multiple reports logged along the length of their tracks, so one long-track tornado might result in 10 to 20 or more reports.

The Super Outbreak had 148 total *tornadoes* after the final count. I can't imagine what the SPC reports map would have looked like from that day.

I think we might see a count of 20 to 30 individual tornadoes from this event after the final surveys are in, which is very impressive given the relatively small area they were concentrated in.
Along with Jeff's comments, what really would have been historic yesterday is if every one of those supercells had actually managed to produce. For a while it seemed like they just might. It would have meant wave after wave of tornadoes moving through the heart of metropolitan Kansas City for one thing, and it would have scared everyone silly, myself included. As it was, it seemed like the area from Emporia to Ottawa was a supercell factory that kept kicking them out and sending them up the conveyor belt to KC. Later, as the entire state filled in, it reminded me of Mike Hollingshead's map of all the different supercells and the dates they occurred. Even 5/4/03 did not look as widespread as yesterday as far as supercell coverage is concerned. In terms of shear numbers of organized, classic supercell signatures on radar, someone will have to show me a grab from a previous day before I believe anything else comes close - -
Just a sidenote-the 113 tornado reports on the SPC's Preliminary Storm Reports log are a record since the archive began at the start of June , 1999. The previous maximum was 100 on May 30, 2004.
No doubt yesterday was a historic outbreak. I think the actual number will be in the 90's as some of the tornadoes were probably reported a second time as they moved on at fast speeds. Still that would easily rank this outbreak in the top 4 and set a record for Missouri. Just from intial assessments showing several F2's and F3's it's already pretty clear that the number of strong tornadoes is much greater than outbreaks like 05/30/04.It was amazing to see supercell after supercell all day long, including a cyclic tornadic supercell that traversed from Kansas, across Missouri, through Illinois and then into N Indiana. From a preliminary look it looks like that supercell moved right along the WF and was producing mayhem for at least 14 hours.
I deemed yesterday just a little to dangerous for my liking so I stayed home and watched things evolve on radar. One thing I noticed is that these storms appeared to be more cyclic that steady state as far as their tornadic signatures were concerned. Particularly true for the 5 state storm, watching that storm on radar you could see it's hooks occlude and reform, at least 4 times on its way across Missouri. I also noticed the Bentonville, AR storm did this 3 or 4 times. As for the number of tornadic supercells I don't recall ever seeing so many. I think May 3, 1999 is probably as close to this as I can recall. I don't remember their being anywhere close to as many cells in any of the 2003 or 2004 events. Those storms were more cyclic and that is why they resulted in such high numbers. Yesterday, IMO, was the best/worst of both worlds. There were a large number of supercells and they were cyclic. I personally know of two touchdowns with significant damage, that occurred near family, and still have not shown up on the SPC reports. Obviously, as is usually the case during major outbreaks, there will be multiple damage reports for the same tornado but it is my feeling/opinion, based on how things evolved on radar, that Sunday's final numbers will eclipse the 24 hour totals for any of the 2003 or 2004 events.

By the way does anyone know where to find the final numbers for the 2003 and 2004 events? The SPC log says the numbers are preliminary on the storm report achieve graphics.