Tuesday, April 26, 2011

20th Anniversary of 4-26-91 Tornado Outbreak

Today is the 20th Anniversary of the deadly April 26th tornado outbreak of 1991.  This event caused 54 tornadoes, 21 deaths and 308 injuries, as well as over $250 million in damage across central and southern portions of the U.S.

The map below shows severe weather reports from that day (tornado tracks in red, hail reports in green, severe wind reports in blue:


A close-up image of the longer track tornadoes in Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska is shown below:


One of the more memborable tornadoes of that day struck southeast Wichita and Andover, Kansas.  The series of stills below shows the tornado as it moved into the Andover area:


...and below is a video of the same tornado:

A large number of the fatalities that day took place at the Golden Spur mobile home park in Andover, which was almost completely destroyed.

Other significant tornadoes took place that day in Nebraska and Oklahoma.  The most notable tornado in Oklahoma, dubbed "Red Rock" was also well documented:



The event was well forecast, actually several days in advance.  Early on the morning of the event, a rarely used "High Risk" forecast was issued by the NSSFC (now the SPC), warning residents all across the Plains of the major event that was to come:


The first tornado watch of the day for the Wichita / Andover area included the rarely used wording:  "This is a Particularly Dangerous Situation with the Possibility of Very Damaging Tornadoes...", as shown below:


Ironically enough, 20 years later, today, April 26, 2011, another rarely issued "High Risk" of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes is being forecast for parts of the southern and central U.S.  The event expected to unfold today is quite a distance to the South and East of the 1992 episode, but very threatening just the same. 

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