Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Tornado Chronicles: North Platte, NE Tornadoes of 3-18-12...

A lone supercell thunderstorm produced a family of tornadoes in and around the North Platte, NE area during the late evening hours of Sunday, March 18, 2012.  This storm produced four tornadoes in all, with two of them being rated EF-3 intensity:

The first tornado touched down just before 9pm CDT, approximately 9.7 miles Southwest of North Platte and traveled North for 6.71 miles before lifting.  It caused damage to two homes, several outbuildings and garages.  Two Pivot Irrigation Systems were overturned, one metal electric transmission tower was destroyed and one wood transmission tower was destroyed.  There was also extensive tree and powerline damage along the path of this tornado, which was 100 yards wide at its maximum.  This tornado was rated EF-3 intensity by the National Weather Service (NWS) survey team.  It injured 2 people.

The second tornado touched down 5 miles West/Southwest of North Platte a short time after tornado #1 lifted.  It traveled to the North/Northwest for approximately 1.5 miles before lifting.  This tornado moved across I-80 and destroyed a semi, a garage, overturned a Pivot Irrigation System, and produced extensive tree damage before lifting just South of the South Platte River.  At its widest, the damage path associated with this tornado was 150 yards.  This tornado was rated EF-1 intensity and injured 1 person.

Note the Tornado's Path Down the Center of the Image
Bailey Yard Is Near the Top of the Image

Tornado #3 touched down 5.8 miles Northwest of North Platte on Front Street.  It traveled North to Northeast for approximately 1.5 miles before lifting.  Tornado damage was extensive and included two homes being destroyed and two homes with significant damage.  As the tornado traveled North across the Union Pacific's Bailey Yard, an estimated 15 tanker cars were blown over and debris was spread for up to 1.5 miles to the North and Northeast.  This tornado injured 2 people and was rated EF-3 intensity.

The damage photo below shows the homes that were damaged or destroyed on Front Street (by tornado #3):

...and the following photos of the actual tornado were taken from the Bailey Yard by employee Adam Hawley.  Note the power transformer flash in the second photo (near the base of the tornado):

The following photos show extensive damage to homes near the Bailey Yard:

The fourth and final tornado touched down approximately 6.5 miles Northwest of North Platte, just South of the Platte Valley Road.  A two story barn and several outbuildings were destroyed near the point of initial touch down.  The tornado moved toward the Northeast and damaged two homes, a garage and an outbuilding.  Extensive tree damage took place before the tornado lifted about 6.7 miles Northwest of North Platte.  This tornado was rated EF-2 intensity.

"The Tornado Chronicles" are meant to serve as a living encyclopedia/database of significant tornado events across the country.  If you have an interest in this tornado event, please check back to this post as it will be updated throughout the year as additional information, photos and/or videos become available.

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