Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Tornado Chronicles: Mississippi Tornadoes of 10-17-12 (and early 10-18-12)...

An regional outbreak of tornadoes took place during the evening hours of Wednesday, October 17th and the pre-dawn hours of Thursday, October 18 across portions of northwestern, west-central and central Mississippi.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Jackson, MS has completed their post storm surveys, and concluded the following tornadoes took place:

As you can see, there were 2 tornadoes rated EF-2 intensity and one tornado rated EF-3 intensity.  The remainder of this post will focus on those particular events.

The first significant tornado took place shortly after 9pm local time (CDT) in Bolivar County.  This tornado tracked from 3.5 miles Northeast of Shelby to 4.75 miles Northeast of Shelby, MS, or a distance of approximately 1.25 miles:

The maximum damage path width was 150 yards, and this tornado was rated EF-2 intensity with maximum winds estimated at 115 miles per hour.

According to the NWS survey report and the accompanying photos (shown below), concentrated damage took place along a short path to the Northeast of the town of Shelby.  One mobile home was completely destroyed and several other homes and buildings suffered heavy damage.  A radio tower was snapped in half and a grain silo was also destroyed by this tornado.  There was also an extensive amount of relatively minor damage to outbuildings and power poles in the area.

Shortly after 10:30pm, a second tornado took place in Sharkey and Humphreys Counties.  This tornado tracked for almost 7 miles, from 7 miles East of Anguilla to 3 miles West of Louise:

This tornado produced a maximum damage path width of one-quarter mile, with maximum sustained winds estimated at 125 mph and was rated EF-2 intensity.

Several mobile homes were destroyed or heavily damaged, and numerous power poles were snapped:

The strongest tornado of the evening/night took place just after 12:45 a.m. in Scott and Newton Counties.  This tornado was on the ground for an estimated 16.25 miles.  It began 3 miles Southeast of Harperville and lifted 5 miles Northeast of Lawrence:

This tornado had a maximum damage path width of one-half mile, and produced maximum winds estimated at 140 mph.  It was rated EF-3 intensity.

According to the survey report and selected photos (see below), the tornado caused damage to and/or uprooted numerous trees, destroyed or heavily damaged several mobile homes and caused widespread roof damage to all types of structures.  Three large steel power transmission poles were bent toward the ground near Salem Road and Jim Owens Road:

Likely due to the time of day and relatively rural nature of these tornadoes, no photos or videos of the actual tornadoes have come forward yet.  We will continue to comb the airwaves looking for verifiable photos and/or videos and will post them as they may become available.

A total of 5 injuries were reported as a result of the events of the evening, which is remarkable considering the time of day and degree of damage that was witnessed in the region.  Equally amazing, and great to hear, is the fact that no fatalities were reported!

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