Free Markets, Free People

Horrific storm night in the South

And an incredible loss of life, especially in hard hit Alabama.

AP is now saying that the death toll for the night stands at 178, with Alabama reporting an incredible 128 deaths.  Mississippi lost 32, Tennessee had 6 dead, 11 in Georgia and 1 in Virginia.

For me it was eventful but mostly sound and fury with thankfully little evident damage (a couple of trees down, etc.)  But the supercell storms that passed to the north of us (we sort of caught the edge) were monsters.  Watching the local TV weather folks until we lost power, the reports were unbelievable.  2 to 2.5” diameter hail (with vid), wind sheers of 115 mph.  Storms moving at 65 to 70 mph.  One report showed over 300 lightning strikes in one of the storms in a 10 minute period.  And the different cells lined up behind each other as they moved NE.  Rome GA got hammered.

There are also estimates of over 130 tornados spawned by these storms. 

I actually learned a lot about these storms watching the local weather people out of ATL.  Imagine the velocity of the winds aloft that can keep hail with a diameter of 2” up there as it forms and then eject it into what they called a “hail core”.  Also, they repeatedly pointed out a trailing hook pattern which indicated tornados.  I was introduced to the BTI which is some sort of rating from 1-10 which goes from “not likely” to “on the ground” when it comes to tornados.  At times the BTI of the storms was 9.9.

I’ll pass on a repeat and I wasn’t even in the worst part.  Probably a result of global warming.



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17 Responses to Horrific storm night in the South

  • Probably a result of global warming.

    Frankly, I blame Bush…

  • Glad you are OK, McQ.
    I’ve seen just one twister…standing in my yard with 8 kids, trying to figure which way was AWAY.
    All I need of that experience.

    • “All I need of that experience.”
      Yeah, anyone who opines they want to see one in person doesn’t really understand what they are.
      A person only thinks they want to see one because the implications of actually seeing it are pretty obvious.
      To me it would be like saying I want to be trapped in a burning house, just to see what it’s like.

      • From what I gather, the really big ones are not visible as what they are to people on the ground.  The one I saw as very organized, and the visibility very good.  It was very concertedly going about its business, even though the area has some hills that some say break up tornadoes.
        Had a friend in the oil field whose dad worked for Phillips, and they were moved to Oklahoma.  One day at Little League, they looked up to see five twisters abreast.  They moved back to Texas.

        • My experience – of a dark (and stormy!) night – was thinking there was a 737 on final in the creek about 50 yards out back of the house, “freight train” be damned.
          “Evil” is certainly a good way to describe the look of the weather that brings them.
          ” even though the area has some hills that some say break up tornadoes.”
          I have heard the same story.   Hell, EDS had (has, I suppose, sorta, kinda, death to GM!, Death to HP!  Long live Ross Perot!) the Plano data center inside an 8 foot berm area which we were told, specifically during a tour for some of our customers was intended to cause a funnel to ‘jump’ over the building.
          How you cause a funnel a mile wide to jump over anything is a bit of a mystery, but I was kinda addicted to the corporate kool-aid at the time 🙂

  • It’s a good thing that the video camera was invented, because I wouldn’t have believed that one gigantic storm unless I had seen it.

    That was one big mother, as we used to put it.

    I can’t say that I would want to see it up close for myself, anymore than I’d want to be at the base of a volcano when it erupted.

  • So will Pres**ent Obama fly in and do a round of golf ?
    I’m sure those folks in Tennessee who were in the dark and cold for weeks at the beginning of the Obama Administration will see the joke.  NOT.

    • “So will Pres**ent Obama fly in and do a round of golf ?”
      At the one near Andrews, Drudge pointed out this morning it had been hit.  That’ll give Sparky an excuse to go inspect it, maybe get in a round while he’s there.  Maybe his next budget plan can give money to Brazil to develop better courses.

  • The weather team at corporate sibling WJLA Wednesday night confirmed a tornado touched down around the golf course at Andrews Air Force Base.

    Fortunately, the Secret Service wrestled this “racist” tornado to the ground.

  • the really strange thing here is that we have gale force winds blowing in right from across the gulf of mexico and they are DRY!  I never before experienced a totally dry storm.

  • If you come live in the great State of Oklahoma, you too can enjoy this happening about 12 times a year!  For a cruel, ironic twist, you can learn that red clay is a horrible place to dig a basement, so it’s a concrete safe room for you!
    I’m a little worried about the TV meteorologists in Georgia.  Hail is formed by updrafts, not upper level wind fields.  The hail comes out of the storm when it becomes too heavy for the updraft.  It’s a simple physics equation in measuring the updraft speed that lets you know how big the hail will be.
    There’s my annoying know-it-all moment for the day.

    • My wife is from OK, so yeah, I’m familiar with the numerous opportuniites offered there.

      And the way you describe hail formation is a lot closer to what they said than what I said they said – my bad.

  • Bruce, I was wondering this morning when your site wasn’t loading (timed out) if all was OK.  Glad to here you are.
    And to build on several comments upthread, My great aunt decided to stay in Charleston years ago when Hugo was bearing down.  I asked afterwards why she stayed.  For a number of reasons not worth going into, but she did admit a curiosity to what a real hurricane would be like.  She also said she would never do it again.
    Also puts into perspective the arrogance of the AGW crowd.  Certainly we can affect our environment, but forces of nature, they can do so far more quickly, with far more power, and with far longer lasting effects.  Perhaps instead of worrying how to change our world, we ought to learn how to more safely live in it.

  • Probably a result of global warming.

    Been reported as such every time there’s a tornado outbreak, but Inconveniently Missing is that the worst storm outbreaks of the past 80 years, was in 1974, and the the worst storms around out neck of the woods are on Jupiter where the Great Red Spot is just the biggest of numerous storms we see there. Last I heard, Jupiter was really chilly,the surface temperature on the order of 165K, or -160F.

  • The tornado that tore a path through the Western section of Birmingham went through about one mile from my house.  We are all safe but no electricity.   There is no indication when power will be restored in my area.  Some have said by Tuesday others have said 2 – 3 weeks.
    A cousin lost her house but she and family were in basement.   It’s a mess here and will be for a while.
    Do far I have seen little or no evidence of price gouging and have heard of no looting.  People are behaving well and trying to help all they can.
    This is my first chance to get back on line.  Withdrawal pains were getting to me.  😉