April 25th-April 28th, 2011 Super Outbreak Anniversary

Image from SPC Severe Thunderstorm Archived https://www.spc.noaa.gov/exper/archive/event.php?date=20110427


We have approached the 12 year anniversary of the 2011 Super Outbreak that had occurred between April 25th to April 28th. This is the second super outbreak that has been noted in United States history, the first being the April 3rd to April 4th 1974 Super Outbreak. The 2011 Super Outbreak had nearly 500 tornadoes that had occurred in a span of three days, with April 27th having the most tornadoes (292) out of the three day span.

In many ways, the April 2011 Super Outbreak had set the bar high when it comes tornado outbreaks, especially with having 292 tornadoes within a 24 hour period. The hardest hit states were Mississippi and Alabama where several violent and deadly tornadoes had ripped through.

Given the numerous of tornadoes that had occurred, I am going to focus over a couple of the tornadoes that had occurred on April 27th, 2011. I will provided some additional links that will have more information and details regarding the entire event.

Tuscaloosa EF-4 Tornado

Photo credit: ABC33/40 Full live coverage available here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJzJV6pTVC0

Probably one of the most infamous tornadoes of the April 2011 Super Outbreak was the EF-4 tornado that went through the town of Tuscaloosa, AL. The town of Tuscaloosa, AL is home to the University of Alabama and is about 50 miles southwest of Birmingham, AL. Unfortunately, Tuscaloosa was one of several cities that were hit hard during this outbreak.

Image credit: NOAA/NWS: https://04272011-noaa.hub.arcgis.com/

The tornado had touched down about 4:33 PM, just to the north of Union, AL. The tornado continued tracking towards the northeast where it eventually had ripped through Tuscaloosa. The tornado remain on the ground as it was heading towards the Birmingham area where it had finally lifted. The tornado was on the ground for about 81 miles with a max width of 1.48 miles and peak wind speeds of 190 mph. The tornado was responsible for 65 deaths and 1,500 injuries. As the map shows, there were several other violent long-tracked tornadoes that had hit the state of Alabama. A total of 62 tornadoes that had occurred within the state of Alabama. Out of the 62 tornadoes that occurred across the state of Alabama, there were two EF-5, nine EF-3 tornadoes, and seven EF-4 tornadoes.

Smithville EF-5 Tornado

Photo credit: surveyormike1 Full video available here https://youtu.be/5ku9NRDNOfc

One of the other infamous tornadoes that had occurred during this outbreak is the EF-5 tornado that went through the town of Smithville, MS. This was one of four EF-5 tornadoes that had touched down on April 27th, 2011, which is unheard of. To put it in perspective, between 1991 to 2010, the United States had an average of about 1250 tornadoes per year with less than 1% of those tornadoes being rated EF-5 (Weather Underground).

Image credit: NWS Memphis

The tornado started just outside of Smithville around 3:44 PM before tracking directly into Smithville. After moving through Smithville, the tornado continued into northern Alabama before finally lifting near Hodge, AL. The tornado was on the ground for nearly 35 miles and had a maximum width of 0.75 miles with estimated wind speed of 205 mph. Several homes and businesses were destroyed and wiped off from their foundations. Nearly two dozen people were killed and 137 were injured from this tornado.

Additional Information and Links

Because of the number of tornadoes that had occurred during this span, it is very difficult to go over each one in full detail. Instead, there will be several links that will be provided to check out some of the other tornadoes that will go over in more detail. the April 2011 Super Outbreak had sat the bar high. The events that happed between April 25th to April 28th, 2011 have left a lasting impacted across Mississippi and Alabama.






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