Flash Flood Warning expires at 1:30 AM on 8/2, issued at 10:25 PM Bays, KY | Bethany, KY | Campton, KY | Clayhole, KY

Tornado Outbreak Recap

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Updated: 3/04/2012 2:09 am

Saturday, March 3, 2012: Healing and Recovery Begins After Historic Tornado Outbreak

 

Friday, March 2nd is a day that many in eastern and southern Kentucky will never forget.  At least 20 people were killed, and 300 or more injured.  This was a tragic outbreak of powerful tornadoes with an intensity not seen in our viewing area's eastern counties since 1988.  Here are a few graphics that tell the story.  Since the graphics were uploaded, some additional information has been made available through the work of the storm survey teams with the National Weather Service.  The updates - beyond graphical content - is in bold and italics.

 

** THE EF-3 TORNADO NOTED FOR MAGOFFIN COUNTY CONTINUED EAST AS AN EF-3 INTO JOHNSON COUNTY, AND THAT THEN MOVED INTO MARTIN COUNTY AS AN EF-2.



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The tornado that touched down southeast of Menifee County was on the ground for more than 30 minutes, and traveled at least 34 miles.  One of the more memorable storm reports from yesterday came from a Kentucky State Police officer, who saw the "large tornado" on the ground.  It turns out it was a mile wide.  Shortly later, there was a report that an officer in a patrol car had been hit by the tornado.  Not long after that, terrifying reports of a mass casualty incident came from West Liberty, where people were injured, trapped, and for some, worse. 

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The endpoint has yet to be discovered, so we still do not yet know quite how long this tornado track was.

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Shortly after 7 PM, there was a report that a funnel cloud was seen near Wood Creek Lake.  Not long after that, reports of damage from a point just north of East Bernstadt were relayed from storm spotters. 

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THE MAGOFFIN / JOHNSON / MARTIN COUNTY STORM SURVEY HAS JUST BEEN COMPLETED.  THIS WAS AN EF-3 TORNADO WITH MAXIMUM WINDS OF 160 MILES PER HOUR!  THE TORNADO WAS ON THE GROUND FOR 47 MINUTES IN KENTUCKY, FROM 6:51 TO 7:38.  THE PATH LENGTH WAS 45 MILES, AND THE TRACK WAS 3/4 MILES WIDE.

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While certainly overshadowed by the deadly tornadoes, the storms did produce some flash flooding, and that has given way to river flooding.  Here are the Commonwealth's top 4 rainfall reports, among the ASOS and Kentucky Mesonet data.  (In this case, each of the top for are Mesonet sites.)

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While the flash flooding has subsided early this Saturday morning, river flooding is now an issue for some.

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Specifically, here is the status of the Red, Kentucky and Cumberland Rivers.

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Changing gears to the forecast for the next 36 hours, we will be unseasonably chilly on Sunday as highs only creep into the lower 40s.  Plenty of clouds will fill the sky, and they'll thicken as we get deeper into the day.  An Alberta Clipper will arrive on Sunday evening and Sunday night, serving as a reminder that we are still officially in the winter season.  Snowfall will be on the light side, BUT even with the recent, warm ground temperatures, we will likely see some light accumulations, at least in the grass and on elevated surfaces.  Here is our preliminary "first crack" at a snowfall forecast.

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Thanks for stopping by the weather blog.  Have a great end to your weekend, bundle up, enjoy the snow, and keep praying for those who lost it all, including, in some cases, loved ones.

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Geoff

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