The tornado outbreak of December 10-11 will go down in history for portions of the United States. During this period, more than 100 tornado warnings were issued across the Mid-South and Midwest. It is still too early to know the total number of tornadoes that occurred, but so far over 20 tornadoes have been confirmed. High dew point values, warm temperatures, and a strong low-pressure system attributed to the severe weather that developed.
One notable supercell that formed produced damage through Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky. This storm traveled nearly 250 miles showing a nearly persistent rotation. This will possibly be a historical storm because there is a good chance it produced a tornado that persisted longer than the historic and unprecedented Tri-State Tornado of March 18, 1925. On that date, a tornado traveled 219 miles through Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. Multiple National Weather Service offices are continuing to survey the damage, so this has not yet been determined. Whether this does become a historic storm or not, it led to a large number of fatalities, and buildings were completely destroyed.
Monette, a small community in Arkansas was an area that saw destructive damage from this supercell. The tornado moved through Monette producing significant damage along with fatalities. A nursing home took a direct hit leading to multiple people being trapped and two fatalities. The velocity signature from when the storm moved over the city is well defined; the brighter the colors the stronger the winds. This storm continued its track northeast and continued to strengthen as it reached the state border.
Mayfield, Kentucky took a direct hit from this tornado leading to catastrophic damage and fatalities. Looking at the radar and velocity imagery above, the tornado moved through this town just before 9:30 p.m. Friday. A candle factory took a direct hit and the building collapsed, trapping 110 employees beneath the rubble. As of Monday, December 13th, there have been eight fatalities, eight still remain missing, and more than 90 have been accounted for. It has not been confirmed, but preliminary findings show that the tornado that ripped through this city had a strength of an EF-3 tornado, winds of 136-165 mph.
Amazon Facility Tornado
Edwardsville, Illinois is another area that saw catastrophic destruction from Friday evening’s tornado outbreak. A strong tornado touched down at 8:28 p.m. to the northeast of the I-270/I-255 interchange. As the tornado traveled to the northeast it rapidly intensified to EF-3 strength. Peak winds with this tornado were 150 mph and occurred as it moved over an Amazon warehouse. The Amazon warehouse was a complete loss due to multiple structural failures as the tornado moved through the complex, including the collapse of additional walls and the loss of a large segment of the roof. There were six fatalities and an unknown number of injuries. As the tornado continued its track to the northeast, it weakened and finally lifted around 8:32 p.m. For more information on this tornado click here.
Multiple storm surveys are ongoing and it could be days before we find out the total of tornadoes and how strong they were. Stick with the Weather Authority as we will bring you the latest when it is released.