Tornado season is definitely here.
The National Weather Service has issued tornado watches throughout the lower Midwest and South, but early this week, 12 people have so far died from a tornado ravaging the Gulf Coast states, particularly Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Alabama, where hundreds of homes have been destroyed and a state of emergency has been declared by the state’s respective governors.
Even more frightening, the tornado was tracked over a distance of 97 miles, traveling from Tallulah Port, Louisiana, where it severely damaged a chemical plant and shipyard on the Mississippi River, all the way to Holmes and Yazoo Counties in Mississippi, where the tornado peaked in size and intensity and claimed 10 lives.
The National Weather Service completed an investigation into the worst tornado activity, especially that of one EF-4 tornado with winds speeds peaking at 170 mph. The NWS claims that the tornado was 1.75 miles across at its peak.
According to the official report by the NWS:
The most destructive storm of the day developed over northern Louisiana during the mid to late morning hours. The first report of damage was received shortly after 11am near the city of Tallulah. From that point, things only got worse as the supercell tracked from west to east across the entire state of Mississippi. Along the way, it produced significant damage in several locations including the Eagle Lake area of Warren County, Valley Park in Issaquena County, Satartia and Yazoo City in Yazoo County, Ebenezer and Durant in Holmes County, north of Kosciusko near Hesterville in Attala County, French Camp and Chester in Choctaw County, north of Starkville in Oktibbeha County, and east of West Point in Clay County. Multiple fatalities and injuries were reported in association with the storm, and several structures were damaged or destroyed.
Emergency responders from as far afield as Houston have been called up to search for survivors and restore calm in the areas hardest hit.
Meanwhile, more tornados have been seen further east, with sightings also in Darlington County, South Carolina and Chatooga County, Georgia. The National Weather Service in Huntsville, Alabama is still warning of the possibility of more outbreaks as it continues to monitor the severe thunderstorms in the region.
Readers who live in the south should be advised to stay informed of any severe weather warnings in their area, and review Preparing for a Tornado.