Thursday, April 28, 2011

Death Toll Rises As South Picks Up Pieces From Massive Tornado Outbreak

The death toll from a massive tornado outbreak across the Southern United States is expected to continue climbing above 200 as residents pick up the pieces from 137 tornadoes that were reported around the region, including 66 in Alabama and 38 in Mississippi.

The death toll is quite high despite incessant tornado emergency warnings and that emergency officials called for school and business closures to keep people in relative safety. The problem was that some of the storms were so severe that structures were completely obliterated.

Storms mangled communities from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham to Hunstville Alabama
. Emergency personnel will have a difficult time given that power is out to wide swaths of area and that the damage has made it difficult to get into some areas to check for survivors and victims of the storms.

The storms were captured on video and the deadly beauty of these storms are all too apparent:

Power remains out in many parts of the region, and there are concerns over a nuclear power plant that is operating on backup systems. The reactor at Browns Ferry is expected to remain offline for several weeks as transmission lines are restored.

April 2011 is shaping up to be one for the record books. It's setting all kinds of records for severe storms and has set the record for most tornadoes for the month of April (or since 1954 according to the Washington Post).

It's also all too apparent that yesterday's outbreak could go down as one of the deadliest and largest outbreaks in history. That follows the April 16 outbreak that was the largest in North Carolina history.

Today, the storms have shifted to the east, so that Georgia, the Carolinas, and the Middle Atlantic states could be in for a rough time. Already, a handful of tornado warnings have been posted for Tallahassee, FL, Washington DC, and State College, PA areas even as much of the East Coast is under severe storm watches and warnings.

Investigators will comb through the damage paths to determine just how many storms produced tornadoes and the relative strengths of the storms.

This video shows at least one tornado crossing through the Mississippi countryside tearing up trees and homes and downing power lines. The driver of the car is actually driving directly towards the tornado as the storm crosses within a mile of the car:

More video can be seen here. Video of the tornado slamming into Tuscaloosa can be seen here.

No comments: