One Year Since Massive Tornado Outbreak In Ohio Valley
March 2 is the one year anniversary since the massive tornado outbreak in the Ohio Valley. We’ll take a look at the severe weather that occurred that day in this blog.
There were 64 confirmed tornadoes that occurred on March 2, and unfortunately 41 people died within the storms that occurred.
Tornado reports came from as far north as Indiana and Ohio to as far south as southern Alabama and Mississippi. While the graphic from the Storm Prediction Center shows 160 tornadoes, those are only preliminary reports (meaning that the same tornado could be reported a few different times). On this day we had long track tornadoes in the Ohio Valley, some tornadoes on the ground for over 30 miles.
Here was the threat 3 days out. This was a well forecasted severe potential, with already an alert in place that severe weather could occur.
Here is two days out. By midday the day before, the SPC had upgraded to a Moderate Risk over much of the area impacted, essentially meaning there was a greater chance of severe weather including strong tornadoes.
By the morning of the event, the Storm Prediction Center had upgraded a part of Kentucky and Tennessee to a High Risk of Severe Weather, indicating the likelihood of tornadoes and other severe weather. By midday this had expanded to include more of Kentucky as well as parts of Ohio and Indiana.
The SPC said that there was a 30% chance of tornadoes in the high risk area, meanwhile numerous areas were covered in a “hatched” area, meaning that there was at least a 10% probability of EF2 – EF5 tornadoes within 25 miles of any point in it.
One of the most talked about tornadoes of the day was the EF-4 tornado that hit Henryville, IN. That tornado had peak winds of 175 mph and was on the ground for 49 miles.
These clips, provided by the Associated Press, show the destruction that this tornado caused. A bus were blown into a building and numerous homes and businesses were destroyed.
Recovery is still going on in town. Check out this story from WAVE-3 in Louisville on how they are rebuilding.
A strong tornado also hit West Liberty, KY that day, and was on the ground for over 80 miles!
Here’s a photo of the damage in West Liberty from the National Weather Service in Jackson, KY. West Liberty continues to rebuild itself, and according to WYMT numerous stores on Main Street have reopened within the past week. You can read more on the event in the Ohio Valley from the Louisville and Jackson National Weather Service offices.
The path to recovery for many of these towns is slow, but it is good to see recovery happen. I remember stories after the tornadoes saying that they were afraid many would move out and that these towns would end up dying. Very happy to see that is not the case.
Weather this March 2 across the Ohio Valley and southeast is a lot calmer — only having to dodge some snow showers.
Looking at the rest of the country, it looks fairly calm through the end of the weekend. Record highs are possible today in the southwest before the heat moves eastward tomorrow. Meanwhile, we’ll watch a winter storm forming in the northwest move out into the upper Midwest late Sunday into Monday, bringing the possibility of a plowable snow. It could be an interesting commute Monday morning in the Twin Cities!
Have a great Saturday — and we wish the best for those communities still recovering.
Meteorologist D.J. Kayser
Follow me on Twitter at: @weathrlver