A severe weather outbreak occurred across the Tennessee Valley, southern Appalachians and into central Georgia/South Carolina, starting Friday, March 14th and continuing into today. One supercell thunderstorm developed west of Atlanta, quickly intensified and drug a tornado directly across downtown Atlanta causing extensive damage to many structures (including high-rises). The following HAMrad II animation shows the storm as it moved through downtown Atlanta and finally weakening after passing to the east of the city. The National Weather Service reported that based on the damage investigation, this tornado was an EF-2 with winds up to 130 mph and a path of about 6 miles.
The following is the official NWS report regarding their damage investigation on the Atlanta tornado:
0938 PM TORNADO 1 NW ATLANTA 33.77N 84.43W 03/14/2008 F2 FULTON GA EMERGENCY MNGR NWS DAMAGE SURVEY CONCLUDED AN EF2 TORNADO 6 MILES LONG AND 200 YARDS WIDE TUCHED DOWN AT SIMPSON AND BURBANK ROAD AT 938 PM. IT MOVED ACROSS DOWNTOWN ATLANTA AND CAME UP AT THE CORNER OF BRAEBURN AND JOSEPHINE ROAD IN WESTERN DEKALB COUNTY.
Earlier today additional supercell thunderstorms developed across the northern suburbs of Atlanta bringing additional storm damage in the form of very strong winds, large hail and even several tornadoes. Several moved close to the HW offices in Kennesaw, including the storm depicted in the following image which brought up to 3″ diameter hail and a possible tornado near Canton just to the north of our offices.
The following map shows the official NWS storm reports across Georgia since yesterday, the second of which only showing the tornadoes and/or funnel clouds that were reported (click for full-size image).