Early in the evening of April 27, 2011, The GOES East satellite took this picture, mid-way through the life of a particularly long-lived supercell thunderstorm. The storm began in Newton County Mississippi at 2:54 pm CDT and dissipated in Macon County North Carolina around 10:18 pm CDT. This supercell existed for about 7 hours and 24 minutes, traveled approximately 380 miles and produced several strong to violent tornadoes along the way. One of the tornadoes is now known as the Tuscaloosa-Birmingham EF-4 Tornado.
This tornado initially touched down in rural northern Greene County and moved northeast through southern Tuscaloosa and western Jefferson Counties, where it caused devastating damage consistent with a violent EF4 rating to portions of the city of Tuscaloosa and western suburbs of Birmingham, before it lifted northeast of downtown Birmingham. The tornado caused damage along a path 80.68 miles long and 2600 yards wide in places, winds howling up to 190 mph. Many people lost their lives.
NOAA and FEMA are partnering together this week to highlight the first-ever National Severe Weather Preparedness Week. As part of NOAA’s campaign to Build a Weather-Ready Nation, this week is all about what you can do to take a stand against severe weather. Being a force of nature means never bowing to extreme weather. It means taking appropriate actions before, during and after extreme weather strikes by knowing your risk, having a plan, building a kit and staying informed via a NOAA Weather Radio. It also means being connected to family, friends and neighbors and inspiring them to act.
Last year during this week, storms raked the central and southern United States, spawning more than 300 tornadoes, claiming hundreds of lives and ranking as one of the largest tornado outbreaks in U.S. history. As the nation marks the first anniversary of that historic outbreak, we’re asking each person across the country to “Be a Force of Nature” by knowing the risk, taking action and being an example.
This image was taken by GOES East at 2215Z on April 27, 2011.