December 9 Severe Weather and Tornadoes
A round of severe thunderstorms containing tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds, occurred Tuesday December 9th into Tuesday night across much of the Lower Mississippi River Valley. These storms developed along and ahead of a strong surface cold front and strong upper level disturbance. A surface low developed to our west and tracked eastward increasing the winds and drawing northward deep moisture and instability. The cold front steadily pushed east and clashed with the unstable and highly sheared environment and produced numerous severe thunderstorms as squall line developed and tracked eastward across the region.
At this time, 16 tornadoes have been confirmed. Surveys have been ongoing since last Wednesday and more are planned for the rest of this week. This may result in additional tornadoes. Of the 16 tornadoes, 2 were rated EF2, 8 rated EF1, and 6 rated EF0.
The worst damage was across Yazoo and Holmes Counties. Several structures were damaged along with numerous trees and power lines. Other heavily damaged areas were in Adams, Rankin, Montgomery, Attala, Copiah, Jefferson Davis, Franklin, Jefferson, Lamar and Jones Counties where many structures were damaged along with trees and power lines down.
Historically, these 16 tornadoes rank 2nd all time for the number of tornadoes in the month of December. The record is 19 which occurred during the December of 1988. Additionally, this December 9th event has pushed the yearly total of tornadoes well above 100. This will set a new record for the number of tornadoes in a year. The previous record of 99 was set in 2005. A final count will be available toward the end of the month or by the first week of 2009.
The National Weather Service would like to thank local Emergency Management officials and local law enforcement for their assistance in the survey process. As information is collected, the web page will be updated with storm tracks and damage photos.
Click here for an image of area rainfall totals.