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Event Summary

A historic outbreak of severe weather and tornadoes occurred on April 25-27 across the southern and southeast parts of the country. The first event started on Monday the 25th across northeast Texas and spread across the Mid-South and into portions of Louisiana. This event included multiple reports of large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes. The second event occurred from Tuesday afternoon into the early morning hours of April 26-27. This event initially started out as supercells producing large hail and tornadoes across northeast Texas and portions of Arkansas before evolving into a squall line. This line of storms had multiple stages of evolution and moved across several states before dissipating. This line was very efficient in producing wind damage as it pushed east. More impressively, this line produced many tornadoes and is responsible for 21 of the total tornadoes for this event. Of those 21, 11 were rated as strong (EF2, EF3) tornadoes and had fairly long path lengths.

The atmosphere reloaded quickly Wednesday morning and became increasingly favorable for more severe storms. The driving force for the 3rd event was a potent shortwave and deep surface low that intensified during the day Wednesday. The winds in the mid levels of the atmosphere increased to 80-100 mph and helped deepen the surface low further which in turn caused the low level winds to become stronger. The wind shear that was caused by the increasing winds aloft, and turning of the winds from south to westerly, was at rare levels for late April. Additionally, high low level moisture returned to the area in the wake of the morning complex and combined with morning sunshine to cause a very unstable airmass. The combination that resulted was an extremely rare mix of instability and wind shear. These ingredients, along with lift from a potent upper disturbance, ultimately led to the historic tornado outbreak of April 27, 2011.

By midday and early afternoon, several discrete supercell thunderstorms were developing across the forecast area. It did not take long for these storms to take on “classic” supercell structures and begin producing tornadoes. The first tornado of the afternoon started in Neshoba County on the north side of Philadelphia. This tornado was rated EF5 and tracked for 29 miles into Noxubee County. From this point on, multiple tornadoes developed from multiple supercell storms. Nearly all of the storms produced tornadoes, with many of them long track and significant. The other violent tornado to impact the Jackson, MS forecast area occurred across Smith, Jasper, and Clarke Counties. This tornado continued into Alabama and had a total path length of 92.3 miles. At this point, 12 of the tornadoes were violent (EF4, EF5) with most of these having a path length greater than 70 miles.

Loss of life during this historic event was staggering. At this time, roughly 342 people lost their lives, with thousands more injured. This is now the second deadliest tornado outbreak in US history. The Mar 18, 1925 Tri-State tornado outbreak is first with 747 fatalities. This marks the first EF5 tornado in Mississippi since the Candlestick Park tornado on May 3, 1966. Additionally, this marks the first time since statistics have been kept that two EF5 tornadoes have been recorded on the same day in Mississippi, with the tornado in Smithville also rated as an EF5.

 

Survey Information- Click on the location in the table for additional maps and details

 

Location Start/
End Time
Event Type Fatalities/
Injuries
Path Length Path Width
Morehouse Parish/Ashley County
7 WSW Beekman LA to 7 SE Crossett AR
4/26
10:45 pm-
11:02 pm
EF-1 Tornado
110 mph
  13 miles 1/4 mile
Morehouse Parish
4 WSW Bastrop to 2 NW Bastrop
4/26
10:44 pm-
10:46 pm
EF-0 Tornado
80 mph
  2.5 miles 75 yards
West Carroll/East Carroll Parishes
5 S Pioneer to 6 SW Lake Providence
4/27
12:03 am-
12:16 pm
EF-2 Tornado
115 mph
  11.5 miles 1/2 mile
Sharkey County
2 SSW Cary to Cary
4/27
12:35 am-
12:37 am
EF-0 Tornado
75 mph
  2 miles 100 yards
Sunflower County
3 W Sunflower to 2 ENE Doddsville
4/27
12:43 am-
12:56 am
EF-2 Tornado
125 mph
3 injuries 11 miles 1/4 mile
Yazoo/Holmes Counties
2 N Yazoo City to 2 NNE Eden
4/27
1:12 am-
1:25 am
EF-1 Tornado
100 mph
  10 miles 250 yards
Leflore County
4 ENE Minter City to 7.5 ENE Minter City
4/27
1:18 am-
1:22 am
EF-1 Tornado
90 mph
  3.5 miles 50 yards
Leflore County
Sidon to 3 NE Sidon
4/27
1:24 am-
1:27 am
EF-1 Tornado
90 mph
  3 miles 100 yards
Holmes/Carroll Counties Tornado #1
2 SW Lexington to 5 S Vaiden
4/27
1:40 am-
2:05 am
EF-3 Tornado
140 mph
  23 miles 1 mile
Holmes County Tornado #1
5 ESE Lexington to 2.5 SW West
4/27
1:40 am-
1:50 am
EF-2 Tornado
130 mph
  9 miles 1 mile
Attala/Montgomery Counties
2 SW Sallis to 9.5 NE Hesterville
4/27
1:49 am-
2:10 am
EF-2 Tornado
125 mph
  23 miles 4/10 mile
Holmes County Tornado #2
2 N Durant to 4 N Durant
4/27
1:51 am-
1:52 am
EF-0 Tornado
85 mph
  1.8 miles 50 yards
Holmes/Carroll Counties Tornado #2
2.5 NW West to 2.5 ESE Vaiden
4/27
1:59 am-
2:12 am
EF-2 Tornado
115 mph
  9.5 miles 1/2 mile
Grenada County
3.5 miles S Gore Springs to 2.5 SSE Gore Springs
4/27
2:06 am-
2:08 am
EF-1 Tornado
105 mph
  1.5 miles
150 yards
Montgomery/Choctaw Counties
1.75 W Poplar Creek to 10 ENE Poplar Creek
4/27
2:17 am-
2:28 am
EF-2 Tornado
115 mph
  11.5 miles
1 mile
Attala County
2.5 NNW Zama to 3.0 N Zama
4/27
2:18 am-
2:20 am
EF-1 Tornado
95 mph
  1 mile
50 yards
Choctaw County
9 ESE Kilmichael to 7 ESE Stewart
4/27
2:25 am-
2:33 am
EF-2 Tornado
120 mph
  7 miles
1 mile
Choctaw/Webster/Clay Counties
9 SW Eupora to 1 S McCondy
4/27
2:29 am-
3:05 am
EF-3 Tornado
140 mph
Unknown number of injuries 40 miles 1 mile
Winston County Tornado #1
11 WSW Louisville to 7 WSW Louisville
4/27
2:29 am-
2:34 am
EF-1 Tornado
95 mph
  4 miles 150 yards
Webster/Choctaw Counties
2.5 S Eupora to 5.5 N Maben
4/27
2:37 am-
2:49 am
EF-2 Tornado
125 mph
1 fatality 14.5 miles 3/4 mile
Winston County Tornado #2
3 NE Louisville to 1 NE Louisville
4/27
2:47 am-
2:57 am
EF-1 Tornado
110 mph
  8 miles 200 yards
Noxubee/Lowndes Counties
1.25 NW Brooksville to 6.5 NE Brooksville
4/27
3:18 am-
3:25 am
EF-1 Tornado
95 mph
  6.25 miles 150 yards
Kemper MS/Noxubee MS/Pickens AL Counties
6.9 NNW Scooba MS to 5.2 E Paulette MS
AL ending point unknown
4/27
4:03 am-
4:16 am
EF-2 Tornado
125 mph
  12 miles in MS AL track length unknown 8/10 mile
Neshoba/Kemper/Winston/Noxubee Counties
1 N Philadelphia to 6 SE Mashulaville
4/27
2:30 pm-
3:00 pm
EF-5 Tornado
205 mph
3 fatalities/at least 8 injuries 29 miles 1/2 mile
Webster County
3.5 miles N Bellefontaine to 5 NNE Bellefontaine
4/27
2:48 pm-
2:50 pm
EF-1 Tornado
95 mph
  2.5 miles 100 yards
Copiah/Hinds Counties
5 miles NW Crystal Springs to 2 SSW Terry
4/27
3:11 pm-
3:24 pm
EF-2 Tornado
115 mph
2 injuries 7 miles 1/4 mile
Noxubee County
3.6 NE Macon to 4.5 W Bigbee Valley
4/27
3:18 pm-
3:29 pm
EF-1 Tornado
110 mph
  9 miles 500 yards
Kemper MS/Sumter AL/Pickens AL Counties
1.9 NE Scooba MS to 8.9 NE Scooba MS
AL ending point unknown
4/27
3:47 pm-
3:57 pm
EF-3 Tornado
140 mph
  7 miles in MS
AL track length unknown
1/2 mile
Smith County
3.6 miles S Polkville to 2.6 N Burns
4/27
4:27 pm-
4:38 pm
EF-3 Tornado
130 mph
  8.2 miles 1/4 mile
Newton County
2 S Newton to 2 N Hickory
4/27
5:08 pm-
5:22 pm
EF-3 Tornado
145 mph
  11 miles 1/4 mile
Smith/Jasper/Clarke Counties
1 mile ESE Raleigh to 4.5 NE Snell
4/27
5:42 pm-
7:13 pm
EF-4 Tornado
175 mph
7 deaths/at least 35 injuries 65 miles(in Mississippi) 6/10 mile
Lauderdale County
7.5 NW Meridian to 9 N Meridian
4/27
5:45 pm-
5:59 pm
EF-0 Tornado
80 mph
  12 miles 100 yards

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