Tornadoes strike Mid-South

Pontotoc County Tornado | Jackson County - Poinsett County Tornado | Craighead County Wind Damage 


Pontotoc County Tornado

Saturday, Feb. 24, 2001

 

Saturday, February 24th 2001 saw a major tornado bring death and destruction to Pontotoc County Mississippi. Five persons in Pontotoc died and thirty-five were injured as the storm raged through. Major damage or total destruction was brought to 180 homes and businesses while another 281 suffered minor damage.

The long lived tornadic thunderstorm moved northeast into Pontotoc County after tracking from central Mississippi across parts of Leflore, Carroll, Grenada and Calhoun counties. The weak tornado skipped northeast across rural areas of Calhoun county producing intermittent damage along it's path. The tornado was mainly in the F1 category with peak winds around 100 mph. The tornadic storm then moved into southwest Pontotoc County where several structures were severely damaged near Buckhorn. It was on the ground for most of the track across Pontotoc County. While the tornado was about 200 yards wide, it left a damage path that was sometimes wider than a quarter mile. Most of the damage was consistent with the F2 category with winds between 110 mph and 150 mph. As the tornado moved through the south side of the city of Pontotoc around 10:10 pm, it reached it's maximum intensity - F3. (Click here to see radar imagery of the storm as it approached Pontotoc. reflectivity, velocity.)  Winds were estimated to be near 170 mph at this point and that was where the tornado caused most of the injuries and fatalities. Click on the following links to see pictures of some of the damage in and around the Pontotoc area. (Picture 1, Picture 2, Picture 3, Picture 4, Picture 5, Picture 6, Picture 7, Picture 8, Picture 9, Picture 10).

The tornado continued northeast through Pontotoc County weakening as it approached the northwest corner of Lee County. It appeared to lift over northwest Lee county with only intermittent damage. It touched down again near Guntown, (reflectivity, velocity) then moved northeast through Baldwyn. At this time, the tornado was mainly in the F1 and lower F2 range with winds estimated between 100 mph and 120 mph. Click on the following links to see damage pictures from in and around the Guntown and Baldwyn communites.  (Picture 1, Picture 2, Picture 3, Picture 4, Picture 5, Picture 6, Picture 7)  The tornado ended its long life by dissipating to the east of Wheeler.


Jackson County - Poinsett County Tornado

Saturday, Feb. 24, 2001

 

A line of severe thunderstorms swept into northeast Arkansas during the evening of February 24th. Several tornadoes were spawned along and ahead of the thunderstorm line as it moved through central parts of the state. One tornado produced an eleven mile long, 200 yard wide track that started in Jackson County, passed just east of Grubbs, then dissipated before crossing out of Poinsett County. 

Tornado winds ranged between about 65 mph and 110 mph (F1) along most of its path, but wind speeds attained 115 mph to 130 mph (F2) in a brief interval over extreme northwest Poinsett County. East parts of Jackson and west parts of Poinsett counties are predominantly rice growing farmlands. Additionally, the tornado tracked along, or just outside the Cache Rover Wildlife Refuge. A few homes had roof damage, several power poles were toppled, farm structures were hit, and many trees were uprooted or snapped. The heaviest damage was along Highway 18 east of Grubbs, and northeast of Pitts -- near the Poinsett - Jackson county line.

 

 

Severe Thunderstorm Wind Damage - Craighead County

Saturday, Feb. 24, 2001

Violent thunderstorm winds raked a wide swath through central Craighead County on February 24th. The damaging wind is estimated to have reached the 60 mph to 80 mph range as it did minor but widespread damage across the easternmost parts of Jonesboro. Homes and businesses suffered roof damage, trees were toppled, semi-trailers were overturned, and power poles snapped as the destructive thunderstorms moved through. Most impressive was a two mile long stretch along CW Post Road where all the high-tension power poles were snapped.

The greatest damage was in a swath approximately three miles wide east-to-west, and about six miles long north-to-south. The swath reached from northwest of Hergett toward Brookland, crossing Highway 18 just west of Needham.


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