15 November 2006 Central Gulf Coast Tornado Outbreak

     During the early morning hours of 15 November 2006, severe thunderstorms developed ahead of a powerful upper level storm system (see as of 6 AM CST and 6 PM CST day of) and associated low level cold front (6 AM CST). During the event, six of these produced tornadoes ranging from F-0 to F-2 intensity over portions of interior southeast Mississippi and south Alabama. Click here to see local tornado tracks and F-scale intensities. These powerful storms produced a regional tornado outbreak that day as tornadoes also developed over central Alabama and central and north portions of Mississippi. Although there were no reports of severe hail (greater than or equal to 3/4" diameter hail) locally, there were several reports of severe wind gusts (greater than or equal to 57 mph) and multiple reports above 45 mph.  Thankfully, due to detailed advance notification, there were no fatalities. A few minor injuries did occur, however, none required hospitalization.  At this time, preliminary damage estimates associated with each of the six tornadoes will be somewhere between a half-million to one million U.S. dollars.

    The tornadoes occurred in association with a secondary seasonal peak in the Alabama severe weather season. No local tornado event this significant has occurred since 13 October 2001.  The following are 'community-scale' images of each tornado track and the corresponding radar reflectivity 'snapshot' closest to the time of tornado warning issuance. They include:  Covington County, AL (see lead time of 10 min), Baldwin County, AL (see lead times of 10 and 31 min), Greene County, MS (see lead time of 11 min),  Wayne County, MS (see lead time of 8 min) and Washington County, AL (see lead time of 23 min). In several cases the tornado warnings were in effect several minutes prior to the individual storm radar-reflectivity snaphots.  Interestingly, the Greene County Mississippi and Washington County Alabama tornadoes were produced by the same long-lived supercell thunderstorm. The average tornado-warning lead time for the six tornadoes in this event was approximately 16 minutes.

   Damage photos in Greene County, MS (Avera) include:  Image-1Image-2, and  Image-3. The Avera Baptist church was heavily damaged. Damage photos in Covington County, AL (near Opp, AL) include: Image-1, Image-2, Image-3, Image-4, Image-5 and Image-6. Although not shown, the justification for the F-2 tornado intensity rating was that one home near the center of the damage path sustained substantial damage to a brick exterior wall. Also, a well-constructed outbuilding containing restroom facilities was shifted from its foundation.  Many farming structures were destroyed and heavy farming machinery was over-turned.

   Additional graphical and text-based products highlight more storm damage on that day. Extremely heavy rainfall (some 4 to 8 inches across our region) also prompted the issuance of five Flash Flood Warnings (issued by the NWS Office in Mobile Alabama) for portions of southwestern Alabama and the extreme northwestern Florida Panhandle.  Click the following links to see radar-estimated rainfall ending at 6 AM CST and  Noon of Wednesday 15 November 2006. As people would come to realize that day, most of the rain fell in a 3-6 hour time window during the later morning and early afternoon which left many roads, streets, creeks and streams flooded.

Acknowledgments:  This narrative was produced by Jeffrey M. Medlin (Science and Operations Officer). Storm surveys were conducted by the following individuals: Randall McKee (MIC),  Gary Beeler (WCM), Joe Maniscalo (Meteorologist Forecaster), Jack Cullen (Meteorologist Forecaster), Daniel Lamb (Student Trainee Meteorologist) and Justin Gibbs (Student Volunteer Meteororlogist) and Randy Bowers (Student Volunteer Meteororlogist). A special thanks also to Ray Ball (Information Technology officer) for posting this document to the www.

USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.