Severe Weather Hits Midwest, Southeast; Tornadoes Confirmed in at Least Six States

Published: Feb 22, 2014, 8:10 PM EST weather.com

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Chapin, IL Tornado Explainer

A severe weather outbreak brought dangerous weather to the Midwest and South Thursday and Friday night, spawning tornadoes in at least six states.

At least 13 tornadoes were confirmed by the National Weather Service by early Friday evening, according to severe weather expert, Dr. Greg Forbes, including eight tornadoes in Illinois, two in southern Mississippi, and one each in Ohio, Maryland and Louisiana.

Additionally, there were more than 200 reports of wind damage peppered across more than a dozen states Thursday, and nearly 25 reports of hail.

@ShiremanFarms/Twitter

Andy Shireman tweeted this photo of a reported tornado near Concord, Ill. Thursday.

“Where instability was greatest, thunderstorms congealed into long lines from Tennessee southward, rather than discrete, rotating supercells, minimizing the number of tornadoes there,” said weather.com senior meteorologist Jon Erdman. “Farther north, where more discrete supercells did erupt, a few tornadoes did touch down in parts of the mid-Mississippi Valley. However, with more limited instability that far north, the number of tornadoes was limited there, too.”

Below is a look at how the event has affected each state in its path.

Alabama

The National Weather Service in Huntsville confirmed at least four tornado touchdowns, including an EF-2 in Fort Payne. A tornado flipped 3 tractor trailers, one of which landed on top of a jet polymer plant before destroying two houses.

The Fort Payne-area twister was brief but powerful, with estimated winds up to 125 mph. Survey crews from the weather service say it flipped three large semitrailers, vaulting one into the air and onto the factory’s roof around 12:30 a.m. Friday.

Another EF-1 tornado touched down at a marina on the Tennessee River in Limestone County, then damaged some nearby condos and homes Thursday night.

Two other Thursday night twisters snapped and uprooted trees and damaged some homes in the Cartwright community in northern Alabama and in the Anderson area of Lauderdale County.

Storms damaged some buildings in Calhoun County and brought down trees in many areas of Alabama. Preliminary reports to the National Weather Service said the storms toppled trees late Thursday and early Friday in Marion, Fayette, Walker, Tuscaloosa and Elmore counties.

Georgia

There were reports of several homes damaged in central Georgia and toppled trees across north Georgia after a fast-moving line of thunderstorms brought high winds to the region. The Courier Herald in Dublin reports that more than 50 homes in northern Laurens County were impacted by a storm Friday, with debris scattered across yards and on rooftops. There were no immediate reports of injuries there. Preliminary reports to the National Weather Service indicate that several trees were down on U.S. Highway 11 in Dade County Friday morning, after the line of storms rolled through the state’s northwest corner. A 58 mph wind gust was reported at Dobbins Air Force Base in Marietta.

Illinois

The National Weather Service confirmed that at least eight tornadoes touched down in east and central Illinois Thursday, causing minor damage. The tornadoes were reported near the Cass County town of Arenzville, about 50 miles west of Springfield; east of Mechanicsburg in Sangamon County; near Pana in Christian County; west of Shumway in Effingham County; west of Findlay; and in Pike County. The storms reportedly destroyed several outbuildings and snapped utility poles. No injuries were reported.

Indiana

The National Weather Service says at least two tornadoes struck Indiana on Thursday as severe thunderstorms swept across the state.

Meteorologists say a tornado ranking as an EF1 on the Fujita scale and packing 90 mph winds struck Thursday night about four miles north of Osgood in southeastern Indiana’s Ripley County.

That storm knocked a mobile home off its foundation and damaged two pole barns, leaving a nearly mile-long path.

A second tornado ranking as an EF0 with winds of about 85 mph damaged two outbuildings and toppled trees Thursday evening in central Indiana’s Rush County near the town of Arlington.

The weather service says that storm was on the ground for less than a minute and left a path of damage less than a tenth of a mile long.

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