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More April showers, and a look back on a deadly Cumberland County and Mississippi tornado

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SUMMARY

More rain showers will fall today, along with a rumble or two of thunder, as an upper-level low continues to spin just to our west. You can see that low spin on radar over western Kentucky this morning, and you’ll see that low slowly slide east, southeast today. Some of the showers could be a bit heavy. So far, we have picked up 2.23″ of rain here at weatherTAP since Sunday. More rounds of showers will continue for our Wednesday and Thursday. The models have been showing Thursday to be our driest day, but today the models want to speed up the front that will come through and push this rain out. The bad news is that Thursday afternoon and evening now look wet (stay tuned) but that means the pretty weather gets here a day early and Friday may be a decent day. Saturday looks absolutely perfect, followed by a great weather day on Sunday, though about five degrees warmer than Saturday. Beyond that it looks warm but becoming unsettled.

The extended outlook for temperatures from May 1-May 7. That orange on us for above normal temps.

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DISCUSSION

While this week and weekend look to be void of any severe weather, we’ll be keeping on eye on next week. We’re in the peak of severe weather season and anytime you see a temperature outlook for above normal temperatures, we know we’ll have at least one ingredient in place. In addition, it looks like moisture will be normal to above normal, as well. That’s two ingredients in place.

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But, even with warmth and moisture in place, you still need the atmosphere above our heads to support storms. That’s the ingredient we have to watch for and one that isn’t all that clear just yet. There are strong indications of a severe weather outbreak for Oklahoma the first few days of May, but they notoriously get severe storms in that time period. I’ll tell you ALL about that when May rolls around. Moore, Oklahoma, which is located just south of Oklahoma City, has a fascinating history with tornadoes.

While we have no real weather worries for now, that was not the case on this day in 1975. Keep in mind, the super tornado outbreak of April 3, 1974 had only been a year earlier. People were still rattled from that outbreak of 148 tornadoes across 13 states in a 24-hour period. One of those tornadoes (F-3) barreled down Plateau Rd.

But, now we’re a year and three weeks later and a supercell rolls into Cumberland County. The storm moved into Mayland and dropped a tornado onto a couple of mobile homes, completely obliterating them and taking the life of one of the occupants and injuring three others. The tornado then lifted but then descended once more onto a well-constructed brick home, completely destroying the residence.  Numerous trees were twisted and snapped. The total path length was only 1.5 miles long. The tornado was rated F-2 but was nearly rated F-3 because of the damage it did to the brick home. In my opinion, it should have been rated F-3. That house was completely destroyed.  Thank goodness the tornado was on the ground for such a short period of time, but how unfortunate for those caught in that short, violent path.  I’ve included pictures of maps of the tornado’s path below.

Today is the also the anniversary of the Yazoo City, Mississippi EF-4 that hit in 2010. I had been living in Mississippi for only eight months when this day came along. One of my storm chasing buddies from WKU drove down to go chasing with me. Actually, he was supposed to meet me in Jackson, TN and we were going to chase from there. As I was driving up there, my alternator went out on my car just as I was passing through Baldwyn, Mississippi. Yeah, I know…of all places to break down it had to be a town that misspells my last name (ha). So, I had to call a tow truck, and while I was waiting on a tow truck, a tornado warning was issued for, you guessed it, Baldwyn, Mississippi. There was nothing I could do. I was absolutely stranded on the side of the road. Thankfully, the storm didn’t produce a tornado where I was sitting. I was spared. haha

The tow truck showed up just as my buddy Ross did. He had decided to just drive on down and meet me on the side of the road. As I rode with the tow truck driver I quickly realized he was a HUGE Elvis fan. That’s ALL that played on his radio. His shop was in Tupelo and that’s where he was towing me too. It’s also where Elvis’s birthplace is. He insisted I see the house when I made the mistake of admitting that, although I had lived in Mississippi for over half a year, I had somehow not made the time to drive up and see Elvis’s house.

I should have lied about that.

With my car in tow, he took me around the neighborhood of where Elvis spent the first three years of his life. I begged him to get us to the shop. Storms were coming, for God’s sake (ha). FINALLY, we arrived at the shop and he was not all too happy that I had cut the tour short. I would end up paying for my offensive behavior with a bill twice what it should have been.  Lesson learned.

On top of all this, the tornado outbreak ended up being mostly this one supercell that nearly traversed the whole state of Mississippi, beginning in Louisiana and crossing the state into Alabama. The damage was catastrophic to Yazoo City, where it attained its F-4 status.  Being so isolated gave the storm access to all the energy of the atmosphere. That’s never good! The 1.75 mile wide tornado traveled 149.25 miles!!!That is the widest and fourth longest path in Mississippi tornado history. Ross and I caught the back side of it just as it was going into Alabama. The whole back side of the storm looked like a barber pole, spiraling up into the atmosphere. It was one of the most amazing cloud structures I have ever seen.

Storm chasing is SO much more than just catching the storm, folks. HA!

Here are those maps of the Mayland tornado. You all have a great day!

Here’s the most zoomed out look.

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Zoomed in closer

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Zoomed in as close as I could zoom

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Map of ALL tornadoes ever recorded in Cumberland County

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