20 April 2011

70 MPH Winds Rake Midwest

Posted by Dan Satterfield

70 mph winds approach Memphis late Tuesday. Notice the bow shape of the line of storms.

Bow echo crossing south IL. Winds over 60 mph caused much damage.

Yet another band of severe storms has caused widespread damage across the Eastern U.S. The event late Tuesday was composed primarily of damaging straight-line winds with a few strong tornadoes. Memphis was hit with winds up to 70 mph, (around 10 PM)  and when the line hit Jackson TN an hour later, a gust to 74 mph was recorded on official instruments.

An incredible text-book “bow” echo crossed southern Illinois earlier ,and also produced winds over 60 mph across much of the region. Tornado warnings were issued as far north as Ohio and as far south as Oklahoma. Kudos to the Storm Prediction Center in Norman for an excellent forecast of the main risk area.

I’m proud of the incredible advances made in my profession of synoptic weather forecasting made over the last 3 decades. This kind of accuracy and advance warning was not possible in 1975, but it is the rule in 2011. Very few people who were under a severe thunderstorm warning late Tuesday escaped one heck of a storm. I can guarantee you that TV stations across the area had hundreds of calls and emails upset that their program was interrupted.