16 November 2011

Auburn, Alabama Hit by Probable Tornado

Posted by Dan Satterfield

I drew a purple arrow to indicate the rotation couplet off of the Maxwell, AFB. NEXRAD. Image from Plymouth St. archive at 12:17 PM Local time in Auburn. Red indicates wind away from the radar, and blue is wind toward the radar (storm motion subtracted out).

Base reflectivity off of the MXX NEXRAD at 1817 GMT (12: 17 pm local time). Notice the suspicous notch at the base of the cell. It's there because there is a strong mesoscale cyclone rotating in the storm.

First it was Tuscaloosa, and today Alabama’s other major university city gets hit with a tornado. At least it looks that way right now.

The Maxwell, AFB. radar shows a strong rotation passing just south of the campus, and there are reports of considerable damage. We won’t know for sure that the tornado touched down until a storm survey is done, but that is likely already in the planning stages. While most severe weather is in the spring, the Southeast U.S. does see a mini storm season in mid to late November each year.

Here in Huntsville, everyone remembers the EF 3 that came through the middle of the city at rush hour on November 15, 1989. That said, the cell that hit Auburn today was MUCH weaker than the 1989 storm, or the EF 4 “wedge tornado” that hit Tuscaloosa on April 27th.