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April 30, 2010 / Dave Gorham

NWS: Single Twister Caused MS Devastation

The National Weather Service in Jackson, Mississippi has confirmed that a single monster tornado is to blame for 10 deaths last weekend in the state. Five of the victims, including three children, were killed in Choctaw County, with four deaths reported in Yazoo County and one in Holmes County. About 700 homes were damaged in the state with 100 of the homes in Yazoo County.

Image: CBS News

The powerful storm system swept across the ArkLaMiss region beginning Friday afternoon on April 23 and lasted through the late evening hours on Saturday the 24th. Tornadoes were reported not only in Mississippi but in Louisiana, Arkansas and Alabama. The same storm system is also to blame for two deaths in Alabama.

The Tornado Tracks from Friday, April 23 to Saturday, April 24. Image: NWS, Jackson

Mississippi’s chief Weather Service meteorologist, Alan Gerar, said that the tornado, which was responsible for the 10 deaths in the state followed a nearly 150-mile track from Tallulah, LA, through Mississippi, before dissipating in Oktibbeha County in the northeastern part of the state. Gerard also said the tornado was unusually large measuring 1.75 miles wide, which is a record for Mississippi. Wind speeds were estimated at around 150 mph.

Image: CBS News

At first it was unclear if a single massive tornado, or multiple smaller ones, caused the deaths and damage across the state, but on Wednesday the NWS confirmed it was one monster tornado.

Friday, April 30: The red shading indicates the threat for severe thunderstorms today. The yellow shading represents the breezy southerly winds expected in advance of this system with winds between 20-25 mph. Image: ImpactWeather

Saturday, May 1: There remains a threat for severe storms into Saturday as a strong low pressure system and associated cold front move through the lower Mississippi Valley and Tennessee Valley. Heavy rainfall will also be possible across some areas. Image: ImpactWeather

For the second weekend in a row, a strong storm system will move across parts of the Plains and into the Southeast bringing a chance of severe weather Friday into Saturday to some of the same areas affected by last weekend’s storms. The main threat will be damaging wind gusts, large hail, frequent lightning and tornadoes. Heavy rainfall will also be possible on Saturday as this strong low pressure system interacts with abundant moisture. 1-3 inches of rainfall will be possible with isolated heavier amounts. Breezy, southerly winds can also be expected along the Gulf Coast with sustained winds between 20-25 mph.

Let’s hope the victims of last week’s storms are spared this weekend and that the healing and recovery continue unabated.

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