NWS: Many Weather Elements Came Together To Produce Saturday Tornadoes

The National Weather Service in Newport continues to tally the number of tornadoes that hit NC Saturday and how strong they were.

A total of 26 tornadoes have been counted in the state with between 11 and 13 in Eastern Carolina. And they are still counting.

NWS Meteorologist Richard Bandy says storms like Saturday's are rare here because normally these systems follow the jet stream to the Northeast from the plains, but occasionally they do make it over the mountains. "Along with everything else that came together with it we had the timing of mid to late afternoon, we had clear skies, skies cleared throughout the day and that allowed temperatures to heat up at the surface and those temperatures increasing really helped provide fuel for the updrafts, so that combined with the really strong system just made it one of those outbreaks that only happens once in a decade or more."

Bandy also says the Storm Prediction Center in Northern Oklahoma issued a high lookout for severe weather in this area before the storm came. Bandy says this is rare, the last time Eastern Carolina was under a high risk of severe weather from tornadoes was in 1984.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by kristy Location: Greenville on Apr 21, 2011 at 09:52 AM
    1984 22 tornadoes did the same thing that just happened. So if it was the end of days then.. Why are we still here?
  • by Really? Location: DC on Apr 21, 2011 at 05:59 AM
    Yeah, global warming was not a "direct" if any cause of this event. The factors that contributed to this event were (from a website of a Meteorologist friend of mine): 1. A negatively tilted, strong upper trough. 2. Two strong jet streaks with North Carolina lying in the left front exit region of one and the right front entrance region of another. If you are in one of these regions you will have enhanced synoptic scale lift, if you are in both you will have doubly enhanced lift. We often times see this in the winter with major winter storms. 3. Very strong low level wind shear. 0-1 and 0-3km shear and helicity values were being shown to be off the chart. 4. Enough thermodynamic instability along with low LCL’s to promote thunderstorm and updraft development, despite the cloud cover and morning showers. This is what we usually lack in these types of events, but we had enough to initiate convective development. Yeah I realize that is a lot of jargon, but it is just basically the "perfect storm" scenario that set up over ENC.
  • by US-First Location: Greenville on Apr 20, 2011 at 07:40 PM
    I am positive it was because of mans contribution to global warming. There is no other explanation. We must spend trillions to figure out how to revers this before it happens again. Are you listening to me! If we don't act now, it could be too late! Real wrath of God type things! Fire and brimstone coming down from the sky. Rivers and seas boiling! 40 years of darkness, earthquakes, irrupting volcanoes. The dead rising from the grave. Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats living together, massive hysteria!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Apr 21, 2011 at 02:18 AM in reply to US-First
      It's so nice that you've found a coping mechanism to deal with the suffering of others in the wake of these tragedies. Humor.. is that what you were attempting? Yes, let's ignore furthering research that helps save lives. Hell, let's go back to the days before warning sirens and just wing it.
    • reply
      by Lyman Hill on Apr 21, 2011 at 04:38 AM in reply to US-First
      US-First, please be positive and go out and spend a few bucks to buy a dictionary or turn your spell check on. Then read some of the articles on this website, and maybe show a little compassion for those who are suffering from Saturday's tragedy!
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