Looking Back At April 27, 2011…The Day Before The Disaster… Thursday Update 4:38 PM

Good Thursday afternoon to you! We’re looking back today at April 26, 2011…One day before the horrifying tornado outbreak that would occur, killing over 250 people in Alabama and injuring several thousand. Below is an evening update I posted on April 26, 2011, looking into the threat of a historic tornado outbreak less than 24 hours away. The forecast was chilling for sure!

Here is one of many posts I made prior to the event starting: (Not today’s forecast)

So far, all indications are that west and central Alabama will deal with a major severe weather/tornado outbreak Wednesday afternoon. All of the severe weather parameters that we look at when forecasting severe weather are maxed out over west and centralAlabama, where numbers are somewhat disturbing. Tomorrow afternoon, we will have the rare mix of high instability, high wind shear and strong lift. Usually, there is atleast one limiting factor, but I just can’t find one tonight. There was some thought that a squall line would move into central Alabama late tonight or early tomorrow. This could disrupt a major outbreak, with cooler and more stable air. Also, with morning rain, we would delay the surface heating before the better dynamics reach Alabama. After looking at radar trends, it looks unlikely that a line will move into central Alabama tonight or early tomorrow.

This means that conditions will become more and more unstable during the morning hours. A cap, or a layer of warmer temperatures aloft, will keep premature storms from popping up during the morning hours. As the surface heats up, the cap will break and supercell storms will fire up across our western counties first, then they will spread northeastward. It looks like we’ll have a period of sun during the mid morning hours, which will add more fuel to the fire, with even more heat and instability. The severe weather parameters point to a major tornado outbreak across most of our area, with the best chance of tornadoes happening along I-20/59 and points north. There is still a big risk of severe weather to the south of the interstate, but the highest threat will exist to the north. As of now, the Storm Prediction Center has much of our area under a moderate risk of severe weather, but an upgrade to a high risk looks likely at this point. I’ll post the new outlook once it comes out later tonight. The time frame is looking the same. Storms could begin as early as lunch in west Alabama and continue as late as 9pm in our area. Tornadoes, damaging winds and large hail will be a big concern. Some tornadoes could be large or violent and long tracking. I’m not trying to scare you, but I just want you to be aware of the possibilities.

Go over your severe weather safety plans now. Don’t wait until the storms fire up because it’s too late then. Remember a few safety tips if a tornado warning is issued for you. Get in the center portion of your home, away from windows. Find an interior room, closet or basement and stay there until the threat is over. If you’re in a car, pull over and seek shelter immediately. If you live in a mobile home, get out and find a sight built home or storm shelter. In-fact, once the tornado watch is issued, go ahead and leave your mobile home and find a friend with a site built home. Don’t go back until the threat is over, which appears to be after 9pm Wednesday night. If a tornado strikes your house, please be careful and look out for downed powerlines. You never know if the lines still have electricity. Also, evacuate the area hit by a tornado incase of ruptured gas lines or other hazards.

End Of April 26, 2011 Discussion

Again, that was a post from April 26, 2011. I didn’t post this to harp on bad feelings, but I think it’s important to respect our history. This was such a big day in my life, as well as many of you. I lost my home that day in the tornado that tracked through Tuscaloosa. My roomate, a WVUA-TV director was at the house when the tornado hit. He took shelter in my bath tub and made it through the storm. Fortunately, all of my neighbors made it through the tornado with their life. While some neighbors were injured, they survived. Since that day, all houses in my neighborhood have been torn down, and there’s nothing but green fields left. My family and friends were there for me after the storm, and I can’t thank you enough for your love and support. My prayers continue to go out for the ones that lost family members and friends.

Richard Scott

WVUA Chief Meteorologist

rscott@wvuatv.com

 

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2 Responses to Looking Back At April 27, 2011…The Day Before The Disaster… Thursday Update 4:38 PM

  1. Nathan says:

    great job man I like how you used such strong wording I think its good to to scare people a little bit that dont know much about weather just so thay know that the chance of severe weather is greater then on other days and again im sorry you lost your house I know you will never forget that day and I wont either

  2. WVUA Weather says:

    Thanks Nathan! What a day in history!?!? I’m so glad this April was much more quiet. – Richard Scott

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