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Weather Blog: Astonishing tornado images & stats

by Gene Norman / KHOU 11 News

Posted on May 2, 2011 at 9:32 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 29 at 10:49 PM

Even as cleanup from the deadly southeast tornadoes continues, more amazing information is coming out about the scope of this outbreak.  A record 312 tornadoes broke out from 8 a.m. April 27 to 8 a.m. April 28, shattering the previous record from April 3-4 1974 of 148. 

Sadly, that large number translates to 340 lives lost, making it the deadliest day since March 18, 1925.  It is estimated that the Tuscaloosa-Birmingham tornado alone claimed 65 lives.  That one was a mile-and-a-half wide and it stayed on the ground for an estimated 80 miles.  These before and after pictures really highlight the scope of the devastation in that part of Alabama:


That kind of devastation is reminiscent of what we went through three years ago with Hurricane Ike.

Not only were the number of tornadoes astounding, but also their intensity. Storm surveys are still being conducted by the National Weather Service, but so far, here's the breakdown of the rating of these tornadoes according to the Enhanced Fujita (EF) Scale:

EF 5 (winds over 200 mph): 2

EF 4 (166-200 mph winds): 11

EF 3 (136-165 mph winds): 21

Meanwhile, we can't buy a raindrop.  While there were showers Monday from a cold front, the majority of the rain fell from Galveston to High Island depositing a whopping .65" according to our Weather Bug network of gauges.  Our next rain chance won't materialize until the middle of next week.