This has been a relatively quite season so far. Three deaths have been reported as a result of tornados this year. While that's sad, the number of fatalities is way down over previous years. This year there have been three lethal tornados. The figure for this time last year was 21 such tornados. In 2011 the number was 45. The only year since 1991 with fewer than 3 by May 15th is 2004 with just 1 tornado resulting in death.
The SPC has an interactive map showing tornado fatalities going back to 1991.
Annual Fatal Tornado Summaries
At least six people are dead as a result of tornadoes which swept across northern Texas on Wednesday.
From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
At least 6 dead in Hood County as tornadoes rake North Texas
Posted Thursday, May. 16, 2013
BY BILL MILLER AND BILL HANNA
GRANBURY — At least six people were killed and scores were injured in Hood County Wednesday night when a tornado, one of 10 confirmed throughout North Texas, slammed into a half-mile-wide area east of Granbury, authorities said.
About 90 people were evacuated from the battered Rancho Brazos subdivision and 14 were unaccounted for, Sheriff Roger Deeds said at a midnight briefing.
After the storm hit, 18 bulldozers went into the area “to get people in and get people out,” Deeds said.
Some of the dead were found inside houses, some outside, he said.
The neighborhood has 110 homes, and during the last five years much of the construction has been by Habitat for Humanity. A family was scheduled to move into their new home on Saturday, Deeds. He didn’t know if that house was spared.
“Most of the neighborhood is heavily damaged to destroyed,” Deeds said. “Very little is untouched.”
The neighborhood was going on “lockdown” for the night. Authorities would begin assessing the damage at sunrise, he said.
A tornado warning was issued at 8:10 p.m., so residents got some warning through a phone system, he said.
‘It was horrible’
Earlier Wednesday, Arlena Sherman and Allacia Jenny stood outside their homes in Rancho Brazos, oblivious to what was about to hit them.
“I was standing there watching the clouds roll in,” Sherman said. “I didn’t have a clue.”
Seconds later, the twister hit.
When Sherman stepped outside, she saw destruction all around her.
“Oh my God, it was horrible,” Sherman said. “Our houses were OK. I think the trees protected them but as we walked away, places were just gone.”
Hours after the storm passed, they were standing in a strip shopping center still trying to find their friends.
“We haven’t found them,” Jenny said. “We don’t know where they are. We’ve called hospitals. We’ve called friends. We just can’t find them.”
It was a similar story at the Lake Granbury Medical Center where Rancho Brazos residents searched for their relatives.
“We don’t know if he’s here or in Fort Worth,” said David Spanier as he looked for his cousin. “We know he survived. We just don’t where he is.”
Matt Zavadsky, a MedStar spokesman, said the Fort Worth-based service was ferrying 17 patients to Fort Worth hospitals. Three were taken in three ambulances because they were in critical condition. The other 14 were on MedStar’s new bus-size ambulance, the AMBUS, he said.
The Red Cross reported that it was setting up shelters in Granbury, one at the First Christian Church, 2109 W. U.S. 377, the other at the First United Methodist Church, 301 Loop 567.
In Johnson County
Meanwhile to the east, the storm system was making trouble for Johnson County residents.
Social media furiously churned reports of a “mile-wide” funnel cloud in Johnson County. Weather Service meteorologist Mark Fox said that if the tornado wasn’t actually that big, “it was close.”
It was not the same twister that hit Granbury, he said.
“Power flashes” were seen on the south side of Cleburne and 80 mph winds were reported, he said.
No injuries had been reported by midnight, but there was storm damage out in the county and authorities were still driving through rural areas to see if anyone needed help, said Lt. Tim Jones, a spokesman for the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department.
A flash-flood warning was issued for Johnson County after the storm passed. Fox said an estimated 4-6 inches of rain pelted the area, making roadways hazardous.
Several areas reported hail damage.
Lighting up the radar
The tornado was part of a system of thunderstorms that spawned at least 10 tornadoes and dropped large hail.
It was a typical setup for spring storms, Fox said. Moist air from the Gulf of Mexico was in place, and an upper level disturbance ignited a prime area of storm development between Wichita Falls and Fort Worth.
“Some discreet cells became tornadic very quickly,” Fox said.
A tornado watch was issued about 6 p.m. for much of North Texas, including Tarrant County, as clusters of storms formed to the west and moved east.
The storms, packing lightning, large hail and powerful winds, sparked fiery-red images on weather service radar.
Winds were fierce, said Matt Bishop, a weather service meteorologist.
“We’re getting radar signatures of 80 to 100 miles,” Bishop said shortly before 8 p.m. “Those are gate-to-gate shear signatures on radar. But no one’s out there clocking winds right now.”
One funnel cloud touched down near Millsap, about 40 miles west of Fort Worth. Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler said that several houses had roof damage and a barn was destroyed but that no injuries were reported.
Hail as large as grapefruit pelted the area around Mineral Wells. A dispatcher reported only minor damage.
In Wise County, a funnel cloud was spotted touching down about 8 p.m., 7 miles northeast of Decatur, off County Road 2323.
‘Take shelter now!’
The earliest confirmed tornado was spotted about 7:20 p.m. near a truck stop on Interstate 20, about 10 miles west of Weatherford, the weather service reported.
“This is serious,” meteorologists warned via social media. “Take shelter now!”
They also reported a “possible debris ball” on radar in Parker County, nine miles south of Weatherford.
Another funnel cloud was briefly spotted near Nocona in Montague County, but no damage was reported. Others were seen near Stephenville, Goldthwaite and Bowie.
The weather service said the storms also had the potential for “damaging down-burst winds.”
There's a tornado watch for northwestern Louisiana until 8:00 PM CDT/0100 GMT.
There's also a severe thunderstorm warning for parts of Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas until 8:00 PM CDT/0100 GMT.
It's kind of amazing how you mentioned northern Texas to me the day before and that is where they occurred. Finished looking through the thread.
You are welcome to look at older Storm and Tornado Season threads in this diary. There is one for each year.
There's a severe thunderstorm watch for the middle of Texas until 8:00 PM CDT/0100 GMT.
Further north there's another severe thunderstorm watch for parts of South Dakota, Nebraska, and Wyoming. That one is in effect until 10:00 PM MDT/0200 GMT.
^^^ Rapid City had significant snow two or three weeks ago. :o
There's a string of tornado and severe thunderstorm watches running all the way from Lake Superior to the Texas/Oklahoma border.
Parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin until 1:00 AM CDT/0600 GMT
Eastern Nebraska until Midnight CDT/0500 GMT.
Southern Iowa, the northwestern part of Illinois, and a bit of Missouri until 10:00 PM CDT/0300 GMT
Eastern Oklahoma until 11:00 PM CDT/0400 GMT
Eastern Kansas, western Missouri, southeastern Nebraska, and a corner of Iowa until 10:00 PM CDT/0300 GMT
Southeastern Minnesota, northern Iowa, and a sliver of Wisconsin until 9:00 PM CDT/0200 GMT.
Reports are coming in of tornados from Oklahoma and Kansas.
This awesome picture from Kansas shows bean sized hail striking a windshield and a tornado in the distance which looks like it hasn't quite touched the ground.
More on today's tornado outbreak from NBC News.
A funnel cloud today near Wichita.Quote:
Tornadoes tear through Kansas, Oklahoma
By Jeff Black and Hasani Gittens, NBC News
People in two states were taking shelter amid wailing warning sirens Sunday as tornadoes were confirmed to have touched down in Kansas and Oklahoma as part of an extreme weather system plowing through the nation's midsection.
The system, which stretched from North Texas to Minnesota, also heaved hail -- dime to softball sized -- as well as heavy rainfall.
Residents in downtown Wichita, Kan., were told to seek shelter Sunday afternoon after a tornado was confirmed on the ground – with its presence cloaked by thick thunder clouds and heavy rain.
Near Oklahoma City, a half-mile wide tornado was reported, prompting a stark alert from the Weather Service: "You could be killed if not underground or in a tornado shelter," the advisory said.
The National Weather Service in Wichita warned of a large and “extremely dangerous and potentially deadly” tornado late Sunday. Weather spotters confirmed the tornado 7 miles northwest of Haysville and moving northeast at 30 mph, the Weather Service said.
The tornado later passed south of the city in Sedgwick County in southern Kansas but rain and thunderstorms continued to batter the area, NBC station KSN TV in Wichita reported.
The warning, which covered downtown Wichita as well as the surrounding area that includes Haysville, was lifted in early evening, KSN reported.
Power lines were down and at least three homes were damaged near Wichita, one with its roof blown off, KSN reported. Authorities said there were no injuries to report.
Other tornadoes were confirmed near Udall and Emporia, and danger remained in many parts of southcentral Kansas with residents told to seek refuge in storm shelters.
At least one tornado was confirmed on the ground near Oklahoma City, NBC station KFOR reported. The Weather Service reported it was confirmed by spotters near Luther and was moving east at 30 mph. Tornado warnings were in effect for Lincoln and other northeastern Oklahoma counties.
The Lincoln County sheriff's office reported damage from three tornadoes that touched down, but the extent of the damage was not immediately known. There was no word of injuries from the storms as of Sunday evening.
The weather outlook across Middle America looks stormy with the Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., forecasting tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds over parts of the central Plains on Sunday.
Eastern Kansas, Western Missouri, Southern Nebraska, Central and Northeast Oklahoma were the areas most likely to be hit by the severe weather.
Low pressure in the Plains states will keep things "very unsettled and stormy" as the week goes on, The Weather Channel reported.
On Monday, the severe storms threat moves down to North Texas and Oklahoma, through northwest Arkansas, southeast Kansas and Missouri into parts of the Upper Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes, according to the Weather Channel. Large hail and damaging winds are also possible.
By Tuesday the large system is expected to be moving slowly to the East, from eastern Texas to the southern Great Lakes.
The storms are being generated by a dip in the jet stream combined with moisture moving north from the Gulf of Mexico, Kim Cunningham of The Weather Channel reported on NBC Nightly News.
The danger follows a series of tornadoes that struck northern Texas on Wednesday night, leaving six people dead and dozens injured. One of the twisters was preliminarily classified EF-4 by the National Weather Service, meaning it could have had winds up to 200 miles per hour.
Overall, tornadic activity has been slow this May, typically a bad month for twisters, said the Weather Channel’s Tom Moore.
Reuters contributed to this report.
Tornado emergencies were issued in Oklahoma City today as an absolutely massive tornado went sweeping through the suburbs of Oklahoma City, specifically Moore, OK (the same area that was hit by the strongest tornado ever recorded back on May 3, 1999). Photos and more details to come as I get updated on the situation, but this one has levelled everything in it's path. Damage is insurmountable. Definitely at least EF4/EF5 strength. At least two elementary schools have been destroyed among with hundreds of houses and businesses. Some reports are saying the tornado was over a mile wide... watching live reports now.
The tornado on radar as it went through Moore, OK. Note the bow-echo shape to the west of Moore (the comma curvature of the storm on radar). That's a classic sign of a likely tornado, very commonly used to detect tornadoes on radar.