Tornado Season Starts Later, Enters With a Powerful Punch


Recently, a massive, slow-moving storm system damaged and destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses. The storm system created dozens of tornadoes and generated widespread flooding.

Mississippi and Arkansas faced at least fifteen tornadoes on April 27 and 28. One tornado severely damaged the city of Louisville in Mississippi, and resulted in at least ten tornado-related fatalities. Arkansas was also damaged by their own tornadoes. Two of them had winds of up to 200 mph, which heavily damaged small towns throughout the state.

Some of these twister were ranked as EF-4 tornadoes on the Enhanced Fujita Tornado Damage scale according to the National Weather Service.

Flooding was also a major concern of some southern states. Towns and cities around the Alabama Florida Gulf Coast were drenched in fifteen to twenty-five inches of rainfall in just twenty-four hours. During this time, some places faced an hourly rainfall of rate of nearly six inches per hour. The National Weather Service said that there was only a .2-.5 percent likelihood of such a deluge occurring per year. Some of these rainfall rates were even higher than those set by landfalling hurricanes.

“We’ve seen flooding before, but never flooding that washes the back of a house away,” said CNN reporter Matt Raybourn of Pensacola, Florida. “There are no words for what we are seeing here.”

Many residents agree that these floods were completely unexpected. There’s one major difference between this week’s storms and a hurricane, Pensacola resident Cindi Bonner told CNN. “You have time to prepare for a hurricane,” she said. “This was not something that anyone had prepared for.”

In Florida, most government offices were forced to close their doors and Wednesday, along with many schools. Tides of up to two feet higher than what was normally expected caused coastal flooding and dangerous rip currents.

Unfortunately, residents had more to worry about than just closed office buildings. Many streets were completely flooded, causing almost everyone to abandon their flooding cars and find higher ground.

CNN reporter Randy Hamilton said the scene felt like the aftermath of a hurricane. “Debris from trees everywhere. Standing water all around, gray skies, and wind gusts that make you fear something will blow down on you,” he said.