Tornadoes and Extreme Weather Updates:4.3.23
A deadly tornado outbreak that began on Friday, March 31, affected large portions of the Midwestern, Southern and Eastern United States, the result of an extratropical cyclone that also produced blizzard conditions in the Upper Midwest. Approximately 28 million people were under tornado watches Friday evening. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued multiple tornado watches with their “particularly dangerous situation” classification, concerning several lines of supercell thunderstorms, of which many produced tornadoes. Some of those tornadoes prompted the issuance of tornado emergencies and multiple mass casualty incidents. At certain points of the outbreak, over 20 simultaneous tornado warnings were active. Severe and tornadic weather also affected the Northeastern United States on Saturday, April 1.
At least 29 people have died, and dozens more were injured, as over sixty locations reported tornado damage across Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Delaware. At certain points of the outbreak, tornado watches extended from near the Gulf Coast to Pennsylvania, and over 20 simultaneous tornado warnings were active.
The Partnership is focused on meeting the needs of our disabled community impacted by these and other hazardous events, especially as they happen more frequently.
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For the remainder of Sunday, April 2, into Monday, April 3, the threat has shifted to the Southern Plains, where nearly 13 million people in north Texas, including the Dallas-Fort Worth area, face an enhanced – or level 3 of 5 – risk for severe weather in the later afternoon or early evening hours.
The threat will continue through the coming week, when severe weather outbreaks are expected in the Central plains from Tuesday into Wednesday. Primary areas of concern are St. Louis through Chicago, and Texarkana through Springfield, Missouri. Heavy showers could expand and will continue east, bringing extreme weather to Ohio and Michigan, and potential blizzard conditions over the Northern Plains. (Learn more in the NWS short-range forecast: https://tinyurl.com/2pddmwhb)
The Partnership is focused on meeting the needs of our disabled community impacted by these and other hazardous events, especially as they happen more frequently. We need your help to continue our work!
It’s important to understand the watches and warnings issued by the National Weather Service (NWS).
Here’s a breakdown of the terminology of weather alerts, special statements, and tornado classifications:
Watch: A watch is used when the risk of a hazardous weather or hydrologic event has increased significantly, but its occurrence, location, or timing is still uncertain. It is intended to provide enough lead time so those who need to set their plans in motion can do so. A watch means that hazardous weather is possible. People should have a plan of action in case a storm threatens, and they should listen for later information and possible warnings, especially when planning travel or outdoor activities.
Advisory: An advisory is issued when a hazardous weather or hydrologic event is occurring, imminent or likely. Advisories are for less serious conditions than warnings, that cause significant inconvenience and if caution is not exercised, could lead to situations that may threaten life or property.
Warning: A warning is issued when a hazardous weather or hydrologic event is occurring, imminent or likely. A warning means weather conditions pose a threat to life or property. People in the path of the storm need to take protective action.
Particularly Dangerous Situation (PDS) designation: Enhanced wording first used for tornado watches and eventually expanded for use with other severe weather watches and warnings by local NWS forecast offices. It is issued at the discretion of the forecaster composing the watch or warning and implies that there is an enhanced risk of very severe and life-threatening weather, usually a major tornado outbreak.
Tornado Emergency: An enhanced version of a tornado warning, used by the NWS during imminent, significant tornado occurrences in highly populated areas. It is issued within a severe weather statement or in the initial tornado warning. A tornado emergency generally means that significant, widespread damage is expected to occur and a high likelihood of numerous fatalities is expected with a large, strong to violent tornado.
The Enhanced F-Scale Tornado Classification System
EF Number: 30-second gust (mph)
0: 65 to 85
1: 86 to 110
2: 111 to 135
3: 136 to 165
4: 166 to 200
5: Over 200
Tornadoes are classified into three broad groups based on their estimated wind speeds and resultant damage:
Weak: EF0, EF1; wind speeds of 65 to 110 mph
Strong: EF2, EF3; wind speeds of 111 to 165 mph
Violent: EF4, EF5; wind speeds of 166 to 200 mph or more
This kind of extreme weather develops quickly, so it is critically important to be prepared for the disruptions it may cause. Here are some no-cost, immediate steps you can take to prepare and protect yourself and your family:
- Download the FEMA App and/or American Red Cross Emergency! App to sign up to receive emergency alerts for your area.
- Sign up to receive emergency notifications from your local emergency management agency, and if possible, monitor their social media accounts.
- Contact neighbors, friends and family in advance, especially if they are part of your support network before, during or after a disaster. Confirm your plans and make sure they'll still be available to help.
- Check batteries in flashlights, and if you have one, a battery-operated or hand-crank weather radio. Keep these items nearby in case you lose power.
- Charge up your devices, just in case!
- Be ready to take cover in a basement or a windowless area of your home, such as a bathroom, hallway, under stair area, or large closet.
- Be sure you and everyone in your household knows where to meet if you are separated. This is also important if your home is damaged and you need to go to a shelter or to friends or family.