The 2011 Tornado Super Outbreak Pt. 1

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Thank you so much for listening to natural disasters. We want to take this time to tell you that will be away. Okay over the Thanksgiving holiday and won't be releasing an episode on November twenty eighth but we'll be back with a brand new episode on December fifth. Have a happy and and safe Thanksgiving April April. Twenty-seventh two thousand eleven. Tom De lo a program manager. A W T X T in Tuscaloosa Alabama stepped stepped out of the radio station and looked up into the sky but clouds above were low. Dark wind whipped around him. Rain Stung his face. It was a quarter past five in the afternoon in the entire state was on high alert then at five seventeen pm the tornado sirens began to wail. Tom Glanced over the parking lot. He couldn't believe what he saw. An enormous twisting cloud of debris was crossing in front of the station. Tom Turned back to his colleagues who had gathered to watch the storm and encouraged bridged everyone to get back inside. Suddenly there was a bright flash and a loud crack of electricity not far from the building. The radio station went dark. A few miles northeast Brad. Lorence stood in his front yard with his video camera. He saw shingles goals and two by fours spinning in the high velocity win. Only a few hundred yards from his house he started recording. Brad suddenly felt a sharp drop in the air pressure. He pivoted and slammed the front door closed behind him. He said his camera on a window sill still recording and grabbed the cushions off his Living Room Sofa he hurled the SOFA cushions down the basement stairs and ran down after them piling them around and and on top of himself upstairs the roar was deafening. Then the front windows exploded into the house. The tornado had arrived. It was a mile and a half wide before the storm was over. There would be the three hundred sixty one more of them. Welcome to natural disasters apart. CAST original I'm your host Kate and I'm bill. Every Monday will explore moments in history when the natural natural world turned deadly. You can find all episodes of natural disasters and all other podcasts originals for free on spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. Awed casts to stream natural disasters for free on spotify just opened the APP tap browse and type natural disasters in the search bar at podcast podcast. We are grateful for you our listeners. You allow us to do what we love. Let us know how we're doing reach out on facebook and Instagram at par cast I and twitter at podcast network and if you enjoyed today's episode the best way to help us is to leave a five star review. Wherever you're listening? It really does help. Nobody knows for certain when or where tornadoes will strike over the years increasingly complex techniques have been developed to study the storms that create tornadoes but the twisters themselves are still still one of nature's most destructive mysteries meteorologists have an understanding of the weather mechanics. That are most likely to produce tornadoes but even if the conditions are perfect nobody knows where or when a tornado might emerge or how powerful it will be high above North America. Rakha a ribbon of air currents constantly flows from west to east. It brings cold air from the Arctic across the entire continent. This wind highway is called the jetstream. During the week of April Twenty Fifth Two thousand eleven for Jetstream was blowing over a hundred hundred miles an hour. Forty thousand feet up in the air as it skimmed over the rocky mountains. It collected the dry air around the peaks and brought it east that same week. A thousand miles to the south Balmy warm ocean. Air was rolling up off the Gulf of Mexico and moving north. This humid air would settle over the southern United States for several days. These two weather fronts were about to collide and explode into a series series of massive storms. They would wreak havoc over nearly a third of the country and spawn over three hundred and fifty tornadoes in seventy two hours. There's it would become known as the two thousand eleven super outbreak. Although tornadoes have been spotted on every continent except Antarctica. The specific types of weather and wind needed to create Tornados aren't common in every climate one of the few places where these conditions additions are. Common is the Great Plains region of North America this area experiences over a thousand tornadoes a year more than anywhere else on the planet it because of this a large swath of the midwestern United States is known as Tornado Alley for Tornado to form fast. Moving cold air needs to meet warm humid air the cold air shoves the warm air down and rolls over it forming a horizontal twist of wind like an invisible tube of air spinning sideways. Then because warm air rises this spinning tube of air is pushed vertically in a process known as an updraft. This is the origin of thunderstorm. If the wind increases is in strength it will form a giant rotating cloud bank called a super cell this spinning tube of air acts as an insulator for the warm air rising ising up the middle. The cold air drops down along the sides pressuring warm air up the center as more air is moved through the system. The storm grows producing powerful wind and Hail Hail Occurs As supercell Lifts Water Vapor High in the atmosphere is fear often miles above the ground when the vapor turns to rain it freezes as it falls through the frigid air large clumps of hail being the water had a long time to collect and freeze on the way down the size of Hale is a good indicator of how high the storm clouds have grown during the super outbreak. The clouds were over. Six miles high people found chunks of hail the size of a fist. Hail that large can punch holes through windshields and caused severe injuries to anybody caught outside. Sometimes a whirling section of the supercell close to the ground spins off into a small intense vortex. This vortex is a tornado and they occur in about thirty percent of supercell l.. Storms that can be small last for seconds like dust devils in the desert or they can be what Tom and Brad saw in Tuscaloosa enormous spinning towers of debris with wind speeds of over two hundred miles an hour. No matter how big it is if a Tornado oh touches the ground it can suck up and spin objects in its path. Tornadoes can hurl cars like toys crush ten story grain in silos as if they were soda cans and etched grooves into the earth that or a quarter mile wide entire neighborhoods can disappear into their funnels. Josh as though they had never existed twisters leave shocking and sometimes surreal scenes of havoc in their wake there have been sightings of license plates and pencils driven into tree trunks and cows lifted from one field and deposited in another a half half-mile away found completely unharmed. Most Tornado fatalities are caused by flying debris Oklahoma state state medical examiner. Eric Pfeiffer had only been on the job one day when a deadly tornado. Hit the town of El Reno in two thousand thirteen. He said until you see firsthand what a tornado can do to the human body. You don't realize how extremely violent they are the injuries. Juries are similar to a high speed motor vehicle accidents. But they're much more. Numerous things like trees nails glass and steel deal are torn loose and can act as a cutting implement. Imagine a piece of sheet metal. Travelling at two hundred ninety miles per hour it becomes a blender for most of recorded history Tornados were simply measured by the number of people they killed failed or homes. They destroyed the spectrum of Tornado. Damage has only been scientifically measured for the last fifty years in one. Nineteen seventy-one Dr Ted Fujita. A researcher based at the University of Chicago proposed a new system of measuring tornadoes that combined wind wind speed and level of damage. His initial system was a scale from zero to five with zero being the least destructive and five being catastrophic Dr Fujita had studied this catastrophic level of devastation. His whole life starting in nineteen forty five with a terrible terrible events that occurred not far from his university. In Japan Fujita personally witnessed the aftermath of the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki Sake and Hiroshima. He found that the severity of damage from a tornado was similar to nuclear blasts. A few years after its creation the Fujita scale would be put to the test in nineteen seventy four. A surge of tornadoes hit thirteen thirteen states. Over two days Fujita and his team examined the damage and categorized every tornado touchdown. With the new data up the Fujita scale became the standard of measurements for tornadoes. Across the world the swath of tornadoes that Fujita studied in nineteen seventy four was was the most destructive ever measured. That is until two thousand eleven today. An enhanced version of Fujita scale is the bedrock have tornado studies with over forty years of data collected by meteorologists. The six levels on the scale have become much more detailed. The modern scale is from E F zero to F Five E F. Zero Tornado might only touch the ground for a few seconds and causes. It's very little damage. An AF three twister will drive fence posts through trees at one hundred sixty five miles an hour and an e. a five will wipe the earth clean with winds peaking near three hundred miles per hour only fifty nine tornadoes had been categorized as five since one thousand nine hundred fifty between nineteen seventy four when Fujita develop the scale and two thousand eleven there had been nineteen e F. Five's recorded ended. There would be four of them. During the two thousand eleven outbreak and tens of thousands of people would be caught right in their path. Anyone living in Tornado alley would only have as much warning as the national weather. Service could give them the official goal of the NWS his to provide provide at least fifteen minutes warning of impending tornadoes. During the outbreak they would successfully average twenty four minutes warning. This is how lives lives are saved. As Weather Service meteorologist wes Browning explained after a powerful Tornado in Missouri. We saw many people digging through their possessions Russians what we saw though invariably was a lack of as has been said before life threatening injuries. Not only because we had a thirty four minute lead time from the National National Weather Service but because our media partners carried that morning immediately to the public and thirdly that the public did what we have told them to do do the National Weather Service maintains a network of weather stations throughout the country. But the storm prediction center is based in an on assuming office park in Norman Norman Oklahoma. The center is located in a squat round brick building surrounded by parking lots and prairie grasses a little plaque planted in front identifies this as the most important hub for storm tracking in the United States within the walls of the SBC there is enough meteorological era logical technology and personnel to maintain a comprehensive twenty four hour. Watch of every weather front from puget. Sound to Key West on April twenty fifth the S. P. C. was monitoring the collision of the cool jetstream with the warm low pressure. Front coming up from the Gulf it was gathering energy. This'll be more into the mid Atlantic maybe parts of the Carolinas with a slight risk more isolated damaging winds and large hail and then another area down along the front. That's GonNa Kinda stall in the northern Gulf states hit southern Illinois Southern Indiana Northern Northern and Western Kentucky and Ohio pretty hard with widespread gusts of sixty eighty miles an hour and some locally higher than that it seemed as if if where we are accustomed to a big tornado striking and then playing itself out in most occasions that many of these big super super cells got stronger and stronger the S. P. C. issued their first Tornado Watch for the outbreak at Eleven A.. M Central Standard Time it. It read urgent immediate broadcast requested the NWF storm prediction center has issued a tornado. Watch for portions of Western in Arkansas Southeast Oklahoma Northeast Texas. It was the two hundred first. Severe Weather Watch issued that year the S. SPEC- would issue over fifty more in the next two days for counties all the way to the Atlantic coast everywhere from Texas all the way through the Ohio Valley Alley and we actually have three three watches in place currently To severe one tornado. Watch just after five PM the first tornado sightings writings came in several e F zero and e F One's hit rural parts of Tennessee and Arkansas tearing up utility Poles snapping off pine trees and wrecking small sheds barns. No injuries had been reported yet. Then disaster struck the small town of Bologna Bologna Arkansas. When we return we'll hear about the first fatal Tornado of the two thousand eleven super outbreak? Their four-legged full of love and oftentimes more like family than their nickname suggests the podcast original dog tales tells the true stories of heroic canines who have gone above and beyond their best friend duties. Every Monday dog tales embarks on a new journey of courage service and unwavering sacrificed by our most loyal companions. You'll hear tales of inspiration from all breeds of life like buddy the German shepherd. The world's first seeing I guide dog or Huskies Balto and Togo the sled dogs who made a lifesaving medical delivery from anchorage to nome each episode of Dog Tales is as unique as the pops opts themselves and sure to bring you closer to the furry friend in your life so get ready to sit stay and roll over with excitement for podcast. endearing thinks series dog tales listened to dog tales. Free on spotify. Or wherever. You get your podcasts now. Back to the story the first tornadoes of the two thousand eleven super outbreak were cited in western Arkansas. On Monday April twenty fifth they were short lived and not very powerful measuring as e zero and e f ones on the Fujita. The scale every state in the south was on alert and most were under Tornado. Watches David and Catherine tally of greenbrier. Arkansas were. We're visiting family in the town of Bologna. That week. They were staying in a mobile home. That was part of a subdivision called black oak ranch. Lisa Watson was is also a resident at Black Oak when the first local tornado warning came in. She hurried her three children into the car and headed out of town as she sped. Bet Away from the subdivision. She saw tornado off to her left. Another Bologna resident Richard Bass was at home with his kids. When the tornado appeared a friend of mine warned me that the tornado was on top of US and before I could shoot a text back saying no it's not Felt the barometric pressure drops I felt the rumbling and grabbed my three kids and my three dogs to the closet. Right back there. David and Catherine Tally Allie saw the twister. To David made a call to his mother as they fled from their mobile home to a heavy steel shipping container. They used as storage. They felt it would be safer than the lightly constructed mobile home the tornado barrel down on Bologna. It tore the roof off the grocery store. It tossed several cars across the main road. It reduced mobile homes to nothing but heaps of wood and installation with residents possession scattered everywhere Tarini Atkins and her family huddled in their laundry room. They suddenly heard a loud sucking noise and realize realize the water was being pulled out of the pipes and sink drains. We could feel our ears popping. She said another Bologna resident. Sally Lanham felt the same thing they went right through our front yard. He can see the rotation McLeod and we could see debris fine But IT MR missed the house. It took the pool. Shed knockdown huge trees loud wind our ears popped and then just in seconds it was over Rick Sadder white hidden a storm cellar with his wife and inlaws and felt the suction inside into the Delaware. And Yeah we get we could tell You know that it was It was pretty bad outside. 'cause he was second album storm cellar. I had twenty twenty carport. A car for Just to wipe them the house and it was slow. It was floated away. But it's out in the field to the east of the House as David David. Catherine tally took cover the shipping container. David quickly finished his conversation with his mother. He told her that he loved her. Before he hung no nope the valona Tornado was categorized as a strong e F two and it left a slice through the town that was three miles ells wide. Ten people were dead including David. And Catherine tally the twister. Had picked up the container and hurled it a hundred hundred and fifty feet into a nearby pond. The two thousand eleven super outbreak had claimed its first victims. The forecast predicted it at least another forty eight hours of dangerous weather. People turn to television and radio news for hourly updates. The storm warning stacked up quickly. Roy As night fell over the devastation in Bologna another e F. Two Tornado hit the Air Force Base in little rock wrecking several. We'll see one thirty aircraft and damaging over one hundred barracks more tornadoes. Were seen in Arkansas. Texas and Louisiana emergency emergency services begin digging through rubble and pulling people out of the remains of their homes damaged reports and further storm sightings poured in from law enforcement demint and emergency personnel. There were not enough fire trucks or ambulances for every town that had suffered damage in some counties. The fire stations stations themselves had been wrecked but that storm cell had passed giving a brief respite to those who had been through the worst. There was time to count the the dead and assess the damage before the next round of storms arrived during the early morning hours. Everything combat a quite a bit and The system that system has moved out of the state and of course it it left my Lots of lots of destruction the patterns not changing and and it looks like we're going to see another round of severe thunderstorms With very heavy rainfall from eastern port northeastern portions of Texas up to Arkansas consigned to up the Lower Ohio Valley. We'll see another round of severe storms with again potential for isolated tornadoes across much of central southern in Arkansas. A little bit lower threat across the north factors are coming together where we will have the potential for some strong tornadoes and maybe even even want her one long lived very dangerous tornado saying es three or above the next morning the storm prediction center was on high. I alert it was April twenty-sixth and the previous day's Tornados. Were just the beginning of the nightmare. They monitored the hungry storm front as it plowed on towards Alabama and the jurisdiction of NWS Birmingham. Jim Stefka Vich was the head of the National Weather Service Station in Birmingham Birmingham Alabama his tenure at NWS Birmingham had begun in the hurricane season of two thousand five the year. Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans Steph. Kovic was no stranger to bad weather. He had been with the weather service for thirty years and even held a position Russian at the Maryland headquarters before he graduated from college since then he'd been stationed all over the country. He was watching the oncoming super cells with an impending sense of dread his team at NWS Birmingham would need all hands on deck for the next several days as the storm cell all exploded in size even though many of their own homes and families were right. In the storm's predicted path. Kevin laws was is one of the lead meteorologists on Steph. Rich's team he knew they may be looking at a worst case. Scenario where a storm is so strong so destructive that no amount of effort can save you. He was also concerned about people ignoring the warnings the NWS was putting putting out during the summer months Tornado warnings were common and they were often inaccurate. The previous year the warnings were wrong about about eighty percent of the time in fact during the Bologna Tornado. One resident named Pat Fulmer nearly came out from safety because she thought the warnings were false alarms. There had been two previous warnings. That didn't result in Tornado touchdowns. She was feeling almost safe in. The assurance is that the warning sirens were overly sensitive. This revealed fundamental issue with Tornado predictions. They are never guarantees. Tornado warnings. Come out often for midwestern and southern states and they are a part of daily life for the residents of Tornado Alley. People said they weren't paying great attention last night. Clear thinking would go to more but we weren't worried at that point even with the assistance of the SPCA in Oklahoma Bahama. All that Kevin laws in Jim steph cabbage could do was watch the data every minute create their reports and issue warnings they. I couldn't force people to heed them. Complacency could be as dangerous as the storms. The Birmingham office had been very cognizant of their false warning earning rate and always attempted to avoid the accusation of crying wolf. But if the weather service didn't issue a warning even a weak tornado could could still strike. The decision weighed heavy on Stefka Vich laws and their team should they trigger the number of warnings that their data said were necessary and and risk the tornado sirens becoming background noise or hold off and leave people completely vulnerable. If a tornado did land laws wrote about the dilemma. Afterwards addressing the concerns he'd heard about the warning systems prior to the storm in shorts. They were Being urged to improve the accuracy of their detections two of the television partners most concerned about accurate warnings for the approaching storm were or lead meteorologist James Span and Weatherman Jason Simpson of ABC thirty three forty the affiliate that covered Birmingham. I'm an Tuscaloosa. Jason had worked for James Span for seven years having. I met him after a presentation. During Jason's senior year of high high school. Jason had always loved meteorology even as a teenager. He is passionate had impressed ban and he had offered Jason an internship on the spot got six years later. He hired Jayson to be part of his weather team. James Span was a legendary weatherman known across Alabama for whereas soothing baritone and genuine personality span had reached a status of celebrity usually reserved for movie stars. He had reached the friend friend limit on facebook had a massive twitter following and ran a hugely successful weekly online talk show. He even had his own bobblehead doll. So so if James Span was worried people new to pay attention. He and Jason had been watching the forecasts out of the SPCA in Oklahoma for days. He's they knew it was going to be bad. They ready themselves for long days on the air. TV meteorologists like span could not issue warnings. Only the weather service could but it was their responsibility to broadcast them as quickly as possible as the tornado In Bologna had shown every minute of advance warning could save lives. But even if a tornado touchdown and was reported there was no way to know how powerful and destructive it would be a tornado could only be categorized. After it had occurred sending out investigators immediately mmediately was also one of the responsibilities of the weather service. NWS personnel would arrive in towns that had been decimated only hours previously previously and would have to calmly and factually report the terrible damage. Injuries and deaths only then would a Fujita category or be applied as the field reports came in during the week of the super outbreak. The meteorologist realized that the Tornados were even stronger. The mayor predicted most of the initial tornadoes were rated e f one or e F two but the wind damage reports worsened from there. Investigators were seeing levels of destruction caused by e AF three and year four twisters and the storm was still growing more intense. We'll hear about the incredible destructive power of the outbreaks I e F five Tornado. Right after this now back to the story during the two thousand eleven super outbreak these severity frequency and power of the tornadoes set new records across the board the most tornadoes in a single day in a single month the highest property and crop damage in history. But how could a single storm challenge or break so many records that had been set over the course of decades. Some scientists immediately suspected climate change was to blame the huge open. Plains of North America gathered sunlight eight an atmospheric heat exceptionally well could global warming be the culprit. The answer wasn't a simple one. Climate Change due to human activity is called anthropogenic. Two studies conducted by the National Oceanic and atmospheric administration or Noah found that it was very difficult to find hard evidence that anthropogenic climate change impacted the frequency of tornadoes over the past thirty years. Aw by two thousand. Eleven science had decades of data that allowed meteorologist to create the enhanced Fujita scale but historical stoorikhel Tornados were largely known by stories and anecdotal evidence. Before the Fujita scale was developed. This man it was impossible to establish long long term trends current hard data was analyzed alongside Tornado records from before nineteen seventy those records were relatively ably sparse and almost entirely subjective. After all the minute by minute wind speeds measured at a modern airport couldn't be compared to a grandmother's grandmother's memory of the howl of twister in nineteen thirty five. The conclusion of Noah was that there was no way to identify a direct cause for the severity of the two thousand eleven outbreak. But that didn't matter to the people who are living through the storms during that week in in April two thousand eleven. All they knew was that the sky had opened up above them over and over to drop huge towers of destruction wrapped in Hail and rain. The morning of April twenty-sixth dawned without sunshine. Gray clouds hovered over the south and promised another day of dangerous weather. The meteorologists knew more tornadoes were coming but tornadoes weren't the only killer with the immense amount of rain that accompanied the Super Outbreak Storm rivers all across the south began to burst. There's levies every every single in my county is slowly going underwater. We need fan baggers. We need food. We need water. We need anything we can get in here anything anybody can help us. We're open to the river river backs up into the lakes and creeks around here. All this water is backing up into this area. There were several fatalities when people tried to drive across flooded roads and were swept away. Others were caught in flash floods that washed across the region while tornadoes is came and went leaving trails of destruction behind. The rains continued unabated and the flood damage only worsened. The waters waters rose and inundated large parts of states that were already suffering. We have flood watches and flash flood watches and warnings in perfect. All the way from northeast Texas all the way up into Indiana down to central Tennessee and even the northern portions of Alabama Mississippi. We're going to see again. Another round of very heavy rain rain across the area or a continuing heavy rains across the area. And they're going to be a lot of flooding issues. Go to hear coming out of the central. US over the course of the next two to three days it has been rising four inches every sixteen minutes. It's supposed to crest in the morning at twenty one feet as the day wore on the storm spread itself farther north reaching into his constant and Michigan. The low pressure systems systems were widening to form a nearly unbroken line of storms across the entire country from Texas to the Great Lakes. Hail the size of Golf Golf Balls was reported at the same time in New York Michigan. Texas and Indiana at one forty five pm on the twenty sixth. The National Weather Service started upgrading. Many of their Tornado watches to P. D. S. which meant particularly dangerous situation back at NWS Birmingham Jim. Stefka Vich braced himself as he analyzed the data coming in from the West he would later say a quota to Alabama DOT com. I've worked in seven states and been through mini Tornado events. I literally was sick to my stomach on deeper twenty-sixth knowing what was coming as people went to bed on the night of the twenty. Sixth many of them still had their emergency agency radios at their bedside. He tried to fall asleep in between bouts of lightning thunder and hail there. There haven't been reported fatalities yet from the tornadoes that touched down that day and many people believe they had already been through the worst. They were wrong the next day. April twenty-seventh would be the deadliest day for tornadoes in seventy five years. So far the the two thousand eleven super outbreak had produced over a hundred tornadoes across six states. Emergency crews worked overnight to dig big people out of rubble and provide shelter and supplies to those whose homes had been destroyed at three nineteen am. On April. twenty-seventh Jim Stefka pitch and his team at the National Weather Service in Birmingham released a hazardous weather outlook for the day. It was a county by county prediction for the approaching shing onslaught of turbulent weather the. NWS forecast was urgent and did not mince words. It said now is the time to review your Severe Weather Action Plan and be prepared to take quick action. The report concluded with a single for boating sentence activation tation of storm spotters and emergency management will be needed today and tonight even with radar and satellite reports. The only way to be certain certain Tornado had actually touched down was to have a human being. See it with their own eyes in report accurately meteorologists. Call this ground rounded truth. Accurate Ground Truth reporting for the super outbreak required a massive fleet of volunteer storm spotters and chasers. Spotters spotters are based in towns across the country who stay in their area to report storm. Chasers pick up and track the storms following them for are miles and often across entire states in Tornado Alley Storm. Chasers are very common site while traffic would jam up on the highways leading away from a tornado. Chasers would be heading the opposite direction into the path of the twister they often drive a large large. SUV's with a pin cushion of antennas and whether measurement equipment strapped onto their vehicles the interiors can resemble a spaceship with huge burping arrays of lights screens storm. Chasers tried to get alongside the storms to place measurement equipment and cameras in time to capture any tornado that was formed. They collect data on variable wind. Speed barometric pressure and rain Hail Hale and temperature measurements their photos and videos also serve as evidence for weather service. Investigators sometimes storm chasers would arrive arrive too late or be too far away to get to the storm. In time. In many instances these storm would outrun them moving across the ground faster. They're speeding. Vehicles could keep up but what every storm chaser wanted to avoid was being in the right place at the wrong time. A Tornado could change direction without warning and come right for them while most storm chasers were volunteers who relied on their personal savings things. To keep up their research activities they were not all amateurs psalm. Were professional scientists sponsored by universities and Noah grants. It was a dangerous but necessary role by the morning of the twenty seventh storm. Chasers from across the country had descended on Alabama Emma and Mississippi to join the local spotters. All of them were ready to record and report by seven. AM on on. April twenty-seventh over thirty tornadoes had already touched down in Alabama. But the skies over Birmingham and Tuscaloosa were disarmingly clear. Clear as the sun rose. It shone bright. The Sky was blue and it appeared as though these storms had passed that James Span span knew better he had been at the TV stations since just after five. The first Tornado of the day Alabama had struck at four sixteen eighteen. AM He had sped over to the station immediately only to be confronted with a new set of problems. The previous two days of storms arms had wreaked havoc on the forecasting ability of weather services across the south radar and radio. Transmitters were gone sky. Cameras had been destroyed lead and these cellular towers that had survived were overburdened with emergency calls and survivors trying to reach their loved ones. Then a report came out of smithville Mississippi. A massive tornado had touchdown seventeen were dead. The twister had been on the ground for thirty eight miles crossing the state line and killing another seven people in Alabama the peak wind speed had had been clocked at over two hundred fifty miles an hour. It was an F.. Five some of the folks who are in the the bank there they got in evolved and when the tornado after Tornado went through that came out the ball was the only thing standing. Nearly the entire town is flat and the the Post Office Police Department City Hall and industrial site that has several furniture manufacturing facilities. It reminds me really of what I saw on the the Mississippi coast after Hurricane Katrina there is debris and not a standing structure for as far as you can see. The Mississippi Highway Patrol says search and rescue missions. Will I asked throughout the day. We've seen search teams with cadaver dogs going through rubble. It's just a slow and painstaking process. Basically SMITHVILLE was just Wiped away by that Tornado. The staggering details poured in the SMITHVILLE Tornado had been hurtling forward at seventy miles an hour. It tore through the town in ten seconds a half dozen homes made of brick had been obe liberated and the owners taking shelter inside had been killed an suv had been lifted and thrown half a mile all before it smashed into the Smithville water tower. A hundred and thirty feet in the air. It left a massive dent in the tower before it was hurled. Another quarter mile into the town cemetery. The most powerful category of Tornado had finally been produced by the superstorm then the twister disappeared back into the clouds and the storm continued rolling East directly towards Tuscaloosa and Birmingham coming him. The deadliest tornado go of the outbreak was still to come. We'll join the inhabitants of Alabama as they attempt to survive the most dangerous twenty four hours of the outbreak AAC in our next episode. Thanks for listening to natural disasters. You can find all episodes of natural disasters and all other podcasts originals for free On spotify not only spotify already have all of your favorite music but now spotify is making it easy for you to enjoy. All of your favorite podcast asked originals like natural disasters for free from your phone desktop or smart speaker to stream natural disasters on spotify. Just open the APP UP TAP browse and type natural disasters in the search bar. And don't forget to follow us on facebook and Instagram at par cast and twitter at par cast network mark. We'll see you next time. Natural disasters was created by Max. Cutler is a production of cutler media. And as part of the podcast network it's produced by Max and Ron Cutler sound design by Michael Langer with production assistance by Ron Shapiro. Paul molitor Maggie admire and Freddie Beckley. This episode of Natural Disasters was written by Andrew. Esther and stars Kate Leonard and Bill Thomas from all of us at natural disasters. We'd like to wish you a happy Thanksgiving just a reminder that we won't be releasing an episode on November Twenty Twenty eighth but we will be back with a brand new episode on December fifth. Thanks again for listening. Ah For the animal lovers history fans out there. Don't forget to check out the podcast original series dog tales. Every Monday dog tales also shares the inspirational true stories behind some of the most heroic canines in history. They're uplifting exciting and full of heart search for details long tails in the spotify APP and listen free today.

Coming up next