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  • Writer's pictureMeteorologist Joseph Cooper

High Risk: A Look Back At The November 17, 2013 Tornado Outbreak

On this date 10 years ago a major tornado outbreak occurred across portions of MS/OH Valley regions. The Storm Prediction Center outlined portions of IL/IN/OH/MI in a Day 1 HIGH risk of severe weather.


DAY 1 SEVERE WEATHER OUTLOOK


A strong area of low-pressure moved across the region trailing a potent cold front with it. Ahead of the front, an unseasonably warm, moist air mass was in place. This allowed for the environment across the region to significantly destabilize with MLCAPE values rising to around 2000 J/KG, numbers that are more common in Spring and early Summer!


(TOP LEFT - SURFACE WINDS/TEMPERATURE/PRESSURE, TOP LEFT - DEW POINT/WINDS/PRESSURE, BOTTOM LEFT - 500 MB WINDS, BOTTOM RIGHT - MLCAPE)


Aloft, a very strong trough was digging into the region. Strong winds, turning from south at the surface to west/southwest at 500 mb provided strong speed and directional shear that allowed storms to rotate. Clockwise curved hodographs show this turning and a textbook look to a tornadic environment.


HODOGRAPHS SHOW TURNING WITH HEIGHT


Tornadoes started developing early in the day with the first reported tornado at 10:52 am CST in Pekin, IL. Tornadoes continued to be reported across Illinois into Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky through the afternoon and into the evening with the last reported tornado occurring at 10:40 pm EST in Lincoln, TN.



In all, 76 tornadoes were reported on November 17, 2013, with two tornadoes rated EF-4. Washington, IL was hit the hardest as an EF-4 tornado moved directly through the town. This tornado had maximum winds of 190 mph and was on the ground for 46.2 miles.



This outbreak (at the time) was the largest tornado outbreak since April 27-28, 2011. Tornadoes on this date caused 8 fatalities and 194 injuries along with billions of dollars in property damage.




 

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