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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

135 Tornadoes Devastate Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee



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VIDEO: Tuscaloosa, Alabama Massive Tornado On the Ground Amateur storm chaser in town April 27, 2011.

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Large, Violent Tornadoes Devastate Ala., Miss., Ga., Tenn.


By Kristina Pydynowski, Senior Meteorologist
Apr 27, 2011
www.accuweather.com
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Another devastating, deadly tornado outbreak that started in Mississippi this afternoon continues in Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia tonight with tornadoes continuing to touch down.
The tornadoes and severe thunderstorms have killed at least 25 people in Alabama today, according to CNN, and the death toll will continue to rise.
As of 11 p.m. EDT, there have been 135 reports of tornadoes, according to the Storm Prediction Center. Most of these tornadoes have touched down in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, and many have been large, powerful twisters.
After a tornado tore through the Cartersville area of Georgia just after 9 p.m. EDT, another twister was moving through around 10:45 p.m.
A line of severe thunderstorms, some capable of producing tornadoes, was tracking toward Atlanta as of 10:45 p.m.
This is an extremely dangerous situation with serious concern for loss of life and property. All people in the path of these thunderstorms need to get to a safe shelter immediately if a tornado or severe thunderstorm warning is issued.
A very large tornado hit Tuscaloosa, Ala., after 6 p.m. EDT with "complete devastation" being reported on 15th Street and McFarland Boulevard, according to Tuscaloosanews.com. Businesses and apartment buildings have reportedly been completely destroyed with at least 15 people killed and more than 100 injured.
Tornadoes also touched down around Birmingham, Ala., with casualties reported.
With another large twister that tore through far northwestern Georgia, just south of Chattanooga, Tenn., local media reported that a mass casualty trailer has been requested. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution stated there have been reports of damaged cars and tossed tractor trailers near the Ringgold exit off I-75 in Catoosa County.
A Catoosa County Sherriff, Fire and EMS Live Audio Feed has reported casualties.
Whitfield County is also sending in mutual aide to Catoosa County to help rescue people trapped under collapsed restaurants, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Local media reported that a three-story hotel collapsed in Catoosa County as well.

A Tornado leaves a path of devastation after as it hits Pratt City just north of downtown Birmingham on Wednesday, April 27, 2011, in Birmingham, Ala. The widespread destruction caused Gov. Robert Bentley to declare a state of emergency by midday, saying tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, hail, and straight-line winds caused damage to "numerous homes and businesses" in Alabama. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Josh Nagelberg reported that the supercell thunderstorm that produced the Tuscaloosa tornado was still producing a tornado three hours later in northwestern Georgia. The twister passed within a few miles of Rome, Ga., just after 9 p.m. EDT with reports of destruction to homes. "This could be the worst tornado in Alabama's history," Nagelberg stated.

Three fatalities have been reported with a tornado that tore through Kemper County, Miss., earlier Wednesday. Mobile homes were damaged and destroyed with a large number of trees down, preventing emergency workers from reaching the area.
Multiple fatalities have also been reported in Pleasant Grove, Ala., on the west side of Birmingham. At least two people were reportedly killed by a tornado near Turnerville, Miss.
WSFA.com reported that "this is at least the second tornado in 12 days to touch down in Tuscaloosa." The last time was during the April 15, 2011 outbreak that devastated Mississippi and central and southern parts of Alabama.
Tornadoes will continue ripping through areas from far eastern Mississippi into central and northern Alabama, far northwestern Georgia and Tennessee this evening. More tornadoes could be large, long-tracking and strong, ranking equal to or higher than EF3.
Cities that remain at risk for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes include Montgomery, Ala., and Rome and Atlanta, Ga. The violent thunderstorms will continue moving west to east across this general zone tonight.
Many of these same areas were just hit during last night's tornado outbreak, which prompted Alabama Governor Robert Bentley to declare a state of emergency.
People in the path of these thunderstorms who live in mobile homes need to find an alternate shelter. Mobile homes are not safe in the event of a tornado. Many deaths during the massive outbreak of April 14-16, 2011, involved mobile homes.
The safest place to be during a tornado is in the most interior room of the lowest level of a sturdy building, preferably a basement.
Dangerous thunderstorms started moving into Mississippi from the west at mid-morning with a tornado spotted in Esperanza, Miss., just after 9 a.m. CDT. A twister was sighted later on near Lawrenceburg, Tenn., around 10:40 a.m. CDT.
Another possible tornado touched down one mile north of Decatur, Ala., around 11:30 a.m. CDT, while debris was reported with a tornado near Athens High School in Athens, Ala., around the same time.
Tornadoes are not the only threat with these thunderstorms.
"Many thunderstorms will also be capable of producing widespread wind damage in the absence of tornadoes, especially overnight. Hail larger than the size of golf balls could damage vehicles and roofs, while torrential rain causes flooding," stated Buchman.
Today's Outbreak Comes Just Hours after Last Night's Outbreak
Many of the same areas in the path of today's vicious tornado outbreak were just hit by damaging thunderstorms and tornadoes Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.
Nearly two dozen tornadoes were reported in Mississippi Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning along with widespread damaging winds. At least six people were killed.
Several tornadoes also touched down in Alabama and southern Tennessee, taking the lives of four people in Alabama and one in Arkansas. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley declared a state of emergency after the severe weather tore through.
A tornado was reported near Birchwood, Tenn., just before 10 a.m. Wednesday, with several homes damaged and some possibly destroyed.
Strong thunderstorm winds reportedly damaged 30 homes, injuring one person, near Lawrenceburg, Tenn., around 5 a.m. Wednesday CDT. Four people were reportedly injured in Morrison, Tenn., when a trailer was destroyed.
Northeast of Birmingham, Ala., thunderstorms reportedly ripped the roofs off of homes and knocked trees onto houses early Wednesday morning. Even the Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport has suffered damage with the roof of a large hangar reportedly being torn off.
Other Areas at Risk for Severe Weather into Tonight
It is not just the Tennessee Valley being targeted by potentially damaging thunderstorms and tornadoes today into tonight.
Severe weather will also ignite southward to the central Gulf Coast and northeastward to the eastern Great Lakes and central Appalachian Mountains.
Damaging winds, hail and flooding downpours are the greatest dangers of any severe thunderstorms outside of the Tennessee Valley.

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Tornado Funnel Forms Live On-Air VIDEO TIME LASPE Texas

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Funnel Forms Live On-Air
NBCDFW.com

A funnel cloud tried to form into a tornado near Cleburne State Park live during storm coverage on NBC 5 (Dallas). (The video clip was 3 minutes and 30 seconds long, it was sped it up, the video is now a little over 1 minute in length.)



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MO Conservation Agent Helps Rescue 13 from flooded homes plus three dogs and a parakeet




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Conservation Agent helps rescue 13 from flooded homes


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Butler County, Mo. – Thirteen people, three dogs and a parakeet were rescued by Conservation Agent Eric Heuring and Butler County Fire Department personnel Monday between the hours of 3 and 10 p.m. Heuring was one of five Missouri Conservation Agents working to rescue people from dangerously flooded areas throughout Butler County last night.
Heuring said one of the greatest assets the Conservation Department can offer in this situation is boating equipment.
“I operated the boat while the fireman went into the homes to help the individuals out,” Heuring said of Monday night’s evacuations. “It was certainly a busy day.”
He also said it was an emotional evening.
“Everyone has something dear to them that they worry about,” Heuring said. “For the children, they just really didn’t want to leave their homes. And then of course people were worried about their pets and thankfully we were able to rescue the three dogs and the parakeet along with the families they belonged to.”
Heuring said boating through a city environment is much different than taking a boat out on a lake or river.
“It was somewhat scary knowing that many of these houses with water coming in over their windows still had working electricity,” he said. “But thankfully we kept a watchful eye and avoided the dangers.”
Heuring said the important thing for people to remember is to try get out of a flooded area before the dangers escalate, adding that in many cases the water rose too fast for people to evacuate in their own vehicles.
“Most people realized once it began to get dark that they needed to get out,” he said. “It was right around sundown that the phone really began to ring.”
Missouri conservation agents also assisted in Stoddard, Wayne and Ripley Counties and they continue to work alongside other agencies in rescue and evacuation efforts today.
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Table Rock Lake Record Level, Flooding Eclipses 2008, Dam water release

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Table Rock Lake reaches record level, continues rising

Dam water release, flooding has eclipsed 2008 levels



BRANSON, Mo. - A brief break in the rain Tuesday wasn't enough to calm the rising waters of Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo.

Table Rock Dam set a new record for a water release.  Tuesday morning the U.S Army Corps Corps said it was releasing 52,000 cubic feet of water per second.  That amount was increased to 68,000 cfs during the afternoon hours.  The increase was expected to cause Lake Taneycomo downstream to rise an additional 3-4 feet.
The water release was necessary to relieve pressure building up because of high water levels behind the dam.  The previous record (set in 2008) of 933 feet (above sea level) was eclipsed Tuesday.  That's when lake levels reached 933.7 feet.  Officials said the lake could crest near 935 feet sometime late Tuesday or early Wednesday.    The level had surpassed 934.09 feet by 11:30pm Tuesday.

A water level of 935 feet would place the lake within two feet of 'extreme flood emergency' status.  The Corps of Engineers said its auxiliary dam spillway, completed in 2005, was designed to begin releasing water once levels reach 937 feet.  The gates of the auxiliary spillway have never been activated to date.

The Corps told KY3 News it plans to keep the main Table Rock dam floodgates open until water levels drop back to 920 feet.

Evacuations continued Tuesday, though most of those affected had already left their homes on Monday.  Several lakeside homes in Hollister and Branson are already underwater.

Swift currents have swept numerous private docks downstream.  At least one of the structures crashed into a railroad bridge linking Branson and Hollister.  Debris could be seen piled against a pillar.  The bridge's operator, Missouri & Northern Arkansas Railroad, said the structural integrity of the span had not been compromised.  The railroad stated freight train traffic would be operating as normal.  The trestle also carries tourist trains of the Branson Scenic Railway.

On Tuesday afternoon, swift moving current and debris struck a boat fueling dock at the Branson Landing.   Propane and gasoline were released, forcing the evacuation of dozens of people from a nearby parking lot.  There were no reports of injuries.
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Britain's Got Talent Edward Reid Awesome Dramatic Medley of Nursery Rhymes gets Standing Ovation VIDEO

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A drama teacher surprised the judges and audience of "Britain's Got Talent" when he sang a dramatic medley of nursery rhymes. From "Little Bo Peep" - "Humpty Dumpty" to "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star", you have never heard a rendition like the one Edward Reid performed on the reality show.

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Poplar Bluff Flood Gets Deeper More Rain Hits Missouri

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Flood pours through Poplar Bluff

BY Stephen Deere
tim o'neil
post-dispatch.com
April 27, 2011
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VIDEO: Poplar Bluff Missouri Black River Levee Breach Flooding April 26, 2011 - DAY TWO
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VIDEO: Poplar Bluff Missouri Black River Levee Breach Flooding April 25, 2011 - DAY ONE
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POPLAR BLUFF, MO. • Francis Cole looked through her screen door at a flooded rice field across the street and briefly considered fleeing to higher ground.
For the moment, she determined to stay in her home of 25 years on Fair Street in southern part of this city — despite a forecast that called for more rain. "This is all I got," Cole, 63, said. "I'll protect it the best I can."
By noon Tuesday, the Black River had topped a levee in 30 different places. Roughly 1,000 homes had already been evacuated in Poplar Bluff. Some of Cole's neighbors' homes were flooded.
Others opted for the safety of the Black River Coliseum in downtown Poplar Bluff, which had become a sea of cots. The Red Cross shelter there housed roughly 300 people Monday night, and more were expected Tuesday.
Chris Pigg, who was staying at the shelter with his wife and daughter, left his home Monday. Now, after the levee failure, he wasn't sure if home still existed. "I'm just glad my family is safe," he said.
Similar scenes played out across southeastern Missouri, where officials grappled with near-record river levels. Seventy-five miles east of Poplar Bluff, at Birds Point, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was considering flooding 132,000 acres to relieve pressure from the rising Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Several hundred residents of Mississippi County had been evacuated from farmland homes. The corps said it would delay its decision until Wednesday.
That hasn't been done since 1937 — blowing up the levee at Bird's Point, just below the confluence of the two rivers at Cairo, Ill., and flooding the 34-mile path of the New Madrid Floodway. That concept was developed in 1928, a year after a massive flood along the lower Mississippi.
The main trouble comes from the Ohio, which is expected to crest Friday or Saturday a foot above its record at Cairo. Heavy rains that pounded southern Missouri for the past week also spread across the Ohio valley to east of Louisville, Ky.
Meanwhile, Mississippi County officials want people to stay out of the floodway.
"It's a very frustrating situation," said Janice McCameron, of the county sheriff's office in Charleston, Mo. "It's still wise for people to evacuate. Just because the corps won't blow the levee doesn't mean there won't be flooding."
The 1937 flood is the record for that area. The corps considered using the floodway again in 2005, but didn't. The floodway is as wide as 14 miles before it rejoins the river east of New Madrid, Mo. Levees farther inland protect the rest of Mississippi County.
Late Tuesday, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster asked the U.S. District Court in Cape Girardeau, Mo., to prevent the corps from using the floodway.
In Cairo, officials evacuated residents of nursing homes and closed the U.S. Highway 51 bridge over the Ohio because of flooding on the Kentucky side.
In Stoddard and Scott counties, northwest of Mississippi County, two levees holding back swollen drainage channels broke on Tuesday, flooding about 30 homes near Bell City and Perkins.
In the St. Louis area, the Meramec and Big rivers were expected to crest below major flood stages today and Thursday, then fall. The Mississippi at St. Louis is to rise no more than three feet above flood stage. The region appeared to face no major flooding threat from rainfall late Tuesday.
For some Poplar Bluff residents, the flooding was becoming too familiar.
In 2008, flooding damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes in Poplar Bluff, raising doubts about whether the levee was capable of protecting the town during heavy rain. A federal inspection gave the levee a failing grade, and the private district that maintains it has been unable to make repairs.

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251 Homes Destroyed by Tornado in St Louis County, 70 Houses MISSING, officials say

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Tornado destroyed 251 residences in St. Louis County, official says
BY PHIL SUTIN
post-dispatch.com
April 26, 2011

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Last Friday's tornado destroyed 251 residences in St. Louis County, Garry Earls, the county's chief operating officer, told the county council Tuesday.
They were among 2,243 residences that inspectors checked after the storm, he said. Seventy of the 251 residences are missing, he said.
Inspectors from the county or some municipalities decided that 592 residences suffered significant structural damage, but can be repaired and 1,298 residences have significant damage, but are habitable. He noted that 102 residences were not classified.
Earls said 13 people were treated for minor injuries and four nursing home patients had to go to hospitals because of the storm.
Later, at the county council meeting, County Executive Charlie Dooley said the injuries were so few because people listened to emergency sirens and heeded warnings on radio and television to take shelter.
The community has worked together to make sure the tornado resulted in the least amount of difficulty as possible, the county executive said.
"We have done a lot, but a lot more has to be done," he said.
Meanwhile, 16 experts from the Federal Emergency Management agency arrived on Tuesday to inspect the damage to determine if the area qualifies for federal disaster aid to individuals. They with state and local experts and officials will begin viewing the damage Wednesday morning.
Next week, federal agency experts will study the damage to determine if the area qualifies for federal assistance to local governments.
The group will break into six teams, Katy Jamboretz of the St Louis County Economic Council who is working other county officials on the visit, said. One team each will go to Bridgeton, Ferguson and Maryland Heights. A team will inspect Berkeley, Dellwood and St. Ann; a team will go to Bellefontaine Neighbors, Moline Acres and Riverview and a team will see Lambert Field, New Melle and unincorporated St. Louis County, she said.
At the council caucus, Earls said that if the damage is severe enough, the area could qualify for federal aid to individuals. He said the federal agency does not have a fixed number on the damage for the county to qualify for such aid. People would have to use their insurance first before receiving aid for such costs as the clean up and repairs to household items and replacement of major appliances, he said.
For local governments to qualify for assistance, the storm would have to leave $7.2 million in costs statewide and $3.3 million in St. Louis County, Earls said. The federal aid would reimburse 75 percent of the local governments' cost.
The aid could pay for such items as debris removal, damage to government facilities and overtime costs for police and firefighters, he said.
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