In keeping with my promise that I'd keep you guys ahead of the storm, this is a severe weather liveblog to cover the tornado/severe weather outbreak across the south, Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic today. This event is going to be a dangerous, extended outbreak spanning a over a dozen states between today and Wednesday.
Keep trolling, meta, and dickish comments out of here, the folks getting slammed by these storms appreciate it.
Please visit Got a Grip's important and excellent diary on tornado safety.
Update 11 900PM CDT
RT @SvrWxChaser BREAKING: Unconfirmed reports: Vilonia PD reports "town is gone," pavement has been scoured outside of town. #arwx #tornado
Update 12 1017PM CDT
Bad news: Vilonia is confirmed gone Good news: Few injuries reported due to ample warning. Things can be replaced, lives cant #tornado #arwx
And this from a local newspaper:
Houses and businesses are gone, cars are turned over and the city is in the dark, [mayor James Firestone] added. “Keith’s Valero is gone from what I have heard,” Firestone said.
Also, he said, he had heard reports that some people in Rocky Point were trapped in a storm cellar. Another family was trapped in a mobile home.
In Black Oak, he said, there were reports that one family was trapped in a mobile home. He said, “as far as he knew” there have been no fatalities. However, he said, he has heard an 18 year old girl has received injuries. Police and fire department officials are out surveying the damage in the darkness.
Today's Severe Weather
There is a moderate risk for severe weather today across the region in and around Arkansas, including Memphis, Little Rock, Shreveport, Greenville MS, Waco, and everywhere in between. There is a good risk for tornadoes (hence the moderate risk zone) this afternoon and evening as the storms move into an increasingly unstable environment.
There is also a slight risk for severe weather from Indianapolis down through the Ozark region down into Texas, with a (slightly lower) risk for tornadoes, large hail, and damaging winds. Another risk for severe weather exists over western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio, with large hail, damaging winds, and a possible tornado or two not out of the question before the day is over.
Tomorrow and Wednesday's Weather
The threat for severe weather will shift slightly east tomorrow, with another moderate risk zone (for tornadoes) centered again over Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and a sliver of northern Louisiana.
On Wednesday, the tornado outbreak will move east again, with the moderate risk zone centered over northern Alabama, central/eastern Tennessee and Kentucky. In addition to this area of higher risk, a large swath of real estate from Vermont to Mobile AL will have a slight risk for severe weather with any thunderstorms that develop.
-A tornado watch is in effect for the Dallas/Fort Worth area up through southeastern Oklahoma into western Arkansas until 600PM CDT.
-A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for northern Mississippi and western Tennessee until 300PM CDT.
-A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio until 1000PM EDT.
-A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for central Tennessee and extreme southern Kentucky until 800PM CDT.
Initial Update At Diary Posting
Here are the two most dangerous storms at this time. The first is just southwest of Fort Worth, Texas with a confirmed tornado on the ground. This supercell has a very strong hook echo on it with a confirmed tornado, and a tornado warning is in effect for Bosque, Hill, Hood, Johnson and Somervell Counties.
The other most dangerous storm is in southwestern Arkansas, with a tornado warning in effect for Montgomery and Polk Counties. This storm has very strong rotation associated with it, and there is "widespread damage" reported in the city of Broken Bow after this storm went through.
Update 1 248PM CDT
New tornado warning up in western Tennessee for Carroll, Henry and Weakley Counties. Doppler radar indicated rotation in a thunderstorm near McKenzie TN, moving northeast towards Paris TN.
Oh, and they're chasing that Texas tornado with a freakin' helicopter right now. God bless America.
Update 2 302PM CDT
Here is live video from KXAS-TV out of Fort Worth Texas, showing helicopter footage from that supercell thunderstorm. Amazing stuff.
New tornado warning just southwest of Cleveland, OH, for rotation spotted on radar.
Update 3 313PM CDT
Well defined funnel cloud associated with that supercell in Texas. Don't see this view every day. Screenshots from KXAS-TV.
Update 4 318PM CDT
Tornado warning in southwest Arkansas, very strong rotation moving towards Harvey AR:
Another tornado warning in northeastern Texas for Camp, Cass, Harrison, Marion, Morris and Upshur Counties.
Yet another tornado warning for Anderson County Texas, just north of Palestine.
Update 5 341PM CDT
A new Particularly Dangerous Situation Tornado Watch has been issued for almost all of Arkansas, northern Louisiana, extreme northeastern Texas and extreme southeastern Texas. The enhanced PDS wording indicates the possibility for large, destructive tornadoes, winds to 80 MPH, and hail up to 2.5".
Update 6 349PM CDT
Supercell south of Fort Worth is still spinning like a top, with a strong hook echo near Blum, TX. No tornado on the ground, but still has a possibility to drop one anytime soon.
Tornado warning for Clarksville TN and Hopkinsville KY as a line of storms with little "kinks" along its leading edge move through. Tornadoes can spin up in these kinks in the line.
Rotating thunderstorms in southwestern Arkansas prompting some tornado warnings, in the area where the PDS watch was just issued.
Update 7 425PM CDT
Very well-defined rope funnel cloud west of Carl's Corner TX, near the community of Lovelace. The funnel cloud dissipated quickly, but shows how dangerous the supercell is. Screenshot from KXAS-TV in Fort Worth.
Update 8 448PM
Here is an image from the Storm Prediction Center showing some of the indicies that indicate how favorable the environment is for severe weather. The following image is the supercell index, with higher numbers showing more favorable conditions for supercell development. A high value is "2," and the highest value on this chart is 28.
Here is the tornado index, with higher values showing more favorable areas for tornadic development.
And here's a picture of the massive wall cloud associated with the tornadic supercell thunderstorm rolling through the middle of eastern Texas.
Update 9 730PM CDT
...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR SOUTH CENTRAL CLEBURNE... SOUTHWESTERN WHITE...EAST CENTRAL FAULKNER AND EXTREME NORTHWESTERN LONOKE COUNTIES UNTIL 800 PM CDT...
...TORNADO EMERGENCY FOR VILONIA...
AT 720 PM CDT...STORM SPOTTERS AND NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS WERE TRACKING A CONFIRMED TORNADO WITH REPORTS OF DAMAGE. THIS POTENTIALLY DEADLY TORNADO WAS LOCATED 5 MILES SOUTHWEST OF VILONIA...OR 7 MILES EAST OF LAKE CONWAY...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 50 MPH.
* LOCATIONS IN OR NEAR THE PATH OF THIS TORNADO INCLUDE...
SEARCY... VILONIA... ROSE BUD...
MT VERNON... HIGGINSON... GRAVEL HILL...
ENOLA... CROSBY... SIDON...
ROMANCE... OTTO... LETONA...
JOY... FLOYD... EL PASO...
CENTER HILL... ARMSTRONG SPRINGS... ALBION...
TO REPEAT...A VIOLENT TORNADO IS ON THE GROUND. THIS IS AN EXCEPTIONALLY DANGEROUS SITUATION. THIS STORM IS PRODUCING A LIFE THREATENING...CONFIRMED TORNADO CAPABLE OF SIGNIFICANT DESTRUCTION! TAKE COVER IMMEDIATELY!
Update 10 816PM CDT
Here's some more on that tornado in Vilonia, AR. TWC reports that a church is destroyed and there are people trapped inside, but that's the extent of the reports coming out. We know that the tornado was very bad because you can see the debris on the radar. This was an extremely large and extremely violent tornado, as shown by the base reflectivity (regular radar, left) and base velocity (red/green on right) showing the tornado.
You can see a 'debris ball' on the radar, which shows how strong the tornado is. A debris ball is a dark spot on the radar image, caused by the radar beam reflecting off of debris surrounding the tornado.