Saturday, January 19, 2008

January 7-8, 2008 - Information Update

Republic, MO Tornado

At this point, the National Weather Service has the tornado count at 32. It is a night that won't soon be forgotten. I will be posting a small series of articles from this event, beginning with this one, so stay tuned.

In this first post, I'd just like to point out that there are a couple of amazing things about this tornadic outbreak. First, all 32 of these occurred in the Springfield NWS area of responsibility. Typically, when we see an "outbreak" in the mid west, the large number of tornadoes is spread across multiple warning areas. To have 60+ tornado warnings issued by Springfield, and have 32 confirmed touchdowns, is something quite extraordinary.

As an example, everyone that was here in 2003 remembers the May 4th outbreak. On that day, the Springfield NWS office area of responsibility only had 15 tornadoes. They were much larger, damaging and deadly tornadoes, but still less than half of January 7 and 8th of this year.

The second important thing to note is that this occurred in January. December and January statistically are the slowest months for tornadoes. In Missouri, we typically see our prime tornado season between March and June. The average number of tornadoes for the year in Missouri is 26. By the 8th of January we saw 32 in just SW MO. The end number for the state this year is likely to be astonishing.

I can't stress this enough, folks. If you don't have a weather alert radio, get one. They come in models that you can be limited to only alarm you for tornado warnings for your county. I do recommend you spend the extra 20 or 30 bucks and get one that you can really limit the warnings and area, or you'll find yourself turning it off. As we know from this year's January event, that could have been real bad at around 2:45am when everyone was tired of being under warnings. Springfield was a pretty sleepy town on January 8th.

Statistics from University of Missouri Atmospheric Scientists

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