24th Conference on Severe Local Storms


The 2008 Super Tuesday Tornado Outbreak: Overview of the tornadoes and their parent storms

Kevin R. Knupp, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL ; and T. Coleman, W. Petersen, and L. Carey

The cold-season tornado outbreak that occurred over the Southeast on 5-6 February 2008 was significant for the following reasons:

About 84 tornadoes were documented over a 15 h period between late afternoon on 5 February and early morning on 6 February 2008.

The tornadoes produced 57 fatalities.

A wide variety of parent storms were associated with the tornadoes.

A total of five EF-4 tornadoes occurred; two formed over Alabama during the early morning hours prior to sunrise.

There was a significant lull period between the initial storm activity and the early morning activity over Alabama 10 hours later.

A wide spectrum of storm types, ranging from isolated supercell storms to QLCS bow echoes, accompanied the tornadoes.

The goal of this paper it to provide a general description of the outbreak, including the distribution of tornadoes and supercell storms over the region, a detailed map of the tornado tracks, time series of tornadoes and parent storms, and general characteristics of all parent tornadic storms. The total number of major storms (duration > 3 h, at least three tornadoes produced) was seven. Several noteworthy storms are described:

A long track (198 km long) tornado and its parent storm over Arkansas.

A prolific supercell storm persisted for 7-8 hours and produced about 16 tornadoes from north-central Mississippi to southern KY.

The northern part of the QLCS was relatively intense and produced 16 tornadoes over Kentucky.

wrf recording  Recorded presentation

Session 3A, Super Tuesday Outbreak
Monday, 27 October 2008, 1:30 PM-3:00 PM, North & Center Ballroom

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