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Extreme damage incidents in the 27 April 2011 tornado superoutbreak

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Wednesday, 7 November 2012
Symphony III and Foyer (Loews Vanderbilt Hotel)
Eugene W. McCaul Jr., USRA, Huntsville, AL ; and K. Knupp, C. B. Darden, and K. B. Laws

Handout (2.2 MB)

The Dixie Alley Superoutbreak of 27 April 2011 featured at least four EF5 and 11 other EF4 tornadoes, the largest number of violent tornadoes in one day since 3 April 1974. Some 319 persons were killed by the direct impacts of the 27 April 2011 tornadoes. Many of the violent tornadoes from that day inflicted remarkable damage along their lengthy tracks. The purpose of this poster is to document for the record a few of these damage events photographically. Some of the damage events exceed anything known to us from prior major tornado events. Particularly extreme damage findings were documented from each of the four EF5 tornadoes, and also from the large EF4 tornado that struck Tuscaloosa, AL, and a number of other communities northeast of there. Unusual damage indications include widespread stripping out of grass clumps and their roots up to a depth of 2 feet from a farm field, lifting of a steel drainage pipe out of the ground from under a two-lane asphalt street with attendant destruction of approximately 200 square feet of the road surface above, demolition of an operational railroad trestle with transport of some of the heavy steel support towers 100 feet uphill, and lofting and lateral transport of 36-ton coal-carriage railroad cars up to 390 feet off their tracks.