92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012: 11:15 AM
Fatalities Associated with the 27 April 2011 Tornadoes in North and Central Georgia
Room 252/253 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Steven E. Nelson, NOAA/NWSFO, Peachtree City, GA; and T. D. Palmer, J. L. Fieux, L. P. Rothfusz, and J. R. Westbrook

On Wednesday, 27 April 2011, an historic outbreak of tornadoes culminated over the southeastern U.S., including Georgia. Over 300 tornadoes were observed from the 25th through 28th, most of which occurred on the 27th and the early morning of the 28th. Fifteen tornadoes were confirmed in Georgia resulting in 15 deaths. Seven of the fatalities occurred in a highly localized area (0.05 km2) known as Cherokee Valley, which is approximately 6 km north of Ringgold, Georgia (see photo). The rate of casualties in this area was approximately 85%. This tornado was rated EF-4 with peak winds of 175 mi h-1 (78 m s-1).

This presentation will focus on the location and nature of fatalities associated with the tornadoes in Georgia, particularly the Cherokee Valley tornado. Interviews were conducted with 34 Cherokee Valley area residents to determine how prepared they were for the event. Collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is also underway to study the nature of tornado fatalities in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi during the April outbreak. Preliminary results of the CDC study are expected to be presented.

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