The Record Tornado Outbreak of April 27, 2011 in the WFO Morristown, TN County Warning Area and How it still occurred in the Mountainous Terrain of the Southern Appalachians

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Wednesday, 5 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
David G. Hotz, NOAA/NWS, Morristown, TN; and T. W. Troutman, M. A. Reynolds, and G. Kaylor

A great deal of the focus of the 27 April 2011 tornado outbreak was on the multiple large violent tornadoes that impacted Alabama and Mississippi. However, the outbreak broke records in east Tennessee and southwest Virginia as well. Sixty-one tornadoes, including six strong (EF-3 or greater) tornadoes, were documented across the county warning area of the National Weather Service forecast office in Morristown, Tennessee, causing 35 fatalities, 250 injuries, and damages exceeding $1 billion.

The presentation will include a description of the east Tennessee and southwest Virginia perspective of the 27 April 2011 outbreak, including a general overview, and discussion of the highly anomalous nature of the outbreak. Several stronger tornadoes also tracked well into the mountainous terrain of the southern Appalachians during this event, so analysis regarding the rarity of tornadoes in the mountains and possible orographic influences will be included. Additional discussion will include best practices involving NWS and media warning dissemination and communication during and after the event, as well as brief societal impacts analysis.