April 17, 2008

Colliding Fronts Cause Severe Weather Outbreak Across Region

It was over nearly as quickly as it started, and that was good for a community that appears to have weathered another tornado without any injuries and just limited damage.

Scotland County Sheriff Wayne Winn said damage during the April 10th severe weather appeared to be limited to scattered downed trees and debris as well as minor damage to a few farm outbuildings.

“It blew some tin off a couple hog barns, and cut a path through some trees when it crossed Brock bottom,” Winn said. “But overall we faired much better than they did further north.”

The sheriff was referring to a pair of tornadoes that were reported by the National Weather Service just across the state line in Van Buren County.

An F2 tornado with winds as high as 125 mph touched down near Lebanon, IA, or six miles west of Keosauqua. The path was approximately 1/8 mile wide and traveled just over two miles, destroyed the second story of a residentail facility as well as additional outbuildings.

An F1 tornado was reported less than 10 minutes later near Stockport, or 11 miles northeast of Keosauqua, where additional damage was reported to several farm outbuildings.

Scotland County saw the storm cell pass through rather quickly on Thursday afternoon. Storm spotters were activated around 5:00 p.m. but the bulk of the system had already crossed the region from south to north.

Ron Alexander witnessed what he believed was a tornado that followed the documented storm path along Highway 15 north of Memphis.

“I think we are very lucky not to have more damage to report,” Alexander said. “It came right across our bottom and hit the pond not 50 yards south of the house. It was like it just sucked the water right out and up from the pond before it lifted up and went between the house and barn.”

Alexander said he had heard storm warnings for other areas but wasn’t expecting what he saw.

“As wet as it has been, that was the last thing you would figure it would look like as that storm swept across the bottom it appeared to be sucking up dust, or dry dirt.”

Scotland County remained under a tornado watch until 7:00 p.m. on April 10th but no additional severe weather developed.

The NWS indicated the severe weather developed across the warm sector of air that was rapidly moving northeast into an increasingly sheared and destabilized environment being created just south of another retreating warm front.

The area where these two fronts combined proved to be a breading ground for supercells that were ultimately responsible for the two tornadoes in Van Buren County, three tornadoes in Hancock County, IL, as well as single storms in Keokuk and Jefferson County, IA.

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