February 5th of 2008 will be remembered as a dark day in weather history across middle-America and the South. The death toll from an outbreak of strong tornadoes is already in the mid 50s, and may continue to rise in the coming days.
This is a map from the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) showing reports of severe weather across the country from Tuesday, February 5.
The red triangles (91 in all) indicate reports of tornado touchdowns. The blue marks are reports of damaging winds, while the green shows reports of hail at least 0.75 inches in diameter. While eastern Missouri and western Illinois certainly weren't hardest hit, we did have our share of reports of hail and damaging wind.
One of the most impressive reports came from Fayette county, Illinois, where a high school's roof was seriously damaged by strong winds. The National Weather Service deployed a meteorologist to survey the damage, and to determine whether it resulted from a tornado or from straight-line winds.
Here is an excerpt from the National Weather Service's damage survery report...
IT APPEARS THAT STRAIGHT LINE WINDS...ESTIMATED TO BE 70 TO 80 MPH...
PRODUCED DAMAGE BETWEEN FARINA AND KINMUNDY...APPROXIMATELY BETWEEN
620 PM AND 630 PM. PEOPLE IN THE AREA ALSO INDICATED THE SEVERE
WINDS LASTED NEARLY 10 MINUTES...WHICH IS QUITE UNUSUAL FOR SEVERE
THE WORST DAMAGE IN THIS AREA APPEARS TO HAVE OCCURRED AT
SOUTH CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL IN FARINA...AS ROOF SHEATHING ON BOTH THE
GYM AND LIBRARY BUCKLED IN THE HIGH WINDS. A BASKETBALL GAME WAS
BEING PLAYED IN THE GYM AT THE TIME THE HIGH WINDS STRUCK...
BUT FORTUNATELY NO INJURIES WERE REPORTED.
IN ADDITION...TREE DAMAGE HAS BEEN OBSERVED IN KINMUNDY...WITH
OTHER TREE AND ROOF DAMAGE SCATTERED BETWEEN THE TOWNS OF FARINA AND
THE STORM SURVEY CONTINUES ACROSS SOUTH CENTRAL ILLINOIS...AND
ADDITIONAL DETAILS WILL BE PROVIDED AS THEY BECOME AVAILABLE.
To see later updates, and to access a wealth of local weather information, visit the web page of our local National Weather Service office.