Tornado Outbreak Worst in 25 Years
This Friday night the worst tornado outbreak in my 25 years at WSAZ-TV has pummeled our region. Reports of major structural damage from both cyclonic and straight line winds across the region are still coming in to WSAZ at 2 am Saturday.
Hail storms usually reserved for the High Plains have been common, with golf ball even egg and tennis ball size stones making for an insurance adjuster's nightmare come the first light of Saturday.
Remember the rule of thumb, the larger the hailstone the better the chance of a twister. From the data and e-pixs that I have rummaged through, I will guess we had a dozen tornadoes hopscotch across our region.
The most bizarre tornado report would be one that started in Frenchburg,Ky and ended in Lincoln County WV. As the crow flys that's close to a 90 miles distance. You see what we watched unfold tonight was a rare Midwest twister where the spin is so strong that the supercell thunderstorm (the parent of the twister or twisters), sucked debris into its shaft in Menifee County Kentucky and then spun it around and around for two hours before dropping it in Lincoln County.
Sadly, several people in our region have likely lost their lives from the tremendous winds that blew through. The mesocyclone that we saw in West Liberty was worthy of a Midwest tornado. I judged it to be a half mile wide and in time suspect we will rate this as high as a Force 3 twister with winds near 150 miles per hour.
Chris Bailey reports that his hometown of Salyersville Ky is devastated. Our prayers go out to all.
Candidly, the Doppler radar presentations last night were the most vivid I have seen in my quarter of a century at WSAZ-TV.
I will blog about this memorable night later on but to Brandon, Josh and our talented staff of pros behind the scene at WSAZ I can only say THANK YOU.