On Wednesday, April 27th, a deadly outbreak of tornadoes stormed across the southeast, resulting with deaths in seven different states, including: Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia. Alabama was hit the hardest, with a death toll of 255 as of Saturday. The death toll throughout the region stands at 356 individuals.
This is the greatest amount of deaths from tornadoes since March 18, 1925, or over 86 years ago, when 747 individuals died. The video below shows a massive tornado from the third floor of the basketball complex at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates 312 tornadoes spawned during the outbreak. This is a historic amount and is the largest outbreak of tornadoes on record. The previous record occurred April 3rd, 1974, when 148 tornadoes spawned. This previous record date shows how April is an especially prone time for tornadoes, yet April 2011 is unlike the past.
In fact, there were over 600 tornadoes throughout April 2011, which is a record amount of tornadoes for a single month. The previous record for any month was 542 tornadoes, which was set in May 2003. The previous record for April was 267, which was in 1974. In other words, the amount of tornadoes in April 2011 were over double (+225%) the previous record for April. The video below shows the formation of a tornado in Tuscaloosa with analysis from meteorologists.
With entire neighborhoods wiped out, over ten thousand properties were destroyed. The economic costs of the disaster are already in the billions. A federal emergency was declared April 29th, which affords several forms of assistance to victims. President Obama toured Alabama on Friday and said, “I’ve never seen devastation like this. It’s heartbeaking.” The video below shows helicopter footage of the aftermath in Tuscaloosa. Our thoughts are with the victims of this disaster.