Saturday, January 20, 2007

Holy Cow-eta!!!!


2 tornadoes in three days! Yikes! That is what Coweta County residents dealt with the other week when a F-1 tornado struck on Friday the 5th and an F-2 tornado hit on Sunday the 7th. The two tornadoes were just miles apart!

Although the atmospheric set-up was almost exactly the same for both tornadoes the Friday storm was in the morning while the Sunday storm was in the evening... proving that tornadoes can strike any time of day.

On Sunday the 7th, meteorologist Greg Majewski and myself started tracking a supercell thunderstorm south of Montgomery, AL. around 3 in the afternoon and followed its track into the evening hours as it made its way toward the metro area. Numerous reports of damage and tornadoes followed the storm so we knew that it was going to be an active evening as the storm approached a moist and unstable atmosphere over the peach state.

The storm first hit Troup and Heard Counties prompting warnings, but we did not have much in the way of damage reports. Once the storm moved in southern Coweta County, around 6:40pm, our FirstTrack 3D radar showed that the storm was rotating and may have been producing a tornado. Indeed the storm did produce a tornado and a damage path that was 4 miles long and 200 yards wide. You can read more about the storm by reading the damage survey done by the National Weather Service.

These two severe weather episodes impacted me personally as it was the first time I was covering something that had the potential to impact my family. My sister's family lives in Newnan and my parents were up visiting them from Florida. As they watched me they carefully watched CBS46 while they waited in the hallway. Thanksfully, they tornado avoided downtown Newnan and they were safe. Still, as I tracked the tornado there were a few anxious moments for me.

We have had our FirstTrack 3D radar for nearly 2 years now and the power of our radar continues to impress me as it seems like every time there is a tornado across northern Georgia, our radar indicates it with the spinning tubes. Notice the picture of the tubes above on our FirstTrack 3D radar and how they show match exactly where the tornado touched down. Luckily we were able to be out in front of the storm and there ended up being no serious injuries.

January tornadoes are not terribly common although we have had 2 this year and we had that outbreak last year on January 2nd. Expect more active weather this winter and spring as this El Nino weather pattern promises to give us a much better chance of storm weather.

In the mean time review your families severe weather plan so you can be prepared the next time Mother Nature gets out of hand!

Have a good week.


--Chris

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