One of the most meteorologically infamous tornadoes on April 27, 2011, was an EF5 that tracked through four Mississippi counties. While not producing the amount of damage and loss of life the other EF5s of that day did, it caused the most extreme ground scouring ever documented.
One of the most violent tornadoes in recorded human history tore through several communities in Mississippi and Alabama. Twenty-three were killed, and roughly 61 injured. The human impacts were horrific, and the damage inconceivable. There are two summaries detailing the event. One focuses on the Smithville, MS side. The second examines the portion in Alabama, which principally affected the communities of Shottsville and Hodges. Beyond connecting the two summaries, this overview page also features track maps and discrepancies.
This was the predecessor to the infamous Smithville tornado. The areas damaged by this twister received very little attention, and no complete survey was made of the track by the National Weather Service (NWS). We dug deep into both the stories and the damage. What we found was astounding.
This was the first of many strong twisters in Mississippi on April 27th. It was unusually powerful for a Quasi Linear Convective System (QLCS) and caused significant damage in and around the tiny community of Blaine.
In most aspects, this was a fairly typical Dixie Alley twister. However, it produced extremely unusual damage to a precast concrete highway bridge. So, we decided to delve into this event to highlight that feat.
It is known as the “Candlestick Park” tornado, named after a shopping center in south Jackson, MS which was completely destroyed. Per the SPC, the path length was 202.5 miles. It moved through portions of MS and then into AL. The max width was 900 yards. There were 518 injuries and 58 fatalities reported. 57 deaths in MS and 1 in AL.