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12aprAll DayWalthall (Walthall/Lawrence/Marion/Jefferson Davis Counties, MS)

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Start Time: 3:39 pm CDT 

End Time:  4:05 pm CDT

Rating:  EF4

Estimated Peak Winds: 170 mph

Path length: 21.2 miles

Width: 1320 yards

Fatalities:  4

Injuries: 1

County:  Walthall, Lawrence, Marion, Jefferson Davis

State:  Mississippi

Start Lat/Lon:  31.3331 / -90.0823

End Lat/Lon:  31.4017 / -89.8505


From NWS New OrleansNote that this statement currently only accounts for the portion of the tornado track that occurred in Walthall County. The tornado touched down near Jefferson Rd just east of the intersection with Jack Foil Rd. It quickly strengthened as it moved northeastward through the Hope area where it produced damage consistent with 115 mph winds. It also quickly grew in width and was roughly 1200yd/0.67 mi wide by the time it approached Hwy 27. As it crossed Hwy 27 it continued to cause significant damage along East Sartinville Rd. The tornado was strongest as it approached James Ratcliff Rd. Two homes on this road were leveled, one being reduced to a slab. Consultation with subject matter experts including both engineers and experts in forensic tornado damage analysis supports raising the maximum intensity to 170 mph based on the house that was reduced to a slab and a large hard wood tree that was uprooted and tossed several feet from where it stood. The increased wind speed makes the tornado an EF-4 on the Enhanced Fujita scale. The other home that was leveled suffered damage consistent with a high end EF-3. While all walls were collapsed, there was no evidence of bolts that would have held the sill plates to the foundation. Thus, the wind speed for this particular damage is reduced slightly from the expected. The tornado was also widest in this area, reaching a maximum width of around 1300 yards or approximately 0.75 miles. As it continued to move northeastward, it continued snapping every tree near the center of its path. It also caused substantial damage to several small cinder block buildings, tore the roof off of a home and rolled a tied down single-wide manufactured home as it crossed East Sartinville Rd. From there it continued northeastward and tore the entire roof from a brick home just before moving into Lawrence County. It should be noted that from just southwest of James Ratcliff Rd through the remainder of the Walthall Co portion of the track, nearly every tree in the path of the tornado was snapped or uprooted. The tornado was responsible for one fatality in Walthall County and 1 known serious injury.

As a point of interest, this is only the 4th F/EF-4 tornado on record in the WFO LIX forecast area. The last F/EF-4 in the forecast area occurred on December 6, 1983.

From NWS JacksonThe tornado touched down near Jefferson Rd just east of the intersection with Jack Foil Rd. It quickly strengthened as it moved northeastward through the Hope area where it produced damage consistent with 115 mph winds. It also quickly grew in width and was roughly 1200 yd/0.67 mi wide by the time it approached Hwy 27.  As it crossed Hwy 27 it continued to cause significant damage along East Sartinville Rd. The tornado was strongest as it approached James Ratcliff Rd. Two homes on this road were leveled, one being reduced to a slab. Consultation with subject matter experts including both engineers and experts in forensic tornado damage analysis supports raising the maximum intensity to 170 mph based on the house that was reduced to a slab and a large hard wood tree that was uprooted and tossed several feet from where it stood. The increased wind speed makes the tornado an EF-4 on the Enhanced Fujita scale. The other home that was leveled suffered damage consistent with a high end EF-3. While all walls were collapsed, there was no evidence of bolts that would have held the sill plates to the foundation. Thus, the wind speed for this particular damage is reduced slightly from the expected. The tornado was also widest in this area, reaching a maximum width of around 1300 yards or approximately 0.75 miles. As it continued to move northeastward, it continued snapping every tree near the center of its path. It also caused substantial damage to several small cinder block buildings, tore the roof off of a home and rolled a tied down single-wide manufactured home as it crossed East Sartinville Rd. From there it continued northeastward and tore the entire roof from a brick home just before moving into Lawrence County. It should be noted that from just southwest of James Ratcliff Rd through the remainder of the Walthall Co portion of the track, nearly every tree in the path of the tornado was snapped or uprooted.

The tornado then moved into far southeast Lawrence County, where  it began snapping large hardwood branches on JK Givens Road. The tornado started to strengthen as a large swath of broken and uprooted hardwood trees were noted farther along JK Givens Road.  As the tornado moved east northeast to Tynes Ainsworth Road, it tossed and completely destroyed a mobile home, causing two fatalities. Concurrently, it also snapped numerous softwood and hardwood trees behind and around the mobile home. The snapping and uprooting of numerous softwood trees continued when it moved northeast across Felix Sartin Road, while also causing some shingles to be removed from a one-story residence. Swaths of snapped hardwood trees and the uproot of trees was noted at Holmes Road, where a few wooden power poles were also snapped. The tornado then trekked into northwest Marion County, causing the snapping of multiple softwood trees just north of Ranch Road. The tornado moved northeast to US Road 587 where it broke a few wooden power poles and continued snapping softwood trees. It continued along its east-northeast path impacting River Road and Cooper Road, and causing large softwood branches to snap and the snapping and uprooting of softwood trees. The uprooting of a few softwood trees was noted when the tornado reached Highway 13, though the amount of uprooted trees was not as impressive from earlier in its track, thus showing a declining in strength. The tornado moved northeast into Jefferson Davis County, resulting in the snapping of a few small softwood tree limbs at Raynes Road. The tornado lifted at Joe Dyess Road, but not before snapping a few small hardwood tree limbs.


Sources:

Public Information Statement – NWS New Orleans

Public Information Statement – NWS Jackson


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