SPC Stats

Path length: 10.27 miles

Width:  440 yards

Fatalities:  0

Injuries:  0

Rating:  EF3

County:  Newton

Tornado Path

SPC coordinates:  Start: 32.2882/ -89.1817  End:  32.3389 / -89.0164

Corrected coordinates based on aerial and satellite imagery:  

Start: 32.289893/ -89.152364 End:  32.3389 / -89.0164

Note:  Exact tornado path may not be straight and/or continuous.

Summary

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.

The tornado began at 5:11 pm CDT, 2.25 miles SSE of Newton, MS. Hardwood trees were immediately snapped off and uprooted along its path. Within just ten seconds of formation, the 100 yard wide vortex crossed over a precast concrete highway bridge over Tarlow Creek along Highway 15. Despite the tornado not being much larger than the bridge itself, highway decking slabs along the north end were briefly lifted. When the slabs were lifted, the concrete guard rails chipped and buckled along the joints. There was also damage to the asphalt road. This is a highly unusual instance of damage, but contextual evidence suggests the tornado was not particularly intense at that time.

Damage to the precast concrete highway bridge via NWS Jackson.

The twister grew in size to 530 yards (0.30 miles) as it crossed Cornith Road, 3 miles SE of Newton. Significant tree damage was observed here. Two wood-frame homes were destroyed, including one that was pushed off its foundation. A mobile home had a wall blown out, and the Greater Corinth M.B. Church sustained roof damage.

For the next four miles, the damage was confined to blowdown in a heavily wooded area. It crossed Route 80, tearing the roof off of a home and destroying a travel trailer. A few more homes received minor damage before the tornado dissipated along Hickory Little Rock Road at 5:22 pm CDT, 1.5 miles NNE of Hickory.

Images via NWS Jackson

Damage to the guardrails of a precast concrete highway bridge. The chipping probably occurred when the decking slabs were slightly lifted, causing the concrete guardrail joints to fracture.
Damage to a home.
The remains of a travel trailer.
Another view of the remains of a travel trailer.
Debris strewn in a field.

Video

Discrepancies:

We gathered information for this event from the SPC/NCDC Databases, the April 2011 Storm Data Publication (SDP), the NWS Jackson Event page, and analysis of aerial and satellite imagery and found the following discrepancies:

Path Length:

  • SPC/NCDC/SDP list a path length of 10.27 miles.
  • The NWS Jackson lists a track of 11 miles.
  • Analysis of the damage indicates a path length of 8.71 miles.

    Path Width:

    • SPC/NCDC/SDP/NWS Jackson list a maximum width of 440 yards.
    • Analysis of the damage indicates a maximum width of 530 yards.

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