In this Funnel Feature, we are looking back at the Top 10 tornado events of 2017!  Thanks to everyone who voted on our social media pages for the events that should be included!  

There were 1522 preliminary tornado reports in 2017 per the SPC Annual Severe Weather Report Summary.  The state of Texas had the greatest number of reports at 176.  These are not actual tornadoes, just the reports.  Actual tornado count is based on NWS Storm Data Submissions and based on this writing, October, November and December have not been submitted.

#10: May 16 - Elk City, OK

Overview:  This tornado received a rating of EF2.  The path length was 15 miles and the max width was 1000 yards. There was 1 fatality and 10 injuries.

The tornado developed 3 miles to the WNW of Carter and it moved NE toward State Highway 34.  Per the NWS summary of the event, there was one fatality that occurred on Merritt Road south of State Highway 152.  A man was in a mobile home and decided to leave in his vehicle to try to find more substantial shelter. He had returned to his mobile home and it’s believed he was still in his vehicle when the tornado hit.

Damage assessment found 62 homes destroyed in Elk City and 126 damaged.  Three businesses were also destroyed.

 

More Information:

NCDC Database Entry

KFOR Article On The Event

#9: February 7 - New Orleans, LA

KLIX WSR-88D radar data over eastern New Orleans, LA at 1123 AM CST 2/07/2017 via NWS New Orleans
Damage photo via NWS Summary

Overview: This tornado received a rating of EF3. The path length was 10.09 miles and the max width was 600 yards. There were 33 injuries.

The tornado touched down just east of the Industrial Canal and moved Northeast.  The worst damage was along and just north of Grant Street from Read Blvd to Chalmark Dr.  Dozens of homes had tremendous roof damage and some had collapsed walls.  The tornado headed east causing damage to the NASA Michoud facility.  The NWS estimated max wind speeds around 150 mph.  From their summary:  In total, the tornado caused moderate to severe damage to 638 homes, of which around half were considered total losses.  At least 40 businesses also suffered moderate to severe damage.

 

More Information:

NCDC Database Entry

NWS New Orleans Summary

Damage Photos at NASA Michoud – via space.com

#8: April 14 - Dimmit, TX

A picture of the wedge tornado that was located just to the northwest of Dimmitt, Texas on April 14th, 2017. Photo courtesy of Wesley Luginbyhl. Image extracted from the 2017 Storm Data Publication.
Radar reflectivity and storm-relative velocity images from the Lubbock WSR-88D at 7 pm on April 14th, 2017 via the NWS Summary.
Damage photo via NWS Lubbock

Overview:  This tornado received a rating of EF3.  The path length was 3.55 miles and the max width was 1936 yards.

Isolated storms formed alone a dry line on the afternoon of April 14th.  One of the storms evolved into a slow moving supercell that persisted for nearly 9 hours!  It produced at least 7 known tornadoes (per the NWS survey) and one very large, over a mile wide, wedge tornado near Dimmit.  This tornado developed just south of Highway 86, about 4 miles SW of Dimmit.  The most significant damage per the survey was found near the intersection of Farm to Market Road.  A metal systems building was completely destroyed. Damage was thrown several hundred feet.  There was EF2 damage to nearby homes.

 

More Information:

NCDC Database Entry

NWS New Orleans Summary

Damage Photos at NASA Michoud – via space.com

#7: January 22 - Albany, GA

Velocity Image in Dougherty County via NWS Tallahassee
Damage on Holly Drive in Albany
Church destroyed on North County Line Road

Overview:  This tornado received a rating of EF3.  The path length was 70.73 miles and the max width was 1.25 miles.  There were 5 fatalities and at least 40 injuries.

A very large, long track tornado developed near the Dougherty/Baker County line.  The tornado continued through Worth and Turner Counties and ended in Wilcox County.  The tornado first caused EF3 damage in Dougherty County south of Albany.   A large portion of a warehouse at the Proctor and Gamble Plant collapsed and several semi-trailers were tossed.  Multiple anchored double-wide trailers were completely destroyed at the Marine Corp Logistics Base.  In Dougherty and Worth Counties, 3 separate concrete blocks churches were completely destroyed.  Two frame homes in Turner County were demolished justifying an EF3 rating.

 

More Information:

NCDC Database Entries:

NWS Atlanta Summary (Wilcox)

#6: April 29 - Canton, TX

Three tornadoes had an impact on Canton, TX (Van Zandt County) and surrounding areas on April 29.  There was a total of 6 tornadoes in Van Zandt County on this day, most number in a calendary in the county since 1950.  

Tornado #1:  East Canton 

Overview:  This tornado received a rating of EF0.  The path length was 1.8 miles and the max width was 75 yards.

This brief tornado caused damage to trees and a few barns to the southeast of the city center of Canton.

NWS Fort Worth Reflectivity image on the left and base velocity image on the right. Image at 5:12 P.M. CDT.

Tornado #2:  Eustace to West Canton

Overview:  This tornado received a rating of EF4.  The path length was 13.6 miles and the max width was 1760 yards.  20 injuries and 2 fatalities were reported.  

This was the strongest tornado to occur in this area.  NWS survey teams found EF4 damage of approximately 180 mph in the community of Old Bethel in Van Zandt County.  The tornado began around 529pm CDT, 2 miles north of the town of Log Cabin (NW Henderson County) and ended at 609pm CDT west of Canton.  Per the NWS Summary, the worst damage was in a narrow corridor near the intersection of Farm-to-Market road 2301 and 2313.  This EF4 in Van Zandt County was the highest rated tornado in the county since records began in 1950.

Photos below show EF4 damage near Purtis Creek.

Tornado #3:  East Canton to Emory

Overview:  This tornado received a rating of EF3.  The path length in Van Zandt County was 26.51 miles and the max width was 1760 yards.  24 injuries and 2 fatalities were reported.  

This long track tornado quickly grew about 1 miles to the east and northeast of the City of Canton.  Max wind speeds were estimated at 145 mph.  Most of the damage seen in Canton was from this tornado.  The overal path lenght was close to 40 miles.  The tornado moved out of Van Zandt County and into Rains County leaving destruction in its wake for 80 minutes.

#5: May 16 - Chetek, WI

Radar reflectivity and storm relative velocity at 5:30 PM CDT
Damage to the mobile home park north of Chetek Wisconsin.
Damage to the home near Conrath, Rusk County

Overview:  This tornado received a rating of EF3.  The path length was 83 miles and the max width was 1000 yards.  There was 1 fatality and 10 injuries.

This tornado developed east of Clear Lake in SE Polk County and traded eastward through Barron and Southern Rusk and ending in SW Price County.  EF2 damage was found just north of Chetek, WI.  Damage that warranted an EF3 rating occurred north Conrath in Rusk County.  A family home collapsed to the foundation.  Winds were estimated at 140 mph.  This is one of the longest track tornadoes ever to occur in Wisconsin on record.

 

More Information:

NCDC Database Entries:

Polk:  https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/stormevents/eventdetails.jsp?id=689563

Barron:  https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/stormevents/eventdetails.jsp?id=689564

Rusk:  https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/stormevents/eventdetails.jsp?id=690881

Price:  https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/stormevents/eventdetails.jsp?id=690928

NWS Twin Cities Summary

#4: Feb 28 - Washburn, IL

Washburn tornado photo by Cameron Nixon via NWS Summary
Near Rutland by Billy Valetti via NWS Summary
Damage west of Washburn
West of Washburn
Mesocyclone Tracks via NWS Central Illinois

Overview:  This tornado received a rating of EF3.  The path length was 18 miles and the max width was 600 yards.  Estimated peak winds 150-160 mph.

This tornado began in an open field 3.5 miles west of Washburn in extreme northern Woodford County.  After traveling a mile, the tornado widened to more than 1/4 mile across and reached EF3.  A home was destroyed 2.5 miles west of Washburn.  The twister moved then directly through the town of Washburn damaging 8 houses.  There was significant damage to roofs, garages, cars and trees.   EF2 damage was found as the tornado traveled through extreme southern Marshall County.  The path ended just east of Rutland in LaSalle County.

 

More Information:

NCDC Database Entries:

Woodford:  https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/stormevents/eventdetails.jsp?id=678122

Marshall:  https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/stormevents/eventdetails.jsp?id=678123

LaSallehttps://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/stormevents/eventdetails.jsp?id=677693

NWS Central Illinois Summary

#3: June 12 - Carpenter, WY

Overview:  This tornado received a rating of EF2.  The path length was 8 miles and the max width was 200 yards.

This tornado occurred in the midst of one of the most significant severe weather outbreaks in 30 years for Southeast Wyoming and the Western Nebraska Panhandle per the NWS Summary.  A Particularly dangerous situation (PDS) watch was issued at 1pm MDT, the first ever PDS watch issued for Wyoming.  The most significant damage was to 2 residence along County Road 151.  A semi-attached garage was destroyed.  Another residence had significant roof damage.   The metal roofing panels were lifted and blown away.  Damage photos above from the NWS Cheyenne Survey.

 

More Information:

NCDC Database Entry

NWS Cheyenne Summary

Thank you to Matt Magiera for his interview on this tornado.  Follow him on Twitter!  @mattmwx

#2: January 21 - Hattiesburg, MS

Overview:  This tornado received a rating of EF3.  The path length was 31.3 miles and the max width was 900 yards.  There was 4 fatalities and 57 injuries.

This tornado developed at 335am CT 5 miles to the WNW of Purvis in Lamar County, MS and tracked Northeast strengthening as it does so.  Per the NWS Summary, 26 homes in Lamar County were destroyed or received major damage.  The tornado strengthened more in Forrest County.  As the tornado approached William Cary College, it intensified to EF3 strength, causing damage to numerous buildings on campus.  Two fatalities occurred in a mobile home park.  As the tornado continued its trek northeast, it caused EF2 damage to businesses along main street in Petal.  As the tornado reached Sun Circle, it intensified to EF3 strength again and caused significant damage to a few homes as well as moderate damage to many homes in the neighborhood.  Damage photos above from the NWS Jackson survey.  

 

More Information:

NCDC Database Entries:

NWS Jackson, MS Summary (Lamar and Forrest)

NWS Mobile/Pensacola Summary (Perry)

Thank you to Aaron Rigsby for his interview on this tornado.  Follow him on Twitter!  @AaronRigsbyOSC

#1: February 28 - Perryville, MO

Near Perryville, MO at 8:02 PM
Tornado near Elkville, IL -Tony Laubach via NWS Summary
Ground scarring/striations near Mississippi River in Perry County MO – NWS Storm Survey
Damage near County Rd 806 northwest of Perryville, MO – NWS Storm Survey
Damage near Moore Drive northwest of Perryville, MO – NWS Storm Survey

Overview:  This tornado received a rating of EF4.  The path length was 50.4 miles and the max width was 1100 yards.  There was 1 fatality and 12 injuries.

The strongest tornado of 2017 occurred during the late evening of February 28.  The tornado developed 4.8 miles WNW of Perryville, MO and tracked over 50 miles, finally lifting 1.8 miles SW of Christopher, IL.  The most significant damage occurred in Perry County and just NW of Perryville.  Five homes were leveled.  Per the NWS Survey, the damage path showed multiple vortex characteristics with ground striations/scarring to bear ground in Perry County near the Mississippi River.

More damage reported in the official survey:

  • The 5 homes mentioned above were just west of Interstate 55, approx 3.5 miles NW of Perryville.
  • Numerous unoccupied cards from a salvage yard were blown into or over I-55.
  • The fatality occurred when a pickup truck traveling southbound on I-55 was tossed into a field at least 100 yards from the interstate by the tornado.  The victim was thrown and died at the scene.  A passenger in the vehicle was treated for minor injuries.
  • The greatest home and property destruction was found 3 miles north of Perryville near U.S. Highway 61.

In Jackson County, EF3 damage was found on the south end of Vergennes. Winds were estimated near 145mph and a house was destroyed.   The tornado continued to produce EF3 damage in Franklin county.  The most intense damage was located south of Mulkeytown.  Per the NWS Summary:  A house was swept clean off its foundation. Debris was thrown up to a mile downwind. The debris was shredded, with nothing larger than 2-by-4 wood pieces. However, the house was sitting on a block foundation, unattached to anything. Based on the lack of any anchors for the house, peak winds were estimated near 160 mph at this site.

 

More Information:

NCDC Database Entries:

Perry County, MO:  https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/stormevents/eventdetails.jsp?id=677516

Jackson County, IL:  https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/stormevents/eventdetails.jsp?id=677489

Franklin County, IL:  https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/stormevents/eventdetails.jsp?id=677492

NWS Paducah Summary

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