A long-track, significant, cyclical HP supercell produced a path of 470 miles of wind, tornado damage & large hail (sometimes all three at once) March 8, 2009.
This one storm was responsible for 14 confirmed tornadoes, including an EF3 near Bedford, Indiana. In the Tri-State, the storm produced 4 tornadoes, one EF0, two EF1’s & an EF2. It varied at times from a classic supercell to more of a large, thick backwards “C” shape; sort of a supercell/small bow hybrid. A total of 26 confirmed tornadoes occurred from this storm system as a whole on March 8 from southeastern Missouri to far northwest Ohio.
The first severe reports were in the morning near the Missouri/Kansas line with the last severe report (EF1 tornado) northwest of Cincinatti by evening from the one particular storm that will receive the greatest attention in this blog entry.
The first amount of severe weather in the Tri-State occurred at 11:38 a.m. An EF0 tornado continued from Jefferson County just a short distance (0.63 miles) into Wayne County. A grain bin was thrown about 100 yards, while a storage bin was toppled. A farm auger was knocked over with metal decking or shingles stripped off barns amidst shingle and siding damage to homes. Peak winds were estimated near 85 mph.
Another tornado, an EF1, produced intermittent damage for 14.4 miles, which contained peak winds near 100 mph. Most of the damage was tree damage. Some trees were snapped and uprooted. Two structures were damaged, including a mobile home that was rolled while a man was inside. He suffered broken ribs. A nearby 40′ X 60′ foot storage shed had about one third blown over a storage barn into a house, causing significant damage to the house. Debris was blown into a field across the street, while a power pole was blown down. The tornado was witnessed about four miles north of Sims in the middle of a field. It was described as a black rotating cloud. Storm produced 1.00” diameter hail at Fairfield.
Another tornado, an EF2 tornado, tracked 4.73 miles, damaging several structures. Half of the roof was blown off one house, while well-built storage barn was blown into another house with debris was blown several hundred yards. Debris from a house slammed into a second house 0.14 mile away causing minor structural damage. A large metal barn partially caved in when a small grain elevator blew onto it. Peak winds were estimated near 122 mph. The tornado then crossed into Clay County & tracked northeastward. It then dissipated 1 minute later 7.3 miles southeast of Clay City. One home experienced minor damage and numerous trees were blown down.
As the storm roared through Richland County, a roof was torn off a trailer in Parkersburg, and a pole barn was destroyed 3 miles east of Claremont. Nickel to quarter-sized hail fell in the Lawrenceville area before this storm produced yet another tornado. Touching down 1 mile northeast of the Lawrenceville Airport, it then tracked northeastward to 1 mile southeast of Russellville at the Wabash River. The tornado then crossed the Wabash River into Knox County Indiana. Twenty irrigation units were destroyed along the path of the tornado. Numerous grain bins, machine sheds and pole barns were severely damaged as well. In addition, one home experienced moderate damage. One man sustained minor injuries from flying debris. A wind gust of 91 mph was measured at the Lawrenceville-Vincennes Airport. As the tornado continued into Knox County, it tracked just 0.2 miles through a very rural area with only tree damage.
Moving eastward, the storm caused heavy damage to a farm & house along Route 58 southwest of Freelandville (Knox County). Grain bins & elevator, as well as a machinery shed heavily damaged. The farm house on-site received roof damage & damage from debri blown off the farm buildings, etc. Debri blocked Route 58 for a time. A nearby green highway sign was bent over by the high winds. Winds of up to 90 mph occurred. Eastward, a funnel cloud was reported in northwestern Daviess County (Indiana) near Elnora.
Southwest of Odon, windows were blown out of a church, part of a barn roof blown off & a home had minor roof damage. Numerous trees, limbs were blown down. High-tension power poles were snapped, cutting off power to the entire town of Odon. Downstream, a wind gust of 83 mph was measured 3 miles southeast of Odon where visibility dropped to 0 & the air was filled with debri at the storm height. Across the county road from that measurement, several large trees’ tops were snapped & windows were blown out of a farm building 0.3 miles to the east. Near that location, metal from a nearby building was blown & bent around a power pole. Also nearby, a trailer was blown over & a mobile home was completely destroyed with debri blown down-wind for 0.5 miles. Tree damage was extensive in this area.
A funnel cloud was reported north of Bramble from this storm along the Martin/Daviess County line. This would eventually produce the EF0 tornado at Bedford (Lawrence County, Indiana) & the EF3 tornado near Fayetteville (Lawrence County, Indiana) that threw a full size school bus into a home.
A brief tornado occurred 4 miles southwest of Dixon, in Webster County, where four outbuildings were destroyed. A garage and a camper were damaged. An EF1, winds were up to 95 mph. Winds of up to 60 mph were accompanied by up to 1.00” diameter hail in Earlington & Horse Branch in Hopkins & Ohio counties, while a funnel cloud was reported at Nortonville. At 2:45 p.m., this was the last severe weather report for the Tri-State from this outbreak.
These images are courtesy of Dr. Ryan Maue, Heidelberg University & Joerg Kachelmann of weather.us:
Notice tornadic circulation in the supercell around Dix (top of image) at 12:27 p.m.:
The tornadic circulation morphed to the southern appendage of the storm east of Cisne by 12:54 p.m.
In this image, it appeared that the storm was gradually becoming more rear-flank downdraft-dominated with damaging winds. Notice this diffuse backwards “C” shape of reflectivity wrapping in toward & eventually around the then more-visible tornado in the storm since it was at the front.
Here, after producing likely downbursts near Calhoun, a clearly discernible tornadic circulation was developing near Claremont, in Richland County at 1:19 p.m.
Tornadic circulation is clearly noted in this image of the storm northwest of Lawrenceville. South of the circulation, forward-flank downdrafts winds produced downburst northeast of Lawrenceville. A gust of 91 mph was measured at the Lawrenceville-Vincennes Airport. This image was taken at 1:33 p.m.
As of 1:53 p.m., a circulation is evident around Busseron, but a very clear RIJ (rear inflow jet) can be seen in the lighter reflectivity south of Busseron, wrapping up & pointing directly to near Freelandville at this moment. This RIJ punching in was being pulled to the ground. With that, a series of intense downbursts of 80-90 mph was produced from near Freelendville to near Odon.
It is actually this circulation around Busseron that did produce a funnel cloud near Elnora (northwest of Odon as the other part of the storm was slamming areas south of Odon.
At this juncture (2:12 p.m.), the storm was very much straight-line wind-driven with intense downburst south to southeast of Odon. A funnel cloud was reported in the round appendage of the front of the storm, or south of the downburst (northwest of Loogootee). This was sighted by a spotter north of Loogootee on U.S. 231, looking northwest.
Odon area damage…..each blue dot, damage was documented. Path of the most intense wind damage was 4.6 miles with an average wide of 0.5 miles.