2008 Super Tuesday Tornado Outbreak – Counting the Losses
Few Americans can forget the 2008 Super Tuesday Tornado Outbreak, the deadly tornado outbreak that affected the southern part of the United States and the lower Ohio Valley. The tornado struck on February 5 and 6, 2008.
The tornadoes started on Super Tuesday as twenty-four states were taking part in primary elections and caucuses to select the presidential candidate for the upcoming presidential elections. Among the states affected included Missouri, Illinois, Alabama and Arkansas as well as Tennessee. So devastating was the Super Tuesday Tornado Outbreak that some of the affected states were forced to close their polls early as voters sought shelter.
Fifteen Hours of Mayhem
A total of 87 tornadoes occurred during the entire course of the outbreak. The tornadoes lasted for over 15 hours starting on the afternoon of February 5th until the early hours of February 6. The worst hit areas were the densely populated areas such as the Memphis metropolitan areas, Jackson, Tennessee and the northern metropolitan area of Nashville. Nearly 60 people lost their lives in the four states that were hit by the 2008 Super Tuesday Tornado Outbreak. Hundreds of others were injured and property worth millions of dollars was destroyed.
Outbreak One of the Most Devastating in History
At the time of its occurrence, the 2008 Super Tuesday Tornado Outbreak was the most devastating tornado in the era of the modern NEXRAD doppler radar. This means it was the most deadly outbreak since at least 1997. It was also the second most destructive tornado outbreak to have occurred in the United States since 1979 when the United States witnessed one the most devastating tornados in its history. That tornado hit the Mississippi valley and killed more than 123 residents. The 1979 outbreak affected Tennessee and proceeded to cause more damage in Kentucky. Another outbreak, the 1974 Super Outbreak Damage was estimated to cause damages worth more than $500 million.
In the wake of the 2008 Super Tuesday Tornado Outbreak, authorities put in place measures to ensure that the areas in tornado prone areas would be adequately informed in advance before a tornado hits the ground or when it is first seen. While such warnings may not necessarily save property, authorities say that it would certainly save lives.
The weather patterns that generated the 2008 Super Tuesday Tornado Outbreak also triggered an onset of heavy flooding accompanied by significant freezing rain and heavy snow downfall across vast areas of the eastern North America. The entire damage caused by this overly destructive tornado outbreak was estimated to have been in excess of $1 billion.