The Severe Weather Outbreak of 2/13/00

  • This page is dedicated to the 24 people who lost their lives in this tornado outbreak.
    (18 in Mitchell Co, GA; 5 in Grady Co, GA; 1 in Colquitt Co, GA)

  • Introduction:

    The first significant severe weather outbreak of 2000 occurred on the afternoon of February 13 in the southeast US. Severe (and tornadic) thunderstorms covered LA, AR, MS, AL, TN, GA, and FL... prompting simultaneous tornado watches that covered over 230 counties. Numerous flash flood, severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings were also issued.

  • Synoptic Description:

    An early spring-like low pressure system with a central pressure of 1003mb was located just south of Fort Smith, AR at 23Z on 2/13. The associated warm front stretched east through central Arkansas with the cold front through extreme southeastern Oklahoma and the trough/dryline combination through eastern Texas. A lone supercell developed at about 23Z along the warm front just north of Little Rock, prompting the issuance of a tornado warning in 3 counties.
    At 23Z, pressure falls with this system continued to show this system strengthening as 3 hour drops of 4mb were common over southern TN, eastern MS and western AL. These significant pressure falls allowed surface and low-level moisture to increase ahead of the approaching system. Dewpoint readings were into the 60's over most portions, with 63 in Dothan, Alabama, and 63 in Montgomery.
    Instability over the Mississippi and Alabama regions was limited somewhat due to lack of diurnal conditions, as CAPE values of 500-1000 J/kg were common over the area. Lifted indexes were -4 over most of AL, with -6 over southern MS/AL. Greater helicity readings and lower CAPE/brn numbers led to isolated supercells between Montgomery and Troy Alabama during the evening of the 13th, with several tornado warnings being issued.
    Several hours of severe weather occurred before the upper level jet energy moved northeast and away from the instability.

  • Radar and Satellite:

    Radar Summary Animation (Courtesy of Intellicast)
    [908kb... covers 9 hours]

    Visible Satellite Image (Courtesy of NASA/GHCC)

  • Other Info:

    Extent of Watches/Warnings (Courtesy of EarthWatch)

    Damage Reports (Courtesy of SPC)

    The storms left 1000's of people without power, 100's were injured, and two dozen were killed. This first outbreak of the year will raise severe weather awareness as the more active Spring storm season approaches.

    "We've had whole neighborhoods destroyed. Our people are dead. There are a lot of injuries and the roads are impassable."

    "When I got outside and looked around, everything was gone. You could hear moaning and crying."

    "The whole house came up and I came up with it. I was just praying to the Lord to take care of me."

    "All I could see was that everything was demolished. People were hollering and crying 'Where's my child?'"

    "It looks like a nuclear bomb went off."
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