Evansville Tornado of November 2005

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Evansville Tornado of November 6, 2005
The Evansville, IN area tornado of November 6, 2005 taken by a webcam at Deaconess Women’s Hospital in Newburgh.
Date of tornado outbreak: November 5–6, 2005
Duration1: 10 hours 25 minutes
Maximum rated tornado2: F3 tornado
Tornadoes caused: 8
Highest winds:
Largest hail:
Damages: $92 million[1]
Fatalities: 25
Areas affected: Arkansas, Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio

1Time from first tornado to last tornado
2Most severe tornado damage; see Fujita Scale

The Evansville Tornado of November 2005 was an F3 tornado that formed early in the morning of November 6, 2005, outside of Evansville, Indiana, USA. It was the first of several tornado events that November. The tornado resulted in 25 confirmed fatalities across the region, making it the deadliest and most destructive November tornado in Indiana's history. The Evansville tornado was part of a small outbreak that produced 8 tornadoes.

Meteorological analysis[edit]

The system formed on a cold front that tracked across the Midwest and stretched from the northern Great Lakes to Tennessee. The front was enhanced by a strong jet stream and warm, humid air ahead of it, allowing thunderstorms to develop. A severe thunderstorm watch was issued for the region just west of Evansville as the main threat appeared to be straight-line winds.[2] The system had formed into a squall line but at about 1:30 am CST (0730 UTC), the squall line broke up in the Ohio Valley area, as the low level jet intensified, allowing embedded tornadoes to form rapidly out of newly formed supercells. They were fairly isolated (only seven were confirmed across the entire region over a 24-hour period) but three significant tornadoes formed from two simultaneous supercells in southern Indiana and western Kentucky — one of them was the deadly Evansville tornado.[3]

Confirmed tornadoes[edit]

Confirmed
Total
Confirmed
F0
Confirmed
F1
Confirmed
F2
Confirmed
F3
Confirmed
F4
Confirmed
F5
8 1 2 3 2 0 0

November 5 event[edit]

F# Location County Time (UTC) Path length Damage
Arkansas
F1 E of Moko to Camp Fulton unknown 5.5 miles A house had shingles torn off, a window blown out, and the porch was shifted. One person in the house sustained minor injuries from flying debris. Another house had broken windows and several outbuildings were destroyed. Farm machinery was overturned and several vehicles sustained damage. Numerous trees were downed or snapped off along the path.[4]
F2 SW of Sitka Sharp unknown 5 miles One mobile home was demolished, with contents strewn well across a field, and another mobile home was damaged. A storage shed was thrown across a road into trees, and a travel trailer was overturned. A vacant house was destroyed by falling trees, and five vehicles were damaged, with windows being blown out. Numerous trees were uprooted or snapped off along the path. Three people were injured.[5]
Missouri
F1 E of Garrison to S of Ava Christian, Douglas 0200 17 miles
(29 km)
One home sustained minor damage.[6]
F2 E of Myrtle to Tucker Oregon, Ripley 0420 7 miles
(11 km)
A barn and a home in Tucker sustained extensive damage. Elsewhere, two mobile homes were destroyed, and several other homes were heavily damaged.[7][8]

November 6 event[edit]

F# Location County Time (UTC) Path length Damage
Kentucky
F3 N of Smith Mills to S of Gentryville, Indiana Henderson, KY
Vanderburgh, Warrick, Spencer IN
0750 41 miles
(66 km)
25 deaths - see section on this tornado.
F3 N of Mattoon to Wheatcroft Crittenden, Webster 0750 11.25 miles
(18 km)
In Crittenden County, the tornado completely destroyed a two-story house and a mobile home. Another home lost its roof, and numerous large trees were snapped and uprooted. A small boat was carried 400 yards, and a semi-truck was overturned on Highway 60. In Webster County, slight structural damage occurred, trees were snapped, a large shed door was blown off, and pillar columns at a house were bent. At the end of its path, the tornado struck Wheatcroft, where a tool shed was destroyed and two campers were overturned. A pickup truck without an engine was rolled about 200 feet, and the hood of the truck went through a window. Smaller trees and a house antenna were blown down as well. Five people were injured.[9][10]
F2 Munfordville Hart 1045 unknown Tornado struck downtown Munfordville, where there was major damage to 44 homes and two businesses. Twenty-five homes were declared uninhabitable, and six businesses and 34 homes had minor damage. Munfordville Elementary School had part of its roof removed by the tornado. About 50 vehicles in a car dealership lot were totaled as well.[11]
Ohio
F0 Russellville area Brown 1225 unknown Brief tornado downed a few trees in a field.[12]

Evansville area tornado[edit]

The track the tornado took across southern Indiana near Evansville

On Sunday, November 6, 2005 at around 1:50 am CST (0750 UTC), an F3 tornado touched down 2 miles (3 km) north-northwest of Smith Mills in Henderson County, Kentucky. The tornado moved northeast, snapping numerous trees, destroying a farmhouse, and throwing a pickup truck into a field.[13] The tornado then crossed the Ohio River and moved across a rural peninsula of Vanderburgh County, Indiana. Few structures were impacted in this rural area, though a two-story house built in 1875 sustained major roof damage, and tree branches were embedded into the walls of the house. One farm equipment shed was demolished, and another sustained major damage. A 10,000-pound truck was flipped over, and heavy farm equipment was moved several feet. Aerial surveys revealed distinct spiral-shaped scour marks in farm fields in this area.[14][15] The tornado crossed the river again back into Kentucky, causing extensive tree damage on both sides of the river. Almost immediately after crossing the river, the tornado slammed into a horse racing facility called Ellis Park. There was extensive damage to grandstands and housing facilities for jockeys. A few race horses were killed there.[16]

The tornado crossed the Ohio River a third time back into Indiana and across the southern fringes of Evansville. Here, the tornado ripped directly through the Eastbrook Mobile Home Park, obliterating numerous mobile homes and killing 20 people. Of about 350 mobile homes in the park, 100 were destroyed and another 125 were damaged. The coroner reported that most of the victims were probably killed instantly, many by spine and skull fractures. Several bodies were carried almost two hundred yards. The tornado then crossed into Warrick County, Indiana at the Angel Mounds State Historic Site. Several permanent homes were destroyed in this area, along with many others on the north side of Newburgh.[17][18] Past Newburgh, the tornado reached its peak intensity (high-end F3) as it tore through an industrial park near Paradise. Further northeast, the tornado passed just south of Boonville and caused a fatality in a vehicle. The tornado then tore directly through the small community of DeGonia Springs, tossing vehicles and destroying homes. Some of the homes in the community were leveled, and three people were killed in a mobile home in this area.[19][20] The tornado began to rapidly weaken as it passed just south of Tennyson, and then dissipated as it crossed into Spencer County, Indiana. Overall, the tornado damaged or destroyed 500 buildings, killed 25 people, and injured 230 others.[21]

Tornado warnings were in effect at the time and issued on average about 30 minutes before the tornado hit, but few people were alerted as many were asleep as the tornado hit in the overnight hours.[22] The local NOAA Weather Radio transmitter was experiencing technical difficulties at the time, causing some weather radios to not sound an alarm. Damages were estimated at around $85 million.[23]

Aftermath[edit]

F3 tornado damage near Angel Mounds, Indiana

The community's response to the tornado garnered national praise. Brad Gair, a coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) noted, "I don't think I've ever seen a community of people come out so quickly to help each other. All communities come together after a disaster, but this one is exceptional."[24] A local telethon helped raise the funds. "Just having a telethon that quickly was amazing," said Gair, "Then to raise that kind of money ... That's unusual."[24]

On August 12, 2006 a granite monument memorial was built at Eastbrook Mobile Home Park, along with a new playground dedicated to the children lost in the tornado. It was part of a campaign launched by two parents that lost children in the tornado. In addition, Rep. Phil Hoy introduced a bill called "CJ's law" which mandates that manufacturers of mobile homes install an operating weather radio with a separate power outlet in order to alert residents. It was named after victim C.J. Martin, who was two years old.[25] Vanderburgh County also passed legislation toughening safety standards for their 3,100 mobile homes, requiring them to be more securely anchored with additional straps and braces, to try to prevent another tornado disaster.[26]

Ellis Park was rebuilt and reopened on June 1, 2006, for training. The first races at the rebuilt facility were held on July 19, 2006.[27]

Local television station WEHT began a campaign after the tornado to provide weather radios to tornado victims for free, and to all for a discounted price.[28] Even WEHT's competitors have now posted how to program a weather radio on their websites.[29] This program has since spread to many different areas of the country.[30]

"Habitat for Humanity" Evansville Chapter launched construction of "Operation Home Again," the New Haven Subdivision, which are new homes dedicated to the survivors of the tornado at Green River Road and Fickas Road. When complete the subdivision will have 55 homes, a playground, and a park. There are four streets in the subdivision – Inspiration Street, Healing Street, Promise Street, and Belief Street.[31]

Fatalities[edit]

Event death toll
State Total County County
total
Indiana 25 Vanderburgh 21
Warrick 4
Totals 25
All deaths were tornado-related

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Storm Events". National Climatic Data Center. Retrieved 2006-10-28. 
  2. ^ "Severe Thunderstorm Watch 844". Storm Prediction Center. 2005-11-06. Retrieved 2006-10-28. 
  3. ^ "Severe Thunderstorm Watch # 844" (GIF image). Storm Prediction Center. 2005-11-06. Retrieved 2006-10-28. 
  4. ^ http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/stormevents/eventdetails.jsp?id=5485483
  5. ^ http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/stormevents/eventdetails.jsp?id=5485482
  6. ^ http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/stormevents/eventdetails.jsp?id=5479413
  7. ^ http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/stormevents/eventdetails.jsp?id=5479420
  8. ^ http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/stormevents/eventdetails.jsp?id=5479360
  9. ^ http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/stormevents/eventdetails.jsp?id=5479358
  10. ^ http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/stormevents/eventdetails.jsp?id=5479359
  11. ^ http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/stormevents/eventdetails.jsp?id=5480279
  12. ^ http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/stormevents/eventdetails.jsp?id=5485121
  13. ^ "Storm Events Database". NCDC. NCDC. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Storm Events Database". NCDC. NCDC. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  15. ^ "NOVEMBER 6, 2005 Evansville Area Tornado". NWS Paducah. NOAA. November 8, 2011. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Storm Events Database". NCDC. NCDC. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Storm Events Database". NCDC. NCDC. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Storm Events Database". NCDC. NCDC. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Storm Events Database". NCDC. NCDC. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  20. ^ "NOVEMBER 6, 2005 Evansville Area Tornado". NWS Paducah. NOAA. November 8, 2011. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Storm Events Database". NCDC. NCDC. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Tornado kills 22 in Indiana". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-02. 
  23. ^ NCDC Storm Events-Select State
  24. ^ a b "FEMA Director Praises Local Teamwork". Evansville Courier & Press. 2005-11-10. Archived from the original on May 29, 2006. Retrieved 2005-11-15. 
  25. ^ "Playground, monument a tribute to victims of Nov. 6 tornado". Evansville Courier & Press. Retrieved 2007-02-10. 
  26. ^ "Mobile home standards approved". Evansville Courier & Press. Retrieved 2007-02-10. 
  27. ^ "Ellis Park Website". Archived from the original on December 11, 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-10. 
  28. ^ "News 25's Digital Weather Radio Hub". Evansville, IN: News 25. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  29. ^ "Weather Alert Radio at Wesselman's". Evansville, IN: 14 WFIE. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  30. ^ "Midland Digital All Hazards NOAA Weather Radio with S.A.M.E. Technology". Lexington, KY: WKYT. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  31. ^ "Habitat Web Site". Retrieved 2008-06-10. [dead link]

See also[edit]