February–March 2007 tornado outbreak sequence

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February–March 2007 Tornado outbreak sequence
Radar scan of the Enterprise tornado
Date of tornado outbreak: February 28 – March 2, 2007
Duration1: 37 hours, 7 minutes
Maximum rated tornado2: EF4 tornado
Tornadoes caused: 56 confirmed
Highest winds:
Largest hail:
Damages: >$580 million[1]
Fatalities: 20 + 19 non-tornadic
Areas affected: Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Deep South region

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

The February–March 2007 tornado outbreak sequence was a deadly tornado outbreak across the southern United States that began in Kansas on February 28, 2007. The severe weather spread eastward on March 1 and left a deadly mark across the southern US, particularly in Alabama and Georgia. Twenty deaths were reported; one in Missouri, nine in Georgia, and 10 in Alabama. Scattered severe weather was also reported in North Carolina on March 2, producing the final tornado of the outbreak before the storms moved offshore into the Atlantic Ocean.[2]

In the end, there were 56 tornadoes confirmed during the outbreak, including three EF3 tornadoes reported across three states, as well as three EF4 tornadoes; two in Alabama and one in Kansas, the first such tornadoes since the introduction of the Enhanced Fujita Scale. Total damages were estimated at over $580 million from tornadoes alone, making it the fourth costliest tornado outbreak in US history (the figure not including damage from other thunderstorm impacts including hail and straight-line winds).[1] Insured losses in the state of Georgia topped $210 million, making this outbreak the costliest in that state's history.[3] Enterprise, Alabama, which was hit the hardest, sustained damages in excess of $307 million.[4]

Meteorological synopsis[edit]

The tornado outbreak was related to a large low-pressure system across the central United States that intensified on February 28 while over Kansas, and a cold front moved across the region, providing the lift needed to allow the storms to develop. In addition, a surge of very moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and warm temperatures across the south side of the storm helped feed the storms. Temperatures were in the 70s °F (low 20s °C) in some areas to the south, while the mercury was below freezing on the north side. The dewpoints were in the 60 °F (16 °C) range as far north as southeastern Kansas, which provided extra fuel.[5]

A moderate risk of severe storms was issued by the Storm Prediction Center for February 28 across parts of the central Plains. The first tornadoes developed early in the evening of February 28 in Kansas as the dry line pushed eastward and was lifted by the cold front.[6] In total, 12 tornadoes formed that evening across Kansas and Missouri, of which 11 were weak. However, one of the tornadoes was an EF4, the first such tornado recorded and the first violent tornado since September 22, 2006. No one was injured that evening. Farther south, expected activity in Oklahoma and Arkansas did not take place as the atmospheric cap held up.[7]

A high risk of severe storms—the first such issuance since April 7, 2006—was issued for a large part of the Deep South for March 1 as the cold front moved eastward.[8] The activity began almost immediately, with several isolated tornadoes taking place that morning across the Mississippi Valley, with one of them leading to the first fatality of the outbreak. Isolated tornadoes were also reported as far north as Illinois, near the center of the low. However, the most intense activity began around noon and continued throughout the afternoon and evening, with southern Alabama and southern Georgia hit the hardest. Nearly continuous supercells formed north of the Gulf of Mexico and produced many tornadoes, some of which hit large population centers with devastating effects. 20 people were killed by those tornadoes.[9]

Map of the 14 confirmed tornadoes in central Georgia

The squall line finally overtook the supercells just after midnight on March 2, after putting down 37 tornadoes that day. As the squall line overtook the cells, a few tornadoes — all EF0 — took place overnight in Florida and extreme southern Georgia within the squall line, before the severe weather emerged in the Atlantic Ocean that morning.[10] The final tornado was a landfalling waterspout in the Outer Banks of North Carolina late that morning.[11] In addition to the tornadoes, widespread straight-line wind damage from microbursts were also reported, along with scattered large hail, the largest of which were the size of baseballs.[12]

On the other side of the low pressure area, a significant blizzard occurred over the northern Great Plains and Upper Midwest, including parts of Minnesota, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska, where several snowfalls in excess of 8 to 18 inches (20–45 cm) were reported, as well as snow of between 6 and 11 inches (15–28 cm) across portions of Ontario and Quebec.[13] Freezing rain was reported across New England, the lower Great Lakes in Ontario, Michigan, and in the Chicago area. 19 people were killed by the storm, including two in Manitoba,[14] two in Ontario,[15] one in Massachusetts, four in North Dakota, one in Minnesota, three in Michigan, five in Wisconsin and one in Nebraska.[16] The University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities was closed for the first time since 1991 and the roof of a supermarket in Wisconsin collapsed. Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty called in the National Guard while governors Chet Culver (Iowa) and Michael Rounds (South Dakota) issued disaster declarations[17][18]

Confirmed tornadoes[edit]

Confirmed
Total
Confirmed
EF0
Confirmed
EF1
Confirmed
EF2
Confirmed
EF3
Confirmed
EF4
Confirmed
EF5
56 22 19 9 3 3 0

February 28 event[edit]

List of confirmed tornadoes - Wednesday, February 28, 2007
EF#
Location
County
Coord.
Time (UTC)
Path length
Damage
Florida
EF0 N of Collier City Broward 26°23′N 80°13′W / 26.39°N 80.22°W / 26.39; -80.22 (Tamarac (Feb. 28, EF0)) 1855 2.2 miles (3.5 km) A roof and a porch screen were damaged. Tree branches were broken as well.[19]
Kansas
EF0 W of Neosho Falls (1st tornado) Woodson 38°00′N 95°35′W / 38.00°N 95.59°W / 38.00; -95.59 (Neosho Falls (Feb. 28, EF0)) 0033 0.25 miles (0.40 km) First of two short-lived, simultaneous rope tornadoes with no damage.[20]
EF0 W of Neosho Falls (2nd tornado) Woodson 38°00′N 95°35′W / 38.00°N 95.59°W / 38.00; -95.59 (Neosho Falls (Feb. 28, EF0)) 0033 0.25 miles (0.40 km) Second of two short-lived, simultaneous rope tornadoes with no damage.[20]
EF0 WSW of Colony Anderson 38°03′N 95°25′W / 38.05°N 95.42°W / 38.05; -95.42 (Colony (Feb. 28, EF0)) 0053 1.2 miles (1.9 km) Tornado remained over open country. No damage was reported.[21]
EF0 N of Carlyle (1st tornado) Allen 30°01′N 95°24′W / 30.01°N 95.40°W / 30.01; -95.40 (Carlyle (Feb. 28, EF0)) 0101 0.1 miles (0.16 km) Brief rope tornado touched down in an open field with no damage.[22]
EF1 E of Colony to E of Welda Anderson 30°04′N 95°20′W / 30.07°N 95.34°W / 30.07; -95.34 (Welda (Feb. 28, EF1)) 0105 9.4 miles (15.1 km) Over 40 structures were damaged, most of which was only minor. Many trees and power lines were downed and numerous outbuildings were destroyed. A barn was also destroyed and a few homes suffered major structural damage. Windows were blown out of numerous homes and vehicles, and a large metal horse arena with steel girders and concrete footings was lifted out of the ground and destroyed. A horse and rider were thrown about 100 feet (30 m) but were uninjured. Another horse was injured when it had a steel pipe driven through its head. An old railroad car (at the time being used as a shed) was pushed off of its foundation and rolled three times, smashing fences.[23]
EF0 N of Carlyle (2nd tornado) Allen 38°02′N 95°24′W / 38.03°N 95.40°W / 38.03; -95.40 (Tamarac (Feb. 28, EF0)) 0107 0.25 miles (0.40 km) Wedge tornado remained over open country, causing no damage.[24]
EF4 E of Selma to NNE of Pleasanton Anderson, Linn 38°08′N 95°06′W / 38.13°N 95.10°W / 38.13; -95.10 (Mound City (Feb. 28, EF4)) 0124 28 miles (45 km) Large wedge tornado touched down in Anderson County as a weak EF0, downing trees and flattening grasses. It moved into Linn County where a farmhouse was swept away, with only the basement remaining, and several other houses and farm buildings were damaged or destroyed as it passed near Blue Mound and Mound City. The occupants of the house that sustained EF4 damage were in a storm cellar at the time and were not injured. Extensive tree and power line damage was also reported in Linn County. This was the first tornado to be rated EF4 on the newly implemented Enhanced Fujita Scale.[25][26]
Missouri
EF1 E of Alexander Bates 38°20′N 94°32′W / 38.33°N 94.53°W / 38.33; -94.53 (Tamarac (Feb. 28, EF1)) 0227 12.9 miles (20.8 km)) Major damage was reported to one house and minor damage to several other structures. Trees and power lines were downed.[27]
EF1 E of Gunn City Cass, Johnson 38°40′N 94°09′W / 38.67°N 94.15°W / 38.67; -94.15 (Tamarac (Feb. 28, EF1)) 0405 6.2 miles (10.0 km) A mobile home was destroyed and two houses and a garage were damaged.[28][29]
Source: SPC Storm Reports Reports for 02/28/07, NCDC Storm Events Database, NWS Topeka, KS

March 1 event[edit]

List of confirmed tornadoes - Thursday, March 1, 2007
EF#
Location
County
Coord.
Time (UTC)
Path length
Damage
Missouri
EF0 WNW of Paris Monroe 39°31′N 92°13′W / 39.52°N 92.22°W / 39.52; -92.22 (Madison (Mar. 1, EF0)) 0730 2.1 miles (3.4 km) An intermittent tornado destroyed a machine shed, scattering debris up to 300 yards away. Flying debris damaged another machine shed and the roof of a farm house. Another home sustained slight roof damage further along the path, and several tree limbs and pine trees were downed.[30]
EF1 NNW of Paris Monroe 39°36′N 92°09′W / 39.60°N 92.15°W / 39.60; -92.15 (Granville (Mar. 1, EF1)) 0740 3.4 miles (5.5 km) Another intermittent tornado destroyed a machine shed and damaged a pole barn. Debris from the machine shed was scattered up to 1/2 a mile away. Several trees were downed and four cows were killed by flying debris.[31]
EF1 NNE of Paris Monroe, Shelby 39°36′N 92°06′W / 39.60°N 92.10°W / 39.60; -92.10 (North Fork (Mar. 1, EF1)) 0743 8.6 miles (13.8 km) A metal shed, a pole barn, and a house were damaged before the tornado moved northeast. There it damaged numerous structures and automobiles as well as downing several trees. A house lost entire parts of its roof and walls and a mobile home was flipped over. The tornado continued to the northeast where it partially destroyed a shed and completely destroyed a pole barn. Many cedar trees were downed and another pole barn sustained minor roof and siding damage. The tornado downed more trees and power poles before moving into Shelby County where it destroyed another pole barn before dissipating.[32][33]
EF3 N of Bakersfield to SW of West Plains Ozark, Howell 36°35′N 92°09′W / 36.59°N 92.15°W / 36.59; -92.15 (Caulfield (Mar. 1, EF3)) 1224 15 miles (24 km) 1 death - Trees and power lines were downed in Ozark County before the tornado moved into Howell County.[34] In Howell County, the tornado struck the town of Caulfield directly, destroying numerous structures along with some farms in the area. A gas station in town was severely damaged.[35] The fatality occurred when the person's mobile home was destroyed. Four other people suffered injuries from the same mobile home.[36]
Arkansas
EF0 SE of Oak Grove Carroll 36°25′N 93°23′W / 36.42°N 93.39°W / 36.42; -93.39 (Oak Grove (Mar. 1, EF0)) 1028 2 miles (3.2 km) Several trees were snapped and a chicken house was damaged.[37]
Louisiana
EF0 SW of Jonesville Catahoula 31°32′N 91°55′W / 31.53°N 91.91°W / 31.53; -91.91 (Archie (Mar. 1, EF0)) 1550 0.5 miles (0.80 km) Brief tornado remained in an inaccessible wooded area with no reported damage.[38]
Illinois
EF0 SW of Jonesboro Union 37°26′N 89°18′W / 37.44°N 89.30°W / 37.44; -89.30 (Jonesboro (Mar. 1, EF0)) 1645 1.8 miles (2.9 km) About 15 to 20 homes suffered minor damage. Many trees were either uprooted or topped. One tree that landed on a house caused heavy damage and trapped a resident inside.[39]
EF0 SW of Elwin Macon 39°46′N 88°59′W / 39.77°N 88.99°W / 39.77; -88.99 (Elwin (Mar. 1, EF0)) 1847 1 mile (1.6 km) A house porch and a church chimney were damaged. Many trees were downed, one of which fell across three vehicles. One person suffered minor injuries.[40]
Florida
EF0 N of Indian Ford Santa Rosa 30°46′N 86°56′W / 30.77°N 86.94°W / 30.77; -86.94 (Indian Ford (Mar. 1, EF0)) 1720 0.5 miles (0.80 km) Weak tornado briefly touched down in a forest, downing several trees and power lines.[41]
Mississippi
EF1 E of Benton Yazoo 32°48′N 90°14′W / 32.80°N 90.23°W / 32.80; -90.23 (Benton (Mar. 1, EF1)) 1758 6.5 miles (10.5 km) Many trees and power lines were downed and a barn suffered roof damage.[42]
Alabama
EF0 N of Industry Butler 31°38′N 96°38′W / 31.63°N 96.64°W / 31.63; -96.64 (Industry (Mar. 1, EF0)) 1805 3.2 miles (5.1 km) Several trees were blown down and a tractor-trailer was blown off of Highway 106.[43]
EF4 Millers Ferry to S of Five Points Wilcox, Dallas 32°07′N 87°25′W / 32.12°N 87.41°W / 32.12; -87.41 (Millers Ferry (Mar. 1, EF4)) 1827 18.3 miles (29.5 km) 1 death - In Wilcox County, this violent wedge tornado devastated a recreational/residential area at the William "Bill" Dannelly Reservoir, where 40 homes were heavily damaged or destroyed and debris was scattered up to two miles away. Most of these were mobile homes, but four frame homes were destroyed, including two that were leveled. One man was killed in this area when he was thrown from his mobile home, and several vehicles were tossed around and damaged as well.[44][45] In Dallas County, 27 homes suffered varying degrees of damage, and two homes were completely destroyed near the Five Points community. At least six outbuildings were damaged, and numerous trees and power lines were either snapped off or uprooted along the path. 2 people were injured.[46]
EF4 Enterprise area Coffee 31°17′N 85°55′W / 31.28°N 85.92°W / 31.28; -85.92 (Enterprise (Mar. 1, EF4)) 1908 10 miles (16 km) 9 deaths - See section on this tornado - First tornado to cause deaths at a school since 1993. 50 additional people were injured.
EF1 SW of Echo to S of Hatcher, GA Dale, Henry, Clay (GA), Quitman (GA) 31°27′N 85°31′W / 31.45°N 85.51°W / 31.45; -85.51 (Echo (Mar. 1, EF1)) 1948 37.9 miles (61.0 km) Tornado touched down in Dale County where 24 mobile homes were damaged and five more were destroyed. Four people were injured in one of the mobile homes. The tornado also destroyed 18 chicken houses, killing around 140,000 chickens. Numerous trees and utility poles were downed before the storm moved into Henry County. The tornado caused sporadic tree damage before hitting the community of Bethlehem where 51 mobile homes were damaged and an additional 28 were destroyed. Two more people were injured in one of these mobile homes. A semi was overturned before the tornado entered Otho where the tornado destroyed 14 homes and damaged 27 others. It then downed trees and power lines before entering Clay County, Georgia near Lake Eufaula. After crossing the state line, the tornado damaged several more homes and downed more trees before entering Quitman County. It downed a few more trees in Quitman County before lifting. In all there were six injuries from the tornado.[47][48][49][50]
EF2 E of Sandy Ridge to NE of Garters Hill Lowndes, Montgomery 32°02′N 86°27′W / 32.03°N 86.45°W / 32.03; -86.45 (Letohatchee (Mar. 1, EF2)) 2048 24.6 miles (39.6 km) The tornado touched down in Lowndes County where it damaged several structures and downed trees.[51] It grew into a large tornado and moved into Montgomery County, affecting the rural communities of Davenport, Fleta, Ada, and Sprague. 10 automobiles were significantly damaged, one of which was thrown 300 feet from a road, resulting in two injuries. Five large chicken houses were obliterated near Davenport, and at least 23 barns and outbuildings were damaged along the path. One high voltage power transmission line was totally destroyed, and 39 homes were damaged, three of which were destroyed. Fourteen grain silos were destroyed, four of which were picked up and thrown up to one half of a mile away from where they were anchored. Hundreds of trees were snapped and uprooted along the path.[52]
EF1 NW of Fayette Fayette 33°49′N 87°54′W / 33.81°N 87.90°W / 33.81; -87.90 (Fayette (Mar. 1, EF1)) 2059 11.2 miles (18.0 km) Several houses and storage buildings suffered minor damage. Many trees were downed as well.[53]
EF1 N of Samantha Tuscaloosa 33°26′N 87°38′W / 33.43°N 87.64°W / 33.43; -87.64 (Samantha (Mar. 1, EF1)) 2100 3.7 miles (6.0 km) Numerous trees were uprooted and a house lost its roof. Initially confirmed as two different tornado tracks but revised as a single tornado following an aerial survey.[54]
EF2 N of Lewis Smith Lake to NW of Crane Hill Winston, Cullman 34°05′N 87°15′W / 34.08°N 87.25°W / 34.08; -87.25 (Arley (Mar. 1, EF2)) 2145 9.6 miles (15.4 km) Several homes and barns were damaged along the path. One chicken house was totally destroyed and two others sustained major damage. Numerous trees were either uprooted or snapped off.[55]
EF1 Adamsville area Jefferson 33°35′N 86°57′W / 33.58°N 86.95°W / 33.58; -86.95 (Adamsville (Mar. 1, EF1)) 2206 0.9 miles (1.4 km) Dozens of trees in town were either uprooted or snapped off. Many trees fell on homes and caused significant structural damage. One home had a large portion of its roof lifted off.[56]
EF2 NW of Phenix City to W of Midland, GA Russell, Lee. Muscogee (GA) 32°31′N 85°03′W / 32.51°N 85.05°W / 32.51; -85.05 (Phenix City (Mar. 1, EF2)) 2327 12.2 miles (19.6 km) Trees were downed in Russel County before the tornado crossed into Lee County.[57] There, at least 25 homes suffered minor shingle, window, or structural damage. Many trees were downed, several of which fell onto houses as the tornado moved through Phenix City. The tornado then crossed into Georgia where it struck the city of Columbus and caused heavy damage to multiple homes and commercial buildings. Windows were blown out of buildings, large air conditioning units were tossed around, and signs, trees, and power poles were downed as well. One hotel was destroyed from roof and water damage, another suffered heavy damage, and one more sustained minor damage. A bowling alley had its roof torn off. At least three churches suffered heavy damage and hundreds of trees and power poles were downed, many of which fell onto vehicles. One person was injured.[58]
EF1 NNW of Montevallo Shelby 33°10′N 86°41′W / 33.16°N 86.68°W / 33.16; -86.68 (Montevallo (Mar. 1, EF1)) 2356 0.7 miles (1.1 km) At least 15 large pine trees were snapped off. One home suffered major roof damage and a barn sustained roof damage as well.[59]
Kentucky
EF1 Elkton area Todd 36°50′N 87°10′W / 36.83°N 87.16°W / 36.83; -87.16 (Elkton (Mar. 1, EF1)) 2020 0.2 miles (320 m) Tornado clipped the northwest side of Elkton. Roofs were blown off of a mobile home, a site-built home, and a storage building. A chain-link fence and several trees were downed as well.[60]
Georgia
EF1 Richland Stewart 32°04′N 84°41′W / 32.07°N 84.68°W / 32.07; -84.68 (Madison (Mar. 1, EF0)) 2111 1.5 miles (2.4 km) Tornado struck downtown Richland. At least 50 houses and businesses suffered varying degrees of damage. A frail wooden commercial building and a church were destroyed. One mobile home was shifted off its foundation, a tractor-trailer was lifted and dropped, and trees and power lines were downed.[61]
EF2 SW of Pottersville to E of Reynolds Taylor 32°29′N 84°10′W / 32.49°N 84.16°W / 32.49; -84.16 (Reynolds (Mar. 1, EF2)) 2229 7.7 miles (12.4 km) 1 death - Two mobile homes were destroyed and others were damaged. Several trees were downed and several houses suffered roof damage. Four additional injuries were reported.
EF3 E of Roberta Crawford, Bibb 32°43′N 83°56′W / 32.72°N 83.93°W / 32.72; -83.93 (Roberta (Mar. 1, EF3)) 2234 9.7 miles (15.6 km) Several homes and outbuildings were damaged or destroyed and many trees were downed in Crawford County.[62] In Bibb County, one home was damaged and several trees and power lines were downed. Nine people were injured by this tornado.[63]
EF1 NW of Fort Valley Crawford 32°37′N 83°58′W / 32.61°N 83.97°W / 32.61; -83.97 (Fort Valley (Mar. 1, EF3)) 2249 11.9 miles (19.2 km) Numerous trees were downed, several outbuildings were damaged or destroyed, and several homes suffered minor structural damage.[64]
EF0 W of Sherwood Forest Bibb 32°52′N 83°49′W / 32.87°N 83.81°W / 32.87; -83.81 (Sherwood Forest (Mar. 1, EF0)) 2251 2.6 miles (4.2 km) Homes suffered minor roof damage, a gas station was damaged, and several signs, traffic signals, trees, and power lines were downed.[65]
EF1 NE of Macon Jones 32°54′N 83°31′W / 32.90°N 83.52°W / 32.90; -83.52 (Macon (Mar. 1, EF1)) 2330 3.6 miles (5.8 km) Many trees were downed, some of which fell onto homes. Several commercial and residential structures suffered varying degrees of damage and a railroad crossing arm and its support pole was knocked over.[66]
EF0 SSE of Gray Jones 32°59′N 83°25′W / 32.99°N 83.41°W / 32.99; -83.41 (Gray (Mar. 1, EF0)) 2344 75 yards (69 m) Brief tornado downed about two dozen trees. Came from the same cell that produced the first Jones County tornado.[67]
EF1 W of Talbotton Talbot 32°41′N 84°40′W / 32.68°N 84.66°W / 32.68; -84.66 (Talbotton (Mar. 1, EF1)) 0000 4.1 miles (6.6 km) Several houses suffered minor roof damage and at least five outbuildings and one mobile home were destroyed. A porch was destroyed at a home and a feed store and a barn were damaged. Numerous trees were downed as well.[68]
EF2 ENE of Warrenton Warren, McDuffie 33°25′N 82°37′W / 33.42°N 82.61°W / 33.42; -82.61 (Warrenton (Mar. 1, EF2)) 0108 11.7 miles (18.8 km) In Warren County, the tornado struck the north side of Warrenton, where a school and several mobile homes were damaged and another mobile home was destroyed. Eight site-built homes suffered major damage, 13 received moderate damage and 17 more had minor damage before the tornado crossed into McDuffie County.[69] After crossing the county line, the tornado downed numerous trees and power lines and several vehicles, homes, and a private school suffered moderate to major damage. The tornado injured three people in Warren County.[70]
EF3 SE of Weston to Americus to SW of Oglethorpe Webster, Sumter, Macon 31°55′N 84°33′W / 31.92°N 84.55°W / 31.92; -84.55 (Americus (Mar. 1, EF3)) 0200 43.2 miles (69.5 km) 2 deaths - See section on this tornado - 11 additional people were injured.
EF0 SW of Allentown Bleckley 32°33′N 83°17′W / 32.55°N 83.29°W / 32.55; -83.29 (Cary (Mar. 1, EF0)) 0330 1.4 miles (2.3 km) Short-lived tornado destroyed several outbuildings and damaged the porches to several structures. Numerous trees were downed and three houses suffered roof damage.[71]
EF2 SE of Irwinton Wilkinson 32°40′N 83°09′W / 32.66°N 83.15°W / 32.66; -83.15 (Irwinton (Mar. 1, EF2)) 0340 13.3 miles (21.4 km) One home suffered minor to moderate damage and many trees and power lines were downed.[72]
EF1 NE of Oakland Marion 32°29′N 84°31′W / 32.49°N 84.51°W / 32.49; -84.51 (Junction City (Mar. 1, EF1)) 0352 2.5 miles (4.0 km) One barn was destroyed and another suffered roof damage. A mobile home was shifted off of its foundation and a house lost its porch roof. Numerous trees and fences were downed.[73]
EF2 W of Newton to N of Bridgeboro Baker, Mitchell, Dougherty, Worth 31°19′N 84°27′W / 31.32°N 84.45°W / 31.32; -84.45 (Newton (Mar. 1, EF2)) 0444 30.5 miles (49.1 km) 6 deaths - The tornado touched down in Baker County and destroyed a mobile home park just north of Newton, where the fatalities and three injuries took place. A church was destroyed, and ten homes suffered minor damage, nine suffered major damage, and 18 were destroyed. The tornado then crossed into Mitchell County and caused minor damage to 26 homes, major damage to 25 homes, and destroyed two homes. 13 businesses sustained minor damage, about 200 acres of pecan trees were uprooted, and a semi truck was flipped just north of Baconton. The tornado then moved into Dougherty County and ripped carports and shingles away from several homes. Ten homes suffered minor damage and twomore suffered major damage. Hundreds of trees were downed before the tornado crossed into Worth County. It moved north of Bridgeboro and uprooted trees and damaged several mobile homes before lifting.[74][75][76][77]
Source: SPC Storm Reports Reports for 03/01/07, NCDC Storm Events Database, NWS St. Louis, NWS Springfield, MO, NWS Jackson, MS, NWS Mobile, AL, NWS Tallahassee, NWS Peachtree City

March 2 event[edit]

List of confirmed tornadoes - Friday, March 2, 2007
EF#
Location
County
Coord.
Time (UTC)
Path length
Damage
Georgia
EF2 S of Sylvester Worth 31°26′N 83°53′W / 31.44°N 83.89°W / 31.44; -83.89 (Sylvester (Mar. 2, EF2)) 0520 4.6 miles (7.4 km) Came from the same supercell as the Newton tornado. A brick house lost its roof and had a collapse of exterior walls. Two vehicles outside the home were thrown into a nearby field. Many trees were uprooted, one of which fell on a house. In moved northeast and downed hundreds more trees and destroyed a house, injuring two people, before lifting.[78]
EF2 Sumner area Worth 31°31′N 83°46′W / 31.51°N 83.76°W / 31.51; -83.76 (Sumner (Mar. 2, EF2)) 0530 2.9 miles (4.7 km) A mobile home was destroyed and 24 structures were damaged, about half of them heavily. Many tree and power poles were downed.[79]
EF1 N of Chula Tift, Turner 31°33′N 83°37′W / 31.55°N 83.62°W / 31.55; -83.62 (Chula (Mar. 2, EF0)) 0542 7.9 miles (12.7 km) Tornado touched down in Tift County and damaged 20 homes, seven of which received heavy damage and 13 of which received minor damage. Numerous trees were downed before the tornado entered Turner County. After crossing the county line, the tornado destroyed a barn and caused roof damage to several others. Fifteen homes suffered varying degrees of damage, including two that were destroyed. Trees, fences, and an irrigation system were downed before the tornado lifted.[80][81]
EF0 Lake Park area Lowndes 30°40′N 83°12′W / 30.67°N 83.20°W / 30.67; -83.20 (Lake Park (Mar. 2, EF0)) 0755 2 miles (3.2 km) Brief tornado touched down near a RV park. Minor structural damage was observed and numerous trees were downed.[82]
Florida
EF0 ENE of Monticello Jefferson 30°32′N 83°50′W / 30.53°N 83.84°W / 30.53; -83.84 (Monticello (Mar. 2, EF0)) 0710 2.3 miles (3.7 km) Tornado embedded in a squall line uprooted several trees and caused minor roof damage to one structure.[83]
EF1 NE of Cherry Lake Madison 30°35′N 83°26′W / 30.58°N 83.43°W / 30.58; -83.43 (Cherry Lake (Mar. 2, EF1)) 0736 3 miles (4.8 km) A house sustained roof and porch damage, and hundreds of trees were downed some of which landed on and damaged a vehicle, including about 130 acres of planted pine trees.[84]
EF0 E of Live Oak Suwannee 30°17′N 82°49′W / 30.29°N 82.82°W / 30.29; -82.82 (Live Oak (Mar. 2, EF0)) 0900 0.1 miles (160 m) Brief tornado caused heavy damage to a garage and downed trees and power lines.[85]
EF0 SSE of Callahan Nassau 30°32′N 81°48′W / 30.53°N 81.80°W / 30.53; -81.80 (Callahan (Mar. 2, EF0)) 1025 1.2 miles (1.9 km) Tornado damaged three mobile homes. Several sheds, fences, and trees were downed as well.[86]
South Carolina
EF0 NNE of New Ellenton Aiken 33°39′N 81°41′W / 33.65°N 81.68°W / 33.65; -81.68 (New Ellenton (Mar. 2, EF0)) 0720 4.9 miles (7.9 km) Tornado caused minor damage to two houses and downed many trees.[87]
North Carolina
EF0 Smyrna area Carteret 34°45′N 76°32′W / 34.75°N 76.53°W / 34.75; -76.53 (Smyrna (Mar. 2, EF0)) 1340 0.1 miles (0.16 km) A waterspout moved ashore and took the siding off of a house.[88]
Source: SPC Storm Reports Reports for 03/02/07, NCDC Storm Events Database

Enterprise, AL EF4 tornado[edit]

Early on the afternoon of Thursday, March 1, at 1:08 pm CST (19:08 UTC), a destructive tornado first developed near the Enterprise Municipal Airport. The tornado lifted off the ground briefly before returning to the ground as an even stronger storm.[89] It quickly slammed into Enterprise, Alabama, at 1:12 pm CST (19:12 UTC). The tornado left severe damage throughout a large section of the city. The most severe damage took place at Enterprise High School, where a section of the school was destroyed during the middle of the school day. Eight students were killed at the school and 50 other people were taken to local hospitals. Some early reports suggested that there had been as many as 15 deaths at Enterprise High School and 18 deaths statewide, which was found to be an over-estimation.[90] It was the first killer tornado at a US school since the Grand Isle, Louisiana tornado in 1993, and the deadliest tornado-related school disaster since one in Belvidere, Illinois in 1967.[91] One other death was reported in Enterprise at a nearby private residence when a woman's living room window was shattered by the tornado.[92][93]

US President G. W. Bush surveys tornado damage to Enterprise High School from Marine One.

At the school, the fatalities resulted from the collapse of a concrete block wall. One hallway completely collapsed, trapping many students in the rubble of the hallway known as 3rd Hall. The tornado at the school was so strong that it tossed and mangled cars in the parking lot, flattened parts of the stadium and tore trees out of the ground. School buses were there for an early dismissal due to the storms at just after 1 pm, but the tornado hit before the school could be dismissed.[94]

Nearby Hillcrest Elementary School also sustained severe damage from the tornado. After the tornado hit, students from both schools who were not injured were relocated by emergency personnel to Hillcrest Baptist Church, adjacent to the schools and which was not damaged, in order to meet up with shocked parents. Emergency personnel also rushed to the school to send the most seriously injured to local hospitals and provide treatment on the scene to others.[94]

The tornado initially formed in a neighborhood just south of the downtown area; after demolishing a section of the downtown area, it moved on to the schools. The tornado then continued northeast crossing the Holly Hill and Dixie Drive areas. A quarter-mile (400 m) wide swath was devastated, with enormous damage reported to many houses and businesses, some of which were flattened. Several other schools and the local YMCA were among the damaged buildings.[94] According to the Red Cross, 239 homes were destroyed, 374 sustained major damage, 529 sustained minor damage, and 251 homes were affected.[95]

The tornado itself was estimated to have been 500 yards (470 m) wide and have had a path length of 10 miles (16 km). It dissipated shortly after leaving Enterprise.[93] It was given an initial rating of EF3 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.[92] However, after a detailed survey, the tornado was upgraded to a low-end EF4 with winds around 170 mph (275 km/h). This upgrade was based on the finding of flattened houses near the school.[96] A total of $307 million in damages were inflicted on the city of Enterprise.

President Bush talks with the media after walking through the tornado damage at Enterprise High School.

Aftermath[edit]

The National Guard was called into Enterprise in the aftermath of the tornado. Governor Bob Riley mobilized about 100 troops and placed more on standby. A dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed on the community after the tornado strike.[97] On the morning of March 3, President George W. Bush visited the community and declared Coffee County a disaster area. He went into the school and also took an aerial view of the devastation.[95] The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was also called in to provide additional assistance.

After the tornado, there was an investigation into whether the students should have been dismissed before the tornado stuck the school. However, the National Weather Service survey from the office in Tallahassee suggested that the death toll could have been much higher due to the extreme damage in the parking lot and the area nearby.[98] In addition, earlier thunderstorm activity in the area with two other rotating supercells tracking towards Enterprise late that morning (the first tornado warning was issued at 10:41 am CST) made evacuating the area unsafe.[99]

In a later service assessment done by the NWS, it was determined that the school had taken the appropriate safety precautions to minimize and prevent potential loss of life with the tornado approaching, and the students were indeed in the safest part of the building. However, it was recommended in the assessment that hardened "safe rooms" with enhanced construction should exist, to prevent future disasters in the event of large and violent tornadoes impacting large buildings. A similar tornado on July 13, 2004 in Roanoke, Illinois, destroyed an industrial building, yet such rooms were used and no one there was seriously injured.[99]

Enterprise was hit again by a weaker tornado on October 8, 2008; however, no one was injured.[100]

Americus, GA EF3 tornado[edit]

In the evening of March 1, Georgia's most significant tornado of the outbreak took place. This tornado began at approximately 9:00 pm EST (02:00 UTC), about 6 miles (9.7 km) southeast of Weston in Webster County, Georgia. At 9:07 pm, it moved into Sumter County, about 5 miles (8.0 km) southeast of Dumas. No one was killed there but three people were injured as numerous buildings were damaged. The worst damage in the county occurred on East Centerpoint Road northeast of Chambliss. There, a cinder block house and two machine shops were destroyed, and a 25-foot section of asphalt was scoured from a nearby road.[101] The three injuries occurred in the home, and 5 cows died on a nearby farm. A tractor-trailer near Chambliss was travelling on Highway 520 and was flipped over by the tornado. It caught fire and burned completely. At the intersection of the highway and TV Tower Road nearby, the Georgia Public Television transmission tower was damaged. 2/3 of it was twisted and only 150 feet (46 m) was left standing afterwards. Many trees and power lines were downed in the area.[102]

In Sumter County, the tornado move northeast and struck Americus. The worst damage was to the Sumter Regional Hospital. The twister destroyed every building there, causing $100 million in damage to the facility. The buildings included a row of doctors' offices and the Sumter HealthPlex, a newly built 8,000-square-foot (740 m2) facility. It went through demolition later in the year and will not reopen until 2011. Extensive damage was done elsewhere in the city. All casualties in the county were in Americus; two people, a 53-year-old man and 43-year-old woman, died in a house when a wall collapsed inside it. The tornado moved right over the downtown area and business district. The Winn-Dixie Supermarket was completely destroyed, and the McDonald's, Wendy's, Zaxby's, Domino's Pizza, and several more local businesses were damaged or destroyed. The tornado passed right through the National Register Historic District, damaging roughly 250 historical homes, several of which were destroyed. The city's most notable cemetery, the Oak Grove Cemetery, built in 1856, suffered moderate damage. Marble monuments, some 30 feet (9.1 m) tall, were smashed, 26 wrought iron fences were toppled, and 104 cedar, magnolia, and oak trees were lost. The historic Rees Park High School sustained moderate damage but was not in use. Americus churches were not spared, as ten of them were damaged,including The Old Shady Grove Church.. Parks were badly affected as well. Rees Park lost 25 trees and nearby Myers Park lost 39.[102]

The toll for damage in the county amounted to $110 million. A total of 31 residences, 42 businesses, one church, and one hospital were destroyed. Another 116 residences, 27 businesses, two churches, and three recreation facilities / parks sustained major damage. Moderate damage was inflicted on 260 residences, 60 businesses, five churches, a school, three recreation facilities / parks, and 2 cemeteries. Minor damage was reported to 586 residences, 88 businesses, two churches, a school, a fire station, two recreation facilities / parks, and a cemetery. A total of 75 structures were destroyed, 148 sustained major damage, 331 sustained moderate damage, and 681 sustained minor damage (a total of 1,235 structures). Of these, 993 were residences, 217 were businesses, 10 were churches, two were schools, one was a hospital, one was a fire station, eight were recreation facilities / parks, and three were cemeteries. Two people died in the county and eight others were injured.[102]

At 9:36 pm, the tornado entered Macon County about 7 miles (11 km) southwest of Oglethorpe, Georgia, but only continued for three miles (5 km) after that. It lifted at 9:40 pm, about 5 miles (8 km) south-southwest of Oglethorpe.[102]

The tornado was rated as a strong EF3 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. In total, the tornado cut a path up to one mile (1.6 km) wide and about 40 miles (64 km) long through Webster, Sumter and Macon Counties. Two people died and 11 injured. Total damage was estimated at over $111 million, $110 million in Sumter county and $1 million in Webster County. Approximately 1,238 buildings (1,235 in Sumter and 3 in Webster), hundreds of vehicles, and much other property were damaged or destroyed.[102]

See also[edit]

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External links[edit]