Tornado outbreak of February 7, 2017

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Tornado outbreak of February 7, 2017
Image of tornado over the Michoud area of New Orleans with a fence and some trees visible in the foreground
The EF3 New Orleans tornado in the Michoud area of New Orleans East
Duration13 hours, 21 minutes
Highest winds
Tornadoes
confirmed
15[1]
Max. rating1EF3 tornado
Largest hail2.00 in (5.1 cm) in multiple locations
Casualties1 fatality; 40 injuries
Damage>$2.7 million
Areas affectedSoutheastern United States
Part of the tornadoes of 2017

1Most severe tornado damage; see Enhanced Fujita scale

A small but damaging outbreak of 15 tornadoes impacted the Southeast on Tuesday, February 7, 2017. The most damaging tornado of the outbreak was a large and powerful EF3 tornado that was the strongest to strike New Orleans, Louisiana in recorded history.[2] The tornado caused considerable damage along its path and left approximately 10,000 homes without electricity.[3] 33 injuries occurred in the area after the tornado hit near Chef Menteur Highway with hundreds of structures sustaining moderate to significant damage along the ten-mile path. In response to the disaster, Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency.[4]

Other destructive and strong tornadoes occurred on this day as well, including an EF1 tornado that killed a man near Donaldsonville, Louisiana and another EF3 tornado that injured three and caused considerable damage to homes, trees, and power lines in Livingston Parish, Louisiana. Overall, the outbreak killed one and injured 40.

Meteorological synopsis[edit]

Radar animation of the supercell that spawned the New Orleans tornado.

On February 4, the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) outlined a severe weather threat area across portions of the Ohio Valley southward into the northern Gulf Coast states.[5] A corresponding Slight risk of severe weather was issued the following day from central Indiana and Ohio to northern Mississippi and Alabama, encompassed within a larger Marginal risk.[6] Little change occurred for the 07:00 UTC Day 2 outlook,[7] but the Marginal risk was eventually shifted to encompass portions of eastern Louisiana on the 17:30 UTC forecast.[8] Early on February 7, the SPC expanded the Slight risk area and subsequently introduced a small Enhanced risk for portions of eastern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southwestern Alabama, and the extreme western Florida Panhandle, although its intent was for the potential for large hail instead of significant tornadoes.[9][10]

On February 7, an intensifying southern-stream shortwave trough progressed eastward from the southern Great Plains to the lower Mississippi Valley.[9] Ahead of the trough, strong low- to mid-level winds transported abundant moisture northward from the Gulf of Mexico, with dewpoints reaching to lower to mid 60s °F.[10] The combination of southwesterly flow and abnormally cold mid-level temperatures—approximately −14 °C (7 °F) to −17 °C (1 °F)—helped to destabilize the atmosphere, with maximum Convective Available Potential Energy values in the range of 1500–2000 j/kg. Veering winds—winds that turn clockwise with height—acted to lengthen hodographs and provide significant directional wind shear, with 0–6 km shear of 35–45 mph (55–75 km/h) and 0–3 km storm relative helicities of 200–300 m2/s2.[9][11] Meanwhile, incredibly steep mid-level lapse rates near or above 8 C/km overspread the risk area.[10] The increasingly conducive environment prompted the SPC to issue a tornado watch across southern Louisiana and Mississippi, valid from 7:55 a.m. CST (13:55 UTC) to 2:00 p.m. CST (21:00 UTC); forecasters assessed a 50% chance of two or more tornadoes in the watch box, but only a 20% chance of one or more strong (EF2+) tornadoes.[12]

Confirmed tornadoes[edit]

Confirmed tornadoes by Enhanced Fujita rating
EFU EF0 EF1 EF2 EF3 EF4 EF5 Total
0 5 6 2 2 0 0 15

February 7 event[edit]

List of confirmed tornadoes – Tuesday, February 7, 2017[note 1]
EF# Location County / Parish State Start Coord. Time (UTC) Path length Max width Summary Refs
EF0 W of Slayden Houston TN 36°16′44″N 87°34′29″W / 36.279024°N 87.574832°W / 36.279024; -87.574832 (Slayden (Feb. 7, EF0)) 15:16–15:17 0.5 mi (0.80 km) 50 yd (46 m) Numerous trees were downed, blocking roadways. Two homes sustained minor exterior damage, two sheds were destroyed, and a carport was collapsed. Several outbuildings sustained significant damage, and outdoor objects were tossed several hundred yards. Total economic damage reached $15,000. [13]
EF2 S of Killian to W of Madisonville Livingston, Tangipahoa, St. Tammany LA 30°18′46″N 90°35′09″W / 30.3128°N 90.5857°W / 30.3128; -90.5857 (Killian (Feb. 7, EF2)) 16:20–16:56 23.04 mi (37.08 km) 500 yd (460 m) Large wedge tornado passed near Akers. One single family home had some siding removed while another had its chimney collapsed and some roofing material removed. A small and poorly-constructed house was lifted off of its cinder block foundation and completely destroyed, seriously injuring two occupants. A single family home and a manufactured home sustained minor to moderate damage. Numerous trees were snapped or uprooted, and several sheds or barns were destroyed. The tornado was likely stronger than EF2; however, it primarily traversed marshland and no damage indicators above EF2 were found. [14][15]
[16]
EF0 Metairie Jefferson LA 29°57′40″N 90°10′42″W / 29.9611°N 90.1782°W / 29.9611; -90.1782 (Metairie (Feb. 7, EF0)) 16:51–16:52 0.95 mi (1.53 km) 25 yd (23 m) A brief tornado caused minor roof and tree damage in Metarie. [17]
EF1 Donaldsonville to N of Union Ascension, St. James LA 30°05′51″N 91°00′18″W / 30.0975°N 91.005°W / 30.0975; -91.005 (Donaldsonville (Feb. 7, EF1)) 17:04–17:16 6.11 mi (9.83 km) 75 yd (69 m) 1 death – A tornado caused considerable damage in Donaldsonville. A total of 18 homes were affected, of which 14 sustained minor to moderate damage and 4 sustained heavy damage or were destroyed. One small home was shifted off its pier foundation, and several trees and power lines were downed. The fatality occurred when a trailer rolled over onto an elderly man, pinning him to a nearby vehicle. [18][19]
EF3 New Orleans East to Lake Borgne Orleans LA 30°00′38″N 90°00′00″W / 30.0105°N 90.000°W / 30.0105; -90.000 (East New Orleans (Feb. 7, EF3)) 17:12–17:32 10.09 mi (16.24 km) 600 yd (550 m) See section on this tornado – The strongest tornado to occur in Orleans Parish since reliable records began in 1950. A total of 638 homes suffered moderate to severe damage, half of which were condemned; 33 people were injured. The tornado continued for an unknown period of time over Lake Borgne before dissipating. [20]
EF3 NW of Watson to SSW of Pine Grove Livingston LA 30°37′16″N 90°54′11″W / 30.621°N 90.903°W / 30.621; -90.903 (Watson (Feb. 7, EF3)) 17:50–18:02 6.43 mi (10.35 km) 350 yd (320 m) Numerous trees were snapped and uprooted, and several manufactured homes were completely destroyed. A metal truss tower supporting high tension electrical lines was twisted and collapsed. Frame homes sustained roof damage, and a metal industrial building had most of the exterior wall on one side of the building removed. Three people were injured. [21]
EF1 SSE of Montpelier Livingston LA 30°37′59″N 90°37′12″W / 30.6331°N 90.62°W / 30.6331; -90.62 (Holden (Feb. 7, EF1)) 18:20–18:21 0.26 mi (0.42 km) 50 yd (46 m) A carport lost some tin roof covering, several trees were snapped, and a telephone pole was leant. [22]
EF0 E of Pike Road Montgomery AL 32°16′25″N 86°03′11″W / 32.2737°N 86.0530°W / 32.2737; -86.0530 (Pike Road (Feb. 7, EF0)) 19:42–19:43 0.2 mi (0.32 km) 85 yd (78 m) Several trees were snapped or uprooted, and a small garden shed was heavily damaged. [23]
EF0 E of Andalusia Covington AL 31°18′51″N 86°27′48″W / 31.3141°N 86.4634°W / 31.3141; -86.4634 (Andalusia (Feb. 7, EF0)) 21:23–21:24 0.51 mi (0.82 km) 150 yd (140 m) Several homes sustained shingle damage to their roofs, several trees were toppled, and several campers and RVs were overturned. Numerous water pipes were tossed at the Covington County Water Authority. One person was injured. Total economic damage reached $100,000. [24]
EF1 SW of Cataula Harris GA 32°37′24″N 84°54′21″W / 32.623435°N 84.905733°W / 32.623435; -84.905733 (Cataula (Feb. 7, EF1)) 21:36–21:39 2.3 mi (3.7 km) 250 yd (230 m) Dozens of trees were snapped or uprooted, and power poles were downed. Total economic damage reached $150,000. [25]
EF2 SSW of Harperville Scott MS 32°26′21″N 89°31′29″W / 32.4393°N 89.5248°W / 32.4393; -89.5248 (Harperville (Feb. 7, EF2)) 22:07–22:17 4.83 mi (7.77 km) 880 yd (800 m) Multiple flea market buildings, barns, and sheds were destroyed. Several homes sustained damage, while widespread damage to trees and power lines was also observed. Total economic damage reached $350,000. [26]
EF1 S of Garlandville Jasper MS 32°09′N 89°07′W / 32.15°N 89.12°W / 32.15; -89.12 (Garlandville (Feb. 7, EF1)) 23:23–23:31 3.09 mi (4.97 km) 50 yd (46 m) Several trees were snapped or uprooted, and the roof of a porch sustained damage. Total economic damage reached $100,000. [27]
EF0 NW of Cadiz Trigg KY 36°53′03″N 87°56′11″W / 36.8842°N 87.9365°W / 36.8842; -87.9365 (Cadiz (Feb. 7, EF0)) 01:40–01:45 2 mi (3.2 km) 50 yd (46 m) At least a dozen trees were broken or uprooted, with one power line partially downed by a fallen tree. Several pieces of metal roofing were ripped from a barn. Total economic damage reached $25,000. [28]
EF1 Lawtey Bradford FL 30°02′46″N 82°04′24″W / 30.046°N 82.0734°W / 30.046; -82.0734 (Lawtey (Feb. 7, EF1)) 03:00–03:01 1 mi (1.6 km) 75 yd (69 m) A brief tornado damaged an elementary school and downed numerous trees and power lines. Two people were injured. [29]
EF1 S of St. Johns St. Johns FL 29°58′N 81°32′W / 29.96°N 81.53°W / 29.96; -81.53 (St. Johns (Feb. 7, EF1)) 03:37–03:40 0.6 mi (0.97 km) 160 yd (150 m) Two homes sustained significant roof and exterior damage. [30]

New Orleans East–Lake Borgne, Louisiana[edit]

New Orleans East–Lake Borgne, Louisiana
EF3 tornado
EF3ChurchDamageNewOrleans2017.JPG
EF3 damage to a church in East New Orleans.
Formed11:12 a.m. CST (17:12 UTC) February 7, 2017[31]
Duration20 minutes
Dissipated11:32 a.m. CST (17:32 UTC) February 7, 2017[31]
Highest winds
  • 150 mph (240 km/h)[32]
Max. rating1EF3 tornado
Casualties33 injuries, 6 serious[31]
1Most severe tornado damage; see Enhanced Fujita scale

The tornado initially touched down along Old Gentilly Road to the east of the New Orleans Industrial Canal. EF0 damage was noted at the beginning of the path as homes sustained minor roof damage. EF1 damage occurred near Wilson Avenue as a two-story motel had much of its poorly attached roof uplifted and sustained buckling of exterior walls on the second floor. The tornado moved northeastward, attaining high-end EF2 intensity by the time it reached the Chef Menteur Highway. Metal power poles were bent, wooden power poles were snapped, a business was severely damaged, and an apartment complex sustained significant roof damage and collapse of a brick fascia exterior wall in this area. Damage surveys indicate that as the tornado continued on this northeastward track, it became multiple-vortex in structure, with a second circulation north of the first taking over as the predominant one. This second vortex, as the tornado did when it originally touched down, moved in a northeastward direction and produced EF2 damage near the Flake Street/Grant Avenue intersection. A small, poorly constructed home along Flake Street was rolled off of its cinder block foundation and completely destroyed, while nearby homes sustained shingle and porch damage. East of Crowder Boulevard, a continuous swath of mainly EF2 damage was noted as the now large and destructive tornado moved through residential areas, severely damaging numerous homes, many of which had their roofs ripped off. A few of these homes sustained some failure of exterior walls. Vehicles in this area were flipped and damaged, some of which were tossed into homes. On Arthur Drive and Charlene Drive, a small pocket of EF3 damage was noted as two homes lost most of their exterior walls, and had one or two of their interior walls collapse due to winds estimated by the NWS to have been around 140 miles per hour (230 km/h).[33]

Damage to vehicles at the National Finance Center.

Along Grant Street, Schaumburg Elementary School sustained minor roof damage and broken windows as it was impacted by the outer edge of the circulation. Children inside the school took shelter in an interior hallway as the tornado struck and were not injured. Just east of this point, a large area of mid-range EF3 damage was observed. This damage was confined to an area along and just north of Grant Street between Read Boulevard and Chalmark Drive, where dozens of homes lost much to all of their roof structures and sustained collapse of multiple exterior walls. Large, two-story brick homes had only one or two interior corner walls left standing on their top floors, and a two-story apartment building sustained total roof loss and collapse of numerous second floor walls, with some collapse of first floor exterior walls noted as well. It was determined that the tornado reached peak its intensity in this area, with winds estimated at 150 miles per hour (240 km/h). The tornado then caused high-end EF2 damage further to the east as it moved through additional residential areas. Many homes in this area had roofs torn off and sustained some collapse of exterior walls. A second small area of mid-range EF3 damage was noted near Hauck Drive, where a large church was left with only one exterior wall standing, and sustained total collapse of most interior walls. Winds at this location were again estimated around 150 miles per hour (240 km/h).[32]

The tornado essentially followed the Chef Menteur Highway as it continued eastward, significantly damaging homes and other structures at EF2 strength along this segment of the path. A small strip mall and a church sustained major roof damage and had every window blown out. A gas station was also heavily damaged and had its service station canopy shredded. Homes had their roofs completely removed, and many concrete light poles were snapped. A final segment of low-end EF3 damage occurred further east as several large metal power pylons along the highway were bent in half. High-end EF2 damage occurred in neighborhoods just north of the highway, as numerous homes sustained significant roof and exterior wall loss. Past Bullard Avenue, the tornado weakened to EF1 strength and the damage path shifted southward. Numerous small trees were snapped near the Interstate 510 and Almonaster Avenue interchange. The tornado then restrengthened to EF2 intensity as it caused heavy damage to NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility. Windows were blown out, and large metal industrial buildings sustained major structural damage. The large, two-story office building that houses the National Finance Center suffered significant roof damage and collapse of both the brick facade and cinder block exterior walls in a few places. Vehicles in the National Finance Center parking lot were severely damaged. The tornado then continued eastward across unpopulated marshy areas before dissipating over Lake Borgne.[32]

In all, the tornado significantly damaged or destroyed at least 638 homes and 40 businesses along its 10.1-mile-long (16.3 km) path, and hundreds of trees and power poles were snapped. Thirty-three people were injured, six severely; however, no fatalities took place.[32] Two public schools— Schaumburg Elementary and Einstein Charter School—both sustained some damage to buildings and property, with collective damage reaching $1.7 million.[34] NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility suffered more than $1 million in damage.[35]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ All dates are based on the local time zone where the tornado touched down; however, all times are in Coordinated Universal Time for consistency.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Storm Events Database - Search Results | National Centers for Environmental Information". www.ncdc.noaa.gov. Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  2. ^ Norwood, Nicondra (2016-08-27). "New Orleans East tornado strongest on record for the city - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social". Fox8live.com. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
  3. ^ "Tornadoes rip through New Orleans area, decimating homes and neighborhoods". usatoday.com. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  4. ^ "Tornadoes touch down, wreak havoc in Louisiana". cbsnews.com. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  5. ^ Steve Goss (February 4, 2017). "Day 4-8 Severe Weather Outlook Issued on Feb 4, 2017". Storm Prediction Center. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  6. ^ Steve Goss (February 5, 2017). "Feb 5, 2017 0830 UTC Day 3 Severe Thunderstorm Outlook". Storm Prediction Center. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  7. ^ Steve Goss (February 6, 2017). "Feb 6, 2017 0700 UTC Day 2 Convective Outlook". Storm Prediction Center. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  8. ^ Aaron Gleason (February 6, 2017). "Feb 6, 2017 1730 UTC Day 2 Convective Outlook". Storm Prediction Center. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  9. ^ a b c Chris Broyles; Matt Mosier (February 7, 2017). "Feb 7, 2017 0600 UTC Day 1 Convective Outlook". Storm Prediction Center. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  10. ^ a b c Jared Guyer (February 7, 2017). "Feb 7, 2017 1300 UTC Day 1 Convective Outlook". Storm Prediction Center. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  11. ^ Ryan Jewell; Jared Guyer (February 7, 2017). "Mesoscale Discussion 144". Storm Prediction Center. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  12. ^ Jared Guyer (February 7, 2017). "Tornado Watch 26". Storm Prediction Center. Retrieved February 10, 2017.
  13. ^ Tennessee Event Report: EF0 Tornado (Report). National Centers for Environmental Information. National Weather Service Forecast Office in Nashville, Tennessee. 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  14. ^ Louisiana Event Report: EF2 Tornado (Report). National Centers for Environmental Information. National Weather Service Forecast Office in New Orleans, Louisiana. 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  15. ^ Louisiana Event Report: EF2 Tornado (Report). National Centers for Environmental Information. National Weather Service Forecast Office in New Orleans, Louisiana. 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  16. ^ Louisiana Event Report: EF2 Tornado (Report). National Centers for Environmental Information. National Weather Service Forecast Office in New Orleans, Louisiana. 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  17. ^ Louisiana Event Report: EF0 Tornado (Report). National Centers for Environmental Information. National Weather Service Forecast Office in New Orleans, Louisiana. 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  18. ^ Louisiana Event Report: EF1 Tornado (Report). National Centers for Environmental Information. National Weather Service Forecast Office in New Orleans, Louisiana. 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  19. ^ Louisiana Event Report: EF1 Tornado (Report). National Centers for Environmental Information. National Weather Service Forecast Office in New Orleans, Louisiana. 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  20. ^ Louisiana Event Report: EF3 Tornado (Report). National Centers for Environmental Information. National Weather Service Forecast Office in New Orleans, Louisiana. 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  21. ^ Louisiana Event Report: EF3 Tornado (Report). National Centers for Environmental Information. National Weather Service Forecast Office in New Orleans, Louisiana. 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  22. ^ Louisiana Event Report: EF1 Tornado (Report). National Centers for Environmental Information. National Weather Service Forecast Office in New Orleans, Louisiana. 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  23. ^ Alabama Event Report: EF0 Tornado (Report). National Centers for Environmental Information. National Weather Service Forecast Office in Birmingham, Alabama. 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  24. ^ Alabama Event Report: EF0 Tornado (Report). National Centers for Environmental Information. National Weather Service Forecast Office in Birmingham, Alabama. 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  25. ^ Georgia Event Report: EF1 Tornado (Report). National Centers for Environmental Information. National Weather Service Forecast Office in Atlanta, Georgia. 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  26. ^ Mississippi Event Report: EF2 Tornado (Report). National Centers for Environmental Information. National Weather Service Forecast Office in Jackson, Mississippi. 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  27. ^ Mississippi Event Report: EF1 Tornado (Report). National Centers for Environmental Information. National Weather Service Forecast Office in Jackson, Mississippi. 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  28. ^ Tennessee Event Report: EF0 Tornado (Report). National Centers for Environmental Information. National Weather Service Forecast Office in Paducah, Kentucky. 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  29. ^ Florida Event Report: EF1 Tornado (Report). National Centers for Environmental Information. National Weather Service Forecast Office in Jacksonville, Florida. 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  30. ^ Florida Event Report: EF1 Tornado (Report). National Centers for Environmental Information. National Weather Service Forecast Office in Jacksonville, Florida. 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  31. ^ a b c Multiple Tornadoes Confirmed on 02/07/2017 (Report). Iowa Environmental Mesonet. National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office in New Orleans, Louisiana. February 9, 2017. Retrieved February 10, 2017.
  32. ^ a b c d "NWS Damage Assessment Toolkit". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved February 10, 2017.
  33. ^ Public Information Statement (Report). NWS New Orleans/Baton Rouge, LA. February 10, 2017. Archived from the original on February 10, 2017.
  34. ^ Danielle Dreilinger (February 14, 2017). "Tornado damage to New Orleans schools estimated at $1.7 million". NOLA. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  35. ^ Paul Murphy (February 9, 2017). "NASA facility in NO East vows to reopen after tornado". WWV-TV. Retrieved February 10, 2017.

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