JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Communities and local governments are reeling after at least 30 tornadoes were reported across six states Friday night: Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Hundreds of people are still missing and dozens are feared dead following the series of tornadoes that ripped through homes, businesses, and entire towns. Meantime, The National Weather Service is continuing to track the potential for more severe weather through the weekend as the monster system moves east.
NEW: @NOAA's #GOES16🛰️ tracked the fast-moving #severe thunderstorms that produced a devastating #TornadoOutbreak overnight. More than 30 #tornadoes were reported across 6 states. Kentucky's governor called it "the most severe and deadly tornado event in Kentucky history." #KYwx pic.twitter.com/wmZplFUP0j— NOAA Satellites - Public Affairs (@NOAASatellitePA) December 11, 2021
National Weather Service Jacksonville Meteorologist in Charge Scott Cordero said scientists are working to determine a rating for the storm, but that it will take several days to do so.
Field crews will be deployed to survey damage and conduct assessments, but for a storm spanning hundreds of miles, it will be tedious work to gain the full picture.
“It looks like the track was anywhere between 160-220 miles, getting its start in Arkansas and then it moved in a southwest-northeast direction going through Missouri Bootheel going through northwest Tennessee and western Kentucky. The main cause of it was a cold front, a very strong cold front where they had abundant moisture in place and a lot of instability,” Cordero said.
National Weather Service Jacksonville meteorologists said this storm had all the ingredients it needed to leave miles of destruction.
Days before the storm, Cordero said warnings went out from the NWS chat to local news and city emergency managers.
Following the storms, a tweet from a meteorologist in Missouri says, “Please get NWS chat the funding it needs to fix stability issues. It’s failing right now with multiple tornado warnings across the country.”
“It’s a known issue. It’s an issue that out there and there has been some issues with latency associated with that program as well,” Cordero said. “But there are measures that are moving forward to bolster that program.”
Cordero has witnessed these problems before. He said the highest latency is during large-scale events -- taxing on the server.
A Jacksonville woman in Tennessee said she didn’t have severe weather alerts before Friday and said she didn’t think to check.
“My friends told me there was going to be bad weather,” Concetta Leanza said.
Cordero said the information got out there.
Right now, they say more than one tornado was produced, but they don’t have an exact number. They also don’t know its intensity, width or total damage. The death and injury toll continues to rise.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will propose the NWS get a $7 billion budget in 2022.