During the stretch of April 25th-April 28th, 2011 a major storm system erupted in the Central Plains.
Here is a look at the storm reports from SPC on April 27th through the morning of the 28th.
This would turn out to the be the largest tornado outbreak on record, breaking the previous largest 1974 tornado outbreak.
(During the 1974 outbreak there was one tornado confirmed in our area)
Unfortunately for us, this did happen overnight.
I specifically remember being on the phone with friends and my brother in East Tennessee that Wednesday evening. We started seeing thunderstorms in our area right around 11pm, and midnight.
Even though there is a loss of instability overnight, this system was so strong, and there was so much wind shear, the moderate instability was enough for our area.
According to the National Weather Service in Sterling, for the DC/Baltimore area that we are a part of, that office issued 38 tornado warnings, and produced 19 tornadoes across the Sterling warning area.
This image is from the Washington Post, and shows the tornado warnings issued between the 27Th and 28Th.
In our area I'm counting 8 warnings, with 5 confirmed tornadoes.
Although it looks like more than one warning was issued for the same areas, areas where we did see tornadoes. The only place it looks like there was a warning and no tornado northern Grant county.
Everything else verifies.
What still gets me is the Shenandoah county tornado that was an EF-2, the strongest our area saw that night, and it traveled an amazing 33 miles. (Technically it touched down in Rockingham county and traveled through Shenandoah). 33 miles!!!!! That is unheard of in our area. I have been looking into our area's tornado history, and most of the tornadoes that have touched down in our area have traveled under 4 miles.
You will see two stories, one on Monday and one on Tuesday during our 6pm newscast. I recently went back to the areas affected by the Shenandoah county tornado, and the one in Churchville. They were the strongest two, and also the first two of the night.
You will meet two women who lived through those tornadoes, hear their stories, and hear how the process has been cleaning up over the last two years.
I'll give you a brief snapshot of what you'll see.
Carla Funkhouser's home in Shenandoah county was in the path of the tornado.
I first met her two years ago, two days after the tornado struck.
This is her laundry room right after the tornado.
Wait until you see the inside, before and after shot.
Another lady I met is Faith Simmons in Churchville.
Look at this picture of her kitchen curtain.
The pressure was so strong with the Churchville - Swoope tornado that it sucked the curtain through her closed kitchen window.
Most of the damage from the tornado was to the front of her home.
I hope you get to watch this week, their stories are pretty incredible.