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April 25-28, 2011 Tornado outbreak - what could have happened?
EF5 April 27 Alabama Tornado.png
Alabama EF5 Tornado
Date of tornado outbreak: April 25 - 27, 2011
Duration1: 3 days, 7 hours, 18 minutes
Maximum rated tornado2: F7 tornado
Tornadoes caused: 825
Total Damages: $571billion (2011 USD)
Total Fatalities: 1467
Areas Affected: Mid United States and Canada

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

The purpose of this arcticle is to explore what could have happened if the April 27th conditions were available throughout the whole of the severe weather outbreak.

Confirmed
Total
Confirmed
F0
Confirmed
F1
Confirmed
F2
Confirmed
F3
Confirmed
F4
Confirmed
F5
Confirmed
F6
Confirmed
F7
Confirmed
F8
Confirmed
F9
Confirmed
F10
Confirmed
F11
Confirmed
F12
Confirmed
M1
Confirmed
M2
Confirmed
M3
Confirmed
M4
825 380 245 76 36 67 21 7 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Synopsis

The outbreak was caused by a vigorous upper-level trough that moved into the Southern Plains states on April 25. An extratropical cyclone developed ahead of this upper-level trough between northeastern Oklahoma and western Missouri, which moved northeast. Conditions were similar on April 26, with a predicted likelihood of severe thunderstorms, including an extended threat of strong to violent long-track tornadoes during the afternoon and evening hours; mixed-layer CAPE values were forecast to be around 3000–4000 J/kg, around east Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. The storm mode on April 26 was predicted to consist of mostly discrete supercells during the afternoon and early evening, shifting over to a mesoscale convective complex, with more of a threat of damaging winds and hail during the nighttime hours. Over the following days, conditions got far worse, and 825 tornadoes touched down within the United States and Canada. As the outbreak progressed, the tornadoes became stronger, and more violent. Not only was the first F6 tornado ever documented, but so was an F7, which leveled a police station, killing 72 inmates and 5 staff.

Notable tornadoes

Asides from the F7 (see above), an F5 demolished a shopping center, killing 256, which also caused $23billion in damages. Another tornado was responsible for a petrol station exploding, causing the tornado to become flame infested.

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