Tornado outbreak sequence of March 17 - 21, 2018
Date of tornado outbreak: March 17 - 21, 2018
Duration1: About 4 days
Maximum rated tornado2: EF3 tornado
Highest winds 157 mph
Tornadoes caused: 62
Total Damages: $275 million
Total Fatalities: 5

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


62 44 12 5 1 0 0

An extratropical cyclone developed along the Great Lakes, and a low pressure area moved into the Gulf coast on March 16, enabling the development for a severe weather outbreak. ON March 17, the NWS SPC issued an Enhanced Risk for severe weather, noting that dangerous thunderstorms were expected. The resulting PDS severe thunderstorm watch covered most of the central states, and a tornado watch was also issued for some of these areas as the setup improved, and several tornadoes, all of them weak, touched down that day over northern Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee. The same alert level was issued for the next 3 days, and on March 19, the strongest tornado of the outbreak sequence touched down outside of Owensboro, Kentucky, which would later be rated an EF3. 2 EF2s were also reported that day in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and in Jonesboro, Arkansas. THe following day, March 20, 2 more EF2s occurred, this time in Albion, Illinois and Brazil, Indiana. On the final day of the sequence, a Moderate Risk for severe weather was issued, and the final EF2 touched down in Rochester, Indiana. In total, there were 61 tornadoes, of which 44 were later rated EF0. 5 deaths occurred during the outbreak, along with $275 million in damages to property.

Notable tornadoes

Owensboro, Kentucky

EF3 tornado (NWS)
Tornado 977.jpg
Duration 1325 – 1345
Intensity 250 km/h (155 mph) (1-min)

This tornado happened on March 19, and caused significant damages in Owensboro, Kentucky, causing the deaths of 4 people and $225 million in damages in the process. The tornado also levelled many homes, and swept away mobile homes, scattering the debris upto 200 meters away in some cases, indicative of possible EF4 damage.

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