I am sure you have all heard by now that a powerful severe storm system moved across the United States on Friday, with a slew of tornadoes from Alabama to Indiana contributing to at least five deaths and threatening even more destruction as the day wore on.
National Weather Service meteorologist John Gordon reported Friday afternoon the agency has about “half a dozen reports of tornadoes on the ground,” as well as reports of “significant damage” — stressing all the while that the worst may still be to come.
Southern Indiana was particularly hard hit, with Indiana Department of Homeland Security spokesman John Erickson saying three had died in Jefferson County as a result. Aerial footage from CNN affiliate WLKY showed structures torn to shreds and large swaths of trees knocked down in Henryville, about 20 miles north of Louisville, Kentucky. Footage below. Emergency Management Director Leslie Cavanaugh of Clark County said that the local high school, Henryville Junior-Senior High School, had been “demolished.”
Six people were killed in Harrisburg, Ill., about 55 miles southwest of Evansville, Ind., when a house lifted up by a 170 mph tornado fell on them and crushed them. Three people were killed in southern Missouri, three in eastern Tennessee and one in northeastern Kansas.. These tornadoes follow an earlier outbreak that began Tuesday night and left 13 dead across Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Tennessee and battered parts of Kentucky.
CBS News Report covering tornadoes which struck southern Indiana
Footage from helicopter flying over tornado destroyed Henryville Indiana
Funnel cloud caught on camera
Homes wiped to the ground, completely destroyed in Ooltewah, Tennessee
Residents take in some of the damage after a severe storm hit in the early morning hours on February 29, 2012, in Harrisburg, Illinois. UPI/Paul Newton/The Southern
HARRISBURG, IL - MARCH 02: Keith Huke walks past what remains of his tornado-ravaged home on March 2, 2012 in Harrisburg, Illinois. Huke remained in the bed behind him and escaped without any injuries as the tornado ripped apart his home. According to reports, at least 13 people died as severe weather and tornados swept through the middle of the country earlier in the week. The storm killed six people in Harrisburg. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
HARRISBURG, IL - MARCH 02: Keith Huke (R) talks with insuance adjuster Ryan Clauson outside what remains of his tornado-ravaged home on March 2, 2012 in Harrisburg, Illinois. Huke remained in the bed to his left and escaped without any injuries as the tornado ripped apart his home. According to reports, at least 13 people died as severe weather and tornados swept through the middle of the country earlier in the week. The storm killed six people in Harrisburg. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Tornadic storm clouds form over Lynnville, Indiana on Friday, March 2, 2012. (Matt Detrich / The Star)
A semitrailer lies flipped near Sparkman High School on Jeff Road after a reported tornado came through Harvest, Ala., Friday, March 2, 2012. (AP Photo/The Huntsville Times, Eric Schultz)
Greg Cook hands his dog Coco to Donnie Watts inside the destroyed home in Limestone County, Ala. on Friday, March 2, 2012. A reported tornado destroyed several houses in northern Alabama as storms threatened more twisters across the region Friday (AP Photo/The Decatur Daily, Gary Cosby Jr.)
Greg Cook hugs his dog Coco after finding her inside his destroyed home in the East Limestone, Ala. on Friday, March 2, 2012. A reported tornado destroyed several houses in northern Alabama as storms threatened more twisters across the region Friday (AP Photo/The Decatur Daily, Gary Cosby Jr.)
Tornado outside of Henryville Indiana. Photo credit unknown.
Henryville High School sustained heavy damage in the storms. Photo WTHR
An employee of Henryville High School examines the remains of the building following severe storms Friday, March 2, 2012, in Henryville, Ind. Tornadoes ripped across several small southern Indiana towns on Friday, killing at least three people and leaving behind miles of flattened devastation along the border with Kentucky. Photo: Timothy D. Easley / AP
Wreck: A Cadillac is crushed by fallen bricks in Athens, Alabama. Photo AP
Victim: Blaine Lawson, 76, inside his house after a tornado tore the roof off his home in Cleveland, Tennessee. Photo AP
Devastated: Mr Lawson was in the house with his wife when the ceiling began to fall. They were not hurt. Photo AP
We are currently riding out storms right now in GA. Theres been a tornado on the ground almost the whole state of GA, its crazy… Its dark here so wont know the extent of the damage till the morning. but from Alabama to South Carolina a tornado has traveled on the ground….so scary!!!! And its still early…theyre saying theres many more hrs of this weather to come….eeeek!!!!
This weather is so shocking and strange! I grew up in Indiana, part of tornado alley (altho not as bad as KS). And I can not recall ever having seen such a strong front like this come through and do so much widespread damage. And so early in the year, too. Usually it’s at least 2-3 more weeks at least before the storms start hitting. I hope you all weather it out safely.
Thanks and I know I’m shocked. I’ve lived in GA now for almost 17 yrs and its just absurd to see all this starting so soon. Ugh and from the radar… its all lining up now and it could be 2-4 hrs before we see a break. I grew up in Cali… I hate this weather! Give me an earth quake any day please.
Since I grew up in Indiana, I’ll take tornado alley any day. Although I will agree, the odds are in favor of earthquake country.
LOL… ok how about a daytime tornado instead of a nightime one?
They’re both incredible to watch when coming in. Daytime you can see the clouds churning, the color, everything blowing. But at night, the lightning as it approaches is magnificent! I just wish they wouldn’t hit homes, towns, etc. Just stay out in the cornfields. I was always the one that would stay outside for as long as possible then make a mad dash to the basement. We were always very fortunate and never directly hit. But had some wind damage before.
It is so sad.
Yes. Very very tragic.
After a lifetime in Oklahoma, I’m grateful to not be dodging tornadoes anymore. This particular outbreak is unusually widespread and comes too early in the year. I’m beginning to think there’s no such thing as “normal” weather anymore.
I agree. And last year was full of devastating tornadoes, too. Yes, this year is way too early. And to be hitting Alabama like they have both this year and last year. Alabama historically does not get that many. And now they’ve seen some of the worst around.
Come to New York State specifically the Albany or Capital Region area! Decent weather, not as expensive as downstate NY and great public services/ school system! My thought & prayers are with the folks that are feeling the effects of this storm.
Michelle, i can’t even begin to imagine… continue…
Nor can I. I’ve been through some doozies, but nothing that was a direct hit and destroyed everything. Have lost sections of roofing, siding, trees, etc. but not at that level.
Very much so.
This makes me tear up. They were all around us yesterday but our particular town was spared. My daughter had one within 1/4 mile of her house in Evansville in the air but it did not touch down. So scary when you are watching that on tv and you know it is right by her.
Oh, crap.. that’s right. You are was down in the southern part of the state. I am SO glad you and your family are okay. I’ve been through some strong ones before back home, but luckily, they stayed out in the fields. One twister cut a swatch through the trees about the width of a football field. That was the one when I actually got to see small splinters of wood actually embedded on larger objects.
Oh, I’m so glad you are okay.