February Severe Weather Outbreaks - One on Deck, One In Our Recent Past

The threat for severe weather on Thursday.


Chief Meteorologist Jennifer Rukavina

Severe weather outbreaks are not uncommon for the winter months in our region. Tracking the threat for this upcoming Thursday and remembering a tornado outbreak from our recent past to learn for the future.

Since Sunday the Storm Prediction Center has been highlighting the Mid-Mississippi Valley / Lower Ohio Valley concerning the threat of a severe weather and tornado event.

While the possible severe weather event is still a few days away, it is important to remember that severe weather can and does strike any time of the year, any time of the day, especially in the Mid-South. It was not that long ago that a tornado outbreak struck our region. Super Tuesday. February 5, 2008. It suprised many people only because it happened during the middle of Winter. 55 people lost their lives across four states, including Kentucky (7), Tennessee (30), Arkansas (14), and Alabama (4). The entire tornado outbreak lasted 15 hours, stretched across 10 states, producing a total of 87 tornadoes.

To read more about the entire event, Wikipedia has a great overview here.

Most memorable to local residents in our area is the tornado that struck Union University in Jackson, TN. Several students were injured after many of the campus buildings were heavily damaged, after an EF-4 rated tornado struck around 7pm.

The timing of this Thursday's possible severe weather looks to be mainly in the evening. We will likely see some storm activity during the late afternoon over parts of Missouri then as the cold front approaches from the NW, we will see those storms move into KY/IL/TN by evening and possibly conitnue through very early Friday morning. Many specific details remain unclear but at this time, it does look like the atmosphere is priming up for widespread severe weather including very strong winds, hail, and tornadoes. More updates will follow as we get closer to Thursday.

Anytime we anticipate a severe weather event of this magnitude we like to recommend to our viewers that they review severe weather safety with their families and co-workers so that they are not caught off-guard. For a quick refresher from the Red Cross, click here. For a short tornado safety video from The Weather Channel, click here.