April 26-28 Severe Weather Outbreak
List of Tornado Tracks Confirmed by NWS Damage Surveys

by John Farley

I have compiled a list of the tornadoes from the April 26-28, 2011 outbreak that have been confirmed by National Weather Service (NWS) damage surveys as of May 5, 2011. For each tornado, if available, I have listed the NWS office responsible for the survey, the date of the tornado, the rating of the tornado on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, the estimated wind speed of the tornado (if given in the damage survey), the number of fatalities and injuries (if available), and the maximum path width and the track length of the tornado.

This list is available here (Microsoft Excel file)

A few notes on using this file. Where tornadoes crossed from one NWS office's area of responsibility (CWA) into another, I did my best to list the tornado just once, identifying all of the responsible offices. I am confident that I have this correct for all or nearly all of the tornadoes that have been completely surveyed as of 2:30 p.m. on May 5. Some surveys, however, are incomplete, so there could be missing segments, or possibly segments now treated as separate tornadoes could be found to be connected. Also, this does NOT constitute a complete list of all confirmed tornadoes - damage surveys will not likely be done for some of the weaker ones, and some of these will be entered into the Storm Data database as confirmed tornadoes based on NWS confidence in spotter reports or based on video evidence. In some cases, this may occur without the issuance of a public information statement or a listing of the tornado on the office's Web page. Hence, the 193 tornadoes listed here likely represents a minimum for the number of tornadoes that will be confirmed by the NWS. Even with this number, however, the number of confirmed tornadoes exceeds the number confirmed with any previous outbreak. Thus, in terms of official statistics on the number of tornadoes, this can now be called a record outbreak. This does not mean that more tornadoes actually occurred in this outbreak than any historical outbreak, however - due to storm spotters, storm chasers, citizens with video cameras, denser population, etc., a tornado occuring today is more likely to be documented and entered into the data base than tornadoes in the past.

A few notes on the spreadsheet:

1. Where a tornado was confirmed to have occurred in the area of responsibility of more than one NWS office, the listing of the offices and the tornado location is listed in green print. Tornadoes known to have occurred across more than one such area are listed only once, with both NWS offices identified. A few tornadoes are listed in blue print; these are ones that may have occurred in the areas of more than one office, but this has not yet been fully confirmed by damage surveys.

2. Three of the tornadoes have been given the highest rating, EF-5, indicating estimated winds (based on damage from the tornado) of over 200 miles per hour. These are indicated in red in the rating column. Eleven more, indicated in orange, were rated EF-4.

3. Nine of the tornadoes had damage paths at least a mile wide. These are indicated in red in the path width column. The widest path width, 1.5 miles, was observed with the Tuscaloosa/Birmingham, AL EF-4 tornado.

4. Seven of the tornadoes were on the ground for a distance of 50 miles or more. These are indicated in red in the track length column. The longest path length, 132.1 miles, was observed with the Hackleburg, AL EF-5 tornado. However, the path length for the Cordova EF-4 tornado, for which the survey remains incomplete, is at least 129 miles and may end up longer than that of the Hackleburg tornado.

5. The death tolls are based on preliminary estimates from NWS offices at the time of the survey and are incomplete. The total number of deaths from this outbreak has been estimated at around 330 (probably the third-largest of any outbreak on record), although a few of these may be from straight-line winds rather than tornadoes.

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