MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Saturday’s storms packed a punch and caused a lot of destruction; however, they were well forecasted.
We had days in advance to prepare for this, which is not always the case.
Along with our partners at the National Weather Service and the Storm Prediction Center, we were able to fine tune the forecast, so you knew what threats the storm posed and the timeframe they would arrive.
That’s why it’s important to stay up-to-date on the forecast so you know what’s coming down the pipeline.
Starting at 12 a.m., the line of storms moved from central Arkansas into the FOX13 viewing area.
First, we will focus on Wheatley, Ark. because that was where we had our first glimpse of the strength this storm held.
We received a report of one semi-truck overturned on I-40 due to winds, which eventually turned into six semi-trucks turned over.
The storm slowly moved east and by 4 a.m., we had a Severe Thunderstorm Warning in effect for Shelby county.
There was plenty of lead time before the storm started to increase winds and rain in Memphis, as the warning was issued during the 3 a.m. hour.
In between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m., the main line of severe winds crossed the Mississippi River.
Shelby, DeSoto, Tunica, and Coahoma counties felt straight-line winds as high as 60 mph at times.
A wind gust at the Tunica Municipal Airport measured at 79 mph.
By 5 a.m., we had our first two Tornado Warnings for portions of Shelby, Fayette and DeSoto counties, which is when the Hernando, Olive Branch and Lewisburg communities were hit the hardest.
We started to receive several reports of damaged homes and downed trees on roads.
The storms continued to move east causing a few more tornado warnings, the last one in Alcorn county around 7 a.m.
Corinth received damage from straight-line winds then, too.
Most counties in the viewing area experienced at least one Severe Thunderstorm Warning.
These warnings were issued for severe winds gusting up to 60 mph. The hail threat remained low with just a few reports of small hail.
A handful of the storms produced quick spin-up tornadoes which prompted the Tornado Warnings and looking at radar data and storm reports, the strongest storm went through DeSoto county.
This event unfolded as we expected and a line of storms called a QLSC, produced isolated tornadoes (The NWS will determine if there were multiple or just 1) and dropped 2 to 4 inches of rain with the better chance of severe storms across north Mississippi.
Our counties north of Shelby county had rain and wind but didn’t receive as much damage. Rainfall totals on average were near 2 inches across the entire Mid-South.
The National Weather Service in Memphis will survey the damage to determine who has straight-line wind damage and who has tornado damage.
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