A line of showers and thunderstorms developed during the morning hours of Saturday April 16,
2011 across the western Midlands moving eastward to near Columbia, SC by noon. The environment ahead
of the cold front became extremely unstable by the early afternoon with warm and humid conditions
developing due to strong solar heating through breaks in the clouds and southerly winds spreading
abundant moisture northward. A strong jet stream aloft also provided high wind shear across the
southeast US leading to fast storm motions between 40 and 50 mph. Thunderstorms rapidly developed
beginning near 1pm, growing to severe levels within minutes. Severe thunderstorms raced across the
eastern Midlands through the afternoon moving east of the forecast area by 5pm. The largest storms
produced golf ball to softball sized hail and downed numerous trees and power lines. KCAE doppler
radar also picked up on rotation within some of the thunderstorms which lead to the issuance of
three tornado warnings and and observed funnel cloud at McEntire Air National Guard base. Severe
weather reports were relayed to the National Weather Service by law enforcement, trained storm
spotters as well as the public.
Loop of 30 minute interval satellite images from 1pm to 5pm showing the severe
thunderstorms forming ahead of the cold front. Notice the orange and red colors colors which show
the coldest/highest cloud tops. ( -50 to -60 degrees Celsius ).
KCAE Radar Imagery
This is a reflectivity volume loop of the storm that moved through near the Manning
area around 330 pm. Notice the depth of the high reflectivity core (white and pink to over 40,000
ft) and also the overshooting tops when the updraft intensifies (light blue color).
Funnel Cloud Observation
At 2:22pm a weather observer at McEntire Air National Guard Base (15 miles southeast of
Columbia, SC) reported seeing a funnel cloud 9 miles southeast of the base moving northeastward.
Below is the coded weather report and a 4-panel KCAE doppler radar image of the observed funnel
SPECI KMMT 161822Z COR 26012KT 10SM +FC FEW039 21/18 RMK A02A TORNADO 9 SE MOV NE SLP050 COR
1.9 deg Reflectivity and a hook echo (upper left ), 1.9 deg Base Velocity (lower left),
1.9 deg Storm Relative Velocity (upper right) and 1.9 deg Normalized Rotation (lower right)
associated with the observed funnel cloud St. Matthews, SC at 221pm. Max rotational velocity was
calculated to be around 19 knots which is consider weak elevated roatation.
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