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.
KCAE Radar Imagery
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 cloud..
SPECI KMMT 161822Z COR 26012KT 10SM +FC FEW039 21/18 RMK A02A TORNADO 9 SE MOV NE SLP050 COR 1831
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