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National Weather Service Memphis Damage Survey for December 23, 2015, Tornado Event

Overview of Event:

A strong system with record warm temperatures along with impressive upper level wind fields provided the ingredients to produce 5 tornadoes across the Mid-South on Dec. 23, 2015, including two long tracked violent tornadoes.

Below is the morning surface analysis map showing a strong low pressure system over Kansas with an occluded front and cold front extending to the south with a stationary front extending east. 

The warm sector, defined by the area between the fronts, had temperatures at 6 a.m. local time (CST) in the mid-60s with dew points in the low 60s. The very moist airmass, especially for December, provided the fuel (instability) needed for robust storm development and eventually deadly long lived tornadic supercells.

Surface Map from Dec. 23, 2015, at 6 a.m. CST

Graphic of 5 tornado paths

Damage paths from Tornadoes in the Mid-South from Dec 23, 2015

 

Survey information for each of the Tornadoes



.OVERVIEW...THIS UPDATE PROVIDES ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THE LONG-
TRACK STORM WHICH MOVED THROUGH NORTHERN MISSISSIPPI ON DECEMBER 23
2015. THE LONG DAMAGE TRACK IS NOW RECORDED AS TWO SEPARATE TORNADOES.
THE SECOND OF THESE...WHICH AFFECTED THE HOLLY SPRINGS/BENTON COUNTY
AREA...IS UPGRADED TO EF-4.

THIS UPDATE ALSO INCLUDES AND UPDATES SURVEY DATA FROM LEE COUNTY
AR...MADISON COUNTY TN...AND PRENTISS COUNTY MS.

.TORNADO #1: LEE COUNTY ARKANSAS...

RATING:                  EF-2
ESTIMATED PEAK WIND:     125 MPH
PATH LENGTH /STATUTE/:   4.6 MILES
PATH WIDTH /MAXIMUM/:    100 YARDS
FATALITIES:              0
INJURIES:                0

START DATE:              12/23/2015
START TIME:              257 PM CST
START LOCATION:          5.5 S MARIANNA/LEE COUNTY AR
START LAT/LON:           34.6940/-90.7741

END DATE:                12/23/2015
END TIME:                302 PM CST
END LOCATION:            4.2 SE MARIANNA/LEE COUNTY AR
END LAT/LON:             34.7319/-90.7065

SUMMARY: THIS TORNADO DAMAGED SEVERAL MOBILE HOMES AND CAUSED ROOF
DAMAGE TO SEVERAL PERMANENT HOMES. BEFORE DISSIPATING...IT DAMAGED
BOAT DOCKS ALONG BEAR CREEK LAKE.

 

 

damaged home in Marianna Arkansasanother damaged home in Marianna Arkansas

EF-2 damage to multiple homes in Marianna, AR

 

.TORNADO #2: BOLIVAR/COAHOMA/QUITMAN/PANOLA COUNTIES...

RATING:                  EF-3
ESTIMATED PEAK WIND:     160 MPH
PATH LENGTH /STATUTE/:   63 MILES
PATH WIDTH /MAXIMUM/:    800 YARDS
FATALITIES:              1
INJURIES:                AT LEAST 21

START DATE:              12/23/2015
START TIME:              253 PM CST
START LOCATION:          3 SSE DUNCAN/BOLIVAR COUNTY MS
START LAT/LON:           33.9954/-90.7470

END DATE:                12/23/2015
END TIME:                357 PM CST
END LOCATION:            5.3 E COMO/PANOLA COUNTY MS
END LAT/LON:             34.5175/-89.8379

SUMMARY: THIS TORNADO DEVELOPED OVER NORTHERN BOLIVAR COUNTY. AS
IT MOVED INTO COAHOMA COUNTY...IT STRENGTHENED AND PRODUCED EF-3
DAMAGE SOUTH AND EAST OF CLARKSDALE. THE FATALITY OCCURRED IN THIS
AREA. SEVERAL HOMES WERE SEVERELY DAMAGED AND NUMEROUS TREES WERE
SNAPPED OR UPROOTED.

THE TORNADO MOVED INTO QUITMAN COUNTY AND DAMAGED NEARLY 20 HOMES
TO THE WEST AND SOUTHWEST OF MARKS. AS THE TORNADO MOVED INTO PANOLA
COUNTY...IT UPROOTED OR SNAPPED NUMEROUS TREES. AS IT APPROACHED
INTERSTATE 55...THE TORNADO DAMAGED SEVERAL HOMES. IT CROSSED THE
HIGHWAY BETWEEN SARDIS AND COMO...AND DISSIPATED EAST OF COMO.

 

 

damage to house in Panola County

EF-3 damage to home in Panola County, MS



.TORNADO #3: TATE/MARSHALL/BENTON/TIPPAH/HARDEMAN/MCNAIRY COUNTIES...

RATING:                  EF-4
ESTIMATED PEAK WIND:     170 MPH
PATH LENGTH /STATUTE/:   75 MILES
PATH WIDTH /MAXIMUM/:    1300 YARDS
FATALITIES:              9
INJURIES:                NUMEROUS

START DATE:              12/23/2015
START TIME:              410 PM CST
START LOCATION:          1 N TYRO/TATE COUNTY MS
START LAT/LON:           34.5955/-89.7055

END DATE:                12/23/2015
END TIME:                525 PM CST
END LOCATION:            1 SE SELMER/MCNAIRY COUNTY TN
END LAT/LON:             35.1496/-88.5666

SUMMARY: THIS TORNADO DEVELOPED OVER SOUTHEASTERN TATE COUNTY. AS IT
MOVED INTO MARSHALL COUNTY...THE TORNADO HEAVILY DAMAGED SEVERAL
HOMES ALONG MISSISSIPPI HIGHWAY 4. JUST SOUTHWEST OF HOLLY SPRINGS...
THE TORNADO PRODUCED DAMAGE TO A CHURCH AND SURROUNDING TREES THAT
APPROACHED EF-4. THE TORNADO MOVED ACROSS THE SOUTHEASTERN EDGE OF
HOLLY SPRINGS...CAUSING EF-2 TO EF-3 DAMAGE AND UPROOTING/SNAPPING
NUMEROUS TREES. TWO FATALITIES OCCURRED IN MARSHALL COUNTY.

THE TORNADO CROSSED INTO BENTON COUNTY NEAR HIGHWAY 4 WEST OF ASHLAND.
THE TORNADO APPEARED TO STRENGTHEN AS IT ENTERED BENTON COUNTY.
SEVERAL HOUSES WEST-NORTHWEST OF ASHLAND HAD DAMAGE APPROACHING
EF-4...WITH EF-4 DAMAGE OBSERVED IN NORTHEASTERN BENTON COUNTY. SIX
FATALITIES OCCURRED IN BENTON COUNTY.

THE TORNADO MOVED ACROSS FAR NORTHWESTERN TIPPAH COUNTY...DAMAGING
SEVERAL HOMES IN THE THREE FORKS COMMUNITY. ONE FATALITY OCCURRED
IN TIPPAH COUNTY. AS THE TORNADO CROSSED INTO HARDEMAN COUNTY
TENNESSEE...IT DESTROYED A LARGE METAL AGRICULTURAL BUILDING. THE
TORNADO ENTERED ITS SHRINKING STAGE AS IT MOVED INTO MCNAIRY COUNTY.
THE LAST OBSERVED DAMAGE WAS NEAR HIGHWAY 45 ON THE SOUTHEAST EDGE
OF SELMER.

 

 

damage in benton county of house from tornado

EF-4 damage to two story house in Benton County, MS

 

.TORNADO #4: MADISON COUNTY...

RATING:                  EF-1
ESTIMATED PEAK WIND:     95 MPH
PATH LENGTH /STATUTE/:   1.2 MILES
PATH WIDTH /MAXIMUM/:    50 YARDS
FATALITIES:              0
INJURIES:                0

START DATE:              12/23/2015
START TIME:              443 PM CST
START LOCATION:          4.2 WNW DENMARK/MADISON COUNTY TN
START LAT/LON:           35.5549/-89.0729

END DATE:                12/23/2015
END TIME:                444 PM CST
END LOCATION:            3.5 NW DENMARK/MADISON COUNTY TN
END LAT/LON:             35.5638/-89.0544

SUMMARY: THIS TORNADO OCCURRED OVER WESTERN MADISON COUNTY. THE
TORNADO DAMAGED SEVERAL STORAGE SHEDS AND CAUSED ROOF DAMAGE TO
A HOME.

 

 

Damage to home and garage in madison county, tn

EF-1 damage to home and garage in Madison County, TN



.TORNADO #5: PRENTISS COUNTY...

RATING:                  EF-1
ESTIMATED PEAK WIND:     100 MPH
PATH LENGTH /STATUTE/:   4.0 MILES
PATH WIDTH /MAXIMUM/:    80 YARDS
FATALITIES:              0
INJURIES:                UNKNOWN

START DATE:              12/23/2015
START TIME:              616 PM CST
START LOCATION:          3.5 SSW JUMPERTOWN/PRENTISS COUNTY MS
START LAT/LON:           34.6622/-88.6863

END DATE:                12/23/2015
END TIME:                620 PM CST
END LOCATION:            2.6 SE JUMPERTOWN/PRENTISS COUNTY MS
END LAT/LON:             34.6856/-88.6233

SUMMARY: THIS TORNADO OCCURRED IN WESTERN PRENTISS COUNTY. THE
TORNADO DAMAGED SEVERAL MOBILE HOMES...UPROOTED TREES...AND
SLID A HOME OFF OF ITS FOUNDATION.

 

 

A destroyed mobile home in Prentiss County, MS

EF-1 damage to mobile home in Prentiss County, MS



EF SCALE: THE ENHANCED FUJITA SCALE CLASSIFIES TORNADOES INTO
THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES:

EF0...WEAK......65 TO 85 MPH
EF1...WEAK......86 TO 110 MPH
EF2...STRONG....111 TO 135 MPH
EF3...STRONG....136 TO 165 MPH
EF4...VIOLENT...166 TO 200 MPH
EF5...VIOLENT...>200 MPH

NOTE: INFORMATION IN THIS STATEMENT IS PRELIMINARY AND SUBJECT TO
CHANGE PENDING FINAL REVIEW OF THE EVENT AND PUBLICATION IN NWS
STORM DATA.

$$

WOODALL/BELLES/BRANDA/MOORE/INGRAM