More Wednesday Tornadoes May Break April Record

April 27, 2011 Updated: October 1, 2015
A Storm Prediction Center map showing reports of tornadoes (red), wind (blue), and hail (green) on Wednesday afternoon. (NOAA)
A Storm Prediction Center map showing reports of tornadoes (red), wind (blue), and hail (green) on Wednesday afternoon. (NOAA)

After more than 450 reports of severe weather on Tuesday, April 26—including 50 tornado reports across Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas—the National Weather Service is forecasting more tornadoes this afternoon and tonight.

The NWS Storm Prediction Center in Norma, Okla. is expecting the development of “more strong to violent, long-track tornadoes” over parts of the Tennessee Valley and Southeast: northern Alabama, far northwestern Georgia, northeastern Mississippi, and southern Tennessee.

"A large, violent tornado is on the ground just south of Oxford, take cover now!" Josh Williams, a resident in Oxford of northeastern Mississippi tweeted at 3 p.m. EDT.

Elsewhere in the country, severe storms could take place from the lower Great Lakes region and Mid-Atlantic to the central and eastern Gulf Coast states.

The violent tornadoes that spun through the South over the past few days have killed at least 21 people—four in Alabama, 11 in Arkansas, and six in Mississippi, according to the three states’ emergency management agencies.

So far this month, more than 600 tornado reports or sightings have been documented. Even though many reports could be from the same storm, the number of confirmed tornadoes will most likely exceed the old April record tornado outbreak of 267 set back in 1974.

Meteorologists have attributed this month’s unusually many tornadoes to various factors, including a jet stream that enables the dry and cold air coming from Canada to mix with the warm and humid air from the Gulf of Mexico.

While May and June are usually the peak months for severe weather, meteorologists say an abnormally active April doe not necessarily signify high numbers of tornadoes will persist into the next two months.

Tornadoes have been recorded on every continent except Antarctica, but most tornadoes in the world occur in Tornado Alley, which loosely spans from Texas to Nebraska. They are also common in the southeastern United States.