FULL DISCLOSURE: This blog post, ostensibly about the new tornado record for April and the twister threat for the next 3 days in the South, is a thinly veiled excuse to publish the above video, which has sent the bar for tornado freak-out videos flying to new heights. The footage is from a funnel cloud last Tuesday in Girard, Ill. There is bleeped-out profanity and uncensored knuckleheadedness as these clowns yell their heads off about a tornado while driving straight into it.
Tornadoes for Virginia; tornadoes for Maryland! Tornadoes for everyone! April has shattered prior records for most tornadoes – preliminary stats indicate 292 popped up across the U.S., a leap above the old record of 267 in April 1974. (The average for the month is 163.) And with still a few days to go before May, the country will likely see more tornadoes stacked atop that already towering record.
There’s a moderate risk of severe weather in the South during the next three days, according to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center. Washington, D.C. is not in the SPC’s current assessment, although a cold front moving through Thursday could produce thunderstorms.
Here’s the SPC’s forecast for Wednesday (pardon the ALLCAPS and meteorology jargon):
THE MOST FAVORABLE COMBINATION OF RICH LOW-LEVEL MOISTURE...STRONG SHEAR...FOCUSED LARGE-SCALE ASCENT...AND ANTICIPATED LACK OF APPRECIABLE PRIOR CONVECTION INDICATES A RELATIVELY HIGH-CONFIDENCE AREA OF CONCENTRATED SIGNIFICANT THREAT FOR POTENTIALLY STRONG TORNADOES AND WIDESPREAD WIND DAMAGE CENTERED OVER THE MID SOUTH/TN VALLEY REGION.
Over at the Weather Underground, meteorologist Jeff Masters predicts that a “huge tornado outbreak” is imminent. The threat comes from a powerful storm system that is coming together over the Mississippi Valley and will rush eastward over the next three days. Masters gives Tuesday the highest chance for damaging storms. He says:
A more serious threat of severe weather exists for Tuesday over Arkansas and surrounding states, with the Storm Prediction Center calling the situation "potentially significant/dangerous." The heightened severe weather risk extends through Wednesday, with a moderate risk of tornadoes and severe weather in Tennessee and surrounding states. … This week's action will substantially pad the record. (Emphasis mine.)