Easters past reveal deadly spring storms

Looking back at tornado outbreak of 2020

The Baxterville, Miss. of home Brian and Penny Templesis seen Monday, April 20, 2020 after it was heavily damaged after being struck by a tornado on Sunday evening. Severe storms are raking parts of the Deep South, a week after Easter storms pounded the Deep South, killing dozens. (Cam Bonelli/The Clarion-Ledger via AP) (Cam Bonelli)

FLORIDA – The date of Easter changes each year based on the lunisolar calendar. Easter is the first Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon.

Spring storms often accompany the holiday weekend, with last year being a prime example.

As if the beginning of a pandemic wasn’t enough for folks around Easter last year, there was wild tornado outbreak associated with a line of thunderstorms and embedded supercells ahead of a cold front that wreaked havoc across the Deep South. A staggering 140 tornadoes touched down on April 12 and 13, impacting nearly a dozen states from Florida to Texas and as far north as Maryland.

The National Weather Service Eastern Region tweeted the details, including the combined total length of the tornado paths reaching 938.68 miles.

NWS Eastern Region analysis of 2020 Easter Tornado Outbreak. (NWS)

One of those tornados, an EF-0, touched down and moved for a little over 3 miles near Live Oak, Florida. Multiple homes and businesses were damaged but, luckily, no one was injured.

In Mississippi, an EF-4 tornado touched down in Jefferson Davis County and was on the ground for roughly 68 miles before dissipating.

With a large garbage bag in hand, Audreanna Wilson, of Seminary, Miss., heads back into her home to try to fill it with what she can salvage Monday, April 13, 2020, after a tornado cut through the Seminary Williamsburg Road area on Easter Sunday. With her is her cousin Emily Pierce, 13, of Seminary. Wilson, who was renting, wasn't home when the storm hit, but the entire roof was ripped off the house. (Barbara Gauntt/The Clarion-Ledger via AP)

That tornado quickly became the widest in the state’s history, with a measured width of 2 miles. The previous record was 1.75 miles wide in April 2010.

Breaks down how many tornadoes occurred in each rating. There were 140 tornadoes total during this outbreak. (wkmg)

Extensive reports show an estimated $3.6 billion in damages during the two-day weather nightmare.

According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, more than a million homes and businesses lost power. The worst reports were the 35 lives lost, the most lives claimed during a tornado outbreak since April 2014. Three states reported over 20 tornadoes touching down. Georgia reported 30, Alabama had 27 and South Carolina had 25.

Easter Sunday severe weather reports. Red=Tornado. Blue=Wind. Green=Hail

The most damaging tornado reported was in Hampton County, South Carolina, where an EF-4 touched down, producing winds of 175 mph. It was the first time an EF-4 was reported in South Carolina since November 1995. For a little over 24 miles, the tornado tracked from Scotia and ended northeast of Fetching. At least 60 people were injured and five were killed as the tornado ravaged the area, damaging over 200 homes.

April continued to prove to be an active month for intense storms last year. There were a total of 1,186 severe weather reports.


About the Author:

Emmy Award Winning Meteorologist Samara Cokinos joined the News 6 team in September 2017. In her free time, she loves running and being outside.