April 2011 saw tornado super outbreak with 362 in a week. Here’s a look back at the damage

Last week accounted for almost half of the 751 tornadoes that month


Alabama – This week marks 10 years since 362 confirmed tornadoes violently swept through the southeastern United States, making it one of the worst outbreaks in U.S. history.

The entire month of April was active with a staggering 751 tornadoes confirmed, but it was the last week that accounted for almost half that total, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information.

751 tornadoes were confirmed in the month of April 2011. During a super outbreak from April 25th to the 28th accounted for almost half of the entire months total count. (National Centers for Environmental Information)

The four-day period from April 25 to 28 left more than 300 people dead and $12 billion in damages.

The bulk of the activity happened on April 27 with 207 tornadoes touching down, four of which were EF-5. This day is still known as the “deadliest day for tornadoes” with Alabama noted as the hardest hit among the 26 states impacted.

Before (left) and after in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, representing damage from April 2011 super tornado outbreak. The NOAA's King Air Aircraft flew over to survey the wreckage in addition to ground teams. (National Centers for Environmental Information)

Waves of storms with intense squall lines started before sunrise and didn’t stop after the sun had set. Alabama alone had 62 confirmed tornadoes during an 18-hour period of time taking the lives of 240 people. Before the storms were over 69 tornadoes were confirmed in the state.

The costliest was an EF-4 rated twister a mile and a half wide with peak winds at 190 mph. Tuscaloosa and Birmingham were among the cities devastated in the 80-mile path.

This scale shows the rating of the tornado and the extent of damage caused by windspeeds and strength of structures. (Storm Prediction Center)

That tornado alone took the lives of 65 people and left more than 1,000 others injured. The clean-up cost $100 million. Most of the cities were left unrecognizable.

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.