On March 1, 1997, a severe weather situation with tornadoes and very|
heavy rainfall erupted along a nearly stationary front from Texas to
West Virginia. At mid-afternoon on Saturday, an outbreak of strong to
violent tornadoes in Arkansas, northern Mississippi, and western
Tennessee resulted in 27 deaths, including 25 in Arkansas. Several of
the tornadoes have been estimated as F4 intensity, with winds in the
207-260 mph range. This was the deadliest U.S. outbreak since March
27, 1994, when 42 were killed in Alabama, Georgia, and South
Carolina. Fortunately in this outbreak, the National Weather Service
issued tornado warnings from 10 to 32 minutes before the tornadoes
struck, using NEXRAD radar to provide much more lead time than
previously possible. Thus far this year, 29 tornado-related deaths
have been reported vs. 24 for all of 1996.
This event also produced unusually heavy rainfall from northeast
Arkansas through western Tennessee and southeast Missouri, and into
much of Kentucky, southern Indiana and Ohio, and West Virginia. In
many areas, the rains fell on nearly saturated ground left by the
snows and rainfall of the past few months. In parts of northern
Kentucky, rainfall rates averaged at least one inch per hour for a
12-hour period on March 1.
NCDC offers satellite and radar imagery detailing this weather
situation. In addition, a precipitation table outlining total
precipitation in inches that fell over the south during the outbreak
All imagery and additional information is available via World Wide
Web from NCDC.
Link to: "http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/reports/marchflooding/marchflooding.html"
[Summary Extracted from the NOAA/NCDC Home Page]