It’s been ten years since the April 2011 ‘Super Outbreak’


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s been a decade since one of the largest and deadliest tornado outbreaks ever recorded. The “Super Outbreak” of April 25-28, 2011, led to an unprecedented amount of tornados that stretched across multiple states and killed more than 300 people.

The 2011 Super Outbreak was incredible in its scope and destruction, with 360 tornado touchdowns stretching from Texas to the Northeast. The worst of the damage occurred in the South on April 27th.

According to NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist Krissy Hurley, the atmospheric conditions that produced these powerful storms don’t come along often. “Once every 30-40 years is when us meteorologists see something like this coming together,” said Hurley.

While there was severe weather in Middle Tennessee, the most violent weather stayed south and east. “What’s unique about that April 27, even though Middle Tennessee, wasn’t impacted by the, you know, F4, F5 tornadoes that we saw down in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and even East Tennessee.

However, Middle Tennessee did not get away unscathed during this event, “What we got were almost 20 plus tornadoes in the middle of the night, early morning hours, and they were mostly weak in nature, luckily, and that probably helped us from really being significantly impacted by the April 27 event,” said Hurley.

A super outbreak is exceedingly rare, but it can happen again. And when it does, new technology may mean we’re better prepared for an event like this. 

“One of the differences between today and April 27, 2011, is that we have Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on our cell phones now. That way, more people will get the warning notification once that tornado warnings issue and be able to react. In 2011, that technology did not exist, and many people reported that they were surprised and had no warning. And I think that could be a game-changer for when the next Super Outbreak occurs,” explained Hurley.

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