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Memphis Tornado Coverage

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Published on Mar 8, 2008

The 2008 Super Tuesday Tornado Outbreak was a deadly tornado outbreak affecting the Southern United States and the lower Ohio Valley from February 5--6, 2008.

In total, 82 tornadoes were confirmed. The outbreak produced several destructive tornadoes in heavily populated areas, most notably in the Memphis metropolitan area, in Jackson, Tennessee, and the northeastern end of the Nashville metropolitan area. At least 58 people were killed in the outbreak by tornadoes across four states and 18 counties, with hundreds of others injured. The outbreak was the deadliest in the U.S. since the May 31, 1985 outbreak that killed 76 across Ohio and Pennsylvania (and also killed 12 in Ontario, Canada). It also was the deadliest tornado outbreak in both Tennessee and Kentucky since the 1974 Super Outbreak. In Arkansas, the 13 fatalities were the most since 25 were killed during the Benton, Arkansas Tornado Outbreak on March 1, 1997.

In addition to the tornadoes, the same system produced significant straight-line wind damage, hail as large as softballs, major flooding, significant freezing rain, and heavy snow across many areas of eastern North America.

Memphis area tornado

A supercell thunderstorm moved across the Tennessee and Mississippi state boundary and produced a tornado at 5:32 PM CDT (2332 UTC) in Southaven, Mississippi near Southaven High School which was heavily damaged. The tornado quickly tracked across the line into southeastern Memphis. National Weather Service officials issued a tornado emergency (the first of five in the outbreak) across most of the Memphis region and the suburbs. It produced a swath of extensive damage over residential and commercial areas.

WREG tower cameras showed the tornado tracking across the southeastern suburbs, particularly Southaven, Mississippi, with sightings of debris and power flashes. An eyewitness took pictures of the tornado. Hickory Ridge Mall suffered damage when portions of a wall and roof were destroyed. Major damage has also been reported in the Pleasant Ridge area of Germantown and the south end of Memphis. Damage was also reported at Memphis International Airport, where a hangar lost its roof, the FedEx freight terminal's fire station suffered roof damage (FedEx service was disrupted due to flight delays and closed roads from the tornado damage in surrounding areas; the FedEx superhub suffered minimal damage), airstair trucks were thrown 100 yards (91 m), and aircraft were moved around, including a Boeing 737 being moved one foot. The airport was locked down before the tornado hit; the airport weather station's reporting equipment recorded a gust of 73 knots (84 mph, 135 km/h). The Hardy Bottling Company facility was also damaged, which released 120,000 pounds (54,500 kg) of anhydrous ammonia into the atmosphere, although no public health impacts were reported. Electricity was also briefly cut to about 65,000 customers in Memphis.

The National Weather Service rated the tornado as an EF2. Four people in the metropolitan area are confirmed dead. Three people were killed when a warehouse collapsed in the Hickory Hill section of Memphis. A spokesperson for the state's Emergency Management Agency also reported one fatality at the Hickory Ridge Mall, although the NWS office in Memphis has not confirmed such. 36 other people were injured in Shelby County by the tornadoes. One other death took place southeast of Hebron by a separate EF3 tornado.

Hernando Horn Lake Olive Branch Southaven Walls Memphis Lynchburg Cockrum Eudora Lake Cormorant Lake View Mineral Wells Nesbit Pleasant Hill


2008 02 05 FEB 08 February 02-05-08 02/05/08 020508
Shelby County, Tennessee
Arlington Bartlett Collierville Cordova Eads
Fisherville Germantown Lakeland Memphis
Millington

DeSoto County, Mississippi
Hernando Horn Lake Olive Branch
Southaven Walls Memphis Lynchburg Cockrum
Eudora Lake Cormorant Lake View
Mineral Wells Nesbit Pleasant Hill

Crittenden County, Arkansas
Anthonyville Crawfordsville Earle
Edmondson Gilmore Horseshoe Lake
Jennette Jericho Marion
Sunset Turrell West Memphis

Tipton County, Tennessee
Atoka Brighton Burlison Covington
Garland Gilt Edge Mason Munford Reverie

Haywood County, Tennessee
Brownsville Nutbush Stanton

Madison County, Tennessee
Jackson Medon Three Way Pinson

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