Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Believe it or not, local tornadoes are pretty rarePosted Friday, June 6, 2008, at 3:52 PM
Greene County Emergency Management Agency Director Roger Axe, in the midst of coordinating recovery efforts for his second major weather-related disaster since February, is still able to maintain his sense of humor.
Axe has jokingly called the Greene County area "the new tornado alley."
Roger was kidding, of course, but after he received confirmation that Greene County had been struck by two tornadoes on successive days this week, and coupled with the fact that nearly the same area of Bloomfield was hammered in February by another confirmed tornado, there was surely some validity in his comment.
Officials from National Weather Service visited hard hit storm areas in and around Bloomfield and eastern Greene County on Thursday afternoon.
The result of those on-site inspections by NWS meteorologist Dave Tucek, from the Indianapolis office, was that the area did experience some tornadic activity on both Tuesday and Wednesday mornings that he called low-intensity tornadoes.
He called three confirmed tornado touchdowns in a particular area of Indiana rather rare.
Historical data bears out this fact.
Since 1970, Greene County has only experienced nine tornadoes, according to data from the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Informational Services (NESDIS). This includes the two recent tornadoes that hit the area this week.
The Feb. 5 night-time tornado started one mile southwest of Bloomfield about 9:15 p.m. and ended two miles north of Bloomfield. It stayed on the ground about four minutes as it cut a 50-yard wide path through the west central part of town and lifted about three miles north of town. Wind speeds were estimated around 100 mph.
Most of the widespread damage in town was done by straight line winds, according to NWS observers.
February's F1 rated tornado in Bloomfield that did an estimated $1.3 million in property damage, was the first rated tornado in Greene County since June 21, 2001. On that date at 7:09 p.m., a small 30 feet wide F1 rated tornado briefly touched down two miles south of Owensburg and caused roof and wall damage to a single house estimated at $30,000.
Prior to that, it was May 8, 1996 when a low intensity F1 twister touched down at 3:20 p.m. about four miles north of Worthington. A house roof was blown off and a barn sustained about $5,000 in damage.
Numerous trees and power lines were downed in the tornado that was measured one mile long and 200 yard wide.
Other rated tornadoes in Greene County have included:
* April 15, 1994 -- F1 magnitude tornado hit a farm, three miles south of Lyons, 8:04 a.m., one outbuilding was destroyed and three others and a nearby house were damaged. Damage estimate $50,000.
* June 2, 1990 -- F2 magnitude tornado hit various locations Greene County, 10 miles long and 50 yards wide doing $2.5 million of damage.
Four tornadoes touchdowns near Worthington, in Bloomfield and north of Bloomfield starting at 6:30 p.m.
* June 28, 1980 -- F1 magnitude tornado hit Greene County at 5 p.m. No location or damage estimates available.
* April 19, 1970 -- F1 magnitude tornado hit Greene County at 8:30 p.m. causing an estimated $25,000 in damage. No location data available.
Now you know, tornadoes are a pretty rare occurrence in this neck of the woods in southern Indiana.
We are probably not tornado alley, but having three touchdowns in a matter months is pretty unique.
My hat is off to Roger Axe and his staff at the EMA, as well as to the army of volunteers, first responders, law enforcement and local merchants and business owners who have stepped up once again to work together as a team around the clock to clean up the mess left by this week's pair of twisters.
Thanks to each and everyone of you for a job well done.
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