A recap of yesterday’s tornadoes and severe weather setup


Mobile, Ala. (WKRG) – Good evening Gulf Coast! For those interested, here is the latest from the National Weather Service in Mobile about the tornadoes from yesterday as well as the setup that fueled the severe weather.

The National Weather Service in Mobile has surveyed and have done preliminary reports on two tornadoes that occurred yesterday in Mobile County. First, it was confirmed that the tornado that developed on Johnson Road in West Mobile was EF-1 with estimated winds of 97 mph. The second tornado they surveyed was a little further north just northwest of Semmes. This was also confirmed as EF-1 with wind speeds of 107 mph. In the coming days we will get more surveys (including Washington County and other areas that we saw tornado damage). Again, these are preliminary and we will get more information on these and other potential tornadoes in the coming days.

The setup for this event was the “perfect storm” of different components of the weather that combined to create what we saw yesterday. Bear with me, we are about to get into the weeds of meteorology. Here is the breakdown:

  1. First we had what was Tropical Storm Olga (now post-tropical and far inland) that was feeding southeasterly winds from the Gulf into our area. This added tropical moisture helped create an unstable atmosphere.
  2. Next we had a warm front lift through our area. This brought humid and warm air as well as more instability.
  3. The cold front approaching also added more energy (this has now passed our area).
  4. Finally we had an upper-level trough of low pressure that dove deep into the southeast giving us strong upper-level winds from the south. As a result, with the surface winds from the southeast and the upper-level winds from the south, wind shear (change of wind direction with height) was created. This is what led to many of the storms starting to rotate, making it easier for tornadoes to evolve.

For a visual representation, check out the video!

The News 5 First Alert Storm Team stayed on air throughout the afternoon and evening, tracking each and every threat. We will always stay on air through every tornado warning, no matter where it is in our viewing area. If you cannot access a TV, you can live stream it through the app or website as well. Please download the News 5 weather app to stay up to date in situations like this!

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