Yazoo City, MS Killer Tornado Survey

April 27th, 2010 at 3:26 pm by under Weather

Source: National Weather Service, Jackson, MS


Violent and Deadly Long Track Tornado Plows From Tallulah Louisiana Across Yazoo City to Northeast Mississippi


It must be stressed that all of this information is preliminary and subject to later adjustment. A tornado outbreak of this magnitude requires a tremendous amount of survey and analysis. An analysis of aerial survey information could still result in this tornado being broken up into more than one path.We will provide updates as additional information is available. 

Estimated Maximum Wind:
170 mph
10 Total Fatalities with Dozens of Injuries
Damage Path Length:
149 miles
Maximum Path Width:
1.75 miles
Approximate Start Point/Time:
5 miles W of Tallulah, LA 32.408N, 91.283W
Approximate End Point/Time:
5.5 miles N of Sturgis, MS 33.430N, 89.054W

Preliminary ground surveys along the entire path of the primary supercell thunderstorm that tracked from west of Tallulah, Louisiana to Yazoo City to northeast of West Point on Saturday April 24 have been completed. The preliminary conclusion, based on the ground surveys, is that a single, continuous path of tornadic damage was produced from west of Tallulah Louisiana to the extreme western part of Oktibbeha county in northeast Mississippi. The tornado appeared to dissipate at this point but the storm produced two additional tornadoes in the NWS Jackson service area: an EF-1 in northern Oktibbeha County and an EF-2 in northeast Clay County.

The main long track tornado was strong almost from its initial stage of development in northeast Louisiana. EF-2 and EF-3 damage was common all along the tornado’s path into central Mississippi with areas of EF-4 damage observed in both Yazoo and Holmes counties. After crossing Interstate 55, the tornado weakened with EF-1 and occasional EF-2 damage being commom as the tornado moved across Attala County. The tornado reintensified as it moved into Choctaw County, with at least high end EF-3 damage occurring northwest of the Weir community. The tornado remained strong before rapidly weakening and then dissipating just after moving into Oktibbeha County.


The NWS would like to thank all of our partners in law enforcement and emergency management for their invaluable assistance in performing our damage surveys.

Event Summary

A potent storm system brought an extended period of severe weather to the Arklamiss region beginning in the afternoon hours of Friday, April 23rd and lasting through the late evening hours of Saturday, April 24th. Scattered severe thunderstorms developed and moved across northeastern Louisiana and parts of Mississippi during the afternoon and evening hours. Several reports of large hail were received from across the area, including golf ball size hail in Sunflower County. In addition, some wind damage was reported over southern portions of Leflore County in association with a possible tornado.

Though the storms on Friday did not cause widespread damage, a much more dangerous situation unfolded across the region on Saturday. Initially, two separate clusters of strong to severe thunderstorms affected the area during the morning hours. One moved across southeastern Arkansas and northwestern Mississippi, dropping hail up to golf ball size. Another moved across south central and southeastern Mississippi, producing large hail and some wind damage. One of the storms over southern Mississippi produced a possible tornado as it moved from southern Simpson County across Smith County, northern Jasper County, and into the Meridian area in Lauderdale County. The same storm produced golf ball size hail across Smith County.

However, the most destructive storm of the day developed over northern Louisiana during the mid to late morning hours. The first report of damage was received shortly after 11am near the city of Tallulah. From that point, things only got worse as the supercell tracked from west to east across the entire state of Mississippi. Along the way, it produced significant damage in several locations including the Eagle Lake area of Warren County, Valley Park in Issaquena County, Satartia and Yazoo City in Yazoo County, Ebenezer and Durant in Holmes County, north of Kosciusko near Hesterville in Attala County, French Camp and Chester in Choctaw County, north of Starkville in Oktibbeha County, and east of West Point in Clay County. Multiple fatalities and injuries were reported in association with the storm, and several structures were damaged or destroyed.

Later in the evening hours, additional storms lingered over portions of east central Mississippi. Large hail was reported with some of these storms, including hail to the size of tennis balls in southern Lowndes County. One storm northwest of Meridian produced an apparent tornado along the Lauderdale-Kemper County line. Several trees were downed and some minor structural damage was reported in the area.

View 2010_04_24_YazooTrack in a larger map

Radar Imagery  

2 Responses to “Yazoo City, MS Killer Tornado Survey”

  1. Jim Spencer says:

    No, topography does not play a role, so you are absolutely correct in being concerned. Tornadoes have formed on mountains and tracked down into valleys.

    You’re doing the right thing by helping to educate your neighbors.

  2. Jim Spencer says:

    Hi Annette. Thanks for the nice words! The apparent 149 mile damage path would be equivalent to a tornado traveling from downtown Austin to downtown Houston. Amazing, huh? If the preliminary results stand, this would be among the longest damage paths on record. 219 miles is the record, but there is some doubt about that, as damage surveys back in the 1920 when this tornado happened (The Tri-State Tornado) weren’t nearly as accurate as today’s. Experts believe that it was likely multiple tornadoes from the same supercell.