A total of five tornadoes of EF-2 intensity or higher were surveyed by the National Weather Service (NWS) as a result of the severe weather outbreak of March 2, 2012 across far eastern Tennessee and along the Tennessee / North Carolina border. One of the tornadoes was rated EF-3 intensity, while the other four were rated EF-2 intensity.
The lone EF-3 tornado took place in Harrison (in Hamilton County, just to the Northeast of Chattanooga), and tracked East/Northeastward into adjacent portions of Bradley County. The total path length was 25.9 miles, with maximum winds estimated at 165 mph. The maximum path width was 300 yards.
I can’t stress enough the point regarding choosing a contractor carefully – and never handing over money until the job is complete. Unfortunately, there are too many people out there willing to take advantage of this type of situation. This obviously applies to all of the areas stricken with tornado damage earlier in the month, not just the West Liberty area.
3/9/12, 5pm CST:
The West Liberty school district has announced that classes will resume on March 19th. The Elementary school, district headquarters and many vehicles were heavily damaged or destroyed. A vacant factory near the Elementary School is being converted into a temporary location where elementary classes can be held, as well as temporary housing for some of the district offices as well. The full story from the courier-journal can be found here.
3/7/12, 3pm CST:
Residents of West Liberty were being allowed back into most areas of town as of today, however the The Kentucky Department of Emergency Management cautions residents that many areas are still not safe due to debris, some of which could include potentially hazardous materials.
Vehicles wishing to enter the city are required to pass through a checkpoint, and must be able to show residency to be allowed in. Officials encourage folks to come in groups and car pool if possible, so as to limit the number of vehicles that can safely pass through heavily damaged areas.
Banks were also opening temporary locations today, allowing customers to withdraw up to $500.00 at one time:
-Commercial Bank has a temporary location at 151 University Drive. They also plan to open a 2nd temporary location near the IGA in Index tomorrow (Wednesday, 3/7/12).
-Citizens Bank customers can use branches located in Morehead, Owingsville and Sharpsburg.
-Bank of the Mountains customers can use their non-downtown location in West Liberty, as well as their location in Ezel.
The total path length of the West Liberty tornado has been extended to 95 miles, as a survey across the West Virginia border indicates a preliminary ending point to the Southwest of Charleston. It is possible that the ending point may be 10 to 15 miles further East/Northeast as well, and that possibility is still being surveyed.
3/4/12, 7am CST:
The NWS survey team from the Jackson, KY office has completed its survey on the West Liberty tornado, up to a point on the East side of West Liberty. Presumably today they will finish up with the Eastern end of the track, which is shown on the image above.
The survey estimates the beginning point took place about 2 miles Southwest of Mariba in Menifee County at approximately 5:39 PM EST. The path length, so far, amounts to 34 miles with a maximum width in the damage path of 1 mile.
As I mentioned yesterday evening, the preliminary NWS survey rating of the tornado is EF-3 intensity, and the survey cites “estimated peak winds of 140 mph”. On the operational scale of EF-intensity, an EF-3 tornado is described as producing winds in the range of 136-165 mph.