Tornadoes May 22nd 2004 - 52 Mile Path of Destruction
Tornado Width estimated to be 2 1/2 miles wide near Hallam Nebraska.
Tornado Destruction Leading up to Hallam tornadochaser.net exclusive photos.
Tornadoes left a path of destruction 52 miles long and 2 1/2 miles wide at one point.
The entire area around Hallam takes a terrible blow from the tornado outbreak.
Tornadoes damaged 95 percent of homes and businesses in the small Lancaster County town
of Hallam Nebraska.
The images will speak for themselves as to how terrible this tornado was and how
More photos taken shortly after event.
Weather Service Information
Below is Courtesy of the NWS in Nebraska
Public Information Statement...
Correction national weather service omaha/valley ne
400 pm cdt tue may 25 2004 ...
Damage survey report on the Hallam Nebraska tornado ...
A survey was conducted by the national weather service in Valley, NE of the tornado that
struck Hallam on Saturday, may 22nd. the following is an overview of damage along the
track. The tornado started 2 miles north of Daykin, NE and traveled east-northeast to
about 1 mile south of western and continued to about 2 miles north of Swanton. the tornado
was rated f0 to f1 on the fujita damage scale in this section. Much of the damage was due
to farm outbuildings, grain bins and trees. the tornado remained f0 to f1 until it struck
the southern portions of Wilber where it strenghthened to f2.
Roofs blown off of homes occurred just southeast of Wilber. the tornado from Wilber to
north of clatonia to Hallam grew to its most intense stage. The tornado's path width also
increased to an unprecedented two and one-half miles. the f-scale rating for the storm was
f4 from about clatonia to Hallam. many well-built homes were demolished.
Grain bins, farm sheds and outbuildings, and trees were demolished along this section of
the path. Hallam itself escaped the strongest winds of the storm, which were south of the
town. nevertheless, many of the structures in Hallam were rated f2 to f3.
The storm also toppled hopper cars from a freight train on the west side of the town.
the tornado then tracked east for several miles prior to turning northeast again. The
storm narrowed to about a mile wide as it passed just north of Cortland and about 2 miles
north of firth. the Norris schools north of firth received severe damage with the roof of
the middle school auditorium collapsed and several walls caved in.
School busses were tossed. several homes northeast of the schools were flattened where
the storm was again rated f4. damage continued northeast to Holland and 2 miles north of
Panama. The tornado was slghtly weaker in this section (f2 at the most) and began to
narrow. the track then curved more to the north, just to the south of bennet where some
homes received f3 damage.
After passing to the south of Bennet, the storm moved back to the northeast and began to
weaken to f0 to f1 strength. The track also was becoming narrower. the tornado then
dissipated 1 mile west of Palmyra.
In summary. f-scale rating: f4 path length: 52 miles maximum path width: 2 1/2 miles
the fujita damage scale is as follows: f0 less than 73 mph chimneys damaged, trees broken
f1 73-112 mph mobile homes moved off foundations or overturned f2 113-157 mph considerable
damage, mobile homes demolished, trees uprooted f3 158-206 mph roof and walls torn down,
trains overturned, cars thrown f4 207-260 mph well-constructed walls leveled f5 261-318
mph homes lifted off foundations and carried some distance, cars thrown a long distance.
more information and pictures will be posted on the national weather service web site at
www.crh.noaa.gov/oax/ brian e. smith warning coordination meteorologist national weather
service Omaha/valley NE .end
Storm-Relative Velocity 01:33Z (8:33 CDT) The tornado was passing over Hallam at 8:33 PM,
and the radar velocity winds were 79 mph toward the radar and 92 mph away from the radar.
Because the radar is measuring the winds in the mesocyclone, the wind speeds do not
necessarily correlate to the strength of the tornado, because the tornado was rated a F4
at the time of this radar image. There are many factors and variables which determine the
radar's ability to measure the wind speeds inside the mesocyclone. Despite the slightly
lower winds on the radar, this is still considered an extremely strong velocity couplet.
Thanks to the National Weather Service for providing the Radar Images.
Tornado Alley News Report December
2004 by Tornado Tim
Continuing research helps shed light on the idea of multiple tornado alleys in the US
rather than one general area. Reading the research paper
OF SMALLER TORNADO ALLEYS ACROSS THE UNITED STATES BASED ON A LONG TRACK F3 TO F5 TORNADO
CLIMATOLOGY STUDY FROM 1880 TO 2003" by Chris
Broyles and Casey Crosbie of the Storm Prediction Center in
Norman, Oklahoma; data has been analyzed to
show a historical representation of several smaller apparent tornado alleys across the
United States as determined by a long track F3 to F5 tornadoes. A map of the United States
from 1880 to 2003 was constructed showing normalized frequencies of F3 to F5 tornadoes
with path lengths of at least 25 miles. This research gives a well needed upgrade to
how we look at tornado prone areas in the US and I believe helps give a more accurate
representation of areas not always known as tornado alley. I continue to believe most
tornado alley maps do not represent the most dangerous areas in the US correctly, and have
been vague in defining them to the public which may become a serious safety issue in the
future. I continue to believe we need to go to maps showing multiple tornado alleys
in the US and not ignore overwhelming evidence that many of the most violent tornado areas
in the US have been left off tornado alley maps for too long. While it may be true that
torando frequency may be highest in a small area in the US on a yearly basis, dangerous
and violent tornadoes happen over many tornado alley sections within the US that may have
prolonged droughts of tornadoes before being anilated by large, long lived tornadoes again
and again. These small tornado alleys are seen when looking at the US by a county to
county assesment. Below are the most dangerous counties in the US for F3 to F5 tornadoes
with path lengths longer than 25 miles. Most of these dangerous counties are not listed on
most tornado alley maps. Maps based on this county by county look is far more accurate
than todays maps.
(To find the number of long path F3 to F5
tornadoes affecting a county from 1880 to 2003, multiply the frequency by the square miles
and divide by 1,000)
Below are the top nine areas.
Notice the two counties listed above from
Nebraska. These two counties border each other in southeast Nebraska. Fillmore
and Thayer Counties, had the highest frequencies in the Great Plains with 15.63 and 13.91
long path F3 to F5 tornadoes per 1,000 square miles, respectively. Nine long path F3 to F5
tornadoes affected Fillmore County and eight affected Thayer County during the 124 year
period. In the great plains Nebraska comes above any listing for Kansas, Texas or Oklahoma
which none of those 3 made the top 9 list.
In 2004 Lancaster county in Southeast Nebraska had a
long lived tornado that had a peak width of around 2 1/2 miles wide destroying the city of
Hallam Nebraska proving the area to be one of the most dangerous in the US. The tornado
event started 2 miles north of Daykin Nebraska, which is less than 5 miles from both
Fillmore and Thayer Counties. In summary. f-scale rating was a maximim of f4 with a
maximum path length of 52 miles.
Also according to this research paper it says that the:
"area with very high frequency of long path F3 to F5 tornadoes includes northern
Mississippi, northern Alabama and western Tennessee. This vicinity includes the
largest continuous area with six or greater long track F3 to F5 tornadoes per 1,000 square
miles in the United States which is across northern Alabama extending to the northwest
into western Tennessee. Union County in northeast Mississippi had the highest frequency in
the United States with 19.28 long track F3 to F5 tornadoes per 1,000 square miles. The
relatively small county had eight long track F3 to F5 tornadoes during the 124 year
their summary of this informative research paper they state the following information:
four most prominent tornado alleys that were identified in the United States include
south-central Mississippi, east-central to northeast Oklahoma, southeast Nebraska and the
area from western Tennessee to northeast Mississippi and northern Alabama. Other prominent
alleys include northeast Kansas to central Iowa, northeast Arkansas, northwest Georgia,
central Illinois to northwest Ohio, northwest Louisiana, northeast Nebraska, southeast
Missouri to southwest Ohio and east to southeast North Carolina."
Most people would not be surprised to find that Oklahoma has one of the most dangerous
cities in the US using this data, but look at the list of other cities toping the list.
Below is the top 9 Cities for Long Track F3 to F5 Tornadoes in the United
States from 1880 to 2003.
frequency of long track F3 to F5 tornadoes per 1,000 square miles is given for each city
as a value.
again to the following research paper as much of this information came from it.
to: "EVIDENCE OF SMALLER TORNADO ALLEYS ACROSS THE UNITED STATES BASED
ON A LONG TRACK F3 TO F5 TORNADO CLIMATOLOGY STUDY FROM 1880 TO 2003" by Chris
Broyles and Casey Crosbie of the Storm Prediction Center in
Norman, Oklahoma.NOTE:Many of the opinions in this article are the ideas and
opinions of Tornado Tim.