ST. LOUIS – The National Weather Service concluded its ground survey following Sunday’s tornado outbreak.
In all, five tornado tracks have been uncovered. Two of the tornadoes were rated as EF-3s, two EF-1s, and one EF-0. The Farmington, Coffman, St. Mary, Chester, Illinois tornado appeared to have been on the ground for an incredible 42.4 miles.
The rugged and rural terrain along with the magnitude and widespread nature of the damage has led to long days of ground surveying for the National Weather Service teams.
There are some areas the teams simply cannot get to, so we at Fox 2 do what we can to help fill in some of those gaps by sharing what we see from Bommarito Automotive Group Skyfox.
Emergency managers do the same with drone video as well.
Kevin Deitsch, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service in St. Louis, says this is a truly unified effort across the entire weather enterprise that is focused on improving future warnings and ultimately saving lives.
“We can go back and look at how strong a circulation was on radar and we come out here and actually verify it on the ground,” he said.
“We talked a lot about the tornado debris signature we were seeing, those can get really tall – up to 20,000 feet. So then to coming out and look at that damage … what a tornado-like that can do, to loft debris to 20,000 feet. It is really important to us.”
Even though the final ground survey is complete, the investigation will continue. One of the final pieces of the puzzle will be filled when hi-resolution satellite imagery of the storm damage is received next week.
Forecasters will use those images to help fill in any remaining gaps in the data.