North Carolina "Tornadocane"

Wilmington Radar Reflectivity Loop

This loop runs from 2339Z (7:39 p.m. EDT) April 15 to 0238Z April 16 (10:38 p.m. EDT April 15). The loop has 30 frames totalling nearly 800 KB; so it may take several minutes to load even on a fast connection. Once loaded, you can stop the loop, go to the beginning, then step forward frame-by-frame, as you read the chronology below.


The killer tornado near Pembroke NC occurred at 0015Z (8:15 pm EDT), about the time of the seventh frame from the beginning. It was an HP (heavy-precipitation) supercell at the time and had not yet sprouted the spiral bands. During frames 12-13, the storm passed near Tar Heel and White Oak, producing 2 more tornadoes which injured five people. New thunderstorms along the supercell's rear-flank gust front, and the original storm's forward-flank precipitation area, each became spiral bands curving inward toward the "eye" -- actually, a bounded weak-echo region (BWER) between the bands. During this hurricane-shaped echo stage, over Duplin County, a 1/2 to 1 mile wide tornado produced F2 damage, injured at least 11 people near Kenansville and Beulaville, and carved a 30 mile long path. Then the southern band (along the original rear-flank gust front) partially broke away, with a tornado reprted near Catherine Lake (NW Onslow County) which injured four. This activity was over Catherine Lake between four and six frames from the end. Meanwhile, the original HP supercell continued toward the ENE, producing more tornadoes and wind damage. The 165 mph gust north of Trenton was recorded at 0220Z (10:20 p.m. EDT), from the original HP supercell, at about the time of the fourth frame from the end. Then, the original supercell began to evolve into a bow echo (last 3-4 frames), and would spawn still more tornadoes and wind damage reports over Lenoir and Craven counties.

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