The National Weather Service has upgraded the Perryville, Missouri tornado of February 28, 2017 to EF-4 today. This makes it the first violent tornado of 2017. The event lasted an astounding 1 hour and 2 minutes and was the longest track tornado in the coverage area of NWS Paducah since another EF-4 tornado back on April 22, 1981.
The tornado quickly became violent reaching EF-4 intensity and leveling 5 homes, as well as other structures, just west of I-55, about 5.6 km (3.5 miles) northwest of Perryville, Missouri. This is in the Kyle Lane and County Road 806 area, NWS explains.
Numerous uninhabited cars from a salvage yard were blown into or over I-55. The lone fatality occurred when an I-55 southbound vehicle was intercepted by the tornado.
As the tornado tore east, it caused the area of greatest home and property destruction 4.8 km (3 miles) north of Perryville, in the vicinity of U.S. Highway 61 and Moore Drive.
Three homes were leveled on the west side of U.S. Highway 61 with dozens of other homes and structures destroyed. Several of the injuries occurred in this area. In addition to the leveled homes in Perry County, at least 100 other homes received moderate to major damage.
As the tornado continued east across Perry County, it leveled or nearly leveled 2 additional homes and destroyed numerous other homes and structures. The tornado reached its greatest width as it approached the Mississippi River where a damage swath 965 m (0.6 miles) wide was measured.
The tornado damage path also exhibited multiple vortex characteristics at this point, yielding three distinct convergent areas within the parent vortex. This was also indicated via ground striations, or disturbance marks to bare ground, just west of the Mississippi River.
The twister then ripped across the southern tip of Randolph County Illinois just south of Rockwood and continued its ENE path across Jackson County, Illinois passing just south of Ava, Illinois and immediately south of Vergennes, Illinois.
Many thousands of large trees were snapped and uprooted, and dozens of homes and other structures were damaged or destroyed across Jackson and Franklin Counties.
The tornado remained very intense and wide (at least 0.5 km / 1/3 mile) nearly leveling a home as it passed between Elkville and Dowell, Illinois and into Franklin County with unabating intensity. A house was leveled 2.8 km (1.75 miles) south of Mulkeytown.
Very soon thereafter the tornado began to rapidly weaken, before dissipating 2.9 km (1.8 miles) southwest of Christopher.
The tornado lasted an astounding 1 hour and 2 minutes and was the longest track tornado in the coverage area of NWS Paducah since another EF-4 tornado back on April 22, 1981.
Estimated peak wind: 289 km/h (180 mph)
Path length /Statute/: 81.1 km (50.4 miles)
Path width /Maximum/: 965 m (0.6 miles)
Start date/time: February 28, 19:55 CST (March 1, 01:55 UTC)
Start location: 7.7 km (4.8 miles) WNW of Perryville, Missouri
End date/time: February 28, 20:57 CST (March 1, 02:57 UTC)
End location: 2.9 km (1.8 miles) SW of Christopher, Illinois
Featured image: Perryville, MO tornado damage - February 2017. Credit: WeatherNation