"Long track tornadoes" is a phrase they don't use very often. Also, NOAA's Storm Prediction Center only issues a 'high risk' of severe weather a few times each year. Today is one of those days.
EXCEPTIONALLY STRONG LOW LEVEL WIND SHEAR OVER PORTIONS OF THE TENNESSEE AND LOWER MISSISSIPPI VALLEYS WILL AID IN THE POTENTIAL FOR A FEW LONG-TRACK STRONG TORNADOES WITH THE SUPERCELL THUNDERSTORMS. THE HIGHEST RISK OF STRONG LONG-TRACK TORNADOES WILL BE FROM NORTHERN MISSISSIPPI/SOUTHWESTERN TENNESSEE EASTWARD THROUGH NORTHERN ALABAMA AND MIDDLE TENNESSEE FROM THE AFTERNOON INTO THE EARLY EVENING.
THIS IS POTENTIALLY A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION.
UPDATE NOON 4/7/06
The sirens howled for about 25 minutes, but are off now. Based on radar it looks like Fayette county will be under the gun, as a very strong cell just moved out of southeast Shelby county. The severe weather folks tell us that Memphis is not out of the woods until the front passes later today (which is still west of us) but it sure looks like the current activity will remain east of here. Whew.
UPDATE 12:35PM 4/7
Heads up west-central and middle Tennessee and Kentucky. The storms that just developed near Memphis are rapidly intensifying as they move northeast towards the Tennessee River.
Anecdotal reports say a funnel was sighted as the storm passed near Collierville in Shelby County, this is not confirmed as far as I know. Checking the NWS, only large hail has been reported so far. The large hail indicates the ferocity of the "updrafts" present with these storms, which can sometimes spawn tornadoes.
UPDATE 1 PM CDT 4/7
A storm chaser reported a tornado in Carroll county at 12:37 pm. That cell looks nasty on radar, no doubt.
As an aside, not sure I've ever seen this happen before. Shelby county schools were closed early today, at noon, due to projected severe weather. The ironic thing is they were letting out the children just as the storms were grinding through the eastern half of the county, which conceivably could have placed students and parents in greater peril than had they remained where they were.
UPDATE 1:40pm 4/7
There was a tornado reported near Henderson, so it looks like rough afternoon for the Mid State. Mid-Southerners are not quite out of the woods yet, either.
UPDATE 3:10 PM 4/7
Looks like the area from southeast Ark to northern Miss, maybe southwest TN will be in the firing line again through early evening.
The storms in middle TN are are bearing down on Music City:
AT 304 PM CDT...THE PUBLIC REPORTED A TORNADO. THIS TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR KINGSTON SPRINGS...OR ABOUT 15 MILES EAST OF DICKSON...MOVING EAST AT 40 MPH.
UPDATE 4:45 PM CDT 4/7
Storms now firing over southeast Arkansas may threaten Memphis again before sundown. Elsewhere, the monster supercells carving across Mississippi are just as bad as the ones tearing across Tennessee.
Local TV news reports no tornado touchdowns in Memphis yet, but large hail broke car windshields in the city of Collierville. It's too early to tell, but this outbreak, which extends all the way from Louisiana to Ohio, is reminscent of one in 1974, which many remember by the Xenia tornado.
UPDATE 6:00 PM CDT 4/7/06
As of this minute it appears the worst of round two will miss Memphis. If so, old timers here will likely blame it on the bluffs. Heck they may be right, but it's seems more like blind luck to me. Not so fortunate down in Mississippi, where large hail and some wind damage has occurred with more to come.
And here's another report of a tornado, but not around here.
I guess this amounts to pseudo live-blogging. It's something I confess won't be happening very often due to work and other endeavors, but nevertheless it's been interesting today. Let's hope the low injury/fatality count can be maintained through the evening hours. People today have more awareness of approaching storms than at anytime in the history of mankind.
UPDATE 11:15 PM CDT 4/7
This has been an tiresome day for the first responders, 9/11 dispatchers, EMA folks and National Weather Service meteorologists, and it's still not over. Nobody is more saddened about the loss of life than those folks. It's impossible to warn everyone, and even if such a thing were possible tornadoes would still kill people. We're still largely at the mercy of Mother Nature.
The storms are doing something very common this time of night in the spring, they are transforming from the individual 'super cells' into large squall lines. This generally means the threat of tornadoes will decline a bit, but hail and straight line winds are still very much in play. Again, the city of Memphis was extremely fortunate today--the first wave formed just east and the second wave passed south. God be with the victims on this gruesome day.