What Was The 2008 Super Tuesday Tornado Outbreak?

A tornado in Colorado.
A tornado in Colorado.

On February 5 and 6, 2008, a fatal tornado hit the Southern region of the US and the Lower Ohio Valley. The outbreak of the tornado began on what is referred to as the Super Tuesday. On Super Tuesday, 24 US states including Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, Alabama, and Tennessee were conducting primaries to nominate a presidential candidate for the 2008 presidential election. The tornado affected the voting process in some of the voting stations with some of them forcefully closed. The Super Tuesday Tornado Outbreak is rated as EF4 Tornado.


During the catastrophic incident, a series of 87 severe tornado outbreaks occurred. The 87 tornados occurred in a span of only 15 hours. The first tornado occurred on the afternoon of February 5. It was followed by subsequent other severe tornadoes. The last one occurred on the morning of February 6, 2008.

Events Leading To The Tornadoes Outbreak

Unusually high temperatures were experienced prior to the first tornado. The temperatures were abnormally high especially in Arkansas, El Dorado, Shreveport, and Memphis. A cold wind blowing into the regions resulted in violent weather conditions. The dew points, high temperatures, and cold fronts led to an unstable weather condition. These led to one of the most severe storm to be recorded in the regions for quite a long time.

A line of thunderstorm developed across Eastern Texas and proceeded into Missouri on the morning of February 5. The cap took abnormally long to break ahead of the squall line. A cap can be described as a layer of comparatively warm air which is usually located over a thousand feet above the ground, which is usually responsible for the delay of the development of storms. The cap is supposed to be broken before the thunderstorm proceeds. It finally broke in the late afternoon hours. When it did break, supercell thunderstorms formed in Arkansas and Southern Missouri. These events led to the first tornado, which touched down at 3:30 pm on February 5, 2008.

Effects Of The Tornado Outbreak

The 2008 Super Tuesday Tornado Outbreak was severe. It had very many effects on both humans and property. The most affected areas were the populated Memphis Metropolitan Area in Jackson, Tennessee, and the Northeastern region of Nashville Metropolitan Area. Apart from the disruption of the primary elections in some of the voting stations, the outbreak of tornadoes had very many adverse effects.

57 people were killed in the four affected states. Hundreds of others sustained minor and severe injuries. Property worth approximately $1.2 billion was destroyed by the outbreak of tornadoes. The Tornado hit Union University in Jackson and severely destroyed the student dormitories and over 1,100 cars. For this reason, the Super Tuesday 2008 Tornado Outbreak is considered to be one of the deadliest Tornado to hit the US states. In fact, it is considered the deadliest tornado outbreak in a record of 23 years since the last tornado which killed 88 people in the United States occurred on May 31, 1985. The 1985 Tornado hit Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.


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