One year ago, the city of Joplin, Missouri was devastated by a powerful EF-5 tornado. The tornado, with wind over 200mph and nearly a mile wide, took out a large portion of Joplin, leaving nearly 15o deceased, nearly 900 injured, and so many more impacted.
The entire country remembers Joplin and the impacts there. Do you remember the impacts we saw locally by this same storm system? It wasn't the threat of tornadoes, but the first severe weather outbreak and major flash flood event (the first of several flood problems in 2011) for the north country.
Let's look back... Low pressure was centered in the Dakotas, with an associated cold front extending southward, and the warm front extending eastward. This system sparked an outbreak of severe thunderstorms through the central US from Texas to Wisconsin with hail, wind, and tornadoes along the cold front and low center, as well as along and south of the warm front scattered hail and damaging wind reports as well. Here was the surface map (top)on the day of the Joplin tornado- May 22, 2011- as well as a recap of all the severe weather reports (bottom- tornadoes are red, hail is green, and wind is blue).
As the system pushed eastward, the severe weather went along with it.
By the time we reached May 26th and May 27th, severe weather made it's appearance in our area. Several strong thunderstorms developed with resulting severe hail the size of quarters (coins) and larger, and several damaging wind occurences. One thunderstorm in Duxbury, Vermont even produced baseball sized hail. Wow! Click here to read the entire list of storm reports from that day from the SPC.
What you don't see in the severe weather reports, is flooding. According to the event recap from the Burlington National Weather Service (click here for full report), several of these thunderstorms were accompanied by very heavy rainfall amounts of 3 to 5 inches with localized radar estimates near 7 inches across central Vermont, which caused significant flash flooding. As a result, many roads were washed out and several rivers reached moderate to major flood stage as a result of the heavy rainfall. Most of the severe weather reports were concentrated along and south of a Star Lake, New York to Canaan, Vermont line, associated with several long-tracked miniature supercells, which continued into New Hampshire and Maine. Click here to view that full local storm report collection, including flood information, courtesy of the local National Weather Service in Burlington.
The photo below shows the result of flash flooding near Cabot, Vermont. Photo taken on May 27th by Scott Whittier, a meteorologist at the Burlington NWS office.
The 2 photos below are from a great blog I found about the flooding, which you can visit here. Photo credit for the 2 pictures below are to Dan Russell.
Car which was parked the Farmer's Market Parking lot at Julio's on State Street in Montpelier, VT, entrapped by flash flood waters.
The Winooski River jumped an astounding nearly 12.5 feet in a matter of about 6 hours. This is the view of the North Branch of the Winooski near State Street (which is typically MUCH lower)