March 12th 2006 Tornado Outbreak
March 12th Tornado Tracks

Synoptic Discussion

A strong mid/upper level trough with a 100kt mid level jet moved east from the Lower Colorado River Valley across the Central and Southern Plains. Meanwhile, a strong southwesterly low level jet of 60-80kt from the Arklatex region veered from the Mid-Mississippi River Valley toward the Ohio River Valley. A surface front extending from Lower Michigan southward across the Mid-Mississippi River Valley to Oklahoma and then westward to a surface low over Eastern Colorado lifted north as a warm front in response to the strong pressure falls translating from the Central Plains toward the Great Lakes Region. The surface low tracked eastward across Northern Kansas and Missouri. Increasing low level convergence in the vicinity of the surface low and southward along the prefrontal trough/dry line was the focus for thunderstorm initiation during the afternoon across Eastern Kansas and Western Missouri. Moisture return from the southern plains and lower Mississippi River Valley to the mid Mississippi River and Ohio River Valleys led to surface dewpoints in the upper 60s reaching as far north as Southern Missouri and Illinois. Steep mid-level lapse rates on the nose of the returning elevated mixed layer combined with this moisture to produce CAPE on the order of 2000 j/kg in the warm sector. Deep layer shear was more than sufficient for supercells and the strong low level jet contributed to large hodographs which were supportive of long track tornadoes. 

Cyclic supercells developed and moved east across Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois dropping large hail up to the size of baseballs, damaging wind gusts over 60 mph, and 49 confirmed tornadoes.

Event Statistics

49 Confirmed Tornadoes, 7 Fatalities

  • 38 Tornadoes in Missouri, 7 fatalities
  • 10 Tornadoes in Illinois, 0 fatalities
  • 1 Tornado in Kansas, 0 fatalities

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