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March 25-26, 2021 Tornado Outbreak

At least 6 dead after tornadoes sweep through Alabama, Georgia
Tornado damage from tornado that touched down on March 25, 2021 in Alabama. (Source: NBC News)

Last year, around this time of year severe weather was beginning to reel its teeth into portions of the deep south. This week officially marks the one year anniversary of a volatile tornado outbreak. This outbreak caused billions in damages and led to some fatalities as a result.

By Monday, March 22, 2021, the NWS already had their eye on this system. They put out a 15% chance for severe weather for the Deep South for Day 4 of the outlook being March 25th.

Day 4 Severe Weather Outlook Graphics Issued on Mar 22, 2021
The NWS Outlook for Day 4 – March 25th, 2021 (Source: NWS)

Over the next couple of days, the outlook only continue to grow in concern. By the morning of the expected tornado outbreak, the severe potential had spread all the way up to include the Ohio Valley and Deep South. However, there was even an area that was highlighted under a rare High Risk for severe weather. This included the possibility for strong long tracked tornadoes in the Deep South too.

20210325 1200 UTC Day 1 Outlook Graphic
Severe weather outlook for Thursday, March 25, 2021. (Source: NWS/NOAA)

20210325 1200 UTC Day 1 Tornado Probabilities Graphic
Tornado probability outlook for Thursday, March 25, 2021. (Source; NWS/NOAA)

There was a 30% chance for tornadoes in the area where tornadoes were the greatest concern with the threat for tornadoes extending as far north as Muncie, IN (BSU)! However the worst of the outbreak would be concentrated towards the Deep South during the course of the outbreak.

Event on March 25
During the course of the day on Thursday, March 25th, a dozen tornadoes would touch down across the Deep South, most of which occurred in Alabama. Most of the tornadoes that tracked through Alabama were rated an EF-3. The Ohatcee-Wellington tornado, rated EF3, would go on to claim several lives that day as it tracked a 1700-yd path through portions of Alabama. The most intense tornado of the outbreak would be the EF4 Newnan tornado that touched down just before midnight on March 25th, this tornado would go on to cause extensive damage to the areas along its path. The tornado itself carved a 39-mile path through the western part of Georgia. The tornado would be on the ground for around an hour before lifting just shortly after midnight on March 26th. Overall the outbreak cause significant damage to areas along its path. Right now, it is unknown how much the damage was from this particular outbreak but its noticed to be substantial. Meanwhile, further off the north, more tornadoes would spin as far north as Kentucky late on March 25th. Severe weather was rampant to as far north as Indiana that saw strong storms on the evening of the 25th accompanied with strong winds preceding the event. There were even some hail reports in southern Indiana as well.

210325_rpts Reports Graphic
Storm reports from severe weather on Thursday, March 25, 2021. (Source: NWS)

March 26
Following the outbreak on March 25th, things were more tame for Friday, March 26th with the exception of isolated severe weather in some parts of the nation. The most significant being in northern New England with a 2% tornado threat. That day, a rare EF-1 touched down in Middlebury, VT causing considerable damage. It was shockingly the last March tornado in Vermont since 1955 when an EF-2 tornado touched down in Vermont.

210326_rpts Filtered Reports Graphic
Storm reports for Friday, March 26, 2021. (Source: NWS/NOAA)

Overall the March 25-26th outbreak was seen as one of the most significant events of 2021! According to some sources, it was noted as a billion dollar event although the final cost of the damage has not been calculated yet.

Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters | National Centers for  Environmental Information (NCEI)
Map detailing billion dollar disasters which includes the severe weather outbreak from March 25-26, 2021. (Source: NCEI)


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