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February 28-March 1, 2017 Tornado Outbreak

Nearly six years ago on February 28th, a tornado outbreak unfolded across portions of the Midwest dropping 71 tornadoes. Some of those tornadoes would occur in Indiana well during the outbreak.

The event began on February 28th with a warm front beginning to trudge northwards through Illinois and Indiana. By the mid-afternoon on February 28th, supercells would began to initiate in parts of Illinois. This would occur due to steep lower-level moisture advection into the Ohio Valley and Midwest along with the clash in cold air at upper levels. Additionally, there were strong winds coming from the mid-levels as well which would fuel the development of supercells. This would ultimately lead to the formation of the outbreak.

The severe weather outlook for Tuesday, February 28, 2017. (Source: NWS)

Before the event, a moderate risk for severe weather was in place for the Midwest, this including Indiana as well.

By late afternoon, the supercells that did take off began to drop tornadoes across Illinois, some of which would go on to cause damage on a range of considerable to devastating. An EF-3 tornado touched down in Washburn, Illinois causing widespread damage. Most of the tornadoes on the afternoon and evening of the 28th touched down in portions of northern and central Illinois, by evening though this would spread to other states.

The EF-3 tornado that touched down in Washburn, IL on February 28th, 2017 (Source: NWS)

Late on the evening of February 28th, a strong EF-4 tornado touched down in Perryville, MO causing significant damage to structures and killing several people. This tornado would go on to be the strongest in the outbreak. By the overnight hours, tornadoes continued to expand into Kentucky and Indiana with more tornadoes touching down.

Damage from the Perryville tornado that touched down late on February 28th, 2017 (Source: Weather. com)

Indiana would end up getting in on the action by the evening with strong storms rolling through the state by late evening and continuing into the overnight hours. Luckily, Indiana was spared the brunt of the damage from the tornadoes that touched down. Although the ones that did touch down in southern Indiana did cause considerable damage.

By mid-morning on March 1st, the brunt of the tornado outbreak was over but many that woke up in the Midwest woke up to many areas in the region to devastation. In total, the tornadoes caused over $1 billion dollars in damages.

Storm reports from February 28th, 2017. (Source: NWS)

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