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Retracing the Eldon tornado

The night of May 22, 2019, is one we won't soon forget.

An EF-3 strength tornado roared through the capital, causing millions of dollars in damage and upending thousands of lives. Thankfully only minor injuries were attributed to this storm even though it moved through just before midnight.

This week, the ABC 17 Stormtrack Weather Team is tracking that storm all over again and checking in on the recovery efforts a year later.

Nocturnal tornadoes are generally more dangerous than those that move through during the day. The danger is often tied to a lack of warning as people go to sleep. Even though this tornado moved through just before midnight, no major injuries were suffered in Jefferson City.

This storm started showing signs of rotation as it moved through Morgan County. By 10:45 p.m., the National Weather Service in Springfield issued a tornado warning, which included Eldon.

The tornado first touched down just west of Eldon at 10:59. That means residents in Eldon had 14 minutes of warning, or what we call lead-time. According to research conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the average lead-time for tornadoes nationwide is 13 minutes.

Radar loop from 10:50 - 11:45

However, one of the biggest reasons we were able to avoid major injuries was the amount of lead-time that was provided for the 40,000-plus residents in Jefferson City. A confirmed tornado on the ground coupled with the track it was on allowed us to give those in the capital 30-40 minutes of lead-time.

Sequence of Events

Tornado Warning issued at 10:45
Circulation holding together into Eldon
Circulation tightened up at 10:59
Tornado is on the ground at this point
Confirmed damage on radar
Helpful Link: What is Debris Tracker?
Surveyed damage path in Miller County
Severe Weather / Storms / Stormtrack Weather Special / Tornadoes / Weather

Kevin Schneider

Kevin Schneider gives the latest forecast each weekday morning on ABC 17 News.


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