Records for tornado strength go back to 1950. Since then there have only been 10 EF-4 tornadoes anywhere in Georgia with the Newnan twister that killed one person being the tenth. It had a width of half a mile.
Interestingly an EF-1 tornado occurred in Vermont yesterday, only the 2nd March tornado in that state since 1950. Wacky weather is the new normal.
The last Georgia EF-4 that hit up in the Ringgold area was part of the Super outbreak of April 27th 2011, prior to that there was an EF4 in Southeast Georgia in 2008.
This is the first EF-4 tornado anywhere in the U.S. this year!
To be clear EF-4 and 5 tornadoes are comparatively rare everywhere in the country and the world for that matter thankfully.
A violent and wide twister like this striking a town of 40,000 in the middle of the night could have been so much worse in terms of injuries and deaths. Thankfully it was not any worse.
Weather research in the 1970s and 1980s discovered patterns in Infra-Red satellite imagery correlated with severe weather, often showing up prior to the severe weather on radar or the surface. For this reason forecasters monitor satellite not just radar for short-term forecasting and storm type identification.
The parent supercell thunderstorm that produced the Newnan tornado originated in Southern Louisiana NE of Baton Rouge late afternoon on Thursday and tracked more than 400 miles across 4 states before spawning the tornado in Clay county and Randolph county AL that then hit Newnan. It formed around 4pm Atlanta time and 9 hours later struck the Newnan area a little after Midnight Friday morning:
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