Last night (February 29, 2012) in the Midwest, there was a lot of storming going on! At least 16 tornadoes were reported from Nebraska and Kansas across southern Missouri to Illinois and Kentucky, according to the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, an arm of the National Weather Service.
The night was alive with relatively uncommon night-time twisters Wednesday night. Six people killed Wednesday when blocks of homes in Harrisburg were flattened by overnight storms that raked the nation’s midsection, killing at least 12 people in three states.
In Harrisburg, the National Weather Service (NWS) preliminarily listed the tornado as an EF4, the second-highest rating given to twisters based on damage. Scientists said the tornado was 200 yards wide with winds up to 170 mph. Adding to the danger, it hit as many slept — a timing called unusual but “not completely uncommon.
The NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory, reports that perhaps 10 percent of tornadoes happen between midnight and 6 a.m., a time when the danger level rises because the storms are harder to spot and it’s harder to get the word out.
Elsewhere on Wednesday:
- One person was killed in a Buffalo, Missouri, trailer park while two more fatalities were reported in the Cassville and Puxico areas.
- Three people were reported killed in eastern Tennessee — two in Cumberland County and another in DeKalb County.
- In Kansas, much of tiny Harveyville was in shambles from what state officials said was an EF2 tornado packing wind speeds of 120 to 130 mph.