National Weather Service surveys damage in Clarke County

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CLARKE COUNTY, Miss. (WTOK) - Severe thunderstorms over the weekend caused damage throughout Clarke County. A National Weather Service team was there Monday morning.

“We’re taking a look at the storm damage that came through on Saturday and we’re just kind of following the path of the tornado here and just seeing how strong it was, how wide, what the max winds were and just kind of assessing all the damage through the county,” says Thomas Winesett, a meteorologist with the NWS office in Jackson.

The team was just beginning the survey when I caught up with them. Here’s what damage they saw at that point.

“[It’s been] kind of sporadic at times but pretty concentrated in other places,” Winesett explains. “We have quite a bit of tree damage behind us here, a few trees down. Probably around the EF-2 range of wind speeds.”

Using radar and in-person observations, the survey team can tell if storm damage is caused by straight-lined winds or a tornado.

“Straight-lined wind damage is going to be a lot more sporadic over a much-wider area, whereas a tornado is going to be concentrated in a very intense path,” Winesett explains. “Also with tornadoes we see convergence with the wind damage, so we’ll have trees kind of falling in towards each other or across each other; whereas with straight-lined winds, they tend to diverge, they’ll be falling away from each other.”

Favorable conditions for tornado development were maintained overnight despite the loss of daytime heating.

“In this case on Saturday, there was a lot of wind shear in the atmosphere, so even though a little bit of the instability waned overnight, there was still plenty of wind shear available to keep fueling these tornadoes through the overnight hours,” Winesett explains.

The National Weather Service out of Jackson has confirmed at least eight tornadoes in its county warning area, including the one in Clarke County.