National Weather Service Reflects on Storm

The November 6 tornado was the deadliest twister of the year in the U.S. last year. So what did forecasters learn to help them predict future storms?

Rick Shanklin, with the National Weather Service in Paducah, says, "We were looking at this storm on radar, and we knew that this was not your typical tornadic storm."

November 6 is a date few Tri-Staters and meteorologists, who tracked the deadly storm, will ever forget.

"It's one of those types of events that you only have a few times in your career, really, where you get that kind of sinking feeling in your stomach," explains Shanklin.

Warnings for the F3 twister went out around 10 minutes before striking Eastbrook Mobile Home Park early Sunday morning. But the atmosphere was looking ripe for severe weather well before then.

Shanklin recalls, "I remember, I was talking Friday morning, even in our briefings, that, you know, tomorrow [Saturday] night could be bad. We're concerned about it due to the wind fields."

After the storm hit, meteorologists from the National Weather Service in Paducah headed to the scene.

"We went first to Ellis Park and then to Eastbrook, so that morning, of course, a very gruesome scene," says Shanklin.

Reflecting on that night, weather service officials say, for the most part, they did everything that they could to warn for the storm. But they also say there was plenty to learn from the tornado.

Shanklin explains, "Fortunately, in this case, the southwestern Indiana radar was a real asset, because it did a better job of placing where the core of the storm and where the tornado would be."

And it's not just Tri-Staters who are benefiting from this learning experience.

He says, "We have really hit the streets and shared this event with some of the top meteorologists in the country and in different forums."

The F3 twister was on the ground for about 45 minutes and cut a path 41 miles long.