WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Four thunderstorms spawned 17 tornadoes in 2011

Posted April 13, 2016

— Thirty tornadoes devastated the state on April 16, 2011, but WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said the event was an example of how only a few thunderstorm cells can create a large number of tornadoes.

In 2011, four thunderstorm supercells spawned 17 of the day’s 30 tornadoes, including the two that had the longest paths.

A tornado that touched down in Sanford and moved through Wake County stayed on the ground for 66 miles, which Fishel said was the longest path for a tornado since 1988. Another that crossed Cumberland County and terminated in Johnston County remained on the ground for 58 miles.

“Anytime it’s on the ground this length of time, it’s amazing,” Fishel said.


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