WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Details on the Rolesville Tornado

Posted March 9, 2011 7:23 a.m. EST

Quick post here to point those of you interested in seeing the full NWS survey report regarding the tornado that briefly touched down near Rolesville late Sunday afternoon March 6th. The PDF document I linked to includes a map of the twister's path and detailed descriptions of damage, along with some representative photos. At the speed that storms were moving, this tornado was likely on the ground for about 3 minutes.

A similar report on another tornado that occurred about an hour later near Stantonsburg in southern Wilson County hasn't been posted in the same form, but indicates that it was an EF-0 system that touched down at about 6:17 pm with maximum winds around 70 mph, a path width of about 25 yards and a path length of roughly one-half mile. The only damage associated with that tornado was in the form of 70-80 trees that were twisted and/or broken by the wind. Given the speed of storms that day, the path length indicates the tornado lasted about 45-55 seconds.

There are some similarities in the overall weather pattern that will affect the region late tonight and Thursday (March 10th, 2011) in the form of intense dynamics that will likely produce bands of rain with some heavy showers, and a combination of strong winds and wind shear through the lower atmosphere (favorable for severe weather) but limited instability (working against severe weather). This combination managed to produce a few isolated convective cells with damaging wind gusts on Sunday, along with the two brief/weak tornadoes having similar wind speeds, and it will be worthwhile to stay alert for any similar occurrences on Thursday as most of central and eastern NC will have a slight risk of severe weather as a cold front approaches and crosses the region.