Friday, April 29, 2011
Veteran tornado watchers saw Wednesday's mega-twisters coming.
But they were still staggered by the destruction that a massive storm system unleashed across the South and Southeast that leveled broad swaths of Tuscaloosa, Ala., and killed more than 280 people.
"I've been at this for a while, and I've never seen anything like this," said Chris Weiss, an associate professor of atmospheric science at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.
Some of Wednesday's tornadoes could have traveled dozens, or perhaps even hundreds, of miles before eventually dissipating. Typical twisters survive only minutes. Based on early observations, a few of the twisters probably were more than a mile wide, Weiss said.