Event Summary
     National Weather Service, Raleigh NC

August 12, 2004 Severe Weather Event


Event Headlines -
...Several thunderstorms ahead of a cold front and well in advance of the remnants of Tropical Storm Bonnie became severe with some flash flooding...
...Radar indicated rotation within thunderstorms at numerous times with only one producing a tornado...


Event Overview -
Showers and thunderstorms developed and spread northeast from South Carolina into North Carolina during the late morning and afternoon hours on Thursday, August 12, 2004. Several thunderstorms became severe across portions of central and eastern North Carolina with some thunderstorms producing flash flooding. Damaging thunderstorm winds were the primary impact with four tornadoes reported and a few reports of large hail.

Severe Weather Reports -





Spout Springs Tornado

An F1 tornado with winds up to 100 mph wind developed shortly before 350 PM Thursday, August 12, 2004 in southwestern Harnett County near Spout Springs. The tornado first touched down at about 347 PM just northeast of McDuffie Road, south of Spout Springs.

The tornado path was approximately 3 miles long and about 100 yards wide. The tornado moved across the Heritage Park subdivision and the Carolina Lakes golf course. Three mobile homes were blown off their foundations and were destroyed in and around Heritage Park. An additional 2 dozen homes sustained minor damage to siding...windows And shingles. The Spout Springs Presbyterian church was also partially destroyed.

Four people were reported injured, three of which occurred in one of the mobile homes that was blown off its foundation.

An F1 tornado contains wind speeds between 73 to 112 mph. These wind speeds generate moderate wind damage which is capable of peeling surfaces off roofs, pushing mobile homes off foundations and pushing cars off the road.



Preliminary tornado track - click to enlarge.




Mesoscale Data

Analyzed mean sea level pressure (black) and surface wind barbs from SPC at 19Z on Thursday, August 12, 2004 (3 PM EDT).
The surface trough is visible across western North Carolina south to northwestern Georgia. The circulation center of the remnants of Bonnie are visible across north-central Florida.

SPC Analysis at 19Z on Thursday, August 12, 2004.



Analyzed surface temperatures (red), dewpoints (green), and wind barbs from SPC at 19Z on Thursday, August 12, 2004 (3 PM EDT).
Note the temperatures in the upper 70s to lower 80s with dewpoints in the lower to mid 70s across southern and eastern North Carolina.

SPC Analysis at 19Z on Thursday, August 12, 2004.



Analyzed precipitable water (green) and wind barbs from SPC at 19Z on Thursday, August 12, 2004 (3 PM EDT).
Note the axis of higher precipitable water values from northeast Florida into southeastern North Carolina.

SPC Analysis at 19Z on Thursday, August 12, 2004.



300 MB wind barbs (brown), 300 MB isotachs (red) and analyzed 300 MB divergence (purple) from SPC at 19Z on Thursday, August 12, 2004 (3 PM EDT).
Note the area of divergence at 300 MB across eastern South Carolina and North Carolina.

SPC Analysis at 19Z on Thursday, August 12, 2004.



NWS Composite Reflectivity Imagery from 1944Z on Thursday, August 12, 2004 (344 PM EDT).
The composite reflectivity imagery is from the approximate time in which the analysis imagery above is valid.

SPC Analysis at 19Z on Thursday, August 12, 2004.




Satellite

Water vapor satellite imagery at 1915Z on Thursday, August 12, 2004 (315 PM EDT).
The deep trough over the Mississippi Valley is visible along with the plume of moisture from the northeast Gulf of Mexico north along the eastern seaboard. The remnants of Tropical Storm Bonnie are over southern Georgia and northeastern Florida at this time.





Radar Imagery

KRAX 4-Panel Storm Relative Velocity Imagery from 1944Z Thursday, August 12, 2004.
A gate to gate couplet is visible on the 0.5 degree (upper left) and to a lesser extent on the 1.5 degree (upper right) Storm Relative Velocity imagery. The four panel image contains 8bit 0.5 degree Storm Relative Velocity (upper left), 8bit 1.5 degree Storm Relative Velocity (upper right), 8bit 2.4 degree Storm Relative Velocity (lower left), and 8bit 3.4 degree Storm Relative Velocity (lower right).

The green shades are targets moving toward the radar, which is located to the northeast (upper right of image). The red shades are targets moving away from the radar. When these colors appear adjacent to each other, it is termed gate to gate shear or a velocity couplet.

Click on the image to enlarge.

 - Click to enlarge


KRAX 4-Panel Storm Reflectivity Imagery from 1944Z Thursday, August 12, 2004.
A complicated reflectivity imagery structure was noted with the storm. The four panel image contains 8bit 0.5 degree Reflectivity (upper left), 8bit 1.5 degree Reflectivity (upper right), 8bit 2.4 degree Reflectivity (lower left), and 8bit 3.4 degree Reflectivity (lower right).
Click on the image to enlarge.

 - Click to enlarge





Selected Photographs of the Severe Weather Event
Photos courtesy of Jeremy Meerscheidt (Spout Springs Fire Department), Michael Moneypenny, and Michael Strickler
(Click the image to enlarge.)

The tornado touched down and totally destroyed a 2100 sq. ft. triple wide near McDuffie Road. Two were inside (a father and daughter). Both were found beneath the debris of the home, and transported to the hospital for only minor injuries. The homes' anchors were pulled out of the ground (relatively sandy soil), and the support straps were snapped. Two 21 ft. campers were also damaged/destroyed and blown downwind (northeast) of the home. Two automobiles were damaged by fallen trees.

View of what was left of the triple-wide home, looking east-northeast  - Click to enlarge           View of triple-wide debris, looking northwest  - Click to enlarge           View of debris and tree damage, looking north - Click to enlarge


View of debris, looking east  - Click to enlarge           View of debris, looking north-northeast - Click to enlarge           View of debris, looking northeast - Click to enlarge          



The tornado then lifted as it tracked northeastward across a heavily wooded area along the periphery of the Fort Bragg military reservation. Without aeriel photos it isn't known if the tornado touched down again in the wooded area. However, the next observable damage in the Heritage Village subdivision was consistent with a tornado aloft or a downburst. The walls and roof of this house collapsed and folded over toward the northeast. Six tie down straps were snapped at the front of the house. A shed was also damaged.

View of home, looking east-northeast - Click to enlarge           View of home, looking southwest - Click to enlarge           View of home and shed, looking north - Click to enlarge



Moderate tree damage was observed further northeast in the Heritage Village subdivision. The only structural damage in this area was where a front porch of a house had been partially damaged.

Tree damage, looking south - Click to enlarge           Porch and tree damage, looking west - Click to enlarge           Tree damage, looking west-northwest - Click to enlarge



The tornado touched down for a second time and heavily damaged Spout Springs Presbyterian Church. Insulation from the church was found stuck to the north and east facing walls of the church, and completely covering surrounding trees. Another home was blown 20 to 50 yards downwind (northeast) of the foundation, and was totally destroyed. There was a clear cyclonic circulation in the this homes' debris field. The damage path was approximately 40 yards wide.

Destroyed home and damaged church, looking north-northeast along the damage path  - 		Click to enlarge           Destroyed home and damaged church, looking north-northeast along the damage path - 	Click to enlarge           Media vans parked across from the church - Click to enlarge



Other various photos from the area...


Photo courtesy of Jeremy Meerscheidt (Spout Springs Fire Department)  - Click to enlarge           Photo courtesy of Jeremy Meerscheidt (Spout Springs Fire Department) - Click to enlarge           Photo courtesy of Jeremy Meerscheidt (Spout Springs Fire Department) - Click to enlarge          



Case study team -
Michael Moneypenny
Michael Strickler
Jeff Orrock
Jonathan Blaes
Harnett County Emergency Management

For questions regarding the web site, please contact Jonathan Blaes.


  • NWS Disclaimer.