Recap of the Severe Weather Along the Gulf Coast Saturday

February 20, 2012; 7:21 PM ET
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A developing storm system which is currently producing snow from Kentucky through North Carolina was responsible for nearly 70 severe weather reports on Saturday.

Residents along the central Gulf Coast from Lake Charles, La. through Valdosta, Ga. were in prime location for damaging wind gusts and even a few tornadoes.

A phenomena known as a bow echo developed early Saturday morning across extreme southeast Texas before moving into the southern half of Louisiana during the late morning hours.

This feature is notorious for the bowing shape that appears with the thunderstorms that develop. Often, this type of feature is responsible for widespread wind damage.

Not only do these bows produce wind damage, but embedded within the main line of thunderstorms are often isolated supercells. These quick spinning thunderstorm cells can drop brief tornadoes as the main complex slides eastward. Often you can also get one or two supercells out ahead of an organized complex of storms, which can also drop a tornado or two.

As was the case yesterday, the bow echo produced a swath of wind damage from Cameron County, Louisiana to the Mississippi border. Two tornadoes were reported in Louisiana, one near Rayne and one near Klondike. Luckily, these tornadoes were generally weak and produced minor damage. radar image from 8:45 AM EST Saturday as thunderstorms moved into Louisiana from southeast Texas.

A metal roof was ripped off of a barn near Klondike while a couple of telephone poles and trees were snapped. Farther to the east, the Rayne tornado caused reports of the ground shaking and freight train noise, but little damage was reported.

The bow echo produced wind gusts to 75 mph near Lafayette, La. There was widespread tree and power line damage near Abita Springs as well.

This thunderstorm complex continued to organize into midday and early afternoon Saturday, tracking into southern Mississippi and Alabama. radar image from 3:45 PM EST Saturday as severe thunderstorms were bearing down on southern Mississippi and Alabama.

Several reports of tree and power line damage continued into Mississippi and Alabama with at least one tornado report.

A tornado touched down briefly near Grand Bay, Ala. in Mobile County. This tornado was spotted by the public and produced widespread tree damage.

Trees were blown over and barns damaged across parts of Stone County, Mississippi with at least one report of golf ball sized hail near Perkinston.

A 67 mph wind gust was reported near downtown Mobile, Ala. with large oak trees snapped near Dothan, Ala.

As is typical in this type of situation, the large bow echo continued eastward into the Florida Panhandle and southern Georgia Saturday evening. radar image from 9:45 PM EST Saturday as severe weather continued over the Florida Panhandle and southern Georgia.

Winds to 60 mph were reported near Defuniak Springs, Fla. while a tree fell onto a house and a car near Putney, Ga.

Golf ball sized hail fell near Wagon Wheel, Ga. and Nashville, Ga.

After daytime heating was lost, the aforementioned bow echo and squall line quickly weakened below severe limits later Saturday evening but not after a widespread swath of damage ravaged parts of the Gulf Coast.


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