March 22, 2021 | 4:05pm CT
The March 17, 2021 Alabama tornado outbreak was a high-risk event. Another notable high-risk event over Alabama was April 27, 2011, an event known as the 2011 Super Outbreak. That event produced 216 tornadoes, including 11 EF4 and 4 EF5 tornadoes, and was responsible for over 300 fatalities.
Figure 1: Alabama Tornado Outbreaks
Sources: National Weather Service damage paths for the 2011 event
and CoreLogic Tornado Verification Algorithm output for the 2021 event
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The tornado outbreak on March 17, 2021 covered much of the same region. While conditions were favorable for a tornado outbreak on March 17, 2021, the conditions were not nearly as favorable to produce a similar style outbreak compared to the one nearly 10 years ago. In 2011, there were 30 tornadoes in Alabama with an average path length of 29.5 miles, but in 2021 the average path length of the confirmed tornadoes was less than 5 miles. The CoreLogic® Tornado Verification Technology estimated 13 tornadoes and the average path length was less than that in 2011.