All hell broke loose Wednesday and Wednesday night through the South where morethan 160 tornadoes were reported. Several of the storms, like the one that wentthrough Tuscaloosa, were quite severe with winds over 200 miles per hour. Thattwister was a monster and at least an EF4 on the Enhanced Fugita Scale.The massive tornado outbreak on Wednesday was the worst in nearly 40 years withreports of more than 160 tornadoes. As it stands, at least in number, thisoutbreak exceeds the previous record of 148 tornadoes that occurred during an18-hour period during April 3-4, 2011. Whether or not there were more extremestorms in the current outbreak still needs to be determined. In the 1974 event,there were six EF5 tornadoes, 23 EF4 tornadoes and 35 EF3 storms.

The extreme weather Wednesday was caused by a violent clash of air masses andpowerful wind in the upper atmosphere. This tornado outbreak culminated amonth-long siege of severe weather that has been witness to more than 850tornadoes from the Great Plains to the mid-Atlantic region.

Story by Senior Meteorologist John Kocet.