Mid-January Severe Weather, Devastating Tornadoes Slammed Alabama
Severe weather in Alabama brought devastating tornadoes, damaging winds, and up to golf-ball-sized hail across the state on Thursday, January 12. The active weather started that morning and lasted into the afternoon hours.
The National Weather Service in Birmingham is continuing to complete storm surveys to identify the number of tornadoes, the path of damage, and the strength of tornadoes. “Several supercell thunderstorms spawned significant tornadoes which caused paths of damage over several areas. Some damage paths contain significant damage.”
The Townsquare Media Weather Center provided a nonstop weather broadcast for many hours as the team covered the severe weather threat for West and Central Alabama for our coverage areas of Bibb, Fayette, Greene, Hale, Lamar, Perry, Pickens, Sumter, Tuscaloosa, and Walker counties.
Phrases like “A CONFIRMED LARGE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO WAS LOCATED” can make any meteorologist or news reporter nervous. That weather information was included in an app alert sent to Townsquare Media radio app users about the system that was impacting Southeastern Bibb County.
The Enhanced Fujita Scale
EF0: Weak … 65 to 85 mph
EF1: Weak … 86 to 110 mph
EF2: Strong … 111 to 135 mph
EF3: Strong … 136 to 165 mph
EF4: Violent … 166 to 200 mph
EF5: Violent … >200 mph
National Weather Service in Birmingham Storm Survey – January 12, 2023
All information for the storm surveys has been provided by the National Weather Service in Birmingham.
Tornado #1 Delmar Tornado (Winston County)
Tornado #1 Delmar Tornado (Winston County)... Rating: EF2 Estimated Peak Wind: 125 mph Path Length /statute/: 9.18 miles Path Width /maximum/: 425 yards Fatalities: 0 Injuries: 0 Start Date: 01/12/2023 Start Time: 08:05 AM CST Start Location: 1 E Delmar / Winston County / AL Start Lat/Lon: 34.1658 / -87.5864 End Date: 01/12/2023 End Time: 08:18 AM CST End Location: 3 SE Ashridge / Winston County / AL End Lat/Lon: 34.204 / -87.4334
The tornado touched down east of Delmar near County Rd 20 where timber damage was observed in addition to minor structural damage. The tornado continued northeast into a heavily wooded area near Tanyard Creek then crossing County Rd 28 where trees were uprooted. The width here was approximately 150 yards wide. The tornado continued northeast into additional heavily wooded areas near Clear Creek then impacting a residence on County Rd 432 uprooting and snapping trees, causing structural damage, and overturning an RV. The tornado continued to grow in width as it moved northeast, approximately 425 yards wide as it crossed Macedonia Rd. The tornado continued to cause additional timber damage in a heavily wooded area before it impacted a farm near County Rd 55 and 3182. Here the highest degree of damage occurred as two large chicken coops were completely destroyed in addition to 3 other small farm buildings. Nearby structural damage occurred to at least 4 residences. Adjacent timber damage also occurred. The tornado continued east-northeast toward Highway 195 where it dissipated before crossing County Rd 6. Around 25 structures were damaged due to the tornado. NWS Birmingham would like to thank Darone and Mike (NWS Memphis) and Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) for their assistance with this survey.
Tornado #2 Emelle Tornado (Sumter County)
Rating: EF2 Estimated Peak Wind: 120 mph Path Length /statute/: 12.87 miles Path Width /maximum/: 440 yards Fatalities: 0 Injuries: 1 Start Date: 01/12/2023 Start Time: 09:24 AM CST Start Location: 2 W Emelle / Sumter County / AL Start Lat/Lon: 32.7288 / -88.3463 End Date: 01/12/2023 End Time: 09:40 AM CST End Location: 3 SSE Gainesville / Sumter County / AL End Lat/Lon: 32.7715 / -88.1314
This tornado began near Sumter 24 uprooting trees. The tornado continued east-northeast along Sumter 24 where it destroyed a grain bin near Ramsey Lane along with snapping and uprooting a few more softwood trees. The tornado moved through Emelle where it caused damage to roofs in the community along with uprooting and snapping numerous trees. The tornado crossed Highway 74 and took the roof off of a home and destroyed an outbuilding near the intersection of Highway 74 and Sunlight Church Road. The tornado was at its strongest intensity at this point with a max wind of 120 mph. The tornado crossed Highway 39 and destroyed a mobile home on Hodges Place Road. The tornado ended just east of Sumter 21 uprooting and snapping a few more trees along the way. At least 3 dozen structures suffered varying degrees of damage. NWSBirmingham would like to thank Dan (NWS Jackson) for their assistance with this survey.
Tornado #3 Eutaw Tornado (Greene, Hale, Tuscaloosa, and Bibb Counties)
Rating: EF2 Estimated Peak Wind: 130 mph Path Length /statute/: 38.76 miles Path Width /maximum/: 600 yards Fatalities: 0 Injuries: 0 Start Date: 01/12/2023 Start Time: 09:54 AM CST Start Location: 1 W Eutaw / Greene County / AL Start Lat/Lon: 32.842 / -87.9158 End Date: 01/12/2023 End Time: 10:43 AM CST End Location: 1 WNW Harmon / Bibb County / AL End Lat/Lon: 33.039 / -87.294
This tornado began just west of West End Avenue and moved across West End Avenue where it destroyed a shed, caused roof damage, snapped and uprooted trees. The tornado continued to move into the northern portions of Eutaw where it snapped and uprooted numerous trees along with minor roof damage to several homes. Trees also fell on at least 2 homes causing significant damage to the homes. A rooftop observation deck was taken off of one home and thrown across the street off of Ashby Drive. The tornado continued east- northeast before ending just east of Highway 11 snapping and uprooting several trees along the way. Additional survey work was completed today (1/14/23), northeast of Eutaw. It was determined the tornado continued northeast after crossing US Hwy 11 in Greene County, moving into the Oak Village area of Hale County near Lock 8 Boat Landing on the Black Warrior River. Tree damage could be seen on both sides of the river from Lock 8. Most significant damage was on the Hale County side along Flemming Rd and Oak Village Road. Many mobile homes were destroyed on Flemming Rd, mostly due to tree fall. Tree fall consisted of hardwood trees being snapped or uprooted. One home in Oak village sustained significant damage after garage failure occurred. This resulted in adjacent walls collapsing and most of the roof structure being blown north into the river. Additional timber and varying degrees of structural damage was observed to the end of Oak Village Rd. This survey was somewhat difficult as this exact area was damaged by an EF1 tornado just 6 weeks ago. The tornado continued northeast, but is believed to have weakened or skipped along its path. Only minor timber damage was found near Stewart and up to Hwy 69. However, more significant timber damage was found downstream on County Rd 50, entering the Talladega National Forest. Hardwood trees were snapped and uprooted with a path width around 300 yards at this point as the tornado seemingly strengthened. The tornado then continued over the Elliott`s Creek EF3 path from March 25th, 2021 before crossing into Tuscaloosa County where high-end timber damage was observed. The path here was nearly 600 yards wide with the center portion consisting of most trees snapped at their base, generally 200 yards wide or more. The rating here was assigned 130 mph, high-end EF2. The tornado continued northeast crossing US Hwy 82 near Hagler causing additional timber damage and some minor structural damage at two homes. It is believed the tornado weakened and dissipated thereafter, generally north of US Hwy 82 in western Bibb County. This area was not accessible. At least 60 structures suffered varying degrees of damage.Additional aerial imagery will be assessed in the coming days to make track adjustments or corrections, but no EF rating changes are expected at this time.
Tornado #4 Greensboro Tornado (Hale and Perry Counties).
Rating: EF2 Estimated Peak Wind: 115 mph Path Length /statute/: 21.22 miles Path Width /maximum/: 500 yards Fatalities: 0 Injuries: 0 Start Date: 01/12/2023 Start Time: 10:47 AM CST Start Location: 2 S Duffys Bend / Hale County / AL Start Lat/Lon: 32.6221 / -87.7543 End Date: 01/12/2023 End Time: 11:15 AM CST End Location: Morgan Springs / Perry County / AL End Lat/Lon: 32.7394 / -87.4184
The tornado touched down in a remote area of Hale County, near Clements Bend on the Black Warrior River. From there, it moved east-northeast across CR-35, where downed numerous trees on a farm near the State Cattle Ranch. From there, it continued to snap and uproot numerous trees in a largely rural area, before causing considerable damage to the roof of a house along AL-69. The tornado grew to EF-2 strength as it approached the southern part of the city Of Greensboro. At AL-25, it snapped and uprooted numerous trees, rolled and destroyed a single-wide manufactured home, and caused lighter damage to several other structures. The remaining damage along the path was mostly to timber, including along AL-61 just southeast of Greensboro, and AL-14 just east of the city. The tornado then weakened to high EF-0 to low EF- 1 strength as it moved into Perry County near Griffin Cemetery Road, and ultimately dissipated after snapping off its final few trees on Morgan Springs Road. At least 30 structures suffered varying degrees of damage.
Tornado #5 Fire Tower Road Tornado (Perry and Bibb Counties)
Rating: EF1 Estimated Peak Wind: 105 mph Path Length /statute/: 16.80 miles Path Width /maximum/: 500 yards Fatalities: 0 Injuries: 0 Start Date: 01/12/2023 Start Time: 11:30 AM CST Start Location: 1 E Ellards / Perry County / AL Start Lat/Lon: 32.8096 / -87.2363 End Date: 01/12/2023 End Time: 11:51 AM CST End Location: 2 NE Talladega National Forest / Bibb County / AL End Lat/Lon: 32.8965 / -86.9672
The tornado began near the Cahaba River west of National Forest Road 401D (NF-401D) and Barton Road based on radar estimation of a TDS. It developed quickly into a high end EF-0 by the time it brushed Double Branch Rd as it moved east-northeasterly over the forest. As it crossed Fire Tower Road, it reached maximum EF-1 intensity of 104 mph based on scores of snapped and uprooted pine trees right on the ridge. The tornado continued over forested land before crossing Pawtucky Road, where several pines and hardwoods were snapped. The tornado then began to weaken as it approached and crossed Alabama Highway 219 north of the Bibb/Perry county line. The decaying tornado continued eastward across U.S. Highway 82, where storm chaser video showed a weak circulation crossing the highway. Dissipation occurred about one mile east of the highway.
Tornado #6 Selma Tornado (Dallas County)
Rating: EF2 Estimated Peak Wind: 130 mph Path Length /statute/: 22.72 miles Path Width /maximum/: 800 yards Fatalities: 0 Injuries: 2 Start Date: 01/12/2023 Start Time: 12:04 PM CST Start Location: 1 NE Orrville / Dallas County / AL Start Lat/Lon: 32.3173 / -87.2278 End Date: 01/12/2023 End Time: 12:31 PM CST End Location: 1 SE Burnsville / Dallas County / AL End Lat/Lon: 32.4561 / -86.8786
National Weather Surveys have concluded that the damage across Dallas County was consistent with a high-end EF-2 tornado. The tornado began just east of Orrville near the intersection of Hwy 22 and Cahaba Rd. As it moved northeast, it intensified as the damage path was nearly parallel with Hwy 22. The damage consisted of mainly uprooted trees with trunks that were snapped. There were also several manufactured homes that sustained roof and some foundation damage. As the tornado continued down Hwy 22, additional tree damage was observed as it neared the southwestern sections of Selma. The tornado quickly intensified as it entered the city limits of Selma, nearly parallel to Hwy 22/W Dallas Ave. the main damage indicators used were the uprooted hardwood trees and the snapped softwood trees. Most of the softwood trees were snapped about halfway up on the trunks. The daycare on W Dallas Ave and Cooper Dr sustained heavy exterior wall damage and was consistent with the higher-end EF2 wind speeds. Some debris rowing was also noted in the downstream vicinity. The second area of higher- end EF2 damage was noted downstream at the Selma Country Club where buildings had significant roof and exterior wall damage and there was a complete blow down of extremely large hardwood trees. Additional softwood trees were also snapped in and around adjacent streets. As the tornado continued further north and east, it entered the northern sections of downtown Selma. Nearly all of the damage continued to consist of mainly trees, with hard and softwood trees uprooted. The homes that sustained damage were observed to have roof material missing or fallen trees that impacted the structure. Very little damage observed to homes was directly wind related likely due to the sheltering nature of the very large and older trees that were embedded within the historic neighborhoods. However, the tree fall damage remained consistent with high-end EF-1 or low end EF-2. As the tornado exited downtown, it crossed Hwy 14, east of Selma, crossing Parkway Dr. Additional structure damage was noted with exterior walls were collapsed consistent once again with higher EF-2 wind speeds. The tornado finally began to weaken and lift just east near the Brantley community near River Rd, but not before some significant damage was observed at the Dallas County Jail on Selfield Rd.In the coming days, additional UAS and aerial imagery will be analyzed as numerous roads in the Selma area were inaccessible. This could result in changes to the path length, width and/or EF rating.
Tornado #7 Standing Rock Tornado (Chambers County)
Rating: EF2 Estimated Peak Wind: 120 mph Path Length /statute/: 12.62 miles Path Width /maximum/: 1600 yards Fatalities: 0 Injuries: 0 Start Date: 01/11/2023 Start Time: 02:08 PM CST Start Location: 1 WSW White Plains / Chambers County / AL Start Lat/Lon: 32.9871 / -85.4131 End Date: 01/11/2023 End Time: 02:24 PM CST End Location: 2 E Standing Rock / Chambers County / AL End Lat/Lon: 33.0742 / -85.2257
NWS meteorologists have surveyed damage in northeastern Chambers County and determined it was consistent with an EF2 tornado. The start point was a bit uncertain due to sporadic timber damage around Five Points, but appears to be near County Road 114 west of Highway 431 to the southwest of Five Points. Northeast of Five Points, the tornado intensified, snapping and uprooting many trees along County Road 267 and causing roof damage to a barn. The swath of timber damage became almost a mile wide along County Roads 281 and 282 and at least one residence there suffered roof damage. The tornado continued to intensify as it crossed CountyRoad 268 where large swaths of pine trees were snapped. A manufactured home was completely destroyed and blown downstream near County Road 278; thankfully the family was not home at the time. Most of the structural damage happened along County Road 284. A couple residences suffered significant shingle damage, one had siding damage, and a manufactured home had its porch ripped off, impacting its walls. Another manufactured building was blown off its footings. Another significant swath of snapped pines was observed on County Road 283, some snapped off only a couple feet off the ground. The tornado then crossed into Georgia, continuing to snap trees along West Point Lake.
Tornado #8 Teals Crossroads Tornado (Barbour County)
Rating: EF1 Estimated Peak Wind: 105 mph Path Length /statute/: 10.96 miles Path Width /maximum/: 900 yards Fatalities: 0 Injuries: 0 Start Date: 01/12/2023 Start Time: 03:25 PM CST Start Location: 1 S Doster / Barbour County / AL Start Lat/Lon: 31.6251 / -85.6726 End Date: 01/12/2023 End Time: 03:38 PM CST End Location: 1 E Blue Springs State Park / Barbour County / AL End Lat/Lon: 31.6616 / -85.4934
The tornado initially touched down near Bethel on Sutton Dairy Rd Causing timber damage near Buck Branch. The tornado continued northeast into a heavily wooded area and caused continued timber damage near Dewey Ivey Rd, snapping numerous pines. Additional damage downstream occurred near farm structures near Huey Faulk Rd. A home sustained damage due to a fallen tree on County Rd 15. The tornado continued northeast towards Teals Crossroads where additional timber damage occurred near Roberts Rd. Some minor structural damage was observed. The tornado continued east- northeast crossing County Rd 33 and Turner Rd before dissipating near Highway 10. NWS Birmingham would like to thank Molly and Karleisa (NWS Tallahassee) for their assistance with this damage survey.
(Source) Click here for more information and storm survey updates from the National Weather Service in Birmingham.
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