Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Birmingham, AL

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NOUS44 KBMX 220301

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Birmingham AL
1001 PM CDT Wed Mar 21 2018



Five tornadoes and hail up to 3 inches in diameter affected the
northern areas of Central Alabama on the afternoon and evening hours
of March 19th, with a rare PDS (Particularly Dangerous Situation)
Tornado Watch issued for a large chunk of Central Alabama. An
environment favorable for significant severe thunderstorms developed
as a low-amplitude upper-level trough moved into the region and a
weak surface low passed by toward the north. These two features
resulted in a deep column of wind shear. Additionally, moist
southerly flow, warm surface temperatures, and colder temperatures
aloft yielded a moderately unstable air mass. The evolution of the
atmosphere in Central Alabama was captured through several special
weather balloon releases during the afternoon and evening hours.
Weather research teams were also working on the ground and in the
air to collect data for future studies. Initially, thunderstorms
were producing large to very large hail. However, the tornado threat
ramped up into the late-afternoon and evening hours as wind speeds
at low-levels increased. Additional severe thunderstorms produced
large hail and tornadoes during the evening, mainly focused across
the northeast portions of Central Alabama. The worst storm of the
event was a cyclic supercell that produced three separate tornadoes,
with tracks stretching from near Ashville to/beyond the Georgia
state line. One of those tornadoes was significant and long-track,
producing EF-3 damage to structures at several points along its
path. Thankfully, there were no fatalities with this storm system,
and limited injuries. We credit this to the residents of Central
Alabama heeding watches and warnings issued during the event, which
was forecast days in advance.

.TORNADO #1 Thomas Yates Road Tornado
(Blount County)...

Rating:                 EF-0
Estimated Peak Wind:    80 mph
Path Length (Statute):  0.93 miles
Path Width (Maximum):   100 yards
Fatalities:             0
Injuries:               0

Start Date:             Mar 19 2018
Start Time:             7:09 PM CDT
Start Location:         1 S Strawberry / Blount County / AL
Start Lat/Lon:          34.2299 / -86.4949

End Date:               Mar 19 2018
End Time:               7:11 PM CDT
End Location:           2 SSE Strawberry / Blount County / AL
End Lat/Lon:            34.2246 / -86.4798

A brief tornado began on the west side of Highway 53/231,
just south of Berry Road, in extreme northern Blount County. The
tornado tracked toward the southeast, impacting all four chicken
houses on the east side of Highway 53/231, just north of Thomas
Yates Road. Sections of metal roofing were blown off the buildings.
As the tornado continued southeast, some small trees were snapped,
along with large branches broken. The tornado ended on the east side
of Hopewell Road. All damage was consistent with a tornado intensity
of EF-0. The tornado damage path was 0.93 miles long and was 100 yards
wide at its widest point.

.TORNADO #2 Blount Mountain Tornado
(Blount and St. Clair Counties)...

Rating:                 EF-1
Estimated Peak Wind:    90 mph
Path Length (Statute):  6.43 miles
Path Width (Maximum):   880 yards
Fatalities:             0
Injuries:               0

Start Date:             Mar 19 2018
Start Time:             7:50 PM CDT
Start Location:         3 S Highland Lake / Blount County / AL
Start Lat/Lon:          33.8515 / -86.4152

End Date:               Mar 19 2018
End Time:               7:56 PM CDT
End Location:           1 S Whitney Junction / St. Clair County / AL
End Lat/Lon:            33.8539 / -86.3042

The tornado began near Jones Chapel Loop Road with minor tree damage.
The tornado then moved east and crossed Daylily Road where dozens of
trees were blown down. The tornado crossed Blount Mountain along
Walker Gap Road and crossed Crawford Cove Road near Highway 11. Trees
in this area were mainly uprooted with only a few snapped off. The
tornado continued eastbound and eventually lifted near the Interstate
59 Rest Area just south of the Ashville Exit. The majority of the
damage was due to trees falling on structures and power lines. The
tornado damage path was 6.43 miles long and was 880 yards wide at
its widest point.

.TORNADO #3 Ashville/Southside Tornado
(St. Clair, Etowah, and Calhoun Counties) ...

Rating:                 EF-2
Estimated Peak Wind:    120 mph
Path Length (Statute):  15.73 miles
Path Width (Maximum):   1760 yards
Fatalities:             0
Injuries:               1

Start Date:             Mar 19 2018
Start Time:             8:02 PM CDT
Start Location:         2 NE Ashville / St. Clair County / AL
Start Lat/Lon:          33.8552/-86.2398

End Date:               Mar 19 2018
End Time:               8:21 PM CDT
End Location:           3 W Silver Lakes Golf Course / Calhoun County / AL
End Lat/Lon:            33.8806/-85.9688

The tornado touched down just northeast of Ashville along Highway
411. The tornado continued east northeast and caused tree damage.
The tornado appeared to intensify as it approached the Coosa River
where structural damage became evident. One house was moved off its
foundation with a complete loss of roofing materials. Stands of trees
were snapped off near their bases, including both hardwoods and
softwoods. The tornado then crossed Neely Henry Lake where the
tornado was at its widest point and moved into Etowah County. The
tornado crossed Highway 77 near Leota Road where numerous trees were
either snapped off or uprooted and several structures were damaged by
falling trees. The tornado continued east where it narrowed and
further intensified toward Green Valley Road. The most intense damage
was observed here where several structures suffered complete loss of
roofing material and exterior walls. As the tornado entered Calhoun
County, it narrowed and weakened and lifted shortly thereafter. The
tornado damage path was 15.73 miles long and was 1760 yards wide at
its widest point.

.TORNADO #4 Centre Tornado
(Cherokee County)...

Rating:                 EF-1
Estimated Peak Wind:    90 mph
Path Length (Statute):  1.07 miles
Path Width (Maximum):   400 yards
Fatalities:             0
Injuries:               0

Start Date:             Mar 19 2018
Start Time:             8:20 PM CDT
Start Location:         3 SSE Centre / Cherokee County / AL
Start Lat/Lon:          34.1095 / -85.6522

End Date:               Mar 19 2018
End Time:               8:22 PM CDT
End Location:           3 SE Centre / Cherokee County / AL
End Lat/Lon:            34.1216 / -85.6406

A short-lived tornado began near Highway 9 and the Cherokee County
Country Club Golf Course. The tornado moved northeast along County
Road 163. At the intersection of Highway 9 and County Road 163, a
home sustained damage to the garage door and an adjacent pine tree
was snapped. Just east of this location, at least ten pine trees were
snapped along portions of the golf course. One half mile to the northeast,
shingles were blown off several apartment buildings. Just north of the
apartment complex, a farm outbuilding was completely destroyed and the
metal panels were thrown 300 yards downstream across a field. The tornado
dissipated shortly thereafter before it reached Highway 411. The tornado
damage path was 1.07 miles long and was 400 yards wide at its widest point.

.TORNADO #5 Jacksonville Tornado
(Calhoun and Cleburne Counties)...

Rating:                 EF-3
Estimated Peak Wind:    140 mph
Path Length (Statute):  34.29 miles
Path Width (Maximum):   2000 yards
Fatalities:             0
Injuries:               4

Start Date:             Mar 19 2018
Start Time:             8:23 PM CDT
Start Location:         3 SSW Silver Lakes Golf Course/ Calhoun County / AL
Start Lat/Lon:          33.8453/-85.9472

End Date:               Mar 19 2018
End Time:               9:10 PM CDT
End Location:           4 SSE Mars Hill / Cleburne County / AL
End Lat/Lon:            33.7943/-85.3665

The tornado first touched down west of US Highway 431 north of
Wellington, where it rapidly intensified and widened. It snapped and
uprooted numerous trees along US Highway 431. Several homes were
damaged by the falling trees. The tornado proceeded eastward across
Websters Road and Broughton Road with scattered tree damage. As the
tornado crossed Old Sulpher Spring Road, two homes were damaged with
scores of trees snapped or uprooted. At Angel Station Road, the
tornado filled the valley from one side to the other and caused
extensive tree and home damage. An electrical transmission tower line
was toppled at this point, but it was believed that flying debris
compromised the structure. The tornado continued eastward and
destroyed the sanctuary at West Point Baptist Church. Additional
structures were severely damaged at the church. The tornado entered
the City of Jacksonville where it gained strength into the EF3
category, with winds around 140 mph. It removed most of the roof and
the top floor of two buildings in an apartment complex. The tornado
affected the entire campus of Jacksonville State University. Several
buildings sustained significant damage. The most intense winds
remained north of the campus however, mowing down trees and causing
direct damage to homes. As the tornado crossed Highway 21, it caused
caused major damage to the Merrill Building. It then moved into a
highly populated zone, where scores of homes suffered major damage
and rendered many uninhabitable. The tornado maintained its strength
as it crossed Choccolocco Mountain, with winds funneled up the
valleys mowing down trees. It caused major damage to a number of
homes on the mountainside. Damaged continued all the way up to just
south of the peak of the mountain, then descended the eastern slopes
into Nances Creek. The tornado continued east southeast and downed
many thousands of trees in the Talladega National Forest, areas north
of Fruithurst, areas north of Muscadine, and to the Georgia State Line.
The tornado damage path to the Georgia State Line is 34.29 miles long
and was 2000 yards wide at its widest point.

EF Scale: The Enhanced Fujita Scale classifies
tornadoes into the following categories.

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

The information in this statement is preliminary and subject to
change pending final review of the events and publication in NWS
Storm Data.

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