“You are not going out with that boy unless his parents are driving and that's that. I'm not just Spitting Grits here, young lady!”

. . . My father, John Thomas Cravey, USAF, to me in 1956.

Taxing Day 2011: Tornado II in the Annex

April 15, 2011, tax day, was taxing to the max. And it’s not like we weren’t warned well in advance that it would be a bad day.

As much as a week or more before April 15, my weather guru James Spann of abc33/40 Weather Blog in Birmingham said that the predicted storm would be worse than the April 11 severe storm I covered in the previous post.

Tax day was a set-up: warm, horribly muggy, winds from the Gulf, with a real cold front headed for the state to mate with the warm front and produce its horrible offspring – spring tornadoes.

I was getting an e-mail off to a friend. Right in mid-type, I inserted with “Sirens going off. Later.” I grabbed my video camera and headed to my front porch, which faces southwest, where these storms come from. Spann was tracking it on the radar via a Tuscaloosa Sky cam south of town. I knew it was headed in my direction.

Embed:

James Spann tracking the Tuscaloosa tornado via Sky Cam, April 15, 2011

This soon-to-be close call wasn’t the first one, and I hoped I would know when to run for the utility room.

Here’s what I saw through the video’s eye:

Video shot from my front porch, April 15, 2011

It missed, but only by 0.5 miles or so. It hit the neighborhood where my husband grew up: Fairmont and Lakeshore. Clichés abound. A friend and his wife who live two houses up from my husband’s old house lost all their trees and fencing. They said it was the old “freight train” coming over the house.

When it left there, it jumped over 15th Street East and took out a couple of houses up on the hill by the railroad track. Someone in the large condo/apartment complex next to those houses took video of it:

 

The tornado forming, April 15, 2011

My house is about half a mile from where they are videoing the sight.

The next day, I went through the Lakeshore neighborhood as best I could, weaving in and out of power lines and poles, power company trucks, debris, and, yes, it looked like a war zone.

BeechHills-4

 

Fairmont-Lakeshore-2

 

Here is the National Weather Service assessment issued today, April 20, 2011:

BLACK WARRIOR TORNADO (GREENE AND TUSCALOOSA COUNTIES)…

PRELIMINARY DATA…
EVENT DATE: APRIL 15, 2011
EVENT TYPE: EF-3 TORNADO
ESTIMATED PEAK WINDS (MPH): 140
INJURIES/FATALITIES: NONE
EVENT START LOCATION AND TIME: 33.012/-87.739 AT 316 PM
EVENT END LOCATION AND TIME: 33.190/-87.504 AT 343 PM
DAMAGE PATH LENGTH (IN MILES): 19
DAMAGE WIDTH (IN YARDS): 500

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS SURVEYED THE DAMAGE IN FAR
NORTHEASTERN GREENE AND SOUTH CENTRAL TUSCALOOSA COUNTIES. IT HAS
BEEN DETERMINED THAT THE DAMAGE WAS CONSISTENT WITH A TORNADO. WINDS
WERE ESTIMATED AT 140 MPH. THE TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN NORTH OF
COUNTY ROAD 86 IN GREENE COUNTY…ABOUT 3 MILES SOUTHEAST OF
RALPH…UPROOTING DOZENS OF HARD AND SOFTWOOD TREES. FROM
THERE…THE TORNADO TRAVELED NORTHEAST….MOVING PARALLEL TO AND
LESS THAN 2 MILES EAST OF THE INTERSTATE 20/59 CORRIDOR…SNAPPING
AND UPROOTING TREES ALONG THE WAY. THE MOST SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE
OCCURRED AS THE TORNADO CROSSED THE BLACK WARRIOR RIVER NEAR MAXWELL
LOOP ROAD. HUNDREDS OF TREES WERE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED AND A POWER
TRANSMISSION TOWER WAS CRUSHED. THE TORNADO CONTINUED NORTHEAST
MOVING NORTH OF SHELTON STATE…AND CROSSING HIGHWAY 69 NEAR
TAYLORVILLE AND THE INTERSTATE 20/59 CORRIDOR NEAR HIGHWAY 82. ALONG
THIS PATH…DAMAGE CONSISTED OF SNAPPED OR UPROOTED TREES AND
STRUCTURAL DAMAGE TO HOMES AND BUSINESSES. THE TORNADO LIFTED NEAR
MAYFAIR DRIVE…SOUTH OF VETERANS MEMORIAL PARKWAY. THE TORNADO
DAMAGE PATH WAS 19 MILES LONG AND WAS 500 YARDS WIDE AT ITS WIDEST
POINT.

The spring tornado season in Tornado Alley Annex is nearly over, and none too soon.

 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
 
Spittin' Grits. Copyright © 2009 Joanna C. Hutt. All rights reserved. | Contact