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NWS releases preliminary reports on 13 Alabama tornadoes from Jan. 12

Columbus (GA) WTVM 1/17/2023 WSFA 12 News Staff

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The National Weather Service’s survey teams have confirmed 13 tornadoes of various strengths that swept across Alabama on Jan. 12, killing seven people, injuring dozens of others and causing widespread property destruction across multiple counties.

Below is a preliminary summary of each NWS-confirmed tornado:

Tornado No. 1 - “The Delmar Tornado”

This first tornado of the day was an EF2 (125mph winds) that affected the Delmar area of Winston County. NWS survey teams found the tornado touched down at 8:05 a.m. and was on the ground for 13 minutes. The twister traveled approximately 9 miles and had a path that was 425 yards across at its widest.

There were no injuries or deaths in this tornado.

The NWS summary of the tornado’s path reads as follows:

“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 No. 2 - “The Lawrence/Morgan/Limestone Tornado”

The second tornado of the day was an EF1 (104mph winds) that affected multiple counties including Lawrence, Morgan and Limestone countie. NWS survey teams found the tornado touched down at 8:09 a.m. and was on the ground for 36 minutes. The twister traveled approximately 30 miles and had a path that was 325 yards across at its widest.

The NWS has not yet provided a summary of the tornado’s path

There was one injury and no deaths in this tornado.

Tornado No. 3 - “The Emelle Tornado”

The third tornado of the day was an EF2 (120mph winds) that affected the Emelle area of Sumter County. NWS survey teams found the tornado touched down at 9:24 a.m. and was on the ground for 16 minutes. The twister traveled approximately 12 miles and had a path that was 440 yards across at its widest.

There was one injury and no deaths in this tornado.

The NWS summary of the tornado’s path reads as follows:

“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 it`s 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. NWS Birmingham would like to thank Dan (NWS Jackson) for the assistance with this survey.”

Tornado No. 4 - “The Eutaw Tornado”

Storm Damage in Eutaw Al © Provided by Columbus (GA) WTVM Storm Damage in Eutaw Al

The fourth tornado of the day was an EF2 (130mph winds) that affected Eutaw in Greene County. NWS survey teams found the tornado touched down at 9:54 a.m. and was on the ground for 49 minutes. The twister traveled approximately 39 miles and was 600 yards across at its widest.

There were no injuries or deaths in this tornado.

The NWS summary of the tornado’s path reads as follows:

“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 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.”

Tornado No. 5 - “The Greensboro Tornado”

Damage is seen from severe weather in Hale County, Alabama. © Provided by Columbus (GA) WTVM Damage is seen from severe weather in Hale County, Alabama.

The fifth tornado of the day was an EF2 (115mph winds) affected areas of Hale and Perry counties. NWS survey teams found the tornado touched down at 10:47 a.m. and was on the ground for 28 minutes. The twister traveled approximately 21 miles and was 500 yards across at its widest.

There were no injuries or deaths in this tornado.

The NWS summary of the tornado’s path reads as follows:

“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 No. 6 - “The Fire Tower Road Tornado”

The sixth tornado of the day was an EF1 (105mph winds) that affected areas of Perry and Bibb counties. NWS survey teams found the tornado touched down at 11:30 a.m. and was on the ground for 21 minutes. The twister traveled approximately 17 miles and was 500 yards across at its widest.

There were no injuries or deaths in this tornado.

The NWS summary of the tornado’s path reads as follows:

“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 105 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 No. 7 - “The Selma Tornado”

Selma tornado damage © Provided by Columbus (GA) WTVM Selma tornado damage

The seventh tornado of the day was an EF2 (130mph winds) that affected Selma and Dallas County. NWS survey teams found the tornado touched down at 12:04 p.m. and was on the ground for 26 minutes. The twister traveled approximately 23 miles and was 800 yards across at its widest.

There were two injuries and no deaths in this tornado.

The NWS summary of the tornado’s path reads as follows:

“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 the 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.”

Tornado No. 8 - “Northern Mobile County Tornado”

The eighth tornado of the day was an EF2 (125mph winds) that affected Mobile County. NWS survey teams found the tornado touched down at 12:15 p.m. and was on the ground for 18 minutes. The twister traveled approximately 11 miles and was 200 yards across at its widest.

The NWS summary of the tornado’s path reads as follows:

“The tornado is estimated to have touched down just west of Old Citronelle Road or just east of U.S. Highway 45 near Gulfcrest. The tornado likely continued along rural forested areas east of Citronelle Road and Celeste Road that were inaccessible by the survey team based on radar velocity and tornado debris signatures. The survey team found evidence of snapped pine trees just southwest of Movico Loop Road North. The tornado strengthened as it crossed Movico Loop Road East causing significant softwood tree snaps and uprooting of large hardwood trees. A double wide manufactured home that was secured with straps rolled from its foundation and was destroyed just west of U.S. Highway 43. This is where the tornado reached peak intensity. The tornado then crossed U.S. Highway 43 just north of Cedar Creek Landing Road where a single wide manufactured home rolled from its foundation and was destroyed. The survey team found large oak trees snapped in a convergent pattern just to the north of where the manufactured home was destroyed. These damage indicators suggest that the tornado reached peak EF2 intensity with estimated winds around 125 mph and maximum width around 200 yards near the intersection of U.S Highway 43 and Cedar Creek Landing Road. Areal footage provided by Alabama Law Enforcement Agency indicates that the path narrowed with some residual softwood snaps into the forest north of Cedar Creek Landing Road before lifting. This survey may be updated after high resolution satellite imagery becomes available, particularly in regard to the tornado path in the inaccessible area between Highway 45 and Highway 43.”

There were no deaths in this tornado.

Tornado No. 9 - “The Old Kingston-Lake Martin Tornado”

Debris stretches across a field after a tornado that ripped through Central Alabama earlier this week along County Road 140 where loss of life occurred Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in White City, Autauga County, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) © Provided by Columbus (GA) WTVM Debris stretches across a field after a tornado that ripped through Central Alabama earlier this week along County Road 140 where loss of life occurred Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in White City, Autauga County, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

The ninth tornado of the day was an EF3 (150mph winds) that affected multiple counties including Autauga, Elmore, Coosa, Tallapoosa and Chambers. This tornado, the largest of the day, claimed the lives of seven people in Autauga County’s Old Kingston community. NWS survey teams found the tornado touched down at 12:48 p.m. and was on the ground for nearly 90 minutes. The twister traveled approximately 77 miles and was 1,500 yards across at its widest.

There were 16 injuries and 7 deaths in this tornado.

The NWS summary of the tornado’s path reads as follows:

“This long-track tornado began just east of U.S. Highway 82, where a manufactured home was rolled along Autauga County Road 40. Over the next two miles, the tornado rapidly strengthened as it approached the Old Kingston community, where EF-3 damage began along County Road 43. At this location, at least three manufactured homes were obliterated with their frames thrown up to 100 yards. A pickup truck was sent airborne and landed 120 yards to the northeast, where a shallow crater was formed by its impact. The tornado became deadly as it impacted several homes along Sandy Ridge Road. The frame of a manufactured home at the western end of the road was thrown 250 yards to the north-northeast and came to rest in a field. Just downstream, several manufactured homes in a cluster were shredded and thrown considerable distances. Trees were snapped off relatively close to the ground and partially debarked. In total, five fatalities occurred along Sandy Ridge Road at three separate residences. Similar damage continued to the northeast along County Road 140, where a total of two fatalities occurred in two separate residences at the eastern end of the road. At least five manufactured homes were blown away with their frames thrown considerable distances. Several vehicles were picked up and thrown, and one pickup truck had its cab separated from the bed. From this area to the northeast to County Rd 42, the tornado caused massive tree damage and what appeared to be stands of debarked trees along Autauga Creek. In the three mile stretch of most severe damage from County Road 43 to County Road 42, wind speeds reached at least 150 mph. Based on the damage scene and contextual evidence, it is plausible that winds were stronger. However, with only manufactured homes in the path, there appear to be no damage indicators that will allow a higher rating. The tornado moved across County Road 57 at a slightly weaker state, where numerous trees were snapped and uprooted with several homes sustaining significant roof damage with one site-built home also sustaining partial wall failure.

The tornado crossed Interstate 65 where trees were downed. In the Pine Level community, several homes sustained roof damage and a manufactured home was rolled off its foundation and onto County Road 68 E. Many trees were uprooted and snapped as the tornado crossed through the Pine Flat community. Additional homes sustained roof damage and other damage from fallen trees, and a manufactured home was rolled and destroyed. Residential structure damage intensified as the tornado neared the Autauga/Elmore county line where site-built homes sustained majority or entire roof removal along County Road 68 E near Poplar Springs Road. Similar residential structure damage was observed in northwest Elmore County as the tornado neared areas west of the Coosa River. The tornado then crossed the Coosa River, affecting Neely Road on the west bank and Kelly Road on the east bank, as well as nearby roads. As the tornado crossed Grays Ferry Road on the northeast side of Titus, the volume of snapped pine trees increased notably. Countless trees were snapped and uprooted as the tornado moved northeastward toward the Elmore/Coosa county line at Highway 231. Structural damage continued to consist of roof uplift or removal and damage from wind-blown debris and fallen trees. Radar showed a debris ball in southern Coosa County which match ground observation of a truly extensive area of snapped pine trees at and on either side (downstream and upstream) of the southern portion of McKissick Road, located between the communities Speed and Equality. The volume of snapped trees was enough to assign an EF-3 rating for this segment of the tornado`s path. Additional significant damage occurred along County Road 18 where vehicles were moved or flipped, numerous trees were snapped, and site-built homes were heavily damaged with one destroyed. This was another area assigned EF-3 intensity. The tornado continued northeastward toward the Coosa/Tallapoosa county line where additional, relatively less intense timber damage was noted.

Tornado damage continued into Tallapoosa County with a corridor of timber damaged observed along Cedar Creek and Elkahatchee Roads. Timber was snapped and uprooted and consistent with EF-1 damage here. The tornado continued northeast crossing Highway 63 S approaching the Wind Creek State Park area. Timber damage was observed here. The tornado then moved toward Coven Abbett Road and then Elbert Road. Several homes sustained damage here, some significant with roofs blown off, boat houses destroyed, and adjacent significant timber damage as dozens of large hardwood trees were snapped and uprooted. Areas impacted near here were Elbert Drive, Loblolly Lane, and Elbert Rd. The tornado then crossed the northern section of Lake Martin before impacting additional lakefront homes. Numerous homes were damaged on River Run Road and the adjacent side streets. Some homes sustained significant damage with entire roofs blown away and exterior walls collapsed or removed. At least two home were shifted from their foundation. The high-end EF-2 damage here could be partly due to the interaction of the tornado with the lake surface, as well as the exposed nature of these homes since most structures inland seemed to be “sheltered” from adjacent heavily wooded areas. The tornado also damaged homes along Lake Ridge Drive. The tornado continued northeast causing pockets of EF-1 timber damage as it crossed US Highway 280. The tornado then moved across the rest of Tallapoosa County causing mainly varying degrees of timber damage in the EF-0 to EF-1 range, including the Sessions area. The tornado continued northeast into Chambers County causing additional swaths of mainly timber damage in the EF-0 to EF-1 range. The tornado began its final weakening stage as it neared Highway 77, dissipating shortly after crossing County Road 114.”

Tornado No. 10 - “The Conecuh County Tornado”

The tenth tornado of the day was an EF0 (80mph winds) that affected Conecuh county. NWS survey teams found the tornado touched down at 1:54 p.m. and was on the ground for approximately 1 minute. The twister traveled approximately 1 mile and was 100 yards across at its widest.

The NWS summary of the tornado’s path reads as follows:

“The tornado briefly touched down approximately 3/4 of a mile east of Nymph Road, where several large limbs were downed. It continued to move to the east-northeast, crossing County Road 29, where it uprooted several trees. The tornado lifted just northeast of County Road 29.”

There were no injuries or deaths in this tornado.

Tornado No. 11 - “The Standing Rock Tornado”

The eleventh tornado of the day was an EF2 (120mph winds) that affected Chambers County. NWS survey teams found the tornado touched down at 2:08 p.m. and was on the ground for 16 minutes. The twister traveled approximately 13 miles and was 1,600 yards across at its widest.

There were no injuries or deaths in this tornado.

The NWS summary of the tornado’s path reads as follows:

“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 County Road 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 No. 12 - “The Teals Crossroads Tornado”

The twelfth tornado of the day was an EF1 (105mph winds) that affected Barbour County. NWS survey teams found the tornado touched down at 3:25 p.m. and was on the ground for 13 minutes. The twister traveled approximately 11 miles and was 900 yards across at its widest.

The NWS summary of the tornado’s path reads as follows:

“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.”

There were no injuries or deaths in this tornado.

Tornado No. 13 - “The Crenshaw County Tornado”

The thirteenth tornado of the day was an EF1 (90mph winds) that affected Crenshaw County. NWS survey teams found the tornado touched down at 2:46 p.m. and was on the ground for approximately 1 minute. The twister traveled less than one half mile and was 80 yards across at its widest.

The NWS summary of the tornado’s path reads as follows:

“The tornado touched down just west of Old Union Road and moved to the northeast. As it crossed Old Union Road, it moved through a grove of trees where dozens of trees were snapped or uprooted. It continued briefly to the northeast for a tenth of a mile before lifting.”

There were no injuries or deaths in this tornado.

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