Severe Storms...February 16, 2001

The storm damage of Friday, February 16, 2001, was caused by an event known as a Derecho. A Derecho is a long-lived and widespread convective wind storm, typically in the form of a large, bow-shaped squall line. Derechos often last for several hours, and can produce wind damage over thousands of square miles. They can travel at speeds over 50 mph, and may contain wind gusts of 70-100 mph.

The event of February 16, 2001, actually began rather inocuously, in parts of Texas and Louisiana in the early morning hours, where a band of showers and thunderstorms developed and started to move east. Through the rest of the morning and early afternoon hours, the storms became more intense and formed into a more organized line as they marched across Mississippi. Damage from wind gusts was reported in several Mississippi counties as the line moved through.

The line of storms reached the western Alabama border around 2 pm. Around the same time, a section of the squall line began to bulge out, or bow, in Pickens County. Through the next 3 hours, the Derecho would move across the entire width of the state, producing wind gusts approaching 100 mph, and widespread damage similar to a F0 to F1 category.

Figure 1 shows the strongest radar echoes, in red, at the indicated times. The gray outlines the area where most of the damage occurred, while the gray dots indicate specific locations of known damage reports. Click on Figure 1 to view a larger image.

Officially recorded wind gusts include 60 mph at the Tuscaloosa and Anniston/Oxford Airports, and 68 mph at the Birmingham Airport and Gadsden/Etowah County EOC.

More information will added as time permits.

Weather Data

 

Figure 1 shows the strongest radar echoes, in red, at the indicated times.  The gray outlines the area where most of the damage occurred, while the gray dots indicate specific locations of known damage reports. Click for a large image.
Figure 1
Damage locations across Blount County for 12/16/2001. Click for a large image.
Damage locations across Blount County for 12/16/2001.
Damage to back of automotive repair shop Homewood area. Click for a large image.
Damage to back of automotive repair shop Homewood area.
Damage to homes in the Homewood area. Click for a large image.
Damage to homes in the Homewood area.
Carport damage on highway 171 Tuscaloosa County. Click for a large image.
Carport damage on Highway 171 in Tuscaloosa County.

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