Mt. Carmel-Altoona Tornado

Intersection of Carmel Lane and Tidwell Drive. Click for a larger image! Intersection of Carmel Lane and Tidwell Drive.
End of Tidwell Drive mobile home destroyed. Click for a larger image! End of Tidwell Drive. The owner was in the destroyed mobile home in the foreground. The owner was called to the house in the top left as the storm approached. That person almost made it, but suffered a broken arm and pelvis.
#9 Carmel Lane.  There were 9 people in this mobile home.  All survived with no more than minor injuries. Click for a larger image! #9 Carmel Lane. There were 9 people in this mobile home. All survived with no more than minor injuries.
House destroyed on US Highway 231 at Morton Rd.  The tornado was at F4 strength here. Click for a larger image! House destroyed on US Highway 231 at Morton Rd. The tornado was at F4 strength here.
Aerial Views of Altoona. Click for a larger image! Aerial Views of Altoona.
The F4 tornado first touched down at approximately 1:25 PM CST in the vicinity of Mt Carmel Church, South of US Highway 231 on County Road 29, where several trees were snapped off. The tornado tracked northeast produced extensive F2 magnitude damage to homes and trailer homes along Tidwell Road, where there were several injuries. All trees in the neighborhood were snapped mid-trunk. Blount County 911 received the first calls for assistance at approximately 1:29 PM CST. As the tornado crossed US Highway 231, it completely destroyed a stick-frame house, with F4 magnitude damage. Large trees around the house were uprooted and snapped mid-trunk. From there, the tornado continued moving Click on image to view approximate track of tornado. northeast, and produced it's worst, F4 magnitude damage, between Robbins Lake and Airport Road. Large trees were completely snapped off at ground level; two tandem-wheel dump trucks were overturned, and moved or rolled approximately 30 yards; several storage containers filled with construction supplies and equipment were rolled up to 50 yards; a large bulldozer was moved approximately 5 feet; a large pole-barn building was completely obliterated. The tornado continued northward across Robbins Field, then across unpopulated area, until it entered Western Etowah County in the town of Altoona, at approximately 1:35 PM CST. The tornado descended a steep hill, and downed an entire stand of pine trees at mid-trunk. Several homes and trailer-homes were damaged or destroyed, including a well-constructed $250,000 home, which was completely destroyed, the third occurrence of F4 magnitude damage. The tornado crossed AL Highway 132, ascending a steep hill, and dissipated, making a total track length of 10 miles. At it's widest point, the tornado was approximately one-quarter mile wide. Debris was scattered several miles past the end of the tornado track.

A Tornado Warning for Blount County was issued at 12:56 PM CST, valid until 1:45 PM CST. A Tornado Warning was issued for Etowah County at 1:11 PM CST, valid until 2:00 PM CST. Tornado Watch 818 was in effect for Blount and Etowah counties, which was issued at 9:19 AM CST.

Special thanks is extended to the Blount County EMA for making the aerial and ground survey of the devastating tornado and for providing pictures.

Click on the images for larger view.
Robbins Construction on Airport Rd. Click for a larger image! Robbins Construction on Airport Rd. Two men were working in this shop as the storm approached. Someone came to the shop and advised them to go to one of the houses. They did just before the storm hit. The tornado was at F4 strength here. The tandem axle dump truck was reportedly moved 30 yards. A loaded shipping container was reportedly moved over 100 yards.
Click for a larger image! Same as above.
Robbins Field, Oneonta.  Hangars were the last structures damaged in Blount County. Click for a larger image! Robbins Field, Oneonta. Hangars were the last structures damaged in Blount County.
Robbins Field, Oneonta.  Hangars were the last structures damaged in Blount County. Click for a larger image! Same as above.
Aerial Views of Altoona. Click for a larger image! Aerial Views of Altoona.

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