Cullman (AL)/Morgan (AL)/Marshall(AL) EF-4 Tornado

Rating EF-4 Peak Wind 175 MPH
Path Length 47.0 Miles Peak Path Width 1 Mile
Starting Point 34.075697, -87.009659  Ending Point 34.477561, -86.368427 
Starting Time 2:40 PM  Ending Time 3:38 PM
Complete Tornado Track Map Complete Tornado Track across Culman, Morgan, and Marshall Counties in Google Earth.

Click on the image above to display an experimental contoured map created by Suheiley Lopez (UPRM) dipicting the strength of damage indicators seen along the track during NWS storm surveys. 

 Zoomed in Image of Track From:
Northern Portion of Lewis Smith Lake to NE of Fairview

 

 

      A long-track tornado went from southwest to northeast across Cullman County before tracking into Morgan and Marshall Counties. Some light damage occurred on the north side of Smith Lake along County Road (CR) 310. More significant damage was observed to the northeast along CR 222 and along CR 436 near Grandview, where significant structural damage occurred to several residences and numerous large trees were snapped. The tornado continued to track northeast toward the town of Cullman where some of the worst damage occurred just northeast of Highways 31 and 278. Several small retail buildings were completely destroyed along with near total destruction of a large church in downtown Cullman. The tornado continued its track northeast, crossing Highway 157 then creating additional damage north of Highway 69 between Simcoe and Pleasant View. Just north of Fairview along CR 1559 and CR 1564, two homes were destroyed with significant portions of the homes not found. Further northeast along CR 1589, major structural damage occurred to several old (early 1900s) homes and numerous hardwood trees were debarked. Outside of the city of Cullman, significant damage occurred in a 1/4-1/2 mile wide corridor north of Highway 69, between Fairview and the Cullman/Morgan county line. The tornado crossed out of Cullman County briefly into extreme southeast Morgan County near the town of Hulaco. Significant damage occurred between Hyatt Bottom Road and Blocker Road, just east of Highway 67. Several cinder block and old construction homes were destroyed and numerous trees were snapped and sheared toward the base.

 Zoomed in Image of Track From:
Hulaco to Ruth to south of New Hope.

 

County/Counties Affected - Part 1. Click for a larger image.

 

Significant damage from the long-track tornado continued into northwest Marshall County. The worst of the damage occurred from the Morgan/Marshall county line, along Hog Jaw Road, northeast to Highway 231 (about 3 miles north of Arab). Along Hog Jaw Road, a large storage shed with farm equipment was destroyed and some of the large machinery was tossed 10 to 20 yards away from the shed. Closer to the town of Ruth, Mount Oak and Frontier Roads were hardest hit. In this neighborhood, a cinder block/cement home was nearly wiped clean and debris from this home was thrown about 50-100 yards away. A trailer was missing and a metal bolted garage was wiped clean of its foundation. Along Frontier Road, a large brick home was nearly wiped clean off its foundation with several large trees ripped out of the ground and missing. Further northeast along the path, along Walnut Ridge, a one-story home was severely damaged with the roof missing and a trailer was tossed about 100 yards and into a tree. Several concrete power poles were bent over as the tornado crossed Hwy 231, some bent at the base. On the east side of Hwy 231, a Jet Pep gas station building was completely demolished and two gas pumps were ripped from the ground and missing. Surprisingly, the canopy over the pumps remained mostly intact. The tornado then continued toward Union Grove. The degree of damage weakened somewhat, but several homes had significant damage where the top stories and roofs were destroyed along with some external walls collapsed. Along CR 240, a double wide manufactured home was destroyed and large garage collapsed while the well-built roof remained intact. The tornado then significantly weakened as it crossed the Tennessee River. On the other side of the river, the tornado snapped and uprooted numerous trees as it crossed Walker Road and just across Hwy 431 before finally lifting just northeast of 431.

Radar Data

Birmingham, AL Radar (BMX) Reflectivity (click to loop) of the EF-4 tornado that tracked across the area.  Birmingham, AL Radar (BMX) Storm Relative Velocity (click to loop) of the EF-4 tornado that tracked across the area.  The location with the adjacent red/green colors represent the location of the tornado.
BMX 0.5 degree reflectivity loop of the EF-4 tornado track -- 2:43 PM to 3:42 PM CDT April 27 2011 BMX 0.5 degree storm relative velocity  loop of the EF-4 tornado track -- 2:43 PM to 3:42 PM CDT April 27 2011

 

Tornado Damage Photos

    
The tornado did significant damage to numerous buildings in downtown Cullman, this at 5th St SW and 3rd Ave SW.
 
Much of the main church building collapsed at Christ Lutheran Church in downtown Cullman.
 
Major structural damage was sustained to the old Fuller Bros. Ford dealer building at 4th St. SE and 3rd Ave. SE.
    
Additional damage sustained to brick buildings along 4th St SE in downtown Cullman.
 
A car on the same block took a direct hit from flying debris, including cinder blocks from nearby buildings.
    
The Cullman NOAA Weather Radio Transmitter was not spared as the tornado ripped through downtown.
 
An areal view of the path through downtown, looking southeast. This city block is bounded by 1st & 2nd Ave. NE and 4th & 5th St. SW
    
This areal view is looking northeast along the track as the tornado left the city of Cullman. The buildings at the top of the picture are Cullman Regional Medical Center.
    
West of Fairview in Cullman County, damage continued to numerous homes and buildings. Bits of wood and other debris were lodged in things like this tire.
 
Projectiles from the tornado were wedged into this truck, which was also slid several feet. Other cars at the same home in Ruth were tossed dozens of feet and crushed.
    
This home along Frontier Rd in Ruth was completely wiped off its foundation. Several of the trees in the front yard were ripped from the gound and missing.
 
This trailer was tossed about 100 yards and landed in the tree before sliding down to the ground. Branches and 2x4s can be seen lodged in the side.
    
Along Hwy 231 and north of CR 418, several power poles were snapped as the tornado crossed the highway.
 
The Jet Pep gas station on Hwy 231 took a direct hit from the tornado. The building (top left of photo) was demolished but a worker survived by taking shelter in the store's bathroom. The metal poles for the sign were twisted at the base and gas pumped were ripped from the ground and missing.
    
This large garage, near Country Side Road in the Union Grove area, was almost completely destroyed. Only the roof section remained behind the slab foundation. 
 
The roof of this large two story home had signifcant damage near Mobbs School Road north of Arab.
  
This home was swept off its foundation, leaving only cinderblocks behind.  This damage occurred in the Union Grove area.
 
This large shed, in the Union Grove area, only had one wall remaining after the tornado pushed through. 

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