May 6, 2003


The May 6, tornado event across north Alabama began across western Lauderdale county with damage indicated along county roads 14 and 19, about 5 miles west of Florence. (Note: Most of these photographs were taken by WFO Huntsville WCM/Warning Coordination Meteorologist Tim Troutman, unless otherwise noted.)

 

The damage path of this tornado was about 10 miles through Lauderdale county. The tornado at this point was rated as an F-1 tornado on the Fujita scale with wind speeds determined to be at 80 mph. The tornado had a broad circulation associated with it with a path width estimated at 600 yards wide. 

 

Figure 2. More damage along County road 14 about 5 miles
west of Florence, Alabama.

 

Figure 3. More damage along county road 14.


Figure 4. Barn roof damage along county roads 14 and
19 intersection.

Figure 5. More barn damage about 5 miles west of Florence.


Figure 6. Large tree uprooted and twisted near McGee Town
just west of Florence, Alabama. Photo taken
by Mark Senf, Lauderdale County Emergency Management.

 


 

The tornado continued with an F-1 rating (80 mph) as it continued its eastward track through McGee Town toward the Petersville-Underwood area. The below two photos, Figures 7 through 9 show the continued F-1 tornado damage with 70-80 mph winds continuing until it lifted in the Petersville-Underwood area just north of Florence.

Figure 7. Tree snapped in the Petersville-Underwood area about
two miles north of Florence.

 


Figure 8. Roof damage and tree blown down in the
Petersville-Underwood community.

 


Figure 9. Home damaged due to tree being uprooted and
falling on residence in Underwood-Petersville community.

 


 


The tornado lifted as it moved out of the Underwood-Petersville area just ot the north of Florence in Lauderdale County, then touched down again in Limestone county. Initial damage occurred in Limestone County near the Shanghai community, about 15 miles northwest of Athens. The tornado continued on an east-northeast track with continuous F1 (80 mph) damage continuing consistently until it lifted about 5 miles northeast of Athens. The maximum wind speeds with the F1 tornado reached 90 mph during the middle of the 10 mile damage path as it moved through Limestone County. The tornado had a path width ranging from 500 to 700 yards in width as a broad circulation was continuously noted. The damage characteristics of the tornado was that the tornado seemed to continuously grab the tops of large trees and pull them out of the ground, with little damage noted at the ground. At least 150 trees in Limestone County were twisted, snapped and uprooted in the tornadoes path. At least 17 homes had minor damage to roofs and structural damage throughout the 15 mile path length of the tornado.

Figures 10-17 indicate the damage that occurred in Limestone County between the Shanghai and the area just to the northeast of Athens. 


Figure 10. Large tree uprooted and snapped along Lydia Corey Road
(County road 47) about 7 miles northwest of Athens.

 


Figure 11. Another large tree lifted and uprooted along
Lydia Corey Road (County road 47).


Figure 12. Large tree uprooted along Lydia Corey Road (County road 47).
 


Figure 13. More trees uprooted and snapped along
Lydia Corey Road (County Road 47) about 7 miles northwest of Athens.

 


Figure 14. Home with significant roof damage along
Coffman Road about 5 miles north of Athens.

 


Figure 15. Trees with twisted damage on the other side of the
road from home in Figure 13 along Coffman Road.


Figure 16. Home with extensive roof damage along Easter
Lane about 5 miles northwest of Athens.

 


Figure 17. Mobile home with tree damage about 5 miles
northwest of Athens. 



The tornado again touched down in the Meridianville, Alabama area. This touchdown with minor tree damage occurred about one mile west of Highway 231 in Merdianville. The tornado had a path length of one mile and a path width of 200 yards. The tornado was classified as an F-1 tornado with winds determined to be at a maximum at 80 mph. At least two homes and two businesses along Highway 231 had minor roof damage and a mobile home was slightly moved off of its foundation. 

 


Figure 18. Trees blown down and twisted in Meridianville
just west of Highway 231.

 


Figure 19. Minor roof damage at Meridianville.

 


Figure 20. Roof damage to business in Meridianville.


Figure 21. Mobile home with roof damage, blown slightly off
of its foundation and tree uprooted due
to tornado damage in Meridianville.


The line of severe thunderstorms continued to move east into Jackson county, with damage indicated again at Hollywood, Alabama, about 5 miles northeast of Scottsboro, Alabama. Figures 22-24 shows the F0 damage (60 mph winds) to six bradford pear trees in the old regions bank parking lot.  The tornado at this point, quickly lifted, with a path length of 50 yards and width of 80 yards. 


Figure 22. F0 tornado damage (60 mph winds) with trees
down and other damage indicating twisting and
trees in different angles in Hollywood along Highway 72.


Figure 23. More tree damage associated with an F0
tornado in Hollywood along Highway 72.


Figure 24. More tree damage at Hollywood along
Highway 72 associated with F0 tornado (60 mph winds).

 


 

As the line of severe storms continued to move east, a tornado again touched down along county road 36, about 3 miles east-northeast of the previous damage in Hollywood. Figure 24 shows the twisting and trees being blown down in differing directions, clearly indicating tornado damage. The damage path of the F0 tornado (60 mph winds) was at a 20 yard length and a 10 yard width.

 


Figure 25. F0 tornado damage along county road 36
about 3 miles east-northeast of Hollywood.


The tornado quickly lifted along county road 36, with more damage noted about 5 miles northeast of Hollywood with four trees uprooted and again in differing directions. The F0 tornado had a final path length and width of 20 yards in Jackson county.  


Figure 26. More F0 tornado (60 mph wind) damage about
5 miles northeast of Hollywood just east of highway 72.


The line of severe storms continued to move east into De Kalb County by late morning. Damage was first determined to begin just west of Interstate 59 with a few trees twisted and blown down as the storms approached Hammondville. Figures 27-33 shows the progression of the tornado damage (F-1, 80 mph) as the tornado moved through the Hammondville to the Valley Head communities. The total path length of the tornado was 2.7 miles with a broad circulation accounting for a 50 yard width.  The tornado finally weakened and lifted in the Valley Head community, with no further damage indicated in the National Weather Service Huntsville county warning area.

 


Figure 27. Roof damage to home along Highway 11
just south of Hammondville.


Figure 28. F1 tornado (70-80 mph damage) occurred along
Highway 11 just south of Hammondville.


Figure 29. F1 tornado (80 mph damage) occurred along
Highway 11 just south of Hammondville.

 


Figure 30. F1 tornado (80 mph wind) damage occurred
in Hammondville along Highway 11.

 


Figure 31. F1 tornado (80 mph wind) damage occurred
in Hammondville along Highway 11.


Figure 32. F1 tornado (80 mph wind) damage between
Hammondville and Valley Head.


Figure 33. F0 damage (winds at 70 mph) in the Valley Head
community as the tornado began to show signs of weakening and lifting.

 


 

I would like to thank the Emergency management personnel from Lauderdale, Limestone, Madison, Jackson and De Kalb Counties for their precise information and willingness to help with determining damage locations and their time involving surveying the tornado damage. 

KGWX Base Reflectivity 0.5 deg at 623 AM CDT ~ 180K
Columbus (KGWX) NEXRAD 0.5 degree Base Reflectivity at 0623 AM CDT just prior to touchdown of F1 tornado west of Florence.
KGWX Base Velocity 0.5 deg at 623 AM CDT ~ 160K
Columbus (KGWX) NEXRAD 0.5 degree Storm Relative Velocity at 0623 AM CDT just prior to touchdown of F1 tornado west of Florence.


KHTX Base Reflectivity 0.5 deg at 815 AM CDT ~ 160K
Hytop (KHTX) NEXRAD 0.5 degree Base Reflectivity at 0815 AM CDT, just prior to touchdown of Meridianville Tornado.
KHTX Base Velocity 0.5 deg at 815 AM CDT ~ 130K
Hytop (KHTX) NEXRAD 0.5 degree Storm Relative Velocity at 0815 AM CDT, just prior to touchdown of Meridianville Tornado.

 


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