Cullman, AL/Marshall, AL EF-4 Tornado - Segment of EF-4 which began in Pickens, AL

Rating EF-4 Peak Wind 170 MPH
Path Length 11.35 Miles Peak Path Width 0.25 Miles
Starting Point 33.867092, -86.992250 Ending Point 33.896752, -86.92622
Starting Time 5:05 PM  Ending Time 5:56 PM

Radar Data
Birmingham, AL Radar (BMX) Reflectivity (click to loop) Birmingham, AL Radar (BMX) Storm Relative Velocity (click to loop)
BMX 0.5 degree reflectivity loop of the EF-5 tornado track -- 5:01 PM PM to 5:33 PM CDT April 27 2011 BMX 0.5 degree storm relative velocity  loop of the EF-5 tornado track -- 5:01 PM to 5:33 PM CDT April 27 2011

 

 
Complete Tornado Track Map 

 Complete Tornado Track  in Google Earth.

  

        A large long track EF-4 tornado continued its track northeastward itno the Huntsville County Warning Area (CWA) and moved across the very southern tip of Cullman County, from about 3 miles southwest of Arkadelphia to just over 2 miles ESE of Arkadelphia. This tornado then tracked out of the Huntsville CWA into Blount County. In Cullman County, a wide swath of pine and hardwood trees was found snapped at the bases or splintered several feet off the ground, with some debarking of trees. South of Hwy 91 along Washington Loop, several homes were damaged or destroyed. A mobile home was obliterated and the frame was found at least 200 yards to the east up a hill. A cinder block home was wiped out, with the contents landing across the road, while the cars nearby were tossed. A truck landed in a nearby hollow at least 50 yards away while a sedan was smashed as it landed about 130 yards away. Farming equipment in a barn was displaced into the hollow, including a hay baler and a tractor. The storm shelter by the residence was partially lifted and damaged. The person inside received minor injuries. Additional homes and buildings nearby were destroyed and only a few trees were left standing or not debarked. The main damage path was fairly well confined, as a well built home just at the edge of the track only sustained minor roof damage. 

 
Track SW of Arkadelphia and along the Eastern Cullman/Western Blount county line.
 

 Tornado Path across Cullman and Blount counties.

Tornado Damage Photos

This home was completely wiped off of it's foundation.   
This home was reduced to rubble and almost completely wiped clean of its foundation. 
It is hard to recognize this car, as it was thrown over 130 yards before coming to rest on this large uprooted tree. 
It is hard to recognize this car, as it was thrown over 130 yards before coming to rest on this large uprooted tree.
 The tornado leveled a large area of trees. You can see the rototation in this photo due to the random nature of how they lie after being blown down. 
The tornado leveled large areas of trees along its path. You can see the obvious track of the storm as trees were snapped just a few feet off the ground.
 
South of Arkadelphia, this is another view of the home that was demolished down to its foundation. Trees in the background are stripped of their bark. The car shown above was thrown from the driveway in front of this home.
  
Farm equipment in the barn near the destroyed home was displaced into this nearby hollow.
 
 Numerous trees were snapped off near their base or stripped of their bark near the storm shelter that was damaged.

        The tornado continued northeast and crossed between the Blount and Cullman county borders several times decreasing from EF2 strength to EF1 intensity.  Below is another imageof the path further northeast as it kept meandering back and forth along the eastern Cullman/western Blount county line.

 
Continued track along the Eastern Cullman/Western Blount county line.
 

 Tornado Path across Cullman and Blount county line.

         As the tornado crossed into Blount county and a final time and continued to move northeastward, its intensity increased to EF3 criteria as winds reached a range of  130 mph to 160 mph.  Below is a zoomed in image of the track across northern Blount county and southern Marshall county.

 
Track across northern Blount and southwestern Marshall counties.
 

 Tornado Path across northern Blount and Marshall counties.

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.

 

       This tornado continued its track across the Blount/Marshall county line along a heavily wooded ridgeline between Highway 79 and Diamond Road. Aerial photography confirms the tornado tracked northeast along this ridgeline doing significant damage to a house just inside the Marshall County line, as well as snapping and uprooting numerous trees. The tornado crossed Highway 79 between mile marker 56 and 57, snapping a few trees and causing damage to the roof of a shed near a residence. Just northeast of this point, the tornado appeared to briefly strengthen (EF-2), completely destroying an industrial plant (Ferguson Industries).  The tornado continued northeast moving again over heavily wooded terrain just east of Highway 79. The damage path along this ridgeline can be seen from Highway 79 and aerial pictures confirm this track.

Snapped trees along ridgeline east of Hwy 79 
Snapped trees along ridgeline east of Hwy 79
Tree Damage on Buck Island 
Another view of snapped trees taken from Hwy 79
Aerial view of the destroyed Ferguson Industries plant 
Aerial view of the destroyed Ferguson Industries plant
Aerial view of downed trees near Hwy 79 
Aerial view of downed trees near Hwy 79

        Beyond this point several miles south of Highway 431, little additional damage can be confirmed from this tornado. Radar data also suggests that this storm (supercell) was undergoing a transformation period causing the tornado to weaken and eventually lift.


** Note: this supercell later spawned another tornado that devastated the town of Rainsville (DeKalb County) and moved northeast across the AL/GA state line. This tornado, initially rated an EF-4, was recently upgraded to an EF-5 based on the damage northeast of Rainsville.

 
** For information on the track of this tornado before it affected Marshall County /Pickens County through Blount County/ refer to the NWS Birmingham web page story at: 

 http://www.srh.noaa.gov/bmx/?n=event_04272011cordova

 

 Back to April 27 Survey Info


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