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Weather History: April 24, 2010 Intense Tornado Outbreak

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On April 24, 2010, warm air and humidity swept over the region, supporting a severe weather event. This unstable air was channeled in from the south on the 23rd and 24th. There was considerable wind shear, turning the winds at different levels of the atmosphere, to support tornado development. A strong low pressure system passed north of the region, but the associated short wave trough passed through our region.

The instability, lift and wind shear created an environment conducive to the development of severe storms. Storms began rolling in northwest Alabama during the afternoon. As these thunderstorms moved eastward, they encountered a favorable environment allowing them to intensify rapidly. The supercells that moved through northern Alabama produced heavy rain, hail, gusty winds and even tornadoes. Four strong tornadoes touched down that day in our area, one of which was an EF4 tornado. A total of 12 landed in Alabama and 52 people were injured.

EF4 and long-track Tornado

Weather History: April 24, 2010 Intense Tornado Outbreak

The most destructive tornado to hit that day was an EF4 tornado that moved through DeKalb County. The tornado touched down west of Hendrixville in the southern parts of the county and then tracked northeast for just over 16.5 miles. The tornado remained on the ground for almost 30 minutes and caused significant damage in some places. The tornado lifted near the community of Dog Town.

This destructive tornado destroyed a 133-year-old church as well as a nearby residential structure. It was in this area that the tornado was most intense, with peak winds estimated at 170 mph. Along with this damage, numerous trees were uprooted or snapped, and near the community of Dog Town, homes suffered structural damage before the tornado lifted. Five people were injured, but fortunately no fatalities were reported.

Along with a destructive EF4 tornado in DeKalb County, there was a long-tracked EF3 tornado that moved through Blount, Marshall, and DeKalb counties. The tornado touched down in Blount County near the Marshall/Blount County line at 10:05 p.m. The tornado then traveled 41 miles through Marshall and DeKalb counties before lifting near the community of Fort Payne at 11:05 p.m. Structural damage to businesses and homes was observed in downtown Albertville. Peak winds for this tornado were estimated at 140 mph.

Later that night, the same cell produced a second tornado in northeast DeKalb County. This tornado was also an EF3 force affecting near the community of Mentone. It traveled northeast, producing a 14-mile-long path of damage before crossing Chattooga County into Georgia. Several houses made to a single width were destroyed in a trailer park and trees were snapped or uprooted. Peak winds were estimated at 140 mph.

Central Alabama tornadoes

Weather History: April 24, 2010 Intense Tornado Outbreak

In addition to the four tornadoes that touched down in northern Alabama, eight others touched down in central Alabama. The tornadoes ranged in strength from EF0 to EF3, with the most impacting parts in Walker, Jefferson and Blount counties. There were a total of three EF0, four EF1 and one EF3 tornadoes. Storm damage ranged from destroyed homes to uprooted trees.

  • Weather History: April 24, 2010 Intense Tornado Outbreak
  • Weather History: April 24, 2010 Intense Tornado Outbreak
  • Weather History: April 24, 2010 Intense Tornado Outbreak
  • Weather History: April 24, 2010 Intense Tornado Outbreak

Above is a look at the damage caused by the most powerful tornado that touched down in central Alabama that day. This damage was associated with an intense EF3 tornado that moved through Walker, Jefferson and Blount counties. The tornado produced a nearly 30-mile damaged road causing severe damage to a residential home and roof damage to homes. At least 1,000 hardwood or softwood trees were uprooted or snapped. Peak winds were estimated at 140 mph, fortunately no injuries or fatalities were reported.

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