National Weather Service finds EF2 tornado damage in Alabama

tstevens@ledger-enquirer.comApril 30, 2014 

The National Weather Service officials say a tornado definitely touched down in Salem and Crawford, Ala., Tuesday — though exact details about that tornado are not yet available.

At least 50 Lee County homes were damaged or destroyed Tuesday by what officials then called a "likely tornado." That storm system carved a half-mile wide, 10-mile long path through Russell and Lee counties and killed 30 people across the South.

Birmingham's NWS Office Meteorologist Matt Anderson said a survey team assessing damage in Lee, Russell and Macon counties will release a detailed report by Thursday morning. However, preliminary reports corroborate residents' assertions that a tornado struck the area.

"Based on their preliminary findings, they found EF2 damage near Salem," Anderson said. "Those are preliminary findings, though. They haven't determined maximum winds or the path it took."

A tornado falls under the EF2 classification if its wind speeds fall between 111 and 135 mph. It is considered a significant weather event, often damaging roofs and sometimes destroying weakly-built structures, such as mobile homes.

Tuesday's tornado demolished 15 to 20 mobile homes on Alabama Highway 169, displacing at least 11 families. American Red Cross representatives worked throughout the day to provide food, water, shelter and supplies to residents affected by the storm.

Peachtree NWS officials determined an EF2 tornado moved through Troup County Monday, snapping or uprooting hundreds of tress and damaging between four and six homes. That tornado cut a 5.5 mile-long path, with wind speeds topping 120 mph.

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