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Tornado winds estimated at 120-130 mph in Phenix City, 105 mph in Columbus

The National Weather Service is saying the tornado that ripped through Phenix City and Columbus late Sunday was more powerful in Alabama than in Georgia.

Kent Frantz, one of the weather service meteorologists who came here Monday to assess the damage, said the storm as categorized on the Enhanced Fujita Scale was an EF-2 tornado in Phenix City and a weaker EF-1 in Columbus.

The Enhanced Fujita Scale rates tornadoes by wind speed, as estimated from the damage they cause. Frantz said the tornado had wind speeds of 120-130 mph in Phenix City and up to 105 mph has it sliced through Columbus, striking first in downtown and then in midtown.

In Phenix City, the storm wrecked a bowling alley off the U.S. 280 Bypass and demolished a house on Broad Street. That's evidence of an EF-2 tornado, Frantz said.

In Columbus, the storm's winds damaged roofs and awnings and broke windows, but mostly it toppled large oak trees, which in falling damaged homes and cars. That's evidence of a storm that wasn't strong enough then to demolish buildings, Frantz said.

The weather service said Monday that the storm traveled 4 miles from Phenix City through Columbus, its path up to 250 yards wide. It damaged more than 100 buildings and toppled 150-200 trees, authorities said.

To see the Enhanced Fujita Scale, visit /www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/ef-scale.html.

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