130-MPH Winds Deemed EF2 In Jones Chapel Storm

by | Jun 24, 2018 | County News, Cullman, Extreme Weather, Weather | 0 comments

130-MPH Winds Deemed EF2 In Jones Chapel Storm

Friday night’s surprise severe weather event in eastern Winston and northwestern Cullman County proved to be tornadic.

Dual storm assessment teams from the National Weather Service visited both counties Saturday. The teams discovered evidence documenting a lone tornado initiated in Winston County before lumbering into Cullman County.

National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologists surveyed damage in extreme northeastern Winston County. They determined that damage found was consistent with an EF-0 tornado.

The tornado touched down at 6:46 pm on Friday near Sardis. It stayed on the ground for 1.48 miles before moving into Cullman County. A path of downed pine trees near the county line denotes the path.

The estimated top wind speed in Winston pegged at 70 mph.

According to the NWS, the tornado began in a wooded area just east of the County Road 80 bridge over Rock Creek. The tornado crossed County 80 where a tree became uprooted.

County Road 80 crisscrossed the tornado’s path multiple times as it moved eastward. Sporadic tree damage occurred with several large branches broken and a few trees uprooted or snapped.

A roof came off a newer large shed building as well as tin peeled back from a couple of old barns. The tornado continued into Cullman County and the county warning area of the Huntsville forecast office just west of County Road 1069.

A similar group of storm interpreters from NWS Huntsville was able to confirm the tornado that originated in Winston County continued into Cullman County. The damage observed in Cullman is consistent with an EF-2 tornado. They believe the peak winds of the storm clocked in at 130 mph near Jones Chapel.

The Jones Chapel segment of the tornado had a track measuring 5.56 miles long with a 180 yards wide swath at its peak.

As we reported Friday night, the storm flattened and disintegrated a 1-year-old mobile home, pulling it away from its anchors. It was deposited some 60 to 100 feet from its foundation.

Three individuals inside the structure were injured; this included a 3-week old infant. Ambulances took all parties to Cullman Regional for evaluation and treatment. None of the injuries was life-threatening.

Also according to the NWS, as the tornado crossed into Cullman County, the vortex lifted shortly after passing over CR 1069 after producing minor limb damage. The storm then touched down again west of the CR 1055 and CR 1082 intersection. Extensive tree damage was evident.

Numerous trees were either uprooted or snapped as the tornado tracked through a shallow depression on the north side of CR 1055.

Intensity was documented as 90 mph (EF-1) as it approached CR 1082. At this point, the tornado likely lifted again as it moved
east of CR 1082 with only minor limb damage observed through
Sullivan Creek.

The peak intensity of the tornado was observed along CR 1091, west of CR 1114. A one-year-old manufactured home sustained catastrophic damage as it broke away from its anchors, causing three injuries.

The home was perpendicular to the winds, facing due west. It was displaced about 20 yards from its original location. Three of four corner anchor units torn from the ground. The forth remained lodged in the field, but the metal strap pulled away from the securing I-Beam.

It is worth noting that the anchors were approximately 2-3 feet into the ground, strapped to the I-Beam. However, given the highly saturated, muddy soil, the anchors were pulled out as the home tipped backward. Given this potential failure, winds were estimated at 130mph, or slightly above the expected value for a wholly destroyed manufactured home. Additionally, near this location, several trees were uprooted. Peak width of approximately 180 yards observed in this area.

As the tornado tracked east, another area of downed branches and uprooted trees were noted east of CR 1107. This area was the final location of observed damage as the tornado likely lifted and eventually dissipated along CR 1114.

The storm report from Winston County: here.

The storm report from Jones Chapel: here.


You can see all the photographs from our retracing of the NWS meteorologist’s assessment teams path here:

130-MPH Winds Deemed EF2 In Jones Chapel Storm

Timothy Collins

Timothy brings an insightful holistic perspective as well as a mountain man tenacity to his various roles at Cullman Today. You can reach him at cullmantoday@gmail.com.

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