published Saturday, June 14th, 2014

Tornado confirmed in Jackson County from Tuesday storms

An EF1 tornado tears through Hollywood, Ala., east of the town's Fire Station No. 1 where winds reaching more than 100 mph damaged homes, toppled trees and knocked down power poles as storms passed through Northeast Alabama on Tuesday.

Photo contributed by Hollywood, Ala., Fire Chief Patrick Allen
An EF1 tornado tears through Hollywood, Ala., east of the town's Fire Station No. 1 where winds reaching more than 100 mph damaged homes, toppled trees and knocked down power poles as storms passed through Northeast Alabama on Tuesday. Photo contributed by Hollywood, Ala., Fire Chief Patrick Allen

National Weather Service officials have confirmed that an EF1 tornado touched down in Jackson County, Ala., near Scottsboro and cut a path northeast to Hollywood.

Jackson County Emergency Management deputy director Felix Jackson said the surprise twister destroyed a barn in Scottsboro and damaged some houses along County Road 33 near Hollywood.

"There were quite a few affected areas, the Goosepond area coming up the river through Scottsboro and Hollywood," Jackson said. Most of the damage was on the north side of U.S. Highway 72.

"There were no injuries, luckily," he said.

Jackson said the twister paralleled the Tennessee River.

Hollywood Fire Department Chief Patrick Allen first heard, then saw, the rain-wrapped funnel hit his hometown.

"Then calls started coming in," Allen said.

"It was skipping around. You could see it made an 'S;' it went through one subdivision and curved around and hit another subdivision," he said.

"It took us probably 45 minutes to get into the Zebra Plains subdivision," he said. Firefighters and other emergency crews cleared the way for heavy equipment to get in.

"It tracked about eight miles," NWS meteorologist Andy Kula said Friday. "We had another in Northwest Alabama on June 9, too. It tracked 5.9 miles or so and it was a different storm system, but that was two, two days in a row."

Weather Service data shows the twister was about 300 yards wide and had winds up to 110 mph. The storm touched down at 1:44 p.m. CDT and lifted just before 2 p.m.

Weather Service officials said the tornado knocked a couple of mobile homes from their foundations, toppled trees and snapped four or five wooden power poles, with the damage intensifying as the storm tracked north, reaching the grounds of TVA's Bellefonte nuclear plant before lifting on the other side.

Reports indicate a number of areas damaged by straight-line winds, too.

Jackson said the tornado was a surprise and didn't show up on the Emergency Operations Center radar Tuesday afternoon.

"As we were watching our radar in the EOC, you could see the thunderstorms. We were just under a watch," he said. "There was no rotation showing on the radar. It just hit for a moment.

"This is a very strange June," he said.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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