2 more tornadoes confirmed in Northeast Alabama

2 more tornadoes confirmed in Northeast Alabama

May 8th, 2014 by Ben Benton in Local Regional News

Brantley Bruce, Luke Smith and Luis Garcia, from left, walk through debris on the farm of Steve Rogers in late April as they and others clean up damage from strong storms that destroyed several houses in DeKalb County, Ala.

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

Photo by Laura McNutt/Times Free Press.

National Weather Service meteorologists have confirmed two more tornado tracks in Northeast Alabama, an EF1 in strength and an EF2, both touching down during the deadly storms that hit the area April 28.

"This makes the eighth and ninth tornadoes in the Huntsville area of responsibility," Weather Service meteorologist Brian Carcione said Wednesday. "This is the biggest outbreak in terms of numbers since April 27, 2011."

The two storms cut through mostly rural, forested areas, damaging hundreds of trees and between five and 10 houses and mobile homes, Carcione said. The same storm system unleashed tornadoes that killed two people in Limestone County, Ala., and two more in Lincoln County, Tenn., and injured at least 30.

Carcione said it was fortunate these two twisters hit relatively unpopulated areas.

"The one in the area up near Shiloh, the tornado literally lifted as it got to Georgia right at the DeKalb-Jackson County line," he said of the twister that delivered 100 mph winds.

That storm followed nearly the same path as the EF4 tornado that slammed the area almost three years ago to the day, he said. Officials had to "decipher" which tree damage came from the recent storm, he said.

An EF2 tornado with winds up to 115 mph hit nearer Fort Payne, did more damage and was probably from the same storm that heavily damaged DeKalb's Aroney community as an EF3 twister, he said.

"These supercell thunderstorms often will produce a tornado or get very intense, then they become cyclical, where they gust out and the tornado will lift," Carcione said. "Then the storm will spin back up and produce another tornado.

"We saw this quite a bit on April 28," he said.

The tornado touched down north of the Pine Ridge community on Dugout Valley Road, tore a mobile home from its foundation and rolled it over, according to officials.

The occupants weren't hurt, probably because they heeded early storm warnings and left the mobile home to ride out the storm at another residence, Carcione said.

At another house, the tornado tore away a carport while the residents hunkered inside, said Michael Posey, assistant director of the DeKalb County Emergency Management Agency. They escaped injury, too.

Posey was out Wednesday with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials who were doing a damage assessment as part of the application for federal storm aid.

Gov. Robert Bentley has asked for a disaster declaration for DeKalb, and Posey said he was hopeful that aid would be awarded.

"Every indication is pointing that direction but it's not a shoo-in until we get it," Posey said. That could happen within a couple of weeks.

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