Storm Events Database

Event Details

Event Tornado
-- Scale EF5
-- Length 16.95 Miles
-- Width 1760 Yards
State ALABAMA
County/Area FRANKLIN
WFO HUN
Report Source NWS Storm Survey
NCDC Data Source CSV
Begin Date 2011-04-27 14:28:00.0 CST-6
Begin Location 3S NIX
Begin Lat/Lon 34.31/-87.79
End Date 2011-04-27 14:45:00.0 CST-6
End Location 3ENE OAK GROVE
End Lat/Lon 34.44/-87.53
Deaths Direct/Indirect 27/0 (fatality details below, when available...)
Injuries Direct/Indirect 0/0
Property Damage 50.00M
Crop Damage 0.00K
Episode Narrative A powerful storm system roared across the Southeast United States on Wednesday, April 27, 2011. In the wake of this system, hundreds of people were left injured and/or homeless, along with approximately 100 people who lost their lives in the northern Alabama area alone. Some of the devastation was literally unimaginable with countless homes, neighborhoods and even portions of cities or towns either partially or completely destroyed. This storm system would be responsible for one of the largest and deadliest tornado outbreaks to ever impact much of the southeastern region. The powerful storm system that affected the National Weather Service, Huntsville service area would actually occur in three separate waves of severe weather that day. The first occurred during the early morning hours of April 27, 2011 roughly between the hours of 2 AM and 8 AM CDT, while the second occurred during the late-morning to early afternoon period. The third and most devastating wave occurred during the afternoon hours on Wednesday, with some of the most violent and destructive tornadoes to affect the central Tennessee Valley area in recent decades. The worst areas impacted by these storms included the towns of Phil Campbell and Oak Grove in eastern Franklin County Alabama, Mt. Hope in western Lawrence County and the Tanner Community in eastern Limestone County. Along a line connecting these areas tracked an EF5 tornado with peak winds around 210 mph, the strongest and most violent on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.
Other areas impacted by the storms include the city of Cullman, where extensive damage occurred to buildings in the downtown area, and to the town of Fairview, both of which are located in Cullman County. Downstream, further significant damage occurred to the Ruth and Oak Grove communities in Marshall County. In addition, the communities of Rainsville and Sylvania along with the towns of Henagar and Ider in DeKalb County were severely impacted. Fatalities in DeKalb County alone numbered at least 33 people. Furthermore, the towns of Flat Rock, Higdon and Pisgah in Jackson County sustained incredible damage. The tornadoes that affected these areas were rated as an EF4 with maximum winds near 190 mph.
In most of these areas alone, numerous people lost their lives. These represent just several of the communities and towns impacted by the events of April 27, 2011. While the majority of the analysis and survey work conducted by the National Weather Service, Huntsville and its partners have been completed, there will undoubtedly be countless research studies conducted by both academia and operational personnel in order to further evaluate and understand the complex processes associated with this near unprecedented severe weather outbreak.
Event Narrative A violent long track tornado continued it's path from Marion County into southern Franklin County north of Hackleburg. Significant devastation occurred throughout the city of Phil Campbell. Prolific damage was noted from the intersection of CR 51 and Alabama Highway 237, to the intersection of CR 81 and CR 75. Within a two mile corridor of either side of the railroad tracks the damage was significant. Within this corridor, several well constructed houses were destroyed. Along Bonner Street, multiple block homes were leveled to the ground with the block foundations destroyed. A twenty-five foot section of pavement was sucked up and scattered. Chunks of the pavement were found in a home over 1/3 of a mile down the road. The damage in this area was consistent with EF-5 damage.
In addition, at least three churches along the path sustained significant damage. One church in Phil Campbell was completely destroyed with only the slab remaining.
Multiple mobile homes throughout the path were completely destroyed, and their mangled frames were tossed 25 to 50 yards. Cars were tossed and destroyed throughout the path of the tornado, with one car wrapped around a debarked tree in Phil Campbell. All along the path length, thousands of hardwood and softwood trees were snapped. Hundreds of trees were also debarked and twisted, and had only stubs of the largest branches remaining. EF-5 damage continued similarly northeast from Phil Campbell, roughly along County Roads 81 and 82 toward the community of Oak Grove.
In Oak Grove, the tornado may have reached a relative maximum in intensity well into the EF-5 category as the damage was slightly more intense and the path width was at a maximum of greater than one mile. A large swath of complete devastation was noted in Oak Grove along County Roads 38 and Smith Lane. A large well-constructed home with extensive anchoring was razed with debris carried well away from the site. A Corvette sports car was mangled and thrown 641 feet (measured). A block home next door was also disintegrated. Along Smith Lane a block home was wiped out and the only remains of a nearby chicken house was a small piece of a metal truss. In this same area, the tree damage was significant and a large percentage of trees were stripped bare.


Event Fatality Details

Type Age Gender Fatality Location
Death 52 Female Church
Death 56 Female Church
Death 38 Female Church
Death 67 Male Church
Death 76 Male Church
Death 64 Female Church
Death 89 Female Permanent Home
Death 64 Female Permanent Structure


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All events for this episode:

Location County/Zone St. Date Time T.Z. Type Mag Dth Inj PrD CrD
Totals: 100 94 1.111B 0.00K
WATERLOO LAUDERDALE CO. AL 04/27/2011 03:01 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
SMITHSONIA LAUDERDALE CO. AL 04/27/2011 03:19 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 1 0.00K 0.00K
SPEAKE LAWRENCE CO. AL 04/27/2011 04:44 CST-6 Hail 0.88 in. 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
WILBURN CULLMAN CO. AL 04/27/2011 04:48 CST-6 Tornado EF2 1 0 0.00K 0.00K
JOPPA CULLMAN CO. AL 04/27/2011 05:20 CST-6 Tornado EF0 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
NIXON CHAPEL MARSHALL CO. AL 04/27/2011 05:22 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 0 40.00K 0.00K
RED HILL MARSHALL CO. AL 04/27/2011 05:22 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
RED HILL MARSHALL CO. AL 04/27/2011 05:24 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
HIGHPOINT MARSHALL CO. AL 04/27/2011 05:30 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
HIGHPOINT MARSHALL CO. AL 04/27/2011 05:30 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
HYATT MARSHALL CO. AL 04/27/2011 05:30 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
WARRENTON MARSHALL CO. AL 04/27/2011 05:30 CST-6 Tornado EF2 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
BIG SPGS MARSHALL CO. AL 04/27/2011 05:35 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
GRANT MARSHALL CO. AL 04/27/2011 05:35 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 0 10.00K 0.00K
HENRYVILLE MARSHALL CO. AL 04/27/2011 05:43 CST-6 Tornado EF0 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
GUNTERSVILLE MUNI AR MARSHALL CO. AL 04/27/2011 05:45 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
LANGSTON JACKSON CO. AL 04/27/2011 05:45 CST-6 Thunderstorm Wind 70 kts. EG 0 0 210.00K 0.00K
MARTLING MARSHALL CO. AL 04/27/2011 05:45 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
GROVE OAK DEKALB CO. AL 04/27/2011 05:49 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
GUNTERSVILLE LAKE MARSHALL CO. AL 04/27/2011 05:49 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
SECTION JACKSON CO. AL 04/27/2011 05:58 CST-6 Tornado EF1 1 0 0.00K 0.00K
ELLIOT XRDS DEKALB CO. AL 04/27/2011 06:10 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 0 30.00K 0.00K
FAIRVIEW JACKSON CO. AL 04/27/2011 06:12 CST-6 Tornado EF2 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
KAOLIN DEKALB CO. AL 04/27/2011 06:18 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
IDER DEKALB CO. AL 04/27/2011 06:34 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
SHADY GROVE FRANKLIN CO. AL 04/27/2011 06:36 CST-6 Hail 1.25 in. 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
MT HOPE LAWRENCE CO. AL 04/27/2011 08:00 CST-6 Hail 0.88 in. 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
REID LIMESTONE CO. AL 04/27/2011 08:30 CST-6 Hail 1.00 in. 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
STEWERDS STORE LIMESTONE CO. AL 04/27/2011 08:30 CST-6 Hail 0.88 in. 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
HARVEST EPPS ARPT MADISON CO. AL 04/27/2011 08:46 CST-6 Hail 0.75 in. 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
MADISON XRDS MADISON CO. AL 04/27/2011 08:50 CST-6 Hail 1.75 in. 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
MT LEVENTOV MADISON CO. AL 04/27/2011 09:05 CST-6 Hail 1.00 in. 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
MYNOT COLBERT CO. AL 04/27/2011 09:25 CST-6 Hail 0.88 in. 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
COURTLAND AIRFIELD LAWRENCE CO. AL 04/27/2011 10:14 CST-6 Thunderstorm Wind 54 kts. MG 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
RIPLEY LIMESTONE CO. AL 04/27/2011 10:15 CST-6 Tornado EF0 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
TRINITY MORGAN CO. AL 04/27/2011 10:20 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
REID LIMESTONE CO. AL 04/27/2011 10:23 CST-6 Tornado EF0 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
OAKLAND LIMESTONE CO. AL 04/27/2011 10:24 CST-6 Tornado EF0 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
FRENCH MILL LIMESTONE CO. AL 04/27/2011 10:30 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
CAPSHAW LIMESTONE CO. AL 04/27/2011 10:35 CST-6 Tornado EF0 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
NEBO MADISON CO. AL 04/27/2011 10:37 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
CAPSHAW MADISON CO. AL 04/27/2011 10:39 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
MADISON CO JET PORT MADISON CO. AL 04/27/2011 10:49 CST-6 Thunderstorm Wind 51 kts. MG 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
NORMAL MADISON CO. AL 04/27/2011 10:50 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
BLOUCHER FORD MADISON CO. AL 04/27/2011 10:55 CST-6 Tornado EF0 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
BOLIVAR JACKSON CO. AL 04/27/2011 12:00 CST-6 Hail 1.25 in. 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
CRANE HILL CULLMAN CO. AL 04/27/2011 13:40 CST-6 Tornado EF4 1 0 0.00K 0.00K
GUM POND MORGAN CO. AL 04/27/2011 14:12 CST-6 Tornado EF4 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
RUTH MARSHALL CO. AL 04/27/2011 14:16 CST-6 Tornado EF4 5 48 0.00K 0.00K
NIX FRANKLIN CO. AL 04/27/2011 14:28 CST-6 Tornado EF5 27 0 50.000M 0.00K
MT HOPE LAWRENCE CO. AL 04/27/2011 14:44 CST-6 Hail 1.00 in. 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
MT HOPE LAWRENCE CO. AL 04/27/2011 14:45 CST-6 Tornado EF5 14 0 40.000M 0.00K
MT HOPE LAWRENCE CO. AL 04/27/2011 14:45 CST-6 Hail 1.75 in. 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
HODGE JACKSON CO. AL 04/27/2011 15:01 CST-6 Tornado EF4 6 0 0.00K 0.00K
TRINITY MORGAN CO. AL 04/27/2011 15:15 CST-6 Tornado EF3 0 0 400.00K 0.00K
LAWNGATE LIMESTONE CO. AL 04/27/2011 15:17 CST-6 Tornado EF4 4 45 1.000B 0.00K
HODGES FRANKLIN CO. AL 04/27/2011 15:20 CST-6 Tornado EF2 0 0 600.00K 0.00K
NIX FRANKLIN CO. AL 04/27/2011 15:21 CST-6 Thunderstorm Wind 70 kts. EG 0 0 30.00K 0.00K
NIX FRANKLIN CO. AL 04/27/2011 15:23 CST-6 Thunderstorm Wind 65 kts. EG 0 0 10.00K 0.00K
SPRUCE PINE FRANKLIN CO. AL 04/27/2011 15:26 CST-6 Thunderstorm Wind 65 kts. EG 0 0 15.00K 0.00K
IDER DEKALB CO. AL 04/27/2011 15:30 CST-6 Tornado EF4 6 0 0.00K 0.00K
WACO FRANKLIN CO. AL 04/27/2011 15:33 CST-6 Thunderstorm Wind 50 kts. EG 0 0 2.00K 0.00K
CLUTTSVILLE MADISON CO. AL 04/27/2011 15:36 CST-6 Tornado EF4 9 0 0.00K 0.00K
NEWBURG FRANKLIN CO. AL 04/27/2011 15:36 CST-6 Thunderstorm Wind 50 kts. EG 0 0 5.00K 0.00K
NEWBURG FRANKLIN CO. AL 04/27/2011 15:38 CST-6 Thunderstorm Wind 50 kts. EG 0 0 6.00K 0.00K
CLUTTSVILLE MADISON CO. AL 04/27/2011 15:40 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
GLADSTONE MADISON CO. AL 04/27/2011 15:47 CST-6 Thunderstorm Wind 70 kts. MG 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
ORRVILLE LIMESTONE CO. AL 04/27/2011 15:53 CST-6 Tornado EF0 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
MADISON MADISON CO. AL 04/27/2011 16:02 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
ARKADELPHIA CULLMAN CO. AL 04/27/2011 16:05 CST-6 Tornado EF4 0 0 20.000M 0.00K
FACKLER JACKSON CO. AL 04/27/2011 16:05 CST-6 Tornado EF4 1 0 0.00K 0.00K
ATHENS LIMESTONE CO. AL 04/27/2011 16:10 CST-6 Hail 1.75 in. 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
ARKADELPHIA CULLMAN CO. AL 04/27/2011 16:15 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
GARDEN CITY CULLMAN CO. AL 04/27/2011 16:19 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
GARDEN CITY CULLMAN CO. AL 04/27/2011 16:22 CST-6 Tornado EF1 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
CLUTTSVILLE MADISON CO. AL 04/27/2011 16:28 CST-6 Hail 1.75 in. 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
RED HILL MARSHALL CO. AL 04/27/2011 16:50 CST-6 Tornado EF2 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
TEN BROECK DEKALB CO. AL 04/27/2011 17:19 CST-6 Tornado EF5 25 0 0.00K 0.00K
BEATY XRDS DEKALB CO. AL 04/27/2011 17:44 CST-6 Hail 1.75 in. 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
CENTERVILLE CULLMAN CO. AL 04/27/2011 18:09 CST-6 Tornado EF0 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
NEBO MADISON CO. AL 04/27/2011 18:17 CST-6 Hail 1.75 in. 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
JONES CHAPEL CULLMAN CO. AL 04/27/2011 18:58 CST-6 Hail 1.00 in. 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
FT PAYNE DEKALB CO. AL 04/27/2011 20:05 CST-6 Tornado EF2 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
Totals: 100 94 1.111B 0.00K