Storm Events Database

Event Details

Event Tornado
-- Scale EF4
-- Length 15.8 Miles
-- Width 880 Yards
State ALABAMA
County/Area MARSHALL
WFO HUN
Report Source NWS Storm Survey
NCDC Data Source CSV
Begin Date 2011-04-27 14:16:00.0 CST-6
Begin Location 1SSW RUTH
Begin Lat/Lon 34.35/-86.58
End Date 2011-04-27 14:38:00.0 CST-6
End Location 1NE HEBRON
End Lat/Lon 34.49/-86.36
Deaths Direct/Indirect 5/0 (fatality details below, when available...)
Injuries Direct/Indirect 48/0
Property Damage 0.00K
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 tornado with peak wind speeds of 190 mph crossed into northwest Marshall County (from Morgan County). The most severe damage occurred on either side of U.S. Highway 231 north of Arab -- particularly in the Ruth community and along Hog Jaw Road -- about 3 miles north of Arab. Along Hog Jaw Road, a large storage shed with farm equipment was destroyed with some of the large machinery tossed 10 to 20 yards around the shed. In the Ruth community, Mount Oak and Frontier Roads were hardest hit where a cinder block/cement home was nearly wiped clean. Debris from a home on Frontier Road was thrown 50 to 100 yards away. A family of 9 was in this house and 5 were killed. A trailer was missing and a metal-bolted garage was wiped clean of its foundation. Along Frontier Road, a large brick home was nearly wiped clean off its foundation with several large trees ripped out of the ground and missing. Further northeast along the path, along Walnut Ridge, a one-story home was severely damaged with the roof missing and a trailer that was tossed into a tree. Several concrete power poles were bent over as the tornado crossed U.S. Highway 231, some bent at the base. One the east side of Highway 231, a gas station building was completely demolished and two gas pumps were ripped from the ground and missing. The canopy over the pumps remained mostly intact.
The tornado continued toward Union Grove. The degree of damage weakened somewhat but several homes had significant damage where the top stories and roofs were destroyed and the external walls had collapsed. Along County Road 240, a double-wide manufactured home was destroyed and a large garage collapsed but the well-built roof remained intact.
The tornado significantly weakened as it crossed the Tennessee River. On the other side of the river, the tornado snapped and uprooted numerous trees as it crossed Walker Road and just across U.S. Highway 431 before lifting just northeast of Highway 431.


Event Fatality Details

Type Age Gender Fatality Location
Death 54 Female Permanent Home
Death 1 Male Permanent Home
Death 31 Female Permanent Home
Death 56 Male Permanent Home
Death 37 Male Permanent Home


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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