On this date in 2001, thirty six tornadoes touched down on a Saturday in Alabama, setting a record for the number of tornadoes in a single day for the state until that time. It surpassed the previous record for the state which was set during the April 3, 1974 outbreak, when 27 twisters hit the state.
Of course, the record would be shattered on April 27, 2011, when 61 tornadoes blitzed the state.
Interestingly, the November 24, 2001 tornadoes did not occur during the primary severe weather season, which occurs in the spring, but during the state’s secondary tornado season which occurs in the fall.
The first major tornado of the day cut a 39 mile path from near Kennedy in Lamar County to just south of Carbon Hill in Walker County. Two people died in a mobile home near Kennedy.
An F2 tornado cut a short path through the town of Haleyville in Winston County just before 11:30 a.m, injuring 13 people. Just northeast of Birmingham, an F2 tornado moved along I-59 near Argo as it cut a nearly 14 mile path into St. Clair County.
The strongest tornado of the day touched down about 1:19 p.m. CST southeast of Oneonta in Blount County. The tornado produced three distinct areas of F4 damage.
The other two fatalities of the day occurred near Sand Rock in Cherokee County just after 3 p.m. as an F2 tornado cut an 8 mile path. Again, the fatalities were in a mobile home.
Perhaps the luckiest break of the day came as aF2 formed on the western side of Pell City about 3:10 p.m. The tornado weakened as it moved across the downtown area, resulting in mainly light structural damage. Had the tornado been stronger, the damage and potential for injury or death would have been far greater.
The outbreak actually started the night before when tornadoes struck Arkansas and Mississippi, killing nine. The town of Madison, Mississippi was hard hit by an F4 tornado around 2 a.m.
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Category: Met 101/Weather History