Rosalie Tornado Pictures

| February 6, 2008 @ 10:08 pm | 1 Reply

It has been a long day today after a long, stormy day yesterday. I gave a talk at Bumpus Middle School this morning, and as I was arriving at the school, I received a call from NWS Southern Region Headquarters. They informed me that the Huntsville NWS office might need to activate the QRT for two tornadoes that could conceivably be rated EF4 or EF5. One tornado was in Lawrence County and one was in Jackson County.

The QRT, or Quick Response Team, is a group of about 20 meteorologists both in and out of the NWS who have sufficient storm damage survey experience to rate a tornado suspected to be in the EF4 or EF5 category. The QRT came about several years ago when a tornado rated F5 was later found to be somewhat less. The NWS instituted a policy to bring in an outside resource from the QRT whenever a tornado was thought to fall into the two highest Fujita scale classifications.

Just as I was sitting down to lunch, Tim Troutman, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at Huntsville, called to say that he and Mike Coyne, Meteorologist-in-Charge of NWS Huntsville, were on the scene and had reason to believe the tornado damage in the Rosalie community of Jackson County might be more than EF3. I drove up there and proceeded to survey the most destructive portion of the path with the aide of Mike and Tim and Victor Manning, EMA Director for Jackson County.

As the preliminary storm damage report found earlier in the Blog notes, the length of the path is still to be determined, but it appears to have been about three-eighths of a mile wide in the Rosalie area. And the destruction there was incredible. I have not seen damage like this since the April 8, 1998, F5 tornado in Jefferson County.

I’ve selected a few of the 85 photos I snapped during my damage assessment trip. The tornado is being rated an EF4. The black vehicle shown upside down was thrown in an arc a distance of approximately 450 feet with a number of gouge marks in the field to show the path of travel. At least five or six houses were swept off their locations. The debris from the bedroom of one home traveled at least 300 feet – perhaps more. A large section of a chicken house collapsed and shifted with a large number of chickens killed. Those large hay bales weighing 2,500 according to estimates by the people there were tossed about like dice – and several of them were blown apart. One of the houses destroyed was described as a two story house which was crumbled like a playhouse with debris scattered across a small stream. Very large trees in that same area were uprooted or snapped.

The NWS has asked that I take a look at the Lawrence County damage tomorrow morning and then on to Hardin County, Tennessee, to review the destruction there. Guess tomorrow will be the third busy day!


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About the Author ()

Brian Peters is one of the television meteorologists at ABC3340 in Birmingham and a retired NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist. He handles the weekend Weather Xtreme Videos and forecast discussion and is the Webmaster for the popular WeatherBrains podcast.

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