Lee County tornado upgraded to EF-3 - WRBL

Lee County tornado upgraded to EF-3

Posted: Updated: May 28, 2014 12:59 PM
National Weather Service investigators say they believe an EF-3 tornado impacted Lee County early Tuesday morning. National Weather Service investigators say they believe an EF-3 tornado impacted Lee County early Tuesday morning.
The National Weather Service now says a tornado that hit Lee County early Tuesday morning reached EF-3 strength and injured 13 people, an updated storm report released Thursday morning from the agency's Birmingham office said. On Tuesday, investigators initially said the tornado was at least an EF-2.

The tornado was one of several confirmed tornados that popped up across the state as a slow moving line of severe thunderstorms moved eastward.

This tornado touched down one-tenth mile west of Flourney Road in northern Russell County, according to the report. There the tornado snapped several trees before moving northeast.

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The tornado crossed into Lee County approximately three-tenths of a mile west of County Line Road. It continued to the northeast and strengthen to its strongest form as it neared Alabama Highway 169. By this point, the winds associated with the tornado were peaking at 140 mph, according to the report. In this neighborhood, six mobile homes were completely destroyed after being lifted and rolled from their bases. Additionally, a two-story home had its roof and exterior walls of its upper floored removed. Three other homes were also lifted from their foundations and completely destroyed. Several other homes sustained roof damage while hundreds of surrounding trees were destroyed.

From Alabama Highway 169, the tornado moved towards Lee Road 205. In that neighborhood, one home suffered extensive roof damage while approximately 20 other homes sustained exterior damage.

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Additional minor damage was sustained to homes as the tornado moved to the northeast and approached Lee Road 179.

As the tornado approached U.S. Highway 280 it began to weaken, the report said. A few additional trees were damaged before the tornado lifted from the ground along County Road 298 approximately four-tenths of a mile from Lee Road 318.

The tornado's path stretched 11.5 miles and was - at its largest point - 1,200 yards wide, the report said.

The American Red Cross is now assisting those impacted by the storm.

An EF-3 tornado is classified as "strong" with a maximum 3-second wind gust of between 136 and 165 mph.

An EF-2 tornado caused minor damage to six homes in Troup County Monday evening. That tornado is also classified as "strong" having had a wind gust between 111 and 135 mph for at least three seconds.

The National Weather Service says their assessment is still considered a preliminary investigation and further details may be released at a later time if additional data becomes available.

Naomi Keitt

Naomi Keitt focuses on education reporting for WRBL News 3. More>>

James Brierton

James joined WRBL News 3 with experience from CNN, NBC News and his own hyper-local news site. He manages the WRBL News 3 Web desk. More>>

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