A burst of severe weather spawned 11 tornadoes in Alabama from Friday through Monday morning, including three cyclones in the Montgomery area.
And that total could rise.
Initial surveys of the Montgomery-area damage by the National Weather Service found:
An EF2 tornado touched down Sunday night in the Macon County community of Milstead with winds of 125 miles per hour. The path was 15.4 miles long and 1,450 yards wide. It “destroyed” a cotton gin and support buildings in Milstead and caused roof and structural damage to several homes along county roads 8 and 9.
An EF1 tornado struck the Lake Martin area Sunday night in Elmore County with winds of 110 miles per hour. It touched down near Kowaliga, crossed the lake and caused structural and roof damage to several homes in the Castaway and Tecumseh points area, mostly the result of fallen trees.
An EF0 tornado hit Prattville Sunday night with winds of 75 miles per hour. The path was 1 mile long and 200 yards wide. It caused damage to Prattville Pickers on US 82 near the Prattville Country Club. More than two dozen homes in the Hunting Ridge neighborhood near downtown Prattville had roof and structural damage, mostly the result of fallen trees.
Weather service teams are still surveying areas across the state. The tornado total of 11 was as from Monday’s surveys, so the numbers could rise. And Alabama is covered by four NWS offices: Huntsville, Birmingham, Mobile and Tallahassee, Fla. Each office is conducting storm surveys in the coming days.
Other damage outside the tornado areas is likely the result of straight-line winds. There is more damage nationwide due to straight-line winds than any other cause, NWS data shows.
“There are several ways to get wind damage,” said Jason Holmes of the NWS office in Birmingham. “Winds of 75 to 80 miles per hour are going to cause damage. You can get structural damage with winds of 55 miles per hour and greater.”
To put things in perspective, winds of 75 miles per hour are a minimal hurricane.
Alabama's severe weather season stretches from March through May.
The forecast is quiet through Friday, but an approaching system could bring another spate of severe weather Friday night and early Saturday morning. Current forecasts have the possibility of all forms of severe weather including damaging winds, large hail and possible tornadoes.
The forecast will be more finely tuned as the weekend approaches, Holmes said. He urged people to be weather aware as the weekend approaches.
Contact Montgomery Advertiser reporter Marty Roney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: At least 11 tornadoes hit Alabama in three days