4:00 pm – The threat begins for the Tennessee Valley.
WHNT News 19 Chief Meteorologist Jason Simpson shows streaming video from a storm chaser, “That is a rotating wall cloud with a funnel cloud. I don’t see debris, but there may be a tornado on the ground. I know exactly where he is. That’s the CVS on Highways 43 in Russelville.”
4:40 pm – Storms turn dangerous further east.
Simpson updates, “Coxey around Clements High School, you need to be in a safe place too. This is not just a Rogersville problem.”
WHNT News 19’s Al Whitaker catches the gathering winds of what looks like a tornado moving across Coxey. The storms track toward Athens.
Stormhunter 19 follows behind, recording damage in the streets.
6:10 pm – Three dangerous cells are now visible.
WHNT News 19 Meteorologist Ben Smith talks over creeping radar images,”It’s amazing how these are working. They’re moving almost over the same areas. If you’re in Hazel Green, you need to be in a safe place, but that one behind you over toward Athens on the north side of there along I-65, also Highway 53, you need to be in safe spot. Then there’s another tornado warning north of Moulton.”
6:22 pm – Those tornado warnings reach Tennessee.
Simpson notes, “A tornado is on the ground in southern Lincoln county near Flintville.”
7:19 pm – Stormhunter 19 watches a new system roll over I-65. It brings a tornadic threat.
“That’s where the tornado is right now,” says Simpson over the radar images, “It will cross the Tennessee River west of the bridge.”
8:11 pm – We watch north Alabama and south Tennessee closely.
Simpson warns, “I would suggest if you were right along the state line in north Alabama, north of Hazel Green, you should probably be at a safe place as well. A very well-defined circulation here.”
8:22 pm – Simpson updates, “We know that a tornado is likely on the ground south of Kelso close to Flintville.”
WHNT News 19 crews find damage in Hazel Green, more still in Lincoln County, Tennesse.
9:31 pm – We turn back south – Cullman County.
Simpson tracks along, “So this storm that’s just west of Hanceville is moving up in the direction of Holly Pond.”
Stormhunter 19 crews find damage in Berlin and Welti.
10:22 pm – “We have a new tornado warning that includes southern Madison County,” Simpson continues, “This is for Owens Crossroads, for Hebron, for New Hope.”
11:48 pm – “The strong thunderstorm with the possible tornado is right here,” Simpson highlights another dangerous radar signature, “That’s our storm coming up in the direction of Boaz, Altoona, Albertville.”
1:54 am – Finally, continuous coverage wraps up. Simpson concludes, “For this moment, we’re going to cease continuous coverage until another tornado warning is issued.”
Mercifully – we didn’t need to pick the coverage back up that morning.