Colbert EMA answers why no warnings were issued during Tuesday storm

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SHEFFIELD, Ala. (WHNT) – Two days after storms hammered Colbert County, the devastation is still evident.

Emergency personnel in at first thought it was straight line winds which created widespread damage.

Not until a tour by the National Weather Service was it realized a tornado swept through Sheffield and Tuscumbia.

“Until you actually put it on a map with latitude-longitudes and saw that there was actually a path of this storm track,” explained Colbert County Emergency Management Director Mike Melton.

An EF-1 tornado touched down on River Bluff Drive in Sheffield and stayed on the ground for more than nine miles and into Tuscumbia.

But why was there never a warning from the National Weather Service?

“Basically it wasn’t any one person’s fault,” Melton stated. “The Columbus Air Force Base was not sending data out. Which that is the closest radar for us over here in west Alabama.”

And without the data, Melton said the National Weather Service was not able look for smaller tornadoes within thunder storms.

Melton recommends residents educate themselves about storms moving in and not rely solely on technology for a warning.

“If the National Weather Service, if local meteorologists are telling us this afternoon there’s a strong possibility of severe storms do your due diligence. Try to get out and start looking at what you can do, what you can expect and those issues.”

The National Weather Service confirmed two tornadoes formed in Colbert County Tuesday evening.

The EF-1 you just read about and an EF-0 touched down near the Lagrange community and stayed on the ground for just over two miles.

Sheffield Utilities reports 200 customers are still without power across Colbert County as of Thursday afternoon.