Alabama is no stranger to severe weather, but there are certain outbreaks that will always be remembered. The Airport Road Tornado that hit on November 15, 1989 is one of those. The tornado that struck southern Huntsville was the most violent in an outbreak that occurred across the southeast that day. The tornado touched down southwest of Huntsville and tore a path of 18.5 miles long northeastward. That path took it up Airport Road, across Garth and Huntsville mountains, and finally out to Killingsworth Cove where it lifted.
The most damage was along Airport Road. It was just after 4:30 in the afternoon and rush hour was beginning when the tornado ripped through. Shops, apartments, two schools, and a church were devastated. 21 people were killed, 12 of which were in their vehicles, and over 450 people were injured. A memorial stands at the intersection of Whitesburg and Airport Roads to remember the victims.