The National Weather Service confirms a tornado struck northeastern Cullman and Marshall Counties Thursday evening. It developed quickly from a tropical rain band extending across North Alabama from the remnants of Harvey; tropical rain bands often produce short-lived tornadoes that are very difficult to detect on radar in real-time. Post-analysis showed a TDS (Tornado Debris Signature) just northeast of Holly Pond after 9 PM.
That debris was likely anything from hay to branches to tin from barns and chicken houses as well as shingles.
Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Huntsville AL
350 PM CDT Fri Sep 1 2017
…NWS Damage Survey for the Cullman-Marshall County
Tornado of 8/31/2017…
.Holly Pond-Joppa Tornado…
Estimated Peak Wind: 115 MPH
Path length /Statute/: 13.5 Miles
Path width /Maximum/: 300 Yards
Start date: Aug_31_2017
Start time: 858 PM CDT
Start location: 1.7 miles SE of Holly Pond AL
Start Lat/Lon: 34.1522 / -86.6058
End date: Aug_31_2017
End time: 919 PM CDT
End location: 3.5 miles NW of Arab AL
End_lat/lon: 34.3456 / -86.5597
A tornado developed just south of Holly Pond, Alabama near the
intersection of Highway 91 and CR 695 where a couple of
trees were uprooted. As the tornado moved northeast it crossed
Highway 278 where more trees were snapped and uprooted, and then
struck 10 chicken houses. It destroyed nearly all of the chicken
houses producing damage consistent with a low end EF-2. Metal
roofing from these chicken houses was spread across a large area
several hundred yards in width. Additional roof shingle damage
also occurred to a family residence along with several snapped and
uprooted trees just to the northeast of these chicken houses
along CR 1728.
As this tornado continued to move northeast more trees were
snapped and uprooted before 3 more chicken houses were destroyed
on CR 1716.
After proceeding northeast a few miles the tornado strengthened
to its maximum intensity snapping and destroying multiple trees
and power poles near the intersection of Red Hill Road and CR
More trees were uprooted and power lines were down occurred
further northeast on Harris Road just west of Joppa. The tornado
crossed into Marshall County where it dissipated near the
intersection of Mat Morrow Road and Midfield Road.
EF Scale: The Enhanced Fujita Scale Classifies Tornadoes into
the following categories.
EF0…Weak……65 to 85 MPH
EF1…Weak……86 to 110 MPH
EF2…Strong….111 to 135 MPH
EF3…Strong….136 to 165 MPH
EF4…Violent…166 To 200 MPH
The information in this statement is preliminary and subject to
change pending final review of the event and publication in NWS
Here are some of the photos of damage in the Holly Pond area thanks to an old friend in the area, Kevin Gaddis.
There were numerous rotating storms on Thursday afternoon and evening; here’s another one that came close to producing a tornado near Center Star in Lauderdale County. Malana Willman sent this via Facebook asking to identify it. It’s clearly a wall cloud with a funnel, but if you can’t see the base of it, you can’t call it a tornado. No damage occurred, so this one likely stayed just above the surface (thankfully).