32nd Anniversary of the Airport Road Tornado

The Weather Authority

On November 15th, 1989 a destructive F-4 tornado tore through Madison County. Around 4:30 in the afternoon the tornado touched down on Madkin Mountain on Redstone Arsenal, southwest of Huntsville. The storm struck during the start of rush hour and moved across two major highways. A total of 21 people died and 463 people were injured. Nineteen of the 21 deaths from that day happened along Airport Road between Memorial Parkway and Whitesburg Drive.

The Airport Road Tornado: 30 Years Later

The tornado damage path was 18.5-miles and produced nearly 100 million dollars of damage. The tornado destroyed 259 homes, 80 businesses, and two schools while damaging another 278 homes, eight businesses, three churches, and more than one thousand vehicles.

Tennessee Valley secondary severe weather season

The severe weather season here in the Tennessee Valley comes in two parts; Spring and Fall. The month of November here in Alabama can get pretty active when it comes to severe weather; especially tornadoes. Out of each month of the year, November ranks 3rd for the number of tornadoes with a total of 279, this is behind March with 328 and April with 553. In November 2001, 36 tornadoes were confirmed in Alabama; these are the most tornadoes to form for the month.

In Alabama, tornadoes can occur any month of the year but are most likely to develop during severe weather season. The Spring season includes the months of March, April, and May. During the Fall season, tornadoes are most likely to form during November and December.

The above photo shows the total amount of tornadoes, per county, in Alabama from 1950-2020. In total across Tennessee Valley, there have been 523 tornadoes; this does not include those that formed in 2021.

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