On April 24th, 2010 warm air and moisture surged into the region supporting a severe weather event. This unstable air was funneled in from the south during the 23rd and 24th. There was plenty of wind shear, turning of winds at different levels of the atmosphere, to support tornadic development. A strong low-pressure system passed to the north of the region but the shortwave trough associated with it tracked through our region.
Instability, lift, and wind shear created a favorable environment for severe storms to develop. Storms began firing up in northwest Alabama during the afternoon hours. As these storms tracked eastward, they encountered a favorable environment allowing them to rapidly intensify. Supercells that tracked across northern Alabama produced heavy rainfall, hail, gusty winds, and even tornadoes. Four strong tornadoes touched down that day in our area, one of those being an EF4 tornado. In total, 12 touched down in Alabama with 52 individuals sustaining injuries.
EF4 and Long Track Tornado
The most destructive tornado to touch down that day was an EF4 tornado that tracked through DeKalb County. The tornado touched down west of Hendrixville in southern portions of the county and then tracked northeast for just over 16.5 miles. The tornado was on the ground for nearly 30 minutes and produced significant damage in some locations. The tornado lifted near the Dog Town community.
This destructive tornado destroyed a 133-year-old church along with a neighboring residential structure. It was in this area that the tornado was the most intense, with peak winds estimated to have been 170 mph. Along with this damage, numerous trees were uprooted or snapped, and near the Dog Town community, homes sustained structural damage before the tornado lifted. Five individuals were injured but thankfully no fatalities were reported.
Along with a destructive EF4 tornado in DeKalb County, there was a long track EF3 tornado that tracked through Blount, Marshall, and DeKalb counties. The tornado touched down in Blount county, near the Marshall/Blount county line at 10:05 pm. The tornado then tracked 41 miles through Marshall and DeKalb counties before lifting near the Fort Payne community at 11:05 pm. Structural damage to businesses and homes was found in downtown Albertville. Peak winds for this tornado were estimated to be 140 mph.
Later that night, the same cell produced a second tornado in northeast DeKalb County. This tornado was also an EF3 strength touching down near the Mentone community. It traveled northeast producing a 14-mile-long damage path before crossing over into Chattooga County in Georgia. Several manufactured single-wide homes were destroyed in a trailer park and trees were snapped or uprooted. Peak winds were estimated to be 140 mph.
Central Alabama Tornadoes
Along with the four tornadoes that touched down in northern Alabama, eight additional ones touched down in central Alabama. The tornadoes ranged from EF0 to EF3 strength, with the strongest impacting portions of Walker, Jefferson, and Blount counties. There were a total of three EF0, four EF1, and one EF3 tornado. Storm damage ranged from homes being destroyed to trees being uprooted.
Above is a look at the damage left behind by the strongest tornado that touched down in central Alabama that day. This damage was associated with an intense EF3 tornado that tracked through Walker, Jefferson, and Blount counties. The tornado produced a damaged path of nearly 30 miles severely damaging a residential home and roof damage to homes. At least 1,000 hardwood or softwood trees were uprooted or snapped. The peak winds were estimated to be 140 mph, thankfully no injuries or fatalities were reported.