During the afternoon and evening hours of Friday, April 7th, 2006 supercells moved through the Tennessee Valley producing damage. On this day a strong low-pressure system was situated to the west, in the Plains, and a trailing dry-line was forecasted to push into the region during the late afternoon and evening. These two features combined with a strong southerly wind flow created a favorable environment for storms to develop.
The strong southerly wind flow ushered warm air and moisture into the region creating an unstable air mass to support storm development. Along with this warm air mass and moisture, there was plenty of wind shear to support rotating cells. There were a total of eight supercells that tracked through the Tennessee Valley on Friday evening. The storms moved through the region between 5 pm and midnight. There were 21 tornadoes that touched down that day, with many being brief touchdowns, 32 large hail reports, and 6 wind damage reports.
Above is a graphic showing where the 21 tornadoes touched down in the Tennessee Valley! All tornadoes were ranked an EF0 or EF1 on the Fujita scale and briefly were on the ground. Of these, five of them were ranked an EF1 with the most extensive damage occurring in Colbert County, in the Colbert Heights and Tuscumbia communities. In Cullman County, another EF1 tornado touched down producing significant damage to some chicken houses in Pleasant Grove!
The first EF1 tornado that produce damage in Colbert County touched down southwest of Tuscumbia and traveled northeast before lifting southeast of Muscle Shoals. Although it was a short-lived tornado, it still produced an eight-mile-long damage path. Eight homes sustained minor roof damage, while a gas station suffered the most extensive damage! The billboard sign, pictured above, twisted backward and several gas pumps were heavily damaged. This tornado had peak winds of 90 mph and thankfully no injuries or fatalities were reported.
The second EF1 in Colbert County touched down near the Colbert Heights elementary and high school then traveled northeast before lifting near Leighton. The tornado was on the ground for about 15 minutes and produced a 10-mile long damage path. The initial damage from this tornado was near the schools where a fence and scoreboard at the baseball field were heavily damaged. Where the tornado lifted, near Leighton, a barn sustained extensive damage to the roof, and portions of it were completely ripped off! This tornado had peak winds of 90 mph and thankful no injuries or fatalities were reported!
For more detailed information on this event, visit the National Weather Service in Huntsville’s page.