Authorities with the National Weather Service (NWS) have confirmed that an EF-0 tornado, with peak winds of 80 miles per hour, struck an area along with the Tennessee/Alabama state line early Thursday afternoon.
The twister was one of three that moved across the region Thursday, according to a report summarizing NWS survey team findings filed on Friday.
The first of those touched down at 12:46 p.m. Thursday just south of Hunter Road, which bisects the Tennessee and Alabama state line, and initially caused minor large limb damage south of Hunter Road before intensifying slightly on the Tennessee side. Peak winds of 80 miles an hour were estimated as the tornado stayed on the ground for six minutes, impacting an area 75 yards wide along 2.58 miles.
“The maximum intensity of this tornado was noted in this area where two large hardwood trees were uprooted,” reads the report. “The uprooted trees heavily damaged one home on the north side of Hunter Road.”
The twister progressed toward Old Quick Road, where another tree was uprooted, and then tracked northeast toward the intersection of Jeans Road and Quick School Road, where it started to weaken. It likely lifted and dissipated very close to Lincoln Road in the Mason Branch Creek area, authorities stated.
Doug Campbell, director of the Lincoln County Emergency Management Agency, reported that there were no injuries as a result of the tornado here. The home at 253 Hunter Road did sustain structural damage.
Both Fayetteville Public Utilities and Madison County Electric crews were out making repairs Thursday. FPU had a pole break as a result of a tree falling on the line. In addition, Park City and Vanntown Fire Units, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department, and Lincoln County Highway Department responded to the scene, along with Hazel Green Fire Department.
The two other twisters reported Thursday afternoon by NWS were EF-1 tornadoes that occurred in Marshall and DeKalb counties in northern Alabama.
Here, what was described as a “couplet” tightened west of Hazel Green, which prompted a tornado warning. Since undergoing major improvements last year, Lincoln County’s new severe weather sirens worked perfectly, Campbell said, noting that the sirens are now set to sound based on the NWS polygon sent out for affected areas.
“The sirens at South Lincoln and Flintville were directly under the polygon with Highland Rim just barely outside the box,” he said, noting that each of those sounded. “This was our first storm opportunity – hopefully the last – where our sirens were automatically activated since the installation was completed last year. We did get calls from Blanche and Unity, and we appreciate those calls by the way, letting us know the sirens at those schools did not sound, which is as it should be since those areas were not impacted.
“I know this is a little different than the way our sirens operated for the past couple of years when all of them activated at one time,” he said, explaining that original system did not have the ability in recent years to sound sirens in specific areas.