Tuscaloosa’s Tornado Alley…Look Back at Tornado Paths… Update: Feb 23, 2017 #alwx @wvua23
February 23, 2017 Leave a comment
On this date in 1975, an F-4 tornado ripped right through the middle of Tuscaloosa, killing one and injuring nearly 50. The tornado took a path from the current Shelton State location north northeast into the current University Mall area and into Holt. Since my post on this tornado earlier this morning, I have got tons of questions on past tornadoes that have hit Tuscaloosa directly, so I decided to do a little digging. If you’ve lived in the Tuscaloosa area for a number of years, you probably have heard stories of how Tuscaloosa is its own tornado alley. After looking back at all tornadoes reported since 1920 in the range from EF-1 to EF-5 or the previous F scale, I found something very troubling.
I plotted the exact track lengths, width and colored intensity of every tornado stronger than an EF-0 that impacted the Tuscaloosa area. The map above shows a jumbled looking mess. It is nearly impossible to discern the difference between some tornado paths, as multiple paths overlap. I also added the date to each tornado track. Nearly every square inch of the city of Tuscaloosa has been impacted by atleast one tornado since 1920. That means, if you are in your 90s and have lived in Tuscaloosa your entire life, at some point you likely had damage or lost your property to a tornado. I lost my home and belongings to the Tuscaloosa tornado of April 27, 2011… Not only has a large portion of Tuscaloosa been impacted directly by a tornado, most of the tornadoes were at EF-3 or stronger.
Does this mean more strong to violent tornadoes will hit Tuscaloosa in the years to come? According to statistics, absolutely. However, the atmosphere does not follow statistics and anything is possible. There’s no doubt all of west and central Alabama is in a tornado prone zone. Any time we have a risk of severe weather across portions of Alabama, it is always a good idea to have a plan and be ready. We could have another big tornado looming at any time…
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WVUA Chief Meteorologist