Tornado deemed EF-2 by weather officials
It took officials 24 hours to make a definite assessment of a storm that ripped through the area early Saturday morning. But, a final survey of the National Weather Service indicates some unusual facts about the tornado and its path.
Tropical Storm Claudette is believed to have produced a tornado rated at EF-2 traveling an estimated 22 miles before dissipating.
“Our survey team has finished their survey for the tornado that significantly impacted East Brewton and points north,” NWS officials said in a release. The tornado was rated as EF-2 with 127 mph winds. The path of the tornado covered 22 miles with a width of about 650 yards.”
Local Meterologist Spinks Megginson with RedZone Weather said the distance traveled by the tornado was the most unusual aspect of the weather event.
“The tornado was on the ground for a whopping 22 miles, making this a long track tornado,” Megginson said following the release of the NWS information. “This is very rare for a tropical-induced tornado!”
Additional NWS data regarding the tornado says the tornado originated about two miles southwest of East Brewton on Saturday at 7:56 a.m. The end of the path of the tornado was about five miles northwest of Castleberry where it dissapated.
No fatalities were reported as a result of the tornado, but 20 injuries were report with two of those classified as serious injuries.
Damage is still visible around the area including major tree and home damage along Jay Road, along Alabama 41 in the Riverview community and into East Brewton through several neighborhoods. The tornado skipped across some wooded areas and touched down again in the Kirkland community with significant damage in the area of Riddle Road.
County officials are asking that those who are not residents of neighborhoods damaged in the tornado not travel in those areas.
Escambia County EMA Director David Adams said that clean up crews will be hard at work in those areas hardest hit by the tornado in the coming days and weeks.
“If you don’t have to be out in those damaged areas, please don’t be going there,” Adams said. “We have had a terrible problem with traffic in those areas and the power crews and cleanup crews need some room to do their jobs.”
Adams said that as many as 30 homes were damaged in the storm ranging from minor damage to complete destruction.
Areas hardest hit in the East Brewton community will continue to see work crews in the area as they make repairs and adjustments to power and other utilities in the city.