SPC Stats

Path length: 14.9 miles

Width:  667 yards

Fatalities:  0

Injuries:  35

Rating:  F4

County:  Jefferson

Only two tornadoes are a part of the SPC database for March 5, 1963.  Both were in Alabama and one was significant.  It was given a rating of F4.  Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes though believes the damage was more consistent with an F3 rating.

It hit in the extreme SW part of Bessemer and then moved through the downtown area.  It then moved to the northeast through parts of Homewood and Mountain Brook.  Per the summary of the event, most of the damage was is in the first 2 miles of the path in Bessemer.  200+ buildings were damaged, 29 were destroyed and 25 had major damage.  Outside of Bessemer, 40 buildings were damaged.  There were 35 injuries and no fatalities.

Tornado Path

Click Map To Enlarge

SPC coordinates:  Start: 33.37 / -86.97   End:  33.48 / -86.75        

Note:  Exact tornado path may not be straight and/or continuous.

Newspaper Clippings

Discrepancies:

We gathered information for this event from the SPC & NCDC Databases, the March 1963 Storm Data Narrative and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes and found the following differences:

Max width:

  • SPC and NCDC have the width at 667 yards.
  • Grazulis has a width of 600 yards.

Path Length:

  • SPC and NCDC have the length at 14.9 miles.
  • Grazulis & Storm Data are just slightly different at 15 miles.

Rating:

  • SPC and NCDC list a rating of F4.
  • Grazulis has a rating of F3.

    Sources:

    The Storm Prediction Center

    NCDC Storm Events Database

    March 1963 Storm Data Publication

    newspapers.com

    Grazulis, Thomas P. (1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991: A Chronology and Analysis of Events. St. Johnsbury, VT: The Tornado Project of Environmental Films. Page 1044.

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