Stats

Path length: 10.9 miles

Width:  660 yards

Fatalities:  1

Injuries:  12

Rating:  EF4

County:  Jackson

Tornado Path

SPC coordinates:  Start: 34.67 / -85.84   End:  34.76 / -85.69

Radar

The Hytop, AL radar (KHTX) shows the mesocyclone spawning an EF-4 tornado near Pisgah around 5:25 AM on February 6, 2008. Click on the image to observe a radar loop. The tornado is denoted by the small area of adjacent red/blue coloring that moves from Langston through Pisgah.

Summary

Between February 5-6, 2008, a historic record-breaking swarm of 86 twisters swept across large portions of the South and Midwest. The event became known as the 2008 Super Tuesday tornado outbreak, as it began on a day when the focus was supposed to be on 24 U.S. states hosting their presidential primary elections. Meanwhile, the deadliest outbreak in nearly 23 years stole the spotlight, killing 57 people and injuring many more in four states. This summary will focus on the last of ten killer funnels.

During the pre-dawn hours of February 6, 2008, the final of five violent tornadoes from the Super Tuesday outbreak would torment a pair of rural Jackson County, AL communities atop the Sand Mountain Plateau. During its 10.9-mile path, the vortex tore between the towns of Pisgah and Rosalie. And an hour later, the light of day would reveal twisted timber, and sparse residences wiped from the face of the earth.

At approximately 5:17 am CST, light damage began along County Road 58 on the southern edge of Pisgah. The tornado moved northeast and quickly strengthened as it crossed County Road 388, where one house was significantly damaged. As it traversed County Road 61, two structures were destroyed. A third two-story home was twisted off of its foundation 180 degrees. Between County Roads 60 and 61, the vortex grew in size as trees were leveled, and a residence had its roof ripped away.

Looking east-southeast at a home along County Road 388. It was shifted off its cinder block foundation, had its roof completely removed, and some exterior walls collapsed. Image from NWS Huntsville.
Looking south-southeast along County Road 61, a home remains completely intact after getting tossed from where it originally sat (near the center of the image). Another structure to the right was swept entirely away from its foundation, with a car flipped upside down. Image from NWS Huntsville.
A closer view of the structure swept away along County Road 61. Image from Chris Lisauckis.
Damage to the home twisted off its foundation along County Road 61. Image from Chris Lisauckis.
Damage to a home between County Roads 60 and 61 looking southeast. Image from NWS Huntsville.

As the tornado approached County Road 151, Russell and Donna Carlin, along with their two daughters and a family friend, were in their home, fully aware of the impending danger. An impulsive decision led them to shelter in the master bedroom rather than the usual hallway. The house around them was then destroyed in an instant. Miraculously, they all escaped death. Also on their property was the Carlin business shop, Southern Appliance Service, where only a clean slab remained. But they remained thankful for their lives. In the following days, neighbors and volunteers arrived to help the Carlins. “There is no way to describe how grateful I am to have my life here and to have friends who come in and do what they do,” Donna Carlin said in a February 13, 2008 article by AL.com. “We are here for a reason. We just don’t know what it is yet. Maybe it’s to help with disaster areas because we know now how people feel. But there is a mission because of this blessing,” she insisted.

The now-violent twister moved past the Carlins, reaching its peak intensity as it slammed the intersection of County Roads 60, 126, and 177 between Pisgah and Rosalie. Multiple homes were swept clean from their foundations, trees were reduced to sticks, chicken houses were gutted, and numerous hay bales weighing over a ton were obliterated. Linda Tinker was in her home along County Road 60 when it was hurled through the air and splintered throughout nearby woodlands and fields. She was found lifeless 300 yards away. According to a February 6, 2008 article by AL.com, Linda’s longtime friend Sylvia White lived just down the street. She was hunkering down in her hallway as the terrible twister tore through the area. “It was making a humming noise. We’re so thankful that it missed us, but I just hate it for [Linda],” said White of her harrowing encounter. Also barely out of the storm’s reach along County Road 60 was Lebron Anderton, who recalled being awakened by frequent lightning around 4:30 am CDT. “My neighbor called and told me to take cover. It wasn’t 30 minutes and the rain and howling wind came through,” said Anderton.

Multiple homes destroyed near where Linda Tinker was killed along County Road 60 looking southeast. Image from NWS Huntsville.
Significant damage to a home along County Road 126, just north of County Road 60. Image from NWS Huntsville.
Chicken houses severely damaged along County Road 126 looking north. Image from NWS Huntsville.
Ground view of the severely damaged chicken houses along County Road 126. Image from NWS Huntsville.

Continuing northeast, the funnel slightly weakened as it churned through scattered forests and properties along the northwest side of Rosalie, paralleling Alabama Highway 71. A barn was turned into a pile of wood just off County Road 360. Along County Road 58, a small cluster of mobile homes was tossed away, leaving only a narrow concrete path up to an empty lot. A few neighboring houses were leveled, and another had its roof removed.

A narrow concrete path that once led to a small group of mobile homes along County Road 58. Image from Google Maps Street View taken March 2008.
Multiple homes swept away along County Road 58, looking south-southeast. Image from NWS Huntsville.

Just to the northeast, a shed on the east side of County Road 361 was demolished. A home along County Road 339 suffered minor roof damage, while most of the trees in the immediate vicinity were ripped from the ground and flung away.

Damage along County Road 339 looking south. Image from NWS Huntsville.
Ground view of property damage along County Road 339. Image from NWS Huntsville.

The tornado then crossed County Road 78, where two homes were destroyed, including a trailer. Another neighboring house had most of its roof peeled away. One of these belonged to Charles and Frances Miller. “It was awful it was the worse thing that happened to us,” said Frances in a May 5, 2008 article by WAFF.com. The Millers did not have insurance. But they did have a loving society. “You know it’s not only us it’s the whole community it’s affecting, but if it weren’t for the friends and stuff and people doing, we probably would be just sitting there thinking about what we are going to do,” Charles said. Over the months immediately following the twister’s attempt to derail the Millers, the hospitality the South is well known for kept the Miller’s spirits up. “The community center, they were out here since day one bringing us blankets, food, anything we needed and I just can’t say enough,” Frances said. Harold Morgan and K.C. Construction would help build the family a new home, funded mainly by friends and construction company donations. “It’s just a blessing to be able to help somebody like this, I don’t look for any self gain out of it, I’m just proud to get to do it for them,” Morgan said.

The damaged homes along County Road 78, looking southeast (left) and south (right). Images from NWS Huntsville.

Immediately beyond the Millers along County Road 127, a relatively dense area of residential destruction occurred along a 1-mile stretch, where several homes met their demise.

Looking south across County Road 127 near Rosalie where several mobile homes lay in ruins. Image from NWS Huntsville.
Significant tree damage just southeast of County Road 127, looking south. Image from NWS Huntsville.

As the twister crossed Highway 71, an old barn was flattened. A nearby home and its detached garage were both wiped out. Thick vegetation behind the house was razed to the ground. Weakening quickly followed as the funnel passed over County Road 333, where a few properties experienced various levels of damage. Approximately 12 minutes after it began, the tornado lifted at 5:29 am CST as it crossed Alabama Highway 117, 3/4 of a mile southeast of Flat Rock.

In Loving Memory

Linda Kay Shelton Tinker, 60

Additional Photos

The violent force of tornadic winds embedded this piece of metal into a tree. Image from Chris Lisauckis.
A wooden pole snapped near its base. Image from Chris Lisauckis.
A vehicle that was tossed upside down rests in a field. Image from Chris Lisauckis.
Two vehicles sit battered by straw. Notice the hay bale behind the red truck. Image from NWS Huntsville.
Remains of a home scattered about the edge of a flattened wooded area. Image from NWS Huntsville.
A home with part of its roof torn away sits amongst fallen timber. Image from NWS Huntsville.
Wood and insulation from a home scattered about a leveled cluster of trees. Image from NWS Huntsville.

Two views of a collapsed home thrown off its cinder block foundation. Images from NWS Huntsville.

Pieces of a home and belongings pressed up against leveled trees. Image from NWS Huntsville.
A familiar sight in the immediate days following the tornado. Those who lost everything were accompanied by friends and strangers, who came to help during recovery and clean-up. Image from NWS Huntsville.
Pieces of debris getting hauled off by volunteers, with trees turned into matchsticks behind them. Image from NWS Huntsville.

Various shots of heavy tree damage along the tornado’s path. Images from Chris Lisauckis.

Newspaper Clippings

Videos

Discrepancies:

We gathered information for this event from the SPC & NCDC Databases, the February 2008 Storm Data Publication and the NWS Huntsville Summaries and found the following differences:

Injury Count:

  • SPC/NCDC have a 12 injuries.
  • Storm Data lists 0 injuries.
  • Newspaper reports list up to 15 injuries.

Fatality Count:

  • Storm Data lists 0 fatalities.
  • Remaining sources list 1 fatality.

    Sources

    The sources compiled in our research for this summary can be found here.

    Questions or comments about this summary?  Contact us here!

    Note:  There are some images/videos in our summaries that were licensed to us to be used only on this website. If you would like to use an image/video in your project or blog, please contact us and we will grant permission if possible.

    Newspaper clips are embedded via newspapers.com. Please see their terms and conditions.

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