SPC Stats

Path length: 10.1 miles

Width:  500 yards

Fatalities:  0

Injuries:  22

Rating:  F4

County:  Blount, Etowah

A large tornado outbreak occurred on November 23 and 24, 2001.  A total of 66 tornadoes across 8 states.  34 tornadoes occurred in the state of Alabama.  We look at one of those in this summary.  It was an F4 that moved 10.1 miles through parts of Blount and Etowah Counties.  There were no fatalities and 22 injuries.  Per Storm Data, there were 3 areas of F4 damage:

  • Destroyed frame home near US 231 in Blount County.
  • Between Robbins Lake and Airport Road in Blount County: Large trees were completely snapped off at ground level; two tandem-wheel dump trucks were overturned, and moved or rolled 30 yards; several storage containers filled with construction supplies and equipment were rolled up to 50 yards; a large bulldozer was moved 5 feet; a large pole-barn building was completely obliterated.
  • Near Altoona in Etowah County, a well-constructed $250,000 home was completely destroyed.

Storm Data Entry

The F4 tornado first touched down in the vicinity of the Mt. Carmel Church, south of US 231 on CR 29, where several trees were snapped off.  The tornado tracked northeast and produced extensive F2-type damage to homes and trailer homes along Tidwell Road where several injuries occurred.  All trees in the neighborhood were snapped mid-trunk.  As the tornado crossed US 231, it completely destroyed a frame house with F4 magnitude damage.  Large trees around the house were uprooted and snapped at mid-trunk. From there, the tornado continued moving northeast and produced it’s worst, F4 magnitude damage, between Robbins Lake and Airport Road.  Large trees were completely snapped off at ground level; two tandem-wheel dump trucks were overturned, and moved or rolled 30 yards; several storage containers filled with construction supplies and equipment were rolled up to 50 yards; a large bulldozer was moved 5 feet; a large pole-barn building was completely obliterated.

The tornado continued northeast across Robbins Field, then across an unpopulated area, until it entered western Etowah County in the town of Altoona.  One church was also destroyed.  The tornado affected the south and east sections of Altoona.  The tornado descended a steep hill and downed an entire stand of pine trees at mid-trunk.  Several homes and trailer-homes were damaged or destroyed, including a well-constructed $250,000 home which was completely destroyed, the third occurrence of F4 magnitude damage.  The tornado crossed SR 132, ascending a steep hill, and dissipated.  At it’s widest point, the tornado was approximately one-quarter mile wide.  Debris was scattered several miles past the end of the tornado track.

Tornado Path

SPC coordinates:  Start: 33.92 / -86.43      End: 34.03 / -86.30

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

Damage Photos via NWS Birmingham

House destroyed on US Highway 231 at Morton Rd. The tornado was at F4 strength here.
Intersection of Carmel Lane and Tidwell Drive.
End of Tidwell Drive. The owner was in the destroyed mobile home in the foreground. The owner was called to the house in the top left as the storm approached. That person almost made it, but suffered a broken arm and pelvis.
#9 Carmel Lane. There were 9 people in this mobile home. All survived with no more than minor injuries.
Robbins Field, Oneonta. Hangars were the last structures damaged in Blount County.
Aerial Views of Altoona.
Aerial Views of Altoona.

Newspaper Clippings

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