SPC Stats

Path length: 72.13 miles

Width:  1760 yards

Fatalities:  7

Injuries:  50

Rating:  EF3

County:  Greene, Hale, Bibb

Tornado Path

SPC coordinates:  32.6152 / -88.0543    End:  33.1524 / -86.9898

Corrected coordinates Based on Analysis of Aerial and Satellite Imagery:

Start:  32.598549 / -88.091379    End: 33.169739 / -86.968636 

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

Summary

An intense tornado tracked for nearly 77 miles across Central Alabama, causing significant damage in the small towns of Sawyerville and Eoline. This event was overshadowed by others in the area. Dozens of rural homes were decimated, and remarkable vegetation damage occurred. Tragically seven people were killed, and 52 were injured.

The tornado developed approximately 5.7 miles ENE of Livingston in eastern Sumter County at 5:25 pm CDT. The first 1.5 miles of the track were in that county, where damage was confined to uprooted trees in unpopulated areas. It then crossed the Tombigbee River into Greene County.

The first structures that were affected were at the intersection of Head Drive and County Road 69. Four frame homes sustained varying degrees of roof damage. A dozen trailers were damaged, and three more leveled. It then crossed County Road 70 about 1.6 miles SW of Tishabee. Here, the Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church was unroofed, and nearby trees were somewhat debarked. Across County Road 70, the Christian Valley Baptist Church collapsed.

The cost to rebuild the Christian Valley Baptist Church was expected to cost over $500,000. Their insurance would only cover $165,000. The church’s pastor, Rev. Tracy Giles, reached out to the Mennonite Disaster Service’s coordinator, Jerry Klassen. Rev. Giles told Jerry, “I need a thread of hope.” Jerry replied, “I can throw you a rope of hope.”

Skilled volunteers from Hartville, OH, area churches started to make regular trips to rebuild the Christian Valley Baptist Church. On Sunday, June 3, 2012, the church commemorated its new opening. With the help of the Mennonite’s the cost of rebuilding was $160,000.

Damage at the intersection of Head Drive and County Road 69. Image created using NOAA Remote Sensing Division aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011.
A view of the damage along County Road 70. The topmost structure here was the Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church, and the one below that in the image across the road was the Christian Valley Baptist Church. Image created using NOAA Remote Sensing Division aerial imagery and Google Earth. Aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011.
Damage to Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church. Image from the NWS Birmingham.
Damage to the Christian Valley Baptist Church. Image from the NWS Birmingham.
Damage to the Christian Valley Baptist Church. Image via the White House.

The twister rapidly intensified just northeast of the churches. Trees were stripped and heavily debarked. A consistent line of flattened wheat with small, embedded areas of light scouring occurred over a mile-long strip through a field. Small cycloidal markings within that zone indicated the presence of suction vortices. Thin dash markings just south of the core show that a hay bale, possibly weighing one or two tons, was skipped along the ground for about a third of a mile before completely disintegrating.

Damage to several types of trees from the intensifying tornado. The streak along the center of dirt is likely not from true ground scouring but rather loose eroded mud that was strewn by the core. Treefall is notably more severe on the southern side of the circulation in this image because of the rapid forward movement towards the northeast. Image created using NOAA Remote Sensing Division aerial imagery and Google Earth. Aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011.
The path of the tornado through a field of winter wheat and a tree farm. Image created using NOAA Remote Sensing Division aerial imagery and Google Earth. Aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011, and Google Earth imagery taken August 22, 2010.
Another view of the path through the field and the tree farm. Image created using NOAA Remote Sensing Division aerial imagery and Google Earth. Aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011, and Google Earth imagery taken August 22, 2010.

Along County Road 48, 1.9 miles SE of Thorn Hill, the tornado struck a farm. Two trailers and two barns were reduced to rubble, and a frame house was unroofed. About 300 yards northwest of the property, an intense stationary suction vortex mark could be noted in the treefall. The twister then moved over a complex of man-made ponds.

Damage off of County Road 48. Note the stationary vortex mark in the treefall at center top. Image created using NOAA Remote Sensing Division aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011.
A line of felled trees near County Road 48. Image created using NOAA Remote Sensing Division aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011.

The tornado crossed Highway 13/Demopolis Highway 3.4 miles NNW of Forkland. On the western side of the road, a metal building was demolished. A trailer was disintegrated just east of the highway, and near that, an outbuilding was swept away. Ground scarring occurred in a field just northeast of the house. Extreme vegetation damage persisted into Hale County across the Black Warrior River. Shrubs were shredded, trees of all kinds smashed apart, and a small gravel road was almost completely buried under shifted forest and mud.

A metal building that was destroyed west of Highway 13. Image from the NWS Birmingham.
A trailer that was obliterated by the tornado east of the highway. Image created using NOAA Remote Sensing Division aerial imagery and Google Earth. Aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011, and Google Earth imagery taken September 29, 2011.
A tree that was debarked in eastern Greene County. Image from the NWS Birmingham.
Extreme vegetation damage from the tornado in far western Hale County. Note the small gravel road that was almost entirely buried. Image created using NOAA Remote Sensing Division aerial imagery and Google Earth. Aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011, and Google Earth imagery taken September 29, 2011.
Forest damage in eastern Hale County. This type of evergreen tree is very resistant to tornadic winds, so the multi-vortex nature of the tornado can be much more clearly seen here in the treefall than in other areas. Image created using NOAA Remote Sensing Division aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011.
More vegetation damage in eastern Hale County. Image created using NOAA Remote Sensing Division aerial imagery and Google Earth. Aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011. Along County Road 92, west of Sawyervile, two double-wide and three single-wide trailers were destroyed. A nearby house lost shingles. The twister then thundered across Route 14 in the northwestern portion of the small town. Major damage occurred here as five mobile homes were swept away, including some that were lofted 100 yards into a treeline and disintegrated. It also reached a maximum width of 1,330 yards (0.76 miles).

Along County Road 92, west of Sawyervile, two double-wide and three single-wide trailers were destroyed. A nearby house lost shingles. The twister then thundered across Route 14 in the northwestern portion of the small town. Major damage occurred here as five mobile homes were swept away, including some that were lofted 100 yards into a treeline and disintegrated. It also reached a maximum width of 1,330 yards (0.76 miles).

A view of the damage along County Road 92. Image created using NOAA Remote Sensing Division aerial imagery and Google Earth. Aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011.
A view of the damage along Route 14. Image created using NOAA Remote Sensing Division aerial imagery and Google Earth. Aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011, and Google Earth imagery taken August 22, 2010.

A before and after GIF of the devastation along Route 14. Google Earth imagery taken October 3, 2010, and NOAA aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011.

Elizabeth White was in her home with her children and other family members when the tornado struck. She was on the phone in the back bedroom while her brother-in-law Henry Lewis Jr. was in the living room with a broken leg. Elizabeth’s parents saw the tornado approach, grabbed their grandkids, and ran into a closet. The surviving family members found the bodies of Elizabeth and Henry on the other side of Highway 14.

Carl White, Elizabeth’s father, was interviewed for WBRC in a May 10, 2016 article. He and his wife both suffered injuries from the tornado. She had to undergo eight surgeries. “It was so devastating. I have never been through anything like that in my life and I never want to go back into something like that as long as I live,” Carl said.

Elizabeth and her sister Ora Lewis had a double wedding on March 6, 2006. The photos from the wedding were lost when the tornado struck. In 2016, one of the wedding photos and an anonymous letter was sent to WBRC. “The letter’s author, identified only as “avid and longtime viewer,” said the closet and file cabinets where the picture was stored for half a decade had been cleaned out several times since the storm.” They were hoping that WBRC could help find the photo’s owner.

WBRC posted the photo on Facebook, and it was shared hundreds of times. Eventually, the post was seen by Ora Lewis. “Actually when I saw the picture on Facebook, I was kind of shocked and surprised everybody was tagging me in it on my timeline,” Lewis said.

“I think about my sister and my husband a lot. You know the saying, ‘Give them their flowers while they’re alive.’ I did everything in my will power for them while they were here so I don’t have any regrets, none at all, but we all have to leave this world one day, but I miss them very dearly,” she said.

The family was so glad to receive back a piece of what was lost. The article states they are still “haunted by that day.” There are no nearby shelters in Sawyerville, so if the weather is threatening, the family drives to Tuscaloosa and stays at a hotel for the night.

Roughly 1.5 miles NE of Sawyerville along County Road 18, two houses and one mobile home were destroyed. A little over a half-mile northeast, the tornado again crossed County Road 18 near an intersection with County Road 30. Eight manufactured homes were shredded, and a brick house was reduced to a pile of rubble. Numerous vehicles were lofted, some tossed well into groves of trees.

Damage where the tornado first crossed County Road 18. Image created using NOAA Remote Sensing Division aerial imagery and Google Earth. Aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011, and Google Earth imagery taken September 29, 2011.
Damage where the tornado crossed County Road 18 a second time. Image created using NOAA Remote Sensing Division Aerial imagery and Google Earth. Aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011.

A before and after GIF of the devastation where the tornado crossed County Road 18 for the second time. Google Earth Imagery taken October 3, 2010, and NOAA aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011.

Cars strewn about by the tornado. Image from the NWS Birmingham.
A brick home that was leveled. Image from the NWS Birmingham.
Another view of the leveled house. Image from the Hale County Sheriff’s Office.
Vehicle and vegetation damage near the home. Image from the Hale County Sheriff’s Office.
Another view of some of the moved cars. Image from the Hale County Sheriff’s Office.

William Hudson lived in a sturdy concrete block house on County Road 18. He was quoted in tusacloosanews.com, “I didn’t know it was coming. I heard some roaring and I got up because my lights went out and I was going to light a lamp. I started to the window and it nailed me to the floor. “He was with his wife in the home when the tornado hit. Both were buried under debris, managed to crawl out, and survived.

Jerry Lee Hodge and his wife Annie were in their mobile home when the tornado struck. Jerry was thrown a quarter of a mile from the residence and passed away. His wife recovered from her injuries. Frankie Lunsford, a heating and cooling technician, also lived in this area off County Road 18 and was killed when the tornado hit his home.

7.5 miles NW of Greensboro, the tornado ripped across Bucksaw Ridge Drive. One home sustained minor roof damage, and a second house lost a poorly anchored wall. A nearby metal building was leveled. Half a mile to the northeast along County Road 32, a double-wide trailer was hurled 90 yards into partially debarked trees and obliterated.

A double-wide trailer that was hurled 90 yards and obliterated. Note the razed forest in the background. Image from the NWS Birmingham.

After two more miles in unpopulated areas, the twister crossed Hubbard Road. 400 yards northwest of the center of the tornado, a mobile home was destroyed, with the frame ending up 90 yards from where it had stood. An adjacent house suffered major roof damage. 220 yards northwest of the center, a double-wide trailer was bounced across an open area, leaving a 60-yard trail of intermittent impact marks.

Gerald Brown and his wife Cora were married for 50 years. They lived in a large manufactured home off Hubbard Road and were there when the tornado plowed through. The house was lofted towards the west and then circulated around the twister towards the east. It remained entirely airborne for roughly 450 yards, mainly over the forest, before dashing into the trees. A smaller portion, including the frame, continued an additional 125 yards further into the woods. Cars at the property were also hurled. The couple were found in the wooded area; their bodies were only ten feet away from one another.

A view of the devastation around the Brown residence. Image created using NOAA aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011.
The location where the Brown’s manufactured home once sat. Image from the NWS Birmingham.
Vegetation damage in the forest near the residence. Image from the NWS Birmingham.
Reflectivity and velocity of the storm at this location via GR2 Analyst.

Along County Road 31, a house sustained moderate roof damage, and two trailers were knocked from their foundations and destroyed. The tornado then moved through roughly 5.5 more miles of unpopulated forest. In one area, treefall patterns vividly indicated complex criss-crossing suction vortex tracks. Just northeast, the tornado likely reached maximum intensity. Despite lacking any real debris load, numerous large trees were completely stripped of bark. A thin swath of ground scouring was left on the forest floor.

Damage along County Road 31. Image created using NOAA Remote Sensing Division Aerial imagery and Google Earth. Aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011.
Vegetation damage along County Road 31. Image from the Hale County Sheriff’s Office.
Amazing treefall patterns in forested areas. Image created using NOAA aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011.
Extreme vegetation damage in the forest. Image created using NOAA aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011.

The tornado crossed through a far southern portion of Phipps at County Road 29, where four trailers disappeared. Four frame houses and Liberty Methodist Church were destroyed. Dewayne Hardy and his family lived in a log home off County Road 29. Their story was told in an article on honestabe.com. Dewayne and his father built the house and were in the last stages of completing the inside finish work. Several members of Hardy’s family lived in the area and had gathered at the cabin to take shelter if needed in the basement.

The twister approached the front of the log home. “The garage doors were banging so hard I thought they would be ripped off any minute,” Hardy said. “We got all the family headed back down the stairs, and while we were headed down, I had my hand on a steel support post. It was vibrating. That’s when I knew it was gonna be bad.”

There was a brief calm, and then the roaring wind returned. “Air was sucking through the basement, and our ears were popping like crazy,” Hardy said. “I fly a lot and had never experienced anything like this. We could hear things hitting the log walls above. It sounded like somebody was hitting them with a sledgehammer.” The family went upstairs to survey the damage. Hardy said compared to other homes in the area; they fared very well. “We had some dents in the logs where debris had hit the house and also hit the metal roof, but other than that, it was fine.”

The following story was shared in the article, “In another strange turn of events, a man living in a single-wide mobile home in the same general area was picked up by the storm and carried and deposited several hundred feet away in a field, and survived.”

There was no other structural damage over the six-mile remainder of the track in Hale County.

The log home after the tornado. Image from Honest Abe.
The remains of the Liberty Methodist Church. Image from the Hale County Sheriff’s Office.
Devastation along County Road 29. Image created using NOAA aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011.
Debarked trees seen from County Road 29. Image from the Hale County Sheriff’s Office.
Destruction off of County Road 29. Image from the NWS Birmingham.
Another view of the destruction around County Road 29. Image created using NOAA Remote Sensing Division Aerial imagery and Google Earth. Aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011.
Damage to forested areas near the Hale/Bibb County border. Image created using NOAA aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011.

The first 7.6 miles in Bibb County were spent entirely in unpopulated land across the Talladega National Forest. The tornado slowly weakened during this time, though sporadic areas of trees were still snapped or uprooted. A few residences lost roofing or shingles along County Road 16.

The tornado restrengthened and moved into Eoline, crossing Highway 82. Over a dozen residences here and along County Road 83 received varying degrees of damage. Tragically, Ricky Smith, father of three, was killed when his car on US 82 was blown off the road. He was in the vehicle with his nephew Shannon Hicks who survived.

The Eoline Volunteer Fire Department was a special place for the community. It was a venue for family gatherings, the polling precinct, and a shelter from impending storms. Michael Hobson was interviewed on CBS 42 for a story published on May 13, 2011. “We’ve come here since I was just a little child and anytime the weather’s gotten bad, we would come for shelter.” On April 27, 2011, Michael and several other residents ran to the firehouse for safety as the tornado approached. “My ears got real tight like pressure like before your ears would pop then that’s when I realized, hey this is different than any time ever before.” Scott Nolan, his wife Kristie, and their 16-year-old daughter were also sheltered in the fire station. “The roof just popped off ‘poof’ and then the bricks came swirling, the bricks were just slinging around,” Scott told Fox 23 News.

The fire station was demolished with only two walls left standing. The two fire trucks they owned were destroyed. Per an article on tuscaloosanews.com, a total of twelve people survived in the building by taking shelter in an interior hallway and bathroom.

What was left of the fire station. Image from the NWS Birmingham.
Another view of the debris of the fire station. Image from the NWS Birmingham.
A view of the damage along Highway 82, including the Eoline Volunteer Fire Department. Image created using NOAA Remote Sensing Division aerial imagery and Google Earth. Aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011, and Google Earth imagery taken September 29, 2011.
Damage along County Road 83. Image created using NOAA aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011.
A trailer that was destroyed near County Road 83. Image from the NWS Birmingham.

Jason Simpson, who was a meteorologist for ABC 33/40 during the Super Outbreak, wrote the following on the AlabamaWx Weather Blog on May 1, 2011:

There are a host of small towns that were greatly impacted, and in some cases, completely wiped out by Wednesday’s tornadoes. My wife and I just returned from a supply run to Eoline in Bibb County. Eoline is a small community on the side of US 82 a few miles northwest of the Alabama Highway 5 intersection with US 82 in Brent.

We loaded up at the Alabaster Wal-Mart along with our neighbors Dave and Elizabeth Furst. They asked where we would be taking the supplies, and I just told them we would load up and head wherever the Lord led us. I felt like we should go to Eoline. As we drove up US 82, I knew we would quickly come up into the damage path of the EF-3 tornado, but I had no idea exactly where we would take the supplies. Fortunately, it was obvious once we got there.

The Eoline Baptist Church is still standing right next to the demolished fire department; many homes are destroyed in this small community, and according to George Marchant, the pastor of the Assembly of God Worship Center in Centreville, people are walking around in a daze still unable to believe that they have lost everything.

Pastor Marchant and I had a conversation while we unloaded the truck, and he told me how he had grown up in Eoline and had wanted life to slow down so people could really know each other again; they had even planned a community cook-out for the summer. On this Sunday, it is happening, but obviously not the way they had expected. He explained how the church building was open as a distribution point for the community, and he said he knew it had to be God bringing the supplies to Eoline because numerous trucks had passed them headed for Tuscaloosa.

One thing he said to me as we were leaving that will always stick with me was this: “God didn’t bring the storm, but he brought all of us together after it.”

Donna Kornegay, whose husband was the volunteer fire department chief, was interviewed on WVUA on September 20, 2011. She said the site of the destroyed firehouse was cleared entirely. “We’ve even demolished the slabs.”

Plans were laid out to rebuild and occupy a new structure on March 13, 2012. That was the first election date after the tornado, and since the firehouse was the precinct, they needed it ready. Per tuscaloosanews.com, the new station would include a safe room measuring 20 feet by 36 feet. It would hold 140 people. “The total cost of the new safe room will be about $188,000. A Federal Emergency Management Agency grant of $139,070 will be used to cover the cost, with the rest to be paid by the community.”

Several fundraisers were coordinated to help raise money for this staple in the Eoline community. Donna said in the WVUA interview that the first community fundraiser raised about $12,000. In Beaverdam, OH, a volunteer fire department heard about the destruction in Eoline on the CBS 42 website. They organized a drive to collect money for the fire station. Anne Allgire, Head of Beaverdam Fire Auxiliary, was interviewed. “I just feel like, they’re more or less a sister department. It’s a small town like Beaverdam and we just wanted to help a smaller community to get them back on their feet so they can help the people down there.” During the six-hour fundraiser, they raised over $3,000.

Google Street View imagery from April of 2013 showing the completed firehouse.

The twister moved away from the fire station and produced intense tree damage through forested areas. It crossed over Bibb County Lake and was large enough to encompass nearly the entire body of water. The tackle shop, the picnic pavilions, and the piers were all leveled. A residence was also destroyed. Per an article from the Alabama Outdoor News, “Thousands of towering old-growth pine trees surrounding the lake were uprooted or snapped off like toothpicks. The popular fishing lake was filled with debris.”

The path of the tornado through forested areas northeast of Eoline. Image created using NOAA Remote Sensing Division aerial imagery and Google Earth. Aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011, and Google Earth imagery taken September 29, 2011.
Damage to forested areas northeast of Eoline. Image from the NWS Birmingham.
A view of the devastation to the Bibb County Lake area. NOAA Remote Sensing Division aerial imagery and Google Earth. Aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011, and Google Earth imagery taken September 29, 2011.

Bibb County Lake was closed for renovations and was slated to reopen in June of 2012. The damage caused a delay, and it reopened on March 15, 2013. Today the lake looks entirely different. The pine trees that once towered over the fishermen are gone. The tackle shop described as “a rustic log cabin” has been replaced with a modern building. District Fisheries Supervisor Jay Haffner reported to Alabama Outdoor News, “It breaks my heart to look at the lake and see all those trees gone. They’ll never be back during my lifetime. But I guess you can say lemonade was made out of lemons. There is some dad-gum high quality fishing there now at a very reasonable price.”

One residence sustained heavy roof damage, and another was leveled along River Bend Road. Nine miles to the northeast, the vastly weakened twister caused some roofing loss to a mobile home and a house in the Marvel community. It then crossed into Shelby County and dissipated 6.3 miles SW of Brantleyville at 6:59 pm CDT. The tornado lasted for one hour and 34 minutes.

The path of the dying tornado in the Marvel community. NOAA Remote Sensing Division aerial imagery and Google Earth. Aerial imagery taken May 4, 2011, and Google Earth imagery taken September 29, 2011.
Damage to trees in the Marvel community. Image from the NWS Birmingham.
May 28, 2011 Landsat imagery from the USGS showing the scar across the landscape.

Recovery

In Hale County, the tornado crossed 32 county roads damaging everything in its path. There was a tremendous amount of debris to be cleared. Per an article in tuscaloosanews.com, contractors for Unified Recovery Group completed their cleanup job in less than 30 days. “We completed the contract one day early, 29 days,” said Ron McGlothlin, a retired Air Force brigadier general who served as project manager for the contractor. “Our job was to clear the roads and the right-of-way, restore the drainage and remove any dangerous limbs over the roadway.” The group removed over 62,000 cubic yards of vegetative debris and 1,600 cubic yards of construction debris, per the article.

Because the cleanup was completed in less than 30 days, the county did not have to pay for the work. FEMA and the state of Alabama covered it. The article explains that FEMA asked local governments to consider implementing “pre-disaster” contracts with a local cleanup company after Hurricane Katrina. Hale County established an agreement with Unified Recovery Group. Having that in place helped the cleanup process move more quickly and efficiently.

Damage costs for the entire path totaled $36 million. Dozens of homes were destroyed along the 77-mile track. Several volunteer organizations coordinated projects to rebuild. The Hale Empowerment and Revitalization Organization (HERO), Habitat for Humanity, Hale County, and the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama partnered to reconstruct three homes in the Sawyerville area.

One of the homes constructed was for Kervin Jones, pastor at Third Street Church of God. His cousins, Gerald and Cora Brown, were killed in this tornado. In an article for al.com on April 25, 2016, Kervin said, “Luckily I wasn’t home or I probably would’ve been a casualty. … Before the storm, my grandmother’s house, it wasn’t in my name, it wasn’t insured for very much. Didn’t have any hope of doing anything. It was the worst thing I thought could happen to me. But the Episcopal Diocese called me up and offered to build me a house, and they did. I did not know I had a dream house until I had the house they built. If I had $10 million to build a house, that’s the house I would build. It’s really just perfect for me. I’m 6’7 and … I never knew what it was like to stand under the shower. All showers struck me in the chest before that (laughing).”

Hale County Emergency Management Director Russell Weeden told ABC 33/40 in an interview ten years after the event that this was “the worst disaster to happen in the county.” Reflecting back, he thinks the event has made people more weather aware. “I get that all the time, ‘hey we remember 2011 and we want to be more prepared.” Weeden said. “It seems like they listened. They have more ways of listening to the weather. When we go under a tornado warning here it seems like everyone takes heed to that now.”

Kervin Jones told al.com, “The tornado brought out the best in people in Alabama, people helping each other. Not only people coming here to volunteer and help, but neighbors were concerned about each other. … I think being aware of it, it’s easier to see it (now). There’s a sense of trust for each other, especially people who are different from each other, now more so than before.”

In Loving Memory

Cora Brown, 68
Gerald Brown, 70
Jerry Hodge, 64
Henry Lewis, 26
Frankie Lunsford, 55
Ricky Smith, 55
Elizabeth White, 25

Video

Discrepancies:

We gathered information for this event from the SPC and NCDC Databases, the April 2011 Storm Data Publication (SDP), the NWS Birmingham Event Page, and analysis of aerial and satellite imagery and found the following differences:

Path Length:

  • The SPC/NCDC/SDP/NWS Birmingham list a path length of 72.13 miles.
  • Analysis of the damage indicates a path length of 76.97 miles.

    Path Width:

    • The SPC/NCDC/SDP/NWS Birmingham list a maximum width of 1,760 yards (one mile).
    • Analysis of the damage indicates a maximum width closer to 1,330 yards (0.76 miles).

      Injury Count:

      • The SPC/NCDC/SDP/NWS Birmingham list 50 total injuries. However, the Greene County portion of the NWS Birmingham summary, as well as the Greene County NCDC and SDP entries, list two minor injuries that are not in the statistics section. Thus, it appears the total injury count is actually 52.

        Counties Hit:

        • The SPC/NCDC/SDP/NWS Birmingham list the tornado as starting in Greene County and ending in Bibb County.
        • Analysis of aerial and satellite imagery found a consistent trail of tornadic treefall from this twister that starts in Sumter County and ends in Shelby County. The start was pushed 2.45 miles further southwest, and the end pushed 1.72 miles to the northeast.
          Tornadic treefall in Sumter County. Google Earth imagery taken March 11, 2013.
          Tornadic treefall in Shelby County. Google Earth imagery taken August 28, 2011.

          Sources:

          The Storm Prediction Center

          April 2011 Storm Data Publication

          NCDC Storm Events Database Entry-Greene County

          NCDC Storm Events Database Entry-Hale County

          NCDC Storm Events Database Entry-Bibb County

          NWS Birmingham Event Summary

          Google Earth

          Google Maps

          USGS

          April 2011 Tornado Response Imagery

          Hale County Sheriff’s Office

          AL.com, T. B. N. (2011, April 30). Alabama tornado casualties: A list of those who died in the April 27, 2011 storms. al. https://www.al.com/wire/2011/04/alabama_tornado_casualties_a_l.html

          beanmachine4. (2011, May 13). Eoline Firehouse Has a Guardian Angel. YouTube.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v559xFHNFj4

          Bolton, M. (2016, June 1). Bibb County Lake Is Back. Alabama Outdoor News.https://aonmag.com/fishing/bibb-co-lake-is-back/

          cwhitley@al.com, C. J. W. |. (2016, April 25). Then and now: Communities share how they’ve changed since the tornadoes of April 27, 2011. al.https://www.al.com/news/2016/04/then_and_now_communities_share.html

          Facebook. (n.d.).https://www.facebook.com/BibbCountyAlabamaCooperativeExtensionOffice/photos/a.258566677581683/353019961469687

          Hardy, D., & Hardy, D. (2021, March 1). Surviving a Tornado by Honest Abe Log Homes. Honest Abe Log Homes & Cabins.https://www.honestabe.com/project/alabama-log-home-survives-twister/

          Khalil, B. (2021, April 28). April 27th tornado anniversary reminds Sawyerville community to be weather aware. WBMA.https://abc3340.com/news/local/april-27th-tornado-anniversary-reminds-sawyerville-community-to-be-weather-aware

          Our Living Church Episode 2. St. Thomas Episcopal Church. (n.d.).https://stthomas.dioala.org/dfc/newsdetail_2/3206180

          National Archives and Records Administration. (n.d.). Faith-Based Group Rebuilds Alabama Church Following 2011 Tornadoes. National Archives and Records Administration.https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2012/06/28/faith-based-group-rebuilds-alabama-church-following-2011-tornadoes

          Person. (2019, November 26). Smaller Alabama Communities Destroyed By Tornado. FOX23 News.https://www.fox23.com/news/breaking-news/smaller-alabama-communities-destroyed-by-tornado/254359852/

          Price, J. (2016, May 17). Wedding photo returned to family after being lost in April 27, 2011 tornadoes. https://www.wbrc.com.https://www.wbrc.com/story/31930927/wedding-photo-returned-to-family-after-being-lost-in-april-27-2011-tornadoes/

          The Small Town Situation. The Alabama Weather Blog. (2011, May 1).https://www.alabamawx.com/?p=47280

          Writer, R. D. W. S. (2011, June 20). Hale County officials credit ‘pre-disaster’ contract with prompt debris removal. Tuscaloosa News.https://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/DA/20110620/News/605305871/TL

          Writer, R. D. W. S. (2011, April 29). Storm spun many destructive paths through West Alabama. Tuscaloosa News.https://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/DA/20110428/News/605308905/TL

          Writer, R. D. W. S. (2012, April 28). West Alabama residents continue to rebuild. Tuscaloosa News.https://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/DA/20120429/News/605151830/TL

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