View from the air

Published 9:44 am Friday, December 28, 2012

Snapped trees and destroyed mobile homes dot the landscape at Brantley Mobile Home Park.

Snapped trees and destroyed mobile homes dot the landscape at Brantley Mobile Home Park.


National Weather Service, local officials view damage from helicopter

Members of the National Weather Service took to the sky above Pike County on Thursday to survey damage that occurred during Tuesday night’s storms.

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The two member team from the National Weather Service, as well as Pike County EMA Director Jeanna Barnes and a pilot from the Dale County Sherriff’s department spent most of the day examining the area of southeastern Pike County, near the Tennille community.

The meteorologists wanted to take a better look at two different damage tracts to try and determine if multiple tornadoes occurred in Pike County on Christmas night.

On Wednesday, the National Weather Service designated the tornado that moved through the Goshen area and later did damage to several mobile homes at the Brantley Mobile Home Park, on U.S. Highway 231, north of Troy as an EF-2 storm.

The meteorologists surveying the path of the storm have determined that the maximum wind speed was around 120 mph, traveled nearly 16 miles and was 600 yards wide at its maximum width.

The National Weather Service also determined that the first touchdown of the tornado occurred just a few hundred feet from the Crenshaw/Pike County line and moved northeast towards the mobile home park north of Troy.



As it continued to the northeast, the tornado traveled parallel to the Conecuh River on CR 2214 for more than two miles, causing widespread damage with hundreds of trees snapped or uprooted and damaging several homes.

“There were some 16 or so homes and about 10 other structures that received some sort of damage in the storm,” said Pike County Sherrif Russell Thomas. “Two people were injured, but we think that the injuries are not as severe as first thought. I spoke to Clark (Coggins) and his spirits were up, and thats a good sign,”

Along the destruction path, the tornado ripped a mobile home from the anchors and rolled it 75 yards in to a nearby wooded area. The wooden porch , however, remained intact and did not budge.

The storm gained strength after crossing the Conecuh River, and approached the River Ridge subdivision, Oak Grove Road and eventually the mobile home park.

Thomas feels that though the damage was extensive, the county and residents are lucky that more damage was not caused.

“It could have been a lot worse,” said Thomas. “The National Weather Service determined that it was a EF-2 storm. The response from the volunteer fire fighters and others make you feel proud to call this place home.”