Report tallies storm impact on county

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A survey was conducted in rural areas of Pike County following last Monday’s confirmed EF1 tornado, and the results have come back for the damage path of the tornado.

The National Weather Service, Birmingham station, after collecting data throughout the past week, determined the major tornado from Monday’s storm was tracked through Crenshaw County and crossed into Pike County crossing County Road 1160 where numerous hard and softwood trees sustained damage.

While no injuries or fatalities were reported during Monday’s storm, the storm’s path width was 500 yards wide at the largest recorded path width and had a damage path of almost 24.7 miles. A majority of damage observed from the storm consisted of sheared treetops and damage to both soft and hardwood trees.

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While the tornado’s path was mostly across the northern sector of the county, the most significant damage recorded was along County Road 1139, which was also the spot of the widest recorded path for the tornado.

The tornado traveled northeast along US Highway 231, and lifted up as it crossed into Bullock County near Stills Crossroads.

Jeanna Barnes, Emergency Management Agency director, said Pike County was extremely lucky to have only seen damage in rural areas of the county unlike storms in the past.

“We were extremely fortunate the path of the tornado took a more rural route than the EF2 on Christmas Day 2012,” Barnes said. “The majority of the damage we saw was downed trees and a few downed power lines. We had some areas without power, and the County Road Dept. had to clear debris from several roads, but, overall, this event was by far not the worst we’ve seen here and everyone was prepared to manage whatever came through.”

Barnes wanted to continue to remind the community that the months of November and December, when the weather can be iffy, is peak season for severe weather in lower Alabama.

“November-December is the second severe weather season we have in south Alabama – the first being March-May,” Barnes said. “We still have several weeks remaining where the window of opportunity for severe storms exist. Although the ideal time to prepare for severe weather season is in advance, you can still take the time now to prepare for any future severe weather we may see.”

While Pike County is equipped with an outdoor warning system, the sirens are geared for those who are already outdoors to hear the warning. Barnes said previously the sirens have a very small service radius for those who may be indoors. The key to staying safe in a severe weather situation, Barnes said, was to have multiple notification methods.

“One important step in this preparation is to ensure you have multiple methods to receive weather alerts from the National Weather Service,” Barnes said.

“Options such as a weather radio, The Alabama Saf-T-Net app, news channel apps, text services and media alerts are all available. Please, do not solely depend on the outdoor warning system to alert you. They only sound for tornado warnings and they are meant for individuals who may be outdoors in a small vicinity to the siren. During a thunderstorm that may produce a tornado, the siren may be drowned out and barely audible.”