NWS confirms tornado touchdown in Pike County

Published 8:08 pm Thursday, February 18, 2016

An EF-1 tornado in Tarentum traveled five miles in about six minutes on Monday, snapping trees and damaging homes along the way.

The tornado was one of seven that touched down in Alabama during Monday’s severe storms. The National Weather Service confirmed the tornado on Thursday, also clarifying that the damage that occurred in Goshen was due to straight-line winds of up to 80 mph.

“I’m not surprised by the designation,” said Jeanna Barnes, Pike County EMA director. “While we didn’t have a tornado warning on Monday, we do know that tornadoes can occur any time we’re under a severe thunderstorm warning. “

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The Tarentum tornado touched down around 6:20 p.m. Monday, southwest of Brundidge and traveled five miles, with a destruction path some 400 yards wide. Maximum winds were estimated at 105 mph.

“It first touched down over an area of clear-cut forest just northwest of Alabama Highway 125 approximately 1.5 miles west-southwest of U.S. 231,” according to the NWS statement. “Shortly after touching down, it reached its peak wind speeds of approximately 105 mph, where it uprooted or snapped 50 to 100 pine trees across a path that approached Alabama Highway 125.”

A mobile home was destroyed, and another home was damaged by the falling trees.

The tornado continued northeast and crossed U.S. 231 about nine-tenths of a mile south of the intersection with Alabama 125. “The tornado caused minor roof damage to a home along U.S. 231 and then destroyed a partially covered horse arena before crossing an open field and snapping numerous trees along the tree line,” the NWS said.

“From there the tornado crossed Pike County Road 4423 and continued on the same path as it crossed Pike County Road 4421 … the tornado appeared to broaden and weaken rapidly after crossing CR 4421.”

In Goshen, the straight-line winds ripped roofs off buildings at the old Birdsong Peanut facility, twisting i-beams and toppling peanut carts. Winds also destroyed a workshop owned by Chris West and Gene McLeod, as well as a toppled several trees.

Tornadoes were confirmed in Russell, Lee, Montgomery, Pike and Conecuh counties.