The citizens of Alabama are currently struggling after two severe tornado outbreaks swept through the state. Since March, 42 confirmed tornadoes touched down in the state, with the death toll currently sitting at 5. In order to understand the severity of the destruction within the state, let’s look at each day and learn about what happened.
On March 17, 2021, the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) had issued a level 5/5 risk for severe thunderstorms for Alabama and other nearby states. Along with this threat, the tornado probability of 45% for West Central Alabama. Within this high probability, a “hatched” zone covered most of the state. A hatched area means the likeliness for strong tornadoes was maxed out.
According to WSFA, 25 tornadoes touched down in Alabama that day, the most severe tornado coming from Chilton County, Alabama, south of Birmingham. In total, seven people were injured, and thankfully, nobody was killed. However, this outbreak caused a decent amount of damage in the state, causing several power outages within the state. When combined with Louisiana & Mississippi, 40,000 homes and businesses were without power. While the St. Patrick’s Day outbreak was dangerous, this next outbreak was just as bad, if not worse.
On March 25th, 2021, the Storm Prediction Center once again issued a level 5/5 high risk for Alabama and surrounding states. Just like the previous outbreak, this had a tornado probability of 45%, along with that hatched zone, as mentioned earlier.
This outbreak would be more severe. The Alabama portion of the outbreak began at 12:30 pm CDT (1:30 pm EDT) that saw an EF-2 tornado rip through the southern suburbs of Downtown Birmingham.
Veteran meteorologist James Spann of ABC 33/40 was on the air covering this outbreak when he stepped out, and came back a few minutes later, declaring that there was major tornado damage at his own home. “The reason I had to step out was that we’ve had major damage at my house,” he said. “My wife is OK, but it came right through there. It’s not good. It’s bad. It’s bad.”
Despite his ongoing personal crisis, he continued to cover the outbreak for several more hours. The threat finally ended around 1:00 am CDT (2:00 am EDT), but not before 24 tornadoes touched down, killing 5. All of which were in the community of Ohatchee, in Calhoun County, Alabama, northeast of Birmingham. There was major destruction in several parts of the state.
To summarize, 2 tornado outbreaks caused widespread damage and other problems in Alabama. If you wish to help the people rebuild and recover, click on one of the links below:
Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama: https://cfnea.fcsuite.com/erp/donate
United Way of East Central Alabama: https://www.uweca.org/tornadorelief/
Greater Birmingham Humane Society: https://gbhs.org/tornadorelief