Stormy Sunday: NWS confirms 3 tornadoes in Cullman Co.

The roof of this home in the 8500 block of County Road 703 in the community of Walter was torn off during the storms Sunday night. The occupants were not harmed. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN COUNTY, Ala. – In the middle of an already strange Easter weekend due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing guidelines in place, the Southeast was pummeled by severe weather Sunday afternoon and evening. The National Weather Service in Huntsville Monday evening confirmed a total of three tornadoes in Cullman County:  an EF-2 near the Walter community, an EF-0 between Cullman and Holly Pond near Welti and an EF-1 from Good Hope to Johnson’s Crossing.

Others in north Alabama included an EF-2 in Boaz/Marshall County, and EF-1 in Shiloh/DeKalb County and an EF-0 in Collinsville/DeKalb County.

Roads and bridges all over the county were temporarily flooded, with “a long list” of roads washed out completely, according to Cullman EMA Director Phyllis Little. (We’ll post the list of closed roads once it’s available.)

Little said the NWS initially suspected most damage done in the county was by a single tornado that hopped across the county. She said the damage started in Cold Springs and stretches in a pattern from Johnson’s Crossing, where the most damage was done, to Hanceville, then Walter and Welti and on toward Holly Pond.

“It’s taking them a little bit longer to get their assessments done because they’re doing them singly,” she said Monday afternoon. “They usually have two people together doing them, but they’re doing them with one person instead of two due to the COVID restrictions.”

The NWS said the EF-1 tornado from Good Hope to Johnson’s Crossing had an estimated peak wind speed of 100 mph, with a path length of 5.42 miles and path width of 300 yards. “The tornado touched down just west of Beech Grove Road just south of Good Hope before crossing Interstate 65 near mile marker 302 where dozens of trees were snapped or uprooted. The tornado continued on an east-northeast track crossing County Road 490 and County Road 573 uprooting dozens more trees. As the tornado neared Highway 31 along Day Gap Road, it intensified and removed the roof from a single wide trailer and caused more concentrated tree damage. The tornado crossed Highway 31 and continued to the east-northeast causing damage to a gas station and uprooting or snapping several more trees. The tornado lifted just east of County Road 599.”

Of the EF-2 tornado near Walter, the NWS said it had an estimated peak wide speed of 115 mph, with a path length of 2.5 miles and path width of 350 yards. “The tornado touched down just east of County Road 640 near the Duck River and moved to the Northeast. Along its path, it uprooted numerous trees and removed the metal roofing on a chicken house as it moved across County Road 645. The tornado intensified as it crossed County Road 703 and removed the roof of a home. Another home along County Road 781 had its roof removed. The tornado continued briefly to the northeast, uprooting more trees and removing the metal roofing of a barn. The tornado lifted just east of County Road 771 near Buzzard Branch.”

The EF-0 tornado near Welti, according to the NWS, had an estimated peak wind of 80 mph, with a path length of .35 miles and path width of 70 yards. “A brief tornado touched down near the junction of County Road 749 and County Road 747 just south of the Welti Community. The tornado moved to the southeast where it uprooted several trees and destroyed a small shed. It crossed 747 and uprooted a few more trees before lifting east of 747 near Glasscock Creek.”

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Wendy Sack