NWS: At least 1 EF-1 tornado in Cullman County Wednesday

Numerous fallen trees and splintered trunks are seen in the yard of a house on County Road 747 between Berlin and Simcoe. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune) 

 CULLMAN, Ala. – The National Weather Service (NWS) Huntsville office sent a damage assessment team to inspect areas of Cullman County hit by Wednesday night’s storms, and issued a preliminary statement late Thursday afternoon saying, “Preliminary results from our survey indicate EF-1 damage in Cullman County.” No specific location was given, and NWS added, “We need to do some more analysis to determine if there is more than one track and we hope to have more information tonight or tomorrow.” 

The Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale was created to rate tornadoes based on wind speed and the type and severity of damage done. An EF-1 indicates wind speeds between 86 and 110 miles per hour and produces “Moderate damage. Roof surfaces peeled off; mobile homes pushed (off of) foundations or overturned; moving autos pushed off road,” according to the NWS definition. 

In east Cullman County, substantial tree damage and a small amount of structure damage occurred at a point along County Road 747 on the southern edge of the Simcoe community, and the road was temporarily closed near that location by a tree or trees across the road on Wednesday night. To the east and still south of Alabama Highway 69, multiple structures were damaged–some severely–and numerous falling trees took down power lines in the area around the intersection of County Road 1635 and County Road 1670. 1635 remained closed into Thursday afternoon as crews removed large trees and lines from the roadway. 

At the north end of the Simcoe community above Highway 69, a few structures were damaged, and several storage sheds were destroyed. 

Wednesday’s weather event included high winds and heavy rains that flooded numerous areas and washed out some roads, leading to a closure of Cullman County Schools, whose busses could not get through to pick up some students. Reports sent to NWS from seven points in Cullman County ranged from 3.00-4.20 inches of rain. 

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W.C. Mann