Strongest tornado in nearly two years devastates Alabama

Winds estimated at 170 mph


ROANOKE, Va. – A tornado outbreak across the Deep South Sunday brought numerous tornadoes to Alabama, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina. The strongest and deadliest affected Lee County, Alabama. 


Several National Weather Service offices continue to survey the damage spread out across the Deep South. As of Tuesday morning, 15 tornadoes have been confirmed across four states.

The strongest, an EF-4 with winds estimated of 170 mph, struck Lee County, Alabama. This is the first EF-4 tornado in the U.S. since an EF-4 struck Canton, Texas on April 29, 2017.

Last year, no EF-4 tornadoes occurred in the U.S. One of the strongest tornadoes in the country in 2018, an EF-3, occured in Elon during the Virginia tornado outbreak on April 15.

Radar Sunday afternoon depicts the ominous sight, a textbook hook heading toward Beauragard, Alabama. The ball at the bottom of the hook is radar picking up on debris being lofted into the sky, likely trees, cars and pieces of homes. (Note the time stamp is in eastern time.)


 The threat for strong tornadoes in this region was well forecast days in advance.

20190301 0830 UTC Day Probabilitic Graphic

Early Friday morning, most of the Deep South was highlighted for the chance for severe weather, including tornadoes.

20190303 1200 UTC Day 1 Tornado Probabilities Graphic

By late Saturday night, the threat for significant tornadoes, EF-2 and higher was marked in the hatched area.

As survey teams continue to comb through damage, more tornadoes may be confirmed.


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