5 years ago today the State of Alabama was front and center of what would be later deemed as one of the worst tornado outbreaks in Tornado history. On that day there were a total of 199 tornadoes that touched down in the southeastern United States. Of the 199, 62 of them were in Alabama.
These storms were long tracked and during the day there were 11 tornadoes that were at least EF-4 strength. An EF-4 winds are at least 166 mph…
Long tracked tornadoes aren’t uncommon in south, what made April 27th stand out was the strength along with how long the tornadoes were on the ground. The deadliest storm was the Hackleburg tornado. It was on the ground for 25.14 miles, but that isn’t the entire story… It morphed into the Phil Campbell tornado. Combined the total length of this tornado was 132 miles! That’s incredible. That would get from downtown Mobile to Meridian, MS… That’s staggering. It tracked from west central AL all the way into Tennessee.
If the path length wasn’t scary enough, the Hackleburg tornado was rated an EF-5 with estimated winds of 210 mph. If anything gets in the way of that it’s gone. It wiped out majority of the town Hackleburg and anything in it’s path.
This was just one of the 62 tornadoes that touched down across the state. More than 300 people across the Southeast lost their lives that day, 252 of those more than 300 were in Alabama.
Later this evening our sister station WIAT in Birmingham will be airing a special on the April 27th tornadoes. Tune in to get a perspective from the people who covered it.