by John Brice
Severe weather which included tornadoes struck Chambers County as well as other areas across Alabama beginning in the early morning hours of January 3rd, 2022 and continued through to the morning of January 4th the next day. Reports from the National Weather Service office in Birmingham described the stormy weather as a “long-duration severe weather event (that) occurred from the late morning hours of Tuesday, January 3rd to the early morning hours of Wednesday, January 4th.
Several rounds of rain and thunderstorms impacted Central Alabama, producing tornadoes, damaging straight-line winds, quarter size hail, and flooding.” Meteorologists measure the severity of a tornado using the Enhanced Fujita Scale or EF Scale which according to the website weather.gov “is used to assign a tornado a ‘rating’ based on estimated wind speeds and related damage.”
Survey teams from the NWS fanned out across Alabama to assess the damage and collect information needed to confirm the tornado activity. One of their findings was located in the Clackville area in Chambers County which they rated as an EF-0 Tornado that occurred on January 3, 2023. Maximum wind speeds were estimated at 75 mph with a damage path length of 4.40 miles and a maximum path width of 500 yards. NWS surveyors approximated the start point near 2 SW Mount Olive at 3:27 pm CST with an approximate end point near 2 SSW Roanoke Municipal Airport at 3:37 pm CST.
Details were compiled based on their research leading to the description “NWS meteorologists surveyed damage in northern Chambers County and determined that it was caused by an EF0 tornado. The tornado began near County Roads 155 and 158 near the Clackville community. The tornado continued northeastward with primarily timber damage observed across County Roads 235 through 237, 258, and 241. One residence suffered some roof damage along County Road 237. The tornado dissipated prior to reaching the Randolph County line.”
Neighboring Tallapoosa County was also the site of a tornado touching down “in the Raintree Drive area, near where Elkahatchee Creek empties into the Tallapoosa River. From there it moved northeastward about 3 miles, crossing US Highway 280, before lifting along the western shore of the Tallapoosa River just south of the County Boat Ramp.
Most damage along the was sporadic tree damage. However, a cement mixing plant near the intersection of Dadeville Road and US-280 suffered significant roof damage, leading to the EF-1 rating. Special thanks to Tallapoosa County EMA for their assistance with this survey.” according to the NWS.
Randolph County was struck as well, the NWS surveys reported “damage in western Randolph County and determined that it was caused by an EF0 tornado. The tornado began just east of the Clay/Randolph County line near County Road 231. Primarily timber damage was observed along County Roads 231, 229, 276, 11, and 113 in the Fuller Crossroad area. The tornado dissipated after crossing County Road 113.”
Although there was an injury reported in Montgomery County, fortunately there were no fatalities caused by the tornadoes that swept across the state. Macon, Franklin, Walker, Clay, Bibb, Chilton, Coosa, Elmore, Perry, Marengo, Hale and Autauga counties were also confirmed to have tornadoes that touched down.