A large tornado... 1/4 mile wide by reports struck south Alabama Sunday afternoon. As of midnite Alabama time 23 are reported dead.
MrOT has been following this for several days, because it's all fun and games and pictures on the screen until you get hit by one up close and personal as he did in 1989.
A few days out the prediction was that the dividing line between the cold and warm temps where the worst weather would occur was sitting on top of his house located in the infamous tornado alley I-20 corridor.
By Saturday evening the Wx service moved that line south. And indeed after lunch tornado warnings were coming in hot and heavy as spinning clouds trained from west to east below Auburn Alabama down near to Phenix City, AL and Columbus Georgia.
MrOT was hoping that it was simply a matter of over eager weather guys pushing the panic button as he watched weather radar and the red tornado warning boxes trained one behind the other...but as it turned out one or two of those warnings bore bitter fruit.
Good people got up Sunday morning with plans for the day and the week hoping it wasn't their turn. Many of them sat nervously monitoring the skies. But alas, for some it was their turn.
My guess is that it will turn out to be an EF4. When they get that large the only guaranteed protection is being six feet underground.
From the pictures available it was a non-typical tornado for Alabama. Most of ours resemble an ice cream cone or wedge. This one was cloud wrapped and a really strange one. From a distance it appeared as if the cloud came down to touch the ground. Nothing more than that. But hidden inside the cloud mass was the quarter mile wide spinning death.
It looks like a thousand log trucks visited the area. Land devastated by a tornado doesn't grow back green for years. Tornadoes poison the ground.
Because of the mild winter it was predictable that massive tornadoes would infest the southland. Tornado weather occurs at it's worst in Alabama in April when atmospheric energy levels are greatest. We got an early start this year. As time progresses the threat migrates northward.