NWS confirms tornado touchdowns

Published 10:50 am Friday, December 28, 2012

Kristina Sumrall (left) and Tara Goggins of the National Weather Service in Birmingham point out damage along U.S. Highway 80 in the Burkville area of Lowndes County. Sumrall is the observing program manager, and Goggins is a meteorologist.

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

The National Weather Service in Birmingham has confirmed the storm that swept across Lowndes County on Christmas Day was a tornado.

Kristina Sumrall, the observing program manager at the National Weather Service Office, Birmingham said on Thursday that it appears that a cell moved across the county from the southwest to the northeast.

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“Yes,” was her answer when asked directly if it was believed that a tornado struck the county. She explained that the tornado touchdowns in the county were part of “one super cell.”

Sumrall and Tara Goggins, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Birmingham, were surveying the damage across the county in the aftermath of the Christmas Day storms.

“In the southwest part of the county it briefly touched down, maybe minimal EF (Enhanced Fujita scale) 0 with just tree damage type snaps and uprooting,” Sumrall said.

“This is the most significant area of damage across (U.S.) 80,” Sumrall said as she pointed out damaged structures in the Burkville area. “Here in this area, preliminarily we’re looking at EF2, 120 mile per hour winds.”

Sumrall said in the Mosses area they saw minor roof damage, and in the area of the elementary school, a tree was down and siding on the school was damaged.

Mosses Mayor Walter Hill told the Lowndes Signal on Wednesday, however, several homes were damaged there from the Christmas Day storm.

“We had extensive damage to several homes and property in a residential area of the community called Village East,” Hill said.

He said there were seven homes that received “heavy to moderate damage” to the roof or structure, three adjacent building that were completely destroyed and two vehicles damaged.

Hill said one of the vehicles had windows blown out and the other was lifted and tossed about and totaled.

According to the National Weather Service, EF is a scale based on wind speed and related damages.