Sunday, February 17, 2008

Autuaga County (Prattville) Tornado

--I will be uploading some video from coverage of this storm and it's aftermath soon--

This afternoon an apparently strong tornado touched down in Prattville, Alabama, which is just northwest of Montgomery, in Autauga County. According to the Montgomery Advertiser, it left a path of destruction that "started near the David D. Whetstone Complex, traveled northeast along County Road 4, hit the neighborhoods in and around the Overlook Subdivision and along Sheila and Memorial drives, cut through the Premier Place shopping center and slammed into two apartment complexes located behind Wal-Mart."

The most recent news reports are saying that there have been 29 people injured, two of which were critical. No fatalities have been reported. According to the Advertiser, "Larry Davis, manager of Autauga County Emergency Management Agency, said one of the critical injuries was a man who was eating at Sonic when the tornado hit. Rescue workers had to extricate him from his Ford Explorer. He was transported to Prattville Baptist."

The fact that there have been no fatalities and two critical injuries is amazing considering that 200 homes were damaged, 30 of which were actually destroyed, according to Prattville mayor Jim Byard.

Montgomery Advertiser video
from Cobbs Ford Road in Prattville after a tornado swept through on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2008.

According to the AP, "a 35-bed mobile hospital unit was set up outside a Kmart to treat victims with minor to moderate injuries so that hospitals could take those with serious injuries, Dr. Steve Allen said. David Shoupe, 18, assistant manager at Palm Beach Tan, said he and a co-worker barely made it into a laundry room before the roof fell in and the wind tossed shopping carts aloft. "Soon as we turned the corner, the roof collapsed everywhere except the laundry room," Shoupe said, standing beside his white Lexus, with a front windshield cracked by debris and the other windows shattered."

The image to the left is a time lapse view of the mesocyclone that produced the Prattville tornado from the Weatherunderground radar site. It begins at 2:49 and ends at 3:15 CT. Click on the image to show the animation.

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