Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Severe Hail Event - 4/25/2003

NWS Birmingham Map of Severe Hail Event - 4/25/2003
 
Severe weather, especially in the form of large hail, affected much of Central Alabama Friday April 25, 2003. Fortunately there were no injuries nor fatalities reported with this event, but property damage was significant.  At least four supercells were responsible for this severe weather event.

This event included three confirmed tornadoes:

Pickens County: An F1 tornado, a landspout (a tornado forming under an updraft in a thunderstorm), touched down in the southwestern Pickens County communities of Dancy and Cochrane, destroying one site-built home, a mobile home, and downing trees at 10:57 a.m.

Greene-Hale: An F0 tornado touched down near the Greene County Power Plant on the Greene-Hale county line and blew down trees, destroyed a mobile home, and damaged a church at 1:30 p.m.

Elmore County: An F0 tornado touched down northwest of Tallassee, blew down trees, and caused some roof damage to homes along its .6 mile path.

The biggest story of this severe weather event was not the tornadoes; it was the hail!  There were at least 50 reports of severe hail (in 2003 the criteria for severe hail was 3/4" or greater. That changed to 1" or greater in 2010).  Some of the largest hail in Alabama history fell in these storms and hail reports were widespread.  There were 22 reports of golf ball-size hail (1 3/4") or larger in 15 different counties.  Counties affected by golf ball-size or larger hail included: Bibb, Perry, Chilton, Autauga, Macon, Lee, Russell, Greene, Hale, Elmore, Dallas, Montgomery, Cherokee, Marengo, and DeKalb counties.

Photo via NWS Birmingham by Chris Howard

Baseball-size hail (2 3/4") or larger fell in four counties: Chilton, Macon, Lee, Elmore, and Montgomery.  The largest hail that fell was softball-size (4 1/2").  This fell first in Bibb County from just south of the town of Brent to the Randolph, Pondville, and Lawley communities between 12:50 and 1:53 p.m.  Several locations reported hail as deep as one foot in Bibb County!  Numerous automobiles and homes were damaged.  Funnel clouds were also reported with this supercell as it moved across Bibb County. Softball size hail also fell in Autauga County between 2:55 p.m. and 3:46 p.m.

Sources:
National Weather Service Birmingham Storm Survey
NOAA Storm Data publication, April 2003

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