Friday, November 10, 2017

Veterans Day Tornado Outbreak - 11/10/2002


Eighty three tornadoes were confirmed by National Weather Service offices in 17 states, mostly east of the Mississippi River between November 9 and November 11, 2002.  Most of the tornadoes occurred on the 10th in the Southeast and Ohio Valley regions.  Twelve of the tornadoes were responsible for 36 deaths.  Thirteen deaths occurred in Tennessee and 12 in Alabama. The most intense tornado was the F4 in Van Wert, Ohio which was responsible for four fatalities.  This ranks as the third largest November tornado outbreak.

Alabama Tornadoes:

Map of 11/10/02 Tornadoes in Alabama via NWS Birmingham

8:40 p.m. Infrared Satellite Image 11/10/02 during Saragossa F3, NWS Bmx

The National Weather Service Birmingham has a page with storm surveys of 10 tornadoes in Alabama.  The most devastating tornadoes in Alabama were the Carbon Hill (F3) and Saragossa (F3) tornadoes.

Carbon Hill F3 Tornado
The Carbon Hill tornado was travelled 44.3 miles with a width of 1175 yards. According to the NWS Birmingham, "four deaths were reported with this tornado, three in the Rose Hill community area of Walker County and one near Arley in Winston County, with approximately 38 injuries associated with this tornado, 3 in Fayette County, 20 in Walker County, and 15 in Winston County."

The video below contains coverage from meteorologists in the Huntsville television market, even though the tornado was mostly south of the Huntsville market. All three stations, WHNT, WAAY, and WAFF were all following it closely.  As of this time the Weather Service Office in Huntsville was not issuing warnings. The NWS Birmingham still had warning responsibility for all of North Alabama.

The video below is coverage from an ABC 33/40 special on severe weather in 2005. In this video, the Carbon Hill tornado and Saragossa tornado from the "Veterans Day Outbreak" in Alabama are discussed. Reporters include James Spann, Pam Huff, Valorie Carter, Brian Peters, Ike Pigott, John Oldshue, Linda Mays, and Chris Tatum.

Saragossa F3 Tornado

According to the NWS Birmingham: "The Saragossa Tornado was the fourth tornado to occur in Alabama and the longest track of the severe weather episode. It began in Fayette County, just east of the Sipsey River about 6 miles north-northeast of the city of Fayette at 8:15 pm...The tornado crossed into Walker County at 8:34 pm...The tornado appeared to be at its most intense during the travel from US 78/SR 118 interchange across Saragossa and the areas near SR 5 and SR 195. Seven deaths occurred in this 10 mile stretch of the tornado track, along with an estimated 40 injuries."

This is coverage of the most deadly and longest track tornado in Alabama during the Veterans Day Outbreak, 11/10/2002. James Spann, Mark Prater, John Oldshue and J.B. Elliott covered this tornado which moved through Fayette, Walker, Winston and Cullman counties. This video included coverage from 8:30-9:09 p.m.

Finally, meteorologists Ben Smith and Dr. Tim Coleman of Channel 42 in Birmingham describe the F2 tornado that moved through Tuscaloosa and Jefferson counties.

From the NWS Birmingham: "The Abernant Tornado touched down in a wooded area west of County Road 99 around 10:22 pm. The tornado traveled east-northeast, damaging structures on Ridge Road before crossing into Jefferson County. The tornado entered Jefferson County at 10:29 pm, and damaged structures in the Johns and Sumter areas before damaging a manufacturing facility just southwest of VisionLand Theme Park. The tornado crossed Interstate 65 and US Highway 11 where additional houses and businesses were affected. The tornado ended at this point at 10:43 pm. This F2 tornado had a path length of 15.2 miles, 2.9 miles in Tuscaloosa County and 12.3 miles in Jefferson County. The path width was about 450 yards. Three injuries were reported in Tuscaloosa County.

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