1 May 2011
A viewer sent me this video (click image to see it) of the tornado that hit Arab, Al. on Wednesday. This is the same tornado that hit Cullman, and was rated an EF-4, but the official rating for Arab is not yet complete. The NWS has brought in the best experts available to get accurate ratings on these tornadoes, and the survey is ongoing. An EF 4 has winds of 166-200 mph.
The Hackleburg, AL tornado in Marion County is now confirmed as an incredible, and very rare EF-5. Hackleburg is (was?) not far from the little town of Guin that was wiped out by an EF-5, on April 3, 1974, during the super-outbreak. Many of the paths on Wednesday were eerily similar to that day.
Storm surveys from NOAA are out and here is the survey for Cullman County.
If you want to learn about how these assessments are done, there is a great training manual here– I have consulted it frequently. Kudos to my friends Andy Kula and Chris Darden, both meteorologists for the NWS who have worked long days to make these critical assessments for science. Many, many others in Huntsville and B’ham as well.